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Concerns around SocialEngine AddOns (SEAO)

    • 28 posts
    March 1, 2018 2:35 PM EST

    I am starting this forum post to warn other community members on why you should not deal with SEAO and Prime Messenger. This weekend I will be creating a LONG but informative post with links to Skype messages, emails, and even recorded phone calls. The reason I am posting this without the information now is I want people to be EXTREMELY careful before you start any business with SEAO or Prime Messenger. I will also be including technical concerns with their products and security issues as well.

    All I am asking is if you are in talks with them to hire them or buy their plugins or their Prime Messenger service, please wait until I post my personal experience over the past week this weekend. 

    • 5 posts
    March 1, 2018 6:29 PM EST

    What's your site?

    • 1591 posts
    March 3, 2018 5:21 AM EST

    Hi FM Ryan,

    Thanks for posting your concerns. We are sorry that you are having the issues you mention. We do allow posts such as this, as there is another one with the same type of concerns. 

    You do not need to post your site if you do not want to as that is not necessary. If you do want to post it, please ensure it is not an adult site as we do not allow links to those in the community. Feel free to share in private if you want, if it is.

    We totally understand that many people have their favorite experts and will come to their defense as their own experiences may be different than the ones expressed here. We just ask everyone to keep things constructive. 

     


    This post was edited by Donna at March 3, 2018 5:22 AM EST
    • 112 posts
    March 3, 2018 1:14 PM EST

    Did this get updated somewhere - I am curious to know more

    • 28 posts
    March 3, 2018 1:18 PM EST
    I will be updating this in 24 hours. You all have my word.
    • 112 posts
    March 3, 2018 2:57 PM EST

    Thanks for the update

    • 28 posts
    March 4, 2018 11:47 PM EST

    I am sorry I have not had the opportunity to get to this. This weekend got ahead of me but I wanted to make sure I gave the synopsis of what was going on. 

    First of all, my website is of adult content. We have over 50,000 members with 17,000 of those members active every 7 days. We are also a free based site with premium upgrades and have a 19.43% membership conversion rating. The reason I am telling you this is because my business is very important to me. If I am looking to work with a developer, I start off with some simple project. I will ask them to create a simple widget or modification to some sample code to make sure the work done is clean and professional. I also have a complicated network of web and database clusters built on 2 SSD Cloud Platforms with a private CDN and more. We are also protected by DynDNS and Highwinds. To get access to my servers you need 2 Factor Authentication and access to ssh keys. (Excessive I know, but I am an engineer by trade).

    I went to SEAO hoping for a few things from them. We are looking to unify messaging just like Facebook and add in some AV one-to-one calling. We have looked at Google Firebase and NQTT from Amazon. We noticed SEAO created a product called www.primemessenger.com . It took a bit to grasp what they were offering, but in the end, they built a completely seperate messaging system as a SaaS solution to do exactly what I wanted. Some CSS changes, and it could have been my dream product for a fraction of the time and cost. I went to them with a full scope of what I needed to accomplish and was told they would waive the setup fee for me because "I am a valued client" - even though I have never once worked with them.

    I informed them that my site is quite secure and I would need to know the work that must be completed on my servers. They informed me they had to setup some docker containers on AWS closest to my servers and users and then a plugin would need to be installed. I asked because we are almost 12 hours apart and I needed to be available to clear caches or any other work that would be required on my end. This process of me asking what was needed next and them telling me it would be another 1-2 hours before they were ready for migration of all existing messages, users, and friendships to their system went on for 3 days. At one point I was up for 40 hours dealing with them all night and working all day on my other commitments. 

    On the final night, I started calling the number on the Prime Messenger website. They told me there was no excuse for their actions and they would resolve it when they got into the office. This was proceeded 15 minutes later with an email telling me it would be 12-14 more hours. I was then contacted on skype where I was told they were in the middle of a festival week/weekend and the ONLY developer who knows Prime Messenger was on holidays and they thought they would be able to get me up and running but couldn't. Through all of this they made NO MENTION of this holiday being such a burden. 

    Now, you say to yourself... hmm, well that isn't the end of the world, so you stayed up all this time. Well, what if I told you MESSAGING WAS DOWN FOR 3 DAYS??!?! They turn off messaging on the site in question to prevent a sync conflict between site data and moving to Prime Messenger. Again, if they would have told me the ONLY developer who knows the system was away, I would have waited - in fact, I would have not been interested and would have created my own in-house solution but thats a whole different conversation.

    In the middle of all of this, I was working with Neha at SEAO. I was trying to work out a commitment to hire a few full and part time staff to complete some projects for me once this prime messenger test went well, which it didnt. 

    I will tell you 90% of all of this is on skype or email. If it comes to it, I will provide anyone who requires the facts more in raw form the information you require. I Cannot tell you what is best for your business, what I can tell you is I would never in a million years trust SEAO or Prime Messenger with anything in my business or personal life ever again! I hope you dont Either!

    Thanks

    Ryan

    • 13 posts
    March 4, 2018 11:58 PM EST

    "I will also be including technical concerns with their products and security issues as well."

    What are the issues with their products and security?

    • 28 posts
    March 5, 2018 12:02 AM EST

    Very good question: 

    When they move the content from SE to their SaaS solution, they create a dump of a few tables in the database. They then send that dump to their servers which is then put into their database for each site. The technical issues around this is they use a simple script that anyone can call and anyone can grab the dumped file and make use of it. I do not want to share the link in here for clients who are using it right now. This means, anyone with some simple knowledge of SE and Prime Messenger could steal your user information quite easily!

    • 13 posts
    March 5, 2018 12:03 AM EST

    very good info. thanks

    • 1591 posts
    March 5, 2018 4:35 AM EST

    Is that messaging in our marketplace? I know it's not certified as it wouldn't qualify based on your posts. Sorry you had this experience. For my own needs (I have an SE site), I wouldn't let my user stuff off my server but I'm super skittish with stuff like that. Is there any agreement you sign that states the user data cannot be used for any marketing (any NDA)? 

    • 28 posts
    March 5, 2018 1:54 PM EST

    Donna: that is the issue - they dont offer nor will they sign an NDA - the good thing is I gave them access to my dev site with fake content and users - but their inability to manage their business is a detriment to the good name of Social Engine

     

    • 7 posts
    March 6, 2018 5:45 AM EST

    I am going through problems with SEAO as well. I am extremely frustrated since they appear to ignore us and weeks after weeks go by with the original problem not resolved and yet something else crashes after there updates and now we have more problems.

  • March 6, 2018 9:30 AM EST

    @Ryan, we apologise for the problems you faced and assure you and our other Clients that this was a one-off incident. We have gone through the problems that you faced, and have also discussed them internally within our Team. Please find below some of our points regarding your concerns:

    1) Our biggest mistake: We over-promised and under-delivered:
    SocialEngineAddOns (SEAO) and Prime-messenger (PM) are 2 different businesses with different teams. At SEAO, we have worked with PM to develop seamless integration of their messaging product with SocialEngine. This also includes the initial migration to setup their services on SocialEngine powered websites.
    While we normally commit to 3 to 4 days' timeframe for this migration, the PM team promised to do this for you much sooner and could not deliver because of problems they faced with migration script developed by us. Our SEAO team was on leave for festival holidays and the PM team was unable to solve the migration problem despite spending nearly 3 days. Because of this the services could not be activated on your website timely.

    2) Technical Concerns about migration:
    The migration script can only be called by the SocialEngine Website Admin. Also, the dump can only be accessed by someone having FTP / SSH Details and not by a public URL. On the PM side, the migration API calls are completely secured by authentication based on PM API keys. We recommend all our Clients to keep all their API keys confidential.
    We take security very seriously and act fast to fix any security issues that are found. Ryan, though we have tested our systems well for security, we would appreciate you sharing privately any vulnerabilities that you find; We'll work with priority on fixing those, and those findings can then be made public with minimal chances of exploitation.

    3) Signing NDA:
    We highly value our Clients' confidential information and are always open to sign NDAs. We would have never refused signing one.

    4) Development Websites:
    All our SocialEngineAddOns products, allow creation of development licenses. It is always best to first install and configure new plugins on development website and then on your production website.

    @Dwayne, sorry for your unpleasant experience. I just checked with our Support Team and they are working on your problem and have responded to your Support Ticket.

    • 28 posts
    March 6, 2018 10:47 AM EST

    @SocialEngineAddOns - Here is the fundamental issue with your reply. You still have not offered to make this right with me. You continue to ignore me when I am trying to explain to you the disrespectful tone and attitude of your staff and continue to think this problem is over with. You cost me time, money, and in the end, you have not addressed what you did to me for 3 days. Furthermore, why would I want to help a company fix their product when they cant even fix the issues they created with me. I would like you to know, I am not un-ethical. Because your system and DNS isn't using proper DNSSEC, I was easily able to find out all your subdomains and email those clients with the information and I know a few of them are leaving your Prime Messenger Service due to all my issues. I tried for 3 days to get you to be honest with me, and as you state, you overpromised and underdelivered - the part you forgot after that is how you take care of the client.

    At the end of the day, you have demonstrated the ability to disappoint new and existing clients (look at how @Dwayne could not get a reply without posting here), you have shown how your company is more concerned with new clients than you are with nurturing your existing client base, and most importantly, you have not taken the proper steps to protect your domain with name.com from "dig" commands to protect your clients personal info. 

    Another thing, and I would not normally mention this but I think it is prudent. I have a budget in excess of 10,000 USD - I offered to hire a team of people from your company to complete a series of projects I want to dedicate people to my project. How that knowledge that I provided you gave you the impression you should disappoint me from the start is absolutely beyond me. 

    Finally, I want to stress that an NDA with a company in Chennai, India would not be easy nor cheap to enforce. When you choose to deal with a business overseas, you must be prepared to hire an attorney if anything comes from this. Saying you will sign an NDA is one thing, but enforcing it is something most companies are not able nor willing to spend the money to keep you in line, which might I add, from my skype chats and emails, you know this information and have no desire to honour agreements.

    • 5 posts
    March 6, 2018 12:33 PM EST

    I think it is important to know what the purpose of an NDA is used for. If you are using SEAO products, then you really can't have them sign one. So the only thing your NDA can actually protect is confidential information regarding manufacture, sales and distribution, and know-how needed to produce and distribute the patented item. So unless you are asking them to create a plugin that you plan to patent you really don't need an NDA. 

    • 5 posts
    March 6, 2018 12:41 PM EST

    I have been using @SocialEngineAddOns since I have been using SE. I started using SE back in 2008. SEAO is very flawed but one of the best SE developers out there that have stuck around. YES, they do need to do a better job at keeping current customers happy! Why should I pay for support tickets!!!!! Why should I pay to tell you that you have a bug!!!? I hope this post from @Ryan is a new start for all SE developers to build a better customer relationship and focus on retaining customers. 

    • 28 posts
    March 6, 2018 2:08 PM EST

    @David - Part of the issue is exactly what you just said - they have been doing the same thing over and over and don't learn from their lessons. They pretend to be this big company and they aren't exactly honest about their true company structure. As I have said above - it isn't just the mistakes made, it is their inability to own their mistakes and resolve them. It is easier for them to run than face their mistakes. All they need to do is come to the table with professionalism and accountability and I will at least listen to them. They haven't done it yet, and I don't expect them to. I expect they will just run away from the situation. 

    I also want to state the fact that while I only run one SE site, I have a total of 9 - my GOAL was to create an SE site template with customizations I require to span all 9 sites. They just do not see the potential in a relationship - just a quick dollae

  • March 7, 2018 9:19 AM EST

    Thanks for your feedback @Ryan and @David. We will definitely work on these to improve our processes.

    • 28 posts
    March 7, 2018 10:38 AM EST

    @SocialEngineAddOns - What I would like to know is how are you going to resolve this matter with me?

    • 28 posts
    March 8, 2018 5:26 PM EST

    I just want to end this off with my final post. It has now been almost a week since I posted the information and SEAO has not once contacted me. Regardless of resolution or not, the fact they didn't make the effort to reach out to me when I see them logged into Skype just shows how little they TRULY care about their reputation. As a final note, if you read this whole post and wonder what you should do - I would avoid them. As long as they are in full control and you don't care about quality they will work out, but the moment you question them or make them face mistakes and false promises, they will just ignore you. Those are the JOYS of being 1/2 way around the world I guess.

     

    • 38 posts
    March 9, 2018 1:33 PM EST

    Same issue with mobile apps, nothing worked well or at all then slow to fix and respond. After giving the initial money and nothing working, we just added it up to a loss and are not going to use the app even thought it was never used live and did not have features work. The only thing they offered was "premium support" during the time to get mobile items fixed. After 5 months? What the heck was "premium support" anyways? It all seemed like their normal support process to me. Anyways, their mobile apps are a joke. I would recommend just using CometChat, their web/desktop/mobile apps all do what you want to do and works well with SE. It almost looks like SEAO/PM just bought the CometChat SDKs and made their own service using it.

    • 61 posts
    April 11, 2018 4:49 AM EDT

    I see that I am not the only one who has problems with SEAO, the same problems we all have. Many people keep quiet because they do not know what to do or where to go to give solutions to their problems and they are afraid of being badly treated if they publish a negative comment about someone.
    You are brave when publishing about SEAO.
    If to solve your problems you decide to change to SES, you will be wrong too, they are the same.
    I think SocialEngine should remove any link from these pages to these developers, the stars that appear in their profiles make you trust these developers and you enter a path with no return.
    I have been struggling since 2012 to keep my 2 pages forward and sincerely I am tired of fighting with SEAO and SES and it gives me everything the same.
    I do not tell you when I updated the page with Odesk developers.
    On that page they charged me $ 1200 in advance without doing anything and when I discharged I was charged another $ 900 charge for other alleged work that was not done.
    Fortunately the day they spent was in the bank and the staff of the bank before proceeding to charge it in my account they told me, I went to the police and reported the theft of the card and VISA annulled the charge.
    I believe and I ask SocialEngine to remove the link to this developers, you can not confuse people with these developments.

    • 1591 posts
    April 11, 2018 7:38 AM EDT

    I have sent word to each expert, SEAO and SES regarding this issue. I cannot divulge private conversations nor can I post regarding the support tickets at the expert's sites that I've seen. What we would like to have happen is that the experts and clients talk and resolve these amongst yourselves. 

    One thing to remember is the difference between a bug, a support issue, and a custom request.

    A bug is for a malfunctioning part of a product that can be confirmed on other sites and environments. Generally, experts will release a bug fix for you to upgrade your plugin/theme/language pack with. Fixing a bug on your site though is normally considered custom work.

    A support issue is for a malfunctioning part of a product on your site, or for questions about how something works or settings. Site issues can be caused by conflicts between plugins, server settings, other custom work, themes, languages and things specific to a website. Experts are not required to ensure their product works with someone else's product as there are too many variables at play. For that, it would be a customization to make it work with another expert's product.

    Custom requests are for adding or changing functionality of a product; fixing compatibility issues; adjusting servers if the expert offers that; upgrading plugins.

    Support issues that fall within the expert's stated support policy are generally done by a set time frame such as for 30 days. After that time, if you need standard support then there is normally a fee. 

    Hope that explanation helps some.

  • April 11, 2018 8:02 AM EDT

    Hello Angar, we apologize for the inconvenience caused to you on Odesk community regarding payments with some other developer. But oDesk community is very different from the SE community and we do not work as freelancers there.


    As of current status we do not have any ticket open at our end as our team has resolved all the issues on your website.

    For future also, please provide us at least 24-48 hours to resolve an issue, or configure any plugin setting on your website as resolving each issue within few minutes is not always possible due to our timezone difference, time required to resolve the issue, order of the issue received with other tickets and many more.

    We are really trying hard to help you set up your website and resolve all issues in priority.

    Thanks in advance for your patience and co-operation.

    Regards

    SocialEngineSolutions Support Team