although I appreciate your thought out response, I'm not going to quote for quote on all of the topics. just a general broad stroke, the main page content is what is driving this site I wouldn't say so much as the forums. As outlined in the Windows adverse posted earlier, readership is up, unique visits are up, all of this is content driven and does spider out to additional networks. That's the root as a content provider. Forums become ancillary, almost secondary discussion to main page content. It's used to discuss topics on content that HB has created. Whether it's open registration or non-intuitive design and functionality. It's still secondary.
Members come and go, OG, new members, trolling members, it happens on every board possible and shouldn't be a top line revenue driver. The investment advertisers make are based on the unique visits and ppc at the content level, not based on the community discussion or activity. There are no metrics that are valuable to an investment in an open public forum. I'm sure this site, like many others, in its infancy had closed registration while it developed it's identity. Most of the originals consider this the good old days because they had to communicate with users who helped form that identity. Once that identity was established, content becomes the priority as that is how you drive ad revenue. You open up the community registration because it's secondary, with the proper controls in place, you now have a retaining user metric. Most advertisers look at demographic (content based), unique visitors, and quite frankly, the total reach of your content (boiled down statistic of "reblogs").
At the end of the day, the main page at HB is much improved then former. It's a clean redesign as if it were a magazine or a newspaper. I
Thanks for reinstating my point in your first paragraph. I know the forum is secondary. It shouldn't be treated as a second class citizen reaping the trickle down from the main page though. Are you going to spoil your first child for the simple fact that they were born first? No. You're going to give them equal treatment because they're both equally yours.