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The consumer-generated-media surge: is it a boom or a bubble?

Are forums, blogs and social networks profitable ventures?

9:02 pm on Jul 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Is posting on forums entirely useless because of the fact that the same view put onto 5 different forums gets seen as 5 entirely different views? Well that does suggest that the forum world is not a place for ordered discussion, for formal analysis etc. Which makes it all the more shocking that so much modern consumer behaviour analysis (being done by the same people who like to know what tv we watch) is focusing on the forum and blog universe. I myself see this part of the world wide web as very ripe for profit, for say 2 or 3 years, but absolutely not after that. Google has its own network growing now, of google groups, which will put order into this mess, and within 3 years most people will be having their conversations within that context and the web-based php-driven very badly programmed world of forums will vanish into non-traffic land - more domains with a generic directory and a paid ad, belonging to a webhost.

What are the profits of forums like? I have read statistics showing that the average revenue per 1000 page impressions on the mainstream market ranges from $1 to $5 depending on quality. Do forums tend to either end of the range? Or maybe they have a much higher rpm (revenue per 1000 impressions) than the mainstream $1 to $5 spectrum? Some sub-industries out here, certain ways of building and selling content, have considerably higher rpms than just $5

The article doesn't mention facebook and the huge barrage of messy information on facebook and maybe other sites like it, which are a good example of what the overall mass of all forums really is. Just lots of rants, flirts, bullying, general human relationships, using information sharing as a pretext rather than seeing it as the real point.

I suppose there is potential for compromise and if Google really does manage to bring order to the chaos of 'opinion' which is often not even legitimate or real opinion, then I expect forum owners everywhere will be 'brought in' and made rich, rather than wiping them out and taking their market.

That's probably what differentiates Google from people like Microsoft.

[edited by: rogerd at 9:38 pm (utc) on July 27, 2008]

1:32 pm on July 29, 2008 (gmt 0)


WebmasterWorld Administrator rogerd is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

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There are some comments on the profitability of forums here: [webmasterworld.com...]

I don't think Google will be the one to solve the problem of messy forums, fake opinions, etc. That burden ultimately falls on the community operator. Hence, you have orderly forums like this one, while others are rancorous and spammy.