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Public area => The Pub => Off-topic => Topic started by: Wanchope on May 4th, 2013, 12:59 AM

Title: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 4th, 2013, 12:59 AM
This is very annoying or better put frustrating. Having a competitor who have been there for about 10 years. Membership running to over 1 million, post running to over 12 million. You are new, very few inactive members. Most posts are made by you. In such case, how do you survive? Suggestions are needed.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Arantor on May 4th, 2013, 01:01 AM
I'd start by wondering why I entered such a niche.

I'd then start looking at what I could offer that the other sites aren't offering, because if I can't offer something unique to my site (that people want to come and see) there is no reason why they would come to my site rather than the well established site.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 4th, 2013, 01:17 AM
Quote from wanchope on May 4th, 2013, 12:59 AM
Most posts are made by you. In such case, how do you survive? Suggestions are needed.
Thanks.
It's gonna be hard. Really hard. I don't know what the subject of your forum is, but when I started my forum I was able to "steal" a large amount of members because the other forum we were all hanging out at was crashing a lot, and the admin was an idiot. Luckily I was able to keep a fair amount of members, but even then it's very hard to get new members. I've even tried ads and Facebook and other things. I shut it down for a year but brought it up again with no pie-in-the-sky dreams. I'm fine with that now. It's just a hobby.

The only thing that draws people is content. It might be debating a viewpoint (like my forum) or information that people really need, or entertainment they like to enjoy. Without knowing what your subject is I can't say much more. But I will say you have a tough row to hoe out there. It's a jungle.

Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 4th, 2013, 06:23 AM
^^Lucky you, your Competitor is stupid enough to allow the crashing of his forum. Mine is not as he is running on dedicated server which he is managing himself.
I created a general purpose forum that will be flexible to be offering all topics. I started from sports angle it was getting some traffic from Google but that is it. My competitor offers it as well and it is very lively down there.
I added technology, there is am immediate impact, few members but fewer post. Some manages to ask questions but will not return to see the answer. Some just appreciate your efforts but thats it. Back in my competitor's house, he is banning as many members as possible, insulting and telling them he doesn't need them and yet they are there asking for forgiveness. Are they blind? Can't they see there is a 'better' option?
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 4th, 2013, 02:22 PM
Quote from wanchope on May 4th, 2013, 06:23 AM
^^Lucky you, your Competitor is stupid enough to allow the crashing of his forum. Mine is not as he is running on dedicated server which he is managing himself.
Oh he's stupid alright. Not only is (was) the former Admin an idiot (not the guys running it now), the person that owns the domain and forum can't be gotten hold of. He doesn't use the forum at all nor care that it's operating. The forum has been stuck in a release candidate version for years because neither I nor the people who run it now can get him to answer emails. It's like it's stuck in the Twilight Zone forever.
Quote
I created a general purpose forum that will be flexible to be offering all topics. I started from sports angle it was getting some traffic from Google but that is it. My competitor offers it as well and it is very lively down there.
General purpose forum? I just don't think that's going to get you very far wanchope. You really need a focus and content that others don't have, a take on a topic that nobody else is presenting. You mentioned sports and "all topics". I'm sorry to say, in my mind, that isn't going to get you anywhere, unless you just want a hobby to tinker with.
Quote
I added technology, there is am immediate impact, few members but fewer post. Some manages to ask questions but will not return to see the answer. Some just appreciate your efforts but thats it. Back in my competitor's house, he is banning as many members as possible, insulting and telling them he doesn't need them and yet they are there asking for forgiveness. Are they blind? Can't they see there is a 'better' option?
Well that's the community aspect of the forum working. People form bonds with other members on forums. Bad things can happen and they still want to interact with the people they are friends with. In fact taking into account the bonds that forum, banning certain popular members can create even more drama on the forum that people like to watch, sorta like watching a massive car accident - ever notice all the people that stop and watch? You'll have a group that supports the ban, and another that supports the banned member, PMs will start flying ... Notice the tag line for this project - "Community Builder"? Well that's really true for forums.

I haven't been banned from too many forums but I was banned last year from a model train forum. Even though they had an off-topic area they didn't know how to moderate it very well. Since I have very strong forum personality and views :), I would get into politics and religion and before you knew it the longer term members (sort of old fogies) would call the Mod Squad in because they couldn't handle it. Instead of moderating things properly before things blew up, I got the blame for it and finally got the Ban Hammer. But the point is I still miss the interaction with some of the friends I made, that's why I put up with the poor staff there for a long time.

So the point is, you are not only trying to compete on content, you are trying to pull off members that have formed bonds at the other forum(s). It's tough to do. In order to do that your content is going to have to be above and beyond what they have.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Nao on May 4th, 2013, 03:05 PM
I had a very niche forum back in 2003. It was an instant success because I was the authority on that particular niche subject. But managing it was a real chore... After a few years, I voluntarily made it harder for people to post; as a result, about 90% of my users left, leaving me with way more time for my other interests, ah ah... Well, after that I turned my forum into a generalist one (noisen.com), and gathered about 5 to 10 new users in the last 6 years.  The rest are my long-time buddies who're there because they like me and they like what we talk about.

Conclusion:
- don't start a forum just because you want to compete with someone else; it has to be there to FILL a need, OR to help you get to grips with managing a website or market it; it's all about the journey, not the destination.
- don't start a forum if you're not prepared to deal with its success;
- don't start a forum if you're not using Wedge. Obviously.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 4th, 2013, 04:47 PM
Thanks @xrunner
I have an intention of making the forum a digital(virtual) nation, a role playing forum a sort of. A virtual country must have every aspect of real life just like a real country, the only difference here is that my forum will be a virtual one **hope am not confusing anybody**. My intention of creating the community is not to compete but to succeed with it but the fact still remains, our competitors remains a big problem to road to our success (especially if they are far better than us). I started from sports, traffic but no participation, I added technology and there is a bit improvement, maybe I have to forget how successful my 'enemy' is and mind my own business.
Quote
- don't start a forum if you're not prepared to deal with its success
Yes I agree, but how do you deal with it if it seems you are heading to failure?
Quote
- don't start a forum if you're not using Wedge. Obviously.
Yes!!!!!!! :D
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Nao on May 4th, 2013, 06:30 PM
If it fails -- live with it, otherwise do something else with your life...
For instance, I spent many months building a website dedicated to prog rock reviews, with samples and all, and opened a forum next to it... Well, I wasn't expecting a smashing success, but I got less than that... Still, I made that website because I felt I had something to say. I stopped updating it years ago, but there are still a few pages of it that attract guests who post to ask for more info about the music. Not much -- but I'm satisfied with it. And, more importantly, I don't feel like it was a waste of time...
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 5th, 2013, 04:11 AM
Quote from Wanchope on May 4th, 2013, 04:47 PM
Thanks @xrunner
You're welcome. :)
Quote
I started from sports, traffic but no participation, I added technology and there is a bit improvement, maybe I have to forget how successful my 'enemy' is and mind my own business.
Well I've had a few glasses of wine so I'm free-thinking here ...

Use a little politics. :)

Are you a member of the other forum you are competing with? If so, you must have some friends there. Try to build a group that agrees with your ideas. Tell them you are going to start another forum and ask them to help out. If you play your cards right, you can get some good helpers to assist you. Don't go it alone. I'd never have had any success going it alone. I had people who agreed with me and helped me in the beginning. Not with the technical aspect but with the social/political aspect. :cool:

These people will bring along other people you don't know. Work it all from both ends. :)
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 5th, 2013, 05:44 AM
I have account in the other forum but not active, just a few posts there, making friends or drawing followers are quite hard as the admin discouraged it from day 1, he calls it –avoiding revolution. Pm is disabled and other communication line between users cut.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 5th, 2013, 02:40 PM
Quote from Wanchope on May 5th, 2013, 05:44 AM
I have account in the other forum but not active, just a few posts there, making friends or drawing followers are quite hard as the admin discouraged it from day 1, he calls it –avoiding revolution. Pm is disabled and other communication line between users cut.
Well that guy sounds like a real ass. Can you make a signature with a link to your forum? Surely members don't like those restrictions. You could try advertising your forum like "We have PMs enabled and love revolution here! --> xxxxxxxx"

Oh but I suppose the idiot would remove it.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 5th, 2013, 03:02 PM
^^ Remove it? That's understatement, he will ban me instantly. I will try to start a topic of that but I have seen many of them before. Just thinking I don't have to draw my traffic from his forum.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 5th, 2013, 06:04 PM
Quote from Wanchope on May 5th, 2013, 03:02 PM
^^ Remove it? That's understatement, he will ban me instantly. I will try to start a topic of that but I have seen many of them before. Just thinking I don't have to draw my traffic from his forum.
OK, I gotta check out this place. Can you post the link to it?
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 5th, 2013, 06:10 PM
Sure, he was using SMF but he recently hired programmers who designed a pyton custom script him, his link
nairaland.com.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Nao on May 5th, 2013, 06:28 PM
Lol. you're trying to compete with nairaland...? :lol:
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 5th, 2013, 06:33 PM
Quote from Wanchope on May 5th, 2013, 06:10 PM
Sure, he was using SMF but he recently hired programmers who designed a pyton custom script him, his link
nairaland.com.
Well ... I don't know about your competing on content but I believe you can blow them away with pretty much a standard SMF or other forum installation. That place looks ... just awful. :sob:

I do see a lot of posts that have been hidden, and other gems like this one -

How To Hack Any Email Account

Lovely. :hmm:
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 5th, 2013, 06:38 PM
Compete? Yes, anyone that will give your clients an option is your competitor.
Talking of competition, this guy - nigerianbestforum.com actually gave him a run for his money until he killed his forum with multiple  ads.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 5th, 2013, 06:55 PM
Quote
I do see a lot of posts that have been hidden
Yes, he actually wrote an anti spam bot that bans members who posts some certain keywords, the spam bot will ban and also hide the post. The moderator will now see the post for final decisions, a semi automatic moderation a sort of.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 5th, 2013, 07:01 PM
Quote from Wanchope on May 5th, 2013, 06:55 PM
Quote
I do see a lot of posts that have been hidden
Yes, he actually wrote an anti spam bot that bans members who posts some certain keywords, the spam bot will ban and also hide the post. The moderator will now see the post for final decisions, a semi automatic moderation a sort of.
This guy would fit right in with Stalin if he were still alive. Are these keyword-bombs known to everyone? Geez, if you type the wrong thing by accident you're history, like stepping on a land mine. >:(
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Arantor on May 5th, 2013, 07:04 PM
Wedge has some of what is described here, the ability to moderate or prevent posts even being made if they contain certain words. But you can't issue warnings or bans because of it for precisely the 'stepping on a land mine' issue mentioned.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 5th, 2013, 07:15 PM
Quote from Arantor on May 5th, 2013, 07:04 PM
Wedge has some of what is described here, the ability to moderate or prevent posts even being made if they contain certain words. But you can't issue warnings or bans because of it for precisely the 'stepping on a land mine' issue mentioned.
Yea as long as it's like that you can at least PM an Admin and find out what's up. But geez - it's not good hospitality to ban somebody for a typing error or unknown rule!

I looked at the registration process there. First off - they want your email address to be verified - no TOS nor nuthing is shown to you. Just please type in your email address for us. :hmm:

Of course I didn't use my own at that place, I made one up and used mailinator to get the confirmation link. Then you still get no TOS. Where are the terms? Where are the rules? Oh I know, the rules are whatever the Admin says they are from second to second ... :lol:

Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Arantor on May 5th, 2013, 07:23 PM
That, and the fact that Wedge's system allows the admin to define a message shown to the user when such moderation happens ;)

Ultimately it's yet more reasons to dislike Nairaland :lol:
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 5th, 2013, 07:33 PM
Quote from Arantor on May 5th, 2013, 07:23 PM
That, and the fact that Wedge's system allows the admin to define a message shown to the user when such moderation happens ;)

Ultimately it's yet more reasons to dislike Nairaland :lol:
When wanchope mentioned competing with another forum with a lot of traffic, I figured it was some fairly high quality place, albeit with a power-mad Admin. But that place? I don't see how it would be too hard to compete with at all. It's just a jack of all trades master of none forum. I'd think the inhabitants would be chomping at the bit to get the hell out of there - if just to avoid the awful looks.

Hell, just figure out a decent domain name for a Nigerian forum and start filling it up with the same topics LOL. The Nigerian flag is green/white/little yellow - get a pretty theme for your forum - it'll look 1000 times better right off. People are bound to find it after a while and start moving over to the land of sanity. :lol:
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 5th, 2013, 08:02 PM
@xrunner

Thanks for your advice, Nigerian flag colour is green white green. This guy (nigeriabestforum.com) did what you suggested but he is failing woefully after years of trial.

@Arantor

I  will ask questions on the functionality when am free to booth my pc.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 6th, 2013, 12:26 AM
Quote from Wanchope on May 5th, 2013, 08:02 PM
This guy (nigeriabestforum.com) did what you suggested but he is failing woefully after years of trial.
@Wanchope

You said "he is failing woefully after years of trial."

His forum has -

501,328 Posts in 204,428 Topics by 354,621 Members

Now, I am fully aware that those numbers don't mean there is all quality content there, but why do you say it's failing woefully? :hmm:
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Arantor on May 6th, 2013, 12:29 AM
Compared to the 1m+ topics and 12m+ posts on Nairaland, it is a hard competition... I'm not sure I'd call it failing woefully - but I think I would conclude it is failing in trying to be competition. People don't like change.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 6th, 2013, 12:41 AM
Quote from Arantor on May 6th, 2013, 12:29 AM
People don't like change.
No they sure don't. I posted a topic about me possibly changing forum software in our Back Office and this is an exact quote from a member -

"I hate change (try going through it 8+ times at one website for 12 years, it's also about to get another upgrade) but that actually looks nice, in a way."

Going back to the OP -
Quote from Wanchope on May 4th, 2013, 12:59 AM
This is very annoying or better put frustrating. Having a competitor who have been there for about 10 years. Membership running to over 1 million, post running to over 12 million. You are new, very few inactive members. Most posts are made by you. In such case, how do you survive? Suggestions are needed.
Thanks.
There's already a heavy hitter Nigerian forum. There's also another one (NBF) that you say is failing woefully. Is there really room for yet another Nigerian forum, given the existing players in the field? :wow:
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Arantor on May 6th, 2013, 12:46 AM
8 times in 12 years for actual software change is a big deal, suggests that not enough thought or research was put in, in the first place.

SMF -> Wedge is not such a big jump, though. It's much like the jump from Windows 98 to Windows XP, you can drive it readily enough without any guidance but once you get under the hood, there are all kinds of awesome extras in there.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 6th, 2013, 12:53 AM
Quote from Arantor on May 6th, 2013, 12:46 AM
8 times in 12 years for actual software change is a big deal, suggests that not enough thought or research was put in, in the first place.
Yea, I'm not sure what site he's referring to.
Quote
SMF -> Wedge is not such a big jump, though. It's much like the jump from Windows 98 to Windows XP, you can drive it readily enough without any guidance but once you get under the hood, there are all kinds of awesome extras in there.
I'm sure they'll like it. After the initial grumbling and such anyway. But it's not going to be dumped in their lap in any case. They'll have plenty of time to play with it on a test forum when the time comes. :)
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 6th, 2013, 01:03 AM
Yeah, I understand your points ut you should know that two years ago, Nairaland admin was seeing the Nigeriabestforum  guy as a very strong competitor, the later messed it up by creating multiple sub-domains on his forum, redirecting users there and thereby confusing the visitors and himself as well.Creating uncountable ads with turns people off.

@Arantor

The question I wanted to ask you was based on your comment here, I quote
Quote
Wedge has some of what is described here, the ability to moderate or prevent posts even being made if they contain certain words. But you can't issue warnings or bans because of it for precisely the 'stepping on a land mine' issue mentioned.
Please can you shed more light on it. I recently studied Nairaland Anti Spam bot and was highly impressed, looks like it took him many months to write, I think they where 3 who designed the robot, a break down on what he it does
It scan all the post in the forum - both new topics and new replys
It ban any user whose keyword is in his blacklisted database ( the admin will add the blacklisted keyword)
It will hide the post, pending review by the thread moderator
It will post on the banned users profile - You are banned from posting in this forum, ban expires @ date
The both can post rely if post triggers a favored topic and some of its replys are human like
** He (the admin) can login with the bots ID**
**Admin can ban, deletes bot's account and create a new one**

he calls it by the name - Pyguru here is it's profile
Code: [Select]
http://www.nairaland.com/pyguru
In case you want to see the robots full details, use this login I just created
username - spyao
password - nairaland

Thanks
 
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 6th, 2013, 01:10 AM
Quote from xrunner on May 6th, 2013, 12:41 AM
Quote from Arantor on May 6th, 2013, 12:29 AM
People don't like change.
No they sure don't. I posted a topic about me possibly changing forum software in our Back Office and this is an exact quote from a member -

"I hate change (try going through it 8+ times at one website for 12 years, it's also about to get another upgrade) but that actually looks nice, in a way."

Going back to the OP -
Quote from Wanchope on May 4th, 2013, 12:59 AM
This is very annoying or better put frustrating. Having a competitor who have been there for about 10 years. Membership running to over 1 million, post running to over 12 million. You are new, very few inactive members. Most posts are made by you. In such case, how do you survive? Suggestions are needed.
Thanks.
There's already a heavy hitter Nigerian forum. There's also another one (NBF) that you say is failing woefully. Is there really room for yet another Nigerian forum, given the existing players in the field? :wow:
I am not creating Nigerian forum, i am creating forum, a world wide sort of but I cam starting with Nigerians because, I know I can still get huge load of Nigerian traffic, with Nigerians, I will target Indians and then go world wide ( stupid dream isn't it?). I am trying creating a role playing forum like Giaonline but will versatile discussion base. My forum's name does not reflect Nigeria but many post do because I am targeting Nigerian traffic for now.
Thanks.
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Arantor on May 6th, 2013, 01:12 AM
Quote
Please can you shed more light on it.
Ours is a system I built for Wedge (currently it has a bug, which I'm convinced is a jQuery regression bug, but that's another matter)

At the point a post is saved, whether it is a new topic or just a post, rules are evaluated. Depending on those rules, several things can happen:
* prevent the post being made
* put the post for moderation
* lock/unlock the topic[1]
* pin/unpin the topic

You can give it a set of criteria, too. For each action you want to carry out, you can add one or more criteria, based on the following:
* in/not in a given board
* user has less than/more than/equal to a given post count
* user has less than/more than/equal to a given number of infraction points
* subject begins with/contains/ends with given words
* body begins with/contains/ends with given words
* user is in/not in one or more groups
* post contains less than/more than/equal to a given number of links

All of these can be mixed and matched, for example you can set it up so that a post will be moderated if it contains the f-word, unless the user is an admin and is not in a staff board, for example.

There are also extra plugins that add additional criteria to these options, so that you can limit posts that are too long or too short, or have too many smileys or too many images. (And none of these plugins requires any changes to ANY file in Wedge.)


The moderation filters system is designed to deal with the cases that can be dealt with easily (like profanity or general moderation, this same system deals with if you want to moderate the first 5 posts of a user), whereas cases of spam would generally need to be looked at by a moderator, and that's why you issue moderators.

Frankly, the way he's going about it is ridiculous.
 1. This is particularly cool, you can set it up so moderators can just start a post with '/lock' and it'll lock the post for them automatically
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: xrunner on May 6th, 2013, 01:24 AM
Cool shit man, cool shit! :yobrother:
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 6th, 2013, 01:34 AM
Wedge! I like your robotic moderation, please I want to know if all post will be scanned or post from specific group.
I will also suggest you add message to the user's screen when his post is held on moderation like

Apologies, your post is held on moderation due to suspected activities.You may lose your account... and money :D

Please don't mind my last two words
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Arantor on May 6th, 2013, 01:37 AM
Quote
I like your robotic moderation, please I want to know if all post will be scanned or post from specific group.
You know, I'd REALLY like it if you would read what has been posted. Your question would have already been answered. All posts are checked but action is only taken if the criteria are actually met, like I already said, including the fact that group access is also one of those criteria you can play with. I even gave you a specific example of not applying it to a certain group.

I will also suggest you spend a bit of time reading around this forum. The feature you 'suggest I add' was added MONTHS ago. Although it has had an overhaul in recent times in line with other changes in the guts of Wedge due to the warning system.

I have documented and provided screenshots of all this stuff, multiple times over in some places.


:edit: The UI was built over a year ago - http://wedge.org/pub/feats/7099/moderation-filters-ui/ (and I built the UI some time after I built the underlying logic)
Title: Re: Surviving Your Competitor
Post by: Wanchope on May 6th, 2013, 01:43 AM
I can't wait to lay my hands on it. Reading the thread.Thanks