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Fastlane Forum Contest Brainstorm!

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MJ DeMarco

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So I'd like to have some sort of contest/challenge to encourage the growth of our forum - I figure the TOP 3 would win something, like dinners, Amazon gift cards, etc.

I'm thinking to assign points for each activity, like 10 points for a referral, 1 point for a post, 2 points for a thread, 1 point for rep speed, etc.

Any ideas? Just in the brainstorming phase ....
 

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Diane Kennedy

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Ways to drive people to the forum:

- Do a press release.
- Write an article regarding why you started it, or why it's helpful, or something like that and post on ezine boards
- I am WAY out of my depth on this next statement and will probably get terms wrong, bear with me - Can the spyders see the content? if I do a search on key words on Google, I don't see this forum come up anywhere. More tech people than me know how to make the content appear more accessible and that helps you get more click throughs on Google.
- Write a blog that mirrors posts you are already putting on the forum (so no double work). Then sign your blog up for everything you can think of (technorati, etc) so that other blogs pick you up.
- The more experts you have on here posting, the better the content and the more you'll drive people here. BUT there is a huge drawback for an expert posting here - they get sniped and insulted. Everyone is John Wayne behind a keyboard and so much the better, some people reason, if you get to take someone big down. What can you do to attract "guest" posters with a shield of immunity?
- I'm a huge Seth Godin fan. Will any of his viral marketing ideas work?

Some off the top of my head ideas MJ.

Diane
 
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MJ DeMarco

MJ DeMarco

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Ways to drive people to the forum:

- Do a press release.
- Write an article regarding why you started it, or why it's helpful, or something like that and post on ezine boards
- I am WAY out of my depth on this next statement and will probably get terms wrong, bear with me - Can the spyders see the content? if I do a search on key words on Google, I don't see this forum come up anywhere. More tech people than me know how to make the content appear more accessible and that helps you get more click throughs on Google.
- Write a blog that mirrors posts you are already putting on the forum (so no double work). Then sign your blog up for everything you can think of (technorati, etc) so that other blogs pick you up.
- The more experts you have on here posting, the better the content and the more you'll drive people here. BUT there is a huge drawback for an expert posting here - they get sniped and insulted. Everyone is John Wayne behind a keyboard and so much the better, some people reason, if you get to take someone big down. What can you do to attract "guest" posters with a shield of immunity?
- I'm a huge Seth Godin fan. Will any of his viral marketing ideas work?

Some off the top of my head ideas MJ.

Diane
Diane,

Im thinking internally -- not externally -- I haven't even started external marketing which is what you describe above. Great ideas BTW. External marketing is my specialty and I didn't want to go there until my book was 95% done.

As for Google, new sites don't show well and I don't expect to get much help there -- they have an infamous "sandbox" for new sites. A website that is 2 mos old doesn't get much play w/respect to Google. We do, however, show up #1 for "millionaire business forum" -- not the best, but it shows Google has visited.
 

Analyzer

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So I'd like to have some sort of contest/challenge to encourage the growth of our forum - I figure the TOP 3 would win something, like dinners, Amazon gift cards, etc.

I'm thinking to assign points for each activity, like 10 points for a referral, 1 point for a post, 2 points for a thread, 1 point for rep speed, etc.

Any ideas? Just in the brainstorming phase ....
I don't think it is a great idea to give points for threads started, number of posts, etc. This will lead at least some people to post randomly just to get the points. (similar to what happen in forums where you can have a banner in your sig - more posts but less quality)

It seems a better idea to give points to people that receive speed up or start threads that are rated high. This way you may not get a very fast growth in number of posts/threads but you'll make sure people have an incentive to post while still preserving quality.

I would give points for referrals but make it transparent to everyone who was referred by whom. For example under the username I would had ""referred by ..." this way people would feel responsible for they referrals and choose only people that will contribute to the forum.
 
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MJ DeMarco

MJ DeMarco

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I don't think it is a great idea to give points for threads started, number of posts, etc. This will lead at least some people to post randomly just to get the points. (similar to what happen in forums where you can have a banner in your sig - more posts but less quality)

It seems a better idea to give points to people that receive speed up or start threads that are rated high. This way you may not get a very fast growth in number of posts/threads but you'll make sure people have an incentive to post while still preserving quality.

I would give points for referrals but make it transparent to everyone who was referred by whom. For example under the username I would had ""referred by ..." this way people would feel responsible for they referrals and choose only people that will contribute to the forum.
Great ideas ... points only for quality - (for speed, thread ratings, etc.)
 

SteveO

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- The more experts you have on here posting, the better the content and the more you'll drive people here. BUT there is a huge drawback for an expert posting here - they get sniped and insulted. Everyone is John Wayne behind a keyboard and so much the better, some people reason, if you get to take someone big down. What can you do to attract "guest" posters with a shield of immunity?
Diane
I consider myself an expert in my field (not well known but an expert none-the-less) :smx9: and I try to stick to advise based on areas that I have knowledge about. This has not happened on this forum but it has happened to me on other forums. The whole idea with the reputation and moderation will go a long ways in keeping these issues at bay.

Guest posters will not have much in the way of reputation speed. Perhaps they could have a special section that comes with an introduction.
 

SteveO

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This forum is growing very well from my perspective. The things that you have put into place are doing their job, correct?

I am a fan of the idea that was already discussed about quality over quantity.
 

Allthingznew

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You have quite the challenge here.

If you give points based on speed, you lose incentive for the "masses", those joining everyday who have no speed, nor will they come in and acquire it like a Diane, or a Russ H because they're coming here to learn and don't have the insights to offer yet, but they could help spread the word.

If you give points based on posting, that has already been mentioned-quality could suffer.

The only apparently "pure" points are on referrals, and even then the advantage can be skewed toward those already established because they're likely to have a venue to promote the forum already in place, still it does give the "masses" a chance to compete. Maybe some sort of handicap like in golf? Although that does create similar challenges to verifying net worth.

Maybe you can create certain thresholds where people earn something at a level achieved. This may give the new person joining tomorrow the incentive to promote the site and feel like they can participate and not have "missed the boat". I don't think the "prizes" necessarily have to cost you much either. Maybe it's information of some kind (I know, that's what they get here but maybe it will give you an idea).

I know what you spend is not as much an issue cuz it's could be a write off and it's an investment what with the book and all, but sometimes it's the "prize" itself that motivates people as well as the contest and the "prize" only really has to have value to the one going after it.

I don't know, I'm just thinking the more people that can and want to participate the better off you are.
 

nomadjanet

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What type of growth are you looking to foster? Are you wanting us to refer to just anyone who might benefit or are you looking for more leader type referrals? It might be easy to drive a lot of people to the site; however they may not contribute much. I am thinking existing members should try to ask their mentor to join the site if they have one this would be a very specialized group of people. Also if an existing member is acting as a mentor to someone invite them to join in the group.
I also agree with adding speed only for quality; if you just want anyone there are all kinds of boards out there people could refer from but I don't think that is what you are trying to achieve.
How about the referring person does not get speed from the referral until the new member is out of parking or has achieved a certain preset speed? That way they are only getting speed from someone who is actively contributing to the board.
 

Bilgefisher

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How about the referring person does not get speed from the referral until the new member is out of parking or has achieved a certain preset speed? That way they are only getting speed from someone who is actively contributing to the board.
I like this idea. :iagree:

Also, there is always the downside of seeding new grass, you will be pulling weeds for weeks. That said, I understand and agree with trying to foster new growth and bring in fresh ideas.

My concern (partly because I am a newbie doing it) is overburdening the successful people on this forum. I would love to pick SteveO, Russ, Diane, Andviv, ATW, and others brains all day, unfortunately that puts a huge burden on them. Just suggest caution and learn from other forums mistakes.

My .02 fwiw. You've done an excellent job on this forum so far, so I am sure whatever you come up with will work nicely.
 

LightHouse

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IMO i think there should be a monthly quarterly vote, and nominations of the most fastlane oriented post or most helpful post. Almost like the craigslist best of. Instead of something funny make it something helpful for all. typical of what you would receive rep speed for but 10x that, have the nominees filtered then have everyone vote at the end of the month quarter.... just an idea, may not make sense to everyone.
 

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Russ H

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I figure the TOP 3 would win something, like dinners, Amazon gift cards, etc.
How about the top performer gets a brand new Cadillac?*

Second place?

Steak knives.

-Russ H.

* According to my post level I'm driving a Cadillac right now, so I'd be happy to make this donation and go back to my Acura. :smxB:
 

LightHouse

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How about the top performer gets a brand new Cadillac?*

Second place?

Steak knives.

-Russ H.

* According to my post level I'm driving a Cadillac right now, so I'd be happy to make this donation and go back to my Acura. :smxB:

Third place, you're FIRED (or Banned)....:rofl:
 

yveskleinsky

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I suppose my main question would be:
1. What are you goals with this forum? Quality or quantity?

I think it would be helpful if under people's rep rate there was posted their expertise, along with a quantifiable (sp?) number. Ex: Vacation Rentals, 3 units. or SFR 30 homes.

OH! What if you did like an Apprentice type thing, where people had to enter and then they won mentoring- or something. I think that would create a lot of buzz. Just a thought. Some mentor could mold the winner into some sort of franken-vestor of their liking (insert evil laugh).
 

Yankees338

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I agree that we should focus more on quality than quantity. If we focus on quality, the quantity will eventually come.

I like Allthingznew and Analyzer's ideas. I like the idea of having certain features or areas of the forum unlocked once you reach a certain reputation level (again, focus on quality). I also like the idea of some sort of quarterly vote as Lighthouse mentioned based on helpful posts or threads.

One thing I don't believe was mentioned is that if we offer rewards to those who receive the most reputation points, people will become more stingy in giving them out if they feel it's a sort of competition for a prize like dinner or gift cards. Of course, not everyone would fall into this category, but it's definitely another thing to consider.
 

biophase

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What type of growth are you looking for? Posts or new users?

I ask this because I have referred a bunch of people to this forum... but I only refer people who have expressed an interest in the 'fastlane'. It makes no sense referring people who are going to be lifelong 9to5'ers because they won't stay and if they do, they may be negative.

Maybe we can have the number of referrals alongside our profile under "mood." This way it would be one of those internal competitions amongst us just for bragging rights.

As for posts, I think things are going fine. It's tough to make good quality posts with good discussions if you're just going to post to make a post.
 
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MJ DeMarco

MJ DeMarco

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This forum is growing very well from my perspective. The things that you have put into place are doing their job, correct?

I am a fan of the idea that was already discussed about quality over quantity.
Yes, things are moving nicely and the quality is high. However, I don't want to overburden the "experts" as Bilgefisher says -- I find myself struggling to answer posts daily albeit that is a product of some other issues going on in my life right now.


IMO i think there should be a monthly quarterly vote, and nominations of the most fastlane oriented post or most helpful post. Almost like the craigslist best of. Instead of something funny make it something helpful for all. typical of what you would receive rep speed for but 10x that, have the nominees filtered then have everyone vote at the end of the month quarter.... just an idea, may not make sense to everyone.
This is a great idea ... post of the month!!

How about the top performer gets a brand new Cadillac?*

Second place?

Steak knives.

-Russ H.

* According to my post level I'm driving a Cadillac right now, so I'd be happy to make this donation and go back to my Acura. :smxB:
Now thats funny!!!

All great feedback folks ... if I decide to do something, it will definitely target "Quality" over "Quantity" -- looking for eagles in a world of pidgeons!! And thanks for all those referrals!! :thankyousign: :thankyousign: :thankyousign:
 

andviv

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Well, in my case, what motivates me is the knowledge that I can get/pass in here. I don't think having a prize will motivate me to post/refer more than what I do now. Helping others and learn are my drivers.

Same as Bio, I also refer only those that I think have the potential. I have the url in a couple of signatures as well. But the growth will happen based on quality. Where else can you get this type of interaction for free? also, by the time your book comes out, the forum must have enough quality content so your readers actually become members, and I think this was your goal since the beginning, right? If that is the case then focus on invite more experts to join.

I will extend the invitation to a couple of do-ers that I know and to members of the local REI group, as they would probably have something to give and something to learn. The biggest the names you can bring here, the better for the forum.

I do believe that you should have a "Classic" posts area. Eventually you will run out of space for sticky points (especially if we keep getting many good threads as we have so far).

I'm enjoying the forum the way it is for now. I am concerned about what Diane said before. Some people want to bully real experts just for bragging rights. That may be an issue when we get more experts to join us.
 

Russ H

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Some people want to bully real experts just for bragging rights. That may be an issue when we get more experts to join us.
Perhaps we can have a "report abuse" button on each post. When some idiot does bash an expert, if 10 of us push the button, the mods could ban them, and trace their ISP so that they can't rejoin from the computer they're on.

Kinda like taking out the trash. Gotta do it on a regular basis, or things start to get stinky. :smx3:

(Not sure if the ISP trace part is possible-- MJ, what do you think about this?)

-Russ H.
 

LightHouse

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Russ the forum software tracks and shows all user IP's and you can ban them right from there.
 

Luke12321

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Quality over quanity seems to be the winner here and I am glad! I enjoy coming here to learn and expand my knowledge. It is great that I do not have to wade through BS ( aka MLM'S) to find quality content! I think speed rating and how many people you refer during the period of the contest would be the best way to stimulate growth for the board.
 

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