07 Jul 2008

Are Forums Going the Way of the Brontosaurus?

It’s QualityGal again. It appears that my boss hijacked my last blog post in the comments section with a rant about… blogs. Among other things. I’ll let my request for education simmer for a few more days to see if I get any more advice by way of links.

This rant took place right around the same time he replied to my email about a project I’m working on, where he told me that forums are so 2004, and that blogs are making them obsolete. He cited the decline of SEO forums and the rise of SEO blogs in his reasoning. Turns out, Graywolf was discussing forums vs blogs way back in 2006.

(I guess it’s important to distinguish that we’re talking about blogs from two different perspectives here. According to Jim, as I understand it, blogs in the link building context are bad, but blogs as community resources are good.)

Okay, so he shot down my plan for building a forum. I accept that. In this instance, I think he had a fair point. My target audience may not benefit as much from a forum as I had originally thought. I drafted a better idea. But what about forums in general?

I must admit, I frequent two or three forums on a daily basis – off the clock – as I have for several years. They’re not professional resources; the purpose they serve is primarily social in nature. Am I stuck in the stone age alongside my forum friends? Is our Fellowship of the Forums doomed to disappear in the shadow of the growing blogosphere?

I’d like to think that there is still value for forum as community in certain instances. Not everyone out there has the talent or the energy to create, maintain, and promote a blog.

Am I letting my naivete show?

– QualityGal

Title note: Aside from being extinct, the brontosaurus no longer properly exists, as it was renamed apatosaurus sometime after I grew up. Doubly burned.

Comments

  1. AdvancedIron.org July 7, 2008 at 4:47 PM

    Of course there’s still value in the community aspect of forums. I run the most active one online that has to do with the Marvel Comics’ character “Iron Man.” Fans come together to discuss whatever they like. It’s attached to a larger site with a lot of info about the character, but by far the forum gets the lion’s share of the traffic.

    The problem with blogs is that visitors cannot create their own topics, whereas on a forum a visitor can start up a conversation about whatever strikes their fancy.

    Vic

  2. Josh July 8, 2008 at 1:42 AM

    with so little time nowdays blogs are a lot more efficient to absorb news and information via a feed reader. i used to read lots of forums (not just SEO but music etc etc) but don’t have the time to sift through the noise to find the signal anymore.

    i don’t think they will die for a while because they do have some advantages over blogs (like starting your own thread, asking for help, asking questions etc) but I am sure their popularity has been declining

  3. Katinka spiritual July 8, 2008 at 9:01 AM

    I think for those who don’t blog, they will continue to write comments on blogs. Sort of like the difference between starting a thread and replying to one.

    There’s only one forum I still visit more than once a month – and it’s not much more than once a month that I’m on there…

  4. Michael Martinez July 8, 2008 at 6:42 PM

    Community blogging is the rave of the SEO future.

  5. Daryl Clark July 9, 2008 at 4:15 PM

    What holds true for the SEO world might not necessarily be a trend in other online communities. Being a long time member of one of the more popular SEO forums I have noticed most of pervious top contributors four years ago have moved on and started their own blogs or membership only SEO forums. I still like both. I look to authoritative bloggers to keep me in the loop but I search SEO forums for a few gold nuggets that might otherwise be horded.

  6. Pay Per Click Journal July 9, 2008 at 5:08 PM

    Yes we’d have to agree… perhaps in SEO forums are becoming more obsolete but in other areas they may be a lot more beneficial. In terms of being doubly burned — we’d like to call that doubly PWNED. Ask your boss if he knows what that means. 🙂

  7. Rich July 14, 2008 at 3:09 AM

    I still frequent a few forums but like yourself it is more for entertainment than a desire for information. My expectation of the quality of the information that I expect from the two mediums are completely different.

  8. wheel July 14, 2008 at 10:16 AM

    Please don’t take this wrong – but can we move away from personal anecdote style of posting? I appreciate you’re new, however if the blog has gone from mostly quiet to a strictly meet and greet without any SEO information, well for most of us it’s not worth dropping by.

  9. Josh July 14, 2008 at 10:20 AM

    @wheel: it’s not hard to chuck them in your feedreader. if you dont want to read then skip it.

    they are providing a free and valuable service, who are you to whinge about that?

  10. Jim Boykin July 14, 2008 at 9:33 PM

    Wheel, c’mon. you’re not being fair here.
    (on a side note, wheel is a good friend of mine….but I’m still gonna give you a shot in the arm the next time I see ya 😉 )

    let me throw in a few points.

    QualityGal has done 2 posts so far…my first 2 posts I ever did here said nothing really….trust is built up over time.

    I’ve been encourging her to post for several reasons…one, she was a skilled blogger before she came here, and two, I believe she can add value to my blog over time.

    Her first blog post actually got me going on a nice rant in the comments (I hijacked the comments on a long link building rant…).

    QualityGal actually has a lot to teach us. Keep in mind we often look at things from an algorthmitic standpoint, where as she’s been reviewing pages from the “user’s intent/quality side”.

    She’s in charge of over 40 writers at the moment, and in the next few months, she’ll be in charge of probably over a 100 writers.
    The content she creates is different than most of SEO content these days in that, the content she works with could probably pass a google quality reviewer with flying colors.

    I’m doing my best to do the best I can with what I’m doing…and part of that involves keeping tight lipped about things “link related”. That’s a fact….my blog can remain mostly silent, or I can add value by having QualityGal post when she can. Do I expect every post to set the blog on fire – no. That doesn’t happen overnight. Will it add SEO Value to my blog – yes, totally believe it will over time.

  11. Monica Willyard July 16, 2008 at 9:36 PM

    I enjoy QualityGal’s posts because she brings a human touch to the subject of seo. As a small business owner and a non-profit volunteer, it’s important to me to have more integrated information. I mean, tracking, keywords, and analytics are important. At the end of the day though, the end user’s experience is what keeps the phone ringing and the business growing. Sometimes I learn as much from the comments as from the posts.

    As for the forum versus blog thing, I’ve been asking the same question. I’m glad to know more about the subject. 🙂

  12. ScreenRant.com July 22, 2008 at 6:04 PM

    “the content she works with could probably pass a google quality reviewer with flying colors.”

    Jim, can you elaborate on that? I thought you were strictly a white hat kind of guy… why would content written by writers you employ “probably” pass a google quality reviewer?

    Thanks,

    Vic

  13. Jim Boykin July 22, 2008 at 9:29 PM

    Vic,
    the quote is “probably pass a google quality reviewer with flying colors”…..the probably is only the “with flying colors”…I know they’ll all pass very nicely….most will be of the highest of quality one could write.

  14. johnson789 July 23, 2008 at 2:41 AM

    I still frequent a few forums but like yourself it is more for entertainment than a desire for information. My expectation of the quality of the information that I expect from the two mediums are completely different.

  15. Worth Protection Security July 26, 2008 at 8:38 PM

    I have always liked forums in the past… That being said, I believe forums are becoming obsolete as blogs are taking over that niche.

    It’s all about staying on the cutting edge.

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