lurttinen wrote: Why pay, if there is something available free of charge?
Your forum would need to be unique if you wuold want to keep your users.
well, I would say that the competition isn't the toughest one. There are a number of competitors out there, but they all seem to be struggling more or less from lack of quality content, steady stream of postings... or both. So I guess I could say that my forum is fairly unique in this sense.
drathbun wrote: Let me turn the question around and ask, why are you considering going the 'paid membership' route? Are you trying to make money? (for the record, there's nothing wrong with that. ) Are you trying to cover hosting costs? Have you experimented with advertising? Google Adsense can work fairly well, if you have the traffic to support it.
Am I trying to make money? Well, yes I suppose so. But it for sure is not gonna make me a millionaire. It is in a field way too narrow for that. However, many of the people I'm targetting are making a living out of working with this, so it's not really that I'm targetting cash-strapped teenagers. Saying this, I almost make it sound as if it can't fail... but I'm not sure. What I really would like to hear from someone would be something like; "I made it subscription based and xx% of the members that posted regularly in the past disappeared" - that would give me an idea of what to expect. Of course any figure would be specific for that particular forum and field, but it still would be some sort of guideline.
I'm already using Google Adsense on several other sites I have, but as you said, you need a bit of traffic as well. It is doing ok, but it isn't really any big money. The traffic isn't there.