Repost: The Register Writes About vBulletin Fiasco

image-1928-1News has come in that a well known on-line Internet “News Paper” called The Register, has written a damming article which highlights exactly what’s been going on over at vBulletin by Internet Brands. This is something Internet Brands will not be happy to see happen, and especially coming at a time when they’re trying to avoid any bad publicity while the pre-sale of their (not yet out) vBulletin 4 Suite is still on-going until the end of October 2009.

The article itself which was written by “Cade Metz in San Francisco” on behalf of The  Register, and quite amusingly titled the: Forum king vBulletin muzzles paid-up protesters. Highlights well most of the key points bothering vBulletin customers the most right now. “The Register” is hugely popular and read by millions of Internet users worldwide, meaning this is bad news indeed for Internet Brands at a very critical time in their sales.

To make matter much worse though for Internet Brands, other Internet users after reading the article are then using Social Networking sites like “Twitter and Digg” to highlight it much further to the World Wide Web masses. And so people can get easy access to read this very interesting article posted by “The Register” about Internet Brands and the troubled sale of vBulletin 4.

Quite an interesting read indeed, I’m sure you’ll agree. To which you can leave your comments below!

Repost: vBulletin 4 Theme Faults That Need Fixing

image-1424-1-641x361On previously seeing some of the “Demo Screen Shots” of the new vBulletin 4 Theme to be used, I did think it looked quite nice at first glance. But now have the vBulletin 4 Suite 4.0.0 Beta version installed using it, giving me plenty of time to take a closer and longer look at it in more detail. I have to say that I don’t really like it that much anymore.

This is not to say I won’t like the theme further down the line when more changes are made with each new Beta version released, but of course a lot depends on what changes they do actually make before it goes Gold with a final and completed theme in place. They won’t make changes to suit me personally, so it’s going to be a case of waiting and seeing what each new release installed on brings with it theme wise. Many would argue that you don’t have to use the default theme anyway, and you can use your own design instead. True, but I always like to keep things simple if I can by staying with the default theme. So for me personally it does matter a lot!

The new vBulletin 4 Theme faults

This list below is what I personally found most at fault about the new theme used with vBulletin 4. Yes, I could nick-pick at other smaller design issues that I spotted as well pretty fast. But I’m just going to list some major faults that I feel need sorting out straight away first.

Too bright on the eyes the theme style is:
Quite a few people complained when the official vBulletin forum first went live using the new “vBulletin 4 Suite” theme design today, that it was too bright and hurt the eyes after using it for about 5 minutes. This is something that I totally agree on, it really did genuinely begin to put strain on your eyes after using it for a very short period of time. Making it very unsuitable for a forum board in general that your trying to keep your members using for many hours, posting and using none stop.

Looking at the theme, the biggest issue there is too much White used as a whole. Just by shading it down to a more dirty white colour in some areas, or maybe all areas. Would greatly reduce eye stain, and maybe even slightly darken down some of the very light blue colour in a few areas very gradually too. Basically, it need to be toned down to a slightly darker shade, concentrating a lot though on the large open white space areas to reduce reflection that’s causing most of the eye strain.

Wrong font style, size, and colour used:
Another problem is the colour of the font used for “Post Text”, it just looks washed-out as though it needs to be a little darker in colour, not black though! Also, the font size needs to be increased to a more comfortable reading size as well in many areas. And again, the font style itself didn’t look well suited for Text Reading on the Internet, as though they’ve tried to play around and veer away from Internet Standards to look more stylish and fancy. But in doing so it’s not worked well for reading posted text because of the font style used. Which I might add also looked a little rough around the edges and not clear and smooth, a clear sign it’s the wrong font style to use.

Another problem was the small font used for the Smallest Tags in the “Tag List”. To me it looked as though they’d used a font size of around 8px small. I could hardly make-out what the smallest tags actually said. Very unsuitable indeed for usability!

That wasn’t a long list of faults you might say

While this list of faults above may not seem large, only two aspects really. There is a fact a lot of work involved in changing them. For example; changing the font style, size, and colours. Will have an effect on other areas of the forum in some cases, which may also need changing to suit accordingly. And making changes to the themes colour styling can cause issues with blending-in with other areas of the forum, again creating more work than might first appear to be needed.

So although the list is small, a lot of work could possibly be involved here. As changing one thing, effects another thing, which in the end leads to much more work that you first ever imagined would be the case.

IB shares plummet

Today marked a gloomy event for investors in IB.

IB currently does not pay dividends to its investors, and their low share pricing is an obvious reflection of the distasteful reactions of vBulletin Customers.

deuterium, (formerly ct2k7) as we gather, posted in our infamous Licensed Customer Feedback section, you know… the hidden from potential customer … area, in the thread, pertaining the original article by The Register about the share falling.

Floris replied moments later, refering to deuterium by his first name, explaining that this was common ( or realistic) with the release of the Q3 2009 financial results.

In some cases this was true, but obviously, a drop of nearly 12% was something out of the ordinary. It was nearly enough to warrant its little space on Yahoo!’s Biggest Losers page.

Those using the Google finance page to track the shares will have noticed the amount of publicity Internet Brands is gaining from its treatment of its customers, something which is personally thought to be a major role in this, as investors see what’s going on behind closed doors.

Repost: Still No vBulletin 4 Suite For

image-1300-1-641x361Internet Brands – the new owners of Jelsoft and the vBulletin Board software product itself, where planning yesterday on updating their official sales discussion forums with the new “vBulletin 4 Suite” being offered for sale that’s still in the early Beta Testingstage as of right right now. It now looks however, that things have not gone quite according to plan. Yet another clear sign thatInternet Brands just can’t seem to get anything right were is concerned.

Wayne Luke, a respected staff member and Internet Brands employee working at Tried to cover-up their “Epic Failure” late last night by posting on another forum board that all was well and working perfect behind the scene, and that only a few minor issues remained which needed fixing that were not vBulletin 4 related. “We should all see the forums back online soon he said“. That was 10-12 hours ago, and still no forums working at:

vBulletin customers thinking about (maybe) buying the new vBulletin 4 Suite, had been asking to see a Working Demo of it ever since Internet Brands put-up their new vBulletin 4 Sales Frontpage. Something they didn’t appear that eager to do, instead wanting people to buy it blindly. That was until a leaked “vBulletin 4 Suite Alpha 5″ private testing version was put live on the Internet by some unknown disillusioned vBulletin Alpha Tester for all to see and make full use off!

Leaked vBulletin 4 Suite demo forces Internet Brands hand

Internet Brands later claimed that they now know the person on their vBulletin 4 Alpha Testing team who leaked the demo live online, although they’ve not released any information who that person was. As a result of that leaked vBulletin 4 Suite demo though (which was only an early Alpha 5 testing version). It does seem it’s forced Internet Brands to try and counter-act any damage that early version might have caused in their sales, by releasing a much more up-to-date Beta version of the same vBulletin 4 Suite package.

Some people around Internet even claimed that this new vBulletin leak might just be another publicity stunt being pulled by Internet Brands to try and help promote the sale of their new vBulletin 4 package, and that they where planning on releasing a more up-to-date working Beta version of the same vBulletin 4 Suite regardless officially. In other words, they just wanted a bit of faked publicity posted on some “Larger News” sites first to highlight the starting of the sale.

Epic Failure just isn’t the word

If there is any truth in this, one thing’s for sure. Internet Brands latest “Public Relations” stunt has just come full circle and shot them straight in the foot. Instead now, they’ll get all the negative publicity they didn’t want. 24 hours later after they first said we’d all be seeing this brand new shiny vBulletin 4 Suite installed on their official forums. Guess what? We’re all still waiting!

This highlights another problem that vBulletin customers may think hard about now. If Internet Brands are having such huge issues in updating their own “vBulletin 3.8 to vBulletin 4″, what does this mean for their customers who will have to do the same thing soon also?

It’s just not good enough really is it

Sorry Internet Brands, but this failure to be able to update your own official vBulletin forums in a timely and professional manner, nor to post any updates on your Frontpage explaining what the problem is in more detail for customers to understand. And then to have your staff posting cover-up stories on other sites to try and smooth things over with “very questionable” reasons = Epic Fail!

Repost: World War 3 Continues On vBulletin

image-214-1Now, two days later after Internet Brands first launched their new look front-page with lots of information posted on it about vBulletin 4, plus full pricing details. And let not forget the rather pathetic 2 week discount time being offered which caused most of the fuss from customers on their official vBulletin forum later that same day. You’d have to say nothing much has changed since!

Yeah! Less customers are having their say two day later, but that’s to be expected really. It would have been hard anyhow to have kept up what went on that first day – which can only be described as “World War 3″ breaking out on vBulletin minus the nukes. Now though it’s all simmered down to be more like an Invasion of Iceland with 20 soldiers armed with French bread rolls and butter.

Sure some customers are still moaning, and talk is still about vBulletin 4 issues in general. But the initial aftermath of that first day which saw the vBulletin beach-head left stained red with IB blood is over. Giving them some breathing space to reflect back on what just happened.

Internet Brands are casting a very dark shadow over themselves, many customers have lost all faith in anything they have to say about vBulletin 4 now or in the future. They could never have planned for the kind of negative reaction they got two days ago, and it’s something they should be very concerned about indeed!

I’ve never seen anything like it

In all my time at vBulletin as a paying customer, I’ve never seen the likes of what happened like that before, with so many customers expressing their anger in no uncertain terms on there hidden forum board. That’s right I said “HIDDEN”, as a guest (none customer) you cannot see what was posted on that forum board at vBulletin. So on the surface all looks serial and calm, which is exactly what Internet Brands want you to see there as a visiting guest.

They’re even venting anger in Twitter

Even in Twitter I’ve been seeing some very senior (customers) from vBulletin, who I just happen to follow. Posting they are now moving over to IPB (Invision) forum software instead, expressing their anger in Twitter for all to see and read. When you start seeing long standing and faithful vBulletin customers doing this who have supported them for many years, it really IS time for Internet Brands to sit-up, take the bull by the horns, and do something now about stopping the rot before it gets worse than it already is.

I can even foresee in 12 months time if things carry on like this, they’ll be left with a company they purchased in (vBulletin), worth a fraction of what they originally paid for it 2 years ago. Here’s hoping this latest WAR on the vBulletin forum teaches Internet Brands a hard lesson:

Never treat your customers like mugs because of greed, they’ll come back and bite you were it hurts most – your profit sales margin butt!

Don’t believe the vBulletin public relations hype

Some staff members at vBulletin are trying to “project an image” that all is going well and according to plan with the sale of the new vBulletin 4 Suite. Keep in mind here that these staff members saying this get (paid) for doing a job, and as such have their own lively-hoods at stake here should Internet Brands (vBulletin) self implode to the bottom of the ocean.

The truth is, many customers have already done a walk and slammed the vBulletin door hard behind them on the way out. Moving over to pastures much greener at IPB (Invision). IPB themselves have posted that they are getting inundated with new angry vBulletin customers, and that they’ve had to take extra measures to deal with the huge influx of extra sales being generated by them jumping ship.

Internet Brands are selling you something that’s not even ready

Remember also, that Internet Brands are trying to sell you something in the: “vBulletin 4 Suite”, that’s not even out yet! In fact, it’s still only in the Alpha testing stage. No time-line has been given as to when they even expect it to go final release, which of course they can’t give with it only being in Alpha.

Now forgive me for saying this, but who the hell is going to buy something that they can’t even see in action on their own official vBulletin forum, let alone be able to download and use after paying good money for it. They don’t even have a working DEMO for people to test before making their minds-up whether to buy or not.

Is it just me, or does this sound a little like: Trying to sell Ice to the Eskimos in summer. I mean really, is it any wonder customers after hanging-on since 2007 (when Internet Brands first purchased vBulletin), have now finally decided enough is enough and are jumping off a sinking ship like rats drowning fast.

The bottom line

You want the truth, I’ll give it you! With Christmas just around the corner, and it being the Biggest Sales period of the year for any company. It’s looking like Internet Brands have not developed vBulletin 4 faster than they’d hoped: “Having it ready for the Christmas peak time sales“.

Because they don’t want to miss this biggest sales window of the year, they now want you to buy something which you can’t download nor even use. This is their so called (leap of faith) which they expect you to take so blindly, just so they can bag the bucks at your expense, leaving you with an empty Christmas stocking!

Extended Sale! With a Price Hike Too!!

Well, Internet Brands announced an extended sale. They might as well call it a brand new sale given the fact that new vBulletin customers have to pay $160.00 instead of $130.00. I wonder who would notice.

Here’s my two cents. It’s my opinion they are  loosing customers and fast. To attract new ones or existing ones, they’re extending the sale. Let us not forget the bonus benefits of burying all the negative articles against them in the last few days. That’s most definitely an added bonus!

But like I said, who noticed the price went up?

During this extension period, the price of the Publishing Suite will be $160 for existing vBulletin customers with active licenses, a discount of more than 40 percent off of the regular price of the product. New customers can purchase the Suite for the discounted price of $235 during this period.
Source: Marketwire

So once again, being an original vBulletin customers only gets you screwed over more. Plus we’re now paying $160.00, the cost of the original vBulletin license. How poetic.

Paying the Brick Wall to think

Meet the new face of Internet Brands. The level of intelligence and negotiating with them is similar to talking to a brick wall in my opinion. Unyielding and refusing to move or budge. Refusing to compromise or hammer out an agreement
Meet the new face of Internet Brands. The level of intelligence and attempts to negotiate with them is similar to talking to a brick wall in my opinion. Unyielding and refusing to move or budge. Refusing to compromise or hammer out an agreement. Image Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Just a small reminder for everyone today’s the deadline for the license. While all this Internet Brands flames keep burning, at least remind yourself that the upgrade deal still closes today.

But let me say for the record, we’re getting screwed. We are being forced to buy new licenses.

Where I stand, this is how I feel how Internet Brands speaks to me as a customer:

All those updates we were promised for blog. Well, they’re worthless We’ve changed our mind. No more updates, unless you buy a vBulletin 4 Suite License

Your owned licenses? We don’t care about security or updates. No more updates after our license download period expires. No more updates, unless at minimum you buy a vBulletin 4 Forum license. But we think the Suite license is better.

Project Tools? You bought it? Well, guess you’re screwed now. It’s being given away for free. So look at it this way, you’re getting added value for your license!

So for those of us who actually are worried about security are being forced to shell out $130.00. For all us older license holders, stop and think a moment. Think how much in reality we’re really spending. We’re spending far more than we should. If Internet Brands truly wanted us as customers, they’d port our vBulletin 4 licenses at minimum for free to vBulletin 4 licenses, plus give us one year for free. Not make us pay our way into license changes.

We paid our $160.00 owned license. We paid our $180.00 license. We want our promise of paying for updates. We want our access to Why are you making us pay 72% of our original license cost? Or 82%? Is it because you want more money Internet Brands?

Oh it’s a suite license? Well then, let me remind me you too that we’re paying at least $290.00. Some are even paying $310.00. That’s more than the $235.00 price tag listed on

You say it’s a Pre-Sale Price and that price will go away today?

HELLO!? Do you hear yourself talking? Even after the pre-sale, the price tag goes up to 285.00. Furthermore you’re making the former vBulletin license holders pay even MORE after the presale, to the tune of $250.00 more. TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS MORE. So what happened to the $160.00 I paid? Or $180.00?

It’s discounted from $285.00 regular price tag?

I’m just sure customers loved knowing they saved $35.00 to convert their original license over and that they know their licenses are worth pennies.

Internet Brands only cares for you…when you have your wallet in hand.

So as I go off now to swipe my VISA card tonight to pay for the poor, stupid excuse of a license update tonight with Internet Brands, I’ll be doing it as one pissed off customer, for being forced to pay for something I shouldn’t, and at the same time, mourning, knowing that my beloved software, my beloved vBulletin, has been raped.

P.S. Don’t forget our support contract changes too! I was reminded the other day when visiting the Forums. It goes away too. We have to pay a wonderful annual fee for ticket support. But support via the forums are free! That’s assuming if you’re able to access the forums because you’ve been banned.

More Numbers: Press: 2, History Books +1, Internet Brands: 0

There’s one thing you could appreciate when reading business journals, magazines, and text books: they show you three outcomes, the right way, the wrong way, and the ugly. And boy, it’s starting to get ugly, and it’s not only coming from customers, but from observers outside in the business world.

Internet Brands officially today became a case study on how not to do things. The question now is “How will history look back at Internet Brands?” Will they be looked as a company who made resolutions and gestures to resolve matters with their customer base? Or will they end up as dust in the wind, shunned, and labeled as pariahs?

But do read the case study.

Fair Use Excerpt:

Software licensing can be a tough business. But if you’re able to build a great product and acquire customers, it can be a rewarding business. The founders of Jelsoft, the company behind the popular vBulletin message board software, know that first hand.

Having built arguably the best message board software out there, they sold Jelsoft to Internet Brands in 2007 for an undisclosed amount. And two years later, Internet Brands is facing a violent customer revolt over a new product and new licensing terms.

Bite the hand that feeds you Internet Brands, and that body who controls the hand will fight back, tooth and nail.

Casualty Count

I’ve been watching from the sidelines as the Internet Brands PR machine have been spinning and spinning everything possible. We saw the launch of vBulletin 4.0 Alpha.. I mean Beta (heck, it feels like an early Alpha) on

But between last week’s announcement, and this week, I wanted to know what have you decided as a license holder. I’ve seen it all on the last few weeks, but Internet Brands spins it that they’re achieving record sales. Yet the question I want to ask to everyone is Who what have you honestly decided? Stay? Moved to IPB? MyBB maybe? Or another solution?

Let’s try to quantify the number of who has actually decided to stay or move on from Internet Brands and vBulletin. Leave a comment and let the world know whether you decided to stay or not, and why.