Price hike, no more ticket support - enough signals from Invision

Matt M

Director Development at Invision Community
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Apr 28, 2005
Messages
408
Why look at The Admin Zone to gauge the response from Invision Community customers when they are not on here?

This site is predominately pro-xenForo and anti-Invision based on things that happened when I was in my twenties (I’m now 45). That’s fine, but it doesn’t exactly represent what most people think that use our platform.

If a community manager has concerns, they are welcome to come on to our site and speak to our customers. There is a topic with about 600 replies in that has had very little moderation and the end result is incredibly supportive and positive from most customers initially rattled by the changes. I welcome the scrutiny.
 

Square Wheels

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Sep 15, 2021
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If a community manager has concerns, they are welcome to come on to our site and speak to our customers. There is a topic with about 600 replies in that has had very little moderation and the end result is incredibly supportive and positive from most customers initially rattled by the changes. I welcome the scrutiny.
I am a customer (3 licenses) and for now will remain one. Too many ties to apps I'm currently using.
Your comment is true, but as you know there were posts hidden (mine included) and therefore does give the "supportive and positive" feel.
I was even moderated indefinitely from posting anywhere (removed after a few days) for expressing my frustration.
 

JordanInvision

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Apr 28, 2021
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My sister works for a major company and they tasked her on how to improve their company's board. They currently use Invision and due to the changes they are looking at options. I suggested she look at The Admin Zone and read about the various boards talked about and she was shocked at what Invision did and now looking to move to another package. It won't be easy as their board has over a million posts and customised. They may lean towards Xenforo or maybe have a custom in house forum.

Ohh the tea! Interesting. They are considering switching because of our changes? Do they not like the new Activity Stream subscriptions feature (where you can subscribe to a custom activity stream and receive email notifications), the new Closed Club functionality or our new stock replies feature? 😩

Please tell her to feel free to reach out to me via PM on our community so we can get things sorted out ;) Would love to help.
 

KimmiKat

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Mar 21, 2005
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410
Wow, how time flies. Was like yesterday we were coming off WWWBoard flat file forums.

This site is predominately pro-xenForo and anti-Invision based on things that happened when I was in my twenties (I’m now 45). That’s fine, but it doesn’t exactly represent what most people think that use our platform.
 

Pete

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This site is predominately pro-xenForo and anti-Invision based on things that happened when I was in my twenties (I’m now 45). That’s fine, but it doesn’t exactly represent what most people think that use our platform.

I think there's some 'the internet never forgets' in there, and some 'past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour', plus fanboying becaues that's just going to happen.

I also think there is some perceived bitterness about IPS's roots being hobbyist and the perceived 'focus on non-hobbyist customers', and I can see how that opinion might be held - but it's not true. There is a very real commercial reality involved that if the majority of your customers currently are of type x, you have to follow what they're wanting/what they're buying/what they're needing because that's, y'know, the bulk of your business.

I learned this at my previous job with the whole Moodle thing. Yes, I'm a dev, and I built some pretty amazing things - but despite being the most profitable developer, there was no universe in which I could keep up with the profitability of the hosted section: a dev team of 12 were barely making 35% of the revenue at one point, vs 4 sysadmins pulling in 60% between them in hosting. So when they'd started pivoting towards hosted services first and essentially sidelining some of the dev in favour of SLAs and recurrent spending (read: my life was increasingly reading logs and fixing edge case bugs), I had to consider if making a move was the correct option. It might have started out as a dev services company with hosting on the side, and it might have attracted its largest customers as that - but it wasn't where the bulk of the money was coming from, and with the best will in the world, where your primary source of income is *has* to be your primary focus.

I continue to be confused that this is apparently a complex concept - that while it's clear IPS wants to support the hobbyist sector, it has to be pragmatic about what that really looks like because it isn't the primary source of income, as has been mentioned in the past.

I also wonder if, assuming XF Cloud is popular and successful, if the same thing won't happen there too, to some degree. Me on the sidelines thinks that would be hilarious if the more enthustiastic fanboys started lambasting it for that. Time, as they say, will tell.
 

Alpha1

Administrator
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May 28, 2007
Messages
4,083
This site is predominately pro-xenForo and anti-Invision based on things that happened when I was in my twenties (I’m now 45). That’s fine, but it doesn’t exactly represent what most people think that use our platform.
It's true that there are more webmasters posting here that lean towards XenForo, but I think that description is not accurate.
There have been plenty of critical threads about XenForo and positive ones about Invision.

Referring to whatever happened 20 years ago seems quite dismissive of customer concerns.

Community administrators are a tough crowd to please, so I don't envy you for that role. (Though IPS its 4.x releases are crowd pleasers in my book.) The standard marketing techniques don't work on community managers that have seen it all a thousand times and who's job it is to constantly see through words and identify intent. I have seen various marketing/reputation managers from various software try out slick marketing speak and fall flat on their face. Only to disappear again. vbulletin hired some reputation/marketing managers which did not work out well. I think that with such a tough crowd, honesty, openness and resilience are the best approaches.

I also wonder if, assuming XF Cloud is popular and successful, if the same thing won't happen there too, to some degree. Me on the sidelines thinks that would be hilarious if the more enthustiastic fanboys started lambasting it for that. Time, as they say, will tell.
I think many people (including fanboys) are wondering the same. It seems likely to happen regardless of which company ventures into SAAS.
 

sbjsbj

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Feb 9, 2015
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695
Look, I have been criticizing XF for a long time because of the slow pace of development they have in my opinion. I try to be fair always. Express the good things and the bad things. In fact, I did it here on this thread, too by mentioning the tied addon prices to the core license. But also praised the good solid support. Nobody owes me nothing. I say it as I see it. I also praised the nice pace of development IPS has had in the past.

But I find it not okay to brush it off as "xf fanboyism" vs "anti-Invision". Forget XF for a second, how can you justify "no ticket support while increasing the prices"??? What has XF to do with that?

Sorry but you IPS guys have said nothing about this new situation. Just ignored it so far. The generic marketing email works on the masses maybe, but most of us on here are experienced administrators. You can't fool us. Your prices are too much for many of us or at least for me. I can't afford it even if I loved IPS.

PS: In my 8 years I think I have never created a ticket on XF. To be more precise, I did it once I believe when I could not access XF's forums. It turned out to be a cache problem in my browser. So I had to write a ticket cause I couldn't ask on the forums itself. So technically speaking I never needed support via ticket cause the one occassion was not related to my own forum. But it doesn't mean ticket support is not necessary. I bet Brogan could tell us stories :D.
 
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zappaDPJ

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7,795
This site is predominately pro-xenForo and anti-Invision based on things that happened when I was in my twenties (I’m now 45).
I've been down to the very bowels of the TAZ dungeon and rattled all the skeletons but I'm still none the wiser. This must have been before my time.

I think any hate and loathing towards either product is probably fairly proportional to the number of installations run by the members here. It seesaws in both directions and let's face it, it's only natural to complain but stay silent when things are going well. I'd also say that if the complaints are coming from existing users it's because they generally care about the product and that they should probably be heard.
 

Pete

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how can you justify "no ticket support while increasing the prices"???

Because they're actually making an attempt to handle it differently - as in, instead of *everything* being a ticket, they're moving closer to the XF model where people post in the community forum, where the staff also post.

So it's not actually 'no ticket support', it's 'no dedicated 1:1 support in a helpdesk' while potentially opening up the opportunity to learn from our peers - this is something that has been criticised about IPS in the past that support is done in secret or something, so opening it out like this brings it on par with XF for the general populace because the cases that need to be a ticket in XF's world are not so common, and I suspect that's also going to be true for IPS in the new world.

Won't deny that it's steep but so far a good impression has been made in their community support board. I haven't browsed enough to have any more than an impression but it feels more open and positive than before. Time will tell if this was the right move.

This must have been before my time.

I'm not going to rake the whole history up, nor can I do it anywhere near the level of justice that it would deserve but for the sake of trying to add some historical record, I think the main drama centres on the perceived about-face made in the early 2000s that InvisionFree would 'always remain free/donation funded' but turned into a fully paid-only solution for 2.0. But that was a long, long time ago and people grow and change and/or mature. I certainly did and said a lot of stupid things in my 20s. (You might well say I still say stupid things, now I'm approaching 40 but that's another story)

I think it was a gesture meant well at the time that had to be changed once confronted with practical realities, based on everything I've seen and read since. Road to hell paved with good intentions and all that. And I think that judging IPS on that is such a mistake it's not even funny.
 

sbjsbj

Fan
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Messages
695
Because they're actually making an attempt to handle it differently - as in, instead of *everything* being a ticket, they're moving closer to the XF model where people post in the community forum, where the staff also post.
But shouldn't they decrease the prices then? Like in what world can you offload the work to something else and on top increase the prices for it? Basically this way they do less work for more money, lol. Now the "community" handles the support for them while they increase the prices. I don't know man, good luck to them.
 

Pete

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But the "community" *includes the staff members*. As in, they're spending at least some of their time posting in there, visibly. So it's not like it's been farmed out in its entirety to the community, it's a redistribution rather than that. But time will tell if and how that changes - I think it's too soon to just write it off without seeing how the people previously actively writing tickets find what support looks like now. Change takes time to sink in. And not everyone who consumes support time is at the level of you or I where we can be reasonably/completely self-sufficient.

I also point out that no company can sustain 'the same product at the same price' indefinitely, and I didn't see quite this level of hatred when XF pushed up their prices after a similar amount of time since launch. The renewal price in August 2021 (just prior to the change) for the full suite was the same renewal price as when I first picked up the suite in 2012: $105/6 months, which means for those years it was getting cheaper relatively speaking.

That said the new price is an above-inflation rise, but I suspect that means it's above inflation *for now* and will swing back the other way in time as pricing doesn't change monthly or yearly (so far).
 

zappaDPJ

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I also point out that no company can sustain 'the same product at the same price' indefinitely, and I didn't see quite this level of hatred when XF pushed up their prices after a similar amount of time since launch.

This is pure speculation on my part but perhaps it's not the price rise or the change in support policy that's put some people's nose out of joint. Perhaps it's more that they were announced simultaneously which lead to a perception, rightly or wrongly, that license holders were getting less but at extra cost.

As far as I recall XenForo simply put up their prices after a long period of not doing so. I don't remember any policy changes issued at the same time.
 

Tracy Perry

Opinionated asshat
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May 25, 2013
Messages
5,044
You're very welcome to see for yourself the level of community support we offer now: https://invisioncommunity.com/forums/forum/497-help-support/

You don't need to guess or theorise based on things that happened 15 years ago. :)
My "guess" or "theory" isn't based upon 15 years ago if referring to me.
Many of those observations are based within the last 3-6 years (last time I was active over on the site posting was July 2018).
And as for as "the level we offer now"... I would fully expect priority to be given at the initiation of the change. The telling point will be 12 months down the line.

And what I find rather funny is my point of
I know that there are not that many capable admins on the IPS site (most are what I classify as forum owners as they have minimal system admin abilities) to answer the more technical core level questions/issues so the weight at that level is going to fall upon a limited group
is already being proven out in reviewing that area.
 
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Tracy Perry

Opinionated asshat
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May 25, 2013
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5,044
I also point out that no company can sustain 'the same product at the same price' indefinitely, and I didn't see quite this level of hatred when XF pushed up their prices after a similar amount of time since launch. The renewal price in August 2021 (just prior to the change) for the full suite was the same renewal price as when I first picked up the suite in 2012: $105/6 months, which means for those years it was getting cheaper relatively speaking.

That said the new price is an above-inflation rise, but I suspect that means it's above inflation *for now* and will swing back the other way in time as pricing doesn't change monthly or yearly (so far).
My issue isn't so much with the cost hike in the license renewals. It's more to do with a hike in the cost with the removal of a benefit. Then taking that removed benefit and charging an additional fee to get it back.
As for the forum support, I've LONG been a proponent of that and the "submit a ticket" was one of my BIGGEST bitches about IPS. I maintained (and still do) the position that what I might be asking about might also effect someone else and taking care of it in a PUBLIC thread would reduce the number of support tickets required, reducing the work load on the developers. I then (and still do) considered their "submit a ticket" responses in the forum were just their way of enforcing keeping an active license (and guaranteed income) for any type of "official" support. That theory is still pretty much like that as currently even with me holding a license (albeit not an active one) I cannot post in their "support forum" for assistance from other admins. Yet I can go over to XenForo's site and post all day long in their support forum with a non-current (but valid) license AND get responses from the developer or other admins no matter what version I'm on. If on 1.x series you would might be told to upgrade, but I've still seen 1.x support questions answered over there recently.

And as I also commented, I seriously doubt that their "support fee included upgrade" will apply to a heavily customized site or most likely any site that is not "stock".
 
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Tracy Perry

Opinionated asshat
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May 25, 2013
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5,044
It's true that there are more webmasters posting here that lean towards XenForo, but I think that description is not accurate.
Yep, you have some that run both (as evident by my signature).
If XF does something I don't like, I won't hesitate to call them out on it also. It just so happens that IPS seems to do most of what I disagree with and draws my comments.
Don't get me wrong, IPS is a great script with a lot of nice features. Their business tactics are what I have issue with. And no, slightly increasing the cost of the license renewal is not an issue. That's to be expected because all things eventually increase in price.
The BIG issue I have is the fact that they increased the price of the license, removed a benefit from it (actually reduced to only a 30 day period from time of renewal) and then took that removed benefit and added it as an EXTRA cost service. At the least it's piss poor PR optics involved. At the worst it's a money grab and it could be both.
 

KimmiKat

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Mar 21, 2005
Messages
410
It seems some other businesses doing that too. Our internet provide capped the monthly usage and now charge like $22 month for an unlimited plan. I agree on their business tactics. Probably bean counters saying "raise prices and reduce ticket support."

Yep, you have some that run both (as evident by my signature).
If XF does something I don't like, I won't hesitate to call them out on it also. It just so happens that IPS seems to do most of what I disagree with and draws my comments.
Don't get me wrong, IPS is a great script with a lot of nice features. Their business tactics are what I have issue with. And no, slightly increasing the cost of the license renewal is not an issue. That's to be expected because all things eventually increase in price.
The BIG issue I have is the fact that they increased the price of the license, removed a benefit from it (actually reduced to only a 30 day period from time of renewal) and then took that removed benefit and added it as an EXTRA cost service. At the least it's piss poor PR optics involved. At the worst it's a money grab and it could be both.
 

whitetigergrowl

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Aug 11, 2006
Messages
60
You're very welcome to see for yourself the level of community support we offer now: https://invisioncommunity.com/forums/forum/497-help-support/

You don't need to guess or theorise based on things that happened 15 years ago. :)

To be fair this is the equivalent of Xenforo or Vbulletin or Ford or Nintendo doing the same thing. Saying, "Look at the positive feedback on our forum.". No one takes it seriously because many are considered fanboys and some have a lot more disposable income.

I see the same thing in Reddit. Go to the Verizon subReddit and ATT subReddit. People ask, "How does this carrier compare to that carrier. Which is best?".

While you may get a few dissenters, overwhelmingly you will get the fanboys of that product praising them. So I really don't ever take much stock in the comments truly being unbiased coming from a product forum. Some would gladly and blindly pay $100 more every 6 months just because it's that product. Even if the improvements added no real value.

And let's be honest. Give it time. Some of them likely will eventually change their mind. It usually happens. Heck even VB still has those supporting every decision they make. Even if the decisions aren't the best.

Vbulletin years ago got so bad any dissenters were banned or limited on posting. Now look at their dead ass official forum. So all you generally see are the positive comments. No official forum likes a bunch of people coming on their 'being negative' about the product. They tend to get buried or deleted. Some people may get banned if they speak too loudly.

I know. I was one one them on Vb that it happened to; even though I was being completely civil. And I'm not certain the same isn't necessarily happening here. Company forums generally try to silence dissenters of that product or it's changes.

IPB started off as a hobbyist forum. It had been like that for years. It didn't start off free to be for corporations. It tailored itself more to the hobbyists.

The thing I find oddest is how IPB has never been considered a #1 rated forum. It's always somehow managed to hang out in #2 place in terms of popularity and usage no matter what. Even though they do offer more than other forum software in a general sense..

For years I've felt it was missing an 'it' factor that held it back from greatness. Now I think it's because it still feels rough around the edges in terms of how a member uses it as well as it's appearance.

It has this odd dated feel even with some modern things. It's missing things that have been common elsewhere for awhile. While adding things others are missing. It's an odd mix of things.

It has fallen behind in some areas. That for Xenforo and others has been common place for awhile. Essentially the software needs refinement. And for the love of God, tighten it up and refine what's there. Why is there so much empty space for everything? It's ridiculous.

That said I'm not sure some of these recent changes will help IPBs standing with the forum community. And I'm not sure it'll help forum owners who have slower forums because forums simply aren't as popular as they used to be. The cost and loss of official support due to the insane cost increase won't help either. I've always found forum support lacking and a turn off.

IPB has become one of the most expensive in forum software even though it's software isn't quite the best in terms of how it's used or nor is it the most popular.

While it's added some new features, I hate how forums have essentially not evolved their design/layout. Profiles are still not generally used by most people. Haven't been in forever. The layout is still the same. It feels outdated. Go to one IPB or Xenforo forum, you've pretty much been to them all. Be in now or from 2004.

For me the support changes and cost increase are just too much in too short of time. And with forums struggling as it is, I just don't see these as positive things.

And with the current state of forums, I know I can no longer justify the increased and added costs. All of the time, money, and effort put into them. Just to get little to nothing back out of it. You basically have to have the intention of losing money and never breaking even when you run a forum.

Need to change your domain? That'll be $15 just to change it with IPB even though there's no valid reason for that charge other than a money grab.

Forum and addon initial costs? $$$$$$ Plugins? $$$$. Forum and add on renewals? $$$$. Web hosting? $$$$. Official Support? $$$$$$$$$$. I swear forums have become money pits. I just want to know why it seems some 3rd party developers with a smaller staff seem to do a better and faster job at adding and improving things than the actual forum developers.

With main forum software missing so many modern options and features, third party developers have to pick up the slack and charge for it too. And if any of them stop developing, it then can put members and forum owners in compromising positions.

Many go with their own webhosting because it tends to offer more and be cheaper than the ones offered by IPB or even likely Xenforo. And come with less strings attached.

That all said, while they can do with their prices and software as they wish. I can't say it's the right time or right way to do it though. And their support change and cost also is insane.

If you aren't gaining more people than you're losing, then you're doing something wrong. IMO I think some of these recent changes will hurt IPB in the community standing and will push some of their supporters to other software. Some of which well help that competing software.

And corporations seems to be dropping forum software for other cheaper but more modern options. So I'm not sure aiming more towards them is the entirely smart thing to do either. It will reach a point of literally pricing ones self right out of the market and isolating yourself into a corner that will be hard to get out of.

After being a long time supporter of IPB...it's reached a point I feel it's time to move away. Like I mentioned, unless you have a ton of disposable income, the cost of running a forum has now outweighed the benefits.
 
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sanction9

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Feb 19, 2015
Messages
264
It seems some other businesses doing that too. Our internet provide capped the monthly usage and now charge like $22 month for an unlimited plan. I agree on their business tactics. Probably bean counters saying "raise prices and reduce ticket support."
$22 for an unlimited plan? Even if that's on top of a whatever else you were already paying, that sounds pretty reasonable for these times. Of course, I don't know what kind of speeds you have. But anyway, just be glad you can get unlimited at all, because in many markets you can't. After every kid in the country got a smartphone and grew up indoctrinated by the mobile industry to believe in their artificial scarcity arguments, it's hasn't been hard for the rest of the industry to sell the same story. ;)
 

KimmiKat

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Mar 21, 2005
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410
I meant it's an extra $22 per month for unlimited. It's for 20mb speed.

I
$22 for an unlimited plan? Even if that's on top of a whatever else you were already paying, that sounds pretty reasonable for these times. Of course, I don't know what kind of speeds you have. But anyway, just be glad you can get unlimited at all, because in many markets you can't. After every kid in the country got a smartphone and grew up indoctrinated by the mobile industry to believe in their artificial scarcity arguments, it's hasn't been hard for the rest of the industry to sell the same story. ;)
 

Deimos

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Oct 21, 2007
Messages
2,838
Given the large number of features being added over the last couple of years, I can't say I'm surprised to see the price going up.

I used to be an Invision customer, but the company fell out of favour with me when they abolished the so-called "perpetual" license, it left a bad taste in my mouth.
That combined with the fact you can't download the software when your license expires is also a big negative for me.
Customers should be able to download the current version of the software when the license was still active, not exclude them completely.
 
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