1) It's free and
2) It has a much bigger user base than anything else.
Now, when I look for support I don't rely much on the developers. Even if they are great and very responsive, they really can't offer the same number and flexibility of solutions that a large number of users can. I want my shop to have a long lifetime, and a commercial solution with a limited number of users can't offer me the certainty that I will be finding solutions to my problems in two years from now.
I have built a highly customized shop full of hacks and my own template designs and I realize that no shop can offer me what I want without me messing with the code myself. But what I like in Virtuemart is that very often what I want has been already done by some other user who has generously shared his code. If I have a problem then it's pretty possible that someone else has solved it before me. I don't have to wait for support to answer my questions, especially since most times they are about new features that aren't even implemented.
Of course the developers should be aware that in the fluid world of software, it's pretty possible that another product may appear that will eventually attract more users and so VM's greatest advantage will disappear. So they have to stay free AND antagonistic.
It's a pity, it must have been nice on its day.
The project is not abandoned.
As it is clearly stated in our webpage (product page) the product had 6 months of free support when it was launched, after that period we have only payed support. The extension is FREE (as free beer) but unfortunately we can not afford to support it for free. So as stated in the product page all support is available for Club Members only. Club Members have also access to other (non free) downloads too.
The subforum is visible only for club members.
The updates resulted of the payed support are made available to the community, so i think there is a benefit to it even for non paying users.
Rating the product 2 stars is in my opinion pretty harsh, since the extension is fully functional in Joomla 1.5 and 1.6 and without any known issues. if you like a support session for your installation we would gladly do it.