I've always created forums because forum software and designing is a hobby. I've always provided resources and styles for free. I keep saying to myself I'll be looking at commercialising my forum. Maybe when I migrate xenforo to my bbsmiley domain will see that step. Currently though, I do it as a hobby, and help people enhance their forum products.
For love not money Actually thinking of a forum idea that would be commercial but not sure if I really want to hit that to be honest, would take the fun out of things imho. Do work for a couple of commercial sites
Just the passion and love for running them, building communities and enjoying diverse conversation. I don't do ads... but I certainly promote internal network aspects, do sell upgrades, etc... and all monies purely associated to the cost of running everything... I still pay $$$ out of my own pocket to fund things.
Run purely as a hobby/passion with no intention of making money what so ever. I do not run any kind of ads and do not intent to run them in future. I just love what I am doing for the site which gives me much more satisfaction and than the $$ those ads can earn.
A forum is like anything else on line, if you're unique, you can get something going. But why would anyone join a new forum on a topic that's already covered? Why would I join Gamer's Froum #49,836 or General Chat Forum #2,198,273? Build your forum around the weirdest thing you're interested in. Or just the weirdest thing you can think of. Then the other weirdos will find you and you can all be weird together.
The primary consideration though is it has to be something you really care about or are really interested in. If you start a forum just for the purpose of starting a forum, you're doomed to failure and a life of conversations with yourself.
I've thought about that too. It would be nice to have some kind of an alliance - a group of people who'd be willing to pitch in, not for posting but for events. Like for example, I would love to do a Halloween costume party this year but there just aren't enough people right now; I'd need to bring in some ringers. Otherwise we'd all identify each other inside of ten minutes... party over.
I also have a small forum and it's for love not money. There's no advertising, although I have wondered if Google discriminates against people who don't use their ads.