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Old 10-27-1999, 09:03 AM   #1
WildComputer
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Cool Discussion Board Remote Hosting

I am going to add remote hosting of discussion boards (any mainstream topic u like) on www.hits4me.com soon

The basic structure I will have will look similar to this board with forums, threads, etc. No HTML or UBB code in postings to start. Photos and sigs can be optionally included with posts if the "owner" allows it. The "owner" of the board is the sole moderator of their own board. The owner can setup their own rules.

Questions :
1. what have i missed - features I should have
2. do the funny icons here add much benefit - or should i not include this
3. What else ?



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Old 10-27-1999, 10:50 AM   #2
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Best of luck with your venture WC http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

I'm not giving legal advice but their are some very very serious issues to consider.

For example:

1) A board on defeating and cheating vendors is guaranteed to cause you grief.

2) The same issue on Warez and Flame wars etc.

3) Even "mainstream topics" can twist and change on a Forum or Board into posts that will guarantee you a "ceast and desist".

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you need very very stong "Rules" that your affiliates must agree to. Then you need very very strong master Admin rights that permit you to close, lock, ban, track, etc on every board your affiliates have. Finally, you need high quality folks like Questy, Ryan, and others to help you audit and control it.

I don't mean to sound negative. I'm just trying to relay to you my own experiences. Please consider seeing a local attorney.

Finally, a guestimate on hours required to make it work properly after your trafic reaches a decent level. Figue about 15 hours per week. Others may have a different twist. For example, Jim of the Get High Forums/Virtual Promote has about 9 moderators working for trafic thats not much different than ours.

HTH



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Old 10-28-1999, 10:36 AM   #3
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Thanks for the comments Steve.

The legal issue is one concern and an important one. I know you use UBB responsibly - but suppose you didn't - would somebody come after UBB or you ? What if UBB was remote hosted rather than being a script for sale ? You get the point...

With remote hosting services it is much like free web space, Delphi forums, ....etc.... is the technology provider responsible or the content provider? You get the point.

I think the legal issue is solvable, but it's certainly worth considering.

Second we have the issues of money making. This is actually my biggest concern. Are the banner ads, etc. gonna pay for all the bandwidth. I have some doubts about this unless I can sell CPM ads. My concern is CPC/CPA ads on forums probably get low CTR - but I don't know. Obviously a membership base of moderators and forum members may be worth something to - if used appropriately.


Third I have the issue of functionality, capability, technology. Basically I can do anything I want in terms of functionality - provided it's economic. As far as having the technology to terminate boards, edit posts, etc....this is the easy part...everything is in my office...and i can open up any database any time i like. however i don't have the time or motivation to moderate other people's boards for the sake of it, and besides that would be denying a genuine service. if there's a complaint against a moderator, poster or board...then that's a different matter.


basically the economic concerns & management side are what's holding me back.

as regards the boards, i don't expect many of them to be very busy. i am recruiting members to hits4me pretty fast, but most are small personal web sites just using a guest book or something. i don't think many would have a vast amount of traffic for a discussion board...but maybe some will

assuming everything goes ahead...basically my goal in terms of service is to provide a professional looking discussion board available for FREE to site's who couldn't otherwise have it. Every free board i've seen to date (and many paid for ones) just don't cut the mustard - mine does i think.

finally one option i've been considering (but don't like) is only give discussion boards to those of my members who ask for them.

i really needs thoughts/ideas/comments on all the issues

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Old 10-28-1999, 03:14 PM   #4
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Regarding who is responsible:" is the technology provider responsible or the content provider?

Being the cynical capitalist that I am, I've read up quite a bit, and the answer to your question is all in how it is presented. I really think you need to do a lot of legal research, go to a site like tripod, or delphi, and read all their legal jibber. If you carefully make it clear up front, it appears at this time you can do a fairly decent job of isolating yourself from liability. That being said, that doesn't mean you won't create some headaches from folks who think they have a claim, and won't stop at trying to prove a point, regardless of the legal merit of their case.
(Being sued by crack pots, yeech. Been there, done that!)


Addressing the economic issue, "Are the banner ads, etc. gonna pay for all the bandwidth."

You are wise indeed to think of this. As you see by the ocasional post we get here from webmasters who suffer from "bandwidth shock" and worry about how they are going to pay for it.

Let me ask you this, what's your plan? What will be your selling point? I can create a message board for free at delphi, so what would make me choose you?

Your answers to those questions will go along way in answering, is it worth it...

http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/wink.gif "Q"

[This message has been edited by Questy (edited 10-28-1999).]
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Old 10-28-1999, 04:00 PM   #5
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Cynical capitalism rules. Liability etc. is a good point, but on a cynical note living in England, and being an English company is a good deterrant to the worst crackpots who come from your side of the water http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif ummm....that's a joke folks http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif

I have a leased line for this server, and don't pay for extra bandwidth - full stop. The main problem is I might run out of bandwidth and need to upgrade the line. Leased lines in England are ridiculously expensive, so it may change at some point if I ship the server to the USA or host it at a friendly ISP I know - in which case I'd probably start paying for bandwidth. My probable long term goal is to build up page views, membership and functionality and then sell the site & software.

Regarding the board vs competitors. This is a tough one. There isn't a single compelling reason to choose me instead of say another board. My board might be better looking. My board might have more functions. My board might fit in with other tools I'm providing to web sites. My board might be the first one you run across. Having said that the same applies to Guest Books for example, and I'm able to get more & more new sign-ups easy there, so I don't see this is different.

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Old 10-28-1999, 05:12 PM   #6
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wild comp- i like the rules you posted. If i were you i wouldn't worry about the legalities. Nobody is going to sue you or send you to jail unless people are posting child porn or something. Insidetheweb message
boards and guestworld guestbooks have some of the most vile things written and posted in them. take a look at my britney spears message board for example
http://www.InsideTheWeb.com/mbs.cgi/mb573052 the page takes a while to load
since insidetheweb is slow for some reason,
but be patient cause its worth the wait.
There really isn't much anyone can do but complain. Sure they could sue, but they can't sue everyone. In my opinion the more people
that have an "anything goes" attitude the
less people would be able to sue. The worst thing anyone is ever gonna do is send you
a boring email that says "please remove this or that or we will be forced to take legal action". At that point you fix the problem
send a reply email that says "ok its been taken care of and by the way lighten up jerk".

On a personal note, I come from the USA, and i shutter to think that some people are fearful of such ridiculous things. That will be a sad day in this country when there are a
bunch of sniveling lawyers showing up at my door actually suing me all because i voiced my opinions about someone or something.

Not only that, but wild comp if i'm not mistaken you're from the UK. nobody is gonna sue you if you live in a different country.
Did you know that cyberthrill(located in canada) actually paid many of its canadian members?

Ok the point i'm trying to make is forget about the strict rules and guidelines. If people complain, tell them to take it like a man. As vile as my britney spears message board is, i've never received one complaint in the 6 months i've had it up. If you wonder
why i don't remove it, it's because its funny as hell, and i think people have a right to voice their opinion and shouldn't have to live in fear of frivelous lawsuits.

now i'm hungry i'm going to get some taco bell http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif

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Old 10-29-1999, 04:44 AM   #7
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Hey WC,

I'd suggest taking a look at Coolboard.com to see what the competition is offering. I ran across them a little while back and thought it was a good idea. They provide _common_ messageboards. You can create, let's say, a Webmaster discussion board.

Clickquick could link to it and have it branded "clickquick".

You could link to it, and have it branded "hits4me".

But all the underlying messages would be the same. This way, many smaller site populations can contribute to a sort of critical mass to generate enough traffic for a common topic.

Anyway. Good luck.

I'd also be concerned about bandwidth - from my understanding UBB can take quite a bit of bandwidth - is that what you are considering using? It's also supposed to be pretty CPU intensive. Once you start generating a lot of messageboards, you may run into that wall as well.

arn
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Old 10-29-1999, 05:09 AM   #8
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UBB - No I use my own ASP scripts. The advantage is I have full control and can add whatever features I like. Also my scripts are designed to "scale" up as they are designed to handle lots of boards rather than cludging a single board script to handle multiple sites (e.g. by running many copies which is bandwidth, CPU and disk space wasteful). Diskspace is not a problem as I have many gigs free on my main server.

I am consider a look similar to UBB, with maybe other options too

You're coolboard idea is a good one. I will have to think about that. Thanks for the suggestion

BTW was it you who asked about passwords (I forget) - a simple password script [better than JavaScript] is now available at Hits4me. see http://www.hits4me.com/tour.asp?info=passcode - I may also a remoting hosting option for member/password systems too. I better get back on-topic or Questy will scold me http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif

I probably shouldn't admit this, but my experience is most people just use the first guest book, they see. They don't change as it's too much hassle. Same principle may apply here. However my board if I go ahead, I hope that I will be better than "good enough".

Finally on the 'shared' membership idea - I already had that idea for multi-player games. Kind of like having Earth2025 as your site promotion tool. Didn't occur to me to do it for discussion boards.

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Old 10-29-1999, 05:16 AM   #9
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I'd say that's a good move (not using UBB).

I'd be interested in seeing it. btw, I wasn't the one asking about password sites.

I can definately understand people using the first they see. This is likely true for guestbooks and other small cgi needs.

You mention that you get a lot of small/personal site signups. As sites get larger and more ambitious, webmasters get more sophisticated - so I could see you not drawing the larger sites. These sites generally have their own CGI scripting ability, and don't need to "outsource" their guestbooks.

However, I think a discussion board is a bit of a different matter. Even larger sites might not want to deal with writing a messageboard cgi or paying for one (UBB)

There will be both positives/negatives.

First, once someone establishes a messageboard, it's far less likely they will switch as that would run the risk of killing their momentum. They would likely lose registrations and messages that already exist.

However - because it's a larger "investment", people might be more likely to shop around.

The extreme example is the Free Email offerings from BigMailBox and Everyone.net. I'd very much shop around, because you can't easily go about switching after you start using one.

Just my ramblings...

arn
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Old 10-29-1999, 06:19 AM   #10
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WC,

FWIW, I been sued and harrassed many times because I've been a business owner, a business manager, and even taken some personal abuse from time to time because of my activities on the web.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade, just making sure you realize that nothing is very 100% sunny. You should realize that analogy being in the UK, no?

Juice,

I agree with what you are saying, "That will be a sad day in this country when there are a bunch of sniveling lawyers showing up at my door actually suing me all because i voiced my opinions about someone or something"

But that doesn't mean it can't happen. I've been involved in several civil suits in this "land of the free."

People can call me cynical for my attitudes, I just think I'm being realistic.

Thanks to all you for a great discussion, HTH.
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Old 10-29-1999, 07:09 AM   #11
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I've been doing some calculations on the economics. One of my programs *almost* guarantees me an average $10-$15 CPM for about 6 months. After that I may be in trouble unless they renew.

So the problem is I can get 6 good months out of ot, but may either need another sponsor [or to figure out another way to pay for this before 6 months is up], kill the service or sell site. The last option (selling under pressure of going under) is probably not an option I'd like to consider - I'd only get a good price for a profitable service.

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Old 10-29-1999, 08:19 AM   #12
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WC,

Take a look at the "Hacks" Forum on the UBB home site at http://www.scriptkeeper.com/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi for additional features.

Members "images" would be a huge hit in my HO.

I'm not familiar with ASP but on this BB 30,000 page views (not hits) consumes about 3 gigs of bandwidth.

If you have 6 months of revenue stream "locked in" that's really great. Just start looking for backup sponsers today and you will be fine http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/biggrin.gif Naturally, your current sponsers should have "first right of refusal".

Your UK location and the legal aspects is an important point that I haden't thought of. That's not to say that a determined complainer still can't get you shut down. Like "Q", Iv'e been their and done that and the emotional aspects of defending "your" (all members on this BB) rights on this BB by telling a vendor that the posts "stay" can be very unsettling.

HTH

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Old 11-08-1999, 08:28 AM   #13
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Wow !! http://www.very-cool-stuff.com/ubb/smile.gif Quite an eye opener discussion .

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Old 11-08-1999, 08:40 AM   #14
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In what way Heartz friend?

...I am still working on my script by the way. I don't want to release until I'm 110% ready.

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