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What are the BEST Ways to Monetize a Forum?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by Woodcs82, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. #1
    What are the BEST Ways to Monetize a Forum?


    Please share how you best monetize your forum

    Thanks!
    SEMrush
    -C
     
    Woodcs82, Oct 15, 2009 IP
    SEMrush
  2. Agent000

    Agent000 Prominent Member

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    #2
    Adsense ...
     
    Agent000, Oct 16, 2009 IP
  3. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #3
    AdSense is the easiest, not necessarily the best. It really depends on how much traffic you are getting, the topic of your forum, the demographic of your users, etc.
     
    digitalpoint, Oct 16, 2009 IP
  4. Woodcs82

    Woodcs82 Well-Known Member

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    #4
    Thanks Agent / Thanks Shawn!

    Ive heard adbrite is decent too for inline adds but i see that you dont use inline ads on DP

    Do you think the ads are annoying to users?

    -C

     
    Woodcs82, Oct 16, 2009 IP
  5. Tearabite

    Tearabite Prominent Member

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    #5
    Tearabite, Oct 18, 2009 IP
  6. RectangleMan

    RectangleMan Notable Member

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    #6
    You are all wrong. It's subscribers. I can guarantee 100% that if you had a successful community/forum that if you add a paid membership you would get multiple times more than your ads.

    How many here would pay $10-$25 for a DP membership if it offered simple perks like additional links in sigs, larger PM box that didn't delete old messages, or maybe a special donator icon.

    Now before you go all-out in an argument please ask yourself if you have ever tried paid memberships? Because as far as I know..DP is only doing ads. And as Shawn said...that's just the easiest. Paid memberships definitely require a loyal base and constant new traffic. My main forum (alexa 10k) gets as many as 20 paid subscribers per day. It outdoes ads 10-1 in income.

    Caveat: I run adbrite, adsense, and kontera on my forums. I have tried affiliate programs like clickbank too. Pretty much doing communities now for a decade. I think I have tried it all and I have created dozens of forums many were successful and sold off.
     
    RectangleMan, Oct 21, 2009 IP
  7. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #7
    Where have you been? :)

    http://forums.digitalpoint.com/payments.php
     
    digitalpoint, Oct 21, 2009 IP
  8. RectangleMan

    RectangleMan Notable Member

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    #8
    To be honest if I have been here for over 4 years and never noticed any subscribers or options to subscribe then you aren't highlighting it enough.

    When you offer subscriptions you should consider how much you will lose by removing ads versus the payment for the sub. You have it set at $125 a year. When was the last time you viewed that page and looked at the options?

    I hope you improve that service Shawn as looking at it really doesn't make me want to join. You could retool that and have thousands of people subscribe.

    Offer obvious subscriber images in posts. Lower your price to a one-time payment. Most people won't pay nearly that much to be a member here and many simply don't have that kind of money. I find a $5-$25 payment works best. You can also offer tiers. One cheap at maybe $10 with some features and then premium for say..$25. Also add an obvious "Upgrade" link in header along with things like "upgrade to remove this ad" next to the ads.

    Any chance you can provide stats for your subscriptions?
    http://forums.digitalpoint.com/group.php?groupid=306

    Is that the whole group? 19 members! If you had this at $10 you would likely have 5000. I have 1500 on my forums which is nowhere near yours. You make $2400 a year on the subs. At $10 you would probably make $30,000.

    I am completely and utterly shocked you have not monetized the opportunity. One huge advantage of memberships to you. Instant money. You'll get the paypal instant versus waiting for ad networks to send a payment after they review your stats or whatnot. The daily money is very nice.

    Anyways this is an interesting convo imho.
     
    RectangleMan, Oct 21, 2009 IP
  9. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #9
    The premium membership is relatively new (only about 1 1/2 weeks old). No, we don't share subscription stats, but it's much higher than 19. :)

    There is a month-to-month option for a lower price already.

    As far as actively pushing it/letting existing members know... not really going to do that until after vBulletin 4.0 is live here. While the existing subscription is worth it to some users already (especially people active in Buy/Sell/Trade), there's going to be some additional premium member benefits forthcoming. So once we get some additional benefits built, maybe we'll do a newsletter about it or something.
     
    digitalpoint, Oct 21, 2009 IP
  10. Tearabite

    Tearabite Prominent Member

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    #10
    There IS money in subscriptions - for a while i did both subscription and lifetime payments for premium content at my forum and it generated upwards of $100k over about a year and a half. The problem is that you MUST have something of real value before anyone will give you a penny.. If that dries up, kiss it all goodbye..
     
    Tearabite, Oct 21, 2009 IP
  11. elitesystem

    elitesystem Well-Known Member

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    #11
    This thread is just sweeet :) thanks shawn, rectangle and tearabite for the detailed information. I am running several communities now and it helps. I must agree "you should provide valuable and unique stuff for people to subscribe" .
     
    elitesystem, Oct 21, 2009 IP
  12. RectangleMan

    RectangleMan Notable Member

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    #12
    Bah...you made it sound like it was an existing setup. Well...prepare for some added wealth Shawn.

    Depends on the forum genre and how you have it setup. A forum should reach a critical mass at some point where it can perpetually grow off it's own momentum. On all my forums...I have no CMS or articles. I run pure forums. Memberships are simply based off added forum features and recognition. Sure I add a subscriber only area but it's generally not a big deal. Many subscribe simple to help support the site.

    Personally I think you make a mistake when you say the subscription is for content. You will then of course have to satisfy that agreement. Places like DNF have imho made mistakes by offering software which is very buggy with bad support. While Namepros does a better job of having a paid points system and the system is basically self-maintained.

    I see no need to go beyond the forum structure by offering articles. How often do people here visit the DP front-end?

    Good luck on the Subs Shawn. I'll be looking forward to seeing it grow but I still think your price is too high. Whether you do monthly or yearly doesn't matter.
     
    RectangleMan, Oct 21, 2009 IP
  13. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Overlord of no one Staff

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    #13
    It depends on who you are (obviously) and what you use the forum for exactly...

    The B/S/T threads that become sticky and highlighted, make it worth it for sellers in Buy/Sell/Trade.

    The extra signature links makes it worth it for the people selling links in their signature (some people are getting $150 per month per link... no joke).

    Some people purchased premium membership solely for the added stuff it does for the keyword tracker.

    But yeah... obviously premium membership isn't worth it for everyone (you wouldn't WANT everyone to buy it... then it's not really unique).
     
    digitalpoint, Oct 21, 2009 IP
  14. RectangleMan

    RectangleMan Notable Member

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    #14
    But do you want 25 people to pay or 2500? That's the difference between charging $125 a year and $10. Again...do the math on that. It's not like having 2500 paid members is really all that different on your end to manage. It's all automatted and it's mainly about forum abilities. There probably isn't anything wrong with having a top tier that expensive but I don't see cheaper options either. You must know that most people here are cheapskates that are in third world countries. That's just your audience.

    http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/digitalpoint.com

    $125 to someone in India is a LOT more than someone in USA. Average Indian makes $1000 a year. You're asking them to fork over a months pay.

    DP has never struck me to have exclusive elitist attitude. I don't think that's going to change. Your BST is popular because it's active and free.

    Do you ever sell anything here? Do you sell anything at other forums? Stuff sells cheap here and there are lots of scammers. Everytime I post a sale I get 10 guys trying to lowball me and down play the value inside the thread. I know you have this amazing success but imho you haven't shown diversity as an admin which to me means you haven't explored the full spectrum of experiences. Keep an open mind if you can. Try to think outside the box. It's how an admin can grow.

    I am sure some will be shocked that I have the nerve to give you advice but I think it's my duty to speak my mind. What you do with my advice of course will be your decision but I hope to at least give you food for thought. Personally I am just happy you seem to be engaging your members once again. You have been missed.

    Enjoy.
     
    RectangleMan, Oct 21, 2009 IP
  15. Woodcs82

    Woodcs82 Well-Known Member

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    #15
    Thank for all the feedback guys... i really appreciate it
     
    Woodcs82, Oct 30, 2009 IP
  16. furca

    furca Well-Known Member

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    #16
    I disagree with the one-time payment thing. Keep it on a subscription renewal basis.
     
    furca, Nov 3, 2009 IP