Well, the original thread has been restored, with the OP reinstated with the permission of Monty, in Fine Living. If you want to take a look, contribute, whatever, here it is:
I'd like to challenge the contention that SF is quantity driven. Advertising is our main source of revenue. However, most of our revenue is *not* through banners, and other "eyeball driven" traffic. Personally, I feel that banners are very 2005, but we don't (unfortunately) control what goes on in digital media. Instead, our strategy is to get retailers and brands to interact with members, to give something back, and we make concerted attempts to make sure that the advertisers with whom we work can interact well with the community.
The only way, I believe, that advertising can be effective on any form of social media, is for the members of a community to feel that the advertisers are offering something of value to the community. This has been part of our strategy since 2005, when we had our first advertisers, most of whom are still here. I think that this is a good and sustainable strategy. Time after time, our users have told us that good retailers make great members of the community. You only have to go to a thread like Epaulet's thread: http://www.styleforum.net/t/111211/epaulet-shop-official-affiliate-thread/0_50
to see that our members enjoy interacting with and form a bond with, good merchants.
We live in a digital age, and let's face it, there will never be a good men's store in Moscow, ID, unless something drastically changes here - as in - the population increases 10 fold, and people interested in tractors become interested in bespoke and designer clothing. While there are nodes of activity in NYC, LA, Chicago, DC, and San Francisco, a lot of our members are spread out across the UK, Canada, and Australia. Direct access to vendors, and, shortly, direct feedback to vendors that will help drive the direction of internet shopping, on which many members rely, is a service that benefits both members (myself included) and vendors. I see inbounds (vendors who want to advertise on the forum) very regularly, and I am pretty selective, and in many cases, have left money at the table because I don't feel that a specific retailer would be good for Styleforum. From experience, this is fairly unusual, and sometimes surprising to other forum and blog owners.
Also, everyone realizes that the community is the lifeblood of any forum. My (sometimes successful, sometimes not) initiatives has always been to increase engagement by both our core community, and to draw in new members. Both are very important. The "veterans" are those who really drive the community, and the "newbies" are those who will find camaderie on the forum, and eventually, become veterans.
Also, I don't find that MC is dead. There are threads, like the MaoMao thread, that are extremely interesting and helpful. However, if a small, persistent, number of veterans spend time ignoring these threads and belittling newbies, they are not helping the situation. We'd like to invite you to start new posts, to really engage in a positive manner.