IPS: Company review of Invision Power Services

Discussion in 'IP.Board Discussions' started by genos, Jan 14, 2016.

  1. genos

    genos Regular Member

    Dec 14, 2015
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    Depending who you ask and where you look, one would have you truly believe there is only one forum software worth investing time/money into(Xenforo) . One would have you think anything else is an inferior choice and nowhere near its level.

    Thanfkully, the web is a big place, and do enough research and you'll find there are several compelling products that are just as good and for some admins, even better, than what Xenforo can offer. I recently did a review for Xenforo that I posted on various admin sites. So I figured I'd do one for IPB4 and IPS as a company.

    Let's keep it real with the bad:

    IPS really didn't do IPB4 a lot of favors early on prior to its eventual release. One thing IPS as a company needs to work on is their Public Relations. Simply because a lot of the choices they made unfortunately were blown up into much bigger deals than they truly are.

    • Perpetual license being done away with as the launch of IPB4 neared. In theory, they did honor the agreement. Perpetual licenses were apparently for the 3.X line. And for the life of that product, all agreements were honored. With V4 being effectively a new product with its own brand new life cycle, no one logically should have expected to get the product forever and ever.....free of charge. I mean, it's common sense.

      Unfortunately on forums with extreme XF bias, the situation was blown out of proportion. Most IPS customers weren't that upset, but of course you'd find XF zealots using it as a chance to promote XF while crucifying IPB.

      IPS could have easily fixed the situation. A free renewal is nice....but while you can't give those individuals free upgrades forever, 3 years of free renewals(that's 6 total) or a discounted price on a new license. It could have been better explained. Better handled and had they had a PR guy it could have easily offset such BS statements from the 'leading admin site'(LMAO).
    • IPS has some policies that make sense if you think about it. The problem is the fact they don't always easily explain things leaving room for confusion and undue criticism.

      Big example, $15 to change the URl for your license is attached to. Once again, if you pay attention to certain admin site, it would have you think that you had to pay $15 to change the URL.

      That isn't true. You get a free change every 6 months. Who changes a license URL that many times in a year, let alone a 6 month period?

      The reason being is because the license is supposed to be attached to ONE DOMAIN/URL....Take XF for example. No there is no charge to change your URL. On the flipside, there is nothing truly stopping me from using that same installation on 10-15 different forums should I choose to do so. Enabling piracy greatly.

      With IPB, it locks the license to that particular URL/domain and you are free to change it once every 6 months without a charge. If I needed to change it more than once every 6 months, then you get charged.

      But if you reach out to the company, they are pretty flexible. I had changed my site's URL in December but we hated the name. Technically they could have charged me $15 since it is their policy. They didn't. I was able to change back to my site's previous name.

      If IPS would better explain their policies, it would remove the fodder of people looking for something to criticize.

    The Ugly:
    • If you choose not to renew, you lose access to the support forums and downloads areas. You also are no longer able to download software. Which means, if IPB 4.0.9 was the most recent version available to you before your license expired, you cant go into client area and download it.

      Personally...this is a complete ridiculous stance. First of all, the support forums are meant to be Peer to Peer. Regardless if you are an active client or expired license holder you should have the ability to access the support forums. E

      More importantly, when looking at their competitors, I should be able to download past software versions that are applicable to the time when my license was valid. It really doesn't make any sense as to why you no longer have access to past versions.

      This one-track mentality is something that while it doesn't effect me directly(I always renew regardless), it hurts the company image. Once again, looking at popular admin forums will you see this issue(as well as others) blown completely out of proportion by people who aren't IPS customers and have no interest in IPS other than to further increase their agendas.
    • IPS didn't do IPB4 any favors early on in its initial launch. They kept changing the date(Which is understandable, things and setbacks happen).

      The beta site was good idea in theory but it really should have been opened to customers only(as to avoid unjust comparisons for what was an alpa product a the time) and opened up to everyone when it was more production ready.

      But even after IPB4's launch, the soft launch was not a bright decision. Because by not making a big announcement about it until 3-4 months later but calling it a soft launch, it made the company look as if they didn't have much faith in the product.

      But more importantly were the early days of IPB4....It was buggy and had a lot of glitches. That is expected. The issue is the fact it was taken out of gold status BEFORE it should have been and IPS would release a version and then have to turn around and release a patch version sometimes days later, sometimes in the same day.

      Because it was rushed out. Thankfully, as the product begin to mature, they did at least stopped rushing it out and updates and upgrades are less problematic and there are far less complaints nowadays. Don't get me wrong, it can always be better improved but it is much better now that they seem to be taking their time.

      But the damage was done because by rushing the product out, you have people (Mainly those who use competitor's product) screaming the product sucks and the company is using its clients as beta testers. Which is a hyperbolic statement of epic proportions.
    • IPS support:
      The response times can be a bit long(especially the weekends) and it is something that truly needs to improve. It is probably the weakest aspect of the company for me. I do believe they are adding support members however to better handled this which is much needed.

      That being said, while support response times are long.....they are actually rather knowledgeable and actually will go on your forum and trouble-shoot for you. Which is above and beyond what most of their competitors will do/have done. I asked XF a question about .htaccess and Brogan was little to no help. IPS may be slow but they do tend to at least help you a bit better. In my experience anyway.

    The Good:

    I've been with the IPS community since like January 2013(as a license owner and prior to that I was admin of an IPS forum and had some experience).

    I left IPS...three times. For Xenforo. And each of those 3 times, I came back. Regretting leaving in the first place. No, IPS is not perfect company by any means and at times I shake my head and sigh heavily because I think

    "This could have been better handled if they did this or that..."

    I grow frustrated with them because they have so much untapped potential it seems but their focus isn't always where I wish it would be(and where many others would like it to be).

    • What brings me back to IPS is first and foremost the guys behind the company themselves. Lindy, Matt, Mark, Rhett, and Charles(my favorite, if not for his sarcasm and one-liners I always look forward to) are all a great group of guys.

    Compared to XF, these gentlemen actually interact with you. They hear your complaints. You can PM them. They deal with a lot of BS and they feel like everyday guys.

    They aren't acting as some entity who you can only talk to when they grace you with their presence. They don't just go radio silent and not acknowledge the community.

    It makes them approachable when you do want to make a complaint or ask a question.

    I don't know all of the support guys but rarely have I had an issue with any of them except twice. One was a situation I placed myself in and made a stupid choice and they very well could have not worked with me, but they did.

    Another was an issue with one of the support techs coming off as a bit rude but he later came back and apologized.

    They are humans. They aren't cyborgs and the IPS community doesn't treat them like Kings or Gods like some other Forum support communities do with their developers.

    • Our 3rd party developers are pretty awesome.

    No we don't have the sheer number compared to others but w hat I love about our developers is one again, the sense of humbleness most have and the approachable nature. No, not every single one of them is the best developer. There are some developers who frustrate me, but there are more good than bad. And there are so many amazing developers who go above and beyond.

    • IPS as a company better moderates and leads the community.

    Rarely do you see someone feeling as if they can't or shouldn't post on the support forums(and those who do are usually being jerks who think throwing insults and screaming the loudest is w hat it takes for people to notice you). Compared to some other support forums, I've never once felt alienated for rightfully criticizing the product and more importantly IPS as a company is receptive to criticism. Most of the time lol.

    • IPS actually is involved with their marketplace.

    It isn't just a place where any random, sketchy developer throws something up. IPS does review the code of add-ons submitted to their marketplace. Which better protects their clients. If there is an issue with a developer or product, you are able to get refunded(I do believe, don't quote me though) so you aren't gipped out your cash.

    Looking at XF and their scandalous history with developers and the fact that XF as a whole allowed the situation to go on as long as it did, it makes me appreciate IPS stance and how they protect customers. It doesn't mean the same type of thing with shady and sketchy developers can't happen with IPS. The difference is, once company actually does try to better protect its customers(IPS) while the other is far hands-off and at this point and time unable to do so(XF).

    • Jack of all trades

    I love the fact that with IPS I have a chance to grow my community. It doesn't have to be just a forum. It can be a chatroom, it can be a blog, a gallery, a downloads site, a commerce site...or all of the above a the same time. IPS is presently the only software that offers a true FIRST PARTY combination of applications. I don't have to download add-ons from multiple developers and hope that they all play nice together and integrate well with other add-ons because IPS makes them. Stability is guaranteed and reliability and trust in the fact they aren't going to be abandoned. I am not having to delay upgrading to a version because I am waiting on a developer who may have abandoned the product to update.....IPS handles it.

    No, not all of their apps are created equally. Some could use a bit more focus and work. But i'd rather have a stronger unit of apps that can be improved than having a product that literally is only a one-trick pony at one thing.

    • IPS support-

    I did say above IPS support can at times be a bit slow with response time but at the same time support is great. For starters, I absolutely love the fact that I can buy a chatroom solution through IPS for about $5-10 and it is supported by IPS. I don't have to worry about it causing issues on my hosting like most chatrooms. Any issues, they fix.

    If I wanted, I can move my site to their hosting and let them handle all support. While getting access to most of their suite as well.

    Presently...no other company truly offers an all-inclusive and full-featured package. Every other competitor out there is good at one or two things but they are lacking. For WBB, it is a community that is active and actually speaks English(most are german) where I don't feel like a second class citizen.

    For Xenforo, it is a welcoming community and a sense of respect for the company.

    IPS as a company has made quite a few questionable choices and outright fails in my opinion. But what makes me stick with the company is not some blind devotion or fanboyism. I like the fact that they seem to grow stronger daily. They learn from mistakes and they adapt. They offer what no one else is offering me.

    A product I don't feel I am having to truly settle for. A company I can support. A community of individuals who are diverse and aren't playing follow the leader and who is the most popular on the support forums.

    Who knows? My opinion could change. I'm a fickle guy and very picky. But as of now, IPS is a company I do recommend people who are looking for premium software to check out. Next up, IPB4 review :p
    JoelR likes this.
  2. AWS

    AWS Administrator

    Feb 1, 2010
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    Joliet, IL U.S.A.
    First Name:
    I was totally disappointed with the 4.0 release. I was really looking forward to it and IPS disappointed with it. I am still holding hope that it improves although each current version still has problems. I hope they figure it out and get it on track so I can upgrade my 3.4 site.

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