Word Count: 1196
Takes: 4 minutes and 53 seconds to read
Interview with the owner, manager of “The Product Forum“. A place to talk,share,review all types of products from ipods, sound docks, to pcs, games, books and alot more in between.
His real name is Jonathan, he’s 31 years old and currently lives in Ireland, but is originally from the UK.
1. Max Pen: Why did you start up with The Product Forum? Has your real life job got anything to do with whatever got you motivated to start the project?
Jonathan: It was around the middle of January of this year, 2011. I work as a retail manager, and I have a little bit of knowledge as to what I believe people want to discuss and review with regards to various products and technology. I initially started it as I have a passion for technology myself and saw this as a way to communicate in many different ways with a wider audience, allowing people to review purchases or just look for some information was what I had in mind initially.
2. Max Pen: What goals and targets do you want to reach with The Product Forum? When you installed it, how long were you expecting it would take for your site to get going in activity? “Our aim is to deliver an interactive and social environment for our community to discuss, review and gossip about the latest technology, products and services.”
Jonathan: In a purely measurable sense, our target at The Product Forum is to reach achieve a member base of 500 within the first 6 months. We are 10 weeks old with 164 members so far so we’re not doing bad. However, for myself and the people who help me at PF, it is about more than just numbers. We want to help build a community that thrives on providing information for each other, helping other members, reviewing products not because they have to, but because they want to – whether that be the latest Android Smartphone or which headphones a member should choose!
3. Max Pen: How much attention do you and your staff pay towards the slogan, logo and site name? Did you think long about the name: “The Product Forum”, or did you have other names in mind to use as well?
Jonathan: We are currently in the process of updating the logo, but in terms of site name, we started with a domain name search in order to try and purchase a user friendly url, one that was easy to find in searches, but also was that was easy to remember for our regular members and users.
4. Max Pen: What makes a project successful in your own opinion? Could any type of forum or site get successful, or is it largely influenced by the ability of the people behind it?
Jonathan: I think every forum needs someone operating it who is willing to put the time and energy into making into successful. It doesn’t happen overnight, so far we have put a lot of time into the forum to build it’s content and activity.
5. Max Pen: Are you pleased so far with the results the site has brought you? You mention it also takes up alot of your time managing the site, did you expect this when you started it?
Jonathan: I probably didn’t expect the time it does take, but by the same token I knew it would take a substantial amount of managing. It isn’t a problem because I enjoy it, but I am definitely looking for people who would like to help.
6. Max Pen: Was this your first online project, if not is this the best going so far?
Jonathan: I have another project, which has been put on hold whilst I concentrate on the Product Forum, as I wouldn’t be doing either justice if I split my time.
7. Max Pen: You got someone named “Andyintwitch” as admin, mod and a other 3d rank, why is this? Is there someone of the team who you know well as friend who is helping out, and giving you much support?
Jonathan: Partly an administration error, he is someone who helped out in the early stages with a little coding and such, but now he focus’ for the most part on Smartphone news and blogs – hence his new user title “Smartphone Specialist”
8. Max Pen: Does promoting the site work on all places you promoted the project so far? Where did you first start with telling people about your site, and which site has given you the most results in traffic and join ups?
Jonathan: The most traffic has definitely come through Google Adwords, but the most registered members from Forum Promotion. However we are now actively looking for new members who are interested in our subject and content, rather than the fact it is a forum. There a couple of other sites and forums we promote on from time to time which also work, but not to the same effect.
9. Max Pen: From here: (topic) Imagine all members saying: They wish to see the ads gone as its annoying or ugly, would you remove the ads? What in general is most important: 1) having ads = members not to happy about it. But earning from the ads to pay of costs. 2) Having no ads at all and having with that a more friendly environment type of community?
Jonathan: If everyone said they wanted to see the advertisements removed, we would do so without a shadow of a doubt. However, I believe most members have understood our situation and see it as a good thing for the forum that we are trying to generate revenue in order for us to continue to improve. The most important thing for us to strike a balance between the two, they do not have to be mutually exclusive and there is no reason why a friendly atmosphere should be comprimised.
10. Max Pen: When promoting for example on forum promotion you use several types of font and even the quote form to make your ads stand out more, has that worked so far in getting more attention? (Example)
Jonathan: It’s difficult to say to be honest, I have nothing to compare it with so far, but I like to try and be a little creative to get noticed.
11. Max Pen: About the previous link, do you plan on hosting many contests, what is most important of result for you to get at the end of such a contest? (A bigger userbase of loyal members,etc…).
Jonathan: In the coming weeks we intend on hopefully holding quite a large contest (we are in negotiations with a couple of brands for some sort of gifts) but before we get to that stage we want to see out our current posting contest. The current contest is an incentive not only to increase activity but also to increase quality content, as the rules means that therehas to be quality and quanity.
A great interview thanks for your time Jonathan, best of luck and may The Product Forum get much success. I also hope those who read this had a nice read. -Max Pen