I did it why can't someone else? I'm sure I'm not the only one. If you post your content right without inviting friends and family and proper submit your site to search engines it will grow as well. In fact we, me and my partner only invited two people and 70% of the community have come from facebook, google and twitter. Social media is a powerful tool as well. Like I say to each his own I just rather have a nice tone for the community laid down before mass amounts of users start random joining. If that makes any sense.
I prefer just asking some friends to signup, most of the time they will stay on board anyway.
I agree with most of what IPS_Fan said. I don't really agree with making fake accounts to just make a board look active I know it's seems like it won't be easy to fill that way but in less then 5 days after getting our board setup and asking some family and friends to join it's alive in kicking. 647 Post from 12 members in that time is pretty nice and it's good topics, and fun post not just made up content or reply's from fake accounts. It's not about members counts to gain users but the content if people like the content they will join. You also risk how users of your forums may feel finding out about that, in a way some may see that as a break of trust since if you faked that what else have you faked type deal.
Sharing links, asking family and friends to join will help a ton, word of mouth happens to be the best. I say that because you will get a nice solid user base from good solid users since the odds are your friends, friends will mostly be good people. Just my two cents to each there own and I can understand the feel to want to do a trick like that to get your board kicking but I don't really see it proper for the health of the community in the long run compared to having a good starting base of more trusted friends and family you can set the tone of the community right the first time.
If anyone missed it and is gone to flame me. I didn't say don't do this I just don't agree to it as a good method.
Great Subscriptions Manager, won't find anything better to get the job done. Well coded and right to the point, has just the right options and can do just what you want when it comes to having subscriptions on your board. It's free as well! Big thank you to Michael for this and offering it free.