Back in the days, everyone was hanging around in online forumsand discussion boards. But now we can see a huge decline in onlineforums. Why?
There are a lot of reasons. Big giants want to dominate theinternet. Facebook, using an insane amount of money and resourcesto make facebook groups easy to use and cost effective formarketers.
Let’s dig out the reasons for the decline in the usage of onlineforums and how Facebook took it over.
Spam and self promotion in old school forums
Old school forumswere quite buggy and there were no propertools to decrease spam, self promotion, and hacking attempts.People took advantage of this weakness and started using softwarefor mass commenting in forumsfor SEO and traffic generationpurpose.
Forums which do not have proper infrastructure, quickly lostquality traffic because their owners and moderators were not ableto use resource and technology to fight spam. Theseforumskeep disappearing only big guns that havetime andresources really pushed hard their forum and communities.
No credibility and social circle
Back in the day, in these forums, everyone was talking withstrangers. It was hard to figure out if the person really knowswhat he is talking about. It waseasy to link out resources ina forum post, even some forums allowed to use a signatureunderneath your post for promoting in exchange for money. Everyonewas pushing hard to convince the reader to click on the link. Sothey were always biased.
Annoying advertisements in forums
There was no proper reviewing mechanism for the ads. Sometimesthe ads were quite dangerous too because it was easy to run ads andinstall malware on target computers.
How Facebook Took it over
In 2013, facebook groups really kicked off and they startedimplementing more and more features in groups. Due to theireasy interface, the ability to add friends to different groups,sharing your content and lots of other features attracted largeaudience especially influence to create their own facebook groupinstead of a forum.
During research for this article, I checked google trends forfew popular online forums. There was a huge decline in Search andtraffic trend for these forums. In below screenshot, you cansee a continuous declining trend since 2013 for a popular onlineforum called Warrior Forum. In fact, current traffic/trend for thisforum is the lowest since its beginning.
Facebook started taking groups seriously in 2013 andstarted adding new features. New people quickly adapted it becauseif its intuitive interface and easy to read/shareinformation. Facebook recently started different communitiessummit helping facebook group owners to make more powerfulcommunities.
Huge Disadvantage to Facebook Groups
In forums, access to information was quite easy. Even you canjust type some keywords in google and you can find relevant forumsand discussion boards.
Facebook groups are not publically scrapped/indexed by Google.In fact, most of these groups and private, and you have to be amember in order to access the content. Some moderators put morefilters and ask new member some questions before they are acceptedthis helps them to weed out time wasters and spammers.
There are pros and cons to this. Facebook is putting more andmore effort on quality and weeding out spammers. Facebook groupsare less spammed and you can find more informational contentwithout annoying ads like forums.
This is the biggest reason it took over facebookgroups.
How you can use Facebook groups in your business
There is no barrier to entry in facebook groups. You canliterally create a group with just a click of a button. It wasquite hard to create forums in the past, you have to buy a domain,hosting and other expensive tools to create and operate aforum. In facebook that is not the case.
if you are running a business that focuson communitybuilding, you must leverage facebook group tools to attract alargeaudience for less effort. There are other ways you canmonetize your facebook group.