Why Is vBulletin So Popular?

For those who aren’t aware vBulletin is the bulletin board software that the Straight Dope uses.

In my search for free bb software, I found plenty of them, but none that I’ve found has a good feel to it like vBulletin. Usually someone comes along and makes a decent free version but I can’t find anything that I think comes close in style and ease of use.

Now I realize this is simply my opinion, but I’d like yours.

First of all do you think vBulletin (again, which is this board) is the best BB system you’ve used.

Second, do you know of any other free system that comes close in style to it. I mean bulletin boards you personally feel come close to vBulletin in style and ease of use and features.

I think it’s ironic that one site I visit that reviews free software actually uses vBulletin for it’s message board.

Ooops forgot vBulletin isn’t free (see price), in case you didn’t pick that up.

I think the most popular free system is phpbb, though I’ve never seen its behind-the-scenes settings, so can’t speak for its ease of setup.

I used to use one called discus but that one eventually became overburdened with impracticalities. So we switched to vbulletin, and it was such a relief to find one that was upgraded regularly, and addressed issues that needed development. I think that’s key to its popularity; it’s constantly improved.

It is a very good program. Even though my beef with every message board, product listing, etc, has the navigation buttons so extremely small they are far more difficult to hone in on to click than is necessary. I’ve often wondered why we can have a 20pt button for post reply, but to go to the next page is done in a 4pt font. Oh, and how many times have you seen them where you can’t tell what page you are actually on?

phpbb is comparable, especially considering the cost.

I guess what I’m wondering is why do so many of them suck? Isn’t a message board something that should have been mastered ages ago?