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Cobranding forums does anyone still do it ?

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  • Cobranding forums does anyone still do it ?

    Back in 2002 this was a hot thing to do cobranding forums but nowadays when i search on vbulletin community i dont see any post. What are your thoughts ? Anyone been successful with this lately ?

  • #2
    what exactly does that mean, 2002 was 3 years ago. Quite a long time for the net.

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    • #3
      Cobranding means applying another site's layout to your own to give their users the look and feel of their site while they use your site with your content. This is very popular for travel directories, shopping sites and the likes. I have done it from time to time, especially with single forums (but not with the entire forum). Good results most of the time but it's not worth it unless there's a lot of traffic coming your way... IMHO.
      Ted & the Giftery.me Team

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      • #4
        It sounds like you talking about cloning another large popular site, I've see this done in the past were a person clones a site that's very popular and well known in the hope it will get him members fast. What I've seen though in doing this - is it normally leads to trouble kicking off when people from the other site you copied see yours (especially if they used a custom skin uneak to them only). They tend to see your site as a fake (copycat) site. Which can attract lot's of trouble from other members and staff of the site you cloned. Even getting hacked and so on such is the anger.

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        • #5
          gary bolton you loss me.... your a bit off on what cobranding is... there is no copying its more of partnering with other sites such as ted s described. Basically your sharing your forum but showing their logo. AutomotiveForums.com did this a long time ago now he has blown up to probally at least 100k members.

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          • #6
            Probably the reason it doesn't sale now is that folks can afford having their forum, and don't need such a scheme (back even 3 years ago it was expensive to start a forum). Now if can come off as profiteering, at another's expense (as the person loaning their space/bandwidth aren't profiting from it) -- everyone is interested in the main site, and your forum is the tool to get there.

            Talking about climbing on the back of others.

            Chris
            "Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to Authority
            is not using his intelligence, he is just using his memory."
            ~~~
            Leonardo da Vinci

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            • #7
              I do cobranding with my german SciFi-Forum
              http://www.scifi-forum.de/?styleid=1

              The biggest is for the german SciFi-Channel, they are using our content as their forum. Getting some over from over there
              http://www.scifi-forum.de/?styleid=18

              I like the idea behind cobranding and try to use it more, bit it's hard to find good sites without a own forum in these days...
              The Sisko
              SciFi-Forum.de

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lazyseller
                gary bolton you loss me.... your a bit off on what cobranding is... there is no copying its more of partnering with other sites such as ted s described. Basically your sharing your forum but showing their logo. AutomotiveForums.com did this a long time ago now he has blown up to probally at least 100k members.
                I don't want to sound stupid, but exactly do you mean by sharing your forum. Are you talking about running two boards from one site, ie: having two categorys, one thats yours and another category that another persons Each category contining both your own type of boards.

                Or are you basicly talking about you displaying the banner for another site in your header that links to there site and vice versa. Basicly advertising each others site

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                • #9
                  The_Sisko has a great example its hard to spot though you have to look closely.

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                  • #10
                    Gary Bolton,
                    Cobranding has nothing to do with trying to piggyback off another site's success, it is actually quite the opposite. Rather than try and explain the theory I'm going to give you an example. The forum I work for is related to Scuba Diving. As there are only a few million active divers in the US and the world at large, it is not a huge industry. In the past companies including manufacturers but mostly travel destinations and clubs have wanted to add their own forums. However, starting a forum which has a potential pool of 100 or 200 people doesn't tend to work well. Even starting a forum for a large manufacturer is hard as the discussions end up being very limited. So rather than starting their own forum, companies would come to us for a strategic partnership. Using the a skin on one specific forum via vBulletin, we can put together a special sub-forum with the look and feel of our the other company. This allows their members/ customers to use a forum that feels like it is part of the company's site but has the benefit of thousands of active users and discussion topics, thus making it much more beneficial. In e-commerce the goal is generally to hide the original site's identify entirely, or at least for a portion of the shopping experience until the user is in the checkout phase. With a content site or forum there is generally less effort on masking which site really runs the forum, the intent is generally to synergize to companies for their mutual benefit and the benefit of their members.

                    Community is a very, very hot thing for interactive departments but it is often hard to run a successful community under a brand name. It can however be very adventegous to have a community site that embodies the brand elements on your company while taking advantage of the users and discussions of an actual community site run by someone else. The extent of the cobranding depends on the relationship. Sometimes it is just a look, othertimes it is a wrapped layout as shown in The_Sisko's post above and other times the cobranding is so extensive that it becomes practically impossible to determine that the site is not run by the company whose name appears on it. Ultimately cobranding can be very effective in certain circumstances such as increasing brand retention, expanding into new markets and promoting a brand via viral marketing. it is also a great way for smaller sites to link up and work cooperatively rather than competatively. Cobranding is as the name implies coporative and generally only sucessful if both companies benefit in some manner.
                    Ted & the Giftery.me Team

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                    • #11
                      The downside of this pyramid type scheme is that you have to do the admining, you have to put up the resources, and your membership isn't about your community, it's about another's. That company dries up, or gets sold all of that traffic that comes for the company will be gone. Plus you have to abide by their rules -- so basically you're no longer the admin for your own hard work.

                      ADDED: think also of Enron. Imagine if you were tied into that company in any shape or form. Bad enough trying to keep your site's rep up in the world, corporate greed can axe your own just by association.

                      See the main company is the one profitting (they don't have to shell out money and effort for an inhouse IT department), the other sites do it hoping to cash in on a "big name". It operates much like a pyramid scheme, and the outcome can end the same too.

                      Just easier to skin a site that looks similiar and get your own traffic -- for if you're going to sell your forum (like WHT and other forum sites have done), they want the real numbers to justify paying the high price, not that you subbed for "big name" and their numbers just on name recognition <-- which is why I don't buy into the name SEO much as a name alone doesn't make a site last.

                      Chris
                      "Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to Authority
                      is not using his intelligence, he is just using his memory."
                      ~~~
                      Leonardo da Vinci

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                      • #12
                        A pyramid scheme is a system of selling goods where commissions are paid to recruit new sellers. The commissions are based on the number of sellers recruited. The right to sell the goods is sold to an increasing number of sellers at lower and lower levels.
                        How exactly is this a pyramid scheme or anything like it?

                        When we take on a cobranding partner the deal is generally for a minimum of a year. They get a forum for their customers to use, we provide them with a version of our site that matches their look and feel, to an extent, and keeps their brand integrity, while allowing them to avoid the pain of trying to keep their site appearing active for a forum that will probably get most of its traffic from single use visitors. Should the company with a cobranded forum chose to move on, make a bad pr move or no longer be in sync with our philosophy, we let them go, and that's the end of that (it's called a termination clause).

                        Certainly if you were to be reliant on one company to provide you with your traffic you would have an issue but then again, any business with enough traffic to seed an entire forum wouldn't be very smart to pass it off to another site. Either we're talking about different things or I am completely missing your point.
                        Last edited by Ted S; Wed 9 Nov '05, 7:25pm.
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                        • #13
                          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_scheme

                          The key identifiers of a pyramid scheme are:
                          • A highly excited sales pitch
                          • Little to no information offered about the company unless an investor purchases the products and becomes an IBO.
                          • Vaguely phrased promises of limitless income potential
                          • No product, or a product being sold at a price ridiculously in excess of its real market value.
                          • An income stream that chiefly depends on the commissions earned by enrolling new members or the purchase by members of products for their own use rather than sales to customers who are not participants in the scheme.
                          • A tendency for only the early investors/joiners to make any real income.
                          • Assuring that it is perfectly legal to participate.
                          The key distinction between these schemes and legitimate MLM businesses is that in the latter cases a meaningful income can be earned solely from the sales of the associated product or service to customers who are not themselves enrolled in the scheme.
                          Now pick how many of that list applies to this hot sales pitch of, "Cobrand your forum today, and make money too!".

                          Chris
                          "Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to Authority
                          is not using his intelligence, he is just using his memory."
                          ~~~
                          Leonardo da Vinci

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                          • #14
                            Understood, I've seen such offers and they are no doubt a scam. However, cobranding in its true form is about strategic partnerships between a few well linked companies. Not massive numbers, not multiple levels. Just bringing a community to a site that would not like to have its own while keeping that site's brand image and allowing its users to understandably migrate from one to the next. There's nothing slimy, illegal, or otherwise unethical about working with another company for mutual benefit.
                            Ted & the Giftery.me Team

                            New features released for Product Review Forums 1.3 (4.0)
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                            • #15
                              Well after reading it all again (still confusing though to me) - it does kind of sound as though this type of "cobranding" is more geared towards people who are trying to sell something to the public and want to get a large forum complete with a large user database intact to aim there products too quick. Who at the same time don't want the hassle of running a forum or to admin it.

                              I don't really understand to be totally honest how this would suit a person who runs a hobby site, for a lot a reasons mentioned in this thread. One mainly being they would not really own the forum as such or have any control over the user database - you would have overall control of that!

                              And I have to be honest, this thread does sound like a bit of a sales pitch like Chris said.
                              Last edited by MRGTB; Wed 9 Nov '05, 8:55pm.

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