Quoted from Whysnow:
you have to understand that for many it is not about the cost per month...
It is about the fact that this site is 100% built on the content of the users. Many people contribute to the forum content, game reviews, gameroom blogs, etc... These people already give to the site and without the content, Pinside does not exist.
Pinside has been born on the backs of the cummunity! Robin has done a great job with the interface and functionality, but the content is owned by all of us that contribute. Having your hand forced to pay or see more junk is a slap in the face to many (as it should be) from someone that opted to already take our content and turn it into a business.
The thing is, this site is not just user-driven or developer-driven. It's both. Neither can exist without the other.
Pinside is a platform where folks can communicate, and in turn, the platform is constantly improved, developed, new features added, etc. That takes a considerable amount of time and effort.
RGP and Klov are other sites can be used to communicate, but those platforms are limited and fairly static. But some folks like it that way, which is fine.
Personally for me, I was originally drawn to Pinside because it had a good user interface and features, as well as good information from other members, and it was a very active place.
You're really selling yourself short here making huge world-ending complaints about minor features--features which have received changes and updates already in the past few hours as the result of calm, constructive feedback. Day 1 releases are always challenging, and I for one appreciate all the efforts that go into bringing new features to the site, as well as everyone who has taken the time to offer constructive feedback.
My primary browsing experience hasn't actually changed too much. A few new things have been added--that's all. Speaking for myself, I thought the ad strip would have been a great idea and well received when I first saw it. The ads are community driven--they're based on other members adding things to the site.
I'm always interested to see what other people are creating--adapters, mods, fixes, parts, ramps, replacement boards, etc. There is now so much of it out there and hidden away in various threads and scattered around on isolated stand-alone websites that they don't get a lot of exposure. This was to help folks to gain some more exposure and make it easier for them to sell and others to buy.
Two perfect examples that I've been following are barakandl's special solenoid fuse board for system 3-7 games, and acebathound's LED display board to replace the bad glass on bally/stern displays. Not everyone may have seen them in discussion threads. But stuff like that is what I would hope to see appear in the shop and in the ad strip. Whether or not they add their products to the shop is entirely up to them, but it's stuff from dedicated hobbyists like them that I would be glad to see.