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Ram8349

Do you allow outbound links?

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Do you allow outbound links on your forum? In posts and in signatures?

 

 

My current forum policy allows outbound links in posts if it is closely related to the topic of that thread.

 

However, I forbid outbound links in signature. I copied this policy right off a very popular forum. I also believe in it is the right thing to do except for forums for web site/forums. This feature can be easily abused. I have had people adding links in their signature to their own pet forums which is competitor for my forum. Why would anyone allow competitor's link on their own?

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I do, they are all no-follow of course.

 

For signatures I have them disabled until the user is at least 30 days old. The rest is all at the moderators discretion.

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I do, they are all no-follow of course.

 

For signatures I have them disabled until the user is at least 30 days old. The rest is all at the moderators discretion.

 

Is there a way to disable only outbound links in the signature? I'd like to keep internal links an option for signature to boost views and participation.

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I allow links in both posts and signatures, although there are some restrictions. They're no-follow, affiliate links aren't allowed, and they all have to be PG-13.

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Do you allow outbound links on your forum? In posts and in signatures?

 

 

My current forum policy allows outbound links in posts if it is closely related to the topic of that thread.

 

However, I forbid outbound links in signature. I copied this policy right off a very popular forum. I also believe in it is the right thing to do except for forums for web site/forums. This feature can be easily abused. I have had people adding links in their signature to their own pet forums which is competitor for my forum. Why would anyone allow competitor's link on their own?

It's funny you should mention this. I was downloading some free photo editing software today and I noticed they had 2 sites listed on their site and one was a clearly competitor IMO. I was really surprised to see that.

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I have a different attitude to this question of links to competitor's sites. The way I look at things, we do not have to be deadly competitors. By deadly I mean we do not have to take the attitude that the only good competitor is a dead competitor. I consider this to be a very out-dated viewpoint. Outdated like it's relevant when the earth was thought to be flat.

 

In cyber space, the competition should not be between people who are already in cyber space. The competition should be with business activities which are not yet in cyber space. I am talking about those brick and mortar businesses which are the real competitors of online businesses. So I would say that if all sites in the same niche were to be interlinked, so much the better. Why? Because it will help first-time cyber space travelers to find what they want faster.

 

Consider these two scenarios.

 

Let say you want to open a shop selling left-side motorcycle mirrors. Do you open your shop where no one else is selling left-side motorcycle mirrors? Or do you open your shop where there are a lot of shops selling left-side motorcycle mirrors?

 

Yes, I know, selling left-side motorcycle mirrors may seem to be a ridiculous thing to do. However, in cyber space, that's exactly what a micro niche is. It's a very specialized and clearly defined focus.

 

So, in cyber space, I would say that cross-linking between all sites in the same general niche can only benefit everyone in the cross-linked network.

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The problem is the signature link one of the members had wasn't linked to anything relevant to the topics he was participating in. He simply had a big "joining my dog forum" link in his signature and it is clearly trying to drive traffic away from my forum. He was gone the moment I told him outbound links are not allowed in the signature. He was there to promote his own forum through the grabbing of my members and traffic.

 

I allow totally relevant links in posts if the immediate page provide good content for the particular thread. That includes forum links.

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The problem is the signature link one of the members had wasn't linked to anything relevant to the topics he was participating in. He simply had a big "joining my dog forum" link in his signature and it is clearly trying to drive traffic away from my forum. He was gone the moment I told him outbound links are not allowed in the signature. He was there to promote his own forum through the grabbing of my members and traffic.

 

I allow totally relevant links in posts if the immediate page provide good content for the particular thread. That includes forum links.

 

But he was contributing to your forum? Isn't you forum topic on more than just dogs? I would allow that since he is building content and not directly competing.

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I allow users of my forums to post links from the get-go, however, all links to external sites are set to "nofollow". It brings me a small sense of satisfaction whenever I see a Viagra hawker spamming keyword links to his "totally legit online pharmacy", because I know he's just wasting his time. Another reason I set user-generated links to "nofollow" is because I don't want my sweet, sweet Pagerank getting subdivided by some guy's link in his forum signature which appears on every page.

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I alllow it, but only a simple link. No color, no size change, font, anything. And I set them to nofollow, if I remember correctly.

 

But I always reserve the right to remove links from signatures, fully at my or a staff member's discretion.

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The problem is the signature link one of the members had wasn't linked to anything relevant to the topics he was participating in. He simply had a big "joining my dog forum" link in his signature and it is clearly trying to drive traffic away from my forum. He was gone the moment I told him outbound links are not allowed in the signature. He was there to promote his own forum through the grabbing of my members and traffic.

 

I allow totally relevant links in posts if the immediate page provide good content for the particular thread. That includes forum links.

 

Grabbing members and traffic? I really don't see how this can happen. For a start, the members of any forum are free agents, which means that they can go to post anywhere they like and they can find other similar forums just by asking Google. So if members go to another forum, I doubt it's because they have been stolen. It's more to do with their personal preference.

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Grabbing members and traffic? I really don't see how this can happen. For a start, the members of any forum are free agents, which means that they can go to post anywhere they like and they can find other similar forums just by asking Google. So if members go to another forum, I doubt it's because they have been stolen. It's more to do with their personal preference.

 

If you have set up another door entrance inside someone else's shop with big advertising words on it, do you think some of their customers will enter the door you set up?

 

If you are running a pet shop, then someone else come in and build a door on your wall and labelled it "Best pet supplies shop" on it, don't you think some of your customers will go there to check out and shop there instead?

 

Same with allowing links in signature. These links appear every where (doors everywhere to other shops inside your own shop). It can hurt your business.

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Outbound links are allowed but as with most, I don't allow affiliate links.

 

 

I dont think outbound links are bad.. Let people advertise their site if they want... As long as they contribute to your forum with quality it doesn't matter

 

So you let people advertise other forums on your forum? :/

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So you let people advertise other forums on your forum? :/

 

Not that this question was directed at me, but I'm going to respond to it anyway. I think it's perfectly fine if there are restrictions in place. As in, so long as they're providing quality content, following rules, adding to the community, only posting within their single advertisement thread (i.e. - not talking about their forum in every post they make, spamming, etc), then sure, why not? They're benefiting your site and if some people want to check out their forums as well, go for it. It doesn't mean they'll leave by any means.

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You do realize that some people are on your forum only for the chance to promote their own site. Some of them might contribute some posts, while some others don't contribute anything useful in their posts. Some of them only post as much as the minimal requirement to allow them adding a link in signature. Once that is done, they are gone.

 

For the most part, my decision for not allowing outbound links (in signature) is just a copycat act. Because the first forum I have found on the internet back in around the year 2000 had that rule, and they are doing extremely well. They allow outbound links in posts if it is related to the thread topic, and the thread topic must also be related to the forum niche. I was just monkey see monkey do lol.

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I do allow outbound links but I require some number of post for them to do that though. :) I have a developers forum and since it needs a lot of contibutions from other web scripts, I allow them to do it after posting like 10 messages. A lot of outbound links are appearing after that like from codebasket, themforest, some php blog or coding blog, etc

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I agree with everyone else who says outbound links should be allowed only when the forum user proves that he's on the forum to make useful contributions. I was a member of a site where you had to make a hundred posts first before being allowed to post links in your forum posts or on your profile. It's a policy that worked well to bar spammers from popping in, making one or two posts before starting to make irrelevant posts with links in the content that pointed back to their sites.

 

So yeah, you should allow outbound links but only after the forum member proves he's not just on the forum to get a fast backlink then disappear forever.

Edited by Rainman

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I think that external links should be allowed unless it's proven that the user is abusing. There are a lot of interesting stuff out there and there's no problem at all that those contents are shared, but if we are just spamming or advertising no, of course not.

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Yeah, I don't mind them. As long as they're safe obviously (which I have to check manually). Each member must go through moderation check, that's how I maintain safety.

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