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View Full Version : Change is coming... need your help!



drfrightner
01-01-2009, 03:59 PM
Change is coming to Hauntworld.com

First this forum is undergoing some changes mostly security ones. I have gone through the membership and had to delete over 1,000 members from the site because of spam. So now we're down to the people who are really members about 4,200 worth.

New features are going to be added to the forums over the next few weeks.

Anyway we are going to change the site itself... can you think of things that need to be changed?

Tell me!

For one I can tell you that we are going to change the haunt directory so there will no longer be simple one row one long row. There will now be two rows going down so people can find info faster. Featured banners will now tell our guests what state and city you are located in and have a link to your featured profile.

We also plan to add GOOGLE map to your featured profiles so people can find you better. We will also add our new survey program to the front page of Hauntworld and create a survey page. So we can start to develope surveys for the industry.

There are many changes coming... tell us what you think we need to add.

We are working on everything now.

We are also working on a HHA ONLY haunt directory. That is in the works.

So lets hear what you think.

Larry

JamBam
01-01-2009, 04:51 PM
Larry,

On the feature that will google map the users, can that feature be used on the banners and listings?? I like the city and state idea for listings and banners. Too many times it is confusing.

Thanks

Brett

dusty588
01-01-2009, 04:55 PM
One of the things that "worked" when I first joined, was the Haunt Classifieds. I don't know, if this is feature is "done" now, or has just been down for a long time. Regardless, everything else on the site is great!

Dustyn
________
universal health warehouse (http://uhwh.com)

Nightgore
01-01-2009, 06:52 PM
As per haunt banners and featured listings... State haunts need to be ABOVE out-of-state haunts... NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY PAID!!!!

We are really considering advertising our haunt on HW.com this year... but one major beef my partner has is seeing other (out of state) haunts on the KY page!

I've always thought that one cool thing would be like a totally editable HTML pages, just like Myspace! Haunt owners could edit the entire page:

-Background
-Colors
-Text
-Graphics
-Audio/Video
-Links
-etc. etc.

Also, NO ADS on actual haunt pages. -Tyler

Haunted Illinois
01-01-2009, 08:01 PM
As per haunt banners and featured listings... State haunts need to be ABOVE out-of-state haunts... NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY PAID!!!!

Actually, a better idea would be not to allow someone to have a featured banner for a state unless their event resides within that state. Ex: currently, 6 out of the 9 featured haunts banners on the Illinois page are for haunts outside of Illinois. How ridiculous!!! Allowing any event to advertise in any state does the following:

1) Prevents haunts from the state in question to advertise, because out-of-state haunts already occupy those spaces.
2) It confuses potential patrons. People looking for haunted houses will naturally assume that all featured events in that state’s listings are from that state. Imagine how disappointing it would be for a patron to look in their state’s listings, only to find that less than half of the featured events are actually from their home state.

It seems to me that the impetus behind not implementing geographical restrictions is a direct result of the need to maximize filled ad space, making as much profit as possible off of advertising, regardless of how it affects haunted attractions from various states that would like to better promote their events. I guess maximizing profit margin is the only important thing, these days. How sad.

N2SPOOKINU
01-01-2009, 08:30 PM
I like the idea of putting the part of the state they are located in. I was planning an out of state haunt tour for the 09 season but I have to check the haunt site and then find out where their location is in the state and then go back and make plans where if it was mentioned on the banners it would be easier to plan what haunts you would be able to go to.

Terrorknight
01-01-2009, 09:08 PM
I agree fully with out of state haunts not being able to be a featured haunt in a different state. This makes no sense , Featured Haunts should be reserved for the haunts in that state only, thats what makes them featured haunts for that state ( there in that state ) . Haunts in boarding states can be listed in the regular listing for other states. This drives me crazy and has for years, the fact that the only reason these sites do it is for the ad $'s. It's kinda like saying hey I have the best car dealership in NJ , but it's located in Pa. IT MAKES NO SENSE, STOP SELLING OUT. And sense I'm on my soap box, As haunt owners can we all stop saying we are the best or #1 haunt on the planet. We all can't be the best it's like we don't have to work hard at it anymore , we can just lie about it. I can't tell you how many #1 best haunted hayrides are around me , if you don't have a name of a real News outlet or organization that give you that title then don't say you are. We are getting as bad as radio stations , everyone of them will sit down in front of you and tell you they are the #1 station for your demo, all that does is make you not trust them, and I think it does them same to us. Just my 2 cents.

shawnc
01-02-2009, 12:54 AM
I think allowing some some haunts to advertise in other states makes perfect sense. I can't see how anyone says it makes no sense, even if those haunts will be competing with you. You might not like it, but it does make sense.

People will generally go to the haunts that are closest to them unless they are making a special trip for something else. There are probably many haunts in neighboring states that are closer than some of those in their own states. The same is as true in a huge state like California (where I am) as some of the smaller states in the northeast, because they are clustered closer together.

There should be a mileage/distance requirement for ads if anything. Haunts in neighboring states would have to defer to closer haunts in the actual state. In my case, it wouldn't make sense for a haunt in San Francisco to have priority over one in Phoenix, AZ because Phoenix is much closer, albeit in another state. But Los Angeles is closer than Phoenix so haunts there would have priority. Adapt my examples to your own area.

Sorry for continuing to lead the thread off-topic.

Nightgore
01-02-2009, 03:09 AM
I'm saying that they CAN be there... just not have a banner at the top! Let the haunts in that state have featured banners BEFORE ANY OTHER HAUNT gets to be put up there. I agree with the milage/distance idea... maybe only allow haunts to put listings on neighboring states ONLY... so, for like in Kentucky we could put listings in Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illonios (sp?), Virginia.... AND THAT'S IT!!!!! At the same time, we could ONLY put a featured banner ONLY IN KENTUCKY!!!

-Tyler

PS: I know this is about making money and not really catering to the haunts... but maybe a change like this is worth upping the price of a featured banner!

Darkangel
01-02-2009, 07:34 AM
Good point. Another big national directory guarantees the top three featured spots to that state, if they dont sell any or all those top three spots, then a neighboring state's haunt can buy them. The state's haunt themselves always go higher than the neighboring state, so if you bought a spot and you had the second listing in Ohio but you live Pennsylvania, and someone who runs a haunt in Ohio buys a banner, you will get moved down a spot in place of the actual states' haunt. Hope tha made sense...


Darkangel

SomeThingInTheIce
01-02-2009, 11:18 AM
Thats just silly, what about haunts that are near the boarder? What about people who travel, like heading to Florida for HHN's and will hit haunts along the way? As for maximizing ad space, what a way to run a business, taking money for services. I am not trying to start anything here but you can't just not sell a space because their not from the state because what if no one from that state buys it? Then you will just lose money and the haunts that were going to buy but were not allowed could lose customers. These slots are put up for sale every year, if haunts want them then buy them. I'm in Florida and there are haunts from three states in there, why because it must be bring customers to those haunts.

Actually, a better idea would be not to allow someone to have a featured banner for a state unless their event resides within that state. Ex: currently, 6 out of the 9 featured haunts banners on the Illinois page are for haunts outside of Illinois. How ridiculous!!! Allowing any event to advertise in any state does the following:

1) Prevents haunts from the state in question to advertise, because out-of-state haunts already occupy those spaces.
2) It confuses potential patrons. People looking for haunted houses will naturally assume that all featured events in that state’s listings are from that state. Imagine how disappointing it would be for a patron to look in their state’s listings, only to find that less than half of the featured events are actually from their home state.

It seems to me that the impetus behind not implementing geographical restrictions is a direct result of the need to maximize filled ad space, making as much profit as possible off of advertising, regardless of how it affects haunted attractions from various states that would like to better promote their events. I guess maximizing profit margin is the only important thing, these days. How sad.

JamBam
01-02-2009, 09:18 PM
The Hauntworld listing site is one of the best. Larry is always tweeking it. There are more things offered than we use. This thread will hopefully give feedback that will make it better.

The out of state banner ads can be handled several ways. The google mapping that I mentioned in an earlier post would be one way to help people looking for a haunt to see where they are on a map. If a haunt such as Darkness in St Louis was restricted to Missouri, it would only be marketing to half it's potential customers. A haunt in Cinncinatti restricted to Ohio would lose the Indiana and Kentucky markets. We are in NE Indiana. We draw some customers from Ohio and Michigan, so those state banners may be of interest to us. Maybe in the future the banners would show up based on proximity to the viewer. Then a haunt on the opposite of a state would show up further down the banner list. Also, marketing data for the searches could be gleaned form that.

What the hauntworld site does let a veiwer do now is put in a zip code and request haunts in set mile radius ranges. It only works for the state specified instead all in the zip radius. I tried it for Michigan and Ohio and Indiana. Three searches. All in one would be nice. If the state that must be specified requirement was removed and a map added, it would improve the search.

Boni
01-03-2009, 07:55 AM
How about a little line between each ad that says "Huntington, IN" or "St. Louis, MO" so that a potential customer can see if the haunt advertised is actually within a reasonable distance.

THIN Ice - Maybe no one from that state advertises on the page because they know their in-state ad will be the 5th one down below 4 out of state haunts. Especially to someone like myself with limited ad budget, I want bang for my buck, being the 8th or 9th Indiana haunt listed will not generate the bang I need.

Its kind of a vicious circle. No in-state haunts buy banners, so sell to out of state haunts, now because of all the out of state, no in state haunts buy banners, so sell to more out of state.

Mike Goff
01-03-2009, 08:14 AM
With any advertising vehicle, there will always be a tug of war between content and advertising. This is nothing new. If Larry can make more money selling adspace to out of state sites, good for him, but I agree that it makes navigating through the list of haunts confusing, and probably causes prospective haunt goers to give up thier search on occasion. In my opinion the site would benefit from some sort of clarification as to which sites are not from that state. I would even be willing to pay a higher rate for a banner on such a site.
I like the idea of a Hauntworld coupon, so that we can track the listings effectiveness.

Terrorknight
01-03-2009, 01:00 PM
Shawnc... If you read all of what I said, you would notice that I didn't say a haunt from a neighboring state should not be allowed to buy ad space in a different state. I did say that they should not be allowed to buy a spot as a FEATURED HAUNT in a different state, you are not a featured haunt from that state if your haunt is not in it. The math seems easy to understand. I do understand the distance point, but I feel that should be handled in the reg list area for the state. And your right , I'm in the northeast and my haunts in PA. and I don't think I should be able to buy those featured haunt spots for the states around me. And our haunt is as close to NJ as you can get without being in the water, and I still think I shouldn't, because I'm not in the state. This might seem small and petty but it is just a piece of a bigger picture. Legitimacy

SomeThingInTheIce
01-03-2009, 06:10 PM
Boni, no need to call me THIN ice, thats reserved for ceaser.lol. My point is, this is business. If eight or nine is not the bang you need then buy the first one. I don't because my haunt is not at that level yet, right now it is a balancing act on the website advertising and making the haunt better, but when I can get this thing off the ground I damn sure will be. I am sure if people want that first slot the price will go up, it's called supply and demand. Also who are we to tell someone else that to be fair you should not sell something to some one that will buy it because it will hurt me. Buck up and go after that comperition, it will only make you and your haunt that much better.

RJ Productions
01-03-2009, 06:43 PM
Restricting banners to geographical areas area state lines is just stupid! I travel to Southern California, what do I see everywhere? Ads and billboards for Las Vegas! If I live in Southern Illinois do I want to see ads for haunts in Chicago (4-5 hours away) or ones in St. Louis (20 minutes away). If the ad purchaser wants to spend his advertising dollar in an ajoining state that's HIS business!

What I would prefer to have dealt with is the Haunt listings. There are sites that have haunts listed that have been out of business for years or have moved several times with the incorrect listings still posted. I have had customers come to me and complain because they found me listed on some site at a location from six years ago!! It was a site that just culled information, I did not sign up with them or provide any information, but I still had a pissed off customer! I explained it was not MY listing and they should go to Hauntworld!!

ALL Haunt listings should require a relisting EVERY year. Even if it is as simple as the haunt going to the site and clicking a "no change" choice. Then after a set date, any haunt that has NOT updated his listing is REMOVED, period!!! And I'm talking about no later than July. You can activate your listing than update it with times or locations later but at least we don't have out of business or out of date listings. I had a site that allowed me to email new information, but they never removed anything!!! I had 5 seperate listing of five different locations!!! How confusing is that!

Then Hauntworld can boast the only ACTURATE Haunt listing available.

Also make it easy for the Haunts to be able to correct listings. Some other sites will only allow you to send in corrections, then you wait for them to change it. If they get busy, I'm left with incorrection information!

Make it easy for the Haunts to stay current and remove ANYONE who does not update!

IT solves alot of problems for us and our patrons.

drfrightner
01-03-2009, 07:42 PM
Adam always brings this up and he's wrong totally wrong.

Tell Universal Studios to stop marketing Horror Nights nationwide. Tell Disney to stop marketing Disneyworld nationwide...don't they know we have a Six Flags here, don't they know Chiacgo has a Six Flags and the list goes on and on. Furthermore why don't you guys tells people to STOP traveling to see haunted houses, tell people they can't go across a state border to visit a haunted house.

Someone who does the hard work to develope a good haunt dersevse to find customers from everywhere they can find them. This whole idea just goes against everything that makes a free business market like America's good. This sounds to me like drug dealers saying 'hey this is my area stay out or get shot'. C'mon.

Secondly Adam is the one who has hurt his own site by not including haunts that people who live in Illinois would want to attend not the other way around. For example here in Southern Illinios is actully the ST LOUIS MARKET NOT really Illinois or Chicago for that matter but ST LOUIS. Almost ONE MILLION people live in Southern Illinois and share the same radio stations as those who live in the St. Louis side of Missouri, same tv stations, same newspaper, same everything. Most people living in Southern Illinios are CARDINAL FANS NOT CUB FANS.

The St. Louis media covers both Illinios teams and Missouri teams including High School, and College. This is just one of what I'm sure is tons of examples of this all over the country.

So why should a haunt but limited to marketing to one state, or why should Universal not be allowed to market nationwide or whatever.

Thirdly, SORRY TO SAY that MOST haunted house owners do NOT understand marketing, they don't have a clue how to really get after growing their business, or understand he idea of spending money to make money. I talked to a guy the other day who has google anylitics on his website and his $500.00 banner made him SEVENTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS IN DIRECT TICKET PURCHASES... he followed the person from Hauntworld to his ticket page and bought a ticket. This doesn't even include the amount of people who visited his website and maybe downloaded the directions and just came to the attraction. NO WAY of tracking that really... but you can't hide the $17,000.00 in tickets sold.

But I hear people telling me all the time 'we want to buy banners but we're trying to build the business first...'. YOU JUST LOSE ME THERE...THIS IS THE CHEAPEST MOST EFFECTIVE marketing you can buy and most haunters don't buy. HauntedHouse.com and Hauntworld.com should be bought by every single haunted house owner in the nation but they don't... why huh you don't want to know what I really think because I might offend some people but to put it PC... THEY DONT HAVE A CLUE.

That is about as PC as I can get on this subject.

On HauntedHouse.com last year I BOUGHT SEVEN STATES, and yeah it cost me about $2500 or something but it was WORTH EVERY PENNY! Some of you people ask me and others how we get all this business and we try to tell you but you don't listen or you don't take the advice.

MARKETING WORKS...especially when you can find TARGETED AUDIENCE FOR YOUR HAUNT. HH.com and HW.com should charge 5 times what they charge and it would still be worth every penny. Let me tell you its frustrating.

If I could get people to pay A LOT MORE I could invest more into finding you all more business. Its tough!

Now with that out of the way let me add the following...

WE ARE REDOING THE listing pages and under the banners it will show the city and the state so that will help the customer a bit more. We are going to make the listing pages better for the person finding the haunts. The whole listing pages will be doubled up so you will see two banners not one on the top row, and you will see two rows of listings not one so now the they won't be as long.

You'll see those are improvements I'm making on my own.

LASTLY... this thread wasn't started so people can start talking about this again...we're covered this groud a hundred times. If every haunt was buying banners we could talk about something like this but when there is only 200 or so haunts that really undersand marketing I have to sell the banners to those willing to pay for it...if I didn't we couldn't run this site anymore it cost too much.

So...getting back to the point I was asking what kinds of things can you see that you think needs some improvement or new features you'd like to see added not about me selling banners.

Larry

Nightgore
01-04-2009, 09:28 AM
Larry,

I don't think you can tell people how to market there haunts... also, comparing haunts and this industry to Disney, Universal and Six Flags is ridiculous... First, they have MAJOR THEME PARKS to back their events and their marketing... we don't have roller coasters! Also, for someone trying to help other haunts and wants this industry to grow... it sounds like you really don't care about other STATE haunts that want to advertise on it's own states page!

We had planned on nearly spending $2K with HW.com on advertising... but we've not seen info. from OTHER haunts (Raycliff Manor, Spookywoods, Frightworld, The Scarehouse) on how advertising on HW.com paid for itself or even sold ONE ticket... so, as of now, we will NOT be advertising on HW.com until we see some BETTER changes in both member services and advertising structure. We still think that state haunts should be ON TOP of any other haunt... first and foremost. THEN and only THEN can out-of-state haunts advertise in states... but only and always UNDER the local haunts! It's only a FAIR business practice! Or are we all really under that much compitition? If so, than this industry will NEVER really "help each other" and grow!

Am I mad or bitter at HW.com? Hell no, we just don't see a reason to advertise here given it's current state of practices! So maybe THAT'S what needs to change Larry! -Tyler

JamBam
01-04-2009, 10:27 AM
Larry,

You asked for improvements. The banners talk is there if you read it again. Discard the "only in my state backyard" stuff, though. Having the city and state listed will help.

Mandatory refreshing the whole listings idea makes sense. Drop haunts that do not refresh each year.

You are also right that many haunt owners ( and many other businesses) do not understand marketing. We only last year realized the potential of MYSPACE and facebook. Those communities are foreign to us old timers (you included Larry), but our customers' demographics live by them.

The internet has replaced newspapers in many ways. I know we cut our newspaper ads back drastically the last several years. We also bought a banner on hauntedhouse.com in 2007 & 2008. We bought a HW banner in 2008. Of course we will renew those. You are right in the idea that they are a great value.

I have tracked our web stats for the referring sites and know where our web traffic comes from. # 1 is direct inquiries due to our regular customers familiarity with us, other advertising, posters, and coupons. # 2 is HH.com, # 3 is HW.com, and # 4 is general search engines led by google. I also know that our website traffic equaled the other three big haunts in the area all combined for October. That is great stuff to show potential sponsors and partners.

p.s. We turned our myspace over to a 21 year old after realizing we were out of touch with that demographics. We do monitor it and log into it regularly, but leave it to her mostly. It is tough getting old sometimes, or maybe realizing it anyway!

drfrightner
01-04-2009, 03:12 PM
Tyler,

I'm not telling anyone how to do anything, and I'm not comparing haunts to Disney. I think you totally misunderstood. I'm saying Disney advertises a THEME PARK in St. Louis despite the fact that we have a Six Flags. Universal Horror Nights does nationwide marketing despite all the places they market have haunted houses, or even a THEME PARK haunted house.

They are examples good ones in fact to refute what some have said. Lets be honest there are haunted events that are BIGGER than Universal Horror Nights in terms of haunts but still it doesn't stop Univesal from marketing all over the place. If YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE THE VIEW that you aren't as good as so Horror Nights, then get out of the business QUICK!

I feel I'm better than them in many ways, and I know there are SEVERAL haunts better than them and I will stay with that to the grave. Not only that I feel ANYONE can do better than Horror Nights and your goal should be to know you are are will be or have somthing to shoot for. If your goal isn't to be as good no make that BETTER THAN The Darkness, Netherworld, 13th Gate then what are you doing? You goal should be to be the best you can be, the best your staff can be and to one day acheive all of your goals, which should clearly be 'the best haunt in your city, your state, this country'.

No one is saying you will achieve but it has to be a goal so you push yourself to always find ways to get better.

As for marketing, all haunted houses should be buying these banners, and if you take that as telling haunts what to do whatever... but they should. Its targeted marketing that makes you money, and todays world you have to find new cheap ways to reach target audience due to Radio being chopped pieces. Hauntworld.com and HauntedHouse.com are two of your best ways to MAKE MONEY FOR YOUR ATTRACTION... period!

Lastly, I didn't consider complaining about me letting haunts in other states buy banners in states they don't live as improvements to the site.

I was looking for something different but okay.

I have to take marketing dollars from those who want to spend it again otherwise I can't afford this site.

Larry

Boni
01-04-2009, 09:57 PM
Larry, I think there is confusion on the state listing. The title of that directory says "Find by State" So a consumer would assume that they are only going to see that state's haunts. Then they open it up and find out it is a advertising media, not a directory.

Its not about limiting someone's ability to advertise, its about the listing by state being a list by state, right now it is not.

I fully understand the busness side of things and think that limiting advertising is not right, but clearly identify who is in that state and who is nearby.

Or change the "find by state" to something that informs the consumer that they will see regional haunts as well.

"Haunts in and around selected State" for instance, even though that sounds rather lame

drfrightner
01-05-2009, 01:07 AM
Yes you are correct. I'm going to fix that problem. If you didn't catch it I said we're going to make it so the banner shows he city and state under each banner. So then the people won't get confused.

Larry