The Death of (Cre8asite) Forums
Are forums dead is a question that can easily answered in general by picking three random topics and doing a search for them combined with the word "forum". You'll find lively, growing, bustling communities discussing digital scrapbooking, poodle grooming, rabbit raising, and motorbike care and repair.
Are forums dead to the SEO community then?
Is Webmaster World? Digital Point? Highrankings? The Google forums?
I don't think so.
So then the issue becomes: is Cre8asite Forums dead?
I think so. I think it is, at the moment.
The reason is simple too: we don't answer the questions people have. Cross browser delivery, user experience, make it right -- these aren't the things people roaming the forums seek answers about. And when they do there are countless, literally countless, resources at hand one Bing away.
Some core questions that people who want to -- who need
to -- make a living online have are; how do I earn money online? if it is by being an affiliate and Google hates thin affiliate sites, what do I do? how do I start a web site today, write 10-50 pages of content and get it to where I somehow get money from it?
We approach things differently. Someone I respect a lot once said we're a bit of a bunch of tree huggers
And that's OK -- but not everyone has the time to hug their site; some have to make things happen today.
The SEO forums mentioned above address those issues (linking, ranking, algo changes, ad placement, etc.) and do it well.
Do we have to? No. But I bet you that we don't rank, don't come up, for the questions people are typing into their favorite search engine.The New Game
Some things are better left unsaid because once said, Google hears and adjusts. That started to change the information people put out there already back in 2006, 2007. It's only become more quiet since then. There are some common, well known factors involved in ranking that "everybody" knows about. Over the past 4 years those topics have been written about from just about every angle; 97 1/2 ways to get a free link; 3 links in 30 minutes; etc.
That doesn't leave a whole lot of room to answer specific questions. To give away the competitive edge. *That* is the real reason we see so much crap on Sphinn.
Then, the game has changed to selling knowledge. Rand was a great forum participant, went up and left to build his own (premium) community. Dave Harry has a unique angle into SEO -- and runs the (premium) SEO Dojo. Even Sphinn tried to go premium for a bit...The New Media
In 2004 the only place where I could talk with an SEO god was on a forum. Today I follow bunches of them on Twitter and read their spur of the moment (or very well planned...) tweet-thought.
While (old skool) blog posts are woven together form links, Twitter is almost all linking. Shared items (Google Reader), Facbeook likes and tweets make for a very immediate way of saying what you want to say, hinting
at it, simply by (re)posting a link.The New Mentors?
I don't pay a lot of attention to it. Like Aaron said
"It seems a lot of the SEO discourse at the public level has dropped off sharply in quality (but not in quantity) over the past couple years" and Rae answered "SEO Bloggers are like reality TV stars... Most don’t have the talent, they just have the platform to pretend they do."
Just from impression I'd say the new mentors come more from the social media/networking side of things now. Chris, Li, Brogan - huge. And they definitely give back, inspire, answer. Chris Brogan is to social networking what Darren is to blogging. Glenn Allsop is pouring back everything he knows about making money with sites back into his (virtually unmonetized) blog.The New Cre8asite Forums?
If a site owner would come with Cre8asite into the website hospital, we'd have dozens of creative ideas to get the thing jump started again:
-scour social media and lead questions back to the forum for expanded talk;
-introduce ad revenue sharing on those threads;
-call in personal favors and have one SEO god per week answers questions from the community;
-encourage people to fan/like/follow Cre8asite groups/pages/lists on Facebook and Twitter so that the social buzz of C8 spreads;
-write blog-post like entries to draw traffic;
The problem is though that there is no common interest in a community site like C8 to do so. There is no money to interest or force the owner ('owner' generic, not talking about you, Kim) because there is no owner. And faced with the choice between building our lives, our families, our businesses, our blogs ... or a forum we don't own ... the choice is clear, right?
Just as the drone of multitasking has made way for the zen of single-tasking, so I announced earlier this year (on Twitter...) that I expect 2010 to be the start of social withdrawal. My own post of how I went X days without Twitter has been just one of many that you can find of people taking a step back and saying "wow... this is getting to much..."
Filters, filtering, and a trustworthy solid signal of quality will (again) become important to people. That could very well be a new place for C8.