Why are so many forum admins scared of links to other forums?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Online Community' started by CM30, Dec 3, 2013.

  1. CM30

    CM30 Regular Member

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    In member signatures, profiles, etc?

    I mean, I understand why people don't want others linking to their sites in posts, because it's all just spam and somewhat unethical. But what's with the paranoia about linking to forums in signatures on some communities?

    Are they seriously terrified that people will leave if they know other sites exist out there? Is every somewhat 'successful' forum owner overly paranoid in general?
     
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  2. Flexin

    Flexin Regular Member

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    I think the big issue is competing forums. I think because of that they just don't allow any.

    If they are posting quality then I don't have a problem with it. I was getting great posts about cameras on my car site. It is somewhat related. I wanted more of those posts. I noticed that he had a site selling pictures that he took. I told him that if he would make more posts about cameras I would give him the rights to post his website link in his sig. He was more then happy to do that.

    I think it is a few that ruin it for the rest.

    I have it turned off because of the ones that sign up, add the links and never post or post once.

    James
     
  3. PassiveHybrid

    PassiveHybrid Regular Member

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    There were a few forums I was a member of that didn't allow links in signatures.

    They were so strict that you couldn't even mention another site is they were "competition". The sad part about it is that most of the members went to look for the competition. I guess if you restrict members then they will just go to the site where they can post what the want.
     
  4. Octer

    Octer Regular Member

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    If the only reason why people are signing up and posting on your forum is so they can promote their site, they probably aren't contributing much to your community. You can put on restrictions, such as you must make 10 posts before adding a signature, but then you run the risk of having someone make 10 really lame posts.

    If you build a community that people want to be a part of, they won't mind the restrictions.
     
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  5. WEfail

    WEfail Regular Member

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    For me its about competing, errr, better yet, new spin off sites or commercial sites.
    But its usually on a case by case basis that we do enforcement.

    I created a tool that when a user posts a link I cannot censor due to popularity, it prompts them with a confirm to leave our site, no follows the URL and opens in a new page so we don't lose them. It works well, no one complains.
     
  6. MrGibbs

    MrGibbs Regular Member

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    Competing forums is an issue. I think a bigger issue is how it could effect rankings in the search engine. No one wants to have their site linked to poorly rated sites. Associating yourself with them though links could bring you down. If you do not have some control over how people link, you could accidentally get yourself linked to a page that could impact you negatively. Not just in search engine ratings, but in how people perceive your forum. I mean, you have to consider link building strategy when thinking about this.
     
  7. Trickster

    Trickster Regular Member

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    I don't get it either. Well yes, competing forums are in issue, but people will transfer to it rarely, at least from my experience.

    I always let my users and members post their signatures and whatever. They seem to appreciate it.
     
  8. cpvr

    cpvr Regular Member

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    There's one answer to this really, they hate competiting and they don't want to send benefits to the competing site. They also don't want to lose any members to their competitors, so they censor the discussion. Some admin forums don't care and allow the discussion of other admin forums on their community. It's basically all about pride, do you care if your members visit other competing sites or do you want them to stay on your forum?
     
  9. CM30

    CM30 Regular Member

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    To the people complaining about search engines: Links to/from 'competing' sites are pretty much exactly the kinds of links that do well in search engines, and don't get your site banned from it.

    Also, I'm not talking about spam or fluff posts here. Yeah I know, guy who joins an admin forum saying 'join my admin forum' as their first and only post is kind of useless. But banning members with no connection to the site (or even ones with such a connection) from even mentioning it in their signature/profile seems like overkill.

    Guess everyone nowadays is just some overly cynical, paranoid lunatic who fears competition.
     
  10. Giselle

    Giselle Regular Member

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    It comes across as paranoia when site owners are overly zealous about banning links. I remember a site where the moderator didn't even want competitors mentioned. It's ridiculous to do that. I can understand wanting linking to other sites kept at a moderate level. No one wants a forum to become spammy. However, I have found useful information through links that other people placed in their signatures. It didn't stop me from returning to the original site.
     
  11. deansaliba

    deansaliba Regular Member

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    I immediately thought of the answer that forums don't want to promote other forums and create unnecessary competition for themselves. It is much different than promoting another website, with forums you are fighting for people who can only join and be active on a certain amount of forums at one time. :)
     
  12. cpvr

    cpvr Regular Member

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    I don't understand why the bigger forums fear competition, they have a large fan base and users that post often. It wouldn't kill them to allow outside links. In fact, it might benefit them more because people may talk about it and you could possibly rank for their keyword as a whole.
     
  13. MyDigitalpoint

    MyDigitalpoint Regular Member

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    I don't like that people post affiliate links within a post, but I don't see anything wrong in letting them to add links on signatures or a link to their website within the profile, because many webmasters disable this option.

    Of course, perhaps the only questionable thing would be that if I would run a forum devoted to sell cheese, members would post link to other cheese marketers even if this only for informative purposes.

    But letting members add links in signature and profile encourage them to participate.

    Ultimately whoever is scared about spam may set a minimum posting required to have those links enabled.
     
  14. Sylvain

    Sylvain Regular Member

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    In my case, members links in signature is only available to members with upgraded accounts which means they have paid to have the rights to post links in sig.

    In messages, some members post links to my competitors some others don't even mention the name of the competitor, they just say on another forum or something similar.

    I don't really care about links to competitors in messages as long as I don't consider it as spamming.
     
  15. Superboy

    Superboy Most Likely, I'm Insane.

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    In most cases, I suppose i don't mind the linking.
    But case in point one of my mods just recently posted a link on the forum about his new forum(LOL) which is a Star Wars RP site.

    That did sort of bug me since he did it without asking, but since he is younger than me(14 and i am 18) i know he is probably excited about his "first" forum so i suppose i can help out a bit.

    Besides i also know that he actually never does anything active for too long so i am sure the site will be dead eventually.

    I don't mind linking to other forums but i prefer a heads up.
    Just as I wouldn't go to another forum in my niche and post my link, i'd hope people would offer the same in return.

    It's like going to a party and then telling people hey come across the street to my party :P

    But in most cases, I don't mind people linking to other forums as long as it is not meant to try and directly steal traffic or whatever and as long as THEY have no problem with ME linking back on their site to my forum.

    Fair is Fair.
     
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  16. eva2000

    eva2000 Regular Member

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    It's a very annoying policy some forums have. I no longer post at such forums - besides one and that is webhostingtalk.com.

    They have a weird rule that you can't link to your own web sites even if the content is relevant to the discussion of the forum topic. So if someone asks how such and such is installed or configured, and my web site so happens to have a 5 page article explaining how to install and configure such and such, I can't link to it. But here's the weird part, other members are free to link my web site in a discussion. Just I am not allowed to! :rolleyes: I don't see how that benefits the discussion at all on a relevant topic which directly answers the thread author's question. Second time I have been warned, first time was a couple of years ago. Let's just say I am taking a self imposed break from WHT now :)
     
  17. s.molinari

    s.molinari Regular Member

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    This is an interesting discussion. I've noticed one theme that seems to be the least common denominator in all of the answers and that is "avoid competition".

    But who is really competing for what? For users? Or for user's time on site? If you look at it from a user's perspective, does them knowing about a "competitive" site (which there are many other ways for them to find them) really hurt yours? I'd venture to say, it doesn't, even if it is a link on your site to the other site.

    What hurts your site is a lack of interesting content. What hurts your site is poor UX. What hurts your site is it being boring. What hurts your site is a lack of creativity around your special topic of interest, as an online community.

    And think about this imaginary world I'd like to see. Think about a world where online community users are linked together with many, many online community sites and other users anyway. They get told about new stuff from each site, which cover only topics they are interested in, even sites, they've never seen yet. Experts might be posting on one site or another and people following these experts go to those sites to see what they have to say.

    And in this new imaginary world of online communities, creativity to gather data about each sites special topic of interest with cool ways to discuss that data/ content is boundless for each site, which means, interesting and unique content is possible for every site owner. It is a world, where the fear of competition isn't needed and actually, the sites sharing the same topics of interest compliment each other, because they can be so unique.

    And in this imaginary world, online communities are back to the glory days and all of them then end up getting back the real "on-site time" stealers and competitors for online communities, namely Facebook, Twitter and Co. These social network sites even become secondary, because in this imaginary world of united online communities through the users, people are informed about what they are really interested in and go to those sources more often, because this shared information is much more pertinent to them. This imaginary world is actually what they are doing now, but simply much, much easier and better.;)

    Scott
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
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  18. Code Monkey

    Code Monkey Regular Member

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    I don't know, hmm, let's see. Do you ever see Coke in a Pepsi machine? Or visa versa? No, I think not. It's not good business. Just put no-follow on every outgoing link and it won't be too much of a problem.

    That said I don't think it's a good idea to publicly scold people for it either. Members will post links everywhere. There is really nothing you can do about it. But if staff from another site, or their leg humpers, come over and do it then that's just a no no. I would remove it and Private Message them for further clarification of their intentions.
     
  19. s.molinari

    s.molinari Regular Member

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    But we aren't talking about soda pops. We are talking about something much more valuable and that is knowledge. And it is every user's right to get that knowledge wherever and however they can and they will get it, wherever and however they can. Trying to stop them is only being selfish and this selfishness hurts us all overall as a group of community owners.

    Facebook, Twitter and Google+, etc. all laugh at us for it too.

    Scott
     
  20. Code Monkey

    Code Monkey Regular Member

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    We are talking about branding IMO. It is very important and all of those sites listed control how things are linked to and from and various ways.
     

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