Going Organic with In Forum Advertising

When it comes to marketing, sometimes you just have to be creative. It’s hard getting people’s attention these days, because so many of us have become blind to advertising. We tend to zone out during television commercials and it’s not uncommon for web surfers to turn a blind eye to ad banners. More subtle forms of advertising just might be more effective.

Consider the last time that you went shopping for an item. If you’re a keen shopper, there’s a good chance that you did some research online beforehand, looking for reviews and the opinions of others. Maybe you came across a forum and there was a thread on your product of interest. Those forum posts can’t be advertising, can they?

“Welcome to Advertising 2.0.”

Those are the first words that you see when you arrive at In Forum Advertising, the relatively novel advertising service by PostingDirect that ordered up this review. You can probably guess what they do.

Advertising in a Forum

There are tons of popular forums on the Internet, each of which caters to a particular niche. You’ve got forums dedicated to everything from the iPhone to Indian cuisine, Volkswagens to bargain-hunting. If you’ve got a hobby, there’s a good chance that you can find a forum that caters specifically to your particular area of interest.

Seeing advertising in a forum is nothing new. There could be banners near the top of the page, skyscraper ads in the sidebars, and maybe even a few ad boxes embedded into the posts themselves. It’s very obvious that these are forms of advertising. The service offered by In Forum Advertising is much more subtle than that.

What they do is get a team of writers to attack the Internet on your behalf, putting up “real” forum posts that are designed to advertise your product or company. People place much greater trust in the casual opinions of their fellow forum members than they do in prim and proper press releases sent out by the companies themselves.

By setting up these forum threads and posting within them, In Forum Advertising sparks discussion of your product and guides the conversation toward the positive. The paid posts are interwoven with the organic contributions of other forum members, so casual Internet users won’t know that they are being “sold” on something. As you can imagine, you can get some SEO juice out of this too.

Defining Your Ad Campaign

Naturally, in order to set up a marketing campaign with In Forum Advertising, you must first create an account. They do not require anything from you other than a full name, email address, website, user name, and password.

In Forum Advertising has kept the user interface incredibly straightforward. After creating an account, the second page allows you to set the parameters for your first campaign. These include the number of forums that should receive the advertising, number of writers, number of posts per day, and any additional instructions you may have. It is here that you can tell In Forum Advertising to focus on one particular product or to link to your website using a specific anchor text.

After that, you are sent to the payment page. The billing cycle is weekly, so each campaign lasts exactly seven days. You can choose to do a one time payment (one campaign) or to opt for a weekly subscription. In either case, payment is accepted via PayPal only.

How Much Does It Cost?

There does not appear to be any minimum length to the forum posts provided by In Forum Advertising. In this way, you can’t really be sure about the quality of the posts until you’ve run your first campaign either. That said, each post only costs you a dollar.

It may only be a dollar a post, but those numbers add up very quickly. In the screenshot above, you can see that I have selected five forums, two writers, and five posts (per forum) per day. To run a one week campaign under these parameters, it would cost $350. The minimum number of forums, posters, and posts per day are 3, 1, and 5, respectively. This generates a net minimum charge of $105. If your campaign cost reaches certain thresholds, you also unlock some bonuses.

In Forum Advertising says that they don’t just go to the forums and spam your product. Instead, they “contribute to the communities and become valued members.” In order to prevent detection, the hired writers put up four “helpful posts” in the community for every one post advertising a website. This is absolutely critical, because you want your advertising to hold some weight with the forum community. Otherwise, they’ll just turn a blind eye or, worse yet, the In Forum Advertising writers will get themselves banned.


59 thoughts on “Going Organic with In Forum Advertising”

  1. Abdul says:

    Although this thing is not bad, but isn’t it kind of spam?

    1. Jacky Supit says:

      i dont think so.
      i know this site about a few months ago. what they are doing is actually better then any other conventional advertising i think. if only they have an affiliate system, i would have been recommending them to my readers 😈

    2. Yes and No.

      This is because, you’re paying for 5 posts but only one of those will be your advertisement. The others are “donations” to the forum for allowing them to spam for you πŸ˜‰

  2. Peter Morow says:

    I personally don’t like this idea. Sometimes you just need to leave customers their own space. I personally object to forum advertising.

  3. kahoongchai says:

    i don like this idea too, just look like a spam.. πŸ‘Ώ

    1. Jacky Supit says:

      Trust me it’s not.
      Just use your logic. How many money you should spend to advertise on johnchow.com, problogger.com, or jackbook.com. And how many clicks you got from them? How many people visit your site from the ads? 10? 20? With InForum Advertising, we can set the number by our self.

      oh and please don’t think that I wrote this because they bought ad from my site. 😈 I think they deserve some good feedback for their $500

      1. First time i’ve ever heard of JackBook.com.

  4. Andy T says:

    It sounds like cheating to get your blog visitors.

  5. Content Pays says:

    A spam network sugar coated as an advertisement service :lol:! I run a popular niche forum and at the first hint of spam we not only ban the spammer account and delete the thread, we blacklist the company for life to ensure they won’t even get genuine exposure and traffic/business in our forum!

    I guess with these types of services growing, our blacklist is going to be growing as well 😈

  6. Ronald Su says:

    I believe this is a great idea… However, many forums I often visit are very strict in terms of moderation and rules. Most sites don’t allow any form of advertising. Worse yet, some don’t even allow outbound links.

    Major forums always control their members and posts. If doing in form ads in small forums, it doesn’t get much exposure.

    I doubt this form of ad will last…

    1. Most i’ve seen are abit more relaxed if you don’t completely spam the place.

  7. marty says:

    It smells like spam….it tastes like spam….it must be spam! πŸ˜‰

    1. kahoongchai says:

      LOL :mrgreen: give it a try..but mb it can brings you traffic or nothing πŸ˜†

  8. infoaddicts says:

    Personally I prefer forums to be ad free, and this does sound like spam to me. Thats just my opinion.
    Is nothing sacred πŸ™

  9. Krsto says:

    This may seem like a desperate measure, and it certainly does look like a spam. Just picture the workers here. I think that a single guy (an employee) must post, let’s say 20 forum posts per day. Can you even imagine how many time would you need to do that the quality way? He gets that dollar per post maybe, but he must get bored very fast (unless he is a robot). What I’m trying to say is – this seems like a very risky form of advertising from the site owner’s perspective.
    In the end, those kind of forum posters often get discovered.

    1. RacerX says:

      Not only will they potentially get discovered, but image the potential backlash against the product/company.

      Say new Coke Strawberry comes out and Coke hire an army of these guys to hit the forums of every foodie out there…it becomes abvoius the bigger the campaign that it is staged…small campaigns may get away with it but…

  10. Zachary says:

    It’s interesting to see how they cope their business once it becomes more popular. πŸ™„
    One buck per post seems expensive.. I can do it half the price πŸ˜‰ (nah I won’t) One more thing, what’s so difficult to write 5 posts yourself in the forum. Damn… people are getting lazier and lazier…

    1. Krsto says:

      It’s no big deal to write 5 posts. It’s not even hard to write 5 posts into 5 different forums… I don’t know what’s with this people…

      But hey, people like John Chow must spend that blog income somewhere… :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    2. Yeah but forums don’t allow you to have multiple accounts.
      This allows you to have multiple accounts 😈

  11. There are plenty of people on different forums that would be able to sniff this kind of thing out right away. A lot frown upon it & the mods end up deleting the post/s & call it spam.

    This kind of reminds me of the software out there for vBulletin & PHPBB. I think it’s called Content something? You install it & the software creates fake users on your forum & these “users” talk about/promote your site/product. In Forum Advertising seems to be the same thing, except it’s not software you install on your forum.

    I also wonder how many posts I’ve seen that were at the hands of this company because I have seen strange posts promoting some sites/products.

    1. Yeah but if they are adding valuable contributions alongside it, might be able to go under the radar.

      We will have to see though…

  12. It will be interesting to see if this business model actually works. Like someone else said $1.00 a post seems awful high.

  13. Imagine you were reading a thread where somebody posted good information about a topic and then linked you to a place worthy of solving the problem, or providing a service that would benefit the readers of the thread.

    You wouldn’t say go away spammer you would say thanks, or good post, or you might disagree and link to a better solution. Either way it would facilitate a discussion with good ideas and debate while generating possible revenue for a company.

    This could be very spammy, but if done right it could be the greatest way to advertise that I have ever heard of.

  14. amirulcyber says:

    Thanks john for your useful information.Thanks again. πŸ™‚

    1. Michael did this review, not John.

      1. Jacky Supit says:

        and this is a review not some kind of “useful information” lol

  15. Jonk says:

    Props to the creators of this for putting something together with a higher calibre than most forum posting services. I’m not sure if the ROI on this would be so great, though.

  16. Holly says:

    I do like the idea, but at the same time I know that I watch what is put on my forums like a hawk. I’ve also been a moderator on a few and we always deleted anything that looked like and advertisement. Most forums do this, so I don’t know what you would really get out of it. Joining a forum and actually building a reputation there might get better results then this would.

    1. dcr says:

      I know. I moderate a group, and a lot of moderation time is spent deleting spam. And, I’ve deleted my fair share of “helpful posts” too because I recognize them as spam.

      In the old days of forums, it was easier to get involved as a member of a community and promote yourself. But, that was before all the marketing gurus started promoting the concept. Nowadays, forum operators sniff that sort of thing out and are quick to delete links or ban posters.

  17. zk5182 says:

    Must test it , seems to be informative

    1. kahoongchai says:

      Yes ! Test it then let us know how do you feel okay ? :mrgreen:
      Because i’m lazy to test it out :mrgreen:

    2. dcr says:

      Yes, do let us know how it works out for you. This is something I wouldn’t want to test using one of my own sites. I wouldn’t want to risk building a reputation as a spammer. In the long run, having a reputation as a spammer can do more harm to your business. I don’t know that that’s a risk I want to take.

  18. Really nice idea, I have no doubt that people will be using it. But, I think it would be hard to sneak in ads in posts without making it look like you just joined and are just advertising.

  19. Andy Staple says:

    I’m a forum administrator. I don’t care if someone puts 4 “useful” posts up (which most likely wont be useful) and then spams the crap out of my site. It’s spam, and there’s no way to say it isn’t no matter how much you’d like to.
    When you say things like “to avoid detection” it’s just scumbag spam techniques.
    Good luck with this crap, I’ll enjoy banning you if you come to my forum with it.

    1. They won’t come to your forum.

      They’ve already said on their site which forums they’ll go to.

      I’d doubt they’d go to a forum with 200 members and like 3 posts.

  20. Free poker says:

    I’ll give it a try πŸ™‚ looks interesting

  21. Brandon says:

    Don’t you mean, Welcome to “spamming 2.0”
    it’s amazing what you’ll do for a dollar, like this whole blog for example.. If anyone pays for this spamming service, I hope you get black listed and your host shuts you down!

  22. Definitely spam. I own some forums and we delete and ban people who do this on a regular basis. If we even think someone is spamming us, we delete first and ask questions later…

    If you want to advertise on forums, you’re much better off contacting the forum themselves than buying posts that will get deleted.

  23. Ecko says:

    Creative? Maybe. Just like StartBlogging says, this is not a good place to promote something because your ad will be shown as nothing but an advertisement. πŸ˜€

  24. Alex says:

    I’ve actually tried this service and it’s pretty good. You guys under-estimate the amount of forums that actually allow this kind of stuff. Many have specific areas for it (ie: helpingwebmasters.com: “Site Promotion” board).

  25. Price too high 😯

  26. I don’t think this is spam but JC, this is overall like a scam..
    Why don’t use the traditional method?

  27. fas says:

    Sounds interesting but a bit pricey.

  28. Forumistan says:

    It is cheating. I dont like it…

  29. Thorsten says:

    Wouldn’t it be easier and cheaper to simply leave a feedback or comment in the forum that contains a URL as your signature?

  30. Chris says:

    Now, this is something that I wouldn’t do if I would need advertising.

  31. Very very interesting concept. I think I might have to give this a try. In terms of cost/time, as long as the comments occur on different forums, this would be a huge time savings. It takes far more that 350 minutes to post 350 comments. Time is money in this business. Its all about leverage.

  32. JAugusto says:

    So there it is! Someone stole the idea from me. I am serious on this.

    I am absolutely sure about it now, as I have tried to promote it (with very resources – I couldn’t pay for a John Chow Review) and what happen next was unreal. The company I got in touch to market it simple delayed the starting of the campaign forever with evasive and strange email replies.

    Want some proof? My site, ForumRev.com, is from September 2007, while inForumAdvertising is less than 2 month old!

    John: Being your reader forever I know you’re a good soul, so I humble ask you if you can make a small reference to my service ForumRev.com so that I could reclaim some fairness on this.


    1. I don’t see how your idea was stolen. It is actually VERY possible for people to come up with the same ideas. If someone holds back & doesn’t market it right, then of course the person who does will come out on top.

      1. JAugusto says:

        Thanks for your comment.
        Yes, I agree, the idea is slightest different from mine. I guess I just cross read the post and went crazy about it.
        My project still has space to grow. I just need a new marketing company to promote it. Any takers?

  33. dormenomics says:

    They definitly did not steal your idea, you just couldn’t market it as well as they did.

    And it is not real spamming, many marketers suggest forum posting as an inexpensive way to generate targeted niche traffic. It is no different than advertising golf clubs on the golf channel.

  34. Craig Grant says:

    I love this Idea, and I’m very happy a service like this is available for me to promote my web site. I am anxoius to get started. This service must have a limited capacity, reading these comments it looks like very few of you will take advantage of this, so that’s good news for me.


  35. Terry Tay says:

    I think there will be a market for this. It’ll work just as long as it doesn’t look like blatant spam. If it’s just posting ads as opposed to posting useful info I think it’ll turn forum members off.

  36. Provillus says:

    Yes most forum members dont like advertising, as long as it is not blatant in your face… Ive seen this kind of approach done before … the whole question is how good are their posts??

  37. Wow this advertising is very evil

  38. http://forums.digitalpoint.com/showthread.php?t=937725

    Actively trying to get people to do “fake” testimonials.

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