Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Internet Forums - Love 'em or hate 'em

The overland and 4x4 world is full of them... love them or hate them, internet forums are here to stay.  Regardless if you are an overland enthusiast, a Land Rover or Toyota Fan, there are more forums for you to join and threads to read than time allows. Some are very active, some are dormant so here's the top 19 internet forums...

What makes a successful forum?  Timely topics, active users and good moderators.

I took time to actively search out the most popular Overland forums (vehicles & motorbikes), Land Rover specific and Toyota Land Cruiser forums.  Here's the list (details below) I generated and the number of registered users per forum, number of threads and posts per thread.  Congrats to the Toyota Land Cruiser Forum ih8mud for being the only forum to list active users. Two additional forums are worth mentioning: UK GSer and ExplorOz : Both charge a membership fee.
Internet Forums - Registered Users

Registered users are important but keeping them active is critical.  The following statistics show the number of threads (conversations) generated and the average number of posts per thread.
Total Threads per Forum
Average Post per Thread
The number of registered users and threads created only tell a small story about an internet forum.  As mentioned, key to any active forum are the moderators and the behavior they generate.  Moderators are important - they keep the forum free of flame wars, spam comments and unethical behavior.  The forum needs to make you feel welcome and offer you the opportunity to express yourself, and contribute to the site.

Alexa web traffic analytics:
Here is how Alexa ranks each of the websites - congrats to ADV Rider for clearly holding the number one spot.  2012 will be an interesting year for Pirate4x4 and Expedition Portal as they challenge for 2nd spot.

More on Forums:

Wikipedia statement:

Forums have a specific set of jargon associated with them; e.g. a single conversation is called a "thread".
A discussion forum is hierarchical or tree-like in structure: a forum can contain a number of subforums, each of which may have several topics. Within a forum's topic, each new discussion started is called a thread, and can be replied to by as many people as so wish.
Depending on the forum's settings, users can be anonymous or have to register with the forum and then subsequently log in in order to post messages. On most forums, users do not have to log in to read existing messages.

The complete list of internet forums surveyed:

  • ADV Rider
  • Australia LR Owners
  • Australia Toyota Owners Club
  • Expedition Portal
  • ExplorOz
  • Horizons Unlimited
  • ih8mud
  • Land Rover Owner International
  • Land Rover UK Forums
  • Land Rover World
  • Land Rovers Only
  • LR4x4
  • LRRForums
  • Pirate4x4
  • Prado Point
  • The Toyota LC Owners Club
  • UK GS
  • Unofficial LR Enthusiast Forum

In case you were wondering, my favourite forums, in no particular order, include LR4x4, Horizons Unlimited, Expedition Portal, and ADV Rider.  You can follow the latest threads and posts via the RSS feed on Overland Live.

Twitter and Facebook:
Interestingly, only a few forums have embraced the wider social media interaction. wins the twitter stakes with a whopping 5852 followers and Pirate4x4 leads Facebook with a huge 27906 likes!

That's it for the internet forums and the number of registered users.  In summary, surf them all and find the community that makes you feel welcome and one that you can actively contribute to. That's the ingredient to keep it alive!

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