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Beyond XLADV


Eric Hall

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Say what?!!!

It's true, even though the idea of XLADV has led to so many great things (events like High Sierra, Mojave and Ken Mooty Memorial Death Valley, sponsorship, three racing events, social media success and more) the forum has never really fulfilled our goals.

We were all convinced (ThumperTalk and I) that a big adventure bike forum was an unfulfilled niche that would be a logical extension of the success of other forums.

And then came Facebook (and other social media outlets).  I think had we started just 2-3 years earlier (when I first had the idea) that we may have acquired the kind of critical mass that would have gotten us past this stage.  But even relatively successful regional forums like San Diego Adventure Riders have struggled to keep the lights on.

And social media has been a huge challenge for the existing forums too (AOLrider, ThumperTalk, etc...).

The recent age of covid-19 actually drove many to go out and buy a motorcycle which lead to some pretty significant double digit increases in people looking for information from forums (and social media)

But when it comes to adventure bikes, I hate to say it but Facebook continues to dominate.  There are multiple groups on Facebook for every single bike model (20 just for the T700).

I still think Facebook sucks and use it as little as I can.  Facebook has huge issues with declining growth, time spent online and nearly no one under 30 is on it, nor ever will be.  There may be a critical point where people abandon Facebook en masse but that doesn't necessarily mean forums will be resurrected.  I'm sure other social media channels like YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, etc... will be there to absorb them.

I first heard this news right when the Christmas break started.  ThumperTalk (our partner and platform provider) with their HUGE user base over 20 years of existence did have that critical mass and did benefit from the covid-19 buying spree and decided to sell to another media company and is cutting us loose.  The other media company didn't see the value of our forum traffic and chose to take a pass.  That may be a mistake on their part as our digital footprint is still quite large on Instagram (146k), Facebook (16k) and YouTube (1k+).

But forums days may be numbered.  You may love your land line telephone but the fact is not many use them anymore.

Moving forward I will take a look at all our options.  The sponsors we've had to date and currently have really like the SEO value of backlinks for things like product threads and reviews.  The cost to continue to host the forum is minimal but apparently the review engine component costs quite a bit more than is tenable right now.  Once I figure this all out I'll provide more information.

I've got a lot of ideas and have spoken with a lot of people about where to go next.  Some are saying given the poor quality of free mass-social media that there may be an opportunity for a smaller community behind a paywall (quality over quantity).

But the psychology of social media being what it is, it seems most people would trade community for that dopamine rush of likes, follows and whoring themselves out for influencer fame. 

And corporate interests continue to gobble up slices of more authentic slices of average-Joe riders such as with Bonnier's ADVRally moving to the weekend we'd used for Ken Mooty Memorial Death Valley and now Revzilla's ADVFest in late April pre-empting what was our Mojave event (srsly, f them).  It's all quite depressing, lol.

I'd love to hear your feedback though.  What has been your favorite part of the forum?  Where would you like to see XLADV go next?

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On 1/21/2022 at 10:39 AM, Jason R said:

Will you be able to keep the XLADV.com domain? 

How about the database that has this forum?  

Are we able to just move the platform? I would be willing to host it.  I just dont know if this forum is a custom build or an off the shelf that I can install.  

Let's talk more offline.  I need to talk with our tech wiz and/or can have you join in.  My guess is we can port it over to another server and go from there but not sure of the details.  He says it's super easy and not expensive, aside from the review engine (not sure why).  Thx

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