Possible Change - Need Advice

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by dan213, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. dan213

    dan213
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    Hello everyone,

    I currently run a site that serves as a post exchange, for every one post a user makes on my forum they can redeem one post on theirs. I have been considering make a big change but am unsure if it is the right move for my site, the users, and the staff. So far it has been working alright but I am starting to notice a huge drop off including from those that were extremely loyal.

    I have been considering giving all users a monthly allowance, they can redeem posts with this allowance with no requirement for posting to receive the posts desired. I currently have it setup on a points system, you receive 1 point for every one post which can be redeemed as I stated.

    I feel that there are some issues with the current setup and the big one is that a user is required to make posts to receive posts. There are people (me being one of them) that does not want to spend a ton of time making forum posts to receive the same, especially if the site's job is to offer posting services. I feel that a posting service should offer services with little to nothing in return, it is their job to give clients quality forum posts.

    I would like feedback on what everyone's view is. Should I remove the requirement to make forum posts in order to receive a service? Should it be a posting service that works off a monthly allowance, say 150 points which can be converted 30-50 posts at a time?
     
  2. Fergal

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    That sounds like a great offer and one that I would have thought would be very attractive to lots of forum owners. Maybe it just needs a little more promotion or a little more time, to become popular.

    I'm not sure how practical it would be to offer completely free forum posts. Would you not need to be getting something in exchange for these posts?

    Maybe you could consider alternative incentives, that would be attractive to your members. Perhaps you could give members 10 points just for joining your forum. This would get them in and familiar with your service. If they are happy with the posts they get, they will be back for more and will be prepared to do something in return for those posts.

    If your one for one post exchange offer is not working, what about offering a 3 for 2 offer, where you make 3 posts on their forum, for every 2 posts they make on yours. If that doesn't work you could try a two for one offer.

    Hopefully that helps a little.

    Edit: By the way we have a few forum owners here on BAF, feel free to promote your service in your signature and in our Member Ads & Marketplace section.
     
    #2 Fergal, Aug 8, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  3. dan213

    dan213
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    Thanks for the reply Fergal, I am considering a 1/2 exchange where every 1 post they make they get 2 points (2 posts). I do think it would get hectic with renewing everyone's points for the allowance, especially if we did get bigger.

    Thanks for the reply and I will update once I know what route I will go.
     
  4. Fergal

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    I agree with that, the offer is something you could provide for a limited time until you get busier and better known, then you would need to scale it back so that you could cope with the volume of work. When your site becomes really popular, will you be able to handle one for one offers?
     
  5. dan213

    dan213
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    I can handle 1:1 offers without an issue, I will need to bring on additional posters once things do get larger. I don't want to bring on staff now because I don't want them to get bored and then become inactive so I am waiting till things pick up.

    I think I am going to go 1:2 this week and see how it goes.
     
  6. Kay

    Kay
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    Hi dan213. :) Do you have a link you can share to let us peek at your forum? The offer itself is good even on a 1:1 basis and your new offer's even better.

    I can't understand why the previously loyal members would have suddenly fallen away like you say. Have you any idea why that would be? Has there been any upset of any kind that would have made them leave or a change they didn't like? It seems strange indeed that they would suddenly vanish.

    Is it possible a former member has started a competing forum and coaxed them to go there instead by offering a superior incentive? I'm just thinking out loud on why that decline may have happened.

    Do you have a former regular or two that you could trust to be honest and simply ask why they're not coming anymore? That's what I'd do. I know that approach doesn't suit everyone though but it's the easiest way to find out.

    The only other thing I can think on is quality and please don't take this the wrong way. Has the posting quality dropped at all on either side of the fence? Inferior posts don't add value to your forum or theirs. If the posts are all "you rock" two word posts that won't go down well. I'm assuming there's some guidelines on what's considered acceptable.

    Of course it could be something as simple as them being pressed for time, dan. It's not always something we can control. I know when I had mine I used to fret if it got quiet and worry why that was happening. The reality was people just got busy with their lives and coming to my forum wasn't top of their priority list that week or month. What a cheek eh LOL. ;)

    What I'd suggest is you put up a thread there asking for suggestions on improving your forum. Send a bulk PM to your members requesting a response to it. Say something like you're considering revamping it and would appreciate the input before you begin. (I know you probably already have an existing section for Suggestions and Feedback. Few members in my experience tend to use them without a bit of a nudge though. A simple request can be enough to provoke a response. You may get lucky and discover why the slump occurred from that thread alone.)

    Hope that helps. And if you'd prefer not to post your forum link right now but would still like an outside opinion, I wouldn't mind looking at it for you. Just send me it by PM. :)
     
  7. dan213

    dan213
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    Thanks for the insight and I think I am going to contact a couple members that were loyal and see if there were any issues that I am not aware of. To my knowledge, there was nothing that had happened to make them leave and I have not seen any competitive sites pop up that offers the same type of services.

    This may be a slight uneducated assumption but I have not seen a forum that offers the same type of services that I do.

    You can view the site here: http://businessadviceforum.com/showthread.php?t=12461

    I am also considering merging the site in with another site that I currently manage that gets double the traffic that Post 4 Posts receives a day. With this merge, I feel that not only will I receive a great deal of hits but I can offer other ideas that are swirling in my head without being viewed as only a forum posting service.

    If I follow through with this plan, I will be redirecting the post4posts domain to the other domain and make it one site. Same owner, same services, and same quality but it will be under one name along side other offers that are not only forum posting related.
     
  8. Mountain Man

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    Maybe you could do a survey, send it to all members of your forum. If it is written well and open minded it could give you some answers as to why they are dropping off. It is easy to see our projects from our own eyes and be blind to the truth.
     
  9. Fergal

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    Dan, would you mind sharing the website address of the forum you are considering merging it with?
     
  10. ProfitClinic

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    I don't have any specific insights to offer here, but I always find myself avoiding forums, traffic exchanges and other online media that have exchange quotas/requirements, etc.

    It's like giving blood in a lot of countries, where you get paid to give it. You can never escape the nagging suspicion that there are doubts about the quality when desperate people with desperate lifestyles are enticed to sell their blood.

    It's the same with traffic exchanges: you KNOW that the vast majority are NOT prospects for your offer, unless it's a new, "hot" traffic exchange.

    In other words, it's like going fishing in a toilet. Your "catch" is pretty predictable. Even if you get lots of bites, they're all cr*p anyway. Why bother? Especially if you're promoting something worthwhile?

    Personally, I'd avoid a forum where posting was determined by compulsory reciprocation.

    Give me quality over quantity any day.

    Hope my thinking-out-loud can be understood. :D

    John
     
  11. DavidL

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    I'd offer a range of options. Sometimes posts aren't what's needed. Topics are needed as well, so maybe for every 5 posts the user makes on your forum, they can redeem it with 1 topic. Having a mixture of options can really get people thinking and wanting to post. I know if I owned a new forum, I'd prefer a mix of topics and posts, instead of just posts.
     
  12. dan213

    dan213
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    Sure Fergal, things are already set up over there as I do own both of the sites so it's not where the administrator is changing or I am going into a partnership. I just added a forum as it was previously just the tower you see on the homepage, hence the reason for 60+ members and hardly any posts.

    http://promotionvenue.com
     
  13. Fergal

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    Dan Post4Post is a great site name and is very applicable to what you offer from the site. Plus your offering is quite unique. If I was you I'd probably stick with it a little longer and try to find a way to make it work.
     
  14. dan213

    dan213
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    Thanks for the advice Fergal. I suppose I could do that and up the exchange rate, also add some changes regarding services. Maybe I will also add some services that pertain to advertising, not just forum posting, perhaps making the forums a bit more webmaster friendly then just "This one time at band camp" type of discussions.

    So it looks like a merge would do more harm potentially then it would good? Keeping in mind that the same services I offer now with Post 4 Posts will be offered at Promotion Venue.
     
  15. Fergal

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    Yes, my recommendation would be to keep going with the Post4Post domain, give it a little more time and work hard to promote it, to see how it works out and if the site becomes popular.
     
  16. dan213

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    Alright, I will take that advice and see what happens with it.

    Thanks everyone :).
     

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