A Comprehensive list of 15 sites that you probably thought were dead that actually STILL get tons of traffic and give out powerful dofollow authority backlinks
As do players big and small in any industry, each platform has experienced it's own unique mix of challenges, growing pains, strategic successes and event sequences that can be best defined as "sheer luck". The combinaton of these, the platform's course of action at each turn, and their audience's reactions to the same are what what have (and still do) determine the fate, longevity, and relative levels of success or failiure, of each of these platforms.
Many of these platforms are examples of epic success. Four examples of such platforms, all of which from relatively nothing roughly 20 years ago, exploded with popularity early on, and remain among the most used social platforms in virtually every country in the world to this day are Linkedin, Skype, and Facebook, and Twitter, which launched in 2003, 2004, 2004 and 2006, respectively.
Other platforms have experienced, and continue to experience, tremendous regional success, some of which outperform the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in their primary userbase's Geos, yet whether by design or happenstance, have not experienced much of any widespread adoption outside of the country (or small group of countries where their primary audience predominately hails from.
Four prime examples of such networks are VK (aka Vkontakte, est 2004 and hugely popular in Russia, Ukraine, former Soviet Union states and Eastern Europe), Taringa (often referred to as "the facebook of latin america" est 2004 and is indeed among the top social networks in the Spanish speaking world), Qzone and RenRen (both establised in 2005, and continue to outperform facebook among Chinese users),
There are also many platforms that, despite achieving succes and user adoption at viral rates right from their launch, and by all appearances were surefire hits - yet for one reason or another, found themselves extinct within less than 3 years of their launch. Such examples include tle notorious Yik Yak, once valued at over $400M, Vine - the original video sharing app, acquired by Twitter, which went downhill and was ultimatley shuttered following financial problems at Twitter shortly after acquiring it, and Tsu - the first social app to share ad revenue with it's users.
Countless others existed and sitll exist, some never really taking off to begin with, some achieving marginal success and either "treading water" with it's relatively small user base, or shuttering, or who could fit any of the above descriptions or somewhere inbetween.
Social networks, provide a valuable platform to express their thoghts and feelings, and perspectives, sheir their joys and their sadness, remain connected with others, and gain new connections in the virtual world, some leading to real world connections. They also provide many benefits ot business owners and marketers - some obvious to the average casual user, and some less obvious but arguably even more valuable.
The obvious benefits include, of course, another means of exposure to potential customers, a means of keeping existing customers connected, an advertising platform, and some businesses even go as far as to use their Twitter and Facebook accounts as an additional - or even primary - method of providing customer support.
Today, the focus is on a key benefit that most non-marketers, non-tech savy business owneres, and individuals who do not work in SEO would find much less obvious, and something that wouldn't arouse much excitement out of them whatsoever.. However, to those of us with experience in SEO and digital marketing, finding one of these that has a solid history, is trusted and respected, accessible with a reasonably low amount of effort, actual traffic and exposure, few or no restrictions, and free is like discovering a new goldmine.
These "goldmines" I refer to, of course, are indexable, followed (aka "do-follow") backlinks with traffic engagement that pass authority. Notice the qualifying statements before and after the word "backlink"? That was no accident. It would be exceedingly easy to strategize and implement an SEO strategy for your legitimate content if you were a marketer or business owner wanting your website in front of as many people as possible to expand your audience. It would then be ust ad easy for spammers to poison the SERPs with irrelevant content with misleading Search result titles (referred to as "clickbait").
When Google launched in 1998, Google had a dream. It had a dream that all links were created equal, and that each link should serve as an independent and equally weighted "vouch" for the site that is lnked to. It did not take long for this to be exploited on an epic level by greedy and unscrupulous spammers, meaning this dream needed a drastic overaul if it were to effectively protect the quality of the results for the end user. The efficacy was thwarted by the very simplicity of the concept that was responsible for it's initial popularity in the first place.
Backlinks are still the single most important factor in determing search rankings. This part has not changed. What has changed, is that it is now only one of over 200 elements factored into the ranking algorithm, only a handful of which are publicly disclosed - and the algorithm is changed constantly..
This sudden lack of transparency and extreme complication in the manner in which this data is interpreted necessetated the creation of 3rd analytics and metrics service providers who, although they do not have access to google's confidential algorithmic formula, they do have access to the search and analytics data for millions of sites, the cawl info for said sites, their own search spiders that crawl every site it discovers in the same manner Google bot does, current and historical data for the ranking order and backlink data for millions of sites, all of which allow them toe each respectively come up with their own proprietary scoring metrics that can help provide insight into the strength of the domain's link profile, and it's likeliness to rank highly in search results.
Again, these are not Google metrics, and Google absolutely does NOT use 3rd party metrics as part of their algorithm, nor do they share any more information about their algorighm with these provdiers than is available to you, but based on the sheer volume of data they've obtained and continue tto collect, are widely considered to be, when coupled with other factors and not used as a stand alone metric, widely considered to be fairly reliable predictors of a sites ranking abiity, it's health, and the strength of a link from a specific domain, and/or page within that domain.
One class of websites that appears to check all of the above boxes, so to speak, are Social Networking sites. Much like their cousin, the forum site, they encourage and reward user engagement, tend to rapidly scale their page counts due to be the site content being almost exclusively user generated, and as a result tend to rank for a plethora of search terms. Both Social Networks and Forums tend to have large numbers of unique visitors, both new and returning, higher than average visit duration, and lower than average bounce rates - all of which are positive signals to the search engines, which indicate high quality content.
Unlike forums, however, they tend to build overall domain authority and natural backlink profiles much more rapidly, as they more directly encourage their users to link to their profiles (on their blogs, by interlinking them with other social network profiles, and on personal pages, just to name a few examples), encourage external links to their site by means of cross posting to other platforms, and have a naturally solid internal linking structure as a direct result of some of the very features that most interest their users to begin with (think Shares, Likes, Re-Tweets, Reblogs, comments, etc).
Because of the ease and effectiveness of creating large volumes of very powerful backlinks at scale using these sites, Social Networks were a favorite target of link spammers early on. For that reason, all of the largest players in the industry - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, and now Reddit and Tumblr as well, tag all of their outbound links from posts and comments as “no-follow” across the board, removing the perceived benefit of these links for these spammers. This, of course, in addition to much more aggressive anti-spam policies.
Due to the low quality nature of the link spam attacks, that approach proved to be largely successful at mitigating the number of spam posts on their platforms, as the authority passed from the link (now zero) was the only true benefit gained from their antics, as seeing “buy (insert random regulated item or substance) online now!” posted 500 times back to back is not going incite any greeter user interest than a single spammily worded post, so they’re not doing it for the referral traffic.
Nobody ever scrolls through to the 498th out of 500 identical back to back spam posts and decides “you know what? I think I DO need that illegally obtained item from that sketchy sounding site!” - they either get annoyed with the digital graffiti the spammers left on their feed and leave the site, or rapidly scroll past the noise without reading it untl their eye catches something that looks to be formatted differently from that repetitive post, and then continues from there. But I digress.
That being said, there is still a broad and vibrant ecosystem of thousands of social networks worldwide besides te ones listed above. Many of these networks are small, and a lot of them do follow suit with what the larger players are doing, and “no-follow” all of their outbound links. However, there tons of active social networks that still enjoy a tremendous amount of traffic, to the tune of single digit to triple digit millions of active monthly users, who do still pass link juice to the sites they link to in the form of “followed” or “do-follow” backlinks it is very likely you have or still do use these sites from time to time, or at the very least have used them
There are many who have come and gone, and many who flourish with an epic underground following. Some of these you probably know and love, and others you have most probably forgotten about, and many you probably assumed had died a long time ago.
Today, I will be focusing on the latter half of that scenario - high power authority backlinks from sites with Social Networking sites that pull in copious amounts of organic search and direct visitors and still pass authority through “do-follow” backlinks that you have most likely either forgotten about entirely, or assumed were dead: