Who hasn’t run advertisements of their message forum once or twice in an attempt to earning a profit from operating the forum? But have we really thought about the negative effects of displaying advertisements on our message forums for the sake of earning profit from them? To me, there are more disadvantages of advertisements on a forum than there are advantages for many different reasons. So I decided that it was worth creating an article for it to be displayed to the message forum administrator community.

Advertisements can be bad for SEO
Google and other major search engines are constantly changing their ranking system which means how your forum is ranked on their search engine results. One of the most common search engine optimization rule found on search engines is the violation and bad rating result of linking to non-relevant websites. Unless advertisements are directly and specifically related to your niche, they can hurt the SEO of your forum and cause less people to find your forum when searching for related keywords on various search engines. It is hard to say what Google and other search engines are calling direct relevant links too your niche as well so most of the time, an advertisement is a gamble more than anything else.

Advertisements piss people off
Go to any admin forum, I guarantee you are going to see topic after topic of forum owners complaining about members using ad-blocking applications and software. It is true, more and more internet users are embracing ad-blocking innovations so that they don’t have to be exposed to the ads of the internet. And forum owners really have no room to complain about ad-blocking usage because they are not asking members if it is okay to display ads to them in the first place. Members are not joining forums to view ads, they are joining for a social community, knowledge and information. Remember those programs that give you a free weekend getaway vacation as long as you sit through a 6-hour meeting about why you should buy a boat (or whatever) from them? That is basically what ad-filled forums are these days – people have to sit through the boring advertisements just to get access to the fun.

Advertisements take away activity
Think about it… Whether or not you have enabled ‘target=_blank’ on an advertisements, the same tab or a new tab is still taking the attention of a user away from your forum and on to another website that you don’t own. Let’s say I join your fruit forum to discuss the latest orchard apples with the rest of your members but your apple juice advertisement caught my attention. I click on it and instead view that page’s content rather than discuss topics on your forum. Who knows, I might actually find what I am looking for on the advertisement website which was the reason I joined your forum in the first place – to find what I was looking for. But don’t worry, I found it on the ad instead because you know advertisers are targeting your content types to draw more of your users to their site instead.

Ditch advertisements – you will save money while keeping members on your forum. Focus on profit earning methods that are positive for both your members and your forum activity. Monthly premium subscriptions for example could suffice as long as you add some kind of value in purchasing the subscriptions rather than extra PM space and a custom user title. I bet you anything, you can make more money with another innovation and still keep the attention of your members than you would with advertising, the dinosaur method of earning money on the internet.

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