Facebook is killing traditional forums, but there is still time to adapt

rainmotorsports

Well-known member
#61
When you start a forum your future is in your hands. You can decide to offer a paid membership, use Google Adsense, sell banner ads, etc. When you start a Facebook group you can create something "big", but it's under Mark Zuckerburg's umbrella. Only Zuckerburg, his employees, and shareholders profit from the effort of FB Group's Admins.
Once again you are going into it to make a profit with that mindset. You asked why would someone want to start a large facebook group. You don't actually care about that, at all. You care that not only is facebook taking your revenue stream, that its enabling people who have absolutely no interest in your revenue stream to eat up small chunks of the market. Look at all the people who come to presales and have no idea how a domain works. If their interest is served by a group, facebook just solved all of their problems. They aren't going to care where the revenue is going if 100% of their interest is served already. It didn't start out about money and when that is the case it usually only becomes about money when the hosting costs become a problem. Which no matter how big the group gets, there are no costs.

Personally I hate everything about advertising. 99% of the time you can't sell me anything. I walk into a store and when someone asks me if they can help me I start rattling off part numbers to see how they will react. If I want to know a product exists I will read about it. The most effective advertising I have ever seen is for things I already bought. Which isn't very effective. It's a huge waste of the advertisers money. If a site can offer paid features that make a profit without limiting the user for no reason then I totally support that. It works well for some sites it doesn't work well for all of them.
 

rickhz

Active member
#62
Personally I hate everything about advertising. 99% of the time you can't sell me anything. I walk into a store and when someone asks me if they can help me I start rattling off part numbers to see how they will react. If I want to know a product exists I will read about it. The most effective advertising I have ever seen is for things I already bought. Which isn't very effective. It's a huge waste of the advertisers money. If a site can offer paid features that make a profit without limiting the user for no reason then I totally support that. It works well for some sites it doesn't work well for all of them.
I just looked at your site, you are running Adsense. So much for hating everything about advertising.
 

rainmotorsports

Well-known member
#64
I just looked at your site, you are running Adsense. So much for hating everything about advertising.
You looked at my site? Somehow I doubt that. Other than my blog and the backend inventory system that is customer facing I have nothing live.

I think you looked at the gaming community that I host a server for, used to develop addons for. You can talk to Matt one of the two remaining founders about his need for advertising. If I dig far enough I can probably find a few conversations of me arguing with him over why we don't need whatever pennies that is giving us seeing as how we are taking in membership fee's. I actually got rid of the advertising for 2 years.
 

rickhz

Active member
#68
You looked at my site? Somehow I doubt that. Other than my blog and the backend inventory system that is customer facing I have nothing live.

I think you looked at the gaming community that I host a server for, used to develop addons for. You can talk to Matt one of the two remaining founders about his need for advertising. If I dig far enough I can probably find a few conversations of me arguing with him over why we don't need whatever pennies that is giving us seeing as how we are taking in membership fee's. I actually got rid of the advertising for 2 years.
I looked in your profile here on Xenforo. Your linking to someone else's site is the issue. You are promoting a site which earns money from Adsense ;)

Looks like their #1 issue is the fact only 10 members were online. Your friend isn't going to earn anything until people use the site... but of course if they are using Facebook, they aren't using the forum.
 

rainmotorsports

Well-known member
#69
I looked in your profile here on Xenforo. Your linking to someone else's site is the issue. You are promoting a site which earns money from Adsense ;)

Looks like their #1 issue is the fact only 10 members were online. Your friend isn't going to earn anything until people use the site... but of course if they are using Facebook, they aren't using the forum.
Well look at our demographic. I am sure this is something a for profit man like yourself studies a lot. We are a gaming community. We have 125 or so paying members for what? To sit in teamspeak and play on game servers. If I post something in the site during prime time it wont be seen until people are going to bed. Our members are mostly active military and retired with families. That means people are actually out doing things.

Activity levels? Forum is an all time low. Teamspeak? 30+ in the evening. Meetings and events. 60ish. Soldiers stationed or deployed across the globe contribute to most inactivity. The founders prune the rest from the list to keep the numbers realistic. We have 60 people now that I didn't know 2 years ago. But the number of members hasn't really changed.

We aren't a forum. But facebook groups also don't fit. I think its funny that G+ would work better as a facebook alternative. We need to service applications, ban appeals, communicate server issues and take membership payments. The main reason to have a site like we do other than the classic reasons. We have a lot of back end software to manage the servers and the players. Xenforo provides a nice platform. I don't think TBG fits the target market of a high traffic discussion board.
 

drastic

Well-known member
#70
@Anthony Parsons - I love the work Pixel Exit does. I also enjoy work by Audentio. They're both great in what they do. They have different styles to them that should be appreciated. The problem with designers is that there's simply not enough GOOD ones. There's a bunch of others people who simply change colors or add an element or two, but they're just painting the same ugly design a different color. I like that Pixel Exit and Audentio, or ThemeHouse (whatever it is nowadays) at least try to do things a little bit different.

The other problem with designs is that the website owner often has no idea what they want. Designers will only make what you tell them to make. Xenforo out of the box looks like crap, but you know what- it's not Xenforo's job to paint the house. They give us the script and it's OUR job to make it look good. Now XF could come up with something that doesn't look like it's from 2003, that's for sure....

@Robru - you think if people want a deep explanation of something, that they're looking for a forum? No they're not. They're going to blogs. Forums are mostly popular with an older crowd who experienced them from the start. The younger crowd will ask people on social media, join Facebook groups (there's groups bigger than most people's forums), and search Google. Looking on a forum, for a younger user, is not even in their vocabulary most of the time. Even worse is that Google will rarely rank forum content above that on a blog. Forums are not very SEO friendly and ones locked behind a password have even less chance to be seen on Google. Look at the comment section on some of the big blogs out there. Some blogs can get more interaction on their comments than some people can get on their entire forum. You CAN have in depth discussions without using

Forums can survive, but they need content on the homepage and a very easy way to login and post. It doesn't have to look like social media, but if it's as easy to use (posting takes 2 seconds on any social site), then people will enjoy it. The index page of a forum, with little content and a big blank spot in the middle, is probably the #1 reason that 1) Google don't care about it, and B) most people (especially younger) do NOT return to the forums.
 

Kirby

Well-known member
#72
If you just compare Document Complete - yes, you're right (sort of - both sites do use AdSense so it's still comparable in regards of perceived loading time).

But AdSense does not affect First Byte Time:
6.3/5.9 vs. 1.3/0.8
 

Aayush

Well-known member
#74
I believe things are going to get worse for us as forum owners. Facebook just changed their mission statement, and Zuckerburg has said that their new push will be towards "Facebook Groups" which have already been taking traffic away from forums. I don't understand why anyone would want to form a large FB Group. What is in it for the Group admin? IMO it appears that only Facebook makes money from discussions on Facebook. I do not see a revenue stream for "outsiders".


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https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathle...rg-gives-facebook-a-new-mission/#25363a851343

On stage on Thursday at Facebook’s first Community Summit, a gathering in Chicago of leaders from 120 different Facebook Groups, Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook’s updated purpose: “Give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together.”

Facebook’s new mission, Zuckerberg said in an interview at the company’s Menlo Park, California headquarters last week, doesn’t mean that the company is shifting away from connecting friends and family, but rather, that it’s broadening its focus to enabling people to connect with meaningful communities, too. Why do these communities matter, Zuckerberg’s case goes? They help users find common ground, which helps people engage with new perspectives and become aware of different issues. Groups also offer individuals personal support, which gives them bandwidth to look outward and address the biggest human problems, like climate change and global health issues. Being exposed to common information and ideas isn’t enough to bring individuals together, the thesis continues -- they need to identify with people who seem different from themselves to adopt new perspectives.


“For 10 years, we focused on doing everything around connecting people with their friends and family,” Zuckerberg said. “Now I think that there is a whole lot of similar work to be done around communities: Meeting new people, getting exposed to new perspectives, making it so that the communities that you join online can translate to the physical world, too.”

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Welcome to what Forum's have been doing for 20+ years Mark...
I see what owners could actually gain from running a large "Facebook Group" is huge affiliate incomes. It's much easier to setup a Facebook account than to setup a Forum. Plus all the users are already there on Facebook. They are addicted to using Facebook app on their phones because it's convenient and easily accessible.
How I see that is that they can get more exposure their but ultimately they have a plan to move them to their own forums.
 

drastic

Well-known member
#75
You can also make money with Facebook, without having a website. It's called being a social influencer. Ever see a page you like post something completely stupid, from a website they don't usually post? Good chance it was paid for.
 

Brent W

Well-known member
#76
They must have a pretty good marketing department :)

Search for "maxi-cosi" with threadloom @ baby bargains (3.3 million posts): Document complete after 16.3 seconds
Search for "maxi-cosi" @ babyforum.de (9.6 million posts): Document complete after 6.8 seconds

Both tests were done from a location in the US with babyforum.de being hosted in Germany, if I did the test from Germany the result would be even better (around 5.5 seconds)

What sense does it make to use (and pay for) a service that takes more then twice as long to deliver results from a way smaller dataset?
I am in the US and the first one did not take anywhere near 16 seconds to return results.
 
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drastic

Well-known member
#78
That's why I changed my homepage to Wordpress. WP is highly valued by Google.
Same here, but didn't use WordPress. Went with another script and eventually ditched the forum all together. No matter how or where I promoted the forum, the people did not care for it. I can get comments and submissions on the front end, but literally none of my users had an interest in the forum anymore.

The only way I could see using a forum script, for this site in particular (not all sites), is if I had used Bob's article system from the start and used THAT as the basis of the entire site. At that point, there wouldn't even be a point to the forum. Good discussions happen in comment sections already, so no need to relocate people to a thread or anything like that. That just annoys/confuses the user.

Google likes good content and sites that are easy to use. When we have to "train" or "teach" people how to use a website, then it's already a fail. A perfect example of that is XFMG and SonnB (spelling). They are both a GREAT addon, but not implemented well at all. Sure, they work "as designed" but they require users to go elsewhere on site and that's just not good for them. It's not a good user experience.

Media should be integrated into the threads. Keep everything in one place and users will love it. Sending a user to another page to look at pics and vids, when they could just look at them in the threads, is annoying to myself and the users. Take all the features from XFMG and enable them within threads. Let users create content rich posts and have a homepage that features the best content. That's what the the focus should be on for people using forum scripts.
 

Floyd R Turbo

Well-known member
#79
Google likes good content and sites that are easy to use. When we have to "train" or "teach" people how to use a website, then it's already a fail. A perfect example of that is XFMG and SonnB (spelling). They are both a GREAT addon, but not implemented well at all. Sure, they work "as designed" but they require users to go elsewhere on site and that's just not good for them. It's not a good user experience.

Media should be integrated into the threads. Keep everything in one place and users will love it. Sending a user to another page to look at pics and vids, when they could just look at them in the threads, is annoying to myself and the users. Take all the features from XFMG and enable them within threads. Let users create content rich posts and have a homepage that features the best content. That's what the the focus should be on for people using forum scripts.
100% agree.
 

Brent W

Well-known member
#80
Media should be integrated into the threads. Keep everything in one place and users will love it. Sending a user to another page to look at pics and vids, when they could just look at them in the threads, is annoying to myself and the users. Take all the features from XFMG and enable them within threads. Let users create content rich posts and have a homepage that features the best content. That's what the the focus should be on for people using forum scripts.
I agree with this and its something that needs to be tackled in 2.1. 2.1 should be almost entirely content focused and making it more accessible and easier to find.
 
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