"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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"Managing Online Forums"It was 10 years ago last month that I began writing what would eventually become “Managing Online Forums.” April 28 will mark 5 years that it has been in publication.

Digging through my emails, the earliest message that I can find mentioning the project is in May of 2004. I had told some friends about it before that, but it was via instant message. I kept the whole project very close to the vest, not even telling my family until I had an offer from a publisher. The email was sent to Jared Smith, Chrispian Burks and Stephan Segraves. It was titled “Book/Long Article.” Note that I had not yet committed to the idea of it being a book and was not sure if I could do it. It included this:

“As you know, I’ve been working when I can on a book/long article on Internet Community Development. It is sitting at 38,888 words right now. I wanted to ask you if you might want to take a look at it, read it, let me know what you think and possibly suggest some new things for me to cover (if you had any). No real rush, just when you can.”

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Creative Commons License photo credit: dno1967b

Is there a particular challenge that you are facing on an online community that you manage? If it is something I can write about, I’d love to try to help, if possible.

Though I am always open to ideas for topics to write about, I like to put out a call for ideas once in a while and I figured that I would give this particular call a theme: challenges that you are facing in your own community.

Please let me know in the comments or, if you’d prefer, via email. If you’d like to share, but don’t want to be identified in the post, please email me and let me know that you don’t want to be identified and I will respect that. I just want to hear about the challenges as it pushes me to write about issues I wouldn’t otherwise cover at this time.

Thank you for reading

On July 2, “Monetizing Online Forums” was released. The new book, which I wrote with contributions from Alicia Navarro, Ted Sindzinski and Todd Garland, was published by Skimlinks. Thanks to the sponsorship from Skimlinks, we were able to create a real, independent book – not a gimmick – and offer it for free.

When you think of free ebooks, you think of teasers. You think of short sighted material meant for list generation – meant to get you to give them your email address. We railed against that notion. We spent money, time and talent and we gave it away for free, with no strings attached.

As of last week, that book has been downloaded over 5,000 times.

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Thank you for visiting and reading This is a special message for those who subscribe through the RSS feed. If you are an email subscriber, you do not need to update your subscription.

Until now, I’ve used a service called FeedBurner to serve my RSS feed. Unfortunately, there have been some ominous signs that the product is not receiving adequate attention, leading to questions about its reliability.

I wanted to address this before it became a real issue and, as such, have moved my RSS feed to another provider. To that end, I would like to ask you to please delete your old subscription and subscribe to my new feed URL.

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photo credit: Brandon Eley

Following my engagements earlier this year for CNN, Dell, South by Southwest Interactive and Virtual Community Summit, I have made a conscious effort not to pursue any speaking opportunities, so that I could be head down, getting some work done.

Specifically, I released the “Monetizing Online Forums” book and launched two video efforts: Soda Tasting and Patrick and Sean. But, I have a couple of conferences coming up that I wanted to tell you about.

On November 17, I will be speaking at indieconf in Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s a one day event focused on freelancers and independent web professionals. The conference is in its third year and is put on by Michael Kimsal. I have spoken at the first two and I can say that, for the $99 ticket price, Michael delivers a ton of value. I will be presenting “An Introduction to Monetizing Your Website.”

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I love when I can write a post that directly addresses an issue that a reader is curious about. It has been about a year since I last asked directly, so I figured it was time to do so again: how can I help you?

What online community or forums related topic can I help you with? What would you like my take on? What would you like to ask me about? Of course, you can always contact me and I’m happy to chat, but I am looking for some ideas for things I should cover here. If you need to remain anonymous, please email me.

Beyond that, throw out as many ideas as you would like. Thank you for taking the time and for reading

9 months of work culminates today with the release of my new ebook, “Monetizing Online Forums,” published by Skimlinks. You can download it for free right now.

The goal of this project was to create a detailed guide to monetizing online forums the right way – in a manner that respects the community and balances out the need for a positive member experience with the need to generate revenue.

We cover all meaningful methods and discuss how to implement them and get the most out of them. This includes display advertising, in-text monetization, classified and thread based advertising, sponsored brand placement, affiliate programs and CPA networks, product sales, premium memberships, mobile and monetizing your outposts.

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Back in September, nearly 10 months ago, Skimlinks co-founder Joe Stepniewski contacted me with an idea.

For a while, they had been kicking around the thought of releasing a whitepaper or ebook about forum monetization. They wanted it to be valuable and they wanted me to write it. One of the most interesting parts of Joe’s message? They wanted their one and only competitor to be mentioned right alongside them in the work. That caught my attention.

I was interested, but we had to work out some details. For it to be truly valuable, we agreed that it had to be independent and unbiased. I have a good, long term relationship with Skimlinks, Joe and co-founder and CEO Alicia Navarro and I think they are great, ethical people with a great product.

But, at the same time, them sponsoring the book creates an appearance of bias. It can’t be argued. So, how do we mitigate that? In the end, they agreed to something that I feel a lot of companies would balk at: to give me complete, unquestioned editorial control of the work.

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Help Wanted
Creative Commons License photo credit: bgottsab is regularly visited by community management professionals of all experience levels. Many of which are in need of employment or looking to further their careers.

If you are looking to hire a community management professional and find qualified candidates, the people who read are who you are looking for. Whether it be a Moderator, Community Manager, Senior Community Manager, Director of Community or some other role.

So, today, I am launching the Jobs section. For just $99, job posters will receive the following:

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