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Massive re-thinking of the whole premise of what Frihost is





ocalhoun
So, it was brought up that one of the reasons for declining post count might be that interest in free hosting as a whole is declining...
That makes a lot of sense really, given the popularity of things like facebook, and websites that allow you to make a blog or forum without a traditional hosting account... and even things like ebay stores, making it so people no longer need a dedicated website to sell stuff.
Almost anything one would want a free webhost for could be done (more or less) through different avenues, without needing to actually make and host your own website.

Now, I'm pretty sure it would be futile to reverse that trend... and sitting around competing for a larger share of a dwindling market isn't a good strategy either.

So, that leaves only one solution: expand into other 'markets'.
...I've thought of a few ways to do that... perhaps others could add some.
(And for one thing, offering free domains is already a great start.)


Coins/points market: Make a marketplace, much like any online store, where things can be bought with coins or points. Have all kinds of one-time-purchase things for sale for coins: domain registration gift cards, other gift cards, physical goods, software, et cetera... but also have some ongoing-service type things for sale for points... like web hosting, 1 point/day... advertising your website, 1 point/day, a do-follow link in the directory, 1 point/month... et cetera.

Online games: This has been in the works for a while, and it would help. Just having online games where coins could be spent earned and gambled. -- Which would work especially well when combined with the marketplace.

Fully utilizing contests: Starting contests on a routine schedule, with lots of different types, and using a number of coins as the prize. -- Which, again, would combine well with the marketplace.


Once things like that are in place, start emphasizing them with advertising... ie, instead of advertising as a free web host, advertise as a place where you can post, play games, or compete in contests to earn prizes.

To actually pull it off would take a ton of work... but I think it could be done, given the amount of website building experience many members here have... and how willing to help many of them would be. And, it doesn't need to happen overnight -- this would be a long-term goal.
Blaster
Interesting to think about. I like the idea of using coins to gamble. That sure would make things more interesting. The problem is people go to forums for specific things like Andriod forums or Bike forums or Truck forums... Them websites also have general types of chats which is the most popular type of forum.
deanhills
All of the suggestions in this thread are admirable, and of course all of us are working full out to get the post count up. But, I think we need to be practical here. Before we continue with discussions like these we need to have Bondings back taking ACTIVE charge of the great ideas that he had put into place last year this time. Check the post count of Oct-Jan last year and it was in the process of picking up because of Bondings' new initiatives. Yet all of that came to a screeching halt during the course of June. October last year the featured discussions had been vibrating with excitement about the coins and ability to purchase free domains. Establishing a market for those would have been a logical next step if the momentum had stayed at that level. People LOVE the idea of free domains, yet that also came to a halt as Bondings is the only person allocating those. The last contest in April that I had spent quite some time to make my contribution to, has not even been adjudicated yet. There was a perfectly good idea for a games arcade and that stopped in mid air too. Our featured discussions got frozen at the one million post thread. Last week Server 4 was down for longer than a day.

I'd say that for everything to really pick up Bondings needs to be back, and then the most important thing that he could do for Frihost is to delegate some of his initiatives to others. We have to redo the competition thing, but it has to be more practical instead of just essays that people aren't really that much interested in. I'd say for now a very simple competition like the most posts for a given period of posting would be a great incentive for people to post. I can already see it on top of the featured discussions. Also very easy to adjudicate. I totally agree with the revival of a marketing activity. When we changed to coins last year the Market Place came to a halt and that is a great shame. I have not seen any real requests for design of logos etc for a very long time.
SonLight
Just a few ideas about expanding into other areas.

If you provide 'dofollow' links for coins or points, I would suggest a provision that Frihost can decline the offer if they're not comfortable with the contents of the site. I know there are already provisions to reject certain types of sites, but if Frihost reputation is being given to a site, they should have the right to be more selective.

Because of security issues, Bondings is understandably reluctant to take advantage of the website programming skills he has been offered. One possible way to reduce that risk would be to use a virtual machine which contains some of the add-on features and prevents errors in their coding from affecting the rest of the site adversely. I believe cpu usage can be limited that way too. Probably only Bondings knows whether a virtual host is easy to set up on these servers though, and whether it would be worthwhile, run efficiently enough, and secure.

Could it make sense to do something research oriented using our collective technical skills? Something like working with bitcoins or even perhaps our own alternative, a "robot wars" or programming contest? These seem too complex, but maybe something we can build together behind the boundaries of a virtual machine which is limited to using memory and cpu only when the server is relatively idle.
ocalhoun
As for requiring a lot more activity from Bondings (or other delegated admins) yes, it would...
That's unavoidable, though I think it would be fine if authority was delegated for it.




Blaster wrote:
Interesting to think about. I like the idea of using coins to gamble. That sure would make things more interesting. The problem is people go to forums for specific things like Andriod forums or Bike forums or Truck forums... Them websites also have general types of chats which is the most popular type of forum.

Well, that's one reason I like frihost so much...

A good forum as general-interest-oriented as this one is hard to find.
Josso
I think a semi-automated shop would be a good idea yes, where the coins can be spent on more things than just a domain. The marketplace needs to be made into a proper section. Also implementing games where users can play each other (flash) into phpBB2 is totally doable, I've done similar such things before... it would be cool to challenge people to games of Chess or whatever if you see someone online.
deanhills
Josso wrote:
The marketplace needs to be made into a proper section. Also implementing games where users can play each other (flash) into phpBB2 is totally doable, I've done similar such things before... it would be cool to challenge people to games of Chess or whatever if you see someone online.
Great suggestions Josso. Perhaps one could pay for having a signature and avatar for example.
ocalhoun
deanhills wrote:
Perhaps one could pay for having a signature and avatar for example.

I think the avatar should be free -- it helps everybody distinguish each other easier, and makes it easier to remember people...

But charging points or coins for the use of a signature... now that's an idea.
--It would put a stop to the sig-link spammers as well! (Probably)
User_X
I'll input my tiny bit. I had looked at other free hosting with no ads for more then 2 weeks. I wanted an active forum from the host so I can ask advice & learn. That was the challenge. There are many out there but the forums are mostly lacking either posts or members. I found one but the people were so arrogant & cocky I put in the "2nd choice" bookmark folder.
Then I come across Frihost. Packed with all kinds of goods, tools & an active forum with knowledgeable & helpful members to say the least.


ocalhoun wrote:
So, that leaves only one solution: expand into other 'markets'.
...I've thought of a few ways to do that... perhaps others could add some....

I for one would be up to buy hosting with no need to have to post in the forum later.

ocalhoun wrote:
Online games:

On my past site the casino was a big thing for the members. And the games went over well too. I never was interested myself but gaming is a good suggestion. Anything that can keep a member ON & ATTRACTED to your site is a good thing

ocalhoun wrote:
Fully utilizing contests:


All those mean more work for staff & whomever. That is they have to Want to monitor that section. It may mean taking on more mods which could mean less "ideal" or trusted members as staff. IMO It's usually a big decision to take on new staff.
Actually doing those contests & keeping them up are a feat within themselves.



OK, I wrote that above before reading it all.
ocalhoun wrote:
To actually pull it off would take a ton of work.... and how willing to help many of them would be.


Maybe even a few more choices of sub-domain names would be cool. I noticed one that ended in ".omgforum" lol. That's an enticer for someone younger or at least hip.


As I hinted above I think it would be great to have a place where members could spend all day at. Meaning many different sections in the forum & then sub sections, games, gambling etc. That's a big feat though. I'm sure it would work but I don't think that was Bonding's goal to do all that when he started this great site. All-in-all its more work, tweaking, glitches, hassle & stress.
It all depends on Bonding's if he wants to go that route. I've seen numerous times where folks have said he's missing, being missed etc. I wouldn't want to see him get burnt out, if he isn't already. Yes, it's past my mind more then once because I was in his place at one time. My expensive hobby turned into work & was to stressful. That & dealing with all the members, staff & all the things that came with that.

I'm new here but I'll venture to speak out. It all depends on Bonding's.
He may want or need to delegate more responsibly out to those he may feel he can trust (The shivers that gives me thinking about that trust level)


Seems I repeated a few things "deanhills" said. I type as I read. Sorry.
deanhills wrote:
...delegate some of his initiatives to others.


That's my

Hope that makes sense
Hello_World
The reason I chose this site over others was
a)free
b)no ads on pages
c)allowed Python.

There are not so many sites that offer Python. That was a big plus.

Then I found interesting conversation here.

Maybe a good competition might be to create a small indie game, even a text adventure, and then newcomers will have games to play and the winner can perhaps have some form of advertising on this forum or something.
Ghost Rider103
The other thing frihost could offer would be free web design. The only other thing better than free web hosting would have to be free custom web design along with it.

You could even expand frihost into a larger network of sites, I.e. frihdesign.com or keep it all linked together.

This would take a lot of time and would almost certainly need some willing designers to take action against official free web design requests. However I, being a massive fan of frihost, would dedicate my own free time in designing free custom sites - only if it were done officially, through frihost. But im sure it would take more than one volunteer, and there would need to be some system in which they would be able to apply for free web design. Could be an area for coins to be used, or could be an area to boost referrals. Like x amount of referrals will allow you to apply for web design.

That would be a huge step forwad in expanding frihost.
deanhills
Ghost Rider103 wrote:
The other thing frihost could offer would be free web design. The only other thing better than free web hosting would have to be free custom web design along with it.

You could even expand frihost into a larger network of sites, I.e. frihdesign.com or keep it all linked together.

This would take a lot of time and would almost certainly need some willing designers to take action against official free web design requests. However I, being a massive fan of frihost, would dedicate my own free time in designing free custom sites - only if it were done officially, through frihost. But im sure it would take more than one volunteer, and there would need to be some system in which they would be able to apply for free web design. Could be an area for coins to be used, or could be an area to boost referrals. Like x amount of referrals will allow you to apply for web design.

That would be a huge step forwad in expanding frihost.
Excellent idea. How about a section for free templates? Templates that have been checked out by Frihost and are validated with W3? And a section on tutorials specifically for starting a new Website including cPanel, FTP etc.
Ghost Rider103
That wouldn't be a bad idea. But if you really want to grab peoples attention, offer free custom web design.

There are plenty of sites out there that offer free pre-made templates. But I don't know of any free hosts that offer free custom templates, to the users specific specifications. That would be something, as far as I know, no other free host offers.

However probably very, very few places offer free custom web design at all. On a professional scale anyways.
deanhills
Ghost Rider103 wrote:
That wouldn't be a bad idea. But if you really want to grab peoples attention, offer free custom web design.

There are plenty of sites out there that offer free pre-made templates. But I don't know of any free hosts that offer free custom templates, to the users specific specifications. That would be something, as far as I know, no other free host offers.

However probably very, very few places offer free custom web design at all. On a professional scale anyways.
If it is possible to provide this free of charge, then that would be wonderful. Who would be willing to do this however? Or do you have access to students who would like to get some practical experience to design templates for Frihost members? Idea Then they would have to register too, become members too. Looks as though your idea has the potential for a double return in both new members and new posts?
ocalhoun
There would also need to be some kind of reward for the designers.

Sure, you might get a few willing to work for free... but if the volume of demand gets too high, they won't be able to keep up.
deanhills
ocalhoun wrote:
There would also need to be some kind of reward for the designers.

Sure, you might get a few willing to work for free... but if the volume of demand gets too high, they won't be able to keep up.
Right on! Perhaps they could get extra bandwidth and more Website space.
Ghost Rider103
deanhills wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
There would also need to be some kind of reward for the designers.

Sure, you might get a few willing to work for free... but if the volume of demand gets too high, they won't be able to keep up.
Right on! Perhaps they could get extra bandwidth and more Website space.


That or a good advertisement spot on Frihost perhaps.

Though if there enough willing to work for free, I don't think there would be a problem with keeping up with the demand.
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