Archive for the 'product' Category

How To Market Through Online Forums

Recently I participated in several online marketing campaigns. When asked where I thought the best place would be to market the product, I came back again and again to forums. The very obvious reason being that people on forums already have a level of buy-in and interest in certain product lines. If I put up an ad on Google I am sending it out into the great world of the Internet, but a forum provides a place where real people are already interested in certain product lines.

CrowdGather recently launched a product that they plan on marketing exclusively online and mostly through forums. The product is Erox, a commercial fragrance that combines pheremones and ER303, a compound proven to increase excitement and arousal in both men and women.

Yesterday, Sanjay registered CrowdGather on the best pheremone review forum called Pherotruth.com. After speaking with the owner of the site he was gracious enough to offer us our own vendor subforum, providing us with access to the most unbiased group of pheremone enthusiasts on the Internet on a Google Page 1 ranking site.

According to PostRelease’s whitepaper forum users are:

  • 3.5 times more likely to proactively recommend a particular purchase to someone else
  • 3.5 times more likely to share links about new products
  • 4 times more likely to post online ratings and reviews
  • Almost twice as likely to share advice– offline and in person – based on information they’ve read online

The possibilities for these symbiotic partnerships to be formed are endless to the benefit of the members on the site, the owners of the site and to the marketers of the product.

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Lefora News

Lefora has passed a few milestones in 2010, including passing 100,000 hosted forums. Since our launch in 2008, we’ve been working hard to scale the Lefora platform to ensure that your forums and topics load quickly no matter how active they become.

As part of our strategy to continue growing the Lefora network, on Friday, July 23rd, we entered an agreement with CrowdGather, Inc. to acquire the Lefora platform and properties. There will be absolutely no changes to the Lefora platform nor it’s feature set. The transition has been seamless and we’ve put a lot of time & effort to make sure that no forums experienced any downtime.

To be clear, our pricing plans and our free service will stay the same. There are no plans to make any changes, Lefora is a great service and CrowdGather shares our vision in keeping it that way. The advantage is now Lefora joins an even larger network of thriving communities as we continue to grow. By combining forces, we ensure that we can offer the same level of value without increasing our costs.

You will continue to get the same level of service and support from CrowdGather and the existing Lefora team will be here to help continue carrying our mission forward – “to make forums easy”.

The entire Lefora team is excited about our future. We’ve been in close communication with the CrowdGather team since our launch in 2008 and we have an incredibly positive outlook for what the future holds.

Read more about our news on MarketWatch.

Lefora 2.0 coming soon…

Lefora 2.0

The development team at Lefora has been hard at work for many weeks on an entirely new infrastructure, code named Aardvark.  Aardvark is like Lefora 2.0, it’s an entirely new code base, rewritten in the Python 2.6 programming language.

Over the next few weeks, we will be stress testing Lefora 2.0 on various forums before releasing it across the network.  We’ve already started an early beta period on one forum, hackyour.lefora.com.  We’ll be upgrading our support forum soon.  We’ll continue to post updates about this release in our Support forum’s News & Announcements category.

As Lefora 2.0 is a full re-write of our current service, we haven’t added any new features (yet), our initial release will basically look no different then your current forum.  However, going forward it will allow for many improvements:

  • With a new optimized code base, the Lefora team can have more rapid development times and release cycles.  a.k.a., it’ll be easier for us to build and release new features onto your forum.
  • The new code base will improve our scalability, so that we can continue to grow at a rapid pace and still serve up forum pages quite quickly.
  • We’ll be able to offer more ‘core’ configuration options for your forum, such as a large library of themes for you to customize and edit.

 

 

 

Twitter, Facebook, and Social Network traffic on Forums

From a question posted over at the popular The Admin Zone forum, a number of admins of forums are debating the value of traffic from social networking websites like facebook and twitter.  I decided to run some stats on our 80,000+ forums and see just what type of traffic the major social networks bring, and how likely would a visitor be to explore a forum, or bounce and leave the site.

Below is a chart of visitor activity to Lefora.com forums from popular social networks.

A few interesting stats:

  • 1/3 of all our traffic comes from search engines, mostly google.  This traffic tends to be slightly lower performing then our site averages, and something we’re working on improving.
  • Facebook is the 5th most popular referrer to our forums (of any website), it is over 5x as popular as myspace for referring traffic.  However, there are two reasons for this.  1, we offer Facebook Connect integration to make it easy to post updates to your facebook wall from the forum, and 2, myspace blocks all outbound links on their site with a scary intermediate page warning people they are leaving the myspace garden.
  • Social networking sites generally far out perform the average activity on our site, from pages per visit, time on site, and most importantly, a lower bounce rate (meaning people find what’s interesting in the forums after they click through a link on a social network.

For more Lefora Stats, be sure to check our recently added real-time Stats page.

A toast to 2009!

Happy Holidays from Lefora Forums

With the start of the New Year, we have big plans here at Lefora on building out new features for your forums – we’ll especially be focused on features to help mature communities faster – from ranking & point systems to widgets that will help promote your forum outside of lefora.  We’ll also be building an API to offer more services for developers to ‘hook’ into Lefora.

We launched less than a year ago, but in 2008, we’ve seen 1.85 million people visit your 40,000+ forums.  With an average visit time of 6 min 20 seconds.  A third of the traffic to the forums comes straight from people searching on google, yahoo, and the other search engines – much of this comes from the search engine optimization (seo) that we build directly into your forum.


Cheers!
Saúde
乾杯
¡Salud!
Prost!
乾杯!
Kippis!
Salute!
Skål!
Na zdrowie!
Santé!

Forums and creating online ‘community’

When we first launched Lefora, we made a decision early on to refer to our service as a ‘forum’ as it’s an abstract idea that people are very familiar with – it predates the web.

Ultimately, we see Lefora as enabling communities to do more online – the ‘forum’ is the essential core of any group coming together to communicate. We’re focused on the conversation, but have many social features surrounding the forum, from a headlines page featuring hot topics based on community participation, to member profiles that feature everything a person says across the forum. We’ve added other features like thumbs up & down to offer community moderation, email notifications to encourage members to return to the site, and search engine optimization to ensure new people find a lefora site via a google search.

A friend sent us a nice article, How to Grow a Customer Forum into a Social Media Site, that highlights the changes that one company took to evolve their standard forum to a place where their customers could come together online – which ultimately benefits the company by building a community around their product.

The case study makes some good points, specifically highlighting how:

  • A community attracts more web traffic
  • Connects with consumers
  • Empowers brand advocates to spread their message
  • Builds interest and expertise

Sharing a fascination with web forums

Russell Beattie put together a great piece about the value of forums and explores some of the behaviors on larger forums, such as 4chan.org.

http://www.russellbeattie.com/blog/my-fascination-with-web-forums

Russell talks of the importance at times of anonymous (guest) posts – like their low barrier to entry. The drawback are the spammers that take advantage of the system. That’s why we’re building out anti-spam support, similar to what exists on services like gmail and wordpress to keep the forum ‘doors’ open but block the spam with some tough bouncers.

Another interesting post of his, is the concept of ‘no spam or trolls‘ on twitter, thanks to the one-way friending functionality. This is close to something we’ll be building out around lefora as we’ll be adding support for ‘fans’ and ‘foes’ later this year. With the idea that posts from your foes will be collapsed automatically to help prevent the incited arguments by trolls. We hope to be able to extract community level ranking out of this as well (a person frequently marked as a foe or with many thumb down remarks.)


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