I know it’s been a while since I posted a review in my Successful Forum Owners section. I currently have two sites to review and post, here is the first one.
The Ministry of Rum forums began as a link to a blank vBulletin forum in March 2007 and quickly grew to a hundred active users, then two hundred and today more than 4000 members receive monthly updates about upcoming rum related events. Though the Rum Lovers Forums are free and contain no advertising, Edward Hamilton is negotiating with several companies for Sponsored Forums that would be customized for their use after polling the forum community. Since the Rum Lovers Forums have established themselves as the most credible information source on new and old rum offerings, the members have endorsed features that allow them to communicate directly with the people who produce the rum they love.
The barometer of success has many scales. One important metric is the number of posts per thread, an indicator of the community involvement in the discussion. At just under 9 posts/thread as the forum approaches 40,000 posts, Ed Hamilton feels the Rum Lovers forums have found their mark in the community.
While Ed doesn’t concern himself with SEO, the Ministry of Rum site has been on the top half of the first page on Google searches for ‘RUM’ for more than a few years, he is more proud of the fact that he has banned only four people, one twice, for abusing the forums. Though he admits that new lurkers are often intimidated by the volume and knowledge of many forum members, the overall tone has been to welcome new members and help them discover their newest favorite rum.
Adding a community dynamic to the Ministry of Rum website has significantly increased the calls for consulting, paid speaking engagements and brand endorsement over the last three years.