Please don't take this the wrong way but...

Discussion in 'Forum Support & Feedback' started by 0754ben84, Apr 6, 2016.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Cody

    Cody

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    Messages:
    1,488
    Hi everyone, this thread is incredibly useful for us here at TWF.

    We are always looking to improve what TWF offers, and would love to find out how we can best do this with your advice. @uhafmail @0754ben84 and everyone else a part of the forum, perhaps we can put together an online meeting sometime or open a new thread to discuss ideas to improve TWF?
    What would you like to see, what changes do you want, what incentives would you find useful?

    Having myself started just over a month ago we have made some huge improvements, such as improving our social media presence, getting Member of the Month back up and running, as well as introducing Advertiser of the Month. We have also actually increased our membership engagement and reach on both the forum and social. I have edited and updated many parts of the site, such as our 'About page' and many more.

    However it will take time again to get it back to where it used to be, but with @Huda and myself here now, as well as @Erik & @Jenilee we can make this happen much more effectively.

    Please let us know how you'd like us to arrange a meeting or some way to discuss ideas and improvements. We really appreciate all of your concerns, and look forward to bringing TWF forwards.

    Thanks everyone.
  2. Erik

    Erik

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Messages:
    2,710
    I see Tom (@uhafmail ) posted here! :D

    I believe what I meant to say that the merger has long been forgotten is that the entire forums got over it, but of course, even us staff who were there when it happened never forgot about it. I believe no one remembers back then that during the whole debacle the staff were left in the dark and with everyone addressing their concerns on the matter, even I do not have an answer? But as Dean said, we must move on. The team does try too, and yes, it's like working from the start, but at least, we still have to start something right?

    I believe you guys already know that both Jenilee and I are now the longest running staff members here in TWF (Jenilee came in way longer), and we've seen hell and all with TWF. I've been battered, ignored, made fun of the community, fought with some for the sake of others, even had the duty of giving the ultimate punishment for a few. I've come to talk to a few notable personalities in the forum, and yes, I frequently conversed with the late Pete to see his views. Let's accept the fact that TWF made some flaws back then, decisions that, diplomatically speaking, turned up not so good. The whole admin realised and learned from it. That does not mean though that by now we ignore the things members would like to see. Anthony had a few projects in mind that were left out, which were meant for different things, now we re-purposed them to adjust to what the community needs about it. 2 Major examples:

    1. The marketplace listings - The one you see now, is actually what's left of the SS template. I purposely reconfigured it to match what we really need in the marketplace (all the required details for listing), but the advertiser's name will definitely be seen. This should have been the right project instead of the automatic feed from SS, I could admit to that. But since this was left behind, I believe we've already made justice and made it useful for everyone now.

    2. The directory - Little did everyone know that the directory has been lingering in the background for years now, even before the merger started. It was originally planned (I was not aware of this project) to only be of use for Service Providers (SS was for stock, Directory for Service). It was then scrapped without me ever knowing about it until Anthony mentioned it while answering someone with a similar request. The whole directory, I have to study it before activating it, and study it well. Changed everything and turned it as a business directory instead, involving all advertisers, and we still have a few projects for it (I still even have to change the whole layout).

    All of these features were actual requests of members (I know there are still a few requests out there, but I'm not a full time coder, I study a lot first before meddling) but one thing that I know is it is vital to listen to requests of the community. I make it a point to the team for us to not make the similar mistakes, and that is to listen to every feedback even the newest of members suggest. So Tom, Ben, please feel free to share. As I told, the team cannot make everything alone and guess what the community wants. We want your feedback, see reason on your arguments, and finally come to an agreement on what should be and what not.

    As I told, this thread is what the community needed. Lots of action! (I really missed this type of discussions!)
    ladyvgw and Cody like this.
  3. ebafy

    ebafy

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,346
    As a long standing advertiser I would like to see the following. I did approach @Anthony with this many moons ago...

    1) Improved advertiser signature

    Nothing too heavy, a set ratio image whereby we could drop a banner at a specified/approved size.

    2) Enable tables within the BBCode

    I'm all for visual improvements so adding tables into adverts is a no-brainer which could then be offset for responsive design and improved product/service ads.

    3) Improved featured member/advertiser

    Each month a member of TWF team could conduct a viral interview/Q&A. This could be easily done over skype or facetime as we all like to put a face/voice to a user within a digital world.

    4) Advertiser bump

    Improved social/newsletter bump for all advertisers, targeting new lines, services and seasonal goods.

    5) Accredited TWF seal

    All advertisers have the ability to become validated and TWF accredited sellers - these kind of things build trust within an marketplace.

    6) Don't run before you can walk

    One thing Anthony was very good at was ensuring everything was crisp and uniformed. I mean no malice when I say this but I have noticed a few bugs and gremlins over the past few weeks so I would suggest getting a solid development system in place whereby you can test new features and modules before putting them live. I have a firm eye for detail and find it frustrating when modules and plugins are installed on the fly without any prior testing and visual enhancements.

    For me, I still and always have done very well when I have the time to dedicate in forum activity. Yes the whole SS impacted us all but I have moved on and believe that saga is best put to bed. I too miss some of my old friends but look forward to meeting new ones in the years to come. Peers, lets all move onwards an upwards and help TWF team bring back what was once a thriving community that got us all motivated and engaged.

    Best,
    James
  4. Erik

    Erik

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Messages:
    2,710
    Thanks James. I think I could answer a few of them as of now.

    1. The initial idea why images are not allowed on signatures is that to reduce the heavy data usage when accessing the forums. I think we could talk it out and consider the pros and cons of this before finally deciding. If it were up to you though, what would you think would be the appropriate size / dimensions of each image signature?

    2. I wish this would be easy, but apparently, the native xenforo does not accept this. In order for us to do so, we will need a third party add-on to make it available. This will definitely need costs beforehand and must be considered with the overall budget.

    3. Cody is working on it as we speak. He might soon conduct interviews with the featured members and who knows? might apply this later on.

    4. I already have this crazy idea actually. I have brought this to the team but we still have a final deliberation on this before we move forward (newsletter promotions, the ones you see before from partners, are paid ones after all).

    5. While the idea will be good, this will be easier said than done. This requires manpower, and manpower is not a luxury we do not have (we are a small team after all). Full accreditation will mean tedious background check for each advertiser who applies, and we will need people to perform these tasks, not to mention how to work this for international advertisers?

    6. You are right, it looks untidy, and Anthony himself prides on making things work out first before showing it to public. However, that was the time when we have a full time developer on hand, and that these developers test everything first in their own servers before transferring them to our own. This is one luxury we no longer have, and that some issues (like within the directory) can only be seen once we put it live. I might have to apologise for this one, I am not a full time web developer, and each one that I tackle I have to study first from core functionality to the layout. I am surely not like everyone else who do this for a living and have become experts on it (my work history is of community management alone) so it definitely is difficult for me, but I am trying the best that I could do. Little did everyone know (I believe the mods I talked about this) that we were left with limited knowledge and access to the forum's whole functionality. Each setting, whether as simple as permissions alone, creating a new group, or as big as a directory, I have to study myself, see where it is going, and learn the whole functionality. It's not what I really signed up for, but as I love the community, I take it upon my own to study everything for everyone's sake. Both me and Cody have been working on the functionality of the forums and yes, you might see changes happening often over the past few weeks (even Cody is now learning to code, and he's a more social guy), but if we want to make the necessary changes, we have to take risks like these. I wish I could divulge more insider thoughts about these, but there are no excuses, I just have to accept this as our fault and try the best we could.


    Thanks for your thoughts, I see a few of them happening soon. :)
    ebafy likes this.
  5. ebafy

    ebafy

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2009
    Messages:
    1,346
    I always work on Googles adsense recommendations https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/9739?hl=en-GB

    350x50 would work well with your theme.

    That's a real shame as I thought this could be something that you could easily switch on/off. Please consider this on future updates.

    Superb! I think this would be both beneficial to users and the forum as a whole. Far too often threads can become static and stale. With some added juice, this could be a great feature moving forward. I'd love to hear @psxgamer waffle on about his eBay experience :)

    My point exactly. By allowing your advertisers to reach out further can only be a good thing.

    As above, probably an avenue to explore later down the line but not one to dismiss as this luxury could be a premium. I myself would like to see the marketplace a little more active before considering this.

    Erik, I think your doing a very good job and raised this being unaware of past development history. As put, there was no malice in what I said and thank you for being clear and concise. I'm sure both yourself and @Cody are working tirelessly behind the scenes and know that in time, things will get ironed out.

    Best,
    James
    Cody likes this.
  6. psxgamer

    psxgamer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,467
    Do you have a week of time or so. Plenty to say about it. Not sure though everybody is interested in hearing it :p
    Import Expert likes this.
  7. 0754ben84

    0754ben84

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Messages:
    1,727
    I like the idea of member interviews.

    Also (and I don't know how viable this would be) but interviews with thought leaders and genuine, successful business people.

    The warrior forum do it here: http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-ask-me-anything-wama/

    And these guys do it too: http://www.secretentourage.com (not a forum but they charge a premium)

    l appreciate this would take man hours but why not have a premium membership to pay for it?

    This forum (and the warrior forum) have premium memberships: https://www.thefastlaneforum.com/community/

    If the membership delivers real value that actually helps its members, they'll pay for it.

    I know this forum is a UK forum and will never be as big as these, but the model should work the same.

    If I owned the forum, this is what I'd do.

    Also, what about meet ups? Not sure how successful it would be but it's about community and it works in other forums.
  8. Erik

    Erik

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2012
    Messages:
    2,710
    Just a quick update on this, Advertiser signature settings have now been modified. Also changed are the rules on signatures:
    http://www.thewholesaleforums.co.uk/threads/updated-signature-rules-for-advertisers.225492/


    Apparently we are short on time discussing the other suggestions made in this thread. Rest assured though that we will be able to deliberate on this as soon as we get to have a complete staff meeting with Helen. We'll be working on more projects that would benefit all members and advertisers and these suggestions definitely help to decide on what else is needed to improve the TWF experience. :)
  9. Oliver

    Oliver

    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Messages:
    4,411

    Agree with a lot of this Tom.

    TWF will have to be very slowly and gradually brought back to life. I very much would like to see this happen!
  10. TheDevil

    TheDevil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    Messages:
    4,966
    I don't think I can say much more than this hits the nail on the head for me. SS lost me thousands of pounds of revenue as I literally sold nothing on there compared to what I used to do on pre-merged TWF. It did leave a sour taste and it was a sort of we don't need your business or communiy aspect.

    Oh and Hey all... I do still occasionally lurk around.

    One thing TWF need to actually be aware of, this website is awful and I mean awful for non registered members. You literally cannot read a post because of the adverts, this may be something that needs fixed.

    I would love the forum to be what it was again, but I think it needs to be done in small steps.

    Hope everyone is well!

    Alan
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2016
    Import Expert likes this.
  11. TheDevil

    TheDevil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    Messages:
    4,966
    Oh and I really should of got to 5000 posts by now :D
  12. Nick-D

    Nick-D

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Messages:
    4,847
    I visit very rarely, just seen this post.

    I do think though that many forums have seen large drops, very few of the ones i still visit are busy like they were 5 years ago. The likes of Facebook, reddit etc seem to be where people spend most of their time.

    Plus i think its much easier now than it was 5 years ago to find wholesale suppliers direct in china, Pete did a great trade dropshipping where now many people find it just as easy to go direct, Aliexpress etc.

    And people are more protective of what they are doing, people are less willing to share what is working for them as the marketplaces are so much more competitive.

    My 2p.
    TheDevil and Dean like this.
  13. Dave Casuals

    Dave Casuals

    Joined:
    May 26, 2009
    Messages:
    2,901
    I don't come on here half as much as i used to...maybe once every couple of weeks. Far quiter now and i acually like coming back on after a week or 2 and being able to read a few different posts across the forum as opposed to checking each day and maybe one reply or 1 new post worth ready hence why only just stumbled on this. Havn't read every reply yet.

    Has the forum every tried getting in touch with old members just to see how many are actually active...to say there are 100,000 members is slightly mis-leading as this goes back years. Yes there were probably this amount in that time sign in but how many actually are regular or even come on once in a year...Might be an idea for the forum to send out a questionaire to everyone on their data base and try and get some kind of interest back from old users and possibly run regular weekly or monthly give-aways but not just a mug....make it something worthwhile ie a voucher or money off an order if placed from within the market place within 7 days.

    When i was an advertiser on here some years back there was a massive amount of interest in some products that users were searching for and that i had...I found loads of posts and replies in the history search and sent a message to everyone that had emails included in replies just to see if I could get any sales and direct them to my advert on the forums... I must of sent out over 100 messages and can count on one hand how many replies i got back, so from my experience having 100,00+ users means nothing as can guarantee most are not active anymore and this put me off from ever really wanting to re-advertise. The wanted section of the forums used to get 1-2 pages of new requests a day. I barely see half this over a 2 week period now so there obviously isn't the demand there anymore or users are finding other methods or platforms to source their products.
  14. psxgamer

    psxgamer

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,467
    Must agree with @Nick-D. In my country there I used to visit a very busy forum related to gaming and a whole other bunch of stuff. Bit the same story as Ebay. First they changed they lay-out of the home page with a terrible design, then they were hacked and were offline for several weeks.

    Picking back up a bit. But not as it has been. Facebook takes a very big piece of the cake here. I'm in a few Facebook groups and I know lots of the people I used to see on the forum are now also on Facebook.
  15. Kell

    Kell

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Messages:
    675
    I was a forum regular and advertiser back in 2011. I haven't been back for a long time. Nice to see some of the old names in this thread.

    It's a shame that the forum seems so much quieter now. I think the advertising membership is far too expensive considering the decline in traffic. If the new owners reduced the advertising fees, this would encourage more sellers to sign up and would in turn generate more traffic from potential buyers.
    Cody likes this.
  16. Dave

    Dave

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Messages:
    3,809
    This is my first time back in months,
    I agree with Tom the SS saga destroyed the forum but hopefully people like Dean / Erik and team etc can transform into a new version of what it used to be like.
    See you in another 6 months and Happy Christmas :)
    Cody likes this.
  17. beacon hill

    beacon hill

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,859
    Extra quiet for me.
    But that,s no doubt to do with the long list of generic answer users and advertisers
    who only post offers but never join in with conversations who are on my blocked
    user list as long as my arm. So whatever they say, I don,t see it
  18. Cody

    Cody

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    Messages:
    1,488
    We have been working hard to get this back up to where it used to be, and believe it or not but we have seen an increase in traffic to the site. Lots of changes have taken place too with some new introductions such as our premium membership.

    With myself here (been here since February) I've been putting so much into our marketing, social media, guest blogs, newsletters & partnerships. And we do have some great opportunities lined up with other partners; currently working on some projects to see TWF go bigger again. However, we cannot do all of this without you guys. True, there are a lot of generic posts coming through, but with more of our trusted and well known members getting back on here, creating discussions, posting on their own social media channels etc, then we'll get to where we're meant to be.

    It will take time, but TWF has seen a huge improvement since my arrival and will continue to do so :D
  19. ladyvgw

    ladyvgw

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2010
    Messages:
    5,175
    Good to hear Cody.

    I have been entirely absent these last few moths (baby no 3!) but just getting back into the swing of things so will try and spend some more time posting, would love to see the forum get back to what it was :)
    Dave and Cody like this.
  20. Cody

    Cody

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2016
    Messages:
    1,488
    That's amazing news about baby number 3 :)

    We do have some great things lined up to boost our traffic and awareness.

    Erik and I have started some new newsletters, which we send out weekly, and have seen a huge increase in our traffic now, and myself am attending meetings with companies interested in partnerships, which too will see TWF get bigger and better.

    Also, if anyone has anything they'd like us to repost, share, add to our newsletters, whether it be events, blog posts, something fun, then we'd be happy to do this.

    Thanks again everyone for your feedback. We really do appreciate them.
    ladyvgw likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Back to top

Share This Page