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Adding a forum to my esite a good idea?

     
10:42 pm on Sep 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

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hi,

i sell merchandise specifically related to a very popular sport.

i'm thinking of adding a forum to my website.

has anyone done this & is there any advantage from a commercial point of view?

cheers.

6:56 am on Sept 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If you do, be prepared to monitor it morning, noon and night. Because many people have absolutely no problem taking the slightest little gripe they have with your business, and using it as an excuse to do as much harm to you as possible. They'll have no problem going straight to that forum and airing all their complaints publicly, before they even give you a chance to right any wrong... Even if there wasn't any wrong to begin with. If you feel you can trust your customers that much, I think it can be a good tool to bring visitors. But it can come back and bite you.
8:26 am on Sept 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If your product has an enthusiast base then an enthusiast forum may be a good idea.

Use a forum service that requires registration to post and, yes, be prepared to spend a lot of time moderating.

9:23 am on Sept 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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thanks guys for your replies - good points - the merchandise we sell is mainly for kid's so there may be an issue (?) regarding 'personal abuse' on a forum.

i might just be asking for trouble then?

9:30 am on Sept 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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i might just be asking for trouble then?

Depends on how much time you can invest. Or if you can cultivate a moderator or two from the forum membership to help. Also depends on your clientel. I've operated on for several years with no problems. On the other hand I've been to sites where the forum members are out of control. Can be good. Can be bad. Leans more to the good if you just watch it closely.

5:10 pm on Sept 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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OK, you are selling products to be used by kids. If those minors are the ones who are likely to use the forum then you want some close moderation to watch for perverts. It wouldn't take much to get you a lot of bad PR
6:50 pm on Sept 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I think if you can build a big enough community, you start becoming an authority. Do you have a plan to generate revenue from the forum users?
7:33 pm on Sept 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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sun818 - i was thinking, to be honest, that there might be some commercial benefit however 'piathows' point is making me think twice about the whole idea.
8:37 pm on Sept 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Consider adding a blog instead? You get a lot more control over spam and what is talked about. Consider also letting everyone write new posts, not just comment. General audience seem to be getting a lot savvier with blogs recently. Just an idea ;)
4:35 pm on Sept 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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A dead forum with one or two posts and 3 registered members will turn people away from posting, and your business. Only put up a forum if you can get some traffic on it.

A good tip for starting out is to allow anonymous posting (no registration required). This alone will boost the number of participants by a large factor (if they exist). You'll need to monitor the forum for spam bots. But they usually only come after it has been out for a few months.

You will also need to decide on which s/w to use: phpBB, SMF, vbulletin, etc. Each has its strengths and weaknesses.

 

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