Do Free Ads on Forums, Groups and Networks Work?

Petunia Spammalot: “Hey Betty, I have a list of 48 great forums that let you post free ads every single day! Do you want it?”

Betty Newbalicious: ‘Wow! Yes! I’ve been looking for more places to post my ad.  I’m already posting to 74 Yahoo Groups each week.”

Petunia Spammalot: ” Oh Betty, only 74? Let me send you my list, there’s way more than that!”

Betty Newbalicious: “Thanks Petunia, I don’t know what’d I’d do if I didn’t get help from someone like you!”

Petunia Spammalot: “Stick with me Sweetie, I know all the great spots on the internet.”

Betty Newbalicious: “You must be making lots of money Petunia.”

Petunia Spammalot: “Umm.. well.. “

Some popular work at home forums and networks have outlawed posting ads.  Partly because many ads are spam from non active members and partly because the forum owner knows that these ads get very few views and aren’t likely to produce results for the advertiser. I have seen it for myself.  Unless an ad is very timely and targeted, it doesn’t get seen by many people – even on a large well traveled forum.

As more established forum owners have asked users to stop placing spam ads, other new forums are popping up with ‘free advertising here!’ notices. Their heart is in the right place but in truth, they aren’t providing any real value.

There are hundreds of Yahoo Groups, Ryze Networks and Website Forums that have been created for the purpose of letting users spam one another.  They are frequented by advertisers who are in the act of advertising.

It’s like setting up a shopping mall where only vendors show up. How silly they all look showing up to hawk their wares every day when the only people around are other vendors doing the same thing?

I’m not against having an advertising area on a forum. If it is suitable to the community I do think that users should have a way to share their products and services plainly.  Active community members like to know what their friends are doing and enjoy the opportunity to spend money with one another.

Ads have a place but they can’t be the entire focus of a community or it becomes cannibalistic.

The best forums, networks and email groups are focused on people and interesting topics with a little self promotion allowed on the side.  They’re moderated closely and spammers are quickly dealt with.  If you find a community like this, it’s well worth spending some time and getting to know the people.  When people get to know you, they’re likely to make referrals and think of you when they have a need that you can fulfill.

Don’t waste your time on communities that have been built around the freedom to spam each other with ads.  It’s easy to participate in these groups and feel like you’re accomplishing something but it’s only busy work.

The Work at Home Moms Community as a whole would be a better for everyone involved if the time wasting “spammunities” were all closed down.  New moms would stop wasting their time on them and hopefully move more quickly towards marketing strategies that really work.