Adult content.. not porn
Amazing service you are offering here, Wayne. Might as well get in early before you get too burnt out :)
Opened: April 1999
Size: 9000 members, 200,000 posts
The Overgrow.com site began as a UBB community board. We made the move to vBulletin and began providing our own content (magazine, FAQ, etc) last year. Our membership has been on a rising curve ever since. Some of our competitors now average 15 to 50 people online while we have 200.
Overall we get about 100k hits per day and move well over 150 gigs per month. We are not using gzip and the user's Image Gallery is the most popular forum. Our bandwidth usage should be cut in half when we move to our own server this month and I can enable gzip and also start compressing the jpgs as they come in.
The board is still currently listed as vBulletin 1.1.3 though it is heavily modified and security patched. I am seriously contemplating a move to 2.0 after having worked on it elsewhere. I believe I have one of the most customized vBs around as well as one of the fastest. I don't believe that anyone is doing as much site-wide non-session-based query caching as I am. This is necessary as we are still on a shared host.. with 200 online at peak. Stock vB in this situation was incredibly slow with page generation up to 30 seconds before I implemented the query result caching routines.
We sell our own sponsorship on a forum-by-forum basis, up to $400 for the most popular forum per month. The site pays for itself now but any profit is going back into the hardware. We also recently ran an auction and donation campaign that raised almost $5000 and still climbing. If I actually had someone to sell ad space (besides myself) we might be making money. We use cafepress for t-shirt fufillment and have made $250+ each month so far since we offer $50 "donation level" t-shirts as well as normally priced items. Future plans include a 4-color calendar since we have so many great images.. also we are trying to work out affiliate deals with some of our sponsors and open our own shop.
I’m not Wayne, but figured I’d offer my opinion – feel free to ignore it. :rolleyes: I really enjoyed your site, I think you’ve put together a slick design and a consistent theme. I liked the use of color to distinguish the different areas. Very well done. You’ve clearly had success and are continuing to grow. I do have a few suggestions on how you can help that growth along…
I was thinking that since your Image Gallery forum seems to be so popular, you might want to use the images to help promote your site. You could easily add an ecard feature making use of the images, and in the process create some viral marketing for your site.
In a similar vein, ‘overgrow’ is a pretty cool domain name, and it might be worth looking into a free online email service to give your members ‘email@example.com’ email addresses. Again, this will create viral marketing – and make your members happy.
Both suggestions are just added features that visitors and members may enjoy. You already seem to have a great core for your community. The key I think is to introduce some new features as you go along to keep older members happy and to introduce new blood to the site.
Ok.. I have tried to post this review twice now and something keeps preventing me from doing it.
I like the overall layout and design of the site and have even used it for a little inspiration here and there. However I like your previous layout more. The forums were slicker and seemed better put together.
You have a very loyal membership to raise $5000 in donations. Since you are planning on upgrading to vBulletin 2.0 you might think about adding a few features for these donaters. It may not seem like much but extra PM limits, PM forward and downloading are nice treats to give to people. This would encourage more people to donate.
Setting up targetted affiliate programs and auctions are another way for a niche site to grow and profit. You should look into this.
Viral marketing techniques as was mentioned will only increase your traffic and are worth it in the long run. However you might think about giving out email addresses only to people who subscribe or donate for XX amount of money. This isn't to be selfish but to make sure that there is some income to sustain these email addresses if free email providers go under.
You have a great site and while I am not interested in the topic, the technical excellence of the site inspires me.
me and my designer mate always agreed these are the best forums I've seen anywhere on the internet.
Plus, dope topic (no pun intended) !
Pass me da rizzla !!
(PS - do members get free handouts or anything)