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  1. #1

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    Default Yet another survey...

    ...this time about commercial vehicles.

    Looks like the MacTalk membership has been rented out again.


  2. #2

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    Mhmm. Given the way niche has ran MacTalk into the ground, I think its time to part ways. Bye MacTalk, its been a wonderful 4 years.

  3. #3

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    Default

    Having still not seen any surveys, I'm becoming more annoyed at how a new thread is started every time someone sees one. You guys know that you're able to reply to threads more than a day old, right?

  4. #4

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    Default



    You wouldn't happen to have Flash disabled by any chance? It appears the surveys use Flash, or at least the notification in the corner does.

    I can see there are a couple of threads on these surveys already, perhaps we can consolidate the discussion into one thread. Here should do.

    Now, I'm a little curious as to what Niche is doing. The surveys always start in the same manner but diversify into areas that I can't imagine would be relevant to the content published here, nor could I see how they would draw conclusions from the answers that would help in creating that content.
    Last edited by iMic; 28th March 2014 at 04:22 PM.

  5. #5

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    The surveys don't pop up for me with AdBlock enabled. Couldn't imagine browsing this site without it. All in all, this place just feels neglected and on it's last legs. Then again I haven't really paid that much attention to it over the years. The christmas period with no news updates and then 2 or something in one day after all the complaints...

  6. #6

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    I wouldn't even say it just feels neglected. It is neglected.

    MacTalk is no longer a listed brand on Niche's website.

    I wonder what it would take for them to consider turning over what's left to a new owner? I can't imagine it's worth the server hardware it runs on by now, and it's not like they have any use for it once the surveys have run their course.
    Last edited by iMic; 14th March 2014 at 04:13 PM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by iMac600 View Post
    I wouldn't even say it just feels neglected. It is neglected.

    MacTalk is no longer a listed brand on Niche's website.

    I wonder what it would take for them to consider turning over what's left to a new owner? I can't imagine it's worth the server hardware it runs on by now, and it's not like they have any use for it once the surveys have run their course.
    heh that marketingmag they mention in the link, probably has something to do with all the random surveys . I'm not sure how much forums are worth these days. Quite a few of the ones that I used to visit seem to be dwindling in user activity. Perhaps I'm just not looking in the right places?

    One of the reasons that I liked macktalk was the relationships with retail stores and apple related products. The community just doesn't seem to be here any more.

  8. #8

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    I just disabled Adblock Plus long enough to see how much advertising is on the site now. Seems to me that niche just bought it to use it as an advertising base, because so many people visit, even if they aren't members. Can't help wondering if its worth starting another site. This one isnt going anywhere.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by kyte View Post
    Can't help wondering if its worth starting another site. This one isnt going anywhere.
    I discussed this with some contacts in the Apple industry and started looking into something like it last October. Really it comes down to funds. In terms of community software and hosting providers, I'd only really consider a couple of well known and reputable brands, but of course they aren't free. Not ridiculously expensive, a couple of hundred at the most. I'm considering my options there.

    You also need to factor in the building of the community, whether existing members will be willing to endure a slow period in which the community ramps back up to full power again, naming a new community, front page content and writers, site design and layout and so on. These don't seem too difficult to overcome, and a team effort would have these issues nailed down relatively easily.
    Last edited by iMic; 28th March 2014 at 04:25 PM.

  10. #10

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    You'll find some of the old writers and podcasters over at Reckoner. Best bet would be to start another forum in conjunction with those guys using Discourse as the forum software.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by nibbles View Post
    You'll find some of the old writers and podcasters over at Reckoner. Best bet would be to start another forum in conjunction with those guys using Discourse as the forum software.
    Cheers, I was thinking of contacting them. As for the forum software, I've looked at Discourse before but hit a couple of walls with it. There's another large scale community system I've looked at rather closely which is looking better by the day (and no, it's not vBulletin).
    Last edited by iMic; 28th March 2014 at 04:26 PM.

  12. #12

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    Has anyone tried contacting Niche about it???
    Plus, IIci, IIsi, LC, LCII, LC III, CC, LC475, LC630, Centris650, 6100, 8100, 5260, 7220, 7600. PB: 100, 150, 160, 165, 540, 190, 5300, 1400. Lombard, iMacG3, iBookG3, iBookG4, PBG4, eMac, iMac G4, PMG4, MiniG4, iMacG5

  13. #13

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    Personally I haven't, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone had. The issue is that it comes down to simple dollars and cents, and after Niche downsized the site's staff leaving only Bennyling left to volunteer to cover the news, it became pretty apparent there were problems here at MacTalk. I'd be surprised if a couple of messages would turn that around.
    Last edited by iMic; 28th March 2014 at 04:27 PM.

  14. #14

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    I kinda agree, but I would like to know what is actually going on. Surely Mactalk cost enough 3 years ago that they would put effort into building it back up ?

    My other question is.. why are people going to be active on a new Apple forum if they are not active on Mactalk? Ignoring those who don't post here because they have been annoyed by something on here?

    I'm not ready to call it quits on Mactalk just yet.
    Plus, IIci, IIsi, LC, LCII, LC III, CC, LC475, LC630, Centris650, 6100, 8100, 5260, 7220, 7600. PB: 100, 150, 160, 165, 540, 190, 5300, 1400. Lombard, iMacG3, iBookG3, iBookG4, PBG4, eMac, iMac G4, PMG4, MiniG4, iMacG5

  15. #15

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    It's a reasonable point to consider. MacTalk was listed for $125,000 AUD at the time of sale. Whether it actually sold for that amount, I'm not sure. In any case, it sure is a rather large sum of cash to write off. I'm sure they have made back some of their initial investment and continue to do so today, but it does beg the question of how profitable these sites are. At the peak of MacTalk's success, it was apparently making around $6100 or so a month. I can't see it making that much now, and there hasn't been much in the way of activity to right the ship.

    Your second point is an incredibly good one, and frankly one that concerns me too. Overall the exodus of users has only added to a problem of a lack of members coming in to the community. Now at the time of writing we're not doing too badly - 9 registered members and 367 guests. If those numbers were the other way around, we'd be laughing. I think there is still interest in an Australian Mac community, but at the moment they simply aren't registering for one reason or another. Before even considering another site, an investigation is required to find out why this is the case. Perhaps it's not so much Niche's fault as it is a downturn in the industry as a result of another factor, in which case another site won't solve the problem.

    I'll agree with you in saying that I love MacTalk. I've been here for almost 8 years now and lurked for several years before that. I remember it most fondly during its days as a community run non-profit (as AppleTalk) and in its early days as an independently owned commercial business (as MacTalk, under Decryption). The podcasts, the editorials, the real sense of community spirit, the MacTalk meet-ups, Anthony losing it at the news that the iPad would have 3G built-in during the Live Podcast... just knowing that these were the kind of people I was associated with was enough to keep me refreshing this site day in, day out. It didn't feel like you were on a tech support board. You felt like you were shooting the breeze with your best friends.

    Maybe I'm wearing the rose-coloured glasses as I look at the old days, but even so there's no doubt that something has changed here, and not for the better.

    If Niche Media messaged me tomorrow and said "fine, you have a crack at it, smartarse", then I'd absolutely give it my best shot at turning this place around. I absolutely still think it's doable. The motivation behind moving to a completely new site is that I don't think Niche would turn over that much trust to average folks like yourself and I, nor do I think the community operated model we'd be aiming for would be accepted by businesses like Niche, after all it has to turn a profit in order to be viable. That's not to say it wouldn't be profitable at the end of it, but there will be some difficult times there while it's in recovery. The aim isn't to overthrow MacTalk or send a message to anybody, it's purely to get the activity around here flowing again, pull out the stops, correct a few bad moves and see if we can make the community tick again. Perhaps a set of eyes from inside the community can make that happen.

    So in a nutshell Oldmacs, I agree. I think though, to use a metaphor - while we hope this ship doesn't sink, there's a lot of members here who are hoping that it has functioning lifeboats if it does.


    Incidentally Niche, if you're reading this, perhaps we can have a chat.


    Cheers,
    iMic.
    Last edited by iMic; 28th March 2014 at 04:29 PM.

  16. #16

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    Of course, as I woke this morning I remember that one of our members *did* try starting up another forum... But it didnt do anything. Lots from here joined it, and now, I can't even remember its name. TCN33 where are you?

  17. #17

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    ...and this is the primary issue here.

    It's one thing to create a forum. It's another to generate a feeling of community, a sense of wanting to belong and participate. You can't tell people what to do. They'll do what they're going to do of their own choice.

    The other site you're thinking of is geektown.com.au which, as I check this morning, doesn't seem to have had a new post since late last year.

    Reckoner is where most of the content that used to live on MacTalk has gone but it doesn't have forums so it's not really duplicating this - and also has a broader content focus than here.

    Starting over with a new website is a colossal undertaking. If something were to be done, it'd be far better to convince Niche to allow someone with motivation and interest to take on MacTalk in situ - that keeps the content, search rankings, and the visitors but allows someone to try and make it work.

    As someone who was in discussion to buy MacTalk from Anthony, I believe it's likely that Niche paid a high premium for the site. Possibly well over the market - that's great for Anthony to get the price he wanted but may have contributed to the ultimate state of MacTalk today.

    The incomplete figures that I saw when the sale was going on didn't feel, to me, to justify the asking price. There were a number of expenses that were sponsored with such sponsorships not set to keep going under new ownership - some of these had the potential to add substantial costs.

    My feeling is that for MacTalk to be successful it needs a visible "owner" (for "owner" substitute, editor, lead contributor, ideas person, whatever) who's active on a DAILY basis contributing to the website. It needs a core of contributors adding new material (editorial content) on a regular basis. It needs active forum "experts" (the people who ANSWER the questions with some degree of authority derived from real-world experience) and it needs plenty of participants who feel a sense of community and want to be involved.

    By my count, that's four separate areas. Of those four, Niche is providing none of them and not particularly fostering the "experts" or the community among participants.

    In a nutshell, that's a diminishing website right there...

    David

  18. #18

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    Overall though in the age of Twitter and Facebook et al are forums ever going to be as big as they were?

    Also maybe to be fair there has not been products of the glory times. Certainly the launch of the iPhone and iPad were huge for the site and there simply has not been that level of hype since.

    Us old timers I am sure remember the huge iTunes Australia thread and all the speculation around it and the big product launches.

    As an aside Apple events are more leaked now so the build is not as big as most often when Tim takes the stage we more or less know what is coming.

    Given that Anthony chose a great time to get out and sell.

    I suspect a fan purchase of the site for a nominal fee (kickstster maybe) might work but setting up a new one would be hard road and more likely to fail than succeed.
    An Aussie Online Sports Book store http://www.lockerroombooks.com.au

  19. #19

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    Nothing on the Internet is in a steady-state. Everything is in a constant state of change. What worked well previously almost certainly won't keep working well unchanged.

    Social media has changed how we interact but it doesn't offer the same kind of "repository of information" as a forum can provide. Particularly not one that's (relatively) easily searchable and can encapsulate a discussion in one easy form for future reference. The relatively high number of visitors vs members counts indicates to me that a fair percentage of MacTalk users are people who've ended up here as a result of a google search.

    This is one way that you bring in new members.

    From there, obviously, you need to get people to register and to participate.

    I'm not sure those types of interactions are dead, or even non-viable commercially.

    But they don't happen in auto-pilot, which is largely how MacTalk now operates.

    A fan purchase via Kickstarter (et al) might be made to work but there's fairly substantial costs that come along with running big websites. While I don't have any current figures, I recall the hosting costs alone for a site like MacTalk are in the thousands per month (which was entirely sponsored when Anthony ran MacTalk).

    I don't know how successful a member buyout would be in those terms. I suppose they'd form a company to manage the website, collect income from whatever sources it could and use that income to meet expenses. All participants would also need to firmly understand that if the site isn't profitable then they'll need to provide additional capital to pay the bills. The same participants would obviously also share in any profits made.

    I guess the alternative would be that it's a non-profit cooperative where members pay a monthly fee that goes towards operating costs and there's no advertising or other revenue raising at all. You'd need a pretty decent membership to meet the costs I suspect.

    David

  20. #20

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    I seem to recall member ownership being talked about when Mactalk got sold back in 2011... What conclusions were meet back then?
    Plus, IIci, IIsi, LC, LCII, LC III, CC, LC475, LC630, Centris650, 6100, 8100, 5260, 7220, 7600. PB: 100, 150, 160, 165, 540, 190, 5300, 1400. Lombard, iMacG3, iBookG3, iBookG4, PBG4, eMac, iMac G4, PMG4, MiniG4, iMacG5

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