Freelancer paid $3.2 million to buy WarriorForum.com in April 2014.
A year and a bit on, how’s that investment looking?
Not great in my opinion.
Information from Freelancer itself is limited but its 2014 Annual Report (available on the investors section of its website: https://www.freelancer.co.uk/investor#reports) comments on two main things:
(1) “In May 2014 [1 month after purchasing the site] we released Warrior Payments, an all-in-one payment, affiliate and distribution platform for digital products and services”
(2) “In May 2014 we introduced Warrior Ask Me Anything (WAMA) events via Warrior TV, which are live Q&A sessions with some of the finest Internet marketers and entrepreneurs in the world.”
So how are these doing?
Well a quick scan of WarriorPayments.com shows 31 products have been published on it in the 30 days prior to the date of this blog post.
This compares to 208 on WarriorPlus.com and (an amazing) 1,316 on JVZoo.com
Even worse, only 1 (yes ONE!) of these 31 WarriorPayments offers have sold more than 10 copies!
What about WarriorTV?
I don’t know the viewing figures but I can’t see how these can be better than freely available podcasts and interviews that are conducted on countless blogs all over the internet.
As I type the upcoming guest is Yaro Starak. But why not just listen to the podcast on his own website?
Why The Future Is Bleak for The Warrior Forum
Here’s my take:
1) Out of touch corporate management
So far Freelancer’s track record in managing the forum seems pretty out of touch with how things really work.
As many people commented at the time, WarriorPayments was rushed out with substandard features compared to its main competitors of JVZoo and WarriorPlus.
Why Freelancer thought that any serious product vendor would choose it as a preferred option is a real mystery.
Other smaller things suggest a poor understanding of the forum community too.
For example, they’ve put this badge on the site:
To me that shows arrogance towards their own brand. Part of the appeal of a forum like the WarriorForum is that it has an underground, independent or alternative feel to it.
Stamping it with a logo of a stock market listed multinational corporation destroys that feel.
2) Rise in Facebook Groups
There has been (and is) a growing trend away from traditional forums and towards Facebook Groups.
3) Quality of discussion
Now I’m not qualified to comment on this because I have rarely spent much time on the forum myself (I only have 49 posts in total).
However, from talking with others who do use it I get the impression that the quality of the discussion (and possibly moderation) has declined significantly.
Waste Of Money
We don’t know the revenue numbers for the site as these have not been disclosed (and I’m sure Freelancer won’t break them out in their investor reports in future either) but I just can’t see how the site can be a growing profit stream in its current state.
At some point in the future I wouldn’t be surprised if Freelancer announces a significant write down of the value of WarriorForum on its balance sheet.
If I were Freelancer I would have studied the meteoric rise of JVZoo and spent my $3.2m on building WarriorPayments to an even better standard (involving key product creators along the way to get them on board).
Or, I would have invested the cash elsewhere.
Agree/Disagree? I’d love to hear what you think and in particular your impression of the forum if you are active there. Please do drop a comment below (anything goes, even if you just enjoyed the post or hated it!). Cheers, Rob.
Good roundup…I agree on all fronts.
You only need to look at how many “off forum” launches happen these days to see there’s been an exodus of product creators from the platform.
JVZoo really has handed their posteriors to them…
Nicely put Mike 😉
Thanks for commenting!
I used to moderate the Product Reviews section of the Warriors. Fifteen hours a week unpaid and I was happy to do it. Until the day I tried to moderate a post and found that I had been sacked, without any notice and without a thank you. Says it all about Freemantle.
The strength of the Warriors was that we all really cared about it and were proud to be called Warriors. I even had to pay to join and be vetted back in the day. when they got rid of Paul Myers and the rest of us moderators, the forum lost its unique character.
Wow – that’s quite a shocker after all you’d put in Pearson.
Good to get your take, thanks for making the time 🙂
Cheers, Rob .
I have read elsewhere that they completely stuffed up SEO as well by deleting old threads, not redirecting urls when changed forum names and basic beginner mistakes for SEO.
But basically it is the usual story that a large corporate just has too many processes and red tape and is not as nimble and smart as a true entrepreneur.
I fear you are right Dale – it will be very interesting to see what happens in the next 12-24 months.
Appreciate your comment 🙂
1) The quality of the discussion has reached an all time low. If you look at Alexa, you can see traffic has been steadily declining. 21.2% of their traffic now comes from India (I’ll just leave it at that)
2) When they launched WarriorPayments, they didn’t listen to the members actually selling products, they listen to a bunch of blowhards who don’t make any money or release products and they listed to customers. The system was dead in the water right after it’s release, when the rolled it out it had VERY basic features. It was nothing compared to JVZoo or W+ and still isn’t. If they listen to sellers to begin with, it may have been a different story.
3) There’s still value there. I’ve ran several classified ads promoting affiliate offers with bonus offers attached. The one ad brought in over $400 (it’s the only one I actually tracked). Not bad for $20 and it also added buyers to my list since it was JVZoo and I had my GetResponse account attached to the affiliate promo.
Warrior Forum still ranks well for product related keywords and if you know what you are doing, you can keyword stuff for Warrior Forum search traffic as well. I rather run 5 classified ads on the forum versus buying a solo ad for the same amount of money, you will get more subscribers if you are trying to build a list.
So I believe you can still make money on there but not in the WSO section. They really limit you with the new rules as what you can say in your sales copy.
Awesome comment Mark – thanks for taking the time and especially for sharing that on the Ads.
Noted on Alexa too – good metric to track going forward there.
Rob yet another great article- I have considered many times putting a product on both JV Zoo and Warrior forum (mainly after training from yourself) however I never did it. Partly because the reason I feel is that the products I as buying (excluding yours) were terrible and often just a waste of time and money. Lazy products in many ways. I think Glen Allsop did an article about the quality of some of them.
I have asked for several refunds from JV Zoo recently when products sold (software) just didnt do as it said on the tin- love spy bar by the way!!! use it daily. I think there is a great danger that people are just trying to cash in with cheap products and large upsells which in the long term builds mistrust. If this carries on it compounds. I think to a degree the warrior forum was plagued by this. People being lazy, bad products and people leave. On the other hand JV Zoo had great products and services but in the end it could end up in the same boat. I now only buy off a few trusted people from their lists when they promote.
Thanks for your comment and great to hear your views (appreciate your kind words too).
I wouldn’t let low quality products put you off launching your own. It’s a positive sign really because you can go in with something of high quality and make a real splash.
Other than that though I agree with your sentiment. The world is full of lazy people and yes, it compounds. When people see others being lazy, they stop bothering too much themselves further pushing down the average. Break with that trend (not hardly really in the grand scheme of things) and you can do extremely well!
Freelancer don’t understand internet marketers on any level. Simple as that. They have no idea what they wanted, what they needed, or how they work and think. Then they forced their own will onto the members, which went against the whole point of the existence of WF. So stupid and a very dumb business move indeed.
I know a lot of product creators, and I can’t remember the last time any of them launched a WSO. Not only for the reason of not being able to make income claims anymore, but because of the endless dumb questions people would ask – “How does this method work ?”, “Why are there OTO’s ?”, “Does this method involve Google/Facebook/Bing/paid ads ?”, “How much money can I make and how quickly ?”. Some of the creators of WSO threads deserve a medal for not losing their cool big-time with the endless streams of stupid questions and stuff that was clearly stated in the sales pitch and FAQ post.
Personally I don’t go there anymore. Very rarely. The quality went a long time ago. I remember seeing a crazy statistic a few months back that said well over 50% of WF traffic was coming from computers located in schools !
I did do a free WSO earlier this year and it was OK, but the numbers of email subs I got from it was a long way off what they used to be, which I admit could have been something to do with me releasing it shortly after free WSO’s were moved from the main WSO thread.
I think I only got around 30-40 subscribers. I did make a few affiliate sales to that segment of my list, but all-in-all the hassle wasn’t worth doing it again. A large portion of the subscribers were Indians, which we all know is not a country to target if you want to make money.
It’s a shame to lose what was once a relatively decent forum for all, but everyone moves on.
Hi Simon, Very interesting points well made. Agree in particular on the questions posed by members on WSO threads. That started off quite well but after a while it made me stop buying WSO threads and instead listing my products on a self-hosted page. Appreciate your time in sharing your thoughts 🙂 Cheers, Rob.
Could not agree more Rob.
Use to be a lot more active on WF myself but, it just does not feel the same. I could tell within the first few months there was “change in the air:. Kind of like going back to your home town, it is nothing like it use to be when growing up.
Released a new WSO last month to see how things flowed and looked at their own payment system. What a joke it was. Could not believe they actually think it worth releasing to public. Surely they have a team with more talent than that?
My suggestion to the Freelancer team: Get out of the office and out into the street! It is the only way to get a real feel of what the people want. You may think you know what is best and people want, but until you actually talk to them you are only guessing…
Superb comment Terry.
It’s great to hear from you as a real WF user because as I mentioned I don’t really use it much myself.
Your comment “it just does not feel the same” says a lot and is what I’ve also heard anecdotally from others.
Can Freelancer rescue it? Will be fascinating to watch and find out…
I think it was going down hill before they bought it and Allen knew it.
The moderators were out of control the cost to put up a WSO doubled.
Most WSO’s were crap.
He started the war room, which ticked off some original members that had already paid to be on the forum when it first started,
A number of people where given special treatment and could post anything they they wanted, rules be damned.
The egos of many members was HUGE.
People took offense to any comment thought to be critical.
As Simon said, “It’s a shame to lose what was once a relatively decent forum for all, but everyone moves on.”
I would add that in the beginning, it was a great forum.
“I think it was going down hill before they bought it and Allen knew it.”
Think you are spot on with that Blazed8. (For anyone reading this who doesn’t know Allen is Allen Says the previous owner of WF who sold it to Freelancer).
Thanks for your comment 🙂
That bit about “special treatment” is total crap. We made everybody respect the rules, no exception. I can remember one BIG guy complaining to Paul Myers about my banning some spammy stuff he did. Paul, who was good friends with this guy, looked at what I had done and backed me.
Blazed8 is correct. It WAS going downhill (fast). I am one who was attacted for pointing out that some of the WSO’s were very poor quality and that would wind up hurting the forum reputation in the long run. That was not popular at the time, but turned out to be true. Quality matters. I think my ‘offensive” statement was something like, spend more time on creating a great product and less time on pitching it and everyone wins. Great products have staying power and almost sell themselves. This concept is still true today. JV Zoo could be the next if they don’t learn the lesson. They have some great stuff, but much is just a relocated WSO marketplace.
Thank you for your thoughts on this Pat 🙂
Maybe it is time for a joint venture to be formed to create a rival forum and network. Would take some effort time and money though.
Mmmmm – interesting idea Dale!
There are others of course. DigitalPoint is one I’ve rarely visited but has some gravity (or at least used to). It will definitely be interesting to see if anyone attempts this. As good as Facebook groups are if you set one up you aren’t in complete control as FB can shut you down at time and dictates the rules.
So maybe someone will. Big effort though like you say.
Thanks for taking the time to comment Dale 🙂
I have pinned tabs of websites ,in my browser, that I visit often. Warrior forum was one of it.An I unpinned that tab 6 months back. WF will be closed down in 2 years if they continue to walk in the same direction talking with ghosts.
Thanks Kern 🙂 Cheers, Rob.
Can’t really add much from what people have mentioned here already.
But if the new guys running the WF actually listened to the feedback you’re getting here, it would probably still be an amazing place.
I think buying the forum and not actually listening to its members (as in REALLY listening to them) was a really, really pricey mistake to be honest.
I have logged in a few times (in a few months) but I can’t imagine myself going 10-15 times a day as I used to do it in the past.
And listening to the RIGHT people too (as Mark rightly pointed out above).
Great to hear your opinion on this Sergio, appreciate the comment.
I tried out Warrior Payments and it was one of my least successful forum launches yet, admittedly I didn’t have to deal with the fake affiliates you get on platforms like Warrior+ but that was because almost nobody was on the platform, not even the fraudsters!
Well anything’s worth a try Daniel! Says something when scamsters can’t be bothered…
Thanks so much for taking the time to comment 🙂
One of the biggest issues was that existing WSOs and classified ads which cited income proofs and sales made/commissions made were deleted if they were not made through WarriorPayments. Some of us who had made a lot of money with threads and product launches had to take them down.
They killed a large chunk of their business and good will right there.
The person who starts something usually treats it as his child and is ever careful of it. He plans its growth with a passion that other people who take over the project later on will lack. This could be the case with Warrior Forum.
I have been its member since 2005 and have more than 2000 posts over there. I still visit it at least a couple of times every single day. There is some attraction which keeps pulling me to the forum. However, I have to say that this attraction is declining. I don’t know what has changed, but the forum has lost some of its earlier charm.
But I do hope that the forum still continues and the community, though not as before, still keeps going. I enjoy the discussions there and there are very good marketing minds who are active members of this community.
I seriously hope that Freelancer company takes good care of this community and does not allow it to get lost. Its WarriorPayments project might have proved a failure, but if it keeps grooming the community and paying attention to it, it might find many more opportunities in future for generating revenues.
Really appreciate you sharing your thoughts – thank you. It’s great to hear from a veteran of the forum with long term experience of it.
All the best,
Warriorforum.com was always free. I paid $37 to come a War Room Member.
which allowed me to
1) Post Warrior Special Offers
2) Get Access To The War Room
other benefits included
3) Be Able To Create your Own Warrior Forum Blog
4) Be Able To Create your Own Warrior Forum Social Group
5) Will Have No Restrictions On Private Messages And Will Be Able to Store Up To 400 Messages
as of now
Page not found
I hope Freelancer will respect those who decided to become paid members
and honor ie: restore those privileges ….
Thanks for sharing your views. Not sure on the access issue – hope they fix it soon for you and other members.
Good riddance I say. That forum has been absolute trash for a few years now, the spammers run free and idiotic moderators like [NAME REMOVED] continue to delete good threads. The number of blind leading the blind is so blatantly obvious… Some of them claim they make thousands of dollars but then go onto asking some of the dumbest questions a decent marketer could tell you.
I wouldn’t be proud of being associated to the forum. I’m working on a site with a similar name, unfortunate that they will probably rank a ton of search terms and bring down my future site. May consider changing the name once it picks up.
Strong words! Everyone is entitled to their view here on the blog – thank you for taking the time 🙂
See man, the warrior forum as I write is dead. Just take a look at the Alexa ranking! I was trying to get Alaister to make some necessary changes but he completely ignored me.
Well, I’m a bit happy that I still make some money off of the forum to invest it in running ad campaigns for my business.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thought on this one 🙂 Yes, definitely a significant decline in the Alexa Rank. Will be aa very interesting situation to watch over the coming months.
All the best, Rob.
whenever or for the most part when something changes hands you will see this happening. the mistake was make at the change of hands. I wish the owner of the warrior forum would have cared more about who he turned it over to. maybe he was fed lies as well. however that’s the nature of the internet you build an asset and you sell for as much as you can. the new owners don’t know how to do what the previous owner did. it happens regretfully. I just wish people had stayed. I miss the old forum but I’m not leaving,
Thanks for your thoughts Claire. I think Freelancer is a very smart company and clearly capable but they just didn’t take the time to REALLY understand what they purchased and how it works.
I have to agree with warrior marketing on this. I used to go check in their from time to time but now almost every thread is the same “How do I make money online”…How many times can that be asked?
I used to enjoy the WF but now to me it is as good as dead. I went there a few days ago to a thread that a student of mine sent me, he had made the mistake of buying a CPA product, it took me 3 minutes to read over it and then reviewed it on the thread. It was about spamming craigslist which I wrote and and a really old method which I wrote.
I got an email later saying that my post was removed because I wrote a negative review…
I am happy that the old owner and founder made a good load from Freelancer, good on him, I would have done the same!
It seems like the people at Freelancer have no idea what the WF used to stand for!
I recognise Claire Koch, Hi Claire, we used to enjoy some good heated debates on there (my username there is daftdog)
Also 1 last gripe…I posted something cool in the Warroom and they removed the thanks button from it. Which makes no sense!
Anyway times change, the WF helped me a lot in the past to become a full time marketer (helped used loosely) and was a good place where you felt that you were a part of something cool and unique but now…not I’m sorry to say!
Good Post Rob,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Marc – appreciated 🙂
It’s truly a shame what the Warrior Forum has become.
Almost none of the successful, well known marketers that used to post there are around anymore.
Since Freelancer took over the reigns, they have made many changes that were not very popular with the members. They never bother to stop and find out what the members want, they just announce a change and tell you that’s how it’s going to be.
The most recent announcement is a plan to turn the “classifieds” section into a new product marketplace called the “Underground.” It’s my understanding that this is going to be a platform where people can sell products that are not up to snuff. Why they would want this kind of a marketplace attached to their forum I don’t know. My guess is it’s a revenue thing.
It’s really a shame because I used to enjoy hanging out in the forum and I used to learn a lot as well. Looks like it’s seen it’s prime and those days are most likely gone for good. It’s too bad.
Thanks Chris, really great comment. I really agree with your points here, thank you for taking the time. Cheers, Rob.
Warrior Forum is an embarrasment these days. I made two good posts yesterday only for them to be removed because I was replying to old threads.
Well, duh… There aren’t any good new threads to reply to.
I used to get good .sig referral traffic but not anymore.
Also they had some useful sub-forums on there for sharing ideas and making contacts but… yeah they closed those.
Just go on Reddit and have a sensible discussion.
Thanks Brett. It’s been years since I visited myself now so that’s interesting to hear.
All the best, Rob.