I'm just going to say this because I PAY to be here as well as many other sites you guys now own. Your first mistake with every site I have seen since I started doing this type of work is you DO before you ASK. I have been on this site for 3 years and in that time I have never seen such a huge hit to member activity to one of the sites I have classified as "Heavy Activity" as I have seen here, well outside of YellowBullet who within a matter of 24 to 48 hours had members already creating a new home owned and controlled by them. Now here we are on MM and guess what I'm seeing more members willing to take on the duties of running a new site owned and controlled by them.
You guys do this for a living and yet you still don't seem to get it. Yes you can come right in a buy up a site for ridiculous amounts of money (which is why the members seem to never get the option to purchase them from the original owner because most wouldn't pay what you guys probably do) but what's the point of buying this, at the time heavily active, site just to turn around and run all the members off with your changes and over abundance of advertisements everywhere? All you're doing in the end is killing off something that if left alone would of produced and ROI for you that was worth it at the end of the day.
Instead of just coming in and changing things for the sake of changing things, how about coming in and saying things like, "hey guys we are looking to freshen up the site and maybe add a few things, are their any issues that you have seen recently or maybe anything that you have thought of that would make the site more interesting and fun?" That will at least give you the look of respecting the opinion of the users that make the site happen plus you'll actually be able to focus on the issues (if any even exist) and the possible (REQUESTED) additions.
I know most vendors might be just sitting back and watching the storm unfold but I just can't anymore because I have seen this happen over and over again in the last 3 years I have been doing this in the 6 years I have been working here. So I'm going to not only be the voice of a member but the voice of the vendors right now. We pay good money to be part of these communities because of their popularity and activity and well we can't help those that don't exist now can we? Perfect example I'm on another site that was one of the largest community sites at the time and now is a complete ghost town. I post there still because hey who knows maybe someone outside of Google Index will read it but honestly what is the point of me posting a sale on that site other than well its part of the package plan might as well us it? How are vendors suppose to feel confident in paying to belong to these sites if all we can think about is how long before the next mutiny happens and this place dies. It's almost like you're forcing us to go to the Facebook Groups and other social sites. I personally will never feel the Facebook Groups or other Social outlets are the new or best way to do what we have done over the years with forums because they don't have that personality or feeling of home as some of these forums do to most the members that frequent them everyday.
I get it ads are needed on a site because they aren't cheap to run and software is expensive, trust me I know I run a site for a certain class of mustangs that was built for the same reason most new sites are the original site was either abandoned or bought by someone without the members interest in mind and no my site wasn't made because AG bought the site I use to visit (shocker I know). Is it large? Not by any means but you know what it gives the members that one thing that they enjoy about the forums and that's a place to call home. Things are discussed by the admin team and then brought to the members to get their input so that we can make sure everyone or at the very least the majority agree upon the changes that may or may not occur. Do we have ads, yeah sure a few here and there to help pay the bills but we don't flood the page with ads because members don't want to see all that, they didn't come there to buy whatever the current ad is that's splashed all across the screen and I can tell you for sure this site is far from needing this.
Have you seen the cars here, I'm pretty sure no one needs anything in that "Resource" and if they do I'm sure they have banks that they "trust" as well as Vendors on the site that can sell them tires and I'm almost certain but I would think that most if not all have insurance. Oh and a true car guy as you say you are would know that most of these guys have this mentality when it comes to their car.
That's where I'm going to leave this post because honestly will any of what I said make a difference? Probably not, hell if you guys make it through my whole post I'd be surprised but as most have said it will be skipped over and the default phrase will be said because it's Friday and let's be honest the weekends the only thing on anyone's mind right now and not a site that is upset with changes that weren't needed or asked for. I'm just going to sit here and hope that another site doesn't die off and cause me to move it up to the Dead/Low Activity slot.
To the members have a great weekend and my fingers are crossed for you.