The Phoenix Real Estate Guy Forum Experiment #FAIL

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A month ago I announced a little “blogsperiment” – a forum on the Phoenix Real Estate Guy.

Today, I took down the forum.

Why?

F’ing spammers.

They swiftly over-ran the place and it became too big a time sink to monitor and delete forum posts.

I could likely fix this problem by requiring approval before a forum account is created, but there is that time problem again. We are insanely busy and I just don’t have time to heavily moderate and approve everything right now. The user database and real posts are saved, and may (or may not) be resurrected at some point.

To the 39 legitimate users that joined, I thank you, and I’m sorry this didn’t work out as we were starting to get some nice discussions going.

To the spammers that wrecked it for everyone, about all I can say is “get a life” and “bite me”.

If you are looking for a good real estate related forum, here are two that are very good, with lots of great users:

BiggerPockets Forum: a great forum for all things real estate.

Real Estate Webmasters: has very good general real estate stuff, but really shines in the internet/SEO/real estate website tech space.

Blog experiments are fun. Some work, others don’t. This one wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last. Stay tuned…

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About the Author
Jay Thompson

I'm a real estate broker in Phoenix, Arizona and the publisher of the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog. I tend to drive too fast and scream at the University of Texas and Denver Broncos football teams. My two kids are smarter than most adults I know and my wife is simply amazing.

The Phoenix Real Estate Guy runs on AgentPress

AgentPress is a specialized WordPress theme for real estate agents and brokers, powered by the industry standard Genesis Framework. With AgentPress on your team, you're empowered to get the most out of WordPress for online marketing.

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Find out more about AgentPress here.

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Comments

  1. I know I've read that there are some things you can do to reduce the spam – but spammers seem to really target forums for some reason. I like the idea of a forum attached to a real estate website (to help build community) and google seems to like this idea as well – but they do seem like a lot of work.

    **Carolyn G-Tu´s last blog post..A Ferrari mental break</abbr></abbr>

  2. Max says:

    Yes, spam in forums is horrible… I think that most of it is automatic though. If you feel like you could really have a great forum, I would suggest to look into commercial s0ftware like vBulletin. With software like that you have to pay for an annual license, but at least they update it all the time and try their best to fight spam. It's a financial commitment, so if there is a growing trend of new users and developing conversations in your forum – it may be worth to pay to support and protect it.

    **Max´s last blog post..Arizona Ranks Third in Rising Home Sales</abbr></abbr>

  3. Joel Carson says:

    I'm so sorry your forum didn't work out. The exchange of information between people of common industries is so absolutely valuable. It's hard to keep up with the hackers. In time, those protecting users with a legitimate use for these forums will catch up . . . uh, maybe just in time for spammers to invent a new and better way to blast?

  4. There are a few things you can do to keep spam down in your forum. Get some moderators and use captcha image verifcation. Those two things should help tremendously if you aren't already doing them.

  5. Yes, moderators will definitely help. The image verification is a good idea as well. If you ban anything from a .ru extension for its host and ban IP addresses from Nigeria you'll be helping yourself as well.

  6. I have a blog that I will eventually look at adding a forum too. You really have to take a good hold on spammers from the start or they will quickly get out of control!

  7. It's too bad Jay. I hadn't visited your forum but I can relate to spammers. Recently, I forgot to setup Akismet on a single listing website I created for a client. 30 days later I had 1000 comments. Since WordPress will only allow 20 comments to be deleted at a time, It took a while.

    **Colleen´s last blog post..$8000 First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit | Housing Stimulus Dollars</abbr></abbr>

  8. I've had the same problem with a forum that I started. I was really excited about it because it was gaining momentum, but then I started to get a lot of members from out of the country. This was the beginning. I did just as you did by requiring approval for each post, but after a large number of posts- it became too much. I still have the forum, but now I only use it as a place for public information on "my city real estate". It's a shame that the spammers are really killing forums for professionals.

  9. Tracie Davis says:

    One way I use to block spammers is Captcha. That really helps out with blocking spam. This probably doesn't help much, after the fact, but maybe it'll help in the future.

    Celina Homes

    Celina Real Estate

  10. Spammers are unfortunately a fact of life. I agree with Max, most of it is probably automatic, but it's still a pain in the rump. Good luck for the next one.

    Dallas Homes for Sale

  11. Judy Brooks says:

    For a second there I was wondering what Fing spammers were. Maybe some new, annoying thing that made our lives an even bigger hassle than before. I still feel your pain, regular spammers are just as annoying. But keep experimenting, those are always good.

    Southlake TX Homes

  12. Daniel Bates says:

    I definitely don't want to tell the man that I greatly admire, "I told you so", so I'll just leave a link to my earlier comment :-p http://www.phoenixrealestateguy.com/the-tpreg-for

    Seriously though I can totally understand not having the time to pursue it. If you look at the forums that survive, they are either a full time effort and/or have strict posting rules and moderators. I think the key is blocking membership and banning IP addresses (like all of russia…no offense russia, just never seen a non spam comment out of your country) when they violate.

    **Daniel Bates´s last blog post..Tags and Categories</abbr></abbr>

  13. I definitely don't want to tell the man that I greatly admire, "I told you so", so I'll just leave a link to my earlier comment :-p http://www.phoenixrealestateguy.com/the-tpreg-for

    Seriously though I can totally understand not having the time to pursue it. If you look at the forums that survive, they are either a full time effort and/or have strict posting rules and moderators. I think the key is blocking membership and banning IP addresses (like all of russia…no offense russia, just never seen a non spam comment out of your country) when they violate.

    **Daniel Bates – South Carolina Blog Network´s last blog post..Tags and Categories</abbr></abbr>

  14. Scott says:

    Jay, I couldn't imagine doing a forum because of spammers.. I can't fathom how these idiots make money??! Good efforts though. With your following here I think that forums may be too much. Keep it simple here.

    **Scott´s last blog post..REO Duplex Investing</abbr></abbr>

  15. I am glad you tried Jay, though I am not at all surprised it got spammed heavily. I have yet to get Akismet to work on my website blog, and the spammers hit it 15 times a day. All comments have to be approved there, but I really hate having to delete all that spam all the time.

  16. That is too bad. Captcha's are a life savor for this. However, I am in the same boat as you are I do not have time to relaunch my blog and install a Captcha for the comments.

    **Big Sur Real Estate´s last blog post..Green Living in the Heart of Big Sur</abbr></abbr>

  17. Dang, that really is too bad you got so much spam on your forum; I know how much you hate spammers. Such a shame because it seemed like a fun experiment.

  18. I am surprised spammers were attacking the forum-so sorry you weren't able to control it better and really have fun with the forum, perhaps the next time around will work better.

    **Jim Dolanch-Pittsburgh Real Estate Expert´s last blog post..Pittsburgh is One of the “Best Cities for a Fresh Start”</abbr></abbr>

  19. Ive got the same problem- imagine, staring a site, blog after of hard work, and then, suddenly, after a month, i had to shut down it for a month already

  20. Man, spammers do ruin so much of the great fun. Sad to hear they got to be such a problem. Perhaps your daughter could do the moderating as a summer job, but then, you'd be needing someone once school started back. What a shame; stupid spammers.

  21. Rod Davis says:

    That's a shame that a growing forum had to be shut down like that. Spammers are such an annoying and destructive force. I just don't get it. I hope you will be able to open it back up later.

    Celina Home Builder

  22. I am forever frustrated by spammers; so sorry to hear your experiment failed-I know you were excited about doing the forum. Better luck next time!

  23. You should make some amendments in your system in order to prevent spams from entering your forums. There are a lot of ways to do that. A moderator and a verification process always helps.

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