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  1. #1
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    Do forums help your site
    I wanted to know peoples opions of forums. Do they actually help your site? My thought is that with most affiliate sites, since we are refering a product on our main page i would think that a forum would hurt because other people would be posting deals that you wouldnt be getting credit for.

    Do most veterans have forums on your site? If so how do you make it so that you can still earn money from your forum?

    Thanks for any help that you might be able to offer.


    Matt

  2. #2
    Member Chocolate_Chicken's Avatar
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    "If so how do you make it so that you can still earn money from your forum?"

    Adsense.

    "other people would be posting deals that you wouldnt be getting credit for."

    With the extra content that is added to your site through their efforts, you're attracting traffic that would otherwise go to another site. Some of it will convert to income, some of it won't. The key is that some of it will.

  3. #3
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    It certainly helps some sites. Ask Haiko. I don't think many of us would even know about ABestWeb.com without his forums. Ask Tim Storm (FatWallet.com). I don't think he would be running a multi-million dollar company without his forums.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  4. #4
    Full Member garystarling's Avatar
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    I have a forum added to a content site - it costs me time and money with very little direct return. However I believe it adds an additional dimension to the site and whilst it may not pay its way financial it does increase the site's credibility.

  5. #5
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garystarling
    I have a forum added to a content site - it costs me time and money with very little direct return. However I believe it adds an additional dimension to the site and whilst it may not pay its way financial it does increase the site's credibility.
    I mostly agree. One of my sites has c*ntent, a forum, and a store.

    The reason I said "mostly" is that I'm not sure that it adds any credibility to my site. I have snagged some sales by advertising my merchants in it (I have a special section just for that, where only I can post), but not enough to call the forum "essential" by any stretch.

    Personally I wouldn't add a forum to a sales site--FatWallet's apparent success aside, I have to be able to stand what's going on on my own sites, and I wouldn't be able to tolerate all those competing links showing up.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  6. #6
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    I think of forum contributors as my little army of writers, building my content for free.

    I have a specific buy/sell/trade section.

    It's my house, any links with tracking codes get deleted.

  7. #7
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    It's my house, any links with tracking codes get deleted.
    On the forum I do have, I go one better: I reserve the right to put MY code in!

    But on the forums I've seen on sales/deals sites, it seems that almost ALL the posts are talking about where to find deals, and most of them (except for the admin's) aren't saying to go to (whatever site they're on). If they deleted all that, there would hardly be any content left...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  8. #8
    The Eternal Optimist zimmy's Avatar
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    I have an active forum on a site that is really a content site with sales mingled in here and there. I really don't push the sales side of my site with the message board but I do look for opportunities to share my programs. My site mostly is for stay at home moms so if someone asks about potty training I will share products with them. Or, if someone is looking for health insurance I give affiliate links. That kind of thing.

    I also think that my message board gives my site credibility. I have affiliate programs on my site that aren't very well known. When people want to find out about this person recommending certain things, they can just come into the forum and easily talk to me or ask questions.

    And the best part - I've met some really wonderful people and have made good friends through my message board. It makes *going to work* a lot more fun!

    I sometimes put adsense up but I also sell advertising.



    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    The big shots are only the little shots who keep shooting.
    -Christopher Morley

  9. #9
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Many of the bargain sites with forums have custom redirect logic that causes their affiliate codes to be inserted when people click the links.
    Michael Coley
    Amazing-Bargains.com
     Affiliate Tips | Merchant Best Practices | Affiliate Friendly? | Couponing | CPA Networks? | ABW Tips | Activating Affiliates
    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  10. #10
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    Thank you all for your help. What i gathered is that forums are good because they add content to the site and if you make it so that all the links are embedded or converted with your affiliate link than everything will be all good. =)

    How does a company like fat wallet make money? I sometimes wander over to his site and wonder how this site would convert to money. There are so many coupons that are for in-store only and stackable or price match type of stuff that i dont see how he could make any money? Is there something there that i dont see? Thanks again for all your help.

    Matt

  11. #11
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    One thing to watch out for is a dead forum. If you don't already have an audience, the forum may look dead for some time. This could hinder your progress. A lot of the time I'll check a site's forum to get an idea of the amount of traffic they're generating. If it's not enough, I don't look back. I think it's better to get some substantial content traffic before adding a forum. That way it'll take off from the get-go.

    I agree that a forum is a great tool and almost essential in most content models. It adds credibility and gives your visitors something to check every day. My most popular forum just broke 30,000 posts and 7,000 users. Nowhere near what we have here at ABW, but I'm happy with these numbers

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  12. #12
    The Eternal Optimist zimmy's Avatar
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    My most popular forum just broke 30,000 posts and 7,000 users.
    Scott,
    The ladies on my forum must be awful chatty. They've posted almost 24,000 posts and we only have 539 members. [tried to find the blah blah smilie - there are just too many to search through!]



    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    The big shots are only the little shots who keep shooting.
    -Christopher Morley

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Since my site is a programming site I get a lot of newbie programmers coming to ask questions only. But I've got some great dedicated users who have posted thousands of answers.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  14. #14
    The Eternal Optimist zimmy's Avatar
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    You're right - it really depends on the type of forum that you have as to the ratio between members and posts.

    When I first started my forum I had 1 dedicated user who visited and decided to stay. She helped me so much and I doubt that I could have done it without her perseverance. Not only did she post continually about the topic, she invited tons of friends. A year and a half later I have a lot of dedicated ladies who have built up this unbelievable little community. It is such a neat thing.



    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    The big shots are only the little shots who keep shooting.
    -Christopher Morley

  15. #15
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Just goes to show the power of dedicated users. Gotta love em!
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    On the forum I do have, I go one better: I reserve the right to put MY code in!
    Many times it's a poor college kid caught up in a pyramid scheme to get a free ipod. I don't have a code for those.

  17. #17
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Wonder if Me & Charlie could have monitize a forum by having a 2 way conversation with 14,000 posts. More relivent would be finding any Adwords clcik fees that wuld be triggered by the content. I think Haiko should give me a raise for providing filler at ABW.
    Webmaster's... Mike and Charlie

    "What have you done today to put real value into a referral click...from a shoppers viewpoint!"

  18. #18
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by weisinator
    Many times it's a poor college kid caught up in a pyramid scheme to get a free ipod. I don't have a code for those.
    Actually, AffiliateFuel has a link to that. They pay $1.20 per lead.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

  19. #19
    Member Chocolate_Chicken's Avatar
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    "Wonder if Me & Charlie could have monitize a forum by having a 2 way conversation with 14,000 posts."

    Methinks you've got the 2-way down pat and Charlie is just a bewildered bystander.

  20. #20
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snib
    Since my site is a programming site I get a lot of newbie programmers coming to ask questions only. But I've got some great dedicated users who have posted thousands of answers.

    - Scott
    You have programmers on your forums who actually post REAL ANSWERS??

    All the programming forums I've seen, most of the posters think "RTFM" and its equivalents qualify as answers. Or they intentionally post things that are utterly baffling to newbies (or along those same lines, suggest they read the man files or the docs for the programming language in question, which, as you must know, are totally Greek to true square-one newbies!) Or they just flame away with malicious remarks like "and why should I help you?"

    If you have programmers who will help newbies with REAL, understandable answers then that is indeed a rarity!

    More relivent would be finding any Adwords clcik fees that wuld be triggered by the content. ~Mike
    Doubtful that you'd make anything that way, since AdSense would pick up on the "Ad Whore" and "B-a-Ho" keywords and assume you were talking about porn... And AdSense doesn't allow pr0n ads so you'd just get the freebie public service announcements. Either that or it'd pick up on the "ad" and "download" part and show ads for parasites. Talk about irony...I can see your posts now, surrounded in ads to download stuff... LOL...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  21. #21
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    You have programmers on your forums who actually post REAL ANSWERS?? All the programming forums I've seen, most of the posters think "RTFM" and its equivalents qualify as answers. Or they intentionally post things that are utterly baffling to newbies (or along those same lines, suggest they read the man files or the docs for the programming language in question, which, as you must know, are totally Greek to true square-one newbies!) Or they just flame away with malicious remarks like "and why should I help you?"
    As a programmer, I resent your implications! If you would just read the manual, learn the terminoligy, and quit bothering me, you would understand.





    Just kidding!
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    "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." Nelson Mandela

  22. #22
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Pbbbttt

    That's like saying to learn Greek by reading the Iliad (without any translations).
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Snib's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leader
    You have programmers on your forums who actually post REAL ANSWERS??

    All the programming forums I've seen, most of the posters think "RTFM" and its equivalents qualify as answers. Or they intentionally post things that are utterly baffling to newbies (or along those same lines, suggest they read the man files or the docs for the programming language in question, which, as you must know, are totally Greek to true square-one newbies!) Or they just flame away with malicious remarks like "and why should I help you?"

    If you have programmers who will help newbies with REAL, understandable answers then that is indeed a rarity!
    I try hard to ensure people are getting the answers they need. I offer free web hosting to my best helplers and have built a point system for users who are most helpful. People submit code snippets and several others comment on the code and offer suggestions within hours of the post. Everything gets scored and ranked. It's very statistic driven. Nice thing is the most helpful people get outgoing links on my experts and top poster pages. It's not easy maintaining an environment conductive of learning, but as long as you reign supreme and keep everybody in check, it works out just fine.

    - Scott
    Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.

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