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How much is a niche forum website worth?

Forum with X threads and Y members... $ value?

     
2:00 pm on Sep 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Just thought I'd throw this one out there.

What kind of ballpark figure would we be looking at? This is a bulletin board website running vBulletin. It aims at quite a niche target audience, a lifestyle and special interest combo, if you like.

In terms of content there is around 200,000 posts forming 20,000 threads, and in terms of existing members the figure is something over 15,000 members.

About 100K visits/month. QuantCast says 80K.

The return / income is primarily from Adsense. There typically seems to be a good amount of quality ads displayed for a given topic. However I do not think that the industry is one which pays too highly for clicks.

Anyone wanna take a guess at market value as a going concern?

9:59 pm on Sept 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

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A forum I belong to has the following stats: Threads: 366,512, Posts: 4,895,307, Members: 76,940, Active Members: 13,154

The owner of the forum was recently offered $75,000 for the site.

FYI.

12:35 am on Sept 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You left out the most important factor for determining a price. What is the net profit per month?

Take that and subtract out how much it would cost to pay someone to run the site. Then, if your site is at least 5 years old, multiply that by 18 to 24 to get a rough estimate.

If your site is less than 5 years old, you might expect the multiplier to be 12 to 18 months.

Not many buyers care how many members or posts you have. It is nice to see good numbers, but traffic and revenues are king to a buyer.

Just my opinion!

2:32 am on Sept 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, definitely need to know the profit per month. I just bought a site for 16 month's revenue. 2 years old, no forums, all good ol' HTML, just over 100 pages. I bought out a competitor, in the long run it was worth even more to me :-)
4:49 am on Sept 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Hmmmn well I don't know the profit, but can we make an educated guess from the visit levels - with 100K visits / month, what could Adsense be assumed to payout? I don't think the click payments are that high.

I know it's like asking how long is a piece of string, but just wanna get some ballpark range.

8:56 am on Sept 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Members: 76,940, Active Members: 13,154

This is really important. You need to establish what you define as active, is it logged on within the last 6 months, or the last 2? Sometimes thousands of members just indicates that no housekeeping has been done on a forum in a while.

But it's not as important to the final sale price as profit figures and trends.

12:07 pm on Sept 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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but can we make an educated guess from the visit levels - with 100K visits / month, what could Adsense be assumed to payout?

Not really possible to make a guess. Any legitimate buyer is going to assume no revenue if you cannot product solid numbers.

And if you don't have any revenue history (a couple years worth if your site is that old) then you'll have trouble selling it for any decent amount...

I would recommend trying Adsense out for a few months to see how it does. That might give you some much needed data to help a future buyer pull the trigger.

12:38 pm on Sept 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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It's not my site: I'm trying to hazard a guess as to Adsense income based on the above visitor and member figures, from that we'll multiply it by 24 months per maximillianos's suggestion. At least, maybe we can guess how many figures should be present... :)
1:35 pm on Sept 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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There's no way to guess Adsense revenue; there are too many variables. In some niches, and Adsense click gets $50, in others, 2 cents. In some niches, many folk will click on Adsense in others (eg SEO) very, very few will. And that's just two variables.

If buying, ask to see evidence of income - else (as mentioned above), assume nil.

If you want to assess profit potential, then you need visitor figures (not just members), over many months. If not available, or a negative trend, assume nil potential.

If the forum is sold, will it retain the same domain? If not assume nil value.

Forum values are often much less than you'd think, because

(a) new management may mean a dead forum in two months
(b) people are fickle
(c) income per active member is small; people (generally) don't go to forums to look at ads, so monetising is rarely easy.
(d) a brief lapse in moderation over the sale period can allow trolls and spammers which can lead to a downward trend down the line.
(e) it may be for sale because the owner saw a much better new one, and knew he couldn't compete.
(f) and more pig-in-a-poke stuff

Buying a forum is like buying a unique glass sculpture you saw online, and asking for it to be airmailed 'at cost': risky.

2:19 pm on Sept 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If there's any potential to generate revenue through loyalty of the members then it'd be worth quite a bit more. For instance one forum I know of generates revenue through members voluntarily paying membership fees for a few additional features. Alternative revenue options can make Adsense revenue secondary in forum situations.

Forums produce wildly different results in adsense utilization so I don't think you're going to be able to nail down a useful range for your friend.

7:00 am on Sept 30, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"Everything is worth what its purchaser will pay for it."
-Publilius Syrus