I still can't help wondering sometimes why people drop so much money into Dolphin. I mean I can understand a little. If one wants to purchase a license, a template, and maybe a few mods. Even that will cost several hundred dollars though if you go with the life time Boonex Dolphin License.
Those that buy a bunch of mods, and/or have custom work and programming done could easily get up into the thousands of dollars. This is nice if you have the money to burn I guess.
There are so many sites out there now that are the same or similar to one another. It is very hard to compete or start a new site that has been done before or is already popular.
With so many free sites out there it is hard to charge a monthly or yearly membership fee. You can run ads on your site, but you need tons of traffic and members to actually generate enough revenue from ads to pay for what you have invested.
I'm not saying do not build a Dolphin based site or any other site for that matter. I just can't see dropping thousands of dollars into a site for the fun of it, unless you are loaded.
It's not impossible to make money and generate revenue, but it is more difficult than most people think or realize.
You can't just setup your site and expect people to flock to it, sign up for paid membership and roll in the dough. Just because you build it does not mean people will come. I wish it was that simple, but it is not.
Bottom line is unless you are loaded I really don't think it would be wise to drop a lot of money into a web site with the expectation you are going to get rich. Especially the way the economy has been going worldwide lately. Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. A web site doesn't run itself. You do need to post updates, and good quality content.
You could try to keep costs as cheap as you can until you see how things go before spending a lot of money.
Use Dolphin Free, try some free mods, and learn to customize yourself. The more programming, modding, design and layout you can do yourself the cheaper it will be.
You can potentially use Dolphin for just the price of monthly hosting if you do most of the customization yourself. You might play around and test Dolphin this way prior to spending a lot of money. The same can be said about any software, suite, script out there. If the script in question has a free or trial version it is always wise to take advantage of these to test first.
Take your time and really get a good understanding of any script before dropping a lot of cash. Same goes for mods, programmers, etc.