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Vanillaforums wrote me

phreakphreak Vanilla*APP (White Label) & Vanilla*Skins Shop MVP
edited December 2012 in Feedback

Hi Baby Forum team,

I wanted to reach out to you since we noticed that you have a strong community that would benefit from being hosted by us.

Our hosted product offers many features that the open software does not, we would offer a free migration to all users of our open source forums product.

If you have any inquiries about migration, theme configuration or pricing you can visit our website here or we can set up a call.

Looking forward hearing from you,

Fred Pullin / Vanilla Forums Inc
Vanilla Forums on Twitter
Me on Twitter

Hi Fred,

I'm using Vanilla since 2006. Did you check this in my profile before writing me an email with your offer.
Also i often described, that i need a lot more things running on my server (CMS, Newsletter-Software, ...)
Migration? I'm already running Vanilla. ;)
Theme config: I made my theme ?!

Maybe you should know your possible clients better!

I'd love to use the features of the hosting service but they are far too expensive for me. Especially when it comes to simple plugins like "Post Count", "File Upload" and so on... just for this switching to $149 Dollars a month?

Vanillaforums Plans & Pricing are a bit far away form the reality of monetizing websites in Europe, especially Austria.
(Which is by the way the 11th richest country in the world by GDP).

Love to hear your return,


Mmh, didn't really get to the point. I actually wanted to say that the plugins not included in the hosted solution "small group" are too important, so i would have to switch to the advanced package. Also here it's not really possible to monetize on that level with a limit of 300k pageviews. :/

  • VanillaAPP | iOS & Android App for Vanilla - White label app for Vanilla Forums OS
  • VanillaSkins | Plugins, Themes, Graphics and Custom Development for Vanilla


  • Yeah although I like the hosted service, the feature creep they do to justify price tiers doesn't really make sense. From what I have seen in the support forums, they have been turning on image upload for the bottom tier accounts on request because it really doesn't make any sense to deny that feature.

  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    edited December 2012

    @phreak I'm not sure why you chose to reply to Fred on the forum rather than email - that in itself was rude and a poor way to start a dialogue or ask a question. That he did not research you long enough to find you were a vanillaforums.org community member doesn't seem a grievous sin. Sorry it offended your sensibilities to receive a marketing email. :P

    Since you seem very curious about our plans with specific regard to addons: We market plans based on volume and customer service level. While we do reserve many addons for the Advanced+ levels, this is really about service. Clients who require a larger number of addons are usually those who will be requesting a higher level of hands-on contact from the staff anyway and should be consulting with us. We also have a common problem where someone signs up for the lowest tier, turns on every plugin (making their site a mess), and then start filing support tickets because they have conflicts.

    They seem like trivial options to you because you understand how to use them correctly. When someone requests specific plugins, we usually turn them on regardless of plan level (within reason). And lastly, the pageviews is a guideline for picking an appropriate plan with appropriate support, not a hard limit. When you get to 310K we don't kick you off the low tier.

  • phreakphreak Vanilla*APP (White Label) & Vanilla*Skins Shop MVP
    edited December 2012

    @Lincoln: Thanx for your honest return. I did return this E-Mail to Fred and also received another reply. So we are in a conversation and i am not about to post all these messages here. I also agree with you when you call it a "rude and a poor way". I'm totally with you on this. But (as very often) it brought some insights to me and that was the reason why i wanted to share that.

    First of all i recognized through Freds mail that it seem like that the arm between the self-hosted users (usually in every Open Source software a community, marketing and also development or feedback) and the Vanilla company is a thin and spiritless one. Yeah, i wrote no code line (as @Tim already statet and made it sunk, but i'm on board of Vanilla since 2006, supporting it in many small ways (filling a little Wikipedia, Commenting, Sharing my Forum-Data with you, Voting for Vanilla, German translations, ...).

    Nothing big, but steady supporting. I'm doing this because i love Vanilla. Think about more people loving Vanilla, let's say 500 more and think of the impact this would make... now lets check the first 7 discussion pages for active users, big love there, but probably not more there than two dozens of self hosted users. I wouldn't call this a backbone, but still you leave this option open.

    Ok, so why is that? Maybe Vanilla doen't want more self-hosted users (yo, those are also drivers of development!) or maybe the reason is that communication is very indirect and full of missunderstandings and the self-hosters feel like not giving much in, because of not feeling treated very well (information about future development, is from march, no perspective on Badges and stuff).

    Missunderstandings: For my part i mean sorry I'd never tested the hosting service but also nobody told me that i can have the full plugin package and also a fair-use-rule on the Page Views by choosing the Small Group Plan (Tier 1). I, crossing the vanilla-site at least 2 days a week didn't understand the pricing model because it says something different. It's just not transparent and open, it's made up by something. Maybe i'm stupid (stupid could still be a customer) or the communication was misleading for someone knowing Vanilla like me for quite some years.

    Lincoln, i do not want to offend anybody, i'm just asking you for giving the self-hosters who are not developers or generate a steady income with their board a perspective on Vanilla > a little information on what is the future, what we can do, how we can support this project to get some back. Dear Vanilla's... you'll see it will be more fun for both of us. Nobody of the self-hosters is asking for full feature support, they know open source. Most of them are willing to pay for Badges, Reactions, Polls or additional features (by the way a cool integration would be checkboxes for those features to be turned on and being processed to a PayPal Payment).

    By posting Freds email i just wanted to show the peak of the iceberg of a relationship suffering (yaya, i know pathetic) of communications. Vanilla is blocking future perspectives while this communities backbone is run by a few who are holding the flag.

    Would love to hear your opinion on this (hopefully not sunk or deleted). I think dialogues like this can be very productive.

    • VanillaAPP | iOS & Android App for Vanilla - White label app for Vanilla Forums OS
    • VanillaSkins | Plugins, Themes, Graphics and Custom Development for Vanilla
  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    edited December 2012

    It's gallingly ironic to be complaining about lack of dev info and a stale stable release a week after I post a major announcement about the next version. I worked all weekend just to do that much (including scrubbing thru the entire GitHub list and closing dozens of issues for the release branch) because our workload is basically double what a sane schedule should be.

    If you've been here 6 years, then I'd think you've seen us reply to the "why can't we have every hosted addon" question enough times you could save me the agony of replying to it again.

  • phreakphreak Vanilla*APP (White Label) & Vanilla*Skins Shop MVP
    edited December 2012

    It is not ironic to complain about dev info, when there was not much info the months before. Also just exemplaric the thread you mentioned just leaded into some confusion than to more information. Wouldn't it be a good idea to put information like new integrations and stuff into your initial posting from the beginning (this could be so easy by just adding some points, let's check how others do it > Contao > I'm engaged in this project.

    I totally appreciate the work you put into Vanilla fixing the issues, adding features and so on. I'd never took that down. Being present at so many stages is much work of course. Thank you.

    With being almost 12 years in the open source scene and some years on board of Vanilla i'm not the salt in the soup. Please understand that. The soup (Vanilla's open source concept) is salty and Vanilla flavour is most likely delivered with pudding ;)... meaning that you lose users/power/feedback and speed by that policy, some of you guys communicate the wrong way (it's like a musician spitting to the audience while they ask for another song and wanted to pay for that).

    To me the "We give specific plugins to the community, because they are sensible regarding server settings and we don't want to handle the support requests coming" - explanation sounds like an excuse to differentiate the hosted plan from the open source software. I might take @unixhero's Statement here again in memento. It's a partially different user base. And to be frank an direct: Plugins like "Polls", "User Ranks" and "Extended user fields" are usually not server killers or something people would ask for a lot of support if integrated wisely.

    And i think you guys are specialists. I hope one day i get an answer i can understand regarding hidding features from community motors like self hosters. And i never asked for having it for free.

    • VanillaAPP | iOS & Android App for Vanilla - White label app for Vanilla Forums OS
    • VanillaSkins | Plugins, Themes, Graphics and Custom Development for Vanilla
  • phreakphreak Vanilla*APP (White Label) & Vanilla*Skins Shop MVP
    edited December 2012

    GREAT! This discussion is on sunk. How does it come that community specialists like you do something like that?

    • VanillaAPP | iOS & Android App for Vanilla - White label app for Vanilla Forums OS
    • VanillaSkins | Plugins, Themes, Graphics and Custom Development for Vanilla
  • phreak you really seem to have a axe to grind, going by previous encounters.

    We get that you are a long term customer, however you come across as know it all, and expecting special treatment. Other people who have been around just as long get on fine.

    Open Source is not one thing, it is not one culture, despite the myths.

    The hosted solution is not open source or even distributed (by definition if you don't distributed something if not subject to that sort of licence).

    You may not like their business model but it is their business model. It is only that that is released that is open source, their business model is not open source. Their business model includes open source software, but they are not open sourcing their whole business, and few if any businesses do that.

    I think people really get hung up on the concept of open source, and licensing in general a read way too much into it.

    Open source means you can fork the project, contribute, or expect it as is. It is that simple. All the other stuff is frankly guff.

    grep is your friend.

  • LincLinc Detroit Admin
    edited December 2012

    @phreak said:
    GREAT! This discussion is on sunk. How does it come that community specialists like you do something like that?

    Because we can see what's coming.

    @phreak said:
    And i never asked for having it for free.

    No, you asked us to change our business model to suit you and build a new infrastructure for supporting paid downloadable software. You seriously think we haven't investigated that option? The math doesn't work at our scale; it's not a sustainable business plan yet. If you think it's such a profitable plan, then do it. Start a business and sell plugins to the OS community. Otherwise, stop it.

    The bitter irony is you are arguing with the one person in the company who favors outright open sourcing most of our addons. You're so bent on getting things situated the way you want now that you're alienating the only person who agrees with your perspective while demonstrating to the rest how right they are for not releasing it - who needs more headaches from entitled community complaints? Brilliant strategy. Real diplomacy in action.

This discussion has been closed.