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Our Vision for vBulletin


  • bbrisco
    started a blog post Our Vision for vBulletin

    Our Vision for vBulletin

    As we continue to introduce to our new vBulletin 4.0 Publishing Suite, we would like to share our broader vision and answer some questions about where we are headed.

    First, our vision. We believe that both content and community are king. Launched in 2000, vBulletin has grown to become the leading and most powerful forum management software in the world, with considerably more than 100,000 copies sold. If you combined the traffic of all vBulletin sites, they would easily rank in top ten largest sites globally—roughly same the size as Wikipedia in terms of unique visitors.

    We take pride in the success of our customers as they build some of the leading websites in the world.

    But we feel this is only a start. To bring vBulletin to the next level, we are investing heavily. Over the last year, we have doubled the number of developers working on the product—and they are a very talented group. You should expect a much faster pace of development—and more exciting new features.

    To focus our efforts, we continue to do research with vBulletin community owners and webmasters. We find that many of the most successful sites want to become more significant content publishers. This is because many communities that started as simple discussion forums have grown into powerful databases of knowledge and content— true leaders in their areas of expertise.

    These site owners tell us they want simple, but powerful tools to manage articles, blogs, and all manner of content—all in one publishing platform. The new vBulletin does this elegantly. And by fully integrating with our forums, we believe that our new Suite uniquely captures the power of community and content in a single platform.

    This doesn’t mean that we have slowed investments in forum functionality. To the contrary, we continue to invest heavily in the core forum platform and the new product includes some important new features. In our research, vBulletin site owners tell us that in addition to content management, they want tools to help with such activities as: advertising monetization, SEO, site analytics, and mobile.

    While we have made some changes in vB 3.8 and vB 4.0 along these lines, many of those changes are ahead for the vB 4.0 series. In subsequent posts from our staff you will learn more specifics about our vision in these areas, in addition to our plans about more content management features, and more enhancements to forum and blog functionality.

    You may have noticed that we’ve priced vB 4 products to strongly encourage adoption of the Suite by offering a much larger discount on the Suite. This is very intentional. We now view vBulletin Publishing Suite as our core product. As we add new functionality, it will continue to be fully integrated with the Suite.

    You may have also noticed that we’ve finished migration of vBulletin development from the U.K. to California. We have deep respect for the wonderful heritage of vBulletin.
    The primary reason for the move was the availability of pools of technical talent and proximity to the resources of our parent company.

    We are occasionally asked about the role of Internet Brands as the parent of vBulletin. For instance, how important is vBulletin to Internet Brands? The answer is: very important. Internet Brands is the largest operator of vBulletin sites in the world. We deeply care about the software and will continue to invest heavily in its development. Internet Brands brings far more resources to the ongoing development of vBulletin.

    We are also asked: how do we view certain vBulletin sites that compete with Internet Brands sites? The answer is: we manage vBulletin for its own success and we view those sites as valued customers. vBulletin thrives as its own community continues to grow. Internet Brands websites must compete on their own and receive no “special treatment”. Even where we compete, we are all in this together. It’s a big world.

    In closing, we are extremely confident about vBulletin’s continued growth and success. We are grateful for your wonderful support. And we have enormous excitement about the road ahead for us all.

    • Hotpuppy
      Hotpuppy commented
      Editing a comment
      I do appreciate sharing the vision. I do feel a little frustrated with the upgrade path. I'm new to vBulletin, but I do feel it's the best platform. I licensed it in May of 2009. I licensed the blog module as well. I paid for support. 6 months later I was hit with "upgrade or else" for $130. Now, in the scheme of things I understand you have to have recurring revenue and the old model was dicey. I just feel a bit high and dry on the value I should have gotten out of my 3.8 license, the support, and the blog module. Sure, you gave a generous discount on the pre-sale.... and I did invest in that. I just feel that something should have been done for those that had licensed blogs and were current on their support agreement. It's important to always deliver value, fulfill promises, and do right by the customer. The pages of software history are filled with companies who failed in these 3 pillars of customer relations and are now curious footnotes at best. Many of the companies that failed this lesson were giants and thought to be unstoppable.

      I think the ideas are in the right place, I just hope the execution follows the ideas and that no more "value vacations" land on me as a customer. Yes, telling me that 6 months into my license that my support will be worthless shortly and a module I paid for doesn't mean anything is a value vacation, no matter how nice and shiny the new version is.

    • Jafo
      Jafo commented
      Editing a comment
      If you are looking for another priority: extendability! We need to be able to modify the software to fit our needs. Most of my clients would be lost if the current plugin/product system was somehow abandoned.

    • TheChaosFactor
      TheChaosFactor commented
      Editing a comment
      Originally posted by Wayne Luke;bt6980
      Mucho respect for the business credentials. They know how to make and manage money. Bob seems to know how to run quite a successful site. That seems to reinforce my thought that the internal needs of IB will overshadow the wants/needs of other vb owners.

      This seems like a huge conflict of interest to me, really.
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