• Are forums really not for profit?



    Forums are free to join and post on, which gives the impression that they are not set up with the intention of making a profit, however, this isn't necessarily the case. Some forums do charge to access certain content or for the privilege of posting on a semi-private area, they may ask for donations or advertise, however, these are not the only ways forums can make money. As with everything forum related, what you see is just the tip of a huge iceberg and the biggest chunk is beneath the surface.

    DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR DONATIONS GO?

    It's not uncommon for forums to ask you to donate money towards the running costs of the site, but do you know how your donations are being used? Do you know how much money is being donated to each site? Probably not. Once you donate your money, that's the end of it. What happens if the total donations exceed the site's running costs? Donors are not going to get their money back.

    GOLD MINES IN DISGUISE?

    It could be argued that forum owners should be rewarded for the time they spend setting up and running their sites and that, looking at it on an hourly basis, they probably get well below minimum wage. However, there are other ways for forums to make money. Admittedly, setting up a forum is hardly the easiest way to get rich quickly, however, those who succeed can make a tidy sum.

    In 2012, TV personality Martin Lewis sold his forum Moneysaving Expert for a whooping 87m as can be seen here: Martin Lewis sells MoneySavingExpert.com for 87m
    High-profile personal finance commentator and campaigner Martin Lewis has sold his MoneySavingExpert.com website for up to 87m.

    It is being bought by MoneySupermarket.com which runs an online price comparison service. Martin Lewis will remain as editor-in-chief of MoneySavingExpert, which will retain its editorial independence via an agreed editorial code.

    The deal will need to be approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

    Martin Lewis said: "This is great news for MoneySavingExpert.com and its users, ensuring, with or without me, the site will be around for many years to come, maintaining our ethos of 'cutting your costs and fighting your corner'.
    "MoneySavingExpert.com has become part of people's daily lives, far bigger than the man who founded it, and now is the right time for it to stand on its own two feet."

    Under the terms of the deal, Mr Lewis, who started his website in 2003, will receive an initial 35m plus shares in MoneySupermarket.com worth 25m. After three years he may receive a further 27m in cash and shares.
    This no doubt, inspired others to think they could turn forums into gold mines. MSE was bought by Money Supermarket because there was synergy between the two sites. MSE's ethos was always based around enabling consumers to find the best deals rather than empowering them to fight creditors, banks and employers, although there is a bit of that too, it's more of a sideline rather than the site's core offering.

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