I have embedded forum software into our website using Yet Another Forum (ASP.NET plugin which you can see on our site at http://labslice.com/Forum/ ). It works just fine, but obviously needs a bit of maintenance, especially as it's not common to embed it within a site.
But looking at other startups I am stunned by the amount of use of UserVoice (http://UserVoice.com) as an external feedback solution. So I guess my question is... Is this just a short-term trend, or is outsourcing of website forums a good long term idea? It took a bit of effort to integrate YAF, but I am happy to scrap it if it seems that these feedback panels are a better long term solution.
UserVoice and Get Satisfaction aren't really general-purpose forum (like YAF), but more external tools to manage user feebacks/issues.
So to answer your question, if the purpose of the forum in your website is uniquely to get user feedbacks, by any means use external tools. The same applies for any service that is not part of your core business like
In brief, if you outsource anything that is not part of your core business, you'll have more time for your real business and won't spend time maintaining and integrating tools that don't produce revenue.
Just wanted to respond to Frank's post really quick - GetSatisfaction allows individuals to create forums for companies that they are not part of, though I can't speak to whether GetSatisfaction itself ever created "false forums".
UserVoice is a tool for companies, and we generally don't allow individuals to create forums for companies they're not part of. If you have any concerns about a "false forum" you're welcome to contact us and we'll work on getting it sorted out. We want to help companies, not hurt them.
In general I'd agree with Filippo - if you just want a forum, we're not your thing. But if you're specifically focused on getting feedback, a tool like ours is really optimized for that (happy to go into details in private, not really appropriate here). And we do have a free plan and an 50% 1-year startup discount: onstartups101
Community Manager, UserVoice