A good forum offers great opportunities to connect with like-minded people and learn from others. If you are new to internet marketing, one of the best investments you can make is to invest your time (not money) to do some research in a good forum. And if you are a seasoned marketer and have not joined any forums yet, it’s probably high time you gave it a go. In this first article on Internet marketing forums, I introduce several candidates and have a look at the raw metrics: Number of visitors, members, posts etc. This will give us a good first idea of which forums are popular and which aren’t.
Affiliate Marketing Forums – The Numbers
Okay, I’ll be throwing a ton of metrics at you in just a minute. Let me first state very clearly that I’m not saying “the most popular forum is the best”. Popularity or visitor count is simply one of many factors to consider. In this post, it’s all about the data and in the next post, I will go into more detail on what topics are covered and give you some inside information on the forums.
Here is a list of all the online marketing forums I feature in this report:
These are the forums I’ll be comparing. An honourable mention goes to NetAffiliateTalk, a small forum (too small to show any data in Quantcast and other analysis apps) that nonetheless ranked quite well for some search terms I entered to find these forums. So they must be doing something right.
Please note that all the data was gathered on the 3rd of November, 2009. The numbers are changing daily, so what you see below is simply a snapshot.
Number of Members
The Warrior Forum is clearly ahead of the pack with close to 160’000 registered members. That’s more than double the member count of the two closest competitors, DreamTeamMoney and Abestweb, with around 60’000 members each.
Number of Topics
Looking at the number of threads in each of the forums, the differences are less extreme. The Warrior Forum is still in the lead with just over 100’000 topics listed. Abestweb is a close follower and WickefFire as Well as DreamTeamMoney are also very topic-rich with over 70’000 threads each.
It could be that the Warrior Forum simply has more lurkers registered – people who browse the forums but don’t make posts or create threads of their own.
Number of Posts
The number of posts by itself isn’t really what I’m interested in – we’re seeing a similar distribution to that shown in the number of topics graph. It’s no wonder that those forums with the most members and most topics will also have the most posts. What’s more interesting to look at is the following:
Average Posts per Topic
Here, the playing field is even. A large forum doesn’t necessarily have an advantage when it comes to posts per topic.
For the above results, I simply divide the number of posts by the number of topics, to see how many answers each new thread gets on average. On DreamTeamMoney, the average number of answers per topic is just over 12. The Warrior Forum still gets a good 10 replies per topic, on average. eWealth does pretty well, here. It’s the only one of the smaller forums that is apparently seeing enough participation from it’s members to keep up with the big boys under this metric.
There are many factors that can influence this result of course, but we can still assume that on the forums ranking higher in this comparison, you are more likely to get several answers to your questions than on the lower ranking ones.
I found some interesting data comparing the forums in alexa. Unfortunately, alexa only lets you compare up to five sites at once, so I picked the five strongest forums, traffic-wise, for these measurements.
Looking at the reach stats for the past six months, we once again see the Warrior Forum dominating. We also see a very strong upwards trend for the Warrior Forum, as well as some serious dips. I personally can’t tell what caused those dips, it could be anything from frequent server maintenances during a certain time-frame to frequent promotions that lead to an concentration in traffic that then drops back down again, before being picked up by the next promo. Bottom line: I simply don’t know.
Here we see the amount of time the average user spends on each of the sites, per visit. As you can see, both the Warrior Forum and WickedFire are leading the pack, here. You get the same kind of picture when checking bouncerates and pageviews: WickedFire is right up there with the Warrior Forum. In short, this means that those two forums are the most “addictive”. They seem to have the kind of content and community that makes people stick around for a bit.
As one last comparison, let’s take a look at the holy grail of traffic ranking and one of the major quality indicators for any website: Backlinks. This data was also taken from alexa.com, which doesn’t count multiple links coming in from the same website. So these are the numbers of unique websites containing a backlink to the respective forum:
Once again, the Warrior Forum is clearly in the lead with over 1’800 backlinks counted. Note that the asterisked (*) sites have a homepage separate from the forum, for which the number of backlinks are also counted.
Just looking at the data, the strongest competitor is clearly the Warrior Forum. DreamTeamMoney, WickedFire and Abestweb are the other strong competitors. Of course, a forum being big and popular doesn’t automatically make it better, but it’s an indicator nonetheless.
In my next post, I will give a more subjective analysis of these forums. I’ll report on what sets these forums apart from each other and try to find out what makes the Warrior Forum and WickedFire such sticky sites. From this information, I hope to give everyone a good idea of which forums are the right ones for them and which ones are most likely to help them in their own Internet marketing success. So stay tuned!
That’s it for now,
Update: Check out part 2 of my forums roundup.