Jopar reminds me of the US blogger Carbsane, both knowledgeable and both write interesting posts, but both have too many loose bats in the belfry to be taken seriously. Occasionally Jopar gets something right, today was one of those rare occasions. She nailed the forum to the deck. It’s all about profit she stated, and she was spot on. I have no problem with profit, and the forum has helped a great deal of people including our team, but where do you draw the line ? When does earning an honest profit become covert exploitation ?
The forum diabetes.co.uk is linked to a site that provides information to diabetics. It also sells a large range of products aimed at diabetics. The forum provides a mail shot list to market products to diabetics. Some of these products are useful and reasonable value, but others are junk, of no use, and very over priced. Four years ago I wrote to the administrator outlining my concerns. Products such as diabetic hampers, useless diet plates and cookery books more suited to sugar lovers than a diabetic. He informed me he would look into the matter, four years on, the products are still being sold. So, on this occasion I will not disagree with Jopar, profit is the main motive. If a product can turn a profit, it stays on the main site. You may be thinking, hang on, no one has to buy these products, that is indeed true, but let us not forget, many joining the site are confused, worried, and understandably in a confused state of mind.
The main site is owned by Sitefinders who state “Our sites hosting forms have unique visitor to lead conversion rates of over 30%. Our front end team are world experts in maximising lead generation conversion” and “A number of Sitefinders' sites (such as Diabetes.co.uk) have grown into online communities. Our 75,000+ community members are extremely receptive to carefully structured emails and client interaction such as surveys, polls and questionaires. The CTR response from community members exceeds 45% for tailored mails”
What use this targeted marketing strategy is can only be imagined. As Jopar also stated correctly, a vast percentage of the forum members have never posted, they disappeared years ago, are banned members, are trolls and sock puppets. Of the 40,000+ members only a tiny amount ever make any meaningful contribution and actually post. As an aside, even the banned members receive the “carefully structured emails” including all the team on this blog. All banned at least once, and all back on the forum under new names. Targeted marketing is not all it’s cracked up to be, trust me, I’m an ex marketing man.
A comment came into our blog today asking “Why don’t the admin just edit the troublesome posts or give certain members time-out instead of locking the threads? That would stop certain repeat offenders using thread locking as a weapon to stop effective debate” That’s one hell of a question. My take is the administration want the trouble, they want the thread locking, they want the banning and the disputes. You have to ask yourself the question, Why have they allowed half a dozen lowcarb anti’s to cause the bulk of the trouble and thread locking over the last four years ? Could it be they know, like all good newspaper editors know, nothing sells as well as bad news and controversy, and there is very little profit for anyone, promoting a lowcarb, nil/minimal medication lifestyle.