1. Bringing back contests is being discussed currently, due to what I been doing recently. Expect something in spring. My "monthly" challenges are considered contests. Prizes is also being discussed, with variety to them.
2. I know a lot of people read the Ugly Duckling Blog, and he posts a lot about everything that happens on here, with it being new items and contests and even the special offers. Firebrands also tell people of new items.
3. The thing about forum exclusive items, it is a gamble on whether they sell or not. Armothe had so much left of the Red Crowbars that he changed them from being Forum Exclusive to Public, and even then he still has a crapload. Although the Tan Armor did quite well.
Perhaps the firebrands should post in forums about new contests?
There is a problem with that. Most forums have a rule against advertising. Spreading awesomeness about BrickForge is great, but you also have to respect other sites and what you are allowed what to do.
And if you have any ideas for the forum, PMing Quickblade would be the best bet. That is the only way to make things happen is by initiating it.