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Cre8asiteforums

Discussing Web Design & Marketing Since 1998
Closing May 25. Investment Opportunity.

cre8pc

What Would It Take To Keep The Forums From Closing?

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As you might guess, I'm hearing from friends and members who are surprised, sad, and even hopeful that I might change my mind. What I didn't expect was to wonder where *I* would go whenever I have a question or need advice. It's the same question some of you have.

Why Close?

1. Cost. $135 month for hosting, but if traffic goes up, so does the cost. Because I wanted the tech support, these forums are hosted by the company that makes the software. I had them remove some of the bells and whistles like the commerce app to keep the costs steady.

2. $50/year for the license for the software.

3. $120 year for additional data on another server that holds older files including the old blog and pages built while the forums were with Internet Marketing Ninjas.

4. There are about 5 or 6 domains. I released 2 of them.

5. Time. This is a 24/7 job for no pay.

6. Income since December 2017 from donations $100

7. Adsense - poor performance due to the lack of traffic. I removed them.

Maintenance and Operation

1. Registrations - Despite the hoops and measures I added to the new registration form, 99% of every new registration is rejected because it triggers the spam alarms, doesn't meet our criteria for acceptance (every new registration is researched to see if it is human and has a history of spamming), or I can tell from the answers the person has one goal, which is to link drop. 

2. In the event that someone is accepted, they receive a welcome PM with an invitation to read the rules and reminder that if they spam the forums, I report them to where I report spammers.  Nearly every one of those PM's is unread (I have access to see if it was.)

3. Every month I remove link and article drop posts. They wait a month or so after registering and then make their move. They are banned immediately.

4. Did I mention this is a 24/7 unpaid battle against SEO spammers?  I would much rather be doing something worthwhile with my time.

5. Software updates and tech weirdness...every month. I have good tech support who know me by now.  Moving the forums from Rackspace to their new home was really complicated. Again, I would like to be using my time for other things, like my job or on weekends, holidays, middle of the night....not having to fix something or ban a user, etc.

Shrinking the Room

1. It costs far less to host a tiny private place that is open to the regulars here. 

2. I'm not sure if I can shut down the other server. I need to check to see if those files are still needed.

3. I can put the entire forums on read-only, but that is not free.  That would be how the archives of the early days of SEO would be available. 

4. I believe they said that I can put the whole forums off-line and provide private access to a group with settings that let them in. Not free but pretty cheap if what they said is true ($25/mos ?)

5. I would consider it only if registration is closed and the only people who have access are vetted and known.

There are options but there are really just a few of you who are regulars. Most everyone has moved on. 

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$135 month for hosting - that is insane. What is the daily pageviews from Analytics? According to SEMRush there is hardly any traffic, just a few random keywords bring traffic in. Is that reality? I am sure we could find much cheaper hosting, and find a way to keep spammers out (or, let them in and give more people full mod powers to just delete and block people). But, I think none of us old timers really want to be looking after a forum, as much as we might say now "I'll help keep it running!". 

While it's hard to let go, sometimes you must. I ditched a lot of domains in the last few years - some domains that I thought I would never let go. I didn't even bother saving the content on some (I still have too many!). But, if it is taking TIME and ENERGY, that is the real issue.

I really suggest that we create a group on Facebook - most of us probably have an account there. People can drop in and ask the odd question, we can easily stay in touch, and no costs to anybody. Just call it Cre8asiteforum and few new SEO spammers will know the name, so won't target it. If anybody isn't on Facebook, well, they can make an account if they want to stay in touch. And for those that are anon here, we can just pretend we don't know who you are in real life.

Other than Facebook, there is really only Google+, which even I no longer look at, or a simple free hosted forum. But then, that will just have the same problems plus the added risk that they can pull the plug at any moment. Or we just invade a random forum that's out there! Doesn't even have to be web related, there's probably a nice cooking or home design forum we could sneak into and chat in one of the general areas, nobody will know we're there!

If we open a Facebook Group soon, we could each review our own threads here and copy over any we feel we want to keep alive. Although, in all honesty, why bother? It's just words. In the old days they would have been blown away by the wind long ago, why the need to archive everything digital? (OK, the answer to that is targeted advertising!).

 

 

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Or, another crazy idea. I have recently been looking at Twitter a tiny bit more (still only about 10 tweets in the last year!). We could just go there, and agree to always use #cre8 when saying anything web related that we'd normally post here. But I think FB would be easier. 

 

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Oh, and final crazy idea... WordPress.

Rather than a forum, just have a blog. Let anybody comment. Make people you know authors (i.e. us lot and any other trustworthy people interested). Then offer paid posts for new contributors - so long as all links are nofollow Google will be happy, and if done on this same domain with its old "authority", you can charge for people to blog. Don't get greedy, but $25 will probably get enough people interested to pay for your time. 

Then each blog post is like a new thread - but rather than being one liners that lead to a discussion, it will encourage the OP to do some research, thinking etc. and talk more about where they're at.

Easy to use subscription for updates on new posts and new comments. One click updates. And you could probably just use your existing hosting for it. 

Yeah, I'd do that. Maybe put it to the vote:

  • Facebook Group
  • WordPress installation on cre8asiteforums.com
  • Twitter #cre8
  • Yahoo! :)

 

 

 

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According to SEMRush there is hardly any traffic, just a few random keywords bring traffic in. Is that reality?

Agreed. They based that on what the traffic was like when I got it back from Jim last winter and there was a flurry of activity. I had them change it earlier this week, and it dropped to $40 and then by yesterday they said it went it back up, so I don't like the head games.

That said, they know the software. It was worth the cost to have them deal with the issues and upgrades. I didn't want the aggravation. 

 

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Hi Kimberly Berg, 

Your IPS Community in the Cloud, cre8asiteforums.com, has had 42 online users in the past 48 hours, exceeding the 40 user limit of your plan.

We calculate online user counts on a 48 hour rolling average. You can view your online user usage statistics for the last seven days by going in the client area.

To ensure your community is still available, your community has been automatically upgraded to the Super 65 plan which is $45.00 per month. Your renewal date has not changed and you will not be charged the new package price until your normal renewal date on 05 June. You can visit our web site to see all the details on this new plan.

 

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That is shocking. 42 users in 48 hours? My web host will handle 50,000 daily users for about $10 a month. How do these guys justify those rates?!??? 

Ditch them. Move domain to new hosting and leave that on the home page as reason why you had to close. Wait for them to beg forgiveness. Start a FB group.

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https://www.facebook.com/Cre8asiteforums/ exists. Could be turned into a Group. However, some of the members are not on Facebook and don't want to be.

Moving the data anywhere is not a job for the faint of heart. Been there, done that.  It's an ordeal. 

 

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I handled the data migration for one server move. Man, that was *not* a fun experience...

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The forums software is not just what you see here. It comes with a blog, commerce, clubs, and other bells and whistles I don't use. I thought I would but again, I don't have the time to put into all that.

There is a discussion on Facebook (private area that Ammon has) and the discussion on hosting costs, but not on managing the forums and handling the job, which is 24/7. 

 

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I handled the data migration for one server move. Man, that was *not* a fun experience..

You should have heard the guy when it was moved from Rackspace to where it is now. It almost was not done and I was about to close it down then.

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Server stats

Page Views
Past Seven Days
187,687 , 1.86 GB / 7.81 GB

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There are interested parties in taking over the forums and ideas floating around in 3 different places. I'm opening up a private, off planet forum for discussion of what to do, by whom, where, etc.

Please PM me for access. Thanks!

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1 hour ago, cre8pc said:

However, some of the members are not on Facebook and don't want to be.

Well, if you can be anonymous here, you can be anonymous on Facebook too. I mean, who only has one profile?

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I think you really nailed it there Kim about the daily grind with the forums and the work involved.

I'm sure some financial & technical plan will jump up in the next few weeks... but who will actually run the forums on a daily basis? I remember what a nightmare it was dealing with spammers, checking out email addresses, blocking/banning - all that good stuff that no-one ever saw out front.

But... I do hope a rescue package comes into play. Rockefeller can sell his artworks for record prices... but these forums are priceless.

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At the very least, I'd certainly be willing to dedicate some time to moderate and maintain the site.

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And I'd also be happy to pitch in to help on migrating/converting the site, if that ends up being a viable path.

 

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I could give you some moderator time for going through new registrations.  Not 24/7, though - how many people would it take to make it less of a pain?  

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The last migration was a pain. One of the support discussions is 40 posts long. The data is old. It was hacked and infected and on two separate hosts. They figure out the pile of mess and they know their software. I have run into problems where people are not familiar with Invision and use other board software. This software has much to offer. I just have it all turned off because the community wasn't showing much interest in them.

 

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The settings for the private Backwoods Bar should be working now. Its where I'm posting the finer details for hosting, software, etc. Anyone who is not a member has to register for the forums and tell me they are so I will approve them and give them access to the private forum. Members who want access need to request it, unless I opened door for you already.

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Where is the Backwoods Bar? #confused

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You should see it at the very top. I gave you access earlier today. Still fiddling with settings though. 

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I made another change...refresh it and lemme know.

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All the past moderators should have full access to it now.

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can i have a look in to see what sort of specs are needed etc?

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Both Ken's should see the Backwoods Bar forum at the top now.

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I have requested plans privately and will put that out that here as well. 

1. Hosting - if moving, there are two servers doing different things. One I have access to the CP. One I don't. The present license has to be changed to self hosting to get access for migration. 

2. Software - Keep Invision or choose different. Reimburse me for the renewal I just paid for ($25 for 6 months) if keeping. It could take time to learn this software if retained. It comes with many bells and whistles designed for revenue. This software, btw, was chosen years ago because the UI can be edited manually for a unique look and feel. At the time, we didn't want to look like everyone else. We had, at one time, different themes to meet different user needs.

3. Admin and maintenance - I don't come with it.  Somebody has to handle the registrations, moderation, upgrades, tech, etc.

4. Plan for the domains - Two are for sale now. I would like to keep the Cre8asiteforums.com domain unless there is an offer for it. There were others related to the site that have been carried all these years to protect the brand. I own them.

5. I'm assuming, and could be wrong, but I would be closing the Twitter, G+, and Facebook accounts.

6. Whomever takes the forums must provide a private area similar to the present LABS for a specific group of members here that I created it for, whom have asked for it to be retained. 

Please send to me via PM or using the Contact form. Thanks.

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