Forum is extremely unsuccessful due to rival site

FTL

Well-known member
My forum went live on Feb 26th, 2022 (about 3-1/2 months ago). Here are my current stats:
View attachment 269455
In the realm of forums, 488 members is nothing. But, we're growing, and it's early! I think we've had good engagement / participation with over 8500 messages and over 1000 threads in a fairly short time.
I'm friggin' jealous! How did you make it take off like that?! I see that you posted a lot in it, but did you advertise as well? What else did you do?

Also, I should clarify that perhaps for me, that would be a little too much success as I couldn't keep up with all that activity. Mine has been running since June 2021 in a different form. In its current form, launched just before Christmas, it has currently taken off recently with just a small handful of enthusiastic members and I'm having a great time there. There's no trolling or spamming, just fun posts and conversations with great members. I count that a successs for my hobby forum project. 🙂

Finally, are you ok to share a link to your forum as I'd like to have a look around?
 
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PatriotGB

Active member
I'm friggin' jealous! How did you make it take off like that?! I see that you posted a lot in it, but did you advertise as well? What else did you do?

Also, I should clarify that perhaps for me, that would be a little too much success as I couldn't keep up with all that activity. Mine has been running since June 2021 in a different form. In its current form, launched just before Christmas, it has currently taken off recently with just a small handful of enthusiastic members and I'm having a great time there. There's no trolling or spamming, just fun posts and conversations with great members. I count that a successs for my hobby forum project. 🙂

Finally, are you ok to share a link to your forum as I'd like to have a look around?

I had a bit of a perfect storm. The biggest and most popular forum on the topic was created by a YouTuber who is an expert / influencer. He suddenly and inexplicably shut his whole operation down. To my knowledge there were very few other existing forums dedicated to this specific subject that were active. Most were fairly dormant.

So, when the forum owner shut it all down, there was a scramble to replace it. A scramble to create a "meeting place" for the active members. Some of the forum admins and mods put up forums fairly quickly. They were on free platforms (like phpBB), which are rather rudimentary in their functionality and flexibility. And, they just weren't taking off (for a number of reasons, IMO). One of them was having a modicum of success. We'll call that, "the other forum."

In fact, when the original forum shut down, I immediately thought "I can do this." But, then I found the other forum and briefly thought I was "off the hook." I even mentioned this after joining the other forum: "Glad I found this! I thought about building one, but I guess I'm off the hook!" They said, "You should build one anyway." OK... hold my beer! 🤓

So, you might say I also have a "rival site," now. 😈

I had never built a forum. I've built websites (a long time ago) for my own business - circa FrontPage 2000. I've been a member of many forums going back to before Algore invented the interwebz.

Then, I thought... I can do it. I can do it better. Faster. Stronger. (Let's see who gets that pop culture reference!) But, it will take a bit of an investment in time and $$$. I did a lot of preliminary homework on platform software and hosting. LOTS of hours. Then lots MORE hours in putting it all together. Days and days. But, then it was time to publish and go live, even though it wasn't yet "perfect." Git'er done! I've done a TON of tweaking since it's been live.

One advantage I had was that there were some members who were not happy with the principals of the other forum. So, they were looking for an alternative. Hold my beer! :cool:

I put the word out to a few of them. And they put the word out further. I'm also an active member of multiple forums that are related in subject. So, I put the word out there, and a link in my signature.

Then I went to work on the SEO (search engine optimization). The forum shows up well in Google searches now.

I have waffled on whether to reveal my forum here, honestly. This (xenforo forum) is an international forum, and even within the U.S., it's a controversial subject. I hate to bring it up and end up with a political "furball." On the other hand, I'm pretty proud of it, and am tempted to share! LOL!
 
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Splinter

Member
I just took a look at your Signals forum and the first thing that hit me was, if I can't see any of the posts/threads, I'm not bothering to even join up and I closed the tab. Is that what you want? Seriously?
In 2017, tired of an expat forum I was in and having been banned for having the temerity to ask forum policy questions in public, I started my own expat forum without looking back.
I NEVER look at the other place because we are moving forward and gaining new members every week. I don't even style it like the other one, but what we do is NOT over-moderate and delete posts willy-nilly or ban people for childish reasons. I make that clear on the homepage.
Be different, forget the other place, stop being private, open up and welcome people.
 

thesignalman

Active member
I NEVER look at the other place because we are moving forward and gaining new members every week. I don't even style it like the other one, but what we do is NOT over-moderate and delete posts willy-nilly or ban people for childish reasons. I make that clear on the homepage.
Be different, forget the other place, stop being private, open up and welcome people.

If I make it public, a lot of people would stop using it. It's different when you're hosting a forum that has a niche hobby. The most I can do is make the titles of the threads visible to the public to give the audience a teaser. Traffic signal discussion depends on the location and it makes it very easy for members to get doxxed.....
 

DarkGizmo

Well-known member
If your forum is based around a topic, that involves locales, where members are from & having it 'public' means anyone on the forum can be doxxed, it's a bad "niche" to have a forum in.
 
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PatriotGB

Active member
If I make it public, a lot of people would stop using it.

Did you build it for those few people? Who will not likely actually leave (when they realize that anyone can join and see their posts, anyway)?
Or did you build it to GROW it? For the larger audience?

It's different when you're hosting a forum that has a niche hobby.
My forum is a niche hobby. And, it's a controversial niche hobby. It's open, minus a couple of sub-forums, which are hidden mainly to make them a "benefit" of membership. It's growing. It's been online since the end of February, and we're past 500 members and past 1200 threads / 9000 posts.

There are a couple of "rival" forums that were created about the same time. Both of them are closed (like yours). Membership and participation in them are stagnant. Very stagnant.

The most I can do is make the titles of the threads visible to the public to give the audience a teaser. Traffic signal discussion depends on the location and it makes it very easy for members to get doxxed.....
Knowing the CITY where photos were taken is "doxxing?" Hardly. I'm sure they're not giving away the street addresses of their homes.

Bottom line: You refuse to consider opening your forum so that people can FIND it AND get a taste of what it's about before joining.

Bottom line #2: Your forum WILL NOT grow as a result. No more point in discussing it.

PS... I went back to your OP in this thread. You were ready to give up and shut it down. So, what do you have to lose by opening the forum?? Do it and see what happens. :)
 
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thesignalman

Active member
Did you build it for those few people? Who will not likely actually leave (when they realize that anyone can join and see their posts, anyway)?
Or did you build it to GROW it? For the larger audience?


My forum is a niche hobby. And, it's a controversial niche hobby. It's open, minus a couple of sub-forums, which are hidden mainly to make them a "benefit" of membership. It's growing. It's been online since the end of February, and we're past 500 members and past 1200 threads / 9000 posts.

There are a couple of "rival" forums that were created about the same time. Both of them are closed (like yours). Membership and participation in them are stagnant. Very stagnant.


Knowing the CITY where photos were taken is "doxxing?" Hardly. I'm sure they're not giving away the street addresses of their homes.

Bottom line: You refuse to consider opening your forum so that people can FIND it AND get a taste of what it's about before joining.

Bottom line #2: Your forum WILL NOT grow as a result. No more point in discussing it.

PS... I went back to your OP in this thread. You were ready to give up and shut it down. So, what do you have to lose by opening the forum?? Do it and see what happens. :)

Okay. I'll consider it making it public now that you've convinced me.
 

PatriotGB

Active member
Okay. I'll consider it making it public now that you've convinced me.
Ha! Well, I wasn't really trying to "convince" you. You should convince yourself. :)

Just making a point about forums and how (I think) they grow. It would seem self-evident to me that a typical visitor would want to be able to see "what's up" before registering / joining a forum. What's on the menu before I commit to ordering food?

One of my friends who is a very successful blogger told me, "It's a marathon, not a sprint." It takes time and energy to grow a blog or forum. A lot of it.
 
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thesignalman

Active member
I tried to get a banned user from the rival forum to join my forum and he refused to join because of by bad reputation in the community.
 

FTL

Well-known member
I tried to get a banned user from the rival forum to join my forum and he refused to join because of by bad reputation in the community.
That doesn't sound like a reason at all - he just uses a different username and then doesn't refer to his old identity and is golden. Sounds like he's using it as an excuse not to join.
 

thesignalman

Active member
That doesn't sound like a reason at all - he just uses a different username and then doesn't refer to his old identity and is golden. Sounds like he's using it as an excuse not to join.

Thought I was doing something nice by giving him an alternative. He's mad specifically because I tried to make sock puppet accounts on the rival forum after being banned, which was in 2017.
 
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