Definition

An online community where visitors may read and post topics of common interest.


Information

Forums can be a useful for anyone doing business online, both in terms of reading the content and actively participating in the discussions.

Reading a forum’s archives can be a good way to obtain a basic knowledge about a topic, and it also provides a historical perspective on trends and opinions.

Participation, whether as a member, moderator, or owner, can help one achieve recognition within a business community, and may even generate highly-qualified business leads. Forums differ, however, in their treatment of self-promotion; some disallow any hint of self-promotion, some are geared specifically towards self-promotion, and many fall somewhere in between, limiting URL’s to an off-the-page member profile.

It is very important to read the terms and conditions of each particular forum for a basic guideline as to what is acceptable. Additionally, it is a good idea to read archived posts in order to see the guidelines in action. Failure to do so can have negative consequences, including tarnishing your site’s reputation and getting permanently banned from the community.

see also: Digital Marketing Tools

Synonyms

online discussion group, online bulletin board

Related Terms

moderator, netiquette

view all terms in the Social Media Marketing glossary or all terms in the Digital Marketing glossary

Sites

Webmaster World

SitePoint Forums

dmoz.org : Bulletin Board Systems : Software

Articles

Building a Community with Discussion Forums
SitePoint