Date
20 August 2017
Joe Lam of HKGolden Forum says online platforms should diversify their channels to drive views and traffic, which can then be marketed to advertisers. Photo: Joe Lam's Facebook page
Joe Lam of HKGolden Forum says online platforms should diversify their channels to drive views and traffic, which can then be marketed to advertisers. Photo: Joe Lam's Facebook page

Diversity vital for success of online forums, expert says

The recent closure of pro-democracy website House News, whose founder pointed out — among other things — a mismatch in advertising income relative to the site’s influence, illustrates how important diversity is to online platforms, said Joe Lam, chief executive of HKGolden Forum, a prominent online discussions forum in Hong Kong.

House News and HK Golden had some things in common as both sites boasted a large number of discussions and carried coverage on political and social issues, Lam wrote in an article published in the Hong Kong Economic Journal Friday.

Yet, commercial clients may not be interested in those topics, focusing instead on whether the platforms will present a positive image of their products to potential consumers and spur sales, he wrote.

After all, there is still the perception that it is the elder generation that makes the decisions on what to buy and that it relies more on traditional media, he noted.

Bearing that in mind, websites should diversify their channels to drive views and data traffic and prove to clients that online media can actually be more productive in terms of attracting customers than traditional ones, Lam said.

As the younger generation gets older, they will soon be the ones who make the call on purchases. When that happens, the online media they grew up with will gain more heft in influencing consumption patterns.

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VW/JP/RC

Freelance journalist

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