Boardworld aspires to be Australia's premier board-sports community and online store—dedicated to snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing.
Newism partnered with Boardworld in mid-2014 to help rescue their website after a prolonged period of neglect. During that dark times, the site had developed several major security issues which were negatively affecting the growing Boardworld community. Most notably, the member forum had become infested with spam accounts, and the connected ad serving system had been compromised, and was serving malware through the site. Ouch.
We worked with Boardworld to remove the compromised ad-network, and improve the security of the member forum to prevent new spam accounts from signing up. We then set to work developing a system to identify spam accounts based on a user's post behaviour and IP address. After running the diagnostics, we deleted more than 100,000 spam accounts that were crippling the user forum.
After the immediate crisis had been resolved, we began discussions on how we could help improve the site. After several changes in project direction and scope, we eventually settled on a new site build which was an improvement over the previous site in several key areas.
A new home for the Boardworld Store
The new version of the site moved the Boardworld store from an external Magento implementation to an internal Expresso Store. The previous store existed on a separate subdomain, and was managed by a separate content management system. This presented several problems:
- The store was siloed outside the main content, which meant Boardworld couldn't promote their products on their content pages.
- The store featured a different navigation and content style, which eroded brand consistency, and confused some users.
Ad management without the malware
After the bad experience of dealing with a third-party ad network that was serving malware, we decided it would be safest to bring the ad-serving solution in-house.
Building our own ad management system inside ExpressionEngine presented some interesting challenges, as we wanted to provide relevant and targeted ads to visitors, instead of just showing random ones.
To accomplish this, we created an ad-serving solution which compared the page content to advertisement meta data to find the closest match. This provided Boardworld with an intelligent and robust ad-serving system which ensured they wouldn't unknowingly expose their users to harmful malware.
A fully responsive forum
The new site features a completely restyled responsive forum. This means that unlike the majority of online forums, the new Boardworld forum is usable on mobile and tablet devices.
The new forum also features enhanced media upload capabilities, so users can easily add their own photos and videos.