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Branding Free (split from 'Version number?')

Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by kyrgyz, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. erich37

    erich37 Well-Known Member

    I do agree it is bizarre, but if you go to another country outside the U.K., you will find that the U.K.-Ltd. does not enjoy a good reputation which is mainly because non-U.K. individuals are able to set-up companies in the U.K. and therefore they have a much lower liability in case their company goes bancrupt.

    It is nothing against the U.K. people or the U.K. corporate law, it is rather because it costs around EUR 20K to EUR 30K to incorporate a limited company like say in Germany (so literally the liability will be EUR 20K to EUR 30K).
    So when I am operating a website dedicated to the german-market, and german users will see the word "Ltd." in the footer, they will not have much "trust" in my very own website.

    It happened that the corporate-form of a U.K.-incorporated companies got very bad press in the media (like in Austria and Germany) and even the local "Chamber of Commerce Organizations" are warning people to be aware of websites which are operated as a U.K.-Ltd.

    Well, the politics and economic-leaders (like in austria and Germany) just do not want us to incorporate our companies in the U.K., they want us to incorporate our companies in our home-country to justify themselves (their crappy politics).
    So the politics here and the business-media is bashing U.K.-Ltd. companies for not being "trustful".

    So to summarize: this is just a political and economic topic in the end.

    I am fine to have a "Powered by XenForo.com" and a Link to XF.com , just the words "Ltd." and "Limited" I need to drop off.
  2. Kuma

    Kuma Active Member

    But its not someone from Germany, or some other random country having a Limited, they're UK citizens in the UK who have a Limited from their home company.

    If they go back to the site, they will see limited anyway.

    Is it not the same with vBulletin?
  3. Kier

    Kier XenForo Developer Staff Member

    Why was this not an issue for vBulletin, when the footer we used stated:

    Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.x
    Copyright ©2000 - 2010, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

    Eriksrocks likes this.
  4. DSF

    DSF Well-Known Member

    Yes, it's bizarre.

    I know the relationships. :)
    Only my/our customers, banks and insurance companies, have a problem with. They believe all software comes from Microsoft with billions of dollars in the background. :D
  5. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    So does that mean forum owners would have a footer such as this?

    Forum software by XenForo™, ©2010 XenForo Ltd. Clip The Apex © 2008-2010

    It seems a bit odd having 2 copyright statements in there.
  6. Waddy

    Waddy Active Member

    I don't really understand why the UK ltd moniker has such a bad press outside the UK, it's certainly the first time I've heard of the issue. I suspect it may be protectionism if it is foreign chambers of commerce who are suggesting it is so evil.
    Kier likes this.
  7. Been Told

    Been Told Well-Known Member

    No, it really has nothing to do with that. It's as both erich and I have explained.
    There is no other country in Europe (that I know of) where you can start a limited liability company for only a couple hundred Euros. It has become the modus operandi of many scammers, criminals and other such individuals and organizations to form a Ltd. company in the UK and operate from there. I realize that people IN the UK don't hear much about that, because it's not an issue over there.
    However, I'm sure there is information about that in English somewhere.

    To clarify the issue a little more, let me give you an example.
    A German man forms a company, ABC Ltd, in England. His business is "a lottery" of some kind. So the guy makes a website with a nice "about us" page. The company name is ABC Ltd, the address is some suite in an office building somewhere in London. In truth it is only a forwarding address or something of the kind.
    So guy starts writing letters to thousands of residents in Germany and tells them in those letters that they have won €10000. All they need to do is call this number: 0900-XXXXXX (0900 numbers are premium numbers in Germany and can cost up to several Euros per minute).
    Some people actually do call that number. They spend maybe 5, maybe 10, maybe 30 minutes on the phone.
    Nothing comes of it. Then, the next month they receive a very high phone bill. They decide that they probably were scammed. So, what do they do?
    They could, for example, sue the company for the €10000 that they are supposed to have won.
    Now, the guy who formed ABC Ltd notices that he is getting a lot of angry letters and some legal heat. What does he do?
    Nothing, that's what. The only address that he has in England is not a physical address of residence or place of business. It's just a forwarding address.

    The victims figure out that they were scammed. They could fly to England, hire a lawyer and sue the company. However, the company was formed with (for example) 100 GBP of capital and is only liable up to that amount. Plus, the laws in the UK and Germany are very different in many aspects and that is just the beginning of it. Jurisdiction is an issue as well.
    So the victims figure: with hardly any chance of success, it's not worth it. They don't sue. They pay their phone company the money that they now owe them. The scammer ABC Ltd. get their share that the phone company owes them. The criminal is home free.
    Now, if he makes sure that his scam doesn't get too big (more attention, more chance of trouble), he can do this many times under many different company names.
    You can't do this with any other legal form easily accessible to Europeans. Maybe there are some countries in Asia or Eastern Europe where you could do something similar. But there is the language barrier. Everyone speaks English (more or less) in the business world. But doing something like this in Latvia or Romania might be a lot more difficult. And it is more expensive too.

    Now - those things are not an issue in the UK, Ireland, Australia or anywhere else that have the legal form Ltd. Because all the hurdles I just described do not exist for them. That is why a Ltd company is no problem there.

    @Kier - regarding the Jelsoft Ltd not being an issue in the footer: I doubt that XenForo Ltd. in the footer will be an issue. The few of us who it may be an issue for, will probably just buy the branding free option.

    Companies of a certain size may have trouble/misgivings about having a "Ltd." in their footer. But that really isn't something that XenForo Ltd can do anything about. I mean, vBulletin Germany had Jelsoft Ltd in the footer too. Doesn't look like it's done much harm to their business either.

    So in closing: yes, Ltd companies do raise suspicions in several European countries. But no, that does not mean that having "XenForo Ltd" in the footer is going to cause problems of more than trivial proportions. For the few of us who will have a problem with that, we will have to buy the branding free option.
  8. Ashley

    Ashley Business Guy Staff Member

    In simple (and perfectly reasonable) terms, our branding is as shown in the footer. XenForo is a UK registered company, because that is how businesses are set up in the UK. Soon enough, there will be forums using XenForo which will support the authenticity of xenforo.com and anyone who has any suspicion is very welcome to ask us or they can check with those already running XenForo communities to ensure that we provide XenForo forum software :)

    We feel strongly about the branding being displayed, for obvious reasons and want forums to clearly display that they are using XenForo with the branding - Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010 XenForo Ltd It is up to all of us to help anyone who is suspicious of a company being inappropriate, UK or otherwise.

    Conversely, those who wish to remove the branding may do so, having acquired the necessary branding free license.
    EQnoble likes this.
  9. Been Told

    Been Told Well-Known Member

    Exactly. I see no real problem there.
  10. Ashley

    Ashley Business Guy Staff Member

    We see that scam in or from the UK as well - it still surprises me that people think you can get something for nothing. :(
  11. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    So would XenForo have a problem with e.g. this footer?


    Just trying to get an idea as to what is and isn't permitted under the terms of the licence.

    I personally don't want any elements outside the bottom nav bar.
  12. Floris

    Floris Guest

    Once it is all on the frontpage, as a service, option, policy, etc .. we will know, and know the details.
  13. Been Told

    Been Told Well-Known Member

    Now that you mention it... I remember that when I was living in Glasgow, someone sent me a letter saying I'd won soandso many pounds in the national Dutch lottery. :D
    I was German, the letter came from England and the winning amount was in GBP. Awesome. :D
  14. Kier

    Kier XenForo Developer Staff Member

    I'm fine with that. So long as the text Forum software by XenForo(TM). (C)2010 XenForo Ltd. and the link remains intact and clearly viewable, you may place it wherever you like.
  15. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member


    Thanks for the clarification.
  16. erich37

    erich37 Well-Known Member


    so are you saying when I want to put the following into the footer of my very own Forum-website, I would need to buy a branding-free-licence ?

    Meaning: do I need to purchase a branding-free-licence when I want to drop-off the word "Ltd." ?

    Forum software by XenForo™ ©2010
  17. Erik

    Erik Well-Known Member

    I guess I was wrong. :)
  18. Ashley

    Ashley Business Guy Staff Member

    That looks fine.
    edit - Kier said it already - doh!
  19. James

    James Well-Known Member

    Does this include putting the text as an image to prevent search engines from scanning it?
    What about adding rel=nofollow attributes?

    Not the kind of things I ever bother doing... but I figured I'd ask to get it out of the way :)
  20. Ashley

    Ashley Business Guy Staff Member

    The copyright/branding is the ~whole~ line.

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