Last night, I gave you some general references about the type of problem you have. If you look into those ideas then I’m sure that you will find useful ideas and examples to help you.
I don’t think that is the case with thinking of your problem as a Birthday Surprise. I don’t say Paradox, because it is not a logical paradox, it is simply that the result is an unexpected surprise to most people. Your situation is neither a paradox or a surprise.
If you’re thinking about your problem this way, then I think that you have a definitional problem. How you define your problem will affect how you solve it?
- How could the Birthday Paradox inform your decision making? If it can’t then you should drop that idea because the picture of that problem will distract you from what is really happening in your forum.
In other words, can you relate the somewhat random distribution of birthdays to the set of shop owners who have joined your forum?
- From your members’ perspectives, those who have joined your forum are not a random distribution, they joined for another reason. What is the reason they have joined?
- From your perspective, you created the forum with a goal or set of goals. How have your actions attracted members? Are they joining because of the congruence between your plans and their interests? What are the non-random behaviors that are occurring?
Once you agree that the set of web-shop owners who have joined your forum are not a random collection then you can focus on the value proposition for your forum.
They are a group of people who chose to join your forum. It is not their type of shop that is important but why they have joined your forum and continue to use it. Are you clear on what the value proposition is before you attempt to change it?
Now that you are looking at known actors responding to a definite value proposition, you can come up with a plan to maintain an attractive value proposition while attracting competing web-shop owners.
The value equation is simple:
Value = Benefits - Cost
So if you are increasing the apparent cost to your members then what is the benefit that will maintain the same value?
What makes this much easier, if I understand what you’ve said correctly, is that you actually have web-shop owners who have joined your forum and are already co-existing there:
** What is confusing me is that “covert” means secret or hidden.
You can ask those web-shop owners what they think about having direct competitors in the forum.