Do we really need more forums on the net?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Guerrera, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. Guerrera

    Guerrera Participant

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    I've realized a few things in my short time as a site admin. There are a lot of 'communities' on the internet. I mean a lot.

    The reason you can find what you want is because it's relevant and it's been grown, but then there are the multitude (the majority) of sites that you can't find, won't find and that will never see more than a handful of visitors. I'd say it's about a 5% - 95% ratio. And it's not because their owners don't advertise, create new content, so on and so forth. I'm sure they do.

    It's more to do with a change in the end-user's focus. Everything has been done, thought of and implemented. There is nothing, no concept, no matter how unique or catchy that can 'catch fire' like what we used to see in the 90s, because the average internet user has developed a dependence on centralization of information. They don't want to visit 5 different sites and be a member of each - they want everything on one.

    People don't want to sift through endless amounts of information - for what? They'll never be able to digest it all. Large information banks like these forums have maintained their ground because they have a community which was founded YEARS ago and the collective efforts of the entire community are what keep it running - not the owner's will.

    How hard is it to start up a new community, completely from scratch nowadays and follow this same model? I'd say it's pretty much next to impossible for it to be sustainable. The large communities I've seen all have a solid 6+ years behind them.

    All it takes is to check the old threads on sites like these where people announce their new forum - most of them have either gone offline or become defunct. Their owners gave it their all, but you can't run on empty for too long. You'll get tired, disillusioned and eventually quit.

    So the question really is - do we really need more forums on the internet?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. gogoblender

    gogoblender shiny happy pantless

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    Hi Guerrera

    I've always thought that every forum's only as good as it's driving creator.

    Forum's have something to do with their niche, but to be the best niche forum for that niche, is only going to be a reflection of owner interests.

    As long as all of us are different and are unique, forums will be just as unique if the owner is starting off with fair understanding of what he is creating.

    I only created a forum because I had a need to post and was kicked out of a clan. Me and all my friends just needed a place to post stuff and we were all fans of Sacred franchise.

    Here, let me spin your topic out a different way and see the kinds of answers it gives us. Instead of making a statement about how more of something is unnecessary... how about something like...

    "Who is building forums today that are successful?"

    or...

    "What kinds of needs have a forum manifest as being instantly busy?"

    For example, a few years ago, on a server that I was on, a two year old forum had 65 thousand posts... all made by four people!!

    I contacted the owner, and she said she had just threw up the forum because her and her friends were friends across the world and wanted a private place to post. This was like six or seven years ago^^

    See what happened? Her need manifested as behaviour, and that behaviour was posting action.

    There are definite needs today that absolutely require communication and posts. But are they concerned with making money? For my own forum, we never were, for example. It was only when we were three years in and the traffic got too heavy for us to keep paying by ourselves that we had to create products to pay for all the traffic.

    Game sales, advertising, subscriptions, Google game maps, Sacred 2 downloads ... see where I'm going with this?

    We were previously networked, and connected to many people, had friends on the net.We had true need first, not the other way around.

    We created our forum cuz our world, our friends and habits demanded for it to be created, not because we wanted to make money.

    Great niche forums will always be about how good an owner is at connecting to readers and spinning his info out in a way that is compelling and creates return readers.

    Not many people can do that, and that's why, as in real life, the great forums are going to be rare, kind of like the best entertainers or legendary orators.



    :)

    gogo
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2012
  3. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

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    There is no way to exhaustively cover any specific niche. Net visitors are naturally more tuned to reading than contributing (registered users as well but much less, as information excess can overwhelm people into following topics rather than initiating or participating), so the more sites providing ressourceful reading material, the better overall.

    Usefulness of conversation aside, forums also fulfill social needs. Groups naturally form regardless of the state of forums, the web, legislation or whatever. Wether groups choose to empower themselves or subject their enjoyment of interaction to higher entities whose interests might antagonically conflict with those groups, that's a choice easily made. Unless facebook captured you, you either join or make forums (selfhosted or hosted, depends on your skill and preference. More fun can be had by keeping headaches at bay).
     
  4. Guerrera

    Guerrera Participant

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    "Who is building forums today that are successful?"

    I don't know... you tell me. My definition of successful might be different to yours.
     
  5. gogoblender

    gogoblender shiny happy pantless

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    That's why it's great to ask peeps what is "successful" for them. In the case of those four ladies... their forum was very successful.

    In the case of my own small forum, I don't even ask "successful" I'm just happy...but others would say I am successful because we've had some very busy times with game releases.

    If someone was going to create a clan and only had four friends, makes a free invisonfree forum... Blam...that forum is instantly successful...because he had to fit a need for his friends to post.

    Of course, there are others who have read or been told that creating forums can make money...and that's where we get a gazillion billion forums created (most forums come complete out of a box, easiest thing to do) by folks who don't have any online friends, have never really networked, don't have any writing skills, or any passion to commit four to five hours a day into this hobby.

    That's where a lot of the unsuccessful forums come from

    :centerofuniverse:

    gogo
     
  6. forumhookers

    forumhookers Enthusiast

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    Well we dont need many forum. All thing we need is new and best forum. Many forum were borning each day and those who have more money make it successful by promoting and doing contest. And i am working hard to bring out the best all in one forum.
     
  7. GeorgeB.

    GeorgeB. ............

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    huh?
     
  8. webdev123

    webdev123 Participant

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    I highly agree with gogoblender. Although many of todays forums are not successful
    we still have a huge community of unique forums where we can all connect.
     
  9. techtonic

    techtonic Aspirant

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    Not all subjects have been done. I started a forum on a subject that I couldn't find any discussion on except in a yahoo group and it managed to get a fair amount of users after a couple of years even without advertising at all. People must have done keyword searches and found the forum. You will most likely find success on new technologies. For instance, if Apple introduced a new iDevice, you could be one of the first forums for it. Or if Microsoft introduces a new console, you can make a forum about that. Same with new car models. Also new TV shows, up-and-coming celebrities, etc. Even a new movement can look for a voice (Tea Party, Occupy Wall Street).
     
  10. GeorgeB.

    GeorgeB. ............

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    new product forums are pretty much the best low hanging fruit there is for forum development.
     
  11. Preemo

    Preemo ApprenticeForums

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    I personally don't feel there are "too many" forums on the net today, I think there are too many of certain niches, and too many new admins create a forum in a popular niche and expect them to take off.

    I'm sure there are a lot of niches that haven't been touched upon yet that will succeed.

    I love seeing new forums created though, it's great to see so many enthusiastic admins :)
     
  12. Websitepros123

    Websitepros123 Aspirant

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    I agree the net is and has a million or so forums, maybe a few could be combined, But a space for people to speak and write what matters to them is always good. :) im all for it
     
  13. Guerrera

    Guerrera Participant

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    I find it upsetting to see how after just a few years, most of their sites have become defunct. Just look at the old threads.
     
  14. Websitepros123

    Websitepros123 Aspirant

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    True that is truly sad to think many good sites gone down hill due to changes, fighting and spam in some cases. Well we can hope for a better future and the dawn of new forum software to help :)
     
  15. Guerrera

    Guerrera Participant

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    Spam is always going to be a problem but I don't think that's why most of them fail. I think most of the admins just lose interest.

    Sometimes you have an idea, you want to see it come to fruition so badly that you put as much effort and time into it as you can, and still see no results. So you refine your strategy and say.. 'perhaps time is the issue', and you should just let the site 'burn in' so to speak. Let it sit around for a few months. Or you get into promotion mode and burn yourself out trying to create a buzz that frankly doesn't exist and is unsustainable.

    All that time your site is sitting there costing you money, time and effort, your hopes are dwindling and eventually that passion you had to begin with expires. That's why I asked if we really need more forums... a lot of people don't perceive what needs to go in to realize their goals.
     
  16. Websitepros123

    Websitepros123 Aspirant

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  17. NerdForum

    NerdForum Adherent

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    A new forum should cost very little money, and if people are worried about the time and effort that goes into a forum instead of enjoying it, I believe they are making the forum for the wrong reasons.
     
  18. techtonic

    techtonic Aspirant

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    Yes, if you see a future product that you think might be interesting, start a forum before it even comes out. People who did zune forums didn't do well but the guys who started toucharcade.com made out well. You never know what will be popular (well, unless it's Apple) so you just have to start something that you're interested in. This could be anything new, from products, a potential new movie or TV franchise, a new singer fansite, a rookie sports player, etc.
     
  19. Hayek

    Hayek Fan

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    You are not asking the right questions. Do we need more forums? What does that even really mean? There is a low barrier to entry to starting a forum and the reward potential can be fairly high. People have an incentive to make new forums. The low barrier to entry sometimes ends up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy though, when the same people realize it actually takes work to make a forum grow/work and might reevaluated their situation and potentially make the decision that for them it is not worth it.

    As for whether the market for "forums" is saturated... again you are asking the wrong question. It is like asking "do we need more stores"? It is a very vague question to the point where it is meaningless. What kind of forum or store are we talking about? In certain areas there is certainly room for growth. Even in saturated niches there is always room for innovation and growth if a forum can do something different and better (as judged by users).

    I am not really sure what your point with this thread is, but I hope it is not a (perhaps subconsious) way to make an excuse for yourself if your forum is not doing as well as you had hoped. Keep working and learning and it will work. If you want it to.
     
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  20. Guerrera

    Guerrera Participant

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    Ye you sound like you come from a politics forum.
     
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