The decision not to have advertising was made at the very beginning - to create a clean and uncluttered interface for visitors; to be fast, clean, and highly usable with no visual distraction. To back up that approach, the model for WebmasterWorld is a Supporters' contribution model, and not an ad supported model. The idea is to create a resource and knowledge base that is inherently valuable to its users.
It's true that forums are often not the best at generating Adsense income, but that is not the operative factor here. WebmasterWorld went online before there was any such thing as AdSense or even Adwords! And not having any direct advertising also means that there is no pressure to avoid mentioning unflattering truths about any company.
Now - will we be able to stay this way? That's the open question, I guess.
Thank you for your reply tedster and tangor. My second question would have been the same--how do you generate enough revenue without any ads?
tangor, can you name a few high volume forums that make enough ad revenue? Maybe we are not allowed to name any specific websites here... then, could you send me a sticky mail and let me know? I'd really want to visit some of those high volume forums and see for myself.
I am planning to create a forum that I expect to become an instant hit... well, I wish... I know it's not that easy and simple, but at least I have to try anyway.