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  1. #1
    MichaelCorfman's Avatar
    MichaelCorfman is offline GPWA Executive Director
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    Lightbulb GPWA 4.0 - The Future This Spring!

    I'm pleased to announce that this spring the GPWA will be blasting off to the future with GPWA version 4.0!

    We are in the midst of making major changes that will benefit all our members and make this community an even better and more useful place. Scroll down to see an overview of some of the features planned for GPWA 4.0.

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    GPWA 4.0 Blasting Off!

    Next Generation Forum Software
    A major new version of vBulletin (the software we use to power the GPWA forums) was recently released. We have successfully installed this major upgrade in our test environment and will be rolling it out on the public GPWA website in the relatively near future. Information about the vision behind the new vBulletin Publishing Suite the GPWA will be using is available in the blog post by vBulletin titled Our Vision for vBulletin.. There are many new functions and features available in the new version of vBulletin, and our upgrade will consist of rolling out the new version and then making enhancements to the GPWA website taking advantage of new features provided.

    Integrated Search Engine
    We have a lot of content on the GPWA website, and there will be even more content in the future. Today we provide several disparate search facilities. One for the forum, one for portals and one for affiliate programs. And much of our content, such as news articles, is not searchable at all. We will be releasing a powerful integrated search facility that will search through all of the content on the GPWA website and return available information wherever it is located. And within the forums we will also be introducing the boolean search capabilities now available with vBulletin.

    New Webmaster Research Tools
    We're going to be making available to members a number of tools helpful to webmasters with a special focus on information helpful from an SEO perspective. And we will also integrate metrics from some of those tools directly into the information we provide to members about their websites.

    More Educational Resouces and Videos
    We are going to organize and structure the educational resources we have to be more accessible, and we're going to significantly expand the educational resources available on the GPWA website. Let me give a couple examples. There are many good articles in the GPWA Times magazine, but right now they are only available in the print version of the magazine or online in large pdf files of the whole magazine. That content will be pulled out by article and organized on the website by topic. And on another front, Casino City recently acquired the exclusive rights to the most complete and comprehensive set of articles available covering the history of online gaming (nearly 10,000 of them), and these archives will become available to GPWA members free of charge. Previously this content was available exclusively on a paid subscriber basis and involved a subscription fee of hundreds of dollars a year.

    Simplier and more sophisticated
    It has been nearly four years since the GPWA website was overhauled, and it is time for a complete state-of-the-art redesign. And the redesign won't just be to make it prettier. The site will be more sophisticated in ways that will make it easier to use. For example, we will recognize who you are, your geographic location, and your native language, and do a better job of presenting information tailored to you on that basis. And we'll do things like let you specify you want to go directly to the forums when you visit the site if that is your desire, and also let you control some aspects of the look and feel of the site (such as your color peference in the forum).

    Community Affiliate Program Ratings
    We are building a simple-to-use facility to enable webmasters to much more easily say what they think and see what fellow webmasters think of particular programs.

    Powerful Affiliate Program Matching System
    We have a good affiliate program matching tool hidden in the site and we're going to take it to the next level. The tool will be expanded, and become more sophisticated and elegant in the way it presents information.

    Exclusive Commission Deals and Promotions
    We are going to do a much better job of highlighting for members the special deals and promotions offered by sponsor affiliate programs to our members.

    We have a lot of work ahead (and more than just the things listed here). So spring will be a busy time for us as we roll out these features over the coming months. But come this summer, the GPWA will be a whole new place.

    Michael
    GPWA Executive Director, Casino City CEO, Friend to the Village Idiot

    Resources for Affiliates: iGamingDirectory.com, iGamingAffiliatePrograms.com, GamingMeets.com

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  3. #2
    Paolino's Avatar
    Paolino is offline Security/Membership Team
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    Sounds exciting news, I'm looking forward to see the new GPWA!
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    Paolo

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  4. #3
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    Sounds like a lot of major changes. Good luck with it, you've a busy few months ahead!!

  5. #4
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    Well, sounds pretty dam great to me.
    Congratulations GPWA

  6. #5
    penny-slot-machines is offline Private Member
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    Cool, looking forward to seeing what you have planned...

  7. #6
    kwblue's Avatar
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    You may want to take another look at vBulletin 4.0. There are a lot of angry big boards who lost their ranking after conversion. They are not moving very fast on fixing this either. Just a warning.

    AGD decided not to upgrade until 4.0 becomes stable and there are assurances that all the hard work is not lost.

  8. #7
    MichaelCorfman's Avatar
    MichaelCorfman is offline GPWA Executive Director
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwblue View Post
    You may want to take another look at vBulletin 4.0. There are a lot of angry big boards who lost their ranking after conversion. They are not moving very fast on fixing this either. Just a warning.

    AGD decided not to upgrade until 4.0 becomes stable and there are assurances that all the hard work is not lost.
    Yes, 4.0 has proven to be a tremendous amount of trouble. We do have it working satisfactory now in a test environment with a full conversion of a copy of our forum database, but it took substantially longer than we anticipated it would take to get to that point. I think your advise is absolutely correct for someone that does not have a very sophisticated technical team on hand and that is not willing to bang their head against the wall for quite a while before they get to the point where it can be properly deployed.

    Even still, we will not deploy it until we are satisfied it will work well for the GPWA and will not set us back from an SEO perspective, so if we do identify issues in those areas we will hold off until we are comfortable. We map all of our URLs and those mappings are intact so we are ok with respect to that part of SEO concerns, but we do still need to examine the html it produces to see if things are satisfactory from an SEO perspective on that front.

    But for us the bottom line is that there are enough positive changes in the new version, and enough code we are building on top of the new version, that we are very deliberately putting in a significant effort based on our objective of early deployment of 4.0. For many sites that would be the wrong approach.

    Michael
    GPWA Executive Director, Casino City CEO, Friend to the Village Idiot

    Resources for Affiliates: iGamingDirectory.com, iGamingAffiliatePrograms.com, GamingMeets.com

  9. #8
    kwblue's Avatar
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    Just making you aware that the big boards in question probably have significantly more resources than GPWA and this caused huge issues despite their URL mapping

    It's well documented. Just be careful... very careful. It might appear to be fine, as it did in other's cases - but when live and spidered, it was a problem child.

  10. #9
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    Geez Michael, I only asked for a color change?

    LMAOOOOOOOOO

    I guess you ask for one minor improvement, and this team takes it to the extreme!

    LOLLLLLLLLLL

    Can't wait to see!

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  11. #10
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    Arrow

    vBulletin 4 is much faster and more powerfull, I am looking forward to it.

  12. #11
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    I upgraded my Politics Forum to version 4 whilst it was still in Beta. I quickly rolled back to 3.8x from the backups.

    A unmitigated nightmare.

    I am have paid for the upgrades for both my forums, but like AGD am going to wait until it is much more stable and any and all issues have been resolved before taking the plunge.
    Exit stage left

  13. #12
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    Looking forward to the changes

    Be nice if the changes were not cosmetic though and had some real substance, like better moderation and weeding out the disruptive influences.
    Arthritis Care

    To find true bravery and courage all one need do is look in to the eyes of a sick child - A humble parent

  14. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwblue View Post
    the big boards in question probably have significantly more resources than GPWA and this caused huge issues despite their URL mapping
    If possible could you please provide a few links to where people are discussing these problems? My initial thought it that it's actually not a problem with VB but in fact with Google's algorithm not yet understanding the new VB code structure so it's not properly separating actual content from forum code, thereby diluting the SEO value of the content. Once Google updates it's algorithm (as it will naturally do now that there are more and more VB 4 forums becoming live) then it will properly understand the separation between code and content, and SEO value should then be exactly the same as before (so long as URL mapping has taken place too of course). It's natural for people to blame the VB code when their ranks drop but really it's Google that will need to make the necessary changes to understand the content better. Unless there's some other issue that I'm not aware of, so please feel free to link to discussion on this.

  15. #14
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    Can you provide some more details and links on your forums special features.. i would be happy to visit and go through it myself
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