Pros and cons of running a forum

Discussion in 'Managing Your Online Community' started by cpvr, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. cpvr

    cpvr Regular Member

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    So, I thought this would be an interesting thread to see everyone's viewpoints.

    I'll start it off with Pros:
    ~You meet new people
    ~You share your knowledge with others
    ~You learn how to run an online community

    Cons:
    ~Costs money to run
    ~Some people may or not like the forum

    So, how about you?
     
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  2. benjaminp

    benjaminp Regular Member

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    I think you've hit the nail on the head with your list. There's nothing I'd disagree with there, but I'd add one to cons.

    - Very time consuming

    Obviously this depends on how hand-on you are with your forum. Sure, you can put less time and effort in to it, but that's no way to make it succeed.

    It also probably wont apply to all forum owners. Some people will probably enjoy going out and promoting their forum.
     
  3. Dan Hutter

    Dan Hutter aka Big Dan

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    Pros:
    -You learn a lot.
    -Most people are geniuenly good hearted and eager to help.
    -Meet interesting people.
    -Learning about forum software and servers.
    -Helping others

    Cons:
    -Time sink
    -Money sink (at first)
    -Signal to noise ratio sometimes isn't where it should be.
    -Keeping up with SEO, social media, etc (Gah my head could explode)
    -One bad apple can spoil the bunch.
     
  4. cpvr

    cpvr Regular Member

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    Ya, its a huge money sink in the beginning - especially if you run contests, pay for the software, and run some advertising campaigns.

    One bad apple can spoil the bunch because they can have a lot of friends on the community and if you ban them, the other users may stop posting till the said users is unbanned or something.
     
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  5. Seahunter

    Seahunter Regular Member

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    I think you kind of covered it. Probably the pros and cons of most people running a forum. If it's small (and I know you don't want it to stay that way) the monetary investment isn't too much. A domain (relatively cheap) and some community software (if you don't want to go open source). Now if your forum does what you want it to do, grow, inexpensive shared hosting probably won't be sufficient. But if dedicated hosting is required then you are probably making enough in advertising to at least offset some cost. I kind of like being in charge (in a small way) of people smarter than I am in a great debate forum. You learns things, you teach others. I don't think many people go into it to make money (most don't make money)
     
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  6. dexterlablab1

    dexterlablab1 Regular Member

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    Yeah, I'm literally experience that Time Sink and Money Sink issue right now.

    But assuming that I've already got most of the money stuff handled, I'm hoping the only difficult obstacle left is building and maintaining a community.
     
  7. xpl0iter

    xpl0iter Regular Member

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    Yeah thats pretty much it!
    But once you're popular you can make good money with it! I think that should be included in the pros! :P
     
  8. cpvr

    cpvr Regular Member

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    Well, of course, you just need to find out a good way to monetize your forum - whether its the selling of links, sticky threads, or selling ad space. Also, running adsense or any of the other ad networks. It takes time to start generating revenue from your community. ;)
     
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  9. xpl0iter

    xpl0iter Regular Member

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    I think buy sell ads is a good service for forums! :)
     
  10. cpvr

    cpvr Regular Member

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    Yes, it is, even having a marketplace for your community members to use. Even if its not used a lot, its still a good benefit to have because you never know when someone wants to sell some things on your forum - it could be some big-time sites, or domains and such.
     
  11. DarkGizmo

    DarkGizmo Mr. Awesome

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    You covered a lot of good ground there.

    I guess for cons you can put:
    -Lots of other forums to compete with inside your niche
    -Rival forums may try to steal your traffic and activity.
     
  12. Bryce

    Bryce Regular Member

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    I think you have pretty much covered all the pros and cons. Here are some more from my side:

    Pros
    - Establish yourself as an authority in your niche
    - Make money (once your forum starts getting plenty of organic traffic)

    Cons
    - Deal with copycats
    - Change promotional strategies due to changes in SEO
     
  13. MustangV10

    MustangV10 Regular Member

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    - Can get a lot out of it. I.e. money, knowledge, etc.
    - Can take over your life if you spend too much time working on it.
     
  14. Brandon

    Brandon Regular Member

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    I'll just post a simple answer :)

    pros: network with others, learn more
    cons: huge time suck
     
  15. cpvr

    cpvr Regular Member

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    Copycats suck, but if you smash them, they have no room to breathe. As long as you're networking, building links, adding fresh content, copycats/competitors shouldn't be a problem for you.
     
  16. Gal Pal

    Gal Pal Regular Member

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    [quote="Dan Hutter, post: 43062, member: 689"
    -One bad apple can spoil the bunch.[/quote]

    A few bad apples killed my first forum and I wasn't ever able to recover :( I agree with all the posts above. I can only add that admin's and forum owner's should really be well grounded in people management before they open their doors or else member's and especially "bad apples" will walk all over you.
     
  17. cpvr

    cpvr Regular Member

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    What caused all those bad apples though? Did you run any contests to try to drive new members in?
     
  18. Gal Pal

    Gal Pal Regular Member

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    My forum was a little different in that we had "giveaways" of virtual pet codes, trading card codes and virtual images. Yes, all of that was offered but not the cause of the problems. It was not even sustainable with offering free stuff either.

    One of the major problems were a few bad apples that didn't understand that I seriously valued member privacy and stressed often that if member's wanted to remain anonymous, that was their business. One day, one of my moderators decided to take the private IP information and post a map of where all of the member's were from. I removed it immediately. I gave her a warning. By then, she already had more issues that I could deal with and started causing more trouble. I told her that I would have to ban her if she couldn't commit to the basic rules of member privacy. This reprimand only made the situation worse and she started gathering other members in her fold. The situation put me in a very bad place. Since integrity comes first in my book, as well as protecting member rights and privacy, the only way to handle the matter was to ban her from the website. More issues followed and were difficult for me to handle.

    About the time all of this was going on, I became very ill for the first time in my life. Also at the same time within a month while I was still ill, my father passed away unexpectedly.

    I could go into great detail but I think the point would be that in starting a new forum....have very few moderators and those that you do have would be people you have a history with and trust.
     
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  19. cpvr

    cpvr Regular Member

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    You were giving-away virtual pet codes, for what sites exactly? If you have time, I might have a job for you on our community, we'd love to have an extra hand, someone who also knows the virtual pet community. What was your forum called?
     
  20. dojo

    dojo Regular Member

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    Running a forum is great. You can meet amazing people, share some excellent content and really help people in your niche. it's hard work, it takes money and time, but these are just few small disadvantages.
     
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