I recently reached out to five people I admire to ask about the best forum platforms.
Most had experience of 1 or 2, the rest of the information was hearsay originating from TheAdminZone forums. Some of the information was verifiably true, some was verifiably false. The problem is most people won't bother to verify. They seek opinions of a few people and then make decisions based upon those opinions.
More importantly, most of the false information (or negative bias) can be traced back to the contributions of a tiny number of people (whom include disgruntled former staff members, competitors, and customers of competitors) in a relatively small number of posts. You can literally see the moments false rumours became accepted facts.
A few things to think about:
1) A tiny cadre of people with a natural bias against you are responsible for your reputation amongst the most influential group of influencers.
2) There are a tiny number of threats in which these platforms could have participate to correct any false information and give their perspective.
3) When you don't participate in popular communities in your field, people accept the information from others as fact. Or to put it more bluntly, if you don't tell your story, someone else will.
4) Based upon the information above, someone like me (with a reach of 10k+ community professionals) could make further purchasing recommendations.
Today, companies think nothing of responding individual to customers on social media. However, few people see these responses. They make little difference. Participating in a few key communities, in a genuine, honest, way, is far more important.
Your reputation and real-world purchasing decision can depend upon you participating in a relatively small numbers of discussions within your sector. It's worth every penny.