Since CMP can get boring rather quickly, for me at least, I think there should be some small minigames or something similar to keep it interesting. A plugin like MobArena, and make a parkour arena, etc. I haven't moderated/ran a premium server in years so I'm not sure how much has changed.
Generally, yeah classic is fucked to begin with, the whole community has been dying exponentially since they took the link off of minecraft.net. It's just fun to occasionally hop on and fuck around. As for popularity, Pad and others are working on a CMP that might bring in a few more fuckin degenerates.