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  1. #1
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    Hey guys,

    What would all of you gurus recommend for a hosted forum? As long as I'm dreaming I would hope it would allow (but not require) registration, and multiple forum topics, ability to change the colors or upload a logo, user options... maybe icq tracking (!?)

    A tall order I know, but does anyone have any recommendations?

    Thanks ahead of time!
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  2. #2
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    That would be my message board which is written in PHP, and uses a mySQL database. go to www.etecc.com/mess/ for a small sample. its $200 if you want to buy it. then go to www.etecc.com/mess/admin for the admin area. You can change the colors, logo, delete users, and all the other stuff you mentioned. if you want to post a message, just register real fast or just use etecc:etecc as the user, pass.


    Derek Meiresonne
    630-536-2709 x1198
    admin@etecc.com
    www.etecc.com
    Derek Meiresonne
    (630) 536-2709 x1198
    admin@etecc.com
    www.etecc.com/hosting.php
    - Complete Hosting Solutions, for only $7 a month -

  3. #3
    SitePoint Guru
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    I don't know about all of those features, but several have most.
    http://www.forumco.cm
    http://www.ezboard.com
    http://www.1fx.org/ to name a few.

  4. #4
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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  5. #5
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    Thanks guys for your suggestions.

    I'm thinking about going with ezboard, they seem to have everything I want.

    Any other feedback on ezboard (for or against)?
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot blackinwhite's Avatar
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    www.forumco.com

    snitz forum hosting, it is free.

  7. #7
    SitePoint Guru
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    EZboard has been advertising supported and that's becoming a problem with ad revenues down. They've just unrolled a sort of mixed revenue model, with a very small donation paying for some added features. Then there's a considerably higher amount if you want ad-free boards and they're still offering free boards. I use EZboard and am mulling over whether I want to stick with it, not because the donation is too much. It's not at all, but because I'm not too sure where all this is leading and all my users want is a message board, not a complicated tiered membership system. It's a pretty good board, though with tons of features. If this new thing they're doing is successful it could be even better.

  8. #8
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mfarmerhi
    Thanks guys for your suggestions.

    I'm thinking about going with ezboard, they seem to have everything I want.

    Any other feedback on ezboard (for or against)?
    ezboard is all right for free - it's about as good as you're going to get for a hosted, free message board. I used them before switching to vBulletin - vBulletin produced a 500% increase in posts and popularity, but it does cost and isn't remotely hosted. With ezboard, you will have to put up with annoying banner ads, potential downtime, etc., but that is inevitable with such a service.

  9. #9
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    and formco isn't accepting any more free boards....

    Looks like ezboard's the winner.

    M. James, any idea why your subscriptions went up when you switched? - at least on the surface it doesn't appear that ezboards any harder to use than vbulletin. Did you switch advertising/sign-up methods for the new board when you changed?
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  10. #10
    Idea Developer
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    I could setup phpBB on my server and run it there for you if you want. tell me if you would be interested. you cna see an example at http://phpbb.com

  11. #11
    Sports Publisher mjames's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mfarmerhi

    M. James, any idea why your subscriptions went up when you switched? - at least on the surface it doesn't appear that ezboards any harder to use than vbulletin. Did you switch advertising/sign-up methods for the new board when you changed?
    Well, vBulletin is obviously superior to any free hosted board, but other than that, the reason is probably because the sign-up with easier and quicker, the loading was quicker, etc. It's better in all ways, but it IS possible to have a successful and active ezboard forum.

  12. #12
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    Spoke offers a platform for creating a highly interactive web site. Specific to your question, we have a forums plug-in application that also has integrated email capability. Like eGroups, only at your domain.

    Attracting a critical mass of participation in a web-only forums is VERY DIFFICULT. You better have a team of volunteers to post on a daily basis or your web-forums will be just another ghost town on the internet.

    When forums have email capability, people are much more likely to post to them. People visiting the site can still interact with the forums on your site, and people who like email can post via email.

    Some companies producing web-only forums will tell you that this is a bad idea because the whole idea is to get people to come to your site. What they assume is that you WILL get a critical mass of participants. Bad assumption. eGroups is very successful for two main reasons. One of them is that they have email integration with their forums.

    Unfortunately, this is not a trivial thing to pull off, and why you don't see many doing it.

    If you are creating a new site/forum, I urge you to consider email support to make your life easier. It will save you hours of time.
    Spoke Technologies provides a fast and easy way to build web sites where people interact and contribute. Spoke's customizable, ready-to-use web components dramatically simplify the creation and maintenence of complex web sites. Spoke is a turnkey solution that integrates content management, membership, forums, articles, links, distributed publishing, administration, and more, while offering full control over look, feel, and features.

  13. #13
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    Wow necrominator, thanks for the offer! Let me experiment a little before I really go forward, I'm not sure whether I'm actually going to add one yet, or if I would have enough subscribers/users to support one.

    The increase in numbers is very interesting mjames. I do know that if I could sustain a good forum I'd eventually go to vBullitin.

    w4an, thanks for the pointers on making a successfull forum. I didn't say it in the original post, but I was hoping for a free service. Nonetheless your Web site has some great paid resouces.

    Again, thanks all for the help!
    Total Life Success - Don't give in. Succeed. (tm)

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  14. #14
    Non-Member NetEthusiast's Avatar
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    www.revamp.net offers ultimate bb for free with no ads

  15. #15
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    Oh no problem. Our platform is definately not the free variety paid through advertising.

    If I were limited to free solutions I would use eGroups for my mailing lists / Forums. You will get better participation using email.

    Next I would check out everyone.net. They have a lot of cool stuff and seem to be a company on the move. As for ad-funded business models, I like theirs the best. They play ad sales force and provide community applications and ad rotation software.

    You might also consider CommunityZero.com. I like their applications. Not sure about their business.

    <soapbox>

    One last note... In picking a free service, I would try to do some investigation on the company you are going to select. Free services (advertising funded) are the most vulnerable to vanishing off the face of the earth. No VC is investing in this model, so these companies have to be self-funded or be profitable.

    I suspect the free ride on the net will continue to come to end over the next year or two. Just because Microsoft can afford to give away a browser, doesn't mean that everyone can give away their web products.

    </soapbox>

    Good luck

    Bill Fisher
    Spoke Technologies provides a fast and easy way to build web sites where people interact and contribute. Spoke's customizable, ready-to-use web components dramatically simplify the creation and maintenence of complex web sites. Spoke is a turnkey solution that integrates content management, membership, forums, articles, links, distributed publishing, administration, and more, while offering full control over look, feel, and features.

  16. #16
    SitePoint Zealot zeeshan's Avatar
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    I just tried setting up a board with ezboards. They have a darn javascript error on their submission page (which doesnt let you submit).

    How screwy is that!

  17. #17
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    I managed to sign up without difficulties about a week ago zeeshan, hopefully it's just a temp. problem.

    w4an, thanks for the recommendations. You make a good point about investigating the free service providers. Nothing worse than having your board or email list crash because the provider went out of business overnight.

    I might be wrong, but I think that free/advertising funded services/content providers won't go away (I'm thinking tv and radio as similar concepts) - companies still just have to adjust the business models.... I'll be anxious to see where everything does go in the next couple of years.

    Again, thank you to everyone for your help.
    Total Life Success - Don't give in. Succeed. (tm)

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