Does anyone run one that is just a forum by itself, like OT? How hard is it to ge members? Do you have to start out by making a lot of ae’s and talking to yourself?

I have, it’s tough, really tough. Yes, AEs, fake stats, all that jazz.. But it can be done.

The only way to get a decent forum is to be on top of an exodus from a larger forum like OT.

Trev did this in the past when a bunch of internet sluts and leghumpers left some forum that nobody here has heard of.

No Newbs is probably the most well known OT spin-off.

The DIAC spin-off had a good run, but for the most part has died.

And of course OT itself is a spin-off of some Honda forum.

Can you start a successful forum completely from scratch? Absolutely not. Anyone who thinks otherwise is delusional. Anyone who says that they’ve done it is a liar.

I definately know it’s a steep mountain to climb. Back in the day, I ran a VB Forum and know that talking to yourself after just a few days can get boring. Always had an interest in them though, even though they can suck you dry for money.

Best bet if you really want to run a forum is to pick a niche or a local area that hasn’t currently got a place for people to discuss that niche/area.

I help admin a motorcycle forum based on a very specific type of bike. Just the fact that owners of that type of bike are keen to chat to other owners, has given the site a constant stream of new members who go googling for us.

"General/Off Topic" forums are a whole different ball-game, and one I wouldn’t bother with these days.

Depends on whether you have a niche market available. If you can get some key people involved in the front end then you may be able to steadily build it up to some acceptable level. If not then you will have issues getting traffic and as you start whoring it out the spammers will start creating accounts daily and plugging up the works.

+1 for it being really hard. I had one, but had a content side to the site, which was better for getting members, ie: an interview or something, then "read the rest of it here…" which linked to the full interview on the forum.

I wouldn’t bother again, unless you can do a spin off like Fuzzy said, or buy an all ready established one.