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Advertising Forums: Yay or Nay?

Author: ZiveemanMay 5th, 2009

Sometimes when a forum owner is jumping from forum to forum, they may stumble across a forum whose sole purpose is to advertise other forums. Sometimes these are met with skepticism, but other forum owners eagerly take this easy opportunity to get their name out.

But the real question is, do they work?

The answer: Maybe.

Would I recommend them? No. Not as a primary method of advertising.

Advertising is most effective when the audience is related to the subject you are advertising. You wouldn’t advertise McDonalds to a Weight Watchers group, would you? Advertising¬† your new line of healthy foods to the same Weight Watchers group would be more effective.

So what does the audience have to do with advertising forums? Think about it. You, a forum owner, are at an advertising forum with the intention of advertising your own forum. The other members of that advertising forum are probably there for the same reason. So when you get someone to click on your forum ad there, their intention (most likely) is just to find another place to advertise. If you see an influx of members who join with an ad signature for another forum or website, it’s likely that those members aren’t there to actually be there, but instead to post enough so their ad signature gets recognized.

In my experience, I have rarely seen a successful community that developed with solely advertising forums. If these members who come from advertising forums don’t see results from your forum, they’re gonna leave. That’s what happens with communities who attempt to get big through advertising heavily on these forums. They’ll get members, but not necessarily members who are there to truly contribute and create content.

So why do people join and use advertising forums almost religiously? My theory has to do with reinforcement. These forum owners are seeing results from these forums, no matter how “empty” they may be (joining and not posting, or posting spam), and therefore they stay on these advertising forums hoping they’ll get the same results. And when their forum fails and they make a new forum, they do the same thing again.

Unfortunately posting your ad on there and seeing results immediately really does seem too good to be true, because it really is. The traffic you’re getting isn’t really the traffic you want for your forum. The statistics at the bottom of your forum are simply not just numbers. I think that most forum owners would agree that 10 quality posts that are relevant to your forum’s theme are better than 20 posts that generally consist of “yea i agree” “no, not for me” and other “empty” posts.

As hypocritical as this is going to sound, the only good way to use advertising forums is to use it to find forums that are related to your forum topic to advertise at. Also, advertising forums have other services that could be helpful such as reviews or exchanges.

So if you’re gonna join an advertising forum, consider with a grain of salt. Just because it’s easy doesn’t mean it’s going to be effective.


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