Big Money Forum?

Discussion in 'Business & Marketing' started by Scoglads, Sep 30, 2015.

  1. Scoglads

    Scoglads Newcomer

    So I was wondering, has anyone ever thought of getting like some serious money behind a roleplay forum?
    Like set up a site with paid staff members, custom coding, real world prizes, etc?
    Or even ones with like lower budgets (but still budgets) for their sites?
    Do you think something like that could be economically viable or helpful for the site?
  2. Elena

    Elena Resident Game Owner

    I think this hobby has to remain free in order to remain popular and accessible.

    Some do spend money for custom coding and for hosting their site. I use real world prizes, but without involving any money: free e-books and custom cds which are sent by e-mail, to be burnt by the receiver.
  3. VirusZero

    VirusZero Resident Game Owner

    Putting money into making a roleplay (or any website really) does not guarantee it's success. This is something I've stated on numerous other sites. Part of making a site succeed is having the drive to. It's easy to spend a thousand dollars to buy a top end hosting plan, buy a paid software, hire a theme designer to create a custom design, hire a modder to make all the custom parts a person could want. And yet none of that means anything if the admin gets bored after a month or is utterly unfit to be admin. (Who wants to be around that admin who is very obviously only making a site to be the centre of attention.)

    Even with a dedicated admin there is still no guarantee that a site will take off. There are still times when people don't join/stay active and so sites drop off.

    That stated, I don't necessarily think going all free is the only way to do things either. There are some advantages to using paid solutions. For example a paid web host often allows far more control and customization options than a free host. (I mean an admin can choose which plugins to install at any time, they don't have to wait for their host to decide.) Though using a paid host is not for everyone because the technical skill/knowledge increases. (If you think editing CSS or HTML is hard then hosting and dealing with PHP would be a nightmare for you.)

    The key is to figure out what will work best for you.

    Personally I used a free host for almost 4 years. But then I wanted more options that I really couldn't get with a free host (that and I was already paying for web space anyway so it kinda helped push things along). Now my site has it's wiki bridged to the forum (meaning users can log into our wiki with their forum name/password combo). I've installed several modifications plus even crafted mods of my own.
    (Which technically puts my forum more towards the medium money end since if I had to pay someone to develop plugins it'd be expensive for that...)

    I have also looked into offering some prizes for contests. (But those always come with problems attached. Namely shipping is stupidly high for me.) Plus I'm not sold on their effectiveness. (Since any times I've seen contests using real world prizes, they spike activity for a short time while the contest is going on. But once it ends... activity tanks again.)
    valucre likes this.
  4. Scoglads

    Scoglads Newcomer

    Oh yeah, totally. I've seen it work for some sites and totally fail on others.
    I was just wondering about first hand experience people have had.

    And, @Elena, I'm not sure if this was what you were implying but I didn't intend to suggest members should ever have to pay for a site. RP sites should remain free.

    I'm mostly talking about BIG Rp sites- like what they did with Gaia and like Star Army and stuff.
  5. VirusZero

    VirusZero Resident Game Owner

    Those sites didn't start off that big though did they? (I'm not familiar with their histories...) My guess is that they had someone who knew a thing or two and built what they wanted. People liked what they'd created so they joined. The issue though is still that even with loads of money that doesn't mean a site has any better chances. There is still a lot that can go wrong and kill a site.
  6. Scoglads

    Scoglads Newcomer

    Yeah, but it's like they say- the bigger your funding the bigger you can get.
    Any site can fail.

    And Gaia's predecessor was a link-list site like this one actually. But yeah- they were mostly founded as giant sites

    Another question dawns on me: with the right sort of business plan could you make money on a site like that? (Ad revenue, microtransactions, etc).
  7. Ad revenue seems to be something that's hard to secure. I do quite a bit of freelance writing online and ad revenue is the hardest way to generate money for small concerns in my view. It might be possible though.
  8. Scoglads

    Scoglads Newcomer

    Yeah I use to work for a marketing firm for some large companies. It isn’t THAT hard to get ad budget but yeah, it’s a slim margin of profit if any.
  9. IkateKedaStudios

    IkateKedaStudios Newcomer Game Owner

    HA! I can respond to this! I think I have a strange but relevant experience when it come to this exact topic. Big Money Forums. My forum, currently is funded entirely by my studio. It's actually really useful to have a business behind the studio ((That works)) or at the very least make deals with other businesses that provide a service your writing population would like to take advantage of.

    For example. I run an art studio. I have several artists who draw for it, and I pay them all hourly. The business functions on it's own, independently of the website, and so I get those artists to draw resources for the website. Custom Art brings a lot of value to a website, this is actually how Star Army gains a lot of interest. You look at their Wiki and it's custom art pieces from wall to wall. They spared no expense in that regard, because over the 26ish years it's been around the owner has just poured money into art for the website.

    Many sites fund themselves off donations, which isn't a terrible idea? People choose if they want to financially support the website directly, and if they do, usually they get some kind of perks for it. Additional recognition and the like. Ad revenue is useless cause your average roleplay isn't going to be bringing in thousands and thousands of individual people every day, which is the only way to generate useful amounts of money.

    If you do have a website, and show you can produce a lot of buying power, talk to artists and such. I know I provide a 25% bonus on website orders over $100. It adds value to your website and to your players. They won't guarantee people stick around, but it doesn't hurt your chances
    Star Army likes this.
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