It was nice to be able to go to the home page and immediately see what new articles were posted. And to have a full menu on the right, albeit yes, it was too 'cluttered.'
It sounds like others besides me are also now going right to the forums. Could that be saying something about the rest of the site?
BPL could probably do next to nothing, and still attract a lot of folks who enjoy exchanging information, and BPL is the best vehicle I've found for that; although frankly, I haven't looked very hard. But competition can still change everything overnight. Look what the competition did to Toyota when it decided to limit choices and dictate to customers about their needs, and cut some corners on quality.
If I were to run across a better vehicle for exchanging info, what other features would keep me at BPL? Sure, you can do without the print magazine, and the store, and even the comprehensive reviews, like the one several years ago of nearly all single wall tents then available.
My suggestion is that you find BPL equipment that you can review and highly recommend. If you do this really well, you will have a big draw. It may mean scrapping most of the time spent on the duds, for learning about them doesn't stimulate buying decisions, which has to an important element of any business like yours. But the silly new links after most posts won't accomplish that. Most of the info helpful to buying decisions seems to be coming now from the forums, and unless you are reading a post from someone like Richard or Chris Townsend, the forums are not always very reliable. There is a lot I miss with BPL's streamlining its product.
Another suggestion would be to put together a better, attractive index of your best articles and reviews. The stories of items not easily found on your search program are legend, too embarrassing to even go into. We have often done better using Google to find stuff on BPL.
Hope you haven't 'thrown out the baby with the bathwater!' Or maybe you are getting ready to bail, and don't care about that. It happened big time after Kemsley sold out Backpacker. In this information age, it could happen a lot faster now. Sad.