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I have previously posted about trying to start a forum on my website without success despite some very good traffic numbers.

I believe the reason for the lack of forum posts, despite good traffic (100k visitors in a week), is because the forum on my site is "empty", looks "inactive", which brings me to my question

Background

I use a Facebook comment plugin on my site for comments on posts. Because of recent viral posts, which were on highly debatable / controversial subjects I now have 100s of QUALITY comments (great for forums). Comments on the Facebook comment plugin is embeded into an IFRAME so it does not get indexed.

My Question

  1. What if I were to export the comments from the Facebook plugin, and add them into my forum, in an attempt to get my forum looking active?(I will then obviously delete the facebook plugin)...
  2. I will get a freelancer to make "dummy accounts" and add each comment manually to the forum as a user post, can this be seen as spammy or unethical?
  3. Am I right in saying that facebook comments within an iframe does not get indexed so I don't have to worry about any duplicate content issues?
  4. Am I right when I say content / comments users leave on your site, belongs to the website owner...and not to the user who posted it? I just don't want to do anything unethical, which is one of my main concerns here.
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    I can tell you from experience that it is very difficult to get a forum started much for the reasons you stated. People do not participate on empty sites. Back in the day, when even forums were new, back when wheels were square and not triangle, I used to get a few friends together for a few months and we used several accounts each and posted some questions, answers, comments, etc. Pretty soon, we had users signing up and participating and after a few months we were on another forum site doing the same thing. Cheers!! – closetnoc Jun 18 '16 at 2:46
  • Thanks for comment...yeah well that is exactly the reason why I want to migrate all those comments to a forum, if I interpret your comment correctly, if I do migrate my comments and make it look like an active forum...it MIGHT succeed in getting users to participate, since it will look like a healthy active forum...? – Timothy Coetzee Jun 18 '16 at 2:52
  • Bingo! Also member the old marketing adage. Who is going to use a product you do not use yourself? Get some beers and some friends that cannot get a date with a dog and a steak and go at it! [humor] – closetnoc Jun 18 '16 at 2:55
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An active forum with good quality posts entice users to sign up for the forum. The initial phase of running a forum is tough as it technically lies empty. It creates a catch-22 situation where lack of users create a lack of content and vice versa.

You need to hire friends, freelancers to start posting on your forums on a regular basis to get the ball rolling. Adding content not only improves the credibility, but also leads to increased traffic and users. Several of these posts will appear in search engines for a lot of longtail keywords thereby bringing you targeted traffic.

It takes quite some time to simulate a buzz and entice user signups. Keep posting content on a regular basis and it will start attracting users eventually.

A word of caution though - do keep an eye out to make sure that no duplicate or plagiarized content is posted in your forums. It will eventually lead to other complications with Google (PANDA)

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