Hoping you have some great use cases of branded communities successfully absorbing an independent user community. This question goes beyond migrating forums, consolidating technologies and/or acquiring legacy communities via corporate acquisitions and mergers. My question is, is it the right thing to do?
Here are a few pros and cons to use as discussion points.
Centralization - one destination for users
Growth Opportunity - Boost in content/activity, more SME networking opportunities, engagement with an even larger user base
Financial Burden - The independent user community no longer needs to bear the financial burden of the community technology platform
Focus - The independent user community can place focus on community development and not worry about administration and community management.
Independent user group loses their identity; possibly no longer seen as the independent voice of the users
Potential backlash from a community technology change and/or community technology gaps
Fear of being watched by and moderated by "Big Brother." Discussions and interactions have potential to no longer be genuine.
The gap between engaged members and non-contributors grows larger.