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Reasons to make forum users actually sign up?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by craigiri, Jul 15, 2012.

  1. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    In my case, I don't see any reason - especially now that I am using DP's add-on that shows more ads to guests.

    I've never attempted to force people to sign up because most users can get their info from the existing million+ posts.

    I see almost no advantage to new members......others than a few relatively serious ones who want to ask or answer questions not already taken care of.

    It's an interesting topic - that is, the value of guests as opposed to visitors. I seem to have maybe 6 to 8X as many guests as visitors at any given time.
  2. Shelley

    Shelley Well-Known Member

    I've never had any trouble with guests registering, for anyone to download they have to register. The main issue (which isn't an issue really because i don't really care about running a site) is member posting so essentially they are just like guests except with a name/screen name.
  3. DRE

    DRE Well-Known Member

    I've learned a lot, gotten cool stuff and ended up befriending guests. I met a coworker who found my site through google search. We hit it off and became real tight. I don't make money from my site so guests and visitors don't concern me. I don't even like lurkers these days because they creep me out. So really, at the end of the day, it's just a personal preference. Guests are not people you can interact with versus members. My goal is to build a community that has just enough members to keep me entertained when I'm bored at work.
    0xym0r0n likes this.
  4. M@rc

    M@rc Well-Known Member

    At my smartphone forum, I reward active users with $$ :love: so they can purchase themselves apps and games.
    I don't make money off of the forum itself (because I don't want to and it's non-profit), but I do make money off of websites in the forum's network to afford this.

    One reason (besides the interesting discussions that takes place at the forum) that I use to get users to sign up is the cash (it's just right for people to obtain a couple of apps).
    Anthony Parsons likes this.
  5. 0xym0r0n

    0xym0r0n Well-Known Member

    Most of my users were obtained via word of mouth. If I had to do a percentage of how many were referred by existing members I'd say 80%-ish.
    I started out with a group of 7 and it went to 500 in two weeks and then roughly 2700-3000 legit users now. My sign-ups have gone down :\ I get 1-3 every month now.

    I did open my forums up to public view because people like to talk about it. They link threads on facebook and I'll get traffic. I WAS enjoying any sort of traffic because I was gaining money from Google Adsense/other ad networks. It seems I'll just have to entirely pay out of pocket now. I don't earn enough from other ad networks and Google Adsense is evil lol.

    I valued guests for earnings.
    I value members for content that guests view and most of all ENTERTAINMENT (woo). I've taken polls and most of my users signed up because they wanted to have fun off the game too. A forum provided that. I did lose some activity (not traffic) when some 'haters' decided to protest my site via facebook because I didn't allow them to toss death threats around. Saying I'm violating freedom of speech *SMH*
    8thos likes this.
  6. DRE

    DRE Well-Known Member

    Lol i dont allow that on my site either man what you did was right. Shows honor, common decency and integrity, something those haters lack.
  7. 0xym0r0n

    0xym0r0n Well-Known Member

    YUP! I try. I do let them argue with each other because it's a game related site (more specifically multiplayer). Sometimes it gets out of hand and I have to delete it/ban/warn someone but I dealt away with the trash a long time ago.

    I had to make a section for the trash talk eventually. A lot of quarrels between users and tournaments they held that didn't end well. It used to be called "Group Therapy" and now it's related to a ficticious town, on the game Red Dead Redemption, "Thieves Landing". Users must request to join a usergroup in order to view that forum. I monitor it lightly mostly to remove any death threats or anything that could become too crazy for a forum.
  8. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    I think that is a good synopsis - we always want real members who actually hang around and contribute, but it seems as if in our genre (information about home improvements, etc.) only a small percentage of those who come seeking information also want to give it. Gaming forums may differ because everyone is an active participant - same may go for certain discussions (political, sports, etc.) forums.

    I'd say that a core of 100 members created most of our content - some have long gone and some will come later.....that is, we maybe pick up a couple dozen really decent contributors each year at most.

    Since I don't do email marketing or other stuff like that, there is little impetus for me making folks sign up if all they need is to read the forums. Just by reading they have proven themselves qualified (and therefore targeted) for our advertisers.
  9. DRE

    DRE Well-Known Member

    Man thats hilarious. The first forum i super moderated was called chat central. A lot of our members came from a rating/dating site. Everyone pretty much knew each other. Dudes fought over chicks, chicks fought over dudes and people even fought over mod positions, straight up back-stabbing each other. To answer all the threats and mayhem I created a subforum called the Fight Club. I let people start fights with each other there. Sometimes people would completely derail a thread in the other forums so I'd take their posts and move it to the Fight Club and if it was a two way battle I'd turn the thread into a vote poll. This had the adverse effect of calming them down after awhile because it made them look silly and immature. Now I got the same peeps on my own site and they don't really fight anymore. I guess that what happens when you put people on the spot when they least expect it.
    0xym0r0n likes this.
  10. Ingenious

    Ingenious Well-Known Member

    I think the days of forums attracting people "just to sign up and chat, to hang out" are well over now that we have social networking.

    So what encourages people to sign up is an interest in your subject matter. You can't beat forums for specialist niches.

    I think showing more adverts to guests is shooting yourself in the foot, so are huge "You are a guest, please register" messages that take up half of every screen. You have to make your community slick, quick and attractive in the first instance (that critical time when people first land).

    Many admins wrongly think extra adverts and register notices will encourage people to register to "get rid of them". They won't. Good content given freely in a welcoming and pleasant forum experience is what grabs new members.

    But of course we are all admins and we all know best ;)
    BassMan and 0xym0r0n like this.
  11. 0xym0r0n

    0xym0r0n Well-Known Member

    Haha yeah I'm a home improvement lurker myself >.> I have nothing positive to contribute towards that genre so I mainly lurk for info.

    I help run a few car forums for older cars and they're not classic/in demand. We have a ton of visits but mainly for the troubleshooting areas. We decided to use limited viewing to encourage sign-ups - but does that really matter if they won't talk/contribute?

    In order to keep up with 'entertainment' idea on the car forums we post a lot of off topic stuff.
    On a side note I've found that forums like these benefit from a sort of "Picture of the month" or "Project of the Month". There's a certain level of ego involved in creating/fixing something and you'll want to feed the green monsters in your members in some way. I feed my green monsters with Hall of Fame polls and it doubles my activity and triples the logins.

    8 or so years ago I used to run a very profitable paid posting/activity boosting company. I was very close to a few people in real life that made a business from selling activity to night clubs, tv shows, and live (paid) events. They still do that today. Yes, a lot of the live shows you watch or pre-taped shows have fake audience members. A lot of clubs in los angeles pay men and women in some way to give their clientele a good time (not sexually). Some live events will even do this! AND it actually works. Over a period time they need you less and less. (which is why I gave up after a year or two in that business.)

    I thought if people can sell activity in real life, I can sell activity to social nets and forums. I googled and found 1 person who was already doing that but just for posting/thread creations. I decided to create my own activity boosting company. It was very profitable for that fact that our customer service was excellent, our deadlines were met, our prices were great for the quality, and I tended to provide an analysis of the forum. Used a sort of marketing write-up. I labeled the goods and bads of the community and pointed out the competition. I provided suggestions and solutions. (Note: I did not just help new forums. I helped existing communities and the largest we assisted have over 2 mil posts 50+ active logins at almost any point in time.)

    A lot of users will participate if they see people like themselves (regular users) posting. Staff can post and encourage activity but we all know... it is what they're there for. It's not really the same thing as another random user posting. Certain users will be like"oh look a post!" Oh it's just a staff member "they get paid to do that. Not as fun now."

    I am not suggesting or supporting the idea of paid activity, but I am suggesting that sometimes creating 2nd accounts for your staff or yourself is a good idea. It also goes along the ideas of the tales you hear about kings and queens walking among their people as the people (disguised).
    Ingenious likes this.
  12. 0xym0r0n

    0xym0r0n Well-Known Member

    Oh god you don't know much facebook groups irritates me. People are always like "Why should I pay for a forum/domain when I can make a group?!" Or "Why should I join your site if I'm already in a facebook group with similar interests?"

    Forums should not be compared to facebook groups! Forums are way more flexible. They're not linked to your real life for the public to see (I know they have privacy settings but your name is available). But... facebook is simple/easy to use. You login daily to see what your friends are eating/doing/reading/watching every hour and why not combine your outside interests with facebook? Just click the group and read! EASY for the bazillion people who use it. -.-
    BassMan likes this.

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