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BuySellAdsI recently completed a full review of my own monetization efforts and I made the decision to turn over the vast majority of my ad inventory to BuySellAds, which I originally wrote about here in September of 2010.

What this means is that I have listed most of my inventory for sale in their Marketplace and that if anyone wants to buy an ad directly through me, I simply send them to the BuySellAds profile for my website (for example, here is the one for KarateForums.com). From that page, they can select the inventory they want, make the payment and upload their creative. All I have to do is approve it.

Previously, if someone came directly to me, I tried to handle the transaction myself with the aim of keeping a little extra money. But, when I thought about it, I decided that letting BuySellAds take care of it made a lot of sense.

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29-DSC_3587
Creative Commons License photo credit: Reeda

I have managed KarateForums.com since it was launched on May 21, 2001. I’m not a martial artist, and I’ve always been very open about that, but the site was my idea, I’ve been running it for more than 12 years and I’m very proud of it.

Something funny happens occasionally with new members. Because I’m not a martial artist, they appear to think I am dumb. For example, I recently had a member who chose not to believe a veteran member’s description of their experience in the arts. Which is cool and not uncommon. They asked some questions, which is also fine.

But when they didn’t get the answers they wanted, they grew rude and disrespectful and even started to become a roadblock on the thread, preventing the discussion from progressing in line with its actual purpose.

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Live Streaming with Jonathan BaileyWhen phpBBHacks.com turned 10, back in April of 2011, I hosted a live streaming celebration for 3 hours. I was joined by a co-host, a friend and former staff member of the site (Jared W. Smith), and together we spoke to a slate of guests that I lined up. They were all people who had contributed a lot to the community.

The very next month, I did the same thing when KarateForums.com turned 10. Except that instead of one guest host, I had 3 of them and they each guest hosted for one hour.

I ran these events off of Tinychat, where I was on video and I had a friend of mine (Jonathan Bailey) patch the others in over the phone (since, for the most part, they weren’t comfortable joining me on Tinychat or being on video). On the phpBBHacks.com event, my guest host was on video. For the KarateForums.com event, none of my guest hosts were.

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An escalation policy for your moderators outlines what situations need special handling and what should occur when they are identified. For an example, see the BBC’s policy.

The idea is that some things simply transcend normal, everyday issues. Suicide threats, grooming of children, etc. When they are identified what should happen? That’s what an escalation policy is. What action should a moderator take?

That action might simply be referring it to someone else in your organization who is more specifically trained for these issues. It might mean referring it to the administrator or community manager. Or it might mean sending relevant details to an outside party, such as the police. This will vary by your community, country, the size of the organization and what your lawyers tell you to do (if you have lawyers).

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Gordon Ramsey
Creative Commons License photo credit: jo-h

There are no lessons to learn from this situation. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The forgotten one
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ni_Ko

There have been a few times over the years where someone has posted something on one of my communities that was inappropriate and then they will say that someone else posted those comments under their account.

This is a tricky thing because it’s easy to blame your teddy bear for that glass of spilled milk. At the same, I do try to take it as an honest admission if it sounds like one. It all depends on what they did, what they say and how much of a history they have on the community. If it sounds feasible, I am usually inclined to at least give them one chance on it.

Meaning that I’ll accept that explanation this time. But, I will still make a note of it in their documentation and make sure they know that their account is only supposed to be accessed by them. No matter what, the account holder still has responsibility for what is posted under the account.

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"Monetizing Online Forums"As of April 29, “Monetizing Online Forums,” a guide to monetizing online communities the right way, has been downloaded more than 10,000 times.

This is a conservative count that comes from our website and through third parties where the book is distributed. For all of the copies hosted through the website, which make up most of the numbers, we count the downloads in a very conservative way. One IP address can only count as one download of a particular format of a book within a given week.

For example, if you go and download the PDF 1,000 times right now, you’ll only count as one download. If you come back next week and download it 1,000 times again, you’ll count as a second download. If you were to download the PDF, ePub and MOBI versions a thousand times each right now, you would count as 3 downloads. If different people download the book, all from the same IP in the same week, they all count as one. While it’s not quite unique downloaders, it’s not too far off.

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eBayRecently, I was reviewing the vendors that I work with to monetize KarateForums.com. I was looking for something that would better target martial artists and I decided to increase my usage of eBay Partner Network.

This is eBay’s affiliate program, which pays on a cost-per-click basis. How much you earn per click is based on their Quality Click Pricing, which attempts to evaluate the quality of the traffic that you send them. They say that, on average, publishers earn between $0.06 and $0.21 per click, but those sending “high quality, targeted traffic” can earn more than $0.40 per click. So it isn’t like typical affiliate programs where you just earn a percentage of revenue generated. This can be confusing and, perhaps, frustrating. Nonetheless, for niche communities, the eBay Partner Network can be a good program.

You can certainly use it if you have a more generic, general chat type community, but where it really shines is when you are focused on a particular subject matter. That is when one of eBay’s greatest strengths comes to bear: the depth of items that they have available, covering seemingly any possible interest.

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To paraphrase Ryan Leslie, I’ve never had a big board, but they still respect my art.

A “big board,” as referred to in community manager circles, is a community with 500,000 posts or more. I’ve never managed one. That will change, soon, when KarateForums.com passes 500,000 posts. What does that really mean? Honestly, not much. It’s a milestone accomplishment and it means something, but I don’t suddenly know more about community, not because of a few extra posts on the ones that I manage. It’s the journey that has allowed me to collect the knowledge, not where I’m at right now.

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