Brett from Niche Laboratory here. Just to let you all know that there's a new feature on the site that allows you to discover some fabulous niches.
But first some backstory. Back in 2013 I started FindAForum.net as a directory of internet discussion boards. I built the site, then populated it with over 1300 forums in various niches.
Fast forward to today, and some of the original forums have closed down, or the sites are not very reliable. In fact around 8% of the original forums have now got some sort of issue.
Many forum owners are amateurs who are just interested in their niche - they're NOT programmers or PHP gurus. Neither do they have time to deal with spammers, scammers and trolls. Sometimes they'll just give up on the forum, not realising that it might actually be quite a valuable asset.
Why is this a gold mine?
Because over 95% of the forums on FindAForum are (or were) successful forums in great niches! I purposefully only added big forums to the directory, because I didn't want the hassle of constantly updating the index. I thought bigger forums might stand the test of time. Actually even the smallest forums listed on the site are in good niches, but the owners must have not managed to have the staying power to make their forums popular.
I've opened up this data to everybody, so first come first served. If you do manage to re-establish a previously popular forum then please let us know!
There are plenty of expired domains available in the list. A good starting point is to look for the forums with red empty battery icons. But if the original domain isn't available then just find a similar one! In fact I did this with findaforum.net. I actually started the site to replace big-board.com, which used to be popular but was no longer available back in 2013.
How do you get an old forum going again? Try and see if you can contact the previous top posters. Or if you're knowledgeable about a particular niche, then get your friends to post! My friend started a forum back in 2007 and he consistently makes over $1000 a month from the site. He basically just got his internet buddies to post on the site, and after a couple of years it took off and new users found the site from internet searches and other means.
Remember that you can offer inducements to grow a forum. I helped my friend because I could post links to my own site in my .sig! In fact his site helped establish a number of my own sites.
So how do you find all the broken/malfunctioning forums? Simple - just go to the secret list of broken forums and there's a table of all the FindAForum forums that appear broken or the domains have expired (free registration required to see the complete list).
I've just updated the list of broken or closed down forums so go and check it out. Yesterday I enhanced the list so it shows you some Moz data about the site's MozRank and number of backlinks it has.
There are a couple of juicy domains that have expired. One is in the cats niche.
A couple of sites in the Shanghai expat niche have also closed down so there might be good opportunities in this niche. Expats often set up a site when they're living overseas, then abandon the site when they move somewhere else.
One person's neglected site is another person's opportunity...
More threads for you to read and post comments on.
Building a product-based website? The Product Laboratory will help find you brainstorm product ideas.