Echo the welcome, pab1953.
I completely understand the problems with showing examples, but thinking beyond search engine marketing, I believe that using example sites could help us explore areas beyond getting traffic.
Getting online traffic is one thing, but there are ways to use sites to market in other ways and most important, once people get to a site there can be a lot of factors that influence conversion, either hindering or encouraging buying. That can involve factors that are based on not only web-specific issues, like load time, usability, etc., but factors that fall within the realm of the discipline of marketing as a whole.
There are always differences in opinion, but there have to be principles that have proven themselves over time, not isolated to web sites but across different venues as well. Most things can be described or detailed using words, but some pages have a certain "magic" that can't be decribed using words, there's an overall ambiance that has to be seen. Sometimes suggestions based on a visual perception can create a magic that wasn't there before.
There generally isn't flexibility with big sites belonging to big companies, but there could probably be a lot done for people who are small business owners with limited budgets, not only to discover how to use their sites for marketing beyond search engine placement, but how to improve those sites to increase their revenue, which is quite often the biggest problem the small business person faces.
There are cases where there's plenty of capital tied up in inventory ready to ship, rankings and traffic are there, and yet conversion has to be increased to be able to sustain a profit.
That would be tremendously helpful to some. I believe that would have to be classified as a "Marketing" forum geared to those who need it, with conversion factors being an important part of it.
I'd be the first to "volunteer" if it were at all possible to have such a forum, but I don't see how that could be handled without opening the door to any number of problems, most of which have been mentioned already.
[edited by: Marcia at 6:53 pm (utc) on April 21, 2003]