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A Letter from the CEO

  • February 23, 2019 10:27 AM EST
    PeppaPigKilla said:
    I’ve just read this bit. Not sure how I missed it off the email. If I Self-Host will I have to Pay any Monthly Fees? Our goal is to make SocialEngine Unite affordable for everyone while balancing our company’s need for a more up to date business model. In order to provide continual updates and features, we will charge low monthly fees for any SocialEngine apps that you choose to use. Our current app fees range from $0-$4 monthly. I understand the need to have a more consistent income and “renting” apps seems to be the norm now for a lot of places but I don’t think monthly is right. So if I was to add the apps currently listed by unite they would total $31 a month. So over a 12 month period is $372 which for a yearly thing is rather insane. The above doesn’t include core as selfhosting I would assume there is no monthly fee for core for existing licence holders. I also assume that credits would be the currency for legacy licence holders to exchange for these apps and they will have a limited time for which the credits would cover on the subscription of these apps. I’d rather have an annual or bi annual fee. Introducing this subscription base service for self hosted means that the support has to be premier. Please please please don’t bring vanilla forums here. ( don’t think you are but please don’t invade it’s an option ) that said will it be in-house built forums or a 3rd party provider like ips xenforo etc

     

    Sounds to me like you're sort of answering your own question. And yet it's a concern we both share.

    I think, a good business model would be a monthly fee for all core apps. And then use it as a bundle package for self hosted clients, similar to how it's done now. The fee would be less than paying for each app recurring, but so long as it is paid, it includes all core and future core apps plus app support on verified hosts. via discounts, you could get  lots of clients online using this business model. If you wanted your own configuration, you'd pay just for core and no support, and set it all up yourself.

    Because we're dealing with nodeJS and not php, this may cause a huge learning curve for regular web hosts. So being aware of this fact, may mean that when self hosted becomes available to purchase, the newest million dollar complaint will be how can I get this working on shared hosts or others with only php availability? Including VPS functionality in some hybrid circumstances. For dedicated servers, what you do with your server is up to you. But you need to be an advanced sysadmin to get things started. Which brings me to my second reason why the pricing model doesn't make sense.

    Demand. If you can't get it working on your own because so many hosts do use PHP, more people will want to buy social engine PHP for precisely this reason. When it goes away, it won't matter how stable Unite is, let alone popular. Because the bottom line will still be that PHP is prodominantly the foreground for at least 96% of hosting providers. Ensuring that people who want NodeJS will need to spend a lot more just on hosting to be able to get it. Another reason why TMD wouldn't work for a verified Social engine provider, as a modern day representation of this fact. So you'd be forced to limit yourself to companies which may or may not be the best fit in terms of budget for everyone. If cloud provider requirements were to update, and a company lose their business, then providing site backups especially if you're moving away from something cpanel controlled will be essential to the majority of clients. So I say again, the pricing model works great for cloud and social engine hosted sites. but not for self hosted, due to the costs of just getting the backend to function properly on a server by server basis.

    What we need is a bundle solution. A year's worth of core updates for one low price. Even $100.00 a year for all core apps would be fine with me. But paying for say 100 200 even 500 little tiny apps per month? I don't think this is going to work out, especially if little tiny apps have their own database structure that couldn't be accessed if you suddenly decided to not pay the fee anymore.

  • February 23, 2019 10:38 AM EST
    Donna said:
    Elshara Silverheart said:

     

    In terms of a hybrid site, I vote against this for now until there's a full importer in place to merge the two social engine community sites under one roof on unite.

    It's an idea we are kicking around just to show it works. Once Unite dl version is ready, this forum would be migrated to Unite as I mapped out a kick butt forum. :)

    Regarding option 3, requiring a constant connection to offload app content remotely online may not work out well for sites who use social engine as an intranet within a private organization.

    That would be the enterprise solution as the ones doing that are businesses. We will have a way for them to do that.

     

    In some cases, localized network hosting for families and others in the household who want to communicate through a network of sorts to save paper and pencil writing may need such an alternative. While it is true that this solution would need access to the internet to function well, localhost hosting is important to me now as I use it a lot for private personal testing.

    • 6 posts
    February 25, 2019 3:43 PM EST

    I suggest that those existing PHP license holders such as myself pay a discounted upgrade fee like we did when we upgraded from V2 to V3. Webligo only decided that V3 holders upgrade to V4 for free when it came around. I'm willing to go that way than pay monthly for a self hosted solution for Unite, it adds to the costs on top of monthly hosting/server rental fees, then just an annual fee for updates and support but the script can still be used. 

    This would please those who spent already $$$$ for customization and ridiculous third party fees that I feel predatory at times - no offense to third party devs, but that's how I felt when many of the features they offer should have been added to the core only the previous team handling them wont. 

    I think this would be a win/win for both existing license holders and Webligo... or probably it's just me :p

    As for me I only play around with SE in an offline install and play around on demos. My market has changed drastically that's why I stopped using social network scripts by 2014 as everyone in our audience is content on Facebook.


    This post was edited by Glenn O at February 25, 2019 3:43 PM EST
    • 147 posts
    February 26, 2019 11:56 AM EST
    ^^^ on point.
    • 211 posts
    March 1, 2019 1:36 PM EST

     

    3DP delivery and development cycle

    -------------------------------------------

    Is this how it will play out? Wondering aloud..

    if so, im guesstimating would take about 9 to 12 months...

     

    -SE will release all basic  apps (music,video,forum etc..) in the near future for Unite/Cloud

    - then 3dps will follow by releasing advanced apps for Unite/Cloud

    - SE will release self hosted + native apps (music,video,forum etc..) 

    -3DPs will start migrating their old plugins to self-hosted apps (they might skip this step totally)

    -3Dps will release brand advanced new custom apps for self-hosted

     

    Just wondering..

     


    This post was edited by playmusician at March 1, 2019 1:39 PM EST
    • 147 posts
    March 1, 2019 3:09 PM EST
    playmusician said:

     

    3DP delivery and development cycle

    -------------------------------------------

    Is this how it will play out? Wondering aloud..

    if so, im guesstimating would take about 9 to 12 months...

     

    -SE will release all basic  apps (music,video,forum etc..) in the near future for Unite/Cloud

    - then 3dps will follow by releasing advanced apps for Unite/Cloud

    - SE will release self hosted + native apps (music,video,forum etc..) 

    -3DPs will start migrating their old plugins to self-hosted apps (they might skip this step totally)

    -3Dps will release brand advanced new custom apps for self-hosted

     

    Just wondering..

     

    This tickled me. 

     

    I would like to see the core apps be amazing out the box and no need for a 3dp to " enhance " and rather 3pds concentrate on making something new that doesn't exist. 

     

    A huge on apart from already purchased plugins ( and I suppose actually the same for them ) is will 3pds also do rent-a-plugins. 

     

    Brace yourself people, this is going to be very expensive if so. 


    This post was edited by PeppaPigKilla at March 1, 2019 3:11 PM EST
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    • 3124 posts
    March 2, 2019 5:07 AM EST

    We mentioned we have apps in the works with advanced features. The current apps are good to use for most sites. However, we know clients want more advanced options and I've mapped some great stuff for each app. This will give clients options to build on. Hopefully, this will spur on more creative offerings from 3rd parties as well since that's what clients keep asking for. 

    • 147 posts
    March 2, 2019 5:12 AM EST

    Excellent information Donna, I really look forward to seeing whats coming. 

    • Moderator
    • 3124 posts
    March 2, 2019 5:16 AM EST

    Me too! I want the advanced forum (will probably name these something else) for here and the advanced blog for my own site as it'll rival WordPress in features (except that new editor, hate that thing). 

    • 353 posts
    March 2, 2019 10:30 AM EST

    My biggest hope is that everything that is developed is done so with monetization in mind. Member level access to various features of apps, EASY administration control of it and a fully functional gateway system that allows us to really deliver a great buying experience on our sites.

    • Moderator
    • 3124 posts
    March 3, 2019 7:22 PM EST
    ITLJames said:

    My biggest hope is that everything that is developed is done so with monetization in mind. Member level access to various features of apps, EASY administration control of it and a fully functional gateway system that allows us to really deliver a great buying experience on our sites.

    Definitely is being designed for monetization too.

    • 2 posts
    March 3, 2019 8:31 PM EST
    Donna said:

    We mentioned we have apps in the works with advanced features. The current apps are good to use for most sites. However, we know clients want more advanced options and I've mapped some great stuff for each app. This will give clients options to build on. Hopefully, this will spur on more creative offerings from 3rd parties as well since that's what clients keep asking for. 

    Donna how can we offer ideas for the advanced apps? I have bought a lot of apps over the years and would like to see better options if possible directly from SE. It seems like some of the 3pds make these plugins without some common sense stuff on purpose. JMO

    • Moderator
    • 3124 posts
    March 4, 2019 5:11 AM EST

    I've already answered your post in the other thread. Please don't post the same thing twice. 

  • TDB
    • 2 posts
    March 8, 2019 1:58 PM EST

    Donna,

    I'm cautiously excited about SocialEngine Unite. I love the idea and I hope the new platform will be just as robust and extensible (if not more) as SocialEngine PHP. I hope that the support (security patches and critical performance updates) for SE PHP will continue as long as necessary and not as set by an optimistic deadline. I've been down this road on two prior occasions with two separate platforms and both times were disasters. I trust that this experience will be different.

    I was at the crossroads with Ex Creators. After a nearly year and a half long hiatus, I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue on the SocialEngine PHP platform. After much considerations and months of weighing my options, I concluded that SE PHP was still the best way forward. Of course, I did not know about the plans to phase out the platform so I went ahead and purchased additional plugins and invested weeks in redesigning and tweaking. That's not something I regret doing because I believe there's a way forward with SocialEngine Unite assuming the platform will be as solid as SE PHP and will have the backing of third party devs like SocialEngineAddOns. 

    Good Luck to All

    Best Regards

    TDB
    excreators.com


    This post was edited by Donna at March 9, 2019 5:06 AM EST
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    March 9, 2019 5:05 AM EST
    TDB said:

    Donna,

    I'm cautiously excited about SocialEngine Unite. I love the idea and I hope the new platform will be just as robust and extensible (if not more) as SocialEngine PHP. I hope that the support (security patches and critical performance updates) for SE PHP will continue as long as necessary and not as set by an optimistic deadline. I've been down this road on two prior occasions with two separate platforms and both times were disasters. I trust that this experience will be different.

    I was at the crossroads with Ex Creators. After a nearly year and a half long hiatus, I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue on the SocialEngine PHP platform. After much considerations and months of weighing my options, I concluded that SE PHP was still the best way forward. Of course, I did not know about the plans to phase out the platform so I went ahead and purchased additional plugins and invested weeks in redesigning and tweaking. That's not something I regret doing because I believe there's a way forward with SocialEngine Unite assuming the platform will be as solid as SE PHP and will have the backing of third party devs like SocialEngineAddOns. 

    Good Luck to All

    Best Regards

    TDB
    excreators.com

    Thank you for your feedback and for choosing SocialEngine to continue your website.

    • 30 posts
    March 9, 2019 7:09 AM EST

    When SE PHP reaches EOL would you guys consider making it open source and placing the codebase on GitHub so that the community can continue to maintain it?

    I don't believe that the codebase can't be maintained and improved even with Zend as the framework. From an outsider with 2 licenses of SE PHP this seems more like a push to a new platform without a solid technical case being made to drop SE PHP.

     

    • 8 posts
    March 22, 2019 7:22 PM EDT
    Social Engine PHP needed an update since ages and the only reason many people are still using it is its affordable pricing.In this point of view the change is good.The other good think is hopefully more qualified devs can participate,because it happens I mainly work with devs from India.I dont mind if I had others choices,but because I don't have many choices,I do mind.
    What in my opinion as a client is wrong in the whole model of Social Engine is that the "core" (which can be used,as Donna mentioned even without modules ) doesn't really serve you to make a social community of a modern type without the necessity to use 3rd party plugins.
    The biggest mistake of the SE team is after so many years left the development of useful modules to others who are not related to SE.I as many others am buying these modules.If for example the basic Forum or the Wall posting was developed by SEs team and was in a good shape I wouldnt buy addons to fill up my DB for no reason.I am doing it because the basic modules from SE are not that good and this is it.
    For so many years on the market still there is no ready solution that allows the admin to delete modules safely from the panel....and many more.
    I think guys you have wasted so many years and opportunity to make not only good but an outstanding product.With the Unite am in doubts I will be happy to use your hosting in the Phillipines, and to pay 300$ a month for your basic modules,even if I could afford it, because if the basic modules for Unite are as good as those for SE PHP this means the initial investment for "affordable solution" will involve again 3rd parties and will easily exceed a grand or two.
    What I learned through the years with using social engine is you need to have patience and money.If you are missing one of these two required as a minimum you won't manage to succeed in a long term period.(I dont count as a success a social forum with 200 people).
    In many bligs and marketing articles Social engine is named a "white label" solution,but I can't fully agree with this.In my opinion "white label" for software is something beyond your own logo.
    It's hassle-free its good quality and people are happy to pay for it even if the price is high.
    As for "Unite" I think its fair enough-the good services cost money,but I am in doubt you will manage to convince people to buy your product because the pricing is affordable.
    4-10 bucks a month with hassle-free hosting and good support sounds like a good deal, but without investing in other things such as modules the whole "cheap" deal at the end is quite expensive. I don't think your "white label" ultra fast and very flexible SE business model will have very succesful future in a long term period.The technology changes is a step forward even if it comes so late.
    What bothers me is in future I will have to deal again with support teams from the other end of the world and send countless messages rather then thinking of new ideas.
    In fact I have doubt something will really change in the way how the SE operates and this is why am not quite sure where our paths separate. Probably around 2020 when SE PHP dies completely.
    Sorry for not trusting,the time might change my mind (I hope,but I don't believe so).

    • 62 posts
    April 9, 2019 1:06 PM EDT

    Thank you for all your comments. Our company prefer to host its own sites. We must be vigilant about data security and we need a very good server for our members. Let's hope that all the promises will be kept because we have invested a lot lately in our sites. (Addons etc ...) We are very worried because we spent a lot of time stabilizing our sites. Pray ... that everything is going well


    This post was edited by Lovea at April 9, 2019 1:10 PM EDT
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    • 3124 posts
    April 9, 2019 2:37 PM EDT

    Hi Lovea, I also have my own SEPHP site and am waiting for SE Unite download version. I plan to migrate it over to self hosted Unite too. For any that don't though, the SEPHP version will still work. There are no plans to make it not work. 

    • 3 posts
    April 18, 2019 5:02 AM EDT

    Hi,

    Having just read a lot of posts here I have to say I am a little confused by all of this! I bought SEPHP a couple years ago, why? Because out of all the other social scripts I could find, SE seemed to be the most comprehensive, stable and well supported one. Before I bought the PHP self hosted version I first tried the SECloud demo and frankly it was no where near as impressive as the hosted version, so that's the way I went.

    Also I, like a lot of others here also bought quite a lot of good 3rd party plugins and themes at expense. Now, I am only at a very basic level programming wise, and all this talk about APIs, Hybrid and such like just confuses me, let alone being able to make use of it! I have just tried the SEUnite hosted demo, and what do I think? Well, I have to honest here, "Rubbish"! Especially compared to the current PHP version.

    SE say they are doing all this as it's in the best interest for the company, well what about us customers? I bet you they would not dare to put all of this change to a vote?

    I would like to know some definite facts/info in laymen's terms because the more I read here, the more confused I am getting. Before I started to read all of this I was considering buying a new 3rd party theme and plugin, but I just don't know if it is just going to be wasted money!

    Is SEUnite going to be in a downloadable version?

    Will it eventually have all of the features of the current PHP version?

    Will my existing plugins and themes still work?

    I have yet to build a successful website, it's more of a hobby to me at the moment, if it takes off, it takes off. I have just reinstalled SEPHP on my domain to start afresh and it was while doing this that I came across this post. I have yet to install any of my 3rd party plugins and themes, but should I? Is it worth it? Should I just give up for now? I just don't know at the moment!

    And as far as all this talk of speed goes? Well speed maybe one thing but it does not out way quality and functionality as far as I am concerned.

    As far as cost is concerned, I am just a normal working bloke and I had to save up for SEPHP in the first place, the same goes for 3rd party stuff, so the prospect of a monthly fee is just not feasible to me at the moment!

    I for one, at the moment anyway, will not be going down the SEUnite route because I just don't get it!

     

    Thanks,

    Mark


    This post was edited by Mark Ransome at April 18, 2019 5:17 AM EDT
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    April 18, 2019 5:41 AM EDT
    Mark Ransome said:

    Is SEUnite going to be in a downloadable version?

    This was answered in the letter already.

    Will it eventually have all of the features of the current PHP version?

    Yes, this was answered in the letter.

    Will my existing plugins and themes still work?

    This was answered. You can keep using sephp, use unite or use a hybrid. You need to ask third party experts their plans.

    I have yet to install any of my 3rd party plugins and themes, but should I? Is it worth it? Should I just give up for now? I just don't know at the moment!

    I haven't let it stop me from buying new third party plugins for my own sephp site.