Invite Only

Discussion in 'Managing Your Online Community' started by Tom, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. Tom

    Tom Regular Member

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    I've visited some forums that only allow you to register if you've been invited by an already registered member.

    Do these forums do better, because the members/administration has already chose the people they want to be apart of their site? Or, can it be a bad move because it allows no sense of community...
     
  2. kneel

    kneel Regular Member

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    i dont know bout that...I think it makes people curious as if their missing sumthing so they try to get invited... but on the other hand it could totally backfire..like they'll say "i'll just find a public forum"
     
  3. Tom

    Tom Regular Member

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    That's a good point.

    I find that Invite Only forums only work if your site is for a specific group, school, etc.
     
  4. Chris

    Chris Regular Member

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    Creating an "invite-only" discussion community can have both positive and negative results (overall). Think of it this way - you're decreasing your chances of SPAM registrations, but you're limiting your growth potential at the same time. I guess it really comes down to what you want for your community.

    I can see how using such a membership method for an organization or locally-based discussion community may be beneficial, but doing so for a forum based around a popularly discussed subject is a rather interesting move. Yes; the chance of phony registrations decreases (as mentioned above), but you are indeed limiting yourself in a variety of ways. Think of all of the potential members that you could be losing - these guests will find your community by way of a search engine, only to find that the board is closed to the general public upon their visitation.

    I recently ran into a fan community dedicated to one of my favorite actors that uses such a method. This community receives large amounts of traffic - seeing a "board closed" message is not appealing, nor inviting.
     
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  5. Tom

    Tom Regular Member

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    I agree - that's the only good purpose of having invite-only boards; not having spammers join, nor unwanted people. But even if the board is opened to the public, you can easily delete those spammers, unwanted people. This site is a prime example of a site that requires an invite. Honestly, that board is doing quite well to have registrations open just to invited people, and, further more, I like that it has invite only. Mostly because the site is for women, etc - the administrator is ensuring:
    At any rate, great post Chris.
     
  6. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

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    Well, I actually think it would embrace the sense of community. With an invite-only forum, there are obviously fewer members and therefore they will be able to create stronger connections and relationships with each other. On a forum with tens of registrations per day, you will never be able to get to know each and every member. If you have just a couple, the sense of community-feeling is strong from the beginning, and only gets stronger as time goes on.


    I think an invite-only community is beneficial, if you can get it to work.
    Getting it to work: Your community must be intriguing and set apart (by lightyears) from the rest. Also, your existing members must be enthusiastic and passionate enough to even consider inviting their personal friends.

    Why it's beneficial: Because the members that you do acquire (albeit less than usual) are more likely to be active and ultimately become dedicated members. This results in a higher member-to-posts ratio than other forums as well as much better quality of posts than other forum -- no junk, just great content, which makes the forum all the more worthwhile.
     
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  7. Tom

    Tom Regular Member

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    Good points, Nick. I said it would prevent from creating a sense of community because everyone would already know each other, or know most people, because they were invited.
     
  8. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

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    I don't think that's necessarily true though. If I invited 20 of my friends, and asked each of them to invite 5 of their friends, chances are that I don't know the 5 people they are going to invite -- because I already invited all of my friends (included in the original 20). So there will definitely be a mix of people who are unfamiliar with many others.
     
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  9. David

    David Regular Member

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    I agree with this 100%, the fact that all your members will know each other, or the 7 degrees of seperation rule to apply where they'll know everyone from a few other people would make it tight knight.
     
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  10. Tom

    Tom Regular Member

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    Right- okay.
     
  11. Vekseid

    Vekseid Regular Member

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    I'm a member of three of them, one of which I run. I'm not sure why you say it 'allows no sense of community'. One of them has secret hand signals, ffs.

    Elliquiy was designed, in part, as a pseudoinvitational community in order to enhance the community spirit within. It works on very similar principals - you come in knowing at least three people, making the place less overwhelming to start, which is important for a community with several thousand posts a day.
     
  12. kneel

    kneel Regular Member

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    well...would the invite only be a hidden forum? Meaning guests couldnt even browse?
     
  13. Vekseid

    Vekseid Regular Member

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    Well, typically, the url isn't even public knowledge (the one I run and the one with the secret hand signals). Other times, it's largely an extended gathering of friends.
     
  14. Michael

    Michael Regular Member

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    I am a member myself of an invite only community, they closed down the site to the public after a long time of having it open to all. I think it gives the member good feeling knowing theyre able to get onto it and if their friends want to join, you yourself needs to send them an invite into the club :D I think theyre good for a really tight knit community.
     
  15. Chris

    Chris Regular Member

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    I'm sorry - "secret hand signals"? Is this some sort of ritualistic initiation? Forum-wise, this is something that is new to me. I can't say that I've ever heard of a discussion community that uses a series of secret hand signals.
     
  16. Rizzo

    Rizzo Regular Member

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    I am a member of an invite only site - it's a great site, BUT very 'clique'
     
  17. Vekseid

    Vekseid Regular Member

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    No, it's just an amusing stunt due to the community's size (about nine thousand people) and random cultural bits that popped up.
     
  18. cheat-master30

    cheat-master30 Grand Master

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    From my experience, how well they do is a mixed bag. On one hand, they work fine if your forum is for an offline social type group or organisation, or among friends, where you might not want the average person online to suddenly register or you might want informal conversation between members of said group. However, they're suicide for any public area of interest (anything like TV, gaming, etc with this method is not likely to do well and competition will have an even easier time at getting more visitors/members).

    On a few other random notes from my experience of seeing such forums:

    1. They often get a sense of mystique from the people that weren't invited, but if it turns out there's any form of secret information, they end up causing quite a bit of anger and claims of elitism. Basically, if you used it for anything more content related or general than an already established organisation or group of friends, you'll annoy a lot of people interested in the subject area.

    2. If it's got anything interesting, you can almost always expect the information to be leaked to the public somehow. I know a forum just like this set up by a company that actually ended up collapsing on itself due to the fact someone ended up posting all the exclusive content all over the internet.

    3. Such forums can stagnate. Why? Few new members = a limited amount of stuff that can be discussed before everyone gets bored of the limited sense of community.

    But every other point here is accurate.
     

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