[Article] Are Forums Dying!?

DGStaff

DG Staff
Staff member
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#1
Are forums dead?

This is not new topic discussion, as we have seen this very subject across multiple forum communities that say forums are in decline, and this would most likely be due to social media, a new concept that has been around for a few years now. We are certainly not going to head into that fabrication to say that forums are dead, If anything, we would say things have certainly shifted, and this could be for various reasons, however, for good ranking in order to get organic traffic, then all forums certainly need quality content in order to reach their goals of getting traffic that is going to be very targeted to what that particular forum/community may be looking for....

digital global - has been a popular webmaster forum for many years, however, even with 17 million posts, DP appears to have been in decline for a few years now, why is that? and this could be for various reasons, when these type of forums popped up several years ago, some of them got very popular, and I think back then, everyone wanted to be a webmaster, and they were excited to have their own website, run their so called business, getting backlinks, and ranking was as easy as throwing a pie out of the window, then google started to crack down on quality control, and almost overnight, sites that were making $1,000s per day/month were making zero, and if we speed up the clock today, we really do not feel that people are as excited to run a site these days, why? Because it is not easy for them to cheat the system, and if they get found out, then Google will end them just as fast as you can drop a penny on the ground, and today, it is not easy getting a site over the ground, and it does not really matter what niche you want to get into, and it can be difficult to get a site off the ground that has lower competition, why? Because Google will not let you. If you follow google guidelines, then you most likely have that many problems, however, it can take 1-2 years just to get any traffic that will make an impact on your site. When people setup a new site, they often have no business plan, they also have false and misleading hopes that their site will take off fast and furious, and money will start flowing like a river of honey, and this is just not realistic to say the least; If you expect your site to succeed, then you will need dedication, time, and most likely, MONEY, and this is really a conversation for another day, and truth be told, setting up a site for profit is no easy task, and can be difficult, and in some cases, can take many years in order to achieve your desired results.

What happened to Talk Freelance? Years ago, this forum used to be very popular. TalkFreelance.com has 24,255 forum members, 81,170 threads, and 566,853 posts, and today, this forum is dead as a doornail today, talk freelance has 43 backlinks, what the hell? How could a forum that got this size just simply die? It is our opinion their death was contributed due to multiple reasons, and not just one, two or three, however, one of these contributing factors could be due to social media, was this the primary death of Talk Freelance, one of the most popular freelance forums online at the time? We do not know, however, we feel their fall from grace was due to bad management, and leadership; Even the owner of the forum claimed to have dropped out of site for a couple years, and since the forum is currently in a dead state, we do not feel the forum will ever come back to the glory that it had in the past, and we are not sure why this forum is even still up today. Besides bad management and leadership, we feel that the forum owner never really took any real action to improve his freelance forum, how do we know this? This is what happens when you air your dirty laundry over your forum thus giving the impression that your forum may not good, and dropping hints, we will just see how this goes, and this also implies doubt, if he already knew his traffic was in decline, then why would the owner want to step up to the plate, and offer more excuses on making the forum better? So why did talk freelance forum die? Their forum died due to several contributing factors, bad leadership, bad forum management, Behavioral control thus allowing forum members chasing off everyone else, quality control, and social media comes in very last. The nail in the coffin at this point was never social media, thus the reason we listed social media as last. One bad forum member can ruin the entire forum, and in our opinion, this is why the forum really died, lack of caring, lack of respect for the community that gave so much for so many years keeping this great freelance site alive, and today, it is nothing more than a ghost town of souls, and it is truly a shame. We also think there were other factors that also helped caused the forum to fail, as the owner stated a few times that things were complex, and vanished for long periods of time, and when the owner did show back, then it would be the same story all over again, however, by this time, it was already too late.

Is having a forum a good business plan?
NO! Having or running a forum is not a legitimate business plan. We feel that having a forum is nothing more then having a means of communication between forum members that could not otherwise exist, and having a forum can also extend reach if you are looking to target keywords, however, a blog would be more appropriate if the owner is looking to go into more depth with their content. Setting up any forum with the idea you are going to strike it rich with adsense is so 90s, this is not a business concept or any type of business plan you should even consider, and this was the type of model that Talk Freelance ran with. The owner purchased talk freelance with the idea of putting Adsense on his site, and these ads are on his site today, and this is a very poor business model, and today talk freelance has almost no traffic. We do not blame ads for their downfall, and we would consider the site having ads not even part of his downfall, however, talk freelance had no business plan, and if he did have ideas, then he/she never put them into action, and most likely with the already decline in traffic the site was going through.

a forum can be a primary part of the business, however, we feel that having a forum should be secondary to the business that extends the reach of the primary business model, if you know, Digital Global Forum is not primary, it on a sub-domain which will be secondary to the primary business model which will be a freelance marketplace. Take post loop, for instance, this is a service that helps forums get more posts, and you pay them for their service. We feel that post loop is a low-quality service that can not help us that much so we have declined to use their services, however, if you notice, their forum is not primary, their service is primary, and their forum is located under support which then takes you to their forum, and even today, post loop forum seems to be somewhat active, even though, we are not sure why, maybe, and honestly, it is not hard to figure out, the person that owns the site is a very sweet lady, and she does not treat you like crap, thus chasing members away from the forum.

If you:

  • Have bad leadership
  • Run a bad forum
  • Do not get involved
  • Do not take action
  • Treat members like crap
  • do not promote your site

Then you will fail...

We have seen a good many forums fail just because the owner did not care, and allowed that one bad apple or many bad appleds that simply killed the forum, and we appeal to our future members, if you see any behavior like this, then bring this to our attention immediately, and we will send bad apples packing, before that bad apple cannot harm that can not be repaired; At some point, talk freelance had undisputed supporters, however, the owner failed across many levels, and it may have started with the previous owner, so if you like what you see, then for god sakes, signup, and take action, before we move forward, then we too are going to need the support of our community....

Summary: Forums as a whole have gone into decline over the last few years, and that is obvious, however, we do not feel that forums are dead, and still could be used for the sake of having a community that cares for one another, and this can enrich our site greatly, so please do not give up on forums just yet, and if you want to check out our awesome blog, then click that link. We are not dead, we are just starting out, and have quite a few plans for the future, while others have failed, I see no reason why we can not succeed if the community gets involved.

Are you looking for a new home?
Are you looking for a new community that cares?

Welcome aboard,

Yours truly,
Digital Global℠
 
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DGStaff

DG Staff
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#3
Forums can be a great place for mentorship on your career
I can agree with that statement, as you can learn a lot from a forum compared to something like facebook, however, forums can also be as good as visitors want to be; If people believe and support the forum, then you can learn quite a bit from others that may be willing to teach, and if someone has more knowledge then myself, then I am always up to learning something new myself, so I look forward to seeing what others have to say as that can be a learning experience, and would be grateful to learn something new, even if I do know, even a new twist on any idea is learning.
 
#4
I do agree that social media has probably replaced forums, at least to some extent; but there is definitely still a place for forums even with social media.

I belong to several Facebook groups, and while I do enjoy the groups, they are basically for posting information of some kind and not for conversation as such.

Forums have many topics and encourage actual conversation between members; As a senior, I have noticed that forums seem to do really well when they relate to seniors and their issues and daily life. Many seniors live a life of near isolation, and the senior's forum is their main way of interacting with people and making friends, especially when they are disabled and housebound.

There are other topics that also lend themselves well to a forum, such as health, or lifestyles, or even gardening and cooking forums.
If forums are to survive, then I think the owner just needs to choose forum topics that will specifically attract people to that forum, and then market it with some paid posters until it can grow enough to support itself.
 
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DGStaff

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#5
I do agree that social media has probably replaced forums, at least to some extent; but there is definitely still a place for forums even with social media.

I belong to several Facebook groups, and while I do enjoy the groups, they are basically for posting information of some kind and not for conversation as such.

Forums have many topics and encourage actual conversation between members; As a senior, I have noticed that forums seem to do really well when they relate to seniors and their issues and daily life. Many seniors live a life of near isolation, and the senior's forum is their main way of interacting with people and making friends, especially when they are disabled and housebound.

There are other topics that also lend themselves well to a forum, such as health, or lifestyles, or even gardening and cooking forums.
If forums are to survive, then I think the owner just needs to choose forum topics that will specifically attract people to that forum, and then market it with some paid posters until it can grow enough to support itself.
I have never been a real fan of facebook, and DG may use FB ads in the future, other then that I have nothing against forums, as I am FB vs Forums has its own pros and cons. There are some things you can do with FB, that you cant do with forums, and vice-versa; In fact, Facebook started out as a social group, now the only thing they can think of is how to make money at the expense of their users, and I do not think any site should every allow 3rd party access to your privacy, as this just leads to data mining, and there is no telling how 3rd party companies will use this data.
 
#6
I think forums just got blown out of proportion, too many forums and when social media came out mainstream forum members jumped in the bandwagon because it's something new. In my opinion, forums need to adapt to this situation, they need to offer something that social media doesn't have. Forums are a good source of information and so is social media, but social media is more for the mainstream discussions and not really for the specialized ones, and I think is one reason why forums still exist.
 
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DGStaff

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#7
I think forums just got blown out of proportion, too many forums and when social media came out mainstream forum members jumped in the bandwagon because it's something new. In my opinion, forums need to adapt to this situation, they need to offer something that social media doesn't have. Forums are a good source of information and so is social media, but social media is more for the mainstream discussions and not really for the specialized ones, and I think is one reason why forums still exist.
I agree, social media platforms such as facebook have the money in intregrate features, and a social platform is designed to bring people together, however, social platforms are somewhat out of touch; Forums are not really designed for social media to bring others together, instead forums are far better for content/SEO purposes, and social media is not good for that, not only that; You can own your own forum, however, you own nothing when you are on social media because it is not your platform, and if your business is based on social media, then it can be shut down anytime, and if people want to spend all their time on zombie social media, then there is not much we can do about that, however, it would not hurt if XF added more social media features to the forum software, maybe that will help to get members to interact, and social media features would be a plus.
 
#8
I think, and this is only my opinion, forums should not mimic social media, it's better if forum owners think outside the box and include things that can't be found in social media platforms, and there's a lot of things that social medias haven't thought off integrating.
Doing this would make a forum more unique and identifiable.
 

to7update

Well-known member
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#9
You might have a good point right there @Pendragon2020, there were too many forums, and social networks to make competition to forums. We have FB, Twitter, Reddit, and so on and on, and people just shifted there. At the same time, a solid forum, with interesting topics, will certainly survive and grow. All it takes is to have quality.
 

DGStaff

DG Staff
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#10
I think, and this is only my opinion, forums should not mimic social media, it's better if forum owners think outside the box and include things that can't be found in social media platforms, and there's a lot of things that social medias haven't thought off integrating.
Doing this would make a forum more unique and identifiable.
You might have a good point right there @Pendragon2020, there were too many forums, and social networks to make competition to forums. We have FB, Twitter, Reddit, and so on and on, and people just shifted there. At the same time, a solid forum, with interesting topics, will certainly survive and grow. All it takes is to have quality.
I have seen all kinds of things when it comes to forums, and I have seen good forums die for no other reason then bad leadership, not only that, I see forums that are doing ok, when I think they should be stone dead, and sometimes I just have to scratch my head, and ask why? I do not think it would be accurate to blame everything on social media, as it does take a lot of effort in getting a forum to what you would call a successful level, and if the person does not choose the right niche, regardless if it is a hobby forum or not, then the forum may never get off the ground. If you do some research, you will find out that if you have a business such as a theme-shop, then your forum is more likely to do ok compared to just having a forum only. If you are a software provider, then the forum that you use to provide updates may do fine. I do not think forums should be set up just because, and a lot of people run out and set up a forum without knowing what they are really getting into, as it can take a long time for the site or even forum to get off the ground, and most people never do their research; They just set up a forum, and start rolling with it.
 

to7update

Well-known member
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#11
You've touched a critical point, and I've been there. I was a member of a forum for over 2 years, and they got new moderators totally harsh, they destroyed the community. Sure, there has to be rules, but each rule has its exception, and we can never forget that the members are the ones driving the community ahead.
 
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DGStaff

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#12
You've touched a critical point, and I've been there. I was a member of a forum for over 2 years, and they got new moderators totally harsh, they destroyed the community. Sure, there has to be rules, but each rule has its exception, and we can never forget that the members are the ones driving the community ahead.
DG did not even want to set up a forum when I pitched my idea, however, I knew he already had XF software from a couple years back, and I told him if he set up, then I would run it so he would not have to worry about the forum part of things, and I shall not lie, it is difficult and time-consuming as I am one of those people that wants to see something happen overnight, and I was reminded by my brother that it did not work that way, and here we are today, as I have done quite a bit of content on the forum, and DG has given me content to post also, and the only thing we can really do is to push on, and see what happens in the future, and if we get luckly, then maybe it will turn out to be a good thing, and rules do have to be created, implemented, and sometimes enforced because people can go crazy, and we all hsbr to be civilized to each other, as some people will become loyal contributing members, and other people will be trolls, and their only goal is to be disruptive, and destory if possible.
 
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