Forum Con - Raymond Lyle - Developing and Monetizing Forums and Communities


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Raymond Lyle has developed large and successful forums and worked both the media and advertising sides within communities. This discussion will help publishers grow and develop their communities and drive user-generated content that brings value to both users and advertisers. Ray will also share his expertise on using forums and communities to drive traffic and make sales.

Raymond joined VigLink via Driving Revenue, which he co-founded served as CEO. Raymond joined VigLink via Viglink’s acquisition of Driving Revenue, which he co-founded and led as CEO. Prior to Driving Revenue, Raymond spent 5 years at Leapfrog Online (the 11th largest interactive marketing firm – Adage), where his efforts propelled them to be the 6th largest SEM firm in the country.

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Forum Con - Raymond Lyle - Developing and Monetizing Forums and Communities

  1. 1. Developing and monetizing forums and communities. Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. History of Forums <ul><li>Forums have been around forever and ever – </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Before Chat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Before Social Media </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Before Blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Before Twitter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Before The Dinosaurs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Earliest forums dated back to 1994 - AVS Since 1995! </li></ul></ul>Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved. “ The Web's top hangout for lonely folk”
  3. 3. Growing a site from scratch <ul><li>Topic </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pick a topic that you love/have expertise </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Friends </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Recruit all of your friends to help </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Momentum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The hardest part is lift off! </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The most important thing forums have to offer is content – the more the better! </li></ul></ul>Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved. Easier Said then Done
  4. 4. Why have forums not evolved/become mainstream? <ul><ul><li>The overall design is still very antiquated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mostly started for passion and not for business </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not sexy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Never covered in media/no mainstream appeal </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Big Business not behind it </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Known as a place for us nerds to gather </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Other distractions – Facebook, twitter, blogs </li></ul></ul>Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  5. 5. – Growing a site from Scratch <ul><li>Our Story – A combination of Design, Branding, Events and Brand ambassadors </li></ul>L Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  6. 6. Hype/Branding/ <ul><li>In the hypercompetitive world of Automotive based forums we had to come out of the gate strong! </li></ul><ul><li>- we put our money and resources where our mouth was.. </li></ul>Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  7. 7. Branding - <ul><li>We went out and purchased a 3 digit domain – almost unheard of in the forum space </li></ul>Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  8. 8. Brand recognition aka “ repping ” <ul><li>Giving your community the sense of belonging, exclusivity and ownership. </li></ul>Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  9. 9. Repping/Branding Takes off! Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  10. 10. Merchandise <ul><li>Members started to buy any and all merchandise with our Logo on it! </li></ul>Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  11. 11. Members taking it a little too far… Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  12. 12. EEEK! Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  13. 13. Custom Made Avatars – huge hit! Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  14. 14. Events – show your face! <ul><li>Started a cross country car rally – Goldrush~ </li></ul>Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  15. 15. Forums 2.0 <ul><li>Google gets smarter – forums continue to index better </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Google starts to clamp down on indexing content farms and start to reward real content </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Much prettier </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Forums are starting to look more modern </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Technologies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dedicated advertising technologies made specifically for forum content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TapaTalk </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Postrealease </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>VigLink </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>vBseo </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>vBulletin </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Taken more seriously – IB, VS, CG </li></ul>Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  16. 16. Making money with your forum <ul><li>Most common issues on existing forums - People expect it for free??? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Ease in to monetizing your forum </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Least aggressive –> Most aggressive </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Get the support of your inner team, then your community </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Explain the costs and reasoning </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Give back – events, giveaways, donations </li></ul></ul></ul>Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  17. 17. Getting the last drip of Juice from your Orange <ul><li>AdSense </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The main staple of making money online with any website </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sponsorships </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The original way for forums to survive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Are you selling your yearly space too cheap? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Can you sell on a CPM? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Increase price every year/with increased traffic </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Don’t give the farm away for free! </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>New technologies – try them out – they work </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Postrelease </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Viglink </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>In text player –Konetra, Vibrant </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data reselling </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Rapleaf, Chango, Blue Kai </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tapatalk </li></ul></ul>Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.
  18. 18. Thank You! Any questions, comments – Confidential © VigLink All Rights Reserved.