On the Internet, there are numerous sites and ways for people of similar interests or backgrounds to connect, share ideas, and interact. Social networking sites and social media are among the latest developments, but one of the longest running is the concept of the Internet forum. Forums are an interesting area for a company to expand its outsourcing and online marketing efforts. The way things work in a well-run forum makes it difficult if not outright impossible to really force anything onto it and some communities are highly suspicious and alert for accounts created only to post ads or generate links to websites.
The Nature of Forums
Forums are also known as message boards. Users create “threads” to discuss a topic. Most forums have sub-forums that are used to direct certain threads or topics, usually allowing for a limitation of scope. For example, a forum dedicated to painting in general may have sub-forums covering famous styles. Forum moderation is a critical component of keeping a forum healthy and active, since moderators are tasked with punishing infractions, removing spam, keeping the peace, and generally keeping order.
Interestingly, forums and forum moderation can actually be very good tools for a business to employ. The basic idea is that, sooner or later, customers of a given company are going to want a place to gather and discuss information. This kind of setup can include advice, comments, and complaints. It is in the best interest of most companies that this sort of discussion occurs in a place that combines both free speech and some degree of control. Some huge companies actually have forums on their own websites, and their forum moderation team is usually successful at keeping things under control while still allowing legitimate criticism about the products to occur.
Forums and community moderation can be used to play a small part in promoting a website. Most forums allow for signatures to be attached to posts. These can include text or hyperlinks to specific websites – including those that are being boosted via an SEO campaign. However, depending on how strict the forum moderation is, the post itself should be a legitimate contribution to the topic of the thread it is added to. Philippines outsourcing providers with experience are aware of this, though most stick to less well-moderated sites.
Forum moderation has some use in increasing the prominence of a site, though the social aspect is dwindling down due to the prevalence of social networking sites. The popularity of forums is waning, though many of the larger ones still have a strong presence on the Internet and can still be part of a solid Internet marketing plan.