Promotion Box interview with Andrew
A interview with Sylar the current owner of Promotion Box. A 15 year old male from the US. Who enjoys certain sports like swimming or baseball. A guy who goes onto forums from a early age and got into the right direction of foruming and being a webmaster when having found FP! Read more of it below. ↓
1) Max Pen: Could you tells us a bit more about yourself so the readers know who you are?
Andrew: Well, my name is Andrew, I’m 15 and I reside in the US. I play baseball, and I also swim from time to time. I enjoy posting on forums and running websites, and recently I’ve been working on my web design skills. I live with my parents, our 2 dogs, and my cat. Also, I’m currently going to high school.
2) Max Pen: What got you into forums and eventually becoming a forum owner yourself?
Andrew: Actually, it all started with a game called club penguin (Feel free to point and laugh.). I was introduced to the game by my cousin when I was younger. One day I was talking to one of my friends about the game when he showed me a forum about CP. So, I joined up, and that was my first forum experience. It was awful, to be honest, mainly because most of the members there were trolls who had nothing better to do than sit around and insult people like me.
Anyways, after that was over I moved on to a few other forums, and eventually I wanted to know how to make my own. I started on all the free hosts(forumotion, free forums, etc.), and I just never got the forums off the ground; that was my first official forum owning experience, though. Eventually, when looking to promote one of my forums, I found forum promotion, a forum which I now have almost 10,000 posts on, and have been a member for coming up on three years. That was a really good step in the right direction, because I started meeting awesome people who helped me out, and led me to eventually owning and running a very successful forum called Promotion Box. I’ve been on forums for…about 7-8 years I think. I started very young.
3) Max Pen: When did Promotion Box came into the picture? And what have been the pros and cons so far that you personally experienced while running PB?
Andrew: Promotion Box was a forum I joined…hoestly I don’t know when. Anyways, it was run on forumotion then, and run by a guy named Dy.namik. Anyways, the forum didn’t do too well, and ended up being closed down. When it closed, I was admin there, and never quite got over the forum (It was pretty good in my opinion.). A few months later, the forum started resurfacing, but this time on phpbb hosted by sitefrost. I decided to contact Jay (Dy.namik) about it, and see if I could help him out with it again.
Long story short, I ended up being admin there again, however the forum was closed down a month or so later due to the fact Jay couldn’t maintain it anymore. I wouldn’t let it stand, so I bought it from him. We had a nice long run with many ups and downs leading us to where we are today. You can read the full in-depth story in a topic I’ve posted on my forum.
Here’s the link: The history of Promotion Box.
As for the pros and cons, I’d say a lot of pros, and only a few cons. For pros: I’ve met and have gotten to know a lot of awesome people, have gotten lots of experience with forum running, and just have overall had an awesome time running
this forum and seeing it succeed. As for cons, I think that the fact that the forum eats up so much of my time is quite a concern I have. Also, it’s eaten up a large amount of income, and it’s just now starting to return on the investment. However, I’m not really in it for the money, and as long as I have members who enjoy visiting the community and talking to people, as well as getting more activity for their forum, I’m okay with it.
4) Max Pen: If you could alter 2 things from your past what would you change?
Andrew: Hm, that’s an interesting question. If I could alter 2 things…I would probably have myself get a backup of the old promotion box database (before it got shut down, it’s in the topic ), and I would also have myself join a different, less abusive forum to start my foruming experience.
5) Max Pen: From what project online did you learn the most so far? Could you tell us in a short summary what the things are you learned? (Give 5 examples or so.)
Andrew: It would have to be Promotion Box, as it’s really the only forum I’ve owned that has actually done remotely well.
I’ve learned quite a bit from running it, actually. First off, I’ve learned that the members make your community. You need to appeal to them and make them want to come back, otherwise you’ll just end up posting with yourself the whole time. I’ve also learned to ALWAYS backup your community, no matter what. I learned the hard way on that one.
Running Promotion Box also gave me a decent exposure to free hosts, and I have to say, I am so glad that I finally switched to paid hosting. It doesn’t cost much, and the users will be the FIRST to notice the change. This experience has also showed me to really pick team members wisely. I have had more people quit the team for bogus reasons than I care to mention, but I’ve also had some pretty awesome staff members. So, I’ve learned to push through, and always look for the best fit for the community when it comes to recruiting. Finally, I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned from running Promotion Box is to NEVER give up. I’ve had days where we’ve gotten 2 posts, and I’ve had days where we’ve gotten 200! A forum is an unstable thing, and it takes quite a while for it to become stable.
6) Max Pen: What made you take ownership over PB? What made you buy it at that time? (What motivated you to invest money in it, what did you saw in the project of possible future.)
Andrew: Promotion Box was an awesome forum, it really was. It was going extremely well activity-wise, and members really were having a great time. I really loved the forum more than most, and to see Jay just shut it down again…I couldn’t stand it. So, I decided to do something about it and invest in it. I saw a great future for Promotion Box, and I had a pretty good idea of how I could keep it running
smoothly. So, after I decided that, I just contacted Jay and the rest is history.
7) Max Pen: You said you are working on your designing skills, since when and what have you found the hardest to master so far in design?
Andrew: Since about the second half of last year. To be honest, the hardest part to master has been creativity, and not taking forever on designs. I’m not one that thinks out of the box a lot, and it takes me quite a while to plan out and actually start a design, and then it takes me even longer just to complete it because I’m a perfectionist; if something’s not perfect in the design, I spend probably too
long agonizing over it and trying to get it to be perfect.
8 ) Max Pen: What are some of the challenges you have found the hardest to accomplished on your online projects? What do you think are the common struggle points for most webmasters?
Andrew: For me, the hardest part would have to be the pre-opening stage. All the planning, all the preparation; it’s a lot of work. And I am one of those people who never open a community until they know it’s ready, so I usually spend a long time on starting content, and also tweaking the forum till it’s perfect (again with the perfectionist). After that, it’s definitely keeping the forum active. It takes
a lot of effort to keep that constant activity stream, and it takes even more effort to make sure that your activity doesn’t dip. As for other webmasters, I think it’s a lot of the same stuff that we have trouble with. Opening communities and keeping them active seems a common enough struggle, after all.
9) Max Pen: Are you the leader type of guy or the follower? What did you learn as a leader so far and as a follower? (Follower: Someone who joins up on forums, works on forums. Leader: Someone who takes charge, control, owns a forum.)
Andrew: I’m definitely more of a leader. Usually on forums I am on I seek staff positions to work to become a leader.
As a leader, I’ve learned to really respect and befriend the people below you. Members are a vital part of your forum, and as an Admin you need to know that, and you need to make that work to your advantage. As a follower, I’d have to say I’ve learned a lot of leadership techniques, as well as a lot of stuff NOT to do as a leader.
10) Max Pen: Are you a hobby webmaster, if so do you plan on making it your living when you grow of age? If not, why?
Andrew: Definitely a hobby webmaster. I don’t have any plans on doing this for a living, mainly because I’m very doubtful I could a)Be a webmaster to the standard one would need to be to make a living off it, and b)I’m very doubtful I could actually earn a measurable income that would actually sustain me for longer than a week.
11) Max Pen: Could you tell us the most silly/nasty/interesting situation you had so far to deal with on Promotion Box?
Andrew: Hahaha, probably a situation with a user named Lucky on our forum. He joined up the staff team, and I decided to appoint him to a new position by the name of “Service Manager“, mainly because he showed a lot of ambition. Long story short, he ended up sending a not-so-friendly PM to one of our team members and he was fired from the team because of it. Later on, he requested a review from us, and one of our team members (by the name of Haze) decided to incorporate a bit of humor into his request; to make it a bit of fun. However, lucky just ended up getting mad and starting a mini flame-war. We eventually took it to PM, and I’ll have to be honest, I had a lot of good laughs that day.
12) Max Pen: Finally, what do you think you can do better at the moment that you think might benefit your projects more?
Andrew: Spend more time working on them! I’m quite a big procrastinator, and even though I get some good ideas, they usually take forever to come into fruition. I hope to work on that, and I hope to have some of my projects released soon!
Thanks alot Andrew for doing this interview with me over msn, it was quite fun and I enjoyed your answers. I hope the readers do as well. -Max Pen