Autonetwork Internet Brands [Big Boards] - Featured Forum

Discussion in 'Featured Communities' started by Kathy, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. Kathy

    Kathy Tazmanian Veteran

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    Usually our featured forums highlight one particular forum. In this case, Adrian is the administrator for Internet Brand's autonetwork. Consider it the life of a forum administrator times ten.

    FORUM BASICS:
    What is the name of your Web site and a brief description of the theme/topic of the forums? What is the URL?

    I won't make this website specific - but all of the websites I look after are listed here:
    http://www.internetbrands.com/ib/autonetwork

    They are all automotive related, and all are centered around auto's/motorcycles and predominately technical discussion associated with them (be they in aid of repairing standard vehicles, or involved in modifying vehicles).

    List some of the most popular forums and describe its discussions.
    Probably the most popular single forum is the General Debate and Discussion area on Honda-Tech.com
    Predominately the most popular discussions are technical related , but general discussion is very popular too(beautiful ladies being a popular one... :unhunh: political topics being a second).

    What prompted you to start your forum? What was your launch date?
    I personally didn't start any of our forums, I was a very active participant in one of them for a long time however (ford-trucks.com).
    The most active forums in our network started in 97 or 98

    Do you have any special forum features or activities?
    Most of our forums have special features and activities.
    My personal favourite one has to be the Corvette Forum annual charity for the St Jude Childrens hospital where the forum gets together and donates money for the hospital, and many forum members take their Corvette's for the children to sit in and present the hospital with a check.
    This year (with the poor economy) a few weeks ago they were able to donate $100,500 to the hospital


    SOFTWARE:
    Which software do you use for your forums?

    Predominately vBulletin, but on our auto sites we also have phpBB, Zeroforum (well, up until yesterday), Kaaf, ASP

    Do you use any add-on scripts to enhance your site? Which ones?
    A number of our sites have articles through various CMS's, photo galleries (prior to vB3.7 including them)

    HARDWARE:
    What is your current server setup? Do you have multiple servers for your big board forum? Who manages your servers?

    A computer worth more than my house (and just about as big). Managed by a couple of people :)

    MEMBERS:
    Membership stats? How many members?

    At a wild guess our auto sites would have around 5million members in total, our largest membership site (ford-trucks.com) has around half a million.
    Our largest posting site (honda-tech.com) has around 35 million posts.

    What are the demographics of your site (percentage of men, women, age groups, locality related)?
    Sites are very much male dominated. With a very broad age spread (pretty much flat in fact). Predominately high-earning, but also no college education.
    Mostly located in the US (although we do have 2 UK based sites too).
    STAFF:
    Tell us a about your staff including how many admins (and their functions), moderators, mentors, web developers, etc. Explain how your staff is organized.
    95 sites at last count, almost all have an admin.
    On the largest sites, there will be typically 2-4 admins to deal with community issues.
    From the tech side, we have 2 full time developers, and 2 part time, and a project manager specifically for the automotive sites, a number of people that handle advertising sales and a number more that handle sponsor liason.
    REVENUE:
    How do you generate revenue to cover your expenses (e-commerce, subscriptions, advertising, affiliate links, etc.)?

    Most of it comes from direct sold advertising (companies paying to post on our sites)

    Do you offer upgraded members groups for a fee? What benefits do they get for subscribing/upgrading?
    On a number of the sites we do.
    What they typically include is n addition to a number of "forum features" it usually allows them into forums which allow a lot more freedom as to the content, and usually a site sticker/t-shirt etc.

    ADMIN:
    What is your name?

    In case you couldn't guess from the name - Adrian :)

    Please share a few things about yourself (bio, family, education, background, hobbies, your favorite pizza topping, your favorite vacation spot, your choice of transportation, etc.).
    I am not computer savvy at all - I know my way around vBulletin, but thats about where it starts and it stops.
    I love this job as I love working with people, and have always been fascinated by the group dynamics (still am too).
    I am actually a mechanical engineer (I do hold a business degree too), and am from Australia, single, 24yrs old.
    Despite my love for cars, I actually prefer to ride a bicycle, and will eat pasta like its going out of fashion.

    How do you spend a typical day as admin on your site? What do you enjoy about your job as admin of your site/forums? Do you work on the site in your home or in a separate office space away from your house?
    I work at Internet Brands head office, and what I enjoy about my job is seeing someone acheive something from our sites, be it how to get rid of a horrid check engine light by coming from google, or be it (the much more rewarding) how to further themselves by being motivated by the community, and the community gathering around them.
    I spend the majority of my day on the phone or responding to e-mails.
    Sadly I don't get much time at all to participate in an active fashion on some of our forums.

    What has been the biggest obstacle you have faced in starting or running your forums? How did you/do you handle it?
    I will say internal conflict between moderators.
    How do you handle it? I still don't know 100%, it definately depends on the situation.

    What three things have helped your forums to be a success?
    The dedication by a lot of hard working people (former forum owners included here)
     
  2. 370zed

    370zed Neophyte

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    wow, very nice read. I have seen his user name so many times but this is the first time I have learned more about him. I am surprised to see he is just a year younger than me :eek:. i thought he was a grumpy 50 year old guy. :lol:

    Thanks for sharing the info with us.
     
  3. jGas

    jGas Fan

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    really intresting! what is kaaf software for boards?

    and i have a question for adrian: how are you able to run all this boards together? i mean, do you have specific knowledges on the topics of every board you admin?
    i'm sure that you don't know every single car, moto or truck :D
     
  4. LIRacing.net

    LIRacing.net www.StructuralNet.com

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    Yea, I am a member on a few of your forums, specifically the Blazer forum. I noticed you guys were finally moving over to VB on the sites :tiphat:
     
  5. BigF350

    BigF350 Enthusiast

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    Sorry about the slow reply, I only just came across that we got featured :bonk:
    haha - no, just a grumpy young guy :unhunh:
    It was a software written by the former owners of one of our sites.
    It runs only in threaded mode, its a very "light" bulletin board software (it hasn't had any huge updates to its programming since 99)
    We have been able to get vBulletin to mimic it however, and we no longer use it - we are doing our last conversion of our last site that runs on a non vBulletin platform on monday :)
    I don't - I am a mechanical engineer, have worked in a few aspects of the auto industry (design, manufacturing and service engineering) and have built a few race cars myself.
    I understand the basics, and can answer those questions, sadly I don't really get the time to participate a whole lot on our sites though :)
    Yes - as mentioned above, we will be finally have moved all our sites to vBulletin.
    It has been a pretty large undertaking, and has taken some time, but it has been important from a security and performance aspect (as we own vB, we have a reasonable understanding)


    Thanks for the questions - and thanks to Kathy for featuring us :wave:
    Adrian
     
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