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BitcoinTalk is an important tool for ICOs, better know how to use its opportunities. A complete guide includes information about ANN-posts, their handling, design, promotion and many other useful life hacks for the platform users.
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Cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) markets are ones of the fastest changing in the world. As soon as the ICO-phenomenon started to gather serious traction at the beginning of 2017, every noticeable cryptocurrency blogger and media mentioned BitcoinTalk as one of the key success components, often referring to it as a source of the most desirable and target audience for any ICO project out there.
All ICOs make announcement posts (ANN-posts) about themselves and majority of them launch their bounty campaigns on BitcoinTalk, while all trustworthy ICO listings require hyperlinks to ANN-posts when onboarding the projects. Thus, it can be said that at the moment, BitcoinTalk is a mandatory de-facto standard for any project doing or planning to do an Initial Coin Offering.
The following guide to BitcoinTalk is based on thorough research on the subject, available information gathered and practical experience. An exclusive collection of knowledge was tested along the story of a startup, which launched its ANN and bounty campaign posts on BitcoinTalk on Monday, Oct. 2. For the full first two weeks of the ICO campaign, no other user acquisition activities were made besides BitcoinTalk in order to receive a full understanding of how the platform worked and how it could help grow the project.
Modern BitcoinTalk is the largest and one of the oldest message boards dedicated to Blockchain and cryptocurrencies on the Internet. It was founded by Satoshi Nakamoto on November 22, 2009, and is a direct successor to his first SourceForge forum, which is now lost.
Initially, BitcoinTalk was a forum where people interested in technical details and everything connected to Bitcoin software could communicate with each other. Now it hosts a lot of different sections covering all the major areas of cryptocurrency world, including one made specifically for ICOs. Thanks to its huge user base (more than 464,000 community members) BitcoinTalk soon became a valuable traffic source for everything connected to cryptocurrency.
ANN-post and everything connected with it
In order to be able to publish announcements and bounty posts, you need to have an account on the forum, but if you plan to do a beautiful “branded” post with images, your account should be at least in a rank of Jr. Member, which means having at least 30 activity points. In order to get that, you need to participate in forum’s life – communicate with other people in various forum threads.
BitcoinTalk assigns points using the following scheme:
One publication or comment = one activity point, but as soon as you reach 14 points, your score stops growing for the current two-week period. Despite this fact, your activity is being tracked and your points are being registered, but not assigned to your account at the moment.
At the beginning of the following two-week period, the process starts again – your activity points continue to grow (even if you didn’t do anything during this new period, your previously registered activity points are now being assigned) until you reach next +14 points. This way, in order to gather the aforementioned 30 points you need to actively communicate on the forum for at least four weeks and two days. You need to keep this in mind if you plan to launch your announcement post by a certain date.
You also need to note that your account might get banned along the way if you do a lot of off-topic posts and change your geo-IP often and inconsistently, so we suggest you start with at least five accounts that you plan to bring to Jr. Member rank. We had four, three of them got banned.
Besides the in-house leveling up of BitcoinTalk accounts, there are two possible solutions to this situation:
– change or regular Geo-IP
– a complaint that accounts that you just bought was stolen
– because some of the forum dwellers are inspecting users who actively communicate in the threads they are interested in, with the goal of finding high ranking accounts with unnatural behavioral patterns (e.g., account was inactive for three months and then started to positively comment in your thread only) in order to report them for unfair thread pumping.
Usually, bans on BitcoinTalk are temporary, but receiving one may hinder your campaign a lot.
In order to minimize the risks, we advise you create your own accounts and grow them till Jr. Member rank. You should start doing so at least one month and two days before your planned ANN-post release date.
Here you can find the complete list of features and restrictions applicable to each account rank.
In case you still want to risk and buy an account, we’ve studied the matter for you. Here are the prices you can encounter on the forums in late November – mid-December*:
* Note: prices vary a lot, they depend on the vendor and account history, not solely on account rank, but given numbers do provide an actual understanding of the current market state.
When buying an account on BitcoinTalk, it is strongly advised to use an escrow service. Escrows are experienced and respected high ranking forum members that act as the third party in your arrangement and guarantee that your deal will be concluded without fraud. Below you can find a list of BitcoinTalk members that could be contacted on the matter of providing escrow services. The list is descending – the man with the highest trust rating is displayed above. The structure is as follows: nickname, commission escrow takes from the deal, minimum reward sum escrow receives in any case*:
* openly available numbers, you can try to lower them by contacting any of the mentioned users in personal messages.
It’s a well-known fact that beautiful imagery sells better than naked text, it engages the user and holds his attention, it can bring additional value and help to favorably position your product against the competition.
On BitcoinTalk you can create both simple and discreet posts, as well as rich and beautiful publications full of images, but there are many nuances that you should know before deciding which type of ANN-post you should go for.
BitcoinTalk is not a mobile-friendly platform. There is no direct option to make an adaptive ANN/Bounty post design for mobile devices, but default layout is fluid, meaning that all your text and imagery will be scaled down to meet the current resolution requirements. You may take that into account when preparing your design and make the content of your images bigger than needed so that it would look better on mobile phones, but it’s totally up to you.
During the first two weeks after our initial launch, we didn’t do any advertising or bring additional traffic to our website, receiving only what BitcoinTalk has to offer and that what came organically. We saw that most of the traffic came from desktop (more than 85 percent), that's why we dare to conclude that trying to make your ANN-post “mobile-friendly” is an ineffective approach.
Another feature of BitcoinTalk’s fluid layout is that elements that are specifically positioned in a single row. For example, [img][/img][img][/img], when viewing on a mobile device, can break this row and create a second line, despite the fact that there is enough horizontal space for them in the initial row.
BitcoinTalk, as many other forums use BBcode to markup its content inside the publications. Implementation of BBcode is a rather standard one but restricted. We would even say old to be precise. Working with multilevel ordered and unordered lists, for example, is a more complicated process than it is on modern phpBB/IPB forum-boards.
Post should be marked up and tested in personal messages (My messages → New message). You should send your post layout to yourself or your other account so that no one would complain about you sending spam in personal messages.
Before sending your test message, you can look at its preview-version, which might show you how your post would look like once published, but unfortunately, it’s not completely true. In preview version of the post, CSS styles that are applied to pictures with hyperlinks are different from the ones applied in real post. This can trash your complex layout if you don’t know about it in advance. When a post is published, all pictures wrapped in links receive an additional margin-left: 4px (four transparent pixels are added from the left side of the picture), but you can’t see this effect in the Preview mode.
Here’s an example of this effect in ELIX’s ANN-post:
Now that you know this nuance, all iterations of your post layout should be sent to you in personal messages and afterwards examined in My messages →
Inbox (sent messages do count as published posts and BitcoinTalk uses same CSS styles on them).
During this step, additional nuances that slow down your working speed appear. If you mark up and test your post layout with a freshly registered user, then each time you press Preview or Send Message, you’ll need to enter a captcha (fortunately, it doesn’t change for a few hours, so you would be able to remember it by heart). For new users (<16 activity points) these personal message sending restrictions apply:
Based on this information, we once again strongly advice to create several accounts on BitcoinTalk and in case of encountering this limits, start doing the same thing, but from different account.
Nota bene: Unfortunately, recently BitcoinTalk forced same image-posting policies to personal messages that it uses in publications. This means that if your account rank is lower than Jr. Member, you can publish only text (image tags will be converted into hyperlinks), even in private messages.
In order to simplify the ANN-post markup process (i.e,. not to make everything from scratch), you can take any post markup as a basis. It’s very easy to do, but generally, people who don’t work with forums don’t know about it.
Let’s say you like the UTRUST post. In order to see its BBcode markup, you need to log in to BitcoinTalk and press the quote button:
As soon as you do that, window with reply comment will appear, where in the body of the text message a BBcode of UTRUST’s ANN-post will be “quoted.” Everything you need is located inside the tags [quote] and [/quote]. Just copy this code and continue to work with it locally:
BitcoinTalk doesn’t host your images, i.e., you can’t upload pictures to their servers when designing a post, like you can on Medium. You can refer to an image that is already uploaded to a server, preferably your own (with the same domain name as your website), using a hyperlink. If you don’t have a personal dedicated server where you store images, or for some reason, you don’t want to do so, you can use image hosting services such as:
This is where another nuance appears – BitcoinTalk Image Proxy. Theoretically, it was designed to block the loading of the images that exceed 2.5 megabytes in size, but in practice, it periodically blocks the rendering of images from different hostings for no apparent reason, showing you the following message: “bitcointalk.org image proxy: invalid image.”
The main problem here is that your ANN-post images can trigger Image Proxy not when they are rendered for the first time, but three days after the publication, making your post look broken (this is exactly what happened to us).
It is advised to upload your complete image set to different hosting services from the very beginning and prepare several BBCode copies of your post with different image links. In case you encounter this Image Proxy behavior, you will be ready to react to this situation by editing the post and instantly changing all broken images to new, working ones – this way you will minimize your reputation risks. In our tests, we found out that it is safer to use Imgur hosting services. This is probably so because Imgur is most popular image hosting service right now and a lot of companies host their ANN and Bounty post images there, so hindering it with Image Proxy is disadvantageous for the forum in whole.
Another thing to note: you can encounter a situation where you open your published post (or sent personal message) and find some images not being rendered at all. This is a standard situation – no need to worry, just refresh the page a few times. This happens a lot and most of the BitcoinTalk commoners know about it, so they will easily refresh your page if needed.
All beautiful, selling ANN-posts are made of images – some projects use small amounts of pictures, but very large ones, while others use a lot of small images. Because all images are examined by BitcoinTalk Image Proxy, their loading speed isn’t something to be desired. The general rule of thumb here is that the lesser the size of your images, the faster they load and less Image Proxy related problems are encountered.
In order to decrease your image size – they should be optimised, preferably using lossless algorithms.
These services can help you to achieve this goal:
For anyone who wishes to dive deep into this topic, we advise to take a look at these materials:
Do you really need to bother, how effective this can be? Let’s compare ANN post of our project – Forty Seven Bank and ANN post of Tokenbox. Our image canvas is a lot longer than one of Tokenbox. We have more graphical content.
Forty Seven: 38 images, total file size – 824 kilobytes;
Tokenbox: 8 images, total file size – 2.26 megabytes.
The difference is 2.74 times.
In terms of markup specifics, all posts can be divided into four distinct types. Each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages.
Example – Ethereum Blue.
Term simple graphical post implies a canvas that almost fully consists of few or even one single image, which is created using some kind of graphical tool. This type of post is laid out using a rule “one image per row.”
Example – UTRUST.
Complex graphical ANN post is a post that is sliced and marked up in such a way that all images NOT covered in links have additional four transparent/background color pixels from the left side and all images that ARE covered in links do not. This type of post can have several image-links placed in one row (e.g., you can have image-links of your documents placed in one horizontal line).
Examples: Forty Seven Bank, eGold
Hybrid post in a topic that uses a combination of images and richly formatted text.
Examples: Sintez, BPC, Tokenbox.
Most of the people who’ll participate in your translation bounty campaign are professional bounty hunters, whose goal is to deliver their work as fast as possible and receive their promised steaks (bounty campaign points). They don’t care much about the visual quality of their work if it slows them down. For example, you’ve launched your graphical ANN and bounty posts on the first day of the month but were able to prepare properly sliced Photoshop files with graphical content only on the second day. Most of the bounty hunters, in this case, would already have started translating your posts on day one. Because they didn’t have the Photoshop source files available to them on day one, they would work with what is – raster images from your posts. They will be able to change the texts in your images, but the quality of such alterations will be questionable, resulting in localized posts looking worse than original ones. These situations can be solved later on, but it requires time, which is of essence during the ICO campaign and that’s why it is utterly important to have all your properly sliced Photoshop files ready on day one.
Most of the bounty hunters are familiar with image editors and have them installed on their machines. Mostly the ones from Adobe, but often the versions of programs they use are very outdated (Adobe Photoshop CS2-3, Adobe Fireworks CS5-6), that’s why when preparing the sliced Photoshop files, we suggest you merge as many layers as possible, leaving only the text editable. We also suggest not to use new Adobe CC features such as double or triple gradient layer effects, artboards, etc. The simpler your file is, the more predictable result you get from a bounty hunter.
It’s not a commonly known fact, but it is possible to place a whole email template, with recipient address, subject, and body text set in advance in a regular “mailto:” link. It is very convenient for a person who decided to write you an email – it will save him a lot of time if he encounters such link. Here’s an example that offers a visitor to become project’s advisor. These type of links also work In terms of BitcoinTalk, but you have to place them using [email][/email] tag, not the [url][/url]. You can also wrap images in [email] tags the same way you do it with [url].
Posts on BitcoinTalk cannot be infinitely long, they have a character limit set, but if you encounter it, forum will just show you an error about you having an improperly closed tag somewhere in your post, i.e., will misinform you. Officially the characters limit for one post is 64,000 symbols, but in some cases this limit fired at 63,000+ characters, while others reported they were able to publish posts with 65,535 and 68,575 characters in length respectively. Besides that, this restriction is a floating one. It varies from one forum section to another. In Tokens (altcoins) and Bounties (altcoins) it is approximately the same as mentioned above, but in Russian localized section, for example, the allowed character amount was two times smaller.
You’ll probably won’t encounter this limit while publishing your ANN post, but it will come in handy when doing a bounty post.
Based on the experience of launching our own ANN and bounty posts and making a lot of changes to them, the conclusion would be that it’s better to do hybrid ANN posts, because:
It is better not to use image-links for ANN posts in different languages, but rather to make them text ones, otherwise it could create a lot of additional work for the creator as well as for the bounty campaign participants.
It looks beautiful, but because there are around 16-20 main languages that your ANN post will be translated to, you and your bounty hunters will have to create these 16-20 images for each language, resulting in around 256-400 images. It’s just not worth it.
Before you publish your ANN post, there are several things you should know.
Each day dozens of new ANN posts appear on BitcoinTalk and dozens of “old” ones ascend to top positions of the section because of the active discussions happening in them. Tokens (altcoins) section is somewhat similar to very dynamic Featured section of some kind of popular App Store – all market participants want to get their place under the sun, because it provides visibility to the project, which in return gives free traffic.
It would be discussed later - how to get to the top of the section, but right now we will speak about how to get noticed when you’re already on the top. All headings in the section are made of text and mostly all of them have blocks in brackets, such as [ANN][ICO]. In order to better distinguish your post you can use ASCII symbols and emojis – you won’t get banned for this:
Using these symbols, you can better draw attention to your post and easier onboard new visitors to your topic.
For example, instead of using normal square brackets [EXAMPLE], you can use these symbols【EXAMPLE】that by default have thicker lines to them and are better drawing attention. If to wrap this example in emoji, then your heading will distinct even better, for instance 🚀【EXAMPLE】🚀.That’s it, but it is important not to overdo it.
The most often encountered emojis on BitcoinTalk are:
Tokens (altcoins) section is always monitored by bounty hunters, especially by translators. As soon as they see new post appear, they jump into it and instantaneously leave a reply message with text stating something similar to “I reserve the Indonesian translation.” This is all good and well, despite the fact that it’s better to be able to reserve the first reply message for yourself – you can use it for thread updates or at least have an opportunity to divide your main post in two if it gets too big.
After the publication of your ANN post, the tab you’ve published it in usually loads slower than the entry appears in the altcoins section, so in order to reserve the first reply for yourself, you need to do:
If you’ve done everything fast enough, first post reply will be yours and you will be able to use it as intended (by editing its content). In case you weren’t able to make it (bounty hunters are very fast after all), you’ll have to use your main post’s footer to publish the updates.
In order to reduce the risk of losing your first reply message to bounty hunters, we advise to publish your ANN post when there are less people on the forum. BitcoinTalk is an international platform, meaning that there are always users online, but we definitely recommend avoiding publishing your post from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. EST.
There are many things you can do right after publishing your ANN post, depending on how well did you prepare for the guerilla community management, but there’s a minimum program you should do.
If you’ve made a high-quality attractive ANN post, you will start receiving your first comments about participation in bounty program, language translation reservations and general questions about your project within the first minutes. It is very important to respond to those comments promptly and in full while staying polite and positive. Keeping your FAQ close to increase your answer speed is generally a good idea. If you manage to respond to people’s questions while offering them a way to continue a conversation with you, you will get into victorious situation. Every time someone leaves a comment in your post, it jumps up to the top of Tokens (altcoins) section. There it receives visibility, that’s why the more discussion is happening in your post, the more popular it gets. You have to remember that BitcoinTalk moderators are working for a salary, not for free, so they do their job well – all off-topic posts and pointless comments are quickly deleted.
Even participating in topic discussions, you need to keep an eye on personal messages – a place where you’ll receive offers of paid help from different forum dwellers. Some of the offered services may be of use to you, but in any case, you should always be wary and check the reputation of users who are offering them.
During the first few hours after the publication of your ANN-post, we suggest you keep at least two people watching the thread and answering user comments and questions.
When launching local ANN posts in different languages, prepare that some people may be very salty and even poisonous. You still need to behave politely with them.
This is where this article comes to an end. Next one would be about specifics of bounty campaigns on BitcoinTalk. If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends. If you want us to clarify anything or propose a subject for another article, please leave us a message in the comment section below.
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