Forum is extremely unsuccessful due to rival site

Shawn Gossman

Active member
I run a site that's based on transportation (mainly traffic signals). Sadly, a lot of people have registered and only about 6 people actively post out of the 150 or so members on the forum. This is due to the fact that my rival forum (which launched in 2013) is very similar to mine in it's theme. Long story short, I was a member of the rival site, and I got banned from there due to breaking several rules, as I was very immature on there. I even went as far as attempting to get back in using several pseudo accounts. It's been years since I've been on there and the admin of the website refuses to forgive me. He even treats me poorly on other platforms. Everyone else has seemed to move on and has forgiven me. When my forum launched, the rival site admin decided to upgrade the software of his site (from pvbulliten to discourse), which caused a huge blow to the growth of my forum. People claim I'm too pushy when it comes to having them post on my forum. I've tried being patient and giving people the benefit of the doubt too. The Facebook groups don't feel the same and don't have the same features as the forum do. Nor does it contain the uniqueness of it either. I've tried everything, and now I'm considering shutting down my forum. Despite people that have been saying there's no need to. The people who said they were gonna help me with my forum have turned their backs on me by completely giving up moderating it or they just use the rival site. I guess I was not meant to be a forum admin. Out of all the plug ins I've installed, all the special features, I don't know if it's even worth wasting the money to host it anymore. It's bad enough the facebook groups are killing the concept of my forums. People even treat joining my forum like it's a committed relationship, saying they don't want to join it because they've been a member of the rival site for so long. I feel so left out from being banned from the rival site and I still feel horrible about the admin holding a grudge against me, even after years and years have gone by. It feels empty knowing that Instagram chats and Facebook groups are the only alternative. I've reached a point where I can't take the pressure anymore. I post a thread, nobody responds for months, only to have a single reply to the thread. I'm done. I can't take it anymore. People get annoyed when I even mention it, and there's almost no sympathy for all my hard work. Meanwhile people roll out the red carpet for the admin of the rival site.
The moment you doubt yourself as a community manager and give up might be the best time to give up.

This post is either really emotional or satire. If it is legit, it sounds to be like you've done all you can and stress is taking over.

I've left forums and creating new ones because of management strategies I disagreed with. That is usually why I create a forum in the first place but sometimes my forum doesn't take off. Forums are hard. Especially now versus 20 years ago when they were a lot easier to retain activity and members.

But you can get what you want if you dedicate the right amount of time and work. You'll give away more than you'll get. That's competition. That's life.

Not everyone gets a participation trophy. That's a fairytale!
 

PatriotGB

Active member
I think....

First... you have to WANT to start and run a forum.

Secondly... You'll have to pour a TON of energy into it to get it going. A TON.

Thirdly... You have to adopt an element of "I don't give a ****." If it succeeds, it succeeds. If it falls flat... Move on. NEXT!

While it's a weird dichotomy to care enough to work hard at it and NOT care if it fails, realizing that it's not a reflection on your character or value as a human. But, that's the best I can articulate my approach to it.

I'm brand new and have only tried building one forum. I have another in mind for the future. But, for now, I'm focused on the first, and it seems to be going well. But, I cannot claim to be any kind of "forum guru." :)
 

PatriotGB

Active member
I've said it before, but it bears repeating... If you want your forum to grow, focus on making it for THEM (your members and prospective members), not you. Think like a marketer. Figure out what your target market wants and likes. Build that. Build THAT, and they will come.
 

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
Read the first couple of pages of this thread and skipped here for my 2p worth of thoughts.
First, it sounds like you deserved to get banned from the other forum and in 22 years, I've heard several unhappy, banned members shout that they're going to start a rival forum to mine. I don't care as it took 4 years of hard work before mine gained any kind of real momentum. And as you've discovered, running a forum properly isn't easy. Especially if there is already an established forum on the subject.

But running a forum just because you want to beat the forum you got banned from is probably the worst reason.
You need to have a real interest in (best if it's a passion for) the subject and good knowledge so that you can post with authority on there (I mean as an expert, not as a dictator).

Launching forums now is, of course, way harder than years ago because, chances are, there is already a forum about a particular subject.

If there is already an established forum, then you need a USP. What differentiates your forum from the others? What unique aspect of it will attract people?

Why should they join yours? And what attracts new users? You need to come up with original content, not try to create a carbon copy based on a grudge.

Is what I'm saying.

When I started my first forum, there was already an established forum in the USA, but not one in the UK. So I worked like hell on it to make it as good as possible for my target audience and ignored what the other forum did. Except to cherry pick the best ideas of how it was presented and organised. I also made it as family friendly as possible so that people would feel welcome.

My second forum could be considered a niche topic which is a subset of a much larger topic. Yes, the topic of my forum is covered by the bigger forum, but people like a dedicated, focussed forum for their special topic, and that's why my second forum is also doing ok.

Hundreds of signal collecting websites on the internet

Then why not partner with one/some to make yours the community of those websites?

Man you guys are ruthless.

Competition is, so get used to ruthlessness. And ruthless advice is the best you can hope to get. Use it.

As has been said before, I wouldn't make a forum private. Not all of it. You want threads indexed by Google. Most of our traffic comes from people searching Google and our website being on the first page of results. Every thread is an opportunity to get some SEO out there for people to find information on a subject via Google.
And you want potential members to have a preview of what to expect. A forum is like a shop. You want people to come inside. If you lock the door and require people to jump through hoops to get inside, well, how many people are going to do that rather than go to a neighbouring shop with the door wide open?

And don't be afraid to pull the plug if it's going nowhere.
 

nicodak

Well-known member
I don't even understand why you keep giving advice to this guy, things have been said to him dozens of times and his forum is still private and his motivation is still the same, beating the other forum out of evil spirit.. It's been 18 pages of advice he doesn't listen to, close this useless thread...
 

thesignalman

Active member
I'm not changing to forum to public until I have the domain name change and I update the appearance. I have a lot going on right now that's prevented me from doing any of the changes that I was advised to do...
 

Baby Community

Well-known member
I run a site that's based on transportation (mainly traffic signals). Sadly, a lot of people have registered and only about 6 people actively post out of the 150 or so members on the forum. This is due to the fact that my rival forum (which launched in 2013) is very similar to mine in it's theme. Long story short, I was a member of the rival site, and I got banned from there due to breaking several rules, as I was very immature on there. I even went as far as attempting to get back in using several pseudo accounts. It's been years since I've been on there and the admin of the website refuses to forgive me. He even treats me poorly on other platforms. Everyone else has seemed to move on and has forgiven me. When my forum launched, the rival site admin decided to upgrade the software of his site (from pvbulliten to discourse), which caused a huge blow to the growth of my forum. People claim I'm too pushy when it comes to having them post on my forum. I've tried being patient and giving people the benefit of the doubt too. The Facebook groups don't feel the same and don't have the same features as the forum do. Nor does it contain the uniqueness of it either. I've tried everything, and now I'm considering shutting down my forum. Despite people that have been saying there's no need to. The people who said they were gonna help me with my forum have turned their backs on me by completely giving up moderating it or they just use the rival site. I guess I was not meant to be a forum admin. Out of all the plug ins I've installed, all the special features, I don't know if it's even worth wasting the money to host it anymore. It's bad enough the facebook groups are killing the concept of my forums. People even treat joining my forum like it's a committed relationship, saying they don't want to join it because they've been a member of the rival site for so long. I feel so left out from being banned from the rival site and I still feel horrible about the admin holding a grudge against me, even after years and years have gone by. It feels empty knowing that Instagram chats and Facebook groups are the only alternative. I've reached a point where I can't take the pressure anymore. I post a thread, nobody responds for months, only to have a single reply to the thread. I'm done. I can't take it anymore. People get annoyed when I even mention it, and there's almost no sympathy for all my hard work. Meanwhile people roll out the red carpet for the admin of the rival site.
I would like to talk about my own experiences. I have been in the internet world since 1996, maybe 1995. First I got stuck on irc servers. I tried to learn web mastering by cooking here. I even took web design courses. Later, in the 2000s, I opened open source sites. I used mybb, smf, wordpress toplist scripts. My web pages have grown considerably and I have even started to earn money from adsense. People started to sign up for my sites and my sites started to fill up. I worked so hard, but when I woke up one day, a terrorist hacker group had hacked all my sites. I lost 12 of my sites. I deleted my server. I had to delete my domains. I'm offended by the internet world. Then a friend's vbulletin forum caught my attention. I said let's have a look. They hacked the forum while I was looking. I've been away from the internet for a long time. Then I got married. I had a baby. I said why not start a Baby Community that aims to help parents with babies. On June 7, 2017, I registered two domains, one with a net extension and one with a net.tr extension. First, I started with mybb again. You can't grow the business with Mybb. Then I researched the forum systems. The most secure forum system is xenforo. In February of the same year, I converted mybb forum to xenforo. After that, there were many more attacks. They couldn't do anything. This time they started doing DDOS. Again, they couldn't do anything. The forum lost a lot of hits, I suffered a lot. But it's still standing... I'm still struggling. I will fight until the end…..

Also, at first, no one was entering the forum, I was just writing myself. Now, people have even started to subscribe and share topics.



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FTL

Well-known member
It's too late, I shut my forum down.

I'm moving on from traffic signals. I left the community.

I don't feel sad about my forum being shut down either. I feel an odd sense of peace.......
It's a shame when a long held dream dies like this, whatever it may be. The peace of mind like you're feeling now though is a big plus. Less stress is good. Hope you have more success with your next endeavour. Any idea what that might be, yet?
 

Stuart Wright

Well-known member
When there are rival forums for a subject like traffic signals, there is hope for forums.
The standing joke about stamp collectors and train spotters has been rendered moot.
 
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