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.