Blogs vs Forums: Who do you trust more?

31 replies
Now that I have a better idea of how affiliate links work and how blogs make money, I find myself trusting forums a lot more. All this pushing of affiliate products, asking to join the newsletter, asking to "share if you care" etc makes me cringe.
I find forums much cleaner and lot more likely to get genuine help. Sure people push products on forums but it's a lot more discrete.

Also, do you think google will eventually pick up on this? If more and more people avoid blogs and visit forums?
#blogs #forums #trust
  • Profile picture of the author Azlan.MY
    Originally Posted by Craigcmatthew View Post

    Now that I have a better idea of how affiliate links work and how blogs make money, I find myself trusting forums a lot more. All this pushing of affiliate products, asking to join the newsletter, asking to "share if you care" etc makes me cringe.
    I find forums much cleaner and lot more likely to get genuine help. Sure people push products on forums but it's a lot more discrete.

    Also, do you think google will eventually pick up on this? If more and more people avoid blogs and visit forums?
    It depends on the topic. G usually prioritizing websites with lots of content. If that blog posts has long content and tons of comments it will be ranked higher for that keywords. If one forum thread has lots of people who are actively participating in it G will rank it higher than other blog posts which are trying to compete for the same keywords.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    So you are pretty much against marketing or do you feel the blogs you visit take it to the extreme? A marketer needs to ask for the sale/subscription/click/whatever or they aren't doing their job.

    The same people, for the most part, helping on forums are also helping on the blogs so I don't really see the difference except for the marketing.

    Mark

    Originally Posted by Craigcmatthew View Post

    Now that I have a better idea of how affiliate links work and how blogs make money, I find myself trusting forums a lot more. All this pushing of affiliate products, asking to join the newsletter, asking to "share if you care" etc makes me cringe.
    I find forums much cleaner and lot more likely to get genuine help. Sure people push products on forums but it's a lot more discrete.

    Also, do you think google will eventually pick up on this? If more and more people avoid blogs and visit forums?
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    • Profile picture of the author Craigcmatthew
      Originally Posted by Mark Singletary View Post

      So you are pretty much against marketing or do you feel the blogs you visit take it to the extreme? A marketer needs to ask for the sale/subscription/click/whatever or they aren't doing their job.

      The same people, for the most part, helping on forums are also helping on the blogs so I don't really see the difference except for the marketing.

      Mark
      Some blogs do take it to the extreme I feel. You land on the blog, the first thing you see is a massive subscription box, you close that box, next thing you see are intrusive social share icons on the left and another subscription box on the right. Just when you reach to close the tab, they pull out another box.

      That's the kind of hard-selling that gets me annoyed. Both share icons and newsletter boxes are fine, I just don't like how they pop-up after entry and before exit.

      It is also a trust issue. Blogs are naturally biased towards products they are trying to push and can easily curate the comments to suit their needs. For example, I was recently looking to buy a projector and every authority in that niche had affiliate links with very little info/comments. I preferred visiting home-theater related forums to get unbiased opinions.

      It's the same when I'm looking to buy digital products. When I first read about EzyAzon or LongTailPro on Spencer Haws blog, I was convinced these were awesome tools and absolute necessities. Then I read a few discussions threads on here and realized how over-hyped these products were.

      Think about how inundated the web is with amazon review sites, half of them have no clue about the products they are reviewing. Would you not prefer visiting a niche forum where people who have actually used the product provide their "2 cents".?

      Anyways, it just so happens with me that I avoid blogs and prefer forums for the aforementioned reasons. And if a lot of other people feel the same (CTR for forum based sites increases), could we see forums being preferred by Google?
      Could the excessive hard-selling, affiliate linking be the downfall of blogs?
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      • Profile picture of the author Importexport
        There is no doubt that you will rarely get unbiased opinions on blogs, but the same can happen on some smaller forums.

        I began posting on an industry specific forum, and had posts deleted, and was verbally assaulted by several members. The reason was simple; They were advertisers on the forum and I was a free member with a different approach to theirs. They saw that approach as threatening their income.

        On a forum such as WF offensive posts such as the ones by those advertisers would be deleted. Forums such as the one I quickly left are little more than blogs in disguise.

        In short: I don't trust opinions expressed in blogs. Those specific to my industry are often based on little or no experience and contain rehashed work from other sources.

        Much of that is out of date or outright misinformation, but the blog does serve its purpose in bringing in affiliate sales, subscribers, and buyers of their books or programs.

        At least on places such as WF, there is what amounts to peer review. Misinformation rarely goes unquestioned.
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  • Profile picture of the author JC Web
    Trust nobody. But you're more likely to get real advice, reviews, info on forums that do not allow signatures. Google already does prefer large forums in search results, especially forums without links allowed in signatures.
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  • Profile picture of the author alias2002
    I prefer forum better than blog. Because you can easily share your problem onto the forum and after few hours you'll get your solution for this problem easily. So, forum is better for me. And I have seen many of them advertising their products through forum as well.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gail Rahn
      I would tend to lean more towards forums for a variety of reasons.

      - you can access many more opinions/topics on a forum as opposed to just one viewpoint on a blog WAHM Forum (great place for moms)

      - easier to search a forum for specific keywords/phrases and get help with questions (the advanced search page on WF is a perfect example of this)

      - the purpose of a lot of forums is to help people learn about specific topics (for example: The Money Maker Group forum has a specific section about investing)

      Of course...always use wisdom and decide for yourself...don't trust everything you see just because it's on the Internet )
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve B
        Blogs vs Forums: Who do you trust more?


        It sounds as though you already have your mind made up.

        Personally, I think I trust blogs more than forums. Why?

        You can pick and choose which blogs you desire to listen to. When you find a good one with a reputable and credible owner, you can typically trust what he tells you day after day.

        Forums, on the other hand, feed off random posters and a lot of what is said is just not true or accurate. Sure people posting are usually sincere, but you can't take what they say as always the truth. Look at all the garbage spewed at this public forum.

        Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author Importexport
          Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

          Blogs vs Forums: Who do you trust more?
          It sounds as though you already have your mind made up.

          Personally, I think I trust blogs more than forums. Why?

          You can pick and choose which blogs you desire to listen to. When you find a good one with a reputable and credible owner, you can typically trust what he tells you day after day.

          Forums, on the other hand, feed off random posters and a lot of what is said is just not true or accurate. Sure people posting are usually sincere, but you can't take what they say as always the truth. Look at all the garbage spewed at this public forum.

          Steve
          In my area of expertise I see gross misinformation in forums and blogs. I don't claim to be the fountain of all wisdom in my field, but I have learned a lot since I started in shipping/exporting/importing in the early '60s, and I often see advice published that is a wealth hazard.

          At least in forums I can do my part by correcting the misinformation that comes to my attention but in blogs it is usual for what the blog owner sees as negative to be deleted even if it gets published in the first place.

          I don't claim to be the fountain of all wisdom in my field, but I have learned a lot since I started in shipping/exporting/importing in the early '60s.

          You are quite right about garbage. Some posts are totally irrelevant and others are plain nonsense. Fortunately most of those are so obvious that they can be ignored.

          Too many people think that they can get for free on forums or blogs everything they need to know to start up and operate a business. They are the ones who get hurt most by the garbage and misinformation.

          It does not make sense to rely on advice from "anonymous" to guide a serious investment of time and money. Almost every blogger and forum poster is anonymous. There are a few exceptions when the real identity is known.
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          • Profile picture of the author discrat
            It just all depends. Whose blog it is and whose Forum it is.

            If you pointed a gun to my head and asked me which one would your instincts incline you to trust more ??

            I would have to say Forums because sometimes seems there is less of a chance for a "slant".

            You have multitudes of people participating and it seems to be more liberal and open minded in that fashion


            - Robert Andrew
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            • Profile picture of the author tenbears
              I reckon there's something to be said for both blogs and forums. The more you read, the more you'll continue to hone your own instincts as to what's bs and what can be trusted.

              Forums like this one are great for honest, productive back and forth discussions and finding answers to pretty much any internet marketing queries you may have. Forums are also useful for keeping up with the latest shifts in the industry.

              Well trafficked blogs can also offer a rich vein of 'independent' insights via discussions on their posts' comments, but these can also be riddled with promotional messages if comment moderation is not up to scratch.

              In general, personally I'd reference WF first over blogs initially due to the quantity and quality of content available. Googling IM queries usually brings up a handful of threads on the WF which I'd tend to hit first.
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        • Profile picture of the author Craigcmatthew
          Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

          Blogs vs Forums: Who do you trust more?


          It sounds as though you already have your mind made up.

          Personally, I think I trust blogs more than forums. Why?

          You can pick and choose which blogs you desire to listen to. When you find a good one with a reputable and credible owner, you can typically trust what he tells you day after day.

          Forums, on the other hand, feed off random posters and a lot of what is said is just not true or accurate. Sure people posting are usually sincere, but you can't take what they say as always the truth. Look at all the garbage spewed at this public forum.

          Steve
          Yes I prefer forums over blog.
          Take a look at this article for example. It is the first page result for the keyword "amazon affiliate site":

          9 Ways to Increase Amazon Affiliate Earnings - Niche Pursuits

          I count a total of 10 links to EasyAzon peppered within the article. That's the kind of affiliate marketing overkill that gets on my nerves.
          That sort of blatant one-sided over-hyped advertising would not be allowed on most forums. Which is why I trust them more.

          There are innumerable blogs that pick on newbies. Some of us maybe experts in our domains but we are all newbies/uninformed about some other areas.
          When I was trying to learn about indoor gardening, almost all the blogs/niche-sites I visited asked me to purchase the most expensive bloated equipment simply because it would mean more commissions for them. Indoor gardening related forums on the other hand provided much better suggestions.

          We can pick and choose what blogs we listen to but that would imply checking out multiple blogs before settling on one and reading through heaps of BS. And how do we know what's BS since we are new to that topic?

          Anyways, what I really wanna your opinion on is how do you think this would play out in terms of SERP's? Given how there's always a few blogs and forums
          for every niche, will Google prefer one over the other? I know it all depends on how active the topic is, but still, if vbulletin or phpbb based sites get a clear preference by users (increase CTR, low bounce rate, high page views etc.), could Google too factor that in and rank forums higher?
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          • Profile picture of the author kk075
            Originally Posted by Craigcmatthew View Post

            Yes I prefer forums over blog.
            Take a look at this article for example. It is the first page result for the keyword "amazon affiliate site":

            9 Ways to Increase Amazon Affiliate Earnings - Niche Pursuits

            I count a total of 10 links to EasyAzon peppered within the article. That's the kind of affiliate marketing overkill that gets on my nerves.
            First, I would have left that website once I spotted the 2nd affiliate link. And if you actually read the content, it's nothing that you can't get from a reputable site like HubSpot or Search Engine Journal. The only difference is, the person in your link is desperate to sell something and he doesn't know how.

            The true authority blogs don't try to sell you anything at all...they just provide awesome content and let you find their banners on your own. Once you build up trust in them, then they know you're a lot more likely to click-through and make them some profit. And since you'll keep coming back for more info AND tell others about it, then it's money in the bank for doing things the right way.

            So if we're going to compare blogs to forums, then let's at least compare a good blog to a good forum.
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            • Profile picture of the author Craigcmatthew
              Originally Posted by kk075 View Post

              First, I would have left that website once I spotted the 2nd affiliate link. And if you actually read the content, it's nothing that you can't get from a reputable site like HubSpot or Search Engine Journal. The only difference is, the person in your link is desperate to sell something and he doesn't know how.

              The true authority blogs don't try to sell you anything at all...they just provide awesome content and let you find their banners on your own. Once you build up trust in them, then they know you're a lot more likely to click-through and make them some profit. And since you'll keep coming back for more info AND tell others about it, then it's money in the bank for doing things the right way.

              So if we're going to compare blogs to forums, then let's at least compare a good blog to a good forum.
              The reason why I chose that link was because it was a first page result for a very competitive keyword "amazon affiliate site". It is PR3 and even ranked higher than WF for the same keyword. But I get your point.

              Anyways thanks for all the replies guys. Much appreciated.
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  • Profile picture of the author camnettcontent
    I trust forums more because there's always a wide cross section of opinions and backgrounds that you can reference when you're asking a question or looking for feedback about something.

    I enjoy blogs but think there is more room for the blog owner to present things as they want them to be seen rather than what they really are. Forum admins can do that too but it's much more difficult and that tends to make forums a more honest place.
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    • Profile picture of the author jackcolton
      It depends on the kind of blog and forum. Personally, I enjoy a mixture of both. I love reading forums for reviews on a certain thing and also to learn of other similar options. That happens all the time on this forum in particular.

      Similarly, forums can provide a very limited insight into if a poster even knows what they are talking about, whereas an established blog with a trusted reputation can be lightyears ahead in being both comprehensive in the who, why, what, where and when of what they are recommending.

      A great example is within the health and fitness niche. Forums are comparatively terrible in that realm because most people don't know what they are talking about and what works for one may not work for another. Fitness blogs (again, popular and respected) usually have some level of credential behind what they recommend.
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  • Profile picture of the author kk075
    I definitely trust blogs over forums....but I am also talking about very specific blogs where I have learned to trust the author and I know he has my best intentions at heart.

    Classic example- Matt Cutts.

    His blog said that Google heavily penalized any type of duplicate content on the web, regardless of who posted it first, where the article came from, etc. Someone on this forum said that you can syndicate your content to hundreds of websites and get massive traffic/exposure from it.

    So who do you believe? A former head of Google's spam team or a random poster who built a large following here?

    I'm not saying that there is not great information here because there definitely is...but you have to look at each poster's intentions both on blogs and forums to determine if they're worth reading or not. In general though, I know people like Matt Cutts are not going to lie to me. It's much harder to say that about someone on a forum when you don't even know their actual identity.
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  • Profile picture of the author visimedia
    using one without the other is no good I think, if there's a chance you can use both because it will build you trust faster compared to using just 1.

    More over in affiliate marketing business you need to build trust, n you need to deliver why they need to buy the product and why through your link.. not easy but if you can use both forums and blogs, I think that's building trust faster
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  • Profile picture of the author st0nec0ld
    Originally Posted by Craigcmatthew View Post

    Now that I have a better idea of how affiliate links work and how blogs make money, I find myself trusting forums a lot more. All this pushing of affiliate products, asking to join the newsletter, asking to "share if you care" etc makes me cringe.
    I find forums much cleaner and lot more likely to get genuine help. Sure people push products on forums but it's a lot more discrete.

    Also, do you think google will eventually pick up on this? If more and more people avoid blogs and visit forums?
    Well, it depends you know. Forums might work best for your strategies but for some it is blog that works well for them. It will also depend on one's niche too.
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  • Profile picture of the author gregs82
    I personally don't trust forums that allow users to delete certain post to suit there marketing needs. Take this forum for example. A person selling a WSO can delete a post purely because it will affect their business.

    To certain extend, a blogger may want to focus on a product that will bring in more money than just offering good content. It's hard to choose.

    I say every individual needs to do basic due diligence to get ahead.
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  • Profile picture of the author leilani
    Forums over blogs.

    Too many blogs repeat the same information. Oh, they move things around, but the content is not unique. I even had a coach that showed me how she got her content for an article on a blog. She basically cut and paste information from other blogs. Not cool. Made me see why most of them are alike.

    As for forums? No way. You actually have genuine people with genuine problems coming to the forums asking for help. This is a gold mine for internet marketers! If enough people are asking the same questions over and over again, there is an opportunity to find a solution! I do not know who said it, but it went "In the problem is the solution."

    I love forums because I learn alot from them. Especially this forum.

    Sharing.

    Leilani
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  • Profile picture of the author lostcyclist
    I'm with you: Forums.

    I used to trust product reviews on ecommerce sites a lot more, but then I found out many of those were manipulated. :/
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  • Profile picture of the author AuthorityBuilder
    Actually, it's not about who to trust more.

    Blogs, though make money through affiliate products, but there are many blogs who highlight both the pros and cons of a product clearly inspite of putting up affiliate links. That way, you can take an informed decision.

    Though I know many blogs put up sh**ty reviews and push affiliate products, some honest bloggers still exist who don't work that way.

    On the other hand, forums are a good place for discussion but are sometimes hard to come to a conclusion on a forum, especially when buying products.

    Originally Posted by Craigcmatthew View Post

    Now that I have a better idea of how affiliate links work and how blogs make money, I find myself trusting forums a lot more. All this pushing of affiliate products, asking to join the newsletter, asking to "share if you care" etc makes me cringe.
    I find forums much cleaner and lot more likely to get genuine help. Sure people push products on forums but it's a lot more discrete.

    Also, do you think google will eventually pick up on this? If more and more people avoid blogs and visit forums?
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  • Profile picture of the author alias2002
    I trust on forum most. Because lot's of wise answer there for any problem or queries. And many of them come forward to help others.
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  • Profile picture of the author kimwillis
    As stated on this thread forums can be useful in that they give a broad cross section of views. That said I tend to prefer blogs if the blog in question is owned by someone I am following, in a niche I am interested in.

    The right blog will often feature content that goes deeper on a topic than occurs in forums.

    I think it can be a huge trap to be presented with a wide array of views as is often the case in a forum.

    One of the biggest problems for newbies is that they hear so many voices that they become confused and muddled in their thinking. A dramatic lose in confidence usually follows - a disaster for them.

    Finally I don't have any problem joining someone's list if the content on their blog suggests they will give me more depth if I opt in.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Trust neither blogs nor forums. Their primary purpose has never been to provide fully unbiased or trustworthy information. Generally, they are all marketing venues which seldom offer more than incomplete and often inaccurate content for traffic generation. The bottom line is you're being warmed up for a targeted turkey shoot.
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  • Profile picture of the author deepakrajput
    forum & community posting gives great results in less time but blogs gives permanent.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Originally Posted by Craigcmatthew View Post

    Now that I have a better idea of how affiliate links work and how blogs make money, I find myself trusting forums a lot more. All this pushing of affiliate products, asking to join the newsletter, asking to "share if you care" etc makes me cringe.
    I find forums much cleaner and lot more likely to get genuine help. Sure people push products on forums but it's a lot more discrete.

    Also, do you think google will eventually pick up on this? If more and more people avoid blogs and visit forums?
    At the end of the day, it doesn't matter which platform you choose. And it doesn't matter what Google thinks. The one that will make you the most money is the one that you market the best. Period.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrandyW
    I tend to only follow blogs if they offer value and relevant content in their market. I try to avoid wasting time on blogs that just push products, though I have happened across one here or there that actually post good content. I like the community reach that comes with forums, however, I'm selective about those as well. Not all forums are created equally.
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  • Profile picture of the author bangwhosnext
    Forums tend to be more trustworthy IMO...

    Blogs usually have an agenda, while forums usually have average people discussing recommendations.

    Plus, most forums will not tolerate spamming of any kind.
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  • Profile picture of the author jeffs89
    There are only 3 blogs/forums I trust with affiliate marketing.. Affplaybook, StackThatMoney and CharlesNgo.com
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