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How did you get so popular so quickly?

 
 
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 01:13 pm
Hi - only my second post here, so please forgive a newbie...
I noticed the site said it was live since roughly January - and i think i saw a reference to that on the phpbb.com site - and now this site is HUGE - lots of content, lots of people, lots lots lots! How'd you do it? Naked pix of my wife? President bashing? Subliminal popcorn and other marketing shtick? Can you tell a poor, fledgling webmaster how you did it?
and, of course, CONGRATULATIONS! Smile
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 6,081 • Replies: 59
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 01:22 pm
Very many of the permanent members of this forum are "emigrants" from the Abuzz forum of the NYTimes. Abuzz became intolerable place due to absence of adequate moderation, and the people that wanted to conduct a civilized discourse joined this forum.
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gadgetaddict
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 01:28 pm
thank you for the reply - wow - talk about being in the right place at the right time - without that emigration, building this site up from scratch would likely have taken a lot longer - i can only imagine the poor admins when the "emigration" happened - must have been overwhelming!
Well, whatever the reasong, the site looks great, and it made it into my favorites list - who knows, if i get tired of the b.s. from iwon (where i've never won, by the way) i may just change my home page...
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 01:31 pm
Steissd mentioned a small facet. I'll fill in the rest.

A) the Abuzz thing. Many of us know each other.

B) I started an MSN community called The Raven's Realm. That has well over 1,000 members (I think, it's inactive now).

This site replaced the realm so we started with a membership base.

Now the tech details.

I got a google page rank of 6 for the site from my initial day of search engine optimizing.

The first step simply included making the topics session stripped for spiders and optimizing other small details for search engines.

I then went and got listings in dmoz.org for many of our categories.

This site covers many topics so it can be listed in many categories.

With the dmoz listing came links in hudreds and hundreds of sites. Dmoz is the second most important directory listing (after yahoo) because it is open source and used on many sites (even ours: http://www.able2know.com/directory.php).

That filled us with incoming links and the resulting PR (page rank) made our SE optimized topics search engine bait.

Thus far I have only targeted google and dmoz and in my next steps I will target the rest of the search engines and yahoo.

Please note that the domain name starts with a tehn b.

That ensured top placement in most directories that do not rank the pages and simply leave it alphabetical.

There are literally thousands of ways this forum has been optimized for search traffic and I can share them with you (little by little as I have time to post them) but we also advertise.

I have a small budget but I advertise on google.com and elsewhere.

I'll post more as I have time.
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Wy
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 01:31 pm
Gadget, welcome! I'm not too "seasoned" a member myself... You'll find lots of good people/discussions here.

Do you get a lot of spam from iwon? I think my daughter signed us up once, and we were inundated... maybe it was a different site.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 01:32 pm
gadgetaddict wrote:
i can only imagine the poor admins when the "emigration" happened - must have been overwhelming!


LOL, yes, it was and still is overwhelming. The site was supposed to be a small continuation of the MSN group I started but it exploded, to my surprise (well sorta).
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 01:35 pm
Welcome to a2k, gadgetaddicted! It is true that many of the early people here did emigrate from the other site, but by now a lot of people on the member list are here by word of mouth and other routes, including google picking up topics.

The administrators here have been thoughtfully tinkering with the site to make it better and better, and have had to switch servers a few times to handle increased load. All in all, most of us watch in admiration.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 01:39 pm
gadget,

Because of the fact that you'd approached me by pm about technical details I forgot to mention the human side.

Before the site opened I found the perfect moderator (jespah) and she has largely been responsible for all the crap that comes along with hosting a forum. Finding the right person to work with was criticalto this site as she then organized a group of great volunteers who are the human backbone of the site.

I guess I want to stress that the human factor was huge in the evolution of this site, I'll focus on the tech details for you to use but by and large this is a site driven by the members.

The tech stuff is important because it's a way to get the members and the content they add to the "teeming millions".
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 01:42 pm
Another tip:

Do not open till you both have a membership and are ready.

This site was developed for months before even jespah saw it. And then it was weeks before it went public.

Nobody likes being the first to show up at a party. I spen months making sure that the site would look like a party that was well under way. I think this is REALLY important. Have all your ducks in a row first.
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gadgetaddict
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 01:52 pm
wow - i'm literally overwhelmed and i don't know where to being. first off, thank you to everyone who replied! I can't get over how active this site is - i usually linger (and yes, write) for pocket pc sites - where the most popular site gets around 23k visitors/day - i can see that is relatively small compared to this behemoth Smile
I agree, if you have the best technical site going and the folks behind it stink, you'll have a nice empty site - so before anything, i knew the driving people had to be doing something right, and then, if you build it they will come... Smile
i know what you mean about being first at the party - i tried getting my little site as good as possible before having it announced on a few sites - it's funny - i was thrilled to have my 60th registered user today (which actually doesn't take into account the 4 or so admin accounts I created myself for testing/limited admin levels!)
I know google is critical for a little site like mine to get the word out - i opened the doors late february, and google has been largely silent, so i'm not getting the traffic i was looking for. i know things take time, but i'd rather work smart (work on the content and reviews, and let search engines bring the folk over) instead of me bludgeoning google and shouting/begging google to be a champ and give me a nod - i hate seeing a ZERO page rank/page not ranked by google - come on google, with 4 or more servers, you can add little old gadgetaddict!
Craven, I gratefully appreciate your willingness to share information - thank you so much! And it is impressive that you'd expend as much effort as you already have to help out a poor ol' admin like myself!
BTW - that atalgance.php was amazing - i will look around for that code, or try to bum it off you Smile i have so many mods on gadgetaddict, that i punched in http://www.gadgetaddict.com/forums/ataglance.php and crossed my fingers - and naturally got a 404 error! guess i don't have that mod...yet Smile
Again, thank you for the willingness to share and the welcoming into the community. Like many other sites, i truthfully registered, figured i'd post a drop, say thanks, and aidios - but i can see what a resource this site really is - count me in Smile
Thanks again!
Gary Garland
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 02:09 pm
LOL, the at a glace mod only exists on these forums. A guy emailed me today asking to use my mods in another "fully modded" type project and I gave the go ahead but I never released that mod so you are unlikely to get it anywhere else.

It was originally written by netclectic after I suggested it but he ditched it so I took it and modded the mod.

I will post the mods when I get home. Remind me if I don't, I need to write them up as I get many requests fro them.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 02:19 pm
BTW, I STRONGLY suggest that you start with a vanilla version of phpbb and mod it yourself.

fullymodded is a nice idea (packaging everyone's mods for easy install) but their work is not the greatest and they do not have enough people to support their creation.

Couple that with the fact that many mod writers are angry at them for using their mods without permission and don't give any support and you ahve a less than ideal product.

They also simply install every mod that they can get to work, most of those will be very problematic for you when you want to upgrade the core phpbb code.

I strongly suggest you start with a vanila phpbb code and mod it from there with only the most essential mods.

I was very careful when modding thsi forum (it has many unseen modifications) yet I still need to take some off because they caused problems that were not apparent until we grew.

If you need help choosing and installing mods let me know. I'll give you input or simply mod the files for you and post them here.
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gadgetaddict
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 02:26 pm
Craven - thank you for the suggestion and offer - and be careful, i may take you up on it! Smile
I had contacted one of the lead programmers of phpbb a while ago, and tried to hire him to do work on the site - the first thing he said when he realized i was using phpbbfm was essentially good riddance - he suggested i start with the core phpbb and use the approved mods - and that he refused to touch anything done by fm - i didn't realize there were bad feelings with fm - the truth is the webmaster seems like a decent guy, i just thought he was a bit flakey - and i think he'll agree he is flakey.
so the real question is:
1) did you know phpbb2.05 came out today? i stopped by their site and noticed that
2) if i dump fm and go to 2.05, if i keep my mysql database, will i keep the posts and just lose the extra bells and whistles i had? i'm far more interested in keeping my content than the extra features
the idea of a turn-key all in one mod solution seemed ideal, and at the time i was unaware of ANY phpbb portal other than smartor's - but maybe i jumped the gun installing phpbb. the good news is i have a mere 400 or so posts on my site, the bad news is....i don't want to lose my whole site Sad

BTW - i hadn't programmed since college (i was a dorky teen and remain a dorky 30 something) - i did buy 9 (YES, NINE!) php books and made it through 1.75, which prompts me to ask why i needed to buy the other 7.25 - but as i was whining earlier, i'd much rather focus on content than the technical part of the site - though what i'm understanding from you is that you need a healthy balance, and apparently a LOT of tweaking under the hood...
thanks again. hamsters rule! Smile
any suggestions?
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bobsmyth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 02:41 pm
Hi gadgetaddict:

I read your post and it occurred to me you may find some tools at http://lists.gpick.net/ (list of lists) if you need them. If you already have them good for you. Good luck.
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cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 02:48 pm
Gary,

I checked out your site and had some real problems with it. The setup of the forums isn't very obvious, and when I did go into the "latests posts" page it kept reloading, over and over and over...I couldn't get it to stop.

I'm running IE 6.0028 SP1.
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 02:50 pm
gadgetaddict wrote:
Craven - thank you for the suggestion and offer - and be careful, i may take you up on it! Smile


No problem!

gadgetaddict wrote:

I had contacted one of the lead programmers of phpbb a while ago, and tried to hire him to do work on the site


That sounds like John Abela. Right?

gadgetaddict wrote:

- the first thing he said when he realized i was using phpbbfm was essentially good riddance - he suggested i start with the core phpbb and use the approved mods


I agree with him for many reasons. His reason is that some mods have security holes in them. It's true I have teken down some test boards while testing phpbb exploits. On one of my boards I managed to exploit it so badly that I couldn't fix it. And that was with me knowing the exploit!


gadgetaddict wrote:
i didn't realize there were bad feelings with fm - the truth is the webmaster seems like a decent guy, i just thought he was a bit flakey - and i think he'll agree he is flakey.


Yup, I personally ahve no qualm with fm but there is actually a petition signed by many phpbb "players" to stop them.

My knock on them is that they simply do not have enough resources in terms of people, time etc to have a solid product.

gadgetaddict wrote:

so the real question is:
1) did you know phpbb2.05 came out today? i stopped by their site and noticed that


Yup, I use cvs so I get the code before it is a release candidate. I didn't use 2.0.5 cvs but I knew that it was coming out. In fact I was under teh impression that it would be released this past weekend.

gadgetaddict wrote:

2) if i dump fm and go to 2.05, if i keep my mysql database, will i keep the posts and just lose the extra bells and whistles i had? i'm far more interested in keeping my content than the extra features


It's certainly possible to keep your posts but it can be tricky because FM includes mods that alter the database. But yes, you can. Just do it right (you can ask here if you need help).

gadgetaddict wrote:

the idea of a turn-key all in one mod solution seemed ideal, and at the time i was unaware of ANY phpbb portal other than smartor's - but maybe i jumped the gun installing phpbb. the good news is i have a mere 400 or so posts on my site, the bad news is....i don't want to lose my whole site Sad


No need to lose your content. Don't worry about it. :-)

I used smartor's portal a bit, in fact you'll find a thread on phpbb wherin I ask help to perfect his code.

I dropped his portal in favor of fetch all.

Smartor's portal is easier to work with but I prefer otehr solutions. And there are at least 10 portal-type scripts that I know of.


gadgetaddict wrote:
thanks again. hamsters rule! Smile


Hamsters do rule! I've taken up my old avatar again. BTW, this site runs on hamster power. :-)
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gadgetaddict
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 03:13 pm
cjhsa wrote:
Gary,

I checked out your site and had some real problems with it. The setup of the forums isn't very obvious, and when I did go into the "latests posts" page it kept reloading, over and over and over...I couldn't get it to stop.

I'm running IE 6.0028 SP1.

thanks for stopping by, and sorry about the reloading problem. i'm also using ie 6 sp 1 and have not experienced the infinate reload problem, though at least one other person wrote to me about having the same experience.
I hadn't realized i was neglecting this thread earlier, i was reading more about the google part and don't want to pull things off topic (although they apparently are now).
To reply to SuperHamster, yup, it was JA - i didn't want to name names or cause any bashing in any capacity. JA apparently wrote what, 1/2 of phpbb or more single handledly (ok, not true, it was a team thing) but he seemed to me to be THE man to speak to.
anyway, i think i will unfortunately scrap FM and go back to basics - it will hurt at first (losing all the great features of FM) but a fully integrated package that is tighter and more robust seems like a far better choice to me. plus, looking here, well, i'm not seeing the gobs of mods that i have - instead i see a very clean quick loading site, and the huge audience obviously isn't leaving for lack of a photo album or a points system - so I think back to basics is the way to go. Thanks again everyone! I see why this board has grown so quickly - a great community Smile
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 04:39 pm
Golly, Craven Embarrassed
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 05:51 pm
Craven, was that English you were writing?
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 16 Jun, 2003 06:19 pm
Jes,

I really thought it was a long shot. I didn't expect it to pan out. :-)

Acquiunk,

Yup, English (mangled at that) and geek. :-)
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