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Is the Cali Case harming VBSI's reputation?

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Kim, May 18, 2011.


Do you believe Internet Brands and vBulletin brand are damaged by the lawsuit against Xenforo?

  1. Not at all

    2 vote(s)
  2. Somewhat damaging to IB

    6 vote(s)
  3. Yes it is damaging, but not enough for me to do anything about it personally.

    6 vote(s)
  4. Yes!

    30 vote(s)
  5. Extremely damaging to vBulletin - I have totally changed software based on it.

    38 vote(s)
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  1. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    I have no wish to derail the California Case thread... so have moved this to a new thread.

    A licence is a license regardless of being "for profit" or not, any license not sold by any forum software company hurts that company.. but it doubly hurts when it goes to your opposition.

    The longer this goes on, the greater the damage to IB's reputation, the greater the damage to the esprit d'corps of the vBulletin company and development team, and the less they are focussed on producing a better product and getting themselves out of the quagmire they have put themselves in.... and thus eventually they will be hurt by it, even with the die hard fanboy/toolazytomove/corporate inertia crowd who cling to the product in the face of the current problems they have.

    Similarly, the longer they can drag this out, the more it hurts Xenforo also, as the more fence sitters or people who are worried will be driven into the arms of another company.. (typically Invision Power Board from responses here) Currently you would have to say that is IPS is the only winner from this lawsuit .... picking up the overflow of dissatisfied vBulletin customers who are shopping around for a new solution.

    So both parties are being hurt by this lawsuit, ultimately only one party will win, but both will lose.

    Unless there is zero justice in the US system, that winner will be Xenforo.
  2. jonsidneyb

    jonsidneyb Well-Known Member

    IB is looking more and more foolish as time goes on.
    EQnoble, Dodgeboard and Kim like this.
  3. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    IMHO they looked foolish from the beginning :)
  4. User

    User Well-Known Member

    I agree. Just to clarify:

    In my experience enthusiasts boards don't look at things quite the same as for-profit boards. If I run a board about basketweaving and I have some 300 users 50 of whom are active, then it really doesn't matter to me which way the lawsuit goes. If I can't use XF tomorrow I will just move to a different script and not think twice about it because it's a hobby and I don't take things too seriously.

    If I run a board about basketweaving and I have 30,000 users and 5,000 active then it matters a great deal to the bottom line of my income from that board whether the script I am using will still be viable tomorrow. Any significant change to the functionality of the site will result in loss of visitors/members. Sometimes only for a period of time but sometimes permanently because they simply don't like something or other about the new script.

    I used to run a forum that had 5k members, around 85% active, 400-ish online at any one time and I finally switched it from phpbb2 to vB3.5 and a significant number of them were up in arms over something or other (vB had better avatar and sig controls, just as an example, so sig standards were automagically enforced rather than mods having to cite people, etc.).

    I would assume that for-profit boards will do anything they can to avoid switching scripts unless it's absolutely necessary (like the vB 3.8 crowd will have to switch soon™) because a switch can negatively affect revenue (yes, it can also positively affect revenue, the switch from phpbb to vB certainly did that for me even though I had to deal with drama).

    As far as the poll goes though, I am willing to bet good money that most vB admins aren't even aware that vB was sold and that there is a lawsuit.
    EQnoble and Kim like this.
  5. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    I do hear what you are saying, but the reality is the investment is not that huge no matter what happens, and those kind of Forum Rebellions you referred to at the possible change of software can occur at any time over anything.. it is up to the Admin team and management of a site to show strong leadership through changes or forum crises, I have seen people walk off an incredibly busy site and start a new one over new management, over a massive forum war over nothing, poor moderation, the loss of key members.. there are any number of reasons a forum will implode.... I doubt a change of software if handled well and professionally would be one of them... it all hinges on how good you are as a manager of your site, I would have to assume that anyone running a "for profit" site is very good at managing a community.

    Using your example... and of course this is purely hypothetical (as was your example above)

    I run a basketweaving forum with 30,000 members and 5,000 active members... I currently use Forum Solution X... something happens with that solution (this could be myriad things, but for the sake of your argument let's call it a failled defence of a lawsuit, and an inability to proceed with the product) let's say I charge my membership $5 per month to access my site... and I have Advertising worth another $1000 per month.. which gives me a monthly income of $26,000.

    My "investment" in my board that I stand to lose if there is a catastrophe with my software.... I might have spent $140.00 or $195... or whatever on my license.. I might even have spend $500 on a business license... I might have invested in a Custom Theme (let's say $1000) I might have had one or two custom modifications for another $1000.. Gods.. let's go mental and say I have invested a grand total of $5000 in my Forum set up, the site is still massively ahead.

    I am really failing to see how this is a major issue to any "real" for profit site. If profit margins are slim or non-existant then it might be an issue.. but if they are... then it is hardly a "for profit" site.. or not a very successful one.

    I can more readily believe that Xenforo might not have all I need to run my for profit site right now.. but the notion that some legal case result is going to cripple or kill a "for profit" site is not in my opinion very sound supposition.
  6. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Yep, I voted on the last option... that is what did me over. They won't get me back now either... even if they made a better product in the future, their attitude now sunk them with me. If XF all fell down 10 years down the track, I would go to IPB or other competitor before ever returning to VB.

    They should have left it at courtesy and best wishes for XF and they wouldn't have lost further customers.
    Shelley, Jethro, Renada and 3 others like this.
  7. Forsaken

    Forsaken Well-Known Member

    I left before than, but I had kept my licenses for a rainy day.

    I got rid of them soon as possible after the lawsuit hit.
    EQnoble, Peggy and Kim like this.
  8. TheLaw

    TheLaw Well-Known Member

    I don't really think in terms of "rebellion" as I'm not going to cut off my nose to spite my own face. The other posters raised some good issues and explained this perfectly. But in this instance, there are certain facts that are interesting.

    IB decided to change the licensing structure on their own accord a few years ago to front load the revenues. The serious dangers of this are that if you don't deliver, you'll be paying expenses for a long time without seeing a dime in recurring revenue that you'd see with the annual maintenance model. IB collected all the money they can expect to obtain from you - the licensed VB 4 user - at the time of the purchase point. Using the product isn't helping them at all. And as a result of their being nowhere near the point of being able to ask for more money for VB 5, you've seen precious little development on VB 4 done and the past 6 months have been all about integrating unnecessary and potentially needless add-ons for what is likely some up-front cash payments, in the hope of limiting the monthly bleeding.
  9. Onimua

    Onimua Well-Known Member

    As far as I have seen (before we know the "true" nature of IB as we're all familiar with now), they don't really seem to care about their reputation. There have been a bunch of communities/businesses that Internet Brands has acquired that have gone under or suffered greatly from the acquisition, and as a result they have received lawsuits and, I'm assuming this isn't new, perhaps also sued others.

    Generally speaking, I highly doubt this is something new for them. It just seems new to us because we've been affected by it. They just care about the bottom line and pleasing share holders. As long as they made more money than the last quarter, no matter what actually happens, it's good in their books and they feel justified that whatever they've done is working and will continue to keep doing so.

    Besides, as long as you have a thesaurus and a good PR team, you can make any horrible situation sound pleasant. ;)
    Kim likes this.
  10. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    I can't stand their forums for the sheer number of ads... I have not registered onto one of them for that alone, as I don't believe I should have to fight through ads in order to get at the content, which is what makes a forum a community.
    Peggy and Kim like this.
  11. CyclingTribe

    CyclingTribe Well-Known Member

    TBH I don't know that many people are aware of IB's games, outside of us techy-natured forum admin's I mean, so I'm not sure how big an impact it will actually have on IB's business?

    Most people who own forum licenses don't necessarily keep abreast of the latest news from the developers of their chosen platform, and equally don't keep their eye on the various competitors and software trends. They just ... well ... run their forums!!

    That leaves you with a small bunch of customers who are "aware" and who take an interest t and have all the background info and have their nose to the ground etc., but the vast majority in blissful ignorance as to the nitty-gritty of what is going on behind the scenes.

    I expect it will have some negative impact on IB, but not a massive amount.

    The biggest damaged to IB's business appears to be coming from it's own management and programming teams. Sales are being front-loaded (so when the well runs dry 12-18 months later there are no funds for further development), and the programming is ... well ... seemingly not as good as their competitors, and so they are losing ground and losing customers along with it.

    I don't know where it's all heading, but my prediction - if things stay the same - is that XF and IPS will become the two big market players, and vB will be fondly remembers as the "once great" leading forum software of a bygone era!!!

    Shaun :D
    optrex, Peggy and Kim like this.
  12. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    I doubt you will find many forums with such a massive income :)
    Kim likes this.
  13. jmurrayhead

    jmurrayhead Well-Known Member

    The last option doesn't work for me, as I was already looking for a new software to switch to before the lawsuit and even before I knew XenForo existed. So I'm just going with "Yes! mutha f***r!" .
    Peggy, Kim and Anthony Parsons like this.
  14. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    No doubt you could be right Walter, it was a somewhat facetious exaggeration based on silly figures :)

    I have no idea what the person whom I quoted meant by "for profit" forums, nor what their income might be, the only professional Forums that I have an indepth familiarity with do in fact generate massive income per year in revenue....so it was certainly not an exaggeration based on the ones I do know about - but granted I don't believe that is typical :)

    It just seems like this argument is thrown around quite a bit.... by people who have no intention of buying the software and are by and largely just stirring the pot... the idea that "for profit" or "pro" forums are not buying Xenforo because they are worried about their investment. Or that they are not buying because they are desperately worried there might be a disruption to the board from some future event that might mean they might have to hypothetically switch to another unnamed forum software solution and some distant and unknown far off date. Gosh what nervous nellies these "pro forum" owners are it seems.

    There certainly might be some like that... for some people $140 usd is a lot of money.. but NOT if you are "for profit" or genuinely commercial site....that was my point :) I was trying to say, that if you are a genuine "for profit" forum, the potential risk of your license fee is piddling and not worth worrying about as any kind of genuine reason to NOT buy the software of your choice.

    There are real reasons I would more readily accept.. such as the software doesn't have "XYZ" mission critical feature, or you are more comfortable with an organisation with more than 10 months history.. etc etc.

    I would have thought that if Xenforo is the right software for you right now, then even as a "pro" "for profit" organisation you would go for it, rather than going with a second choice option for the sake of avoiding some vague notion of a future upset.. that is in reality very unlikely to happen.. or rather just as likely to happen for any number of reasons as I outlined above.
  15. Wuebit

    Wuebit Well-Known Member


    Extremely damaging to vBulletin - I have totally changed software based on it.

    You hit the nail on the head there Kim..
  16. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    But you know.. perhaps User is right, and that is a contributor...

    Or that is the justification many potential customers are putting on the fact they are worried about this lawsuit, and not buying because of it.

    There is no doubt that the lawsuit is hurting Xenforo sales.. and perhaps this thing I keep hearing about "pro forums" owners not going with Xenforo is just another avenue of this.

    I know of many Commercial forums who are using Xenforo, and are loving it, but there is also no getting around the fact that sadly this lawsuit is hurting Xenforo sales, as a certain type of person is not comfortable purchasing until the lawsuit is done with.

    To the member User.. I didn't mean this discussion to be any form of attack of you or your argument, just so you know, more curious as to the thinking than anything, and someone who loves to debate (as opposed to argue) and discuss issues.

    To anyone worried... Don't be... you have nothing to worry about IMHO.

    The way I see it very worst that could happen is that vBulletin gets Xenforo... If that happened, it would be a horrible and unjust turn of events for the directors of Xenforo.. but Internet Brands would not kill off the opportunity to rip more money out of your hot little hands down the line.... so your license would be safe.
    Peggy likes this.
  17. DPF

    DPF Active Member

    Why would internet brands take over and manage two projects, and like anyone here would send them any sort of monetary currency. They can't even manage the one project they have right, and I'd venture to say most xF users are vBulletin defects even still at this stage.

    Honestly to me it makes internet brands look like a pile of steaming crap after reading their dispositions, its clear that most the people there truly have no clue of anything other than Kier and Mike worked for vBulletin at one time, after that it turns in to what appears to be accusations that we aren't privileged enough to know the facts 100% on. (Such as Kier not moving vBulletin to Internet Brands servers in a timely manner, dragging their feet on developing 4.0 and Mike taking and not returning documents).
  18. James

    James Well-Known Member

    I actually agree with this, mainly because I had no idea that vBulletin was sold to IB until 2009. I was happy with my 3.x product and didn't particularly care about what was happening within the company, because what I had worked - and it worked well.
    Kim likes this.
  19. FredC

    FredC Well-Known Member

    • Strike 1, new licensing structure.
    • Strike 2, false promises regarding vB4.
    • Strike 3, XF lawsuit.. (actually it was the implied threat to its customer that dared purchase an XF license in the announcement on vB's official forum.)
    Three strikes and your out!!!!​

    So i wouldn't say it was the only factor but it was the deciding factor.. But in reality the XF platform spoke for itself and was the single biggest reason why i moved away.. I cant say for certain if i would have jumped ship and moved to IPB if XF wasn't an option.
    GodForum.com, Jethro, Renada and 3 others like this.
  20. Kim

    Kim Well-Known Member

    I think you are totally right, I met a lady at a dinner party a while ago and we got chatting, turns out she has a fairly largish and fairly active vB site...so we spent a while talking about forums etc.. it's always a surprise to meet someone in real life that has any idea about forums.... least of all runs one!

    But anyway.. to back your statement up.. at the time vB had just launched the insane pricing model of no more owned licences and gimme all your money NOW... this lady had zero idea, had not gotten the emails, was totally unaware they would have to re-purchase their software.

    So both you and User are correct in that most Admins don't know.. nor do they care unless they are forced too.... they are going to be forced too soon if they want support for their 3.x boards.

    I think a lot would CARE though, if they did know.
    James likes this.
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