Yeah, ads on the forum would suck for members.
In the past I have thought about ads for the 99% of folks who never even sign up as a member, but when our admins spoke about this last we concluded that we don't really have a use for the chunk of funds it would bring in anyways.
If I recall correctly, a Google tool estimated the forum could be pulling in $1200 a month. Not enough for staff to manage a shop, or hire someone in a management role, but much more than we need for our current costs,
--> The forum isn't a money making venture. If it was, I would have done a ton differently, but also we likely wouldnt have garnered the awesome community we have today. (My work during the day is broad, but I have specific expertise in digital advertising and tailored marketing-performance data capture. Yet, the forum has never seen or paid for an advertisement, and I've kept tracking to the minimum I need to bug-fix and optimize when things go sideways. If this was about quitting my day job, I would say we've done a poor job at it. Haha)
Periodically I think about what this group could achieve with funding, regardless as to how we acquired it. There is a ton, but the trick is that no one is really in a place to manage the group as a business like that, at the moment. Even if we had the spare cycles, one thing we have been consistent on over the years: It says "Hobby" right in the name.
Though, I am open to the conversation if anyone has ideas of wants to chat.