P2P microfinance platform MYC4 has closed its discussion forum. Links to the forum have been removed from main navigation.
The official explanation on the blog says: “The forum was originally createdÂ to ignite a dialog amongÂ the investors.Â We havenâ€™t seen all that many sparks recently. Most of the posts on the forum in the last year have been either investors asking specific questions to MYC4Â or MYC4 communicating news to the investors. Not much dialog.
We decided to try something different, so we created a blog.
… You can still write questions to the Partners on the forum. But the other topics have been frozen. You can find all the old posts there, but you canâ€™t write any new ones.”
It seems weird to argue that a forum is replaced by a blog because a forum is not fit for dialog. My impression is that the MYC4 forum had 3 aspects which can have caused the removal:
- Lenders pinpointed things that were not working properly on MYC4 (e.g. default levels, certain processes, provider quality). They kept track on the results following up earlier announcements of MYC4 on measures taken.
- In many cases answers by MYC4 did not satisfy the persons asking. This negative customer experience became publicly visible through the forums, possibly deterring new lenders.
- Possibly answering questions in the forums tied up to much staff time (but I would expect that the same questions are now send via email, therefore closing the forums does not change this issue)
So I do feel that MYC4, a company that at it’s launch trumpeted utmost transparency goals, chickened out. They no longer want to discuss and face customer demands and criticism in public, but rather elected to replace it with a blog, which is much more a one-way-communication channel.
Everyone is invited to continue the discussion on the MYC4 forum here on Wiseclerk.com.
MYC4 is somewhat following an infamous example of Prosper.com, which first tried to control negative posts by “moderating” them, but later in November 2007 deleted the complete forum posts on it’s site, a step that sparked resentment by users.
Last year I published a list of p2p lending forums. Of the larger p2p lending players only Zopa and Smava maintain official forums onsite. On the Zopa forum Zopa employees and management frequently participate – the main work is done by volunteer moderators though. Smava very rarely communicates in it’s forum, most of the discussion there is done between lenders without Smava commenting.
Several of the p2p lending services launched in the last year have a forum. It will be interesting to see how these develop and how the companies react should the mood of comments turn.
My advice to p2p lending startups is to see forums as a chance. Forums offer customer feedback that can be used to improve the product. By reacting on customer wishes customer loyalty can be increased. Users of a forum crowdsource ideas for product development. Furthermore an active forum offers much better help than an FAQ or help section could ever offer. And since most ‘newbie’ questions are answered by the community it reduces work load on support staff.
4 thoughts on “MYC4 Chickens Out – Closes Forum”
Its awfully shortsighted of Zopa to replace their forum with a blog and decide to freeze certain topics. In this world of twitter and facebook, Mads (myc4 Founder) needs to realise that the investors and borrowers on his platform will find another way to let their voices be heard, and it won’t be pretty!
I don’t agree with your assertion the forum was so critical of MYC4. That may have been the case a year ago. We deserved some criticism back then. And if we were going to ‘chicken out’ as you put it, that would have been the time to do so. With a few exceptions, I find the feedback to be balanced in the last few months.
I agree with your advice that a forum can be a way to get input to improve the product and a place where investors can help each other, thereby reducing the load on our support team. But I think if you look back through the forum for the last 6 months, you will see that not much of that was happening. So it’s time to try something new.
Note that we haven’t gotten rid of the old forum posts, so you can go back and read them (under About on the MYC4 site).
Deputy CEO, MYC4
Thanks for posting a link to this blog on ZOPA, “wiseclerk”. I suspect the moderators will remove your link before long.
As you know there is a discussion on censorship on ZOPA forum and recently I was banned from the forum by the moderators. I have been banned before but this time they have also banned me from emailing other users on the forum (or even the moderators).
The discussion points out that I don’t seem to have done anything so bad as to warrant the ban so the suspicion is that there have been private insults exchanged between the mods and myself.
There were none.
All the communications recently have been via the forum. A few weeks back I did suggest a moderator “elljay” should relax a bit in a private reply but no more than that. Another poster SL75 on zopa has posted that I “argued the toss” with the moderator without actually posting the exchange.
The real reason I think I have been banned is that I have made no secret of the fact that I no longer lend on ZOPA because the rates are too low. I have been steadily withdrawing money. I have posted a number of alternative investments on the ZOPA forum including RPI linked accounts, community investment trusts, gold, fixed term bonds and recently mentioned the better rates on Ratesetter, a rival P2P platform.
I can see the commercial interests of ZOPA would take precedence over the freedom of expression of a maverick poster and I fully believe the “independent” moderator was instructed by ZOPA management to get rid of me at the earliest opportunity and not allow me to communicate my side of the story to anyone who might have thought I had been treated unfairly.
Fatbloke, I approved your comment, but wanted to add a notice that this comment is not directly related to the above blogpost, but rather continues disccussion from here.
If you do want to continue then opening a thread in this forum
would be fitting (provided there are other Zopa users wanting to discuss this further).
Comments are closed.