We’ve been informed that Meetro – provider of a location-based instant messaging service – is working on a stealth project that aims to make forum setup, customization, and moderation as easy as blogging with Blogger.
The project, codenamed “Makaha”, has been in development since the beginning of this year. While many forums require users to find their own hosting and install software, Makaha will enable users to create and personalize forums through a point-and-click interface. Forums will have their own subdomains at the Makaha website just as blogs have their own subdomains at Blogger.
Forum moderators will have full control over CSS styling (in addition to premade templates) and will benefit from an extensive community moderation system. Popular discussion threads will rise to the top of forum homepages in a Digg-like fashion, and users have access to a search function that crawls both individual forums and Makaha’s collection of forums as a whole. Makaha’s forums will also be designed with search engine optimization in mind so that traditional search engines (Google, Yahoo, etc.) index discussion threads effectively.
Makaha will launch about a couple of months from now. With the rise of social networking in the past few years, the popularity of good ol’ forums tends to get ignored, as do the billions of page views per month they generate. Even with the attractiveness of that traffic, few companies have been innovating in this space. We recently reviewed Tangler, which provides forums that function much like chat rooms by immediately displaying posts via Ajax when they are added to a discussion thread.