^^Lucky you, your Competitor is stupid enough to allow the crashing of his forum. Mine is not as he is running on dedicated server which he is managing himself.
Oh he's stupid alright. Not only is (was) the former Admin an idiot (not the guys running it now), the person that owns the domain and forum can't be gotten hold of. He doesn't use the forum at all nor care that it's operating. The forum has been stuck in a release candidate version for years because neither I nor the people who run it now can get him to answer emails. It's like it's stuck in the Twilight Zone forever.
I created a general purpose forum that will be flexible to be offering all topics. I started from sports angle it was getting some traffic from Google but that is it. My competitor offers it as well and it is very lively down there.
General purpose forum? I just don't think that's going to get you very far wanchope. You really need a focus and content that others don't have, a take on a topic that nobody else is presenting. You mentioned sports and "all topics". I'm sorry to say, in my mind, that isn't going to get you anywhere, unless you just want a hobby to tinker with.
I added technology, there is am immediate impact, few members but fewer post. Some manages to ask questions but will not return to see the answer. Some just appreciate your efforts but thats it. Back in my competitor's house, he is banning as many members as possible, insulting and telling them he doesn't need them and yet they are there asking for forgiveness. Are they blind? Can't they see there is a 'better' option?
Well that's the community aspect of the forum working. People form bonds with other members on forums. Bad things can happen and they still want to interact with the people they are friends with. In fact taking into account the bonds that forum, banning certain popular members can create even more drama on the forum that people like to watch, sorta like watching a massive car accident - ever notice all the people that stop and watch? You'll have a group that supports the ban, and another that supports the banned member, PMs will start flying ... Notice the tag line for this project - "Community Builder"? Well that's really true for forums.
I haven't been banned from too many forums but I was banned last year from a model train forum. Even though they had an off-topic area they didn't know how to moderate it very well. Since I have very strong forum personality and views :)
, I would get into politics and religion and before you knew it the longer term members (sort of old fogies) would call the Mod Squad in because they couldn't handle it. Instead of moderating things properly before things blew up, I got the blame for it and finally got the Ban Hammer. But the point is I still miss the interaction with some of the friends I made, that's why I put up with the poor staff there for a long time.
So the point is, you are not only trying to compete on content, you are trying to pull off members that have formed bonds at the other forum(s). It's tough to do. In order to do that your content is going to have to be above and beyond what they have.