Blogs aren’t the only way to make money online and many people have opted for the e-commerce path instead. Even if you are selling virtual goods like e-books, it’s important you have a good understanding of how to accept money from your customers. The best way to learn is by networking with other like-minded individuals.
The Payment Processing forums were erected for this purpose, providing a venue where merchants and other dot com entrepreneurs could discuss all the various aspects of processing payments, processing credit cards, and all those other fun ways to get money from your customers. The main reason why they ordered this review was probably to increase the number of users. After all, a forum is only as valuable as its members.
What’s To Know About Payment Processing
It doesn’t matter what you’re selling online, because you still need to find a reliable way to accept funds from your customers. There are naturally countless issues that you may want to investigate, above and beyond the payment options. How do you handle chargebacks? What’s involved in setting up a merchant account? These are the kinds of questions that should make up the meat and potatoes of the payment processing forums.
The first batch of forums revolve around Internet payment service providers like E-Gold and Paypal. Beyond this, there are also forums for electronic payment gateways and e-currencies, fraud and chargeback prevention, business, and site-related issues. The forum that would probably be of the most interest to readers of John Chow dot Com is the one that focuses on making money online.
Unfortunately, I found that most of the topics within this forum weren’t all that useful. People would start threads asking vague questions like how to make $500+ a day. The member just says that they “need it fast” and they want to know what is the “fastest and best way to make this amount of money.” And the forum is filled with questions like this.
Moreover, within the first couple of hours of signing up for an account, I was hit with my first spam private message, offering me a loan of up to $417,000,000.00 (I’m not kidding) at a 2.25% interest rate. Really? And all I have to do is send a certain sum of money to an unregistered account in Nigeria? Sadly, forums like this will inevitably attract the shady types.
Registration and User Interface
Going through the registration process is just like signing up for an account with any other vBulletin-powered forum. You’ll be asked to provide an email address — which then must be verified — as well as your birthdate, username, and password. It’s all pretty straightforward. Make sure you check your junk mail folder, because that’s where the verification message showed up for me.
Unlike most other forums that I frequent, however, the Payment Processing forums do not allow their members to have custom avatars. In fact, they don’t allow avatars at all. Some people may say that this is a good thing, but others may disagree. I’m with the latter group. This strips the forum of any kind of personality. It also doesn’t help that the forum doesn’t really have a distinctive name.
Layout and Monetization
The layout is fairly generic with a standard blue color scheme. There is no homepage to speak of, because the main screen just lists all the forums available through the site. I don’t think that there is too much of an issue with having a generic-looking forum, but it might have been a good idea to have a more distinctive banner at the top.
In terms of monetization, the Payment Processing forum has a single Google Adsense placement — a 468 x 60 banner — in the top-right corner. This appears on every page. I’d imagine that more aggressive monetization could be achieved, but it might be more important to grow the user base first. As it stands, there are 161 active members and 699 total members.
Just Another Forum Full of Newbies
While I appreciate the idea behind the Payment Processing forum, the existing member base is certainly lacking. The questions are either quite basic or juvenile, so intermediate to expert users will likely find little value in this forum. This might change as the site grows.