In 2004 I visited Thailand for the first time, it was meant to be for 3 weeks in my summer holidays at Worcester university, I was going to follow the same path as the beach movie was set, which included Khaosan road, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan. But the 3 week holiday turned into 3 months, I found Pattaya in the last 6 weeks after everyone kept warning me away from it. I hated Pattaya but knew it was my lack of understanding, effort, and knowledge, and I knew I would love it.
I found myself returning home and my mind was all things Thailand, I fell in love with everything Thai, obviously the people and the culture. I began reading everything I could, learning Thai, downloading 100’s of Thai movies, watching Thai kareoke videos, going to the local temple to help out with driving jobs and learning Thai with monks. I left university because it was clear to me that I was going to make a go of it in Thailand and I started looking for jobs, I had a bar job offered to me but the terms/money was insane, there is no way I would have fun living like that. It was 20,000 baht with no bonus, no room, 6 days a week, no food and I had to provide the bar with hostesses.
At this point I was at a crossroads, I only went to University for some fun, because I was making good income online, at the time I was naive and I thought it was a passive income, but now I know better! You always need 3+ incomes online, especially if one is heavily weighted.
I quickly tried to come back out and have another holiday which was around 5 weeks in Pattaya and when I was there, someone told me about the FLB forum, I went on the forum and shared resources, became very active and I created a lot of content. I started some websites to try and share documentaries, videos, songs, and Thai lessons. I created a website called ethailandworld.com and I started sharing resources, I also brought a domain pattayaaddicts.com because I was addicted to Pattaya and that’s how I felt, I used it to share links, pictures, and added some resources.
I became more involved with FLB forum which was one of the two largest Pattaya forums, but the hatred, flaming on their upset me often, I was 24 years old and most the members were middle-aged. Then one day I got all butthurt because the admin warned me for biting back at someone and my entrepreneurial mind kicked in, I thought I could make my own forum much better, but everyone told me I was wasting my time, the other forums were too large, so I decided that I would ignore that as usual and go for it, I asked 3-4 other contributors if they would like to join me as moderators.
I had another holiday in the meantime, so I only had 3 holidays with a combined total of 5 months of stay, but I still had guys saying that they have been coming here 5 years and know more (2 weeks a year).
When I started Pattaya addicts, I truly had no idea what I was doing, I used my Pattaya addicts domain and I was blasted because it could be confused with drugs, but I knew it would be ok, there is intelligence out there. I went on torrent sites to find the forum software for free because I had no money to pay for it. After a month of setting it up, getting friends to join, writing the sections, I had problems and I couldn’t get support with a dodgy copy, I tried to change it to a legal copy but I lost the database, I was known to phpmyadmin and databases. Back in those days, we had to do a lot of code edits for applications/modifications, but it was a fun challenge. I am happy we lost the database because we had to start again! We made the sections much better and more professional.
We went on a huge campaign to get more members, back in 2006 we didn’t have much youtube going on, but I filled it with coyote content and links to Pattaya addicts, we got tons of content up, I am adamant that we got many new registrations this way, I was making sure we have 1000 posts per day by forcing ourselves to add topics, was checking registrations all day, inviting friends, adding content, asking people to start threads, share pictures, but more importantly we put our photos up which was a new thing on forums, most guys hid behind there keyboard, we did real meetups and put faces to names, it makes people behave more. We had tons of issues, I was on a sharp learning curve, especially at that age, it’s not easy managing people, mods, community, doing all the tech, then I had to learn about hosting, servers, coding, then it got me into internet marketing and SEO.
My first attempt at the leading website
Eventually the forum was taking every waking hour, I wasn’t going to work much and I had moved back in with my parents because I wanted to make it easy to move to Thailand quickly, but my money situation was getting too bad, I always was passionate about things and said I don’t want money as I felt it wasn’t genuine if I wanted money, I was letting the losers control me and the negative comments. One day whitespider said if I move to Thailand, he can help/show me to monetise it and it was the best decision I made. Pattaya addicts enabled me to get a good reach, open doors, give me the confidence to open the bars, gave me the power to fill a party. It was a real door opener and the building blocks to my success here, if it wasn’t for Pattaya addicts, I may not be living in Pattaya right now, I may not have created Night Wish Group, which we currently have 22 bars in Pattaya, on the other hand, I could be doing bigger things, but I am happy where I am in Thailand, with the freedoms and pleasures it brings.
The forum has survived facebook, it’s still a great resource for Pattaya, it’s around 12 years old now, please contribute some content if you would like to help more people arrive here and have better safer trips. We are looking for more questions, answers, pictures, stories and trip reports.
We are doing a subscription service also to reinvest back into the forum and we will try and add value depending on its success.