Actually it's not often a place to pitch wares, but a place for companies to discuss issues and address problems.
While it's been a great service to have, several of the forums never had representation so the forums were usually used to rant. (Same rants which made it into the GD or FGD.)
These forums are really an extension of these companies who wish to have representation on the site. While it's a service to everyone, without them caring or being there, it's pretty much a dead issue. If you notice, most of the locked forums were the ones with little or no representation and low traffic.
The goal for this section is to have a place where you KNOW a company representative will be available to answer questions, help you, and chat about products. If companies choose to have their forum removed (I locked them to find a way to SAVE the data without nuking it!) then that's what I will do.
As for the ideas about surveys of companies, I think that would be an excellent idea if companies are inclined and interested enough to follow through. Even posting simple polls on their forums would be a step up. If a general opinion forum is wanted in that section, I would be more than happy to provide it... I just figured that's what the GD is for... quick and overwhelming response to questions about manufacturers and dealers alike!