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Upgrading / Migrating to other forum software

Seraphim

Active Member
Although I use MyBB and PHPBB3 almost entirely with my clients, I can say that they both are getting an ever-increasing amount of spam.

Updates on them slowing down isn't going to help that situation at all.

Seems like not only are forums in general dying, but the quality of the software to power them is also dying some.
 

Richard

CRM Consultant
Premium Member
SMF 2.0 released 2008. 7 minor bug fixes and security updates since (Current version 2.0.7)
As said, forum software is dieing, forums need to evolve :)
 

Peo

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
By now I had expected some of you to suggest going back to wwwthreads. :)

Yes, Xenforo is still at the top of my list. The only other option I see is if we should keep vBulletin for a few more months to see if they get their act together. If not, maybe we by that time have better forum software options than what we have today.
 

Decker

Officially Old!
NLC
Everyone seems to have missed out WotLlabs Burning Board, I've used it a few times and I was quite pleasently surprised, could be worth considering with direct vB import and FB integration as standard.
 

Peo

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
I looked at Burning Board a few days ago and it's sort of ok, but I felt it wasn't at the level of xenforo, vBulletin and IPB.

Update: xenforo released a new version today.
 

Richard

CRM Consultant
Premium Member
But its still not to the quality or even at the functional level of vBulletin 4.2. Most the features they are adding vB have had since v3.

You really need to decide the direction of this site - Be it more forum based (which is not really working out for any forum site these days) or go down the site route (My recommendation) Something like sticking with Free Hosting and offering some kind of swanky review / uptime / ratings system integrated with Facebook, twitter, and the forums. Get hosts engaged with the site, get users engaged with the site - Seal of approval, seal of quality, seal of uptime ect. "Recommended" or "top" hosts could add a new revenue stream for you, and would certainly help SEO, etc (google is starting to punish forums slightly)

Once you've made the decision, I'm sure your be able to enlist the help of people at FWS to assist if you wish, and it will make the decision on which system to pick that much easier.
 

Peo

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Yes, I think the list of features is longer for vBulletin, but again that's not the issue.

As for the rest of the FWS site, I like those ideas. I have something planned along those lines you mentioned. I don't think forums will die out completely anytime soon. Our problem has been that not only has forums been in decline, so has our main topic for the forum - free webhosting been in rapid decline aswell.

So, here's another question. Should the forum be more about webhosting in general or stick to the free webhosting focus despite the decline for free hosting?
 

Richard

CRM Consultant
Premium Member
I think it depends on what you're target audience is...
Free web hosting - Your target would be people looking for free hosting
Paid Hosting - Your target audience would likely be the host's themselves.

While I agree that free hosting is in decline, it's not entirely dead, and removing the spam of offers from the otherwise relatively inactive forums might actually help in the long run. I still think you need to offer something "else" other than the forums, not only to give more people looking for hosting a reason to join in, but also a reason for hosts to join in.

The one problem I see with this forum (and other web hosting forums) is that when you ask for hosting - Unless you research every offer, you get very limited information about the reliability of that offer - This can cause people to look at the cheapest option, then blame the forum when it all goes wrong - not returning or trying a different forum. Now NamePros / eBay have the system down; a special group is setup for registered "hosts" that can post offers - These hosts have extra details added to their profile block - Work email, telephone number, company, URL, reviews (for the company), personal recommendations (reviews based on feedback on this site... EG: Helping someone with a problem). This could give hosts a reason to be more active, help out more, but also should allow users to see when a host is bad, how long that host has been established, etc. and can then make an informed decision, and rather than blame the forum, they can blame the host.

The information I want to know when I look at a hosting offer;
  • Company Name
  • Representatives Name
  • Time at this Company
  • Company Established
  • 5 Star Review Rating (+ Number of Reviews), of Company
  • 5 Star Community Reputation (+ link to view, like ebays review system or NP's)
  • Address Verified (Tick or Cross - Has FWS checked their address) (*1)
  • Phone Verified (Has their phone been verified by FWS) (*1)
  • Hosts Country of Operation

(*1) This is easily achievable via web API's now, you can send snail mail with authentication codes and automated phonecalls. Very cheap - Hey - charge the host for it, its going to help them to sell hosting! :)

I would also love to see a hosts only section of the site - Locked to verified hosts - EG: ones that have completed ALL checks, phone mail, etc.

---

To add, you could even make a section (first reply) be a "Recommended" offer. This could be a host that pays for the slot and posts in the thread, or if not, the representative that has the best feedback - This would give hosts a better reason to employ people of respect here and also give people a better reason to stick around - Plus with the first option, you can make a little money :D
 
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Decker

Officially Old!
NLC
Someone's been having a good think about this :p (Richard) all good suggestions but a bit intensive on Peo.

Since the site was formed and continued around free web hosting it needs a core there, although that could shrink to be a 'teaser' rather than a majority subject.

Vetting I think should be important though to wed out the obvious 'kiddie hosts' although as we know not all good reliable hosts have setups like Bluehost & GoDaddy and could be professionally run one-man (or two) operations.

Monetising is important to pay the costs, but too much and the paying contributors/advertisers will go elsewhere - as will the visitors with no offers available (since a search for free hosting most likely does bring a fair amount of FWS traffic in).

All points up for discussion I guess. Between the keep it simple and the full blown enterprise.
 

Peo

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Thanks Richard again. Some good ideas there on monetising. I think there might be a problem with budget hosts to pay a fee to post ads here though. I like the Recommended host idea.

Since the site was formed and continued around free web hosting it needs a core there, although that could shrink to be a 'teaser' rather than a majority subject.
Good point, that could work.
 

Gigarocket

UFO Hunter
NLC
Could I make a suggestion for the free hosting offers section? How about changing the 1 new thread every 7 days to every 30 days!
 

wswd

Premium
Premium Member
Could I make a suggestion for the free hosting offers section? How about changing the 1 new thread every 7 days to every 30 days!
Out of curiosity...why?



In any event. I think the site (free hosting in general) is doomed, at least for the time being. As I have said many times, this is due to Facebook and all the other sites that basically allow people to do what they used to use free hosting for. Now, it's a mess of spammers and folks hosting illegal downloads, illegal porn, etc. Literally 99% of the free hosting we offered was used for illegal activities. Monitoring the accounts became a logistical nightmare. Now we just offer sponsorships to folks who actually need the free hosting/will use it for reasonable stuff.

In any event...this is by far the best free hosting site on the Internet, IMO. The others are dead/filled with spam, Youhosting, etc. But I think we need a lot more.

In terms of free hosting, why not set up a portal or such with results similar to what TaoPhoenix did. Monitor speeds, monitor uptime, test that you can actually use the advertised speed/bandwidth, etc. It would create a "legitimate list" of hosts, so that when people come here, they can actually see the top hosts. It would take a bunch of work, but I think it would be worth it.

As far as paid hosting, I really do think you should differentiate between real companies and non. A lot of sites are doing that now. We have folks making offers in the paid hosting section who don't even have a website, for example. How is that okay? It's already against the rules technically, since you are supposed to provide a URL to the plan, but even so, is a host without a website the kind of host we want advertising here and making offers?
 

Gigarocket

UFO Hunter
NLC
Out of curiosity...why?
Sure!
From what I have noticed, there`s an average of 6 new threads per week of which some of them are the same host`s posting their ad thread every week! Basically leading not many thread between when a host posted a thread and another thread the following week.
 

sander k

Well-Known Member
NLC
Sure!
From what I have noticed, there`s an average of 6 new threads per week of which some of them are the same host`s posting their ad thread every week! Basically leading not many thread between when a host posted a thread and another thread the following week.
You got a point there, but wouldn't FWS die even more?
 

Richard

CRM Consultant
Premium Member
I think there might be a problem with budget hosts to pay a fee to post ads here though. I like the Recommended host idea.
No problem. I'm quite committed to making this forum work, it was a huge part of my later teen years and I owe it a lot.
Its not that they would "need" to pay a fee here - It's just that they "could" pay a fee, to have their company address and phone verified. If they don't they can still post - They just show up as a "X" on their host profile.
 

Peo

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
At this point we have no plans to change the 1 ad per 7 days rule.

[MENTION=49656]Richard[/MENTION] That could work, if there is an interest from hosts to have this option. It would be useful for customers.
 
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