The Publisher Network? Or Is it Too Much?

February 20, 2009 Posted by Tyler Cruz

Now that the main core of PublisherChallenge is complete, I’m beginning to consider new features and additions to the site.

The main two features I had in mind were a blog and a forum, expanding the community and providing a medium for communication between members. However, there are a number of pro’s and con’s to doing that which have been making the decision to add a forum difficult.

In addition, If I do add a forum to PublisherChallenge, the next question is: do I add a custom forum just for PublisherChallenge, or should I merge it with PublisherForums and possibly PublisherSpot as well to make a 3-sister-site “Publisher” network?

The Publisher Network

First, let’s look at my first question. Here are the pro’s and con’s I’m wrestling with in regards to if I should add a forum and blog to the site in the first place or not:


  • Builds the community
  • Brings added value to the site (ask questions from other affiliates, etc.)
  • Can possibly grow and cross promote
  • Allows members to open a dialogue with other contestants
  • Can provide valuable community feedback (Ex. Polls conducted to let members vote on upcoming prizes


  • Spammers promoting their affiliate links and other affiliate networks may try to spam members by private messaging and/or e-mailing members, trying to steal them away. This is my major concern.
  • The forum may not be utilized by members, instead just taking up space and adding needless clutter to the site.
  • If PublisherForums is merged with PublisherChallenge, it can create some integration issues (Ex. A member may end up with two accounts if they sign up with PublisherForums first and then decide to register with PublisherChallenge later.

My main concern is really just the issue of having members susceptible to spam attacks by those trying to register them under their referral link. For example, if in the future PublisherChallenge has half a dozen members generating $100K+ a month, I wouldn’t want them to be harassed and spammed by others.

Then again, if I did add a forum, then it would also allow me to let users add a profile and link their blog or site, as well as add a custom avatar, etc. to their account.

Addressing my second idea now is the possibility of merging PublisherForums and PublisherSpot. If I add a forum to PublisherChallenge, do you think it’d make more sense to create a new, dedicated forum to the site, or should I leverage the existing structure and design of PublisherForums and just add a few new forums for PublisherChallenge discussion there?

Cross-integrating it into PublisherChallenge shouldn’t be too expensive, and members of PublisherChallenge would automatically be logged into PublisherForums as well and have their account already created and attached to it.

I’ve already been working a bit on PublisherForums the past couple days, updating it here and there and getting it ready for a possible integration with PublisherChallenge, but the forum is basically a ghost-town.


What do you guys think? I’m very interested in any thoughts, suggestions, and ideas you might have.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below, subscribing to my RSS feed, or following me on Twitter.
Posted: February 20th, 2009 under My Websites  

22 Responses to “The Publisher Network? Or Is it Too Much?”

  1. Jason says:

    My opinion, for what it’s worth…

    Publisher Challenge is a site dedicated to publishers brought on board by you. So essentially Publisher Challenge is a private site, at least until someone joins one of the networks under you, and as such, the forum, I believe, should be geared and dedicated to your affiliates. This allows them to ask and discuss information that you may not want outside of Publisher Challenge. At the same time, I would cross promote on the other sites in hopes of attracting some of the affiliate marketers there that have not already signed up with you here.

    Hope that helps…just what I would do in this situation. I wouldn’t want to take away and lose readers of the other forums because you migrated everything together. At this point, I think (I’m not quite sure) that the other forums are somewhat hands off for you. This one, though, seems like it might be your bread and butter and more dedication will have to be put into it so that you can build your business.


  2. Ryan McLean says:

    I think forums would be too much effort. You need to have a good membership already to launch a forum. Otherwise it would be a lot of hard work for not a lot of reward.

  3. I think the issue really is what kind of content can the forum have that is valuable enough for people to come and participate.

    From my experience with Affiliate Marketing, I only really see a benefit to private forums with members who follow fairly strict rules of conduct and experts who are willing to share affiliate marketing tips, such as for example the forums in the PPC Classroom site. Outside of that, there is very little useful info on public affiliate marketing forums.

    I have found a lot of misinformation in public forums related to the affiliate marketing game so I refuse to read them because I don’t want someone’s post to “infect” my thinking.

    Just my opinion… maybe others will find value in something like this. Not sure.


    • Paul B says:

      I agree. I can’t remember seeing any “open” affiliate marketing forum that contained anything except spam. Well maybe the odd bit of information but it’s always so generic as to be useless. The truth is that most affiliate marketers are quite private about what they do, they don’t like to share! Whilst an open forum may be a great opportunity for any newbies to bounce ideas of each other I just can’t help feeling that it would all become bogged down in “buy my e-book to find out how I….” style spam.

      What could be interesting is to maybe utilise the idea of online gaming style clans within Publisher Challenge? Allow IM style chat between members and allowing members to join their own closed discussion groups. So much of AM is experimentation based that having a closed group of people to swap experiment results would be real added value. I’d base any trust on allowing grouped members to see certain elements of each others stats. I think that may encourage affiliates of about the same level to start thinking about co-operating.

  4. Typhoon says:

    According to me there are hundreds of such forums nowadays..So I think if you have to open it you will really need lots of new member for which you will have to advertise a lot..

    Plus you will need something exceptionally new in that forum which should attract focus of the new people otherwise people will think it’s a same old kind of webmasters forum with just new design.

  5. Jacob says:

    Rather than say “should I or should I not,” ask yourself what are you going to talk about? Your blog was, at one time, an enjoyable read until you started advertising these contests. Then it just became a nuisance when you popped up in my feed and it was “come on, you n00bs, you can STILL WIN!” Obviously that’s not verbatim, but you understand what I mean.

    Is the blog just going to be your way of saying, “check out what’s going on today or this week or these every few days on the site” or is it going to be “learn how to affiliate market.” Because if it’s the former, don’t sell the blog posts like you tried to do here because quite frankly, it’s tremendously condescending and it’s what led me to remove you from my feed.

    However, if it’s going to be a “learn how to affiliate market,” I think the blog could have tremendous quality and would definitely push you to get more people. I think a forum is useless because no one is going to tell each other anything that is too secret. I think a blog is useless unless you know what you want to write. Just to create community? You can see from your other forums that creating community takes a lot more and since you’re only going to have people in your contests on the forum, it’ll get dry.

    Just my two cents…

  6. MLDina says:

    While I think the forum is a great idea, I’m not sure about merging them. The content on the forum would be much more useful if open to all affiliates to get tips and questions answered. Maybe you can just continue cross-promoting them?

  7. BuildAndEarn says:

    You’re mixing too many ideas with too many domains and leeching off TylerCruz to promote them all which is simply muddying all the waters.

    You need to either:

    1) Dedicate a “Challenge” section to Tyler Cruz and host it at and combine pspot/forums


    2) Have standalone and roll the other 3 together into ONE DOMAIN

    If you don’t do one of the above, all you’re going to end up with are a bunch of underperforming sites. Its too much to look after and too much for people to want to care or follow.

    FOCUS. FOCUS. FOCUS. You’re thinking too hard about how to build more websites so you can make more money. In the process, you’re dilluting your original ideas, polluting your blog and setting yourself up to fail.

    What is the status of “publisherspot” and “publisherforums” as of now? You’re trying to revive them again. There is a REASON they aren’t doing too well in the first place.

    Go ahead and continue with all 4 sites if you want but I guarantee within a few months you’ll be looking back and wishing you took my advice.

  8. Dennis says:

    the merge of the three sites would be awesome. it would make things simple in a way!

  9. Luke says:

    I say you just promote PublisherSpot and PublisherForum on PublisherChallenge and vice versa. Seems like a good way to get the forums moving again:

    Active Members: 17

  10. I’ve had a forum before and it’s hard work and maintenance. I say just keep doing what you’re doing and scrap the forum

    But if the the struggles are worth the reward then go for it. Ultimately the decision is up to you.

  11. Barry says:

    I think publisher forums is done. What I mean is there was a time when forums were the best thing out there. Now we have twitter, forums and blogs everywhere. A lot of people spend their time twittering now. I think it would be way more beneficial to create a twitter account for publisherchallenge then to start a forum. You could probably get quite a following on twitter. I know your not a real big twitter user but you have yet to realize the impact twitter can have due to your lack of use.

    Anyways I kind of got side tracked there. What I was trying to say is forums are pretty hard to start now as they are not as popular as they used to be. I used to own several 50k member forums and have tried to start up new forums since and its not as easy and most have failed. I don’t think its worth the time and money to try and get publisherforums up and running and perhaps that project should be marked as failed and its time to move on.

    Publisherspot is still promising. I would keep it around as it has a lot of beneficial information on it. You need to tie in a function with publisherchallange that says learn more about this publisher and then it goes to the publisherspot review of that publisher. This will let the user know more about the publisher and still sign up under your referral link.

    I read this post earlier today and have thought about it quite a bit today and the best thing would be to make publisherchallange/forums and just have a few dedicated forums about affiliate marketing and thats about it. Let the other forums out there handle the rest of the stuff.

    I somewhat agree with the person above that the content will get diluted. This is coming from a person that comes to this site everyday to look for a new post or something to read up on. When the affiliate marketing challenges started there was less useful posts. I used to like coming here where there was 300 readers and you would talk about your projects or whatever. I remember when you used to have the link to me and I will blog about your site in an upcoming post. That was a long time ago. It just seems the blog has lost something since then in my personal opinion.

    To revisit my idea above about the twitter account you could announce new competitions on it how people are doing, special prizes and much more. You might really want to consider it.

    I know this comment is all over the place but its just a comment so it doesn’t matter to much!

    2 cents out.

  12. Tom says:

    Your forum is inactive, maybe dead, so why you keep it around.
    Instead of making 10sites with same niche, make 1 with a forum/review thing on.
    isn’t that hard, is it?

  13. rickybuitrago says:

    Just live from The Behemoth lol

  14. Greg Ellison says:

    You already have 3 sites that are in the same niche. Why not tie everything together? This makes perfect sense. Greg Ellison

  15. My opinion would be to move the community from publisherforums to publisherspot and continue to brand publisherspot.

    As far as publisherchallenge goes I would create a private forum for only those that entered into your contests to talk on…

    Just my $.02

  16. I think forums would be too much effort. You need to have a good membership already to launch a forum.
    And your forum is inactive so you must keep it around.

  17. Forums are too much effective and they also want effort, You need to have a good membership already to launch a forum.

  18. You are always going to hit spammers, so just go forward with it. It’s something you simply can not stop.

    I know people will hate me for this, but I just hired someone that easily got me 10,000 e-mails from a HUGE forum. It just goes to show money can get anything.


  19. brickmug44 says:

    there are lots of forums nowadays and its difficult to stop those spammers

  20. I’ve had a forum before and it’s hard work and maintenance :/

  21. Sadek says:

    Idea of the forum is great, and I think you are getting success there.


Leave a Reply