Percentage of forums still active after a year

Discussion in 'Randomness' started by SneakyDave, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. From all of the places I visit, and the various forum software platforms I know of, how many forums fail within their first year of operation? "Fail" meaning the forum or entire site is just wiped out/erased.

    I think it's safe to say that over 90% don't survive the first year, or are "re-invented", or are "indefinitely closedd", or "abandoned". That's pretty sad.

    I couldn't name one forum in the last 5 years that is a popular destination of new content that I want to join.

    The facebooks (for the geezers), reddits (for the young adults), stack exchanges (for the answers) of the world have ruined the idea that a small forum can really flourish.I think we all agree that that is the case.

    How long do the software companies keep this up? Don't new customers eventually throw in the towel, and decide that they really don't need to upgrade their community software with a new style, that they don't need to spend $50 on a new addon?

    I like some of the things that IPS is doing, but I don't see how that brings in more sales for them long term. I don't know what XF 1.1 is going to provide to bring in more customers. It just looks like existing admins just rotate through the various platforms thinking that the latest whizbang release is going to solve the problem of members moving on.

    You used to be able to start a community, invest some time into it, maybe pay for some advertising, and get a small membership started within 6 months. Most people with similar interests didn't need a lot of moderation, just a platform. That would be a succesful labor of love.

    Now the platform is commoditized. Nobody cares what software a site is running, who's server it's on, or what site it is. But nobody wants to have to go through a registration process to be put into a restricted group, or wait a certain number of days or posts to provide their input, or ask a question, lol.

    We've all been seeing this for a long while, I don't see it getting better unless there are massive, large scale, amounts of crackdowns on Facebook/reddit in moderation.

    Soon, I think third party forum software will be regulated to fringe groups/niches that are restricted from the social network norms of the internet. How do dark web communities work? Is there a naughty social network to join anonymously, or do those communities rely on common community software products.
     
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  2. It's happened already. The only forums that do well now are well established communities. No matter what the "insert-software-brand " fanboys say forums are essentially dead. Anyone that says otherwise can't see the forest through the trees.

    I still dabble with forums because it's a hobby. If nobody joins then so be it. I do still have 1 established community that does well because it has a loyal group of users that trust the info they get from the site.
     
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  3. Even medium sized "boards" I belonged to 10 years ago (technical niches and general discussion types) are losing members to Facebook and reddit. Look at TheAdminZone.com for chrissake. Probably an 80% drop in 6-7 years.
     
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  4. Because Howard has banned 80% of the members for bull shit reasons.
     
    • TAZ Shenanigans TAZ Shenanigans x 1
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  5. shit, you can't get anybody younger than 35 to join a forum these days, it has to be something they can install on their phone, lol
     
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  6. It's more active still than this shithole ever will be
     
    • Dumb Dumb x 1
  7. #fakenews
     
  8. TAZ just alienated all the people who actually posted and made the site what it was, sadly.

    I had several tries at going back, and each time it was the same...delete, delete, delete, ban, ban, ban. Not just me but plenty of others as well.

    Ultimately they seemed to have two opinions eveyone had to have:

    1. "Everyone hates vBulletin and Internet Brands is evil incarnate".
    2. "XenForo is brilliant and absolutely nothing about it is bad".

    Anyone with conflicting opinions was in effect driven away from the site by the constant editing and deleting of their posts. Those that weren't driven away were banned. It was classed as 'trolling' to post any opinions that conflicted with the above.

    That then left a load of people agreeing with themselves, which quickly got boring and they all drifted away.

    Something I learned two decades ago now: CONFLICT. SELLS. FORUMS. Not only did TAZ fall down on this one, but so did other admin sites, notably AdminAddict who were going great guns until they decided to ban any discussion of the vBulletin situation in 2009. A forum admin site banning discussion of the most popular forum platform. You couldn't make it up.

    Now all these sites who tried to manipulate and control people's opinions are either dead or dying. Colour me unsurprised.
     
  9. I should add, I wish TAZ well and hope they can recover, but based on every other forum in the known universe I suspect this will be unlikely now. I posted on my own site recently that the 'slow decline' of forums in recent years seems to have suddenly accelerated. Activity levels on every site I visit - including some busy ones - seems to have plummeted in the past six months. I know of many forums that have been historically exceptionally busy, and whilst they still are 'busy' by any standards, most seem to have anecdotally lost at least a third of their traffic in just the past few months, and all these sites now have at least one thread asking where all the posters have gone. It's astonishing and worrying in equal measure, especially given that Facebook is itself seeing a drop off in traffic.

    Even my own site, which has very slowly declined for years, has seen various people just 'disappear' in recent months and keeping it active is now more of a struggle than it was, with regular 'seeding' now needed, just as it was in the early days. Admittedly I don't promote my site anywhere so we're never going to attract new people, meaning some degree of attrition is inevitable, but the problem is fundamentally the same.

    Anyone any idea what may have caused the huge drop in the past six months? Or has anyone any evidence to refute it?
     
  10. I agree that in the last 6-9 months, the activity level has dropped significantly. Don't have an explanation for it really
     
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  11. Economy getting better, more people working and spending all that money they are making doing stuff other than sitting on a computer? :eyes:
     
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