View Full Version : End of an era.

John Cutmore
June 1st, 2005, 10:12 AM
It has finally happened. No more Ozwin forum, no more OLRing.

Let us hope that this new community attracts as many good people as the old forum did.

Thank you Sidney and Steve for a wonderful past.

Peter Creasey
June 1st, 2005, 10:32 AM
>> It has finally happened. No more Ozwin forum, no more OLRing. <<

John, Yes, very sad! Also sad is the fact that CIS is surely clueless as to the magnitude of what they have undone.

John Cutmore
June 1st, 2005, 11:45 AM

It is not as simple as that. It does seem that the rot began to set in when HR Block failed to recognise the true value of what they had and when many manufacturers began to move their support forums to the web.

AOL are a profit motivated organisation and CIS was neither profitable nor viable as it was. The opening of the forums to the web did not bring in the revenue that was needed and the infrastructure was fragile. There were a number of occasions when some of the forums I worked in crashed following a promotion as people flooded in to view the offerings.

As I understand it it was touch and go whether the forums would be allowed to continue. The options being considered included closing the forums, moving them to another part of AOL or, the option that was chosen, to transfer them to the Prospero platform.

Although that is not an ideal solution it is better than closure although it remains to be seen if it will bring in sufficient revenue to maintain the service. I do know that it is very hard work to bring people into forums unless you are offering trivia, sex or other popular topics.

The sad aspect of all of this is that the business model they worked to required the total exclusion of any form of OLR; the reason being obvious, OLR users would not see adverts or be tempted to click on the links.

Has it killed community? Not yet, but it certainly does not please everyone although there are forums where community thrives quite well.

I learnt a very long time ago that, whatever one is involved with, change is inevitable and that not everyone will be pleased with the change and not every change will be successful. However, unless organisations continue to develop they run the risk of stagnating and eventually failing.

I am not saying that the changes AOL made were the best, all I can say is that it was better than closing the service altogether.


Peter Creasey
June 1st, 2005, 12:26 PM
>> it was better than closing the service altogether. <<

John, Your portrayal of the sequence is just as I remember it; although, I believe some of their conclusions that precipitated their decisions were badly flawed.

It will be interesting to see if what they have done turns out to bear fruit.