I think it would be best if AUK hired a communications specialist to sort this out. This move has not been well managed.
Members were not consulted, changes were made without members wanting any changes, some people seem to not even have known about the joint venture at all, services were withdrawn without warning (private messaging), some longtime members have pretty much been kicked out (if they cannot/ don't want to be verified by an agency). Some old members are now regrouping in other forums, saying they are no longer bothering with the AUK/linkmaker forum. That is a disaster. Maybe AUK/linkmaker think that the constant flow of prospective adopters will fill the gaps over the years. However, those adopters are all at the very beginning of their journey and know nothing about the challenges of eg. the teenage years. From previous changes, AUK should have been aware how anti-change their users are and gone about this in a carefully considered way and with a lot of consultation.
Most users don't seem to be very technically savvy, therefore an intuitive design is important. However, the forums are now hosted by two organisations and the same forum has two different looks, depending if you go straight via AUK or via the linkmaker login. I don't know ANY other forum or website who is designed like that. Two brands are now claiming the same forum. The "needs" of the brands seems to be more important than clear communication and the users' needs. Not surprisingly it causes confusion and frustration. If this is the AUK forum, it should be on the AUK website only and linkmaker should quietly manage the technical side in the background. Plastering the logo above the AUK logo is not helping anyone - not even linkmaker. The linkmaker website is designed in a way which makes it look as if it has swallowed AUK. Both brand images have suffered massively, meaning a lot of trust is gone.
I used to be able to go to the "posted today" page in one click. Now, I have to write my username, password, random numbers (so this can't be filled in automatically by my browser), plus another click on Posted Today. I don't need that level of security. I regularly get kicked out and have to do it again. This is not progress.
I very much hope AUK can find a way to solve all these problems.