One of the only marketplace forums I visit nowadays.
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05-13-2012, 06:22 AM
Artashes, before I can answer that question, I need to know what kind of things you intend to allow on the marketplace.
In the most ideal case, this freelance forum would be bustling with freelancers selling their services, and for that you would probably want an escrow service.
Right now most of the freelancers are gone, and the people selling things are mostly just trying to sell unwanted stuff or work from an unfinished/canceled project. Both of those are fine, but when your marketplace consists of only those kinds of things (which appears to be the case now), then that's where you have a problem.
I've mentioned before that I have no clue how to get a freelance community going. For gaming communities, it's much easier because you don't necessarily need good content to attract people. For a freelance community, I figure you would need that sort of stuff. I would say that's where you need to start first, because it's hard for me to envision a marketplace without a community. In my mind, a community can create a marketplace but not the other way around (at least not easily). Hence, we need to be focusing our efforts on drawing freelancers here instead of encouraging them to dump their unwanted works for sale in the marketplace.
The first webdev/freelance community I joined was ClanTemplates, and that's because I was doing a lot of gaming at the time and wanted a cool template for my clan's site. ClanTemplates offered a lot of free templates for use, and the site was bustling with activity from web designers creating, getting critique, and selling designs to gamers looking to hook up with other gamers and create clans, play together, practice together, etc.
Basically I think we need to focus on community building. For example, a place where people can get critique from the community on their stuff (preferably something better than General Discussion) would be nice. In addition, you need some very good people here on staff, otherwise there's no critique that's going to happen. This means gathering some of the best designers that are already part of this community (the ones who can spot good and non-ideal design) and promote them to mod of the critique forum, or something else.
In terms of product development, the above would only be the execution. You would still need marketing to start generating traffic even if you have the staff and community-centric aspects in place. I honestly don't know enough about freelance forums (or even the freelance community in general) to give good advice on this. As I mentioned in another post, it's best to bring in an expert, see if you can combine forces with another forum that's also struggling, etc.
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