I am going to be starting a forum based around a very popular topic and, therefore, don't want to leave any weaknesses for future competition to exploit. My question revolves around vBulletin forum licensing. I got some helpful recommendations from some fellow BHW members about free forum alternatives such as bbpress, mybb etc. but I am concerned that they will be inferior to the competition. It seems like every single large forum out there is using vBulletin, so should I consider it an essential business component (since this will be a long-term project for me) to bite the bullet and buy a vBulletin license? Are all the big forums using it because it's an essential part of a successful standalone forum, or did some of these guys simply switch to vBulletin after they found success starting off with a free forum? Sorry my enter button is being weird and won't let me make new paragraphs on here.