Is The Internet Finally Moving On? Forums Are Dying

I am an active member of two web design / search marketing forums. However, both appear to be on the way out.

The first site carries the remnants of the old Searchguild.com community on a Ning.com based site. It was for a while hosted on its own domain, Fudwatch.co.uk, but moved to Ning.com for easier management. The admin and main moderators were struggling to find the time to keep a forum well moderated and publicised.The people here have helped me learn about SEO and good practice on the web, and without their kindness and experience I would not be where I am today. Ning.com is closing its free accounts, and this group is moving on but to a new private group, closed to the public.

The second site that is going through some doldrums is crea8asiteforums.com. The people here come from a wide array of Internet businesses and bring much valuable experience. The site has been around since 1998 and used to be a leader in all things related to web design, userbility and search engine optimisation. The advice and feedback I have received on design, content, search engine optimisation, site navigation and montisation has been second to none. But, again, it is struggling.

The blame is on the new age of social media. Maybe the problems are due to the recession? People are not volunteering their time to manage or moderate the communities. New members are not being accepted, questions go unanswered. A sure sign that a community is dying. Why? Where are people talking now?

Is everyone on a Facebook group, or just Tweeting their latest SEO observations? Is everyone so afraid for being Google slapped that no conversation takes place in public now? Where is the Internet going? Or, where has it gone?

A new Internet that discourages the most skilled and experienced p[people from taking part is certainly a move in the wrong direction. There is already too much false information online, SEO scams, make money at home cons etc. that without places like FUD Watch and Cre8asiteforums many more people will fall into the hands of those that have no morals and disrespect their paying clients.

Where are we all going? In fact, where have all the good people gone?

  8 comments for “Is The Internet Finally Moving On? Forums Are Dying

  1. November 30, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    I’m wondering about this. I’m about to launch a new forum and am wondering about how facebook, etc. impact it. The thing is that facebook and similar sites really don’t have a good FORUM type of community. They are good for connecting with friends but groups simply don’t have the same level of “interaction” you get with a typical forum.

  2. Webologist
    November 30, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    There are some pretty heated discussions on Facebook. I think that where is goes wrong is often it is a free-for-all, which leads to too much noise, or it is fully moderated, which means it is little more than a private blog. Balance is the key.

    For a forum to work you need to have a very good idea of who you are building it for, ideally it is for existing loyal customers, and think about how it will be managed, in terms of moderating it and creating revenue. From all accounts forums are notoriously bad for generating revenue. Lots of visitors, low conversions.

    Do you want to encourage people to talk, or to buy? Personally I like the blog approach, as conversation can flow, but the blogger controls each thread. Get people talking about the topics you are interested in, and those that may lead to greater sales, and you will stay motivated. Otherwise you risk becoming a stranger in your own creation.

  3. Kyle
    April 17, 2011 at 4:06 am

    It’s not just you. Forums are dying no matter what the subject seems to be.

    I know of a gaming forum that has been around for 8 years and is one of the few sites left that are actually accept new people.

  4. September 10, 2011 at 12:58 am

    This is something I have been considering for a while. As I’ve been running a forum over the last few years, I have seen the gradual decline of people using this form of community.
    But the question is: What else is there to use?

  5. Webologist
    September 10, 2011 at 1:23 am

    I think a lot of people are just on Facebook. The way I see it, about 5 or so years ago, if you were the type of person who wanted to talk online you’d go to forums. There was no way to chat easily with your real friends and family while using a computer so forums were used, and people got into the habit of talking with strangers about stuff that interested them. Nowadays people talk on Facebook with their real friends, as in the ones they grew up with before they got online, and they have so much in common that they do not feel the need to go to forums.

    For example, I often chat and play scrabble with an old school friend on Facebook. We see each other about once a year now, but talk daily almost on FB. We go back about 25 years and have so much common ground (like two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl, year after year – he got me into Pink Floyd when we were at school).

    Then there is tweeting (something I am still trying to get to grips with) which is where a lot of people gather. It is a shame. Forums like yours are a dying breed. It is almost as if the web community is going back to a Usenet state – lots of conversations on one platform, out of the control of the people talking. Few people stop to wonder what would happen if Facebook folded overnight. It sounds implausible, but one big competitor could kill it. That could well be Google Plus – which is in my opinion a fantastic platform for discussion, sharing, collaboration and general larking around. I bet your forum does not support video conferencing!

  6. Webologist
    September 10, 2011 at 1:25 am

    It is funny – I had forgotten about this blog post, but only today I was wondering where everyone was on Cre8asiteforums again. It got really busy again, but the last few days are quiet. It is still an excellent forum to discuss anything related to running websites though.

  7. SortingHat
    March 8, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    I’ve notice a lot of good articles about internet trends seem to be from the time period of 2010-2011. It’s impossible to find anything newer.

    It seems anything newer is all shopping/commercial links. Why does the crowd want the internet to go the way of Cable TV?

  8. Webologist
    March 12, 2015 at 11:19 pm

    Time, focus, life. Things change. Not always for the best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *