View Full Version : IBforFree.com - Established Free Forum Site

03-09-2004, 01:52 AM
IBforFree - Established Free Forum Site
Site Focus - The site provides free Invision Power Board forums in exchange for a banner ad spot at the top of the page.

Name: Mike Collins
Website url: http://ibforfree.com
Domains included: ibforfree.com
Age of site: put into productive use 11/03
Traffic: (obtained from Awstats and Webalizer)
Month of February: 13,472 Uniques, 641,047 Page Views
Daily in February: Average Daily ~1,000 Uniques, 15,500 Page Views
Marketleap Link Popularity: 667


Google PageRank: 5
Alexa Rating: 104,945
Total forums registered since start: 1612
Design: Site design is totally custom (one of a kind), and includes a custom IB skin/template to match for the support forum. Includes a matching Flash splash page.
Scripts included: SEB_Flipper Multiforum Pro license (bought), News rotation script, and Invision Power Board which runs the forums
How is content obtained: Not a content site... the site content is the discussion in the forums... many with thousands of posts.
Time to maintain: It takes nearly zero time to maintain the site, although someone fluent with Invisision Power Board could certainly exploit the site and do lots with it. Currently there is a support forum where the users help each other with problems. There is an FAQ that has some info to help people with initial problems.
Space / Bandwidth: The site doesn't use a ton of bandwidth, but does use a lot of space. Each forum takes approximately 2MB of space. Many forums go unused, so the script easily prunes dead forums to help with space, but you need several GB of disk space to run this safely.
Hosting Requirements: Runs fine on a Linux/Unix box, but requires a couple of changes to php.ini. Currently the hosting is being done in exchange for advertising. You can work out something with the current host, or move it if you like. This does require a little effort to move because of the size of the backup.
Income: I am running Google Adsense ads at the moment, and since they are part of a larger account, I don't really know how much its generating. I bought this site to add with another and create a forum related network. That deal fell through, and I've never really done anything to promote the site. It is well established, and one of the most original free forum sites out there.
Promotion: I have not done anything at all. The site gets about 10 new forums signed up on average each day just from word of mouth.
Help: I will assist with the move to the new owner and answer any questions that I can, but the new owner needs to have some idea how to move a site, setup mysql databases, and make a change to php.ini.

I am looking for offers above $2000.

03-09-2004, 10:41 AM
how much $ does the site make? how much expenses etc

03-09-2004, 10:55 AM
I don't know the exact revenue because the site is using my Google Adsense account that is shared across other sites. Based on my knowledge of my other sites, I don't believe it is making more than $50-100/month. The hosting costs are zero right now, in exchange for a text ad in the banner by the host.

As I said, I bought the site to combine with another site and the other deal fell through. So, I have not done anything with it on the revenue side. Adsense is not very good for forum sites. I did try to submit it to my ad networks, Tribal Fusion and Valueclick, and they rejected it because they don't like forum only sites. If I end up keeping it, I would focus on two avenues of income... lower tiered cpm advertisers that are OK with forums, and direct ads with hosting companies. There are a number of forums that have over 1000 posts on the site, and they are all target for conversion to a paid hosting plan.

The hosting costs are going to vary depending on how you run it. It requires a lot of space... I would expect to have 3-4GB available, but not a lot of bandwidth at this point... about 5GB/month and climbing. The script allows you to prune inactive forums. The forums take up a minimum of 2MB each, so pruning will reduce space. Currently the database is a little over 1GB I believe and we just did a pruning. Figuring about double the number for expansion and contraction, and then doubling again to be able to do backups and such.

The current host is willing to work something out with a new owner.

03-09-2004, 10:59 AM
is the script designed to be used over multiple servers? what happens after you have 80 or 120 gigs worth of forums

03-09-2004, 11:10 AM
Good question. There are a couple of things you can do. First, the script allows you to automatically prune forums that are inactive, or have no posts. More people sign up for free forums, than actually use them. Also, some people will move to a hosting plan or some other provider. It happens. So that is one solution.

Assuming you don't want to prune, or that you run until you have way more forums that are active... the script can support multiple servers. You would simply build a second server and redirect the "new forum" script to the second server. You would then have a directory for each server, which I'm sure could be combined with a little php/mysql work.

03-09-2004, 11:36 AM
could the scripts be modified to use one set of forum code instead of having one for each?

would you be able to install the google adsense tracker on your google sites (or just this one) - http://www.adsensetracker.info - that would give you and us a good earnings estimate

03-09-2004, 01:17 PM
I just took a look at the adsensetracker script. A couple of concerns. First, if it is wrappering the Adsense code, then it will violate Google's terms. A friend of mine wrote a very, very similar script and Google told him that they do not allow wrappering their code. I am not willing to do anything that would put my Adsense revenue at risk. I would give the site away before I'd do that... :eek:

That said, this script wouldn't tell you very much. The bulk of my Adsense revenue comes from a large site that favors high paying keywords, and gets a ton of traffic. So trying to extract revenue from this site based on data from that script would give you an artificially high number. Forum sites in general don't do very well on Adsense, and their click rates are poor. I believe the site makes no more than $50/month from Adsense.... $100 at the most. This is not the direction to go in for this site if you want it to produce revenue. It was quick and convenient for me to throw the ads on there when I acquired the site, and so that's what I did.

The script, I'm sure, could be modified to do anything, but the real question is whether it would be practical. If you tried to run all the sites on one script, I think it would be a much more complex script to write. Besides, the space requirements are not from the script files, they are from replicating the database. If you wanted to write a script to run on one database, now THAT would be huge. You'd have to find a way to segregate the forums and users from one another, deal with username conflicts, security, etc. I won't say its impossible, but it would be a major rewrite of Invision Power Board to make it happen. I don't think it would be justified vs. disk costs. It would also limit what you could do in the future. It is possible to extract a forum today, and roll it into a hosted forum site. This gives you the option for big forums to grow up to a full hosting account that is paid. I think you'd kill that with a different approach.

The key is to prune out the inactive forums.

03-10-2004, 07:14 AM
The high offer received so far is $1500.

03-10-2004, 11:00 PM
I will be concluding this tomorrow (Thursday). The $1500 bid is still the high bid. If anyone else is interested, please let me know.

03-10-2004, 11:25 PM
I have gotten a number of questions offline and one I wanted to clarify here. The number of forums that I listed up top is the number registered since we started. We prune inactive forums regularly, so the currently active number of forums is 357. This is something you can turn on and off, or set the threshold for. The forums take up space, so this helps keep the server requirements reasonable. If you like big numbers and want to just let it keep running up, you have that ability.

03-11-2004, 11:42 PM
The site is SOLD... mods can close the thread.