This sort of thing has been going on for years, probably as long as there have been companies and products. Can't get X to work, maybe your neighbor can, why not ask?
In the case of software and other technical products, it really costs the company little to setup a forum, so why not? Also the people doing the supporting are completely volunteer, and are compensated in a feeling of helping others. If they don't want to participate, then they can stop at any time.