Should you employ paid forum posters?

by Martin Reed on 6 March 2007 in Snippets

The biggest challenge in trying to get a forum established is getting people to join up and post. To have a successful community, you need members and activity but with minimal members and activity it is extremely hard to get people to sign up in the first place.

At this stage you may be considering using one of the many paid posting services that are about. These will vary hugely in terms of the quality of posts they will offer, and in price. Is employing paid posters something I would recommend? Well, yes and no.

Firstly I wish to make it clear that I have never used paid posters on any of the sites I run. I was however tempted to employ the services of paid posters on our TV soaps website as when I took it over it was pretty much a ghost town. The problem was that the subject area for this site is relatively specialised – it covers UK television soaps. I was not interested in paying someone to post in the off-topic areas of the site; I could easily do that myself. I was more interested in creating quality content.

I sent an email to a company which appeared to be quite reputable with positive referrals on SitePoint asking them if they feel they could fulfil my requirements of providing posts and content relevant to soaps broadcast in the UK. I received no response and this was as far as my experiment with paid posting went.

If you choose the services of paid posters, I would always recommend agreeing with them in advance what percentage of the posts can be made in off-topic areas of your forum. Ideally you want as many posts as possible to be subject specific to your forum, relevant to the current threads of discussion and unique. You will also want to see them starting new threads and making posts of a decent length.

Ideally I would always recommend asking for a trial of some description, and always ask for too see live examples of work they have done. When they provide some references, contact the site owners to see if they were satisfied. If your paid posting service cannot offer what I have suggested above, then shop elsewhere.

In future posts I will cover alternative ways of kick-starting your forum without relying on the services of paid posters.

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Ed Rooney July 20, 2007 at 8:01 pm

If you are still considering posts for the UK Soaps site then please consider This is a niche we can service.

I think as you discuss paid posting in general it is important to remember that this is not a silver bullet, and ought to be treated as a single part of a comprehensive strategy to growing a community.

Martin Reed - Blog Author July 20, 2007 at 8:28 pm

Ed – Thanks for your comment. Soap Forum pretty much takes care of itself at the moment, although I will certainly consider your services moving forward.

I completely agree with you that paid posting alone can never ensure your forum becomes a success. If anyone were to employ such services, they need to do it in tandem with other methods to further develop their community.

Alberghi October 1, 2007 at 11:17 pm

I think many so, i really was involved in one of forum … where i was paid to post!

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 3, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Alberghi – If you put your hand on your heart, do you think you can honestly say that every single one of the posts you were paid to make were of a high quality and substantially added to the value of the community?

Brad October 17, 2007 at 8:22 pm

I just wanted to say I’ve tried a few of these services with mixed results. I dont recommend buying a large package unless you’ve developed a trusting relationship with them. Forum Shock ripped me off recently, made 7 of my 75 posts and has stopped posting.

Smiley October 18, 2007 at 10:28 am

This is the problem I have looking into paying for posters. Sure, it’ll get the member & post count up, but how can I guarantee that the posts will have passion, banter, humour and are of a high quality? How do I guarantee that the posters will ‘act’ like just a regular community member and get involved with the others, or guarantee that they won’t be found out that they are just paid posters?

I mean, if you were ever to be found out that you PAID people to post, surely you’d have a huge backlash on your hand and your community will never trust you again!

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 18, 2007 at 3:34 pm

Brad – You make a very good point; giving money in advance for a service should only be done if you are confident that the service you have paid for will be carried out in full, and to the standard you expect.

I am sorry to hear of your experience with Forum Shock – I bet you wish you had just buckled down and written those 75 posts yourself now, eh?

Smiley – I agree with you here, Smiley. I just think if you reach the stage where you need paid posters, something is wrong. You should have the passion to be creating content yourself, and at the same time be confident of the quality and content of each post.

Smiley October 18, 2007 at 5:07 pm

Exactly. Doing it yourself ensures you can control the direction of your community, too. By setting an example with how you come across in posts; you just can’t do that with some paid lacky posting FOR you!

abbigliamento October 27, 2007 at 5:18 pm

Pay for earn posts in your forum it could be a great idea.. but is against google policies.

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 29, 2007 at 9:35 pm

abbigliamento – Well that is news to me; can you point out where in Google’s terms of service it says a forum cannot employ paid forum posters?!?

Timothy W. Crane February 23, 2008 at 6:10 am

I can see what people are saying about getting a backlash when people find out you used posters. It does not have to be that way. AS a poster myself, I know that people are going to link me to some of my spots. Working for several agencies, and also promoting yourself as a paid poster leaves plenty a trail to follow. My goal as a poster is to leave good enough information, or solicit enough participation, that only a numbskull would care. I think that the fault can be said to be the viewpoint of some paid posters. Are you trying to earn a nickle, or are you trying to get involved with new and upcoming forums that you can provide quality content for, and keep all of the networking benefits from being one of the first on the boards for yourself. That is unless you’ve sold your signature off already.

Martin Reed - Blog Author February 27, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Timothy – I completely agree with you; there doesn’t necessarily need to be a backlash if members find out you are using paid forum posters – just so long as those posters are actually adding value to the community with their posts.

Unfortunately I feel that the majority of paid posting services don’t share your opinion – they simply see the opportunity of earning a few cents for every contribution.

Nicole March 4, 2008 at 6:17 am

I’ve worked as a paid forum poster for almost three years now, and I’ve also started my own service. There are a lot of services that just do not provide quality posts, so always be sure to look at samples or ask for a trial if one is offered.

Another thing to keep in mind is that paid forum posting is not the overnight solution to getting traffic, merely a way to get content on your site so that people will actually decide to stay. Had potential members come to your site to see no content, they most likely will not stay very long.

There are a lot of people who will become paid posters to earn a few bucks, but the majority of them don’t stay in it too long, once they realize that the pay isn’t that great. I do it because I genuinely am interested in discussion. I love talking to people online, so it’s perfect for me.

Great post, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Martin Reed - Blog Author March 4, 2008 at 7:19 pm

Nicole – Thanks for your comment, it’s always good to hear from people involved in the areas of community development that I write about.

You are right when you say paid forum posting isn’t an overnight solution – it should only ever be a complement to the content that existing members and the forum developer are creating.

Forum posters that are genuinely interested in the subject matter will always be more valuable than those posting just for the money. March 28, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Well, in my opinion I feel that it can really solidify a community or better said a “sense of community” which makes a forum have that homey feeling. I would be glad to utilize this type of service for one main reason…Search Engine Food. I think that if you have a quality paid poster working your boards initially and your website is loaded with SEO techniques that this method could dramatically boost your site. Just my opinion.


Martin Reed - Blog Author March 29, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Mike – Sure, if you get a quality paid poster who adds real value to your community through their content then there are a number of advantages. Unfortunately, the majority of paid posting services I see simply aren’t worth it – the content is poor and mostly off-topic resulting in no added value to the community.

MOin September 14, 2008 at 9:31 pm

i really was paid by some forum but they did’t paid me in form of money they bought me a domain from yahoo small business. and i think this is good way of kick starting a community their posting will cost you a little money but will pay you good in long runm.

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 6, 2008 at 8:34 pm

MOin – That’s interesting; did you continue to post after you received your domain name?

Mandy Jones October 12, 2008 at 1:40 am

I would stay away from paying for forum posts and focus on marketing the forum. One way to do this would be to set up a blog that shares the same content as the forum. You could then write value added content on the blog and mention the forum from time to time on the blog. It would even be ok to have a link to the forum directly on the main blog page.

As the blog posts become popular within Google, that traffic should filter down to your forum. The power of a blog is, in my opinion, very underated. Look at it this way, all you have to do is to get one of your blog posts on or and that traffic alone could really help out your forum.

If you do not have time to write articles for the blog you could always pay someone to write the content for you. Elance and InteractMedia are both good alternative in those regards

Martin Reed - Blog Author October 23, 2008 at 9:30 pm

Mandy – Thanks for your comment. I agree with you; I think it is better to focus on building the community yourself rather than employing paid posters to do so. After all, these posters are only in it for the money – their posts won’t reflect any passion, and they probably will be devoid of personality, too. What is more, those paid posters might even write posts that you don’t want to see on your forum.

The early days of a forum are its most critical. Its personality is formed, an atmosphere is created and members are looking for reasons why they should be loyal. Mess this up with bad forum posts now, and you are in trouble.

I agree with your opinion of adding valuable content – that is why I too, advocate writing articles for your online community. Thanks for the links to Elance and Interact Media – the SitePoint Marketplace is also a good place to find writers.

Isabelle Newton November 17, 2008 at 6:05 pm

I think that paid forum posting is ok as long as it’s on topic and used to keep the interest of the ‘real’ forum users. There’s nothing wrong with paying someone to answer, comment, have a conversation with a forum member to make sure that they don’t lose interest while your community grows because no one’s posting. And it’s a good way for forum members to generate an income from their commitment to the site. Win Win really.

Martin Reed - Blog Author November 17, 2008 at 8:05 pm

Isabelle – Yes, paid forum posters can add value to an online community. Wouldn’t you be more comfortable creating the content yourself, though? That way you can ensure quality and consistency and also create posts that help your community develop a personality and encourage interaction.