What to look for when buying a forum?


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Jul 1, 2004
LeeD submitted a new Article:

What to look for when buying a forum?

Title: What to look for when buying a forum?

I have been asked this question so many times. My first response is always, “Ask questions!” When buying an existing forum there is so much that can be learned from doing some simple research, you as the buyer can really make an educated and intelligent decision. I will walk you through many of steps of research that I take when looking to buy any web site, but in this case specifically forums.


First, I want to take a close look at the community’s traffic. I am looking not just at unique visitors, but at visits, page views, and bandwidth usage. I want to be able to analyze their traffic, looking for traffic patterns, peaks, lulls, etc. All of these factors will help me to know which questions to ask the seller so that I can ultimately have a bigger picture and better insight in to what I may be spending my hard earned money on. For example, you have a community that has been consistently getting 200 unique visitors a day and 18,000 page views. In the recent months, the stats show that traffic has climbed almost instantly to 600 uniques visitors each day and 22,000 page views (not the same visit to page view ratio anymore). A warning light should go off in your head. Likely this seller has given his legitimate traffic a boost through some paid traffic source to show more value for the site for sale. I may not lose complete interest, but I would definitely have my concerns and look closely at the true picture. Be sure to always look closely at the referrer logs to see where the traffic is coming from? Where does google rank on the list? Yahoo? MSN?
So, what is a good amount of traffic? I feel like it is dependant on the community. I know very active communities that get 300 unique visitors each day and some that aren’t much more active in terms of posts and new threads even though they get 2,000 unique visitors a day. Obviously traffic adds value, so expect to shell out more dollars for those higher traffic site in the x,xxx to xx,xxx unique visitors a day range.
Here are some tools I use to determine how well the site is positioned in the search engines. This step is a must if you plan to do your homework!

MarketLeap Link Popularity Check
MarketLeap Search Engine Saturation

Visit Yahoo, MSN, and Google and perform these searches on...

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