Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Web Master Forum Politics Can Get Nasty

It was quit easy to come up with this mini post after what has been happening with the Ebay Affiliate NetWork moving from Commission Junction to the new Ebay in House Network AKA, ePN. At the time of this post it has been just about 7 weeks since the migration began. Reminds me of the great Caribou Migration in Alaska. There are approximately 100 K affiliate connected to the network one way or another. Users range from small time bloggers, Niche Store Builders on up to big companies like AOL Mail. With all these users problems are bound to pop up. Anyone who thinks some thing like this huge change to a established system is sadly mistaken.
Not knowing any statistics about how many user migrated so far I/we can safely assume that 10 to 20% just didn't do it. Lots of people start a blog, learn how to fill it with ads then decide that (IM) Internet Marketing is not for them.
So over the last 7 weeks the user forums for that use the ePN API platform as a script or software for its base have been full of users frustration and very heated at times.
The reasons don't really matter if you look at it in the right way and take advantage of the confusion.
When using any of the forums associated with ePN users should tread lightly. Some folks are getting down right angry and may choose to focus there frustration on you if you leave a derogatory comment or just being flipped in a response.
I have a opinion about forums that are related to ePN. Don't post on them!. Why ? Because posting on a forum like the BANS is absolutely useless unless you are trying to sell a service of some kind. Forums are used by web masters to get relevant back links to a web site. You do not want to post a niche site in the signature of these forums. If you notice none or very few of the user who succeed at Niche Store Building don't have there sites in there signature. Why again?, because you are exposing yourself to hackers. WHAT!, hackers yes hackers. Sadly forums like BANS have lurkers just waiting for newbies to post there sites. This is done for many reasons which I only know a few. One is to get ideas for a niche. Newbies tend to stay away from KW Tools that work and use free KW tools, which is fine when starting out, but a more experienced Niche Builder can take the same idea and build a site and SEO to the max in a day and get back links from established sites rendering the newbies out of the box site obsolete before its even picked up by the Google index. Thats just one of many reasons not to become a big participant on webmaster forums.
The politics of forums can be brutal. Ranging from user hassling others about spelling to down right insults.
Some tip for using webmaster forums.
(1) Stay anonymous when possible. Some users ask why people don't use their real names. Answer of many is: SECURITY. If you think for a second that hackers don't look for this you are sadly mistaken. If you have seen the commercials for Identity lock? or what ever its called, The guy who puts his SS # on the side of a truck. The owner of that has been hacked 20 plus times because the guy challenges hackers. Well look for a law suit against that guy any day now.
(2) Do a search for a topic before asking questions. This is by far one of the most frustrating things for forum users who depend on a forum as a knowledge base. When new users repeatably posts about the same subject it pushes the information further back into the knowledge base. Whats more it shows you are to lazy to research on your own and may put you an the bad side of regular participants who have spent years learning and get frustrated with those who take short cuts.
(3) Don't answer questions if you don't have the correct answer. If a forum topic is some thing you are interested in, use the subscribe to thread option and lurk for a while and make sure you understand exactly what the issue is before jumping in. Also NEVER tell some one to read the manual. As a participant of a forum you do not have the right to do this. You have no idea what sales copy was presented to this person to get them to buy or participate in a scheme or program. Maybe the person who sold the scheme to them told them it was "for beginners", or "There's no need for a manual with OUR forum". You don't know what the person posting was told to get them to buy. Simply don't reply to the question it's that simple. It's not your place.
(4)Don't try and be the first person to answer every thread. You are bound to over step boundaries. Most forums have thousands of members, most never post and when they do hearing from the same persons perspective over and over defeats one of the main purpose's of forum, to get many perspectives from many different users of the community. Internet Marketing changes daily. Let others set the pace of a thread and then add to it without hijacking the thread.
(5) When asking a question on a webmaster forum make sure you provide details of your issue. Stating that you can't see your pages or "HELP" simply isnt enough for any users willing to help you and will put you out of favor with others. I mean come on you ask a question like "I Cant See My Pages" and I have to ask a question to find out what the problem is. Thats ten minutes of some nice persons time. A good idea is to write a issue in some thing like notepad and proof read it. Make sure you convey your issue. Outline the steps it took to get to the point you are at and what you are trying to do. Provide as much information as possible in the first post. Don't maker others ask! If someone asks you to post a link offer to send it VIA private message. As I said above don't post your sites in forums that you are not using for back links. Never send passwords to hosting accounts unless it is to a scripts customer service dept. And in that case change your password to a temporary one.
(6) Avoid buying from other forum members. If you have a issue it is bound to show up on the forum. If you call out someone you purchased something from like a template and its not up to your expectations communicate to them through the contact information on the site you actually paid. When you buy a digital product from someone you pay through paypal or click bank not the forum. Use the appropriate channels for customer service issues. Follow this simple plan and avoid making yourself sound like a idiot on the forum. And even worse if a issue turns out to be on your end you will lose favor of your fellow users. If buy something from a other user follow the policy of the place you paid. Make sure the seller send a invoice VIA email through the payment system. Then they requested payment for service and are subject to terms of service of the payment system.

My point to all this is any web master forum should be used as a knowledge base. The social aspect of the Internet should not come into play. Use Webmaster forums to your advantage, Don't insert yourself like a moderator. Like telling someone to read a manual. Thats just plain rude. If a user of a forum is authoritative and accurate the information becomes part of the knowledge base and not more junk to wade through to find a answer.
As a forum participant that is credible after some time is when users should start placing signatures for web master tools they have used and can promote from personal knowledge. Forums are a wealth of knowledge If used properly.
These tidbits are only from my personal experiences over the last 4 years of Internet Marketing.
May I suggest that all Internet Users read "Promoting Respectful Communications Online"
Take the pledge here:

Good Luck Everyone

No comments: