What can I say, I am deeply shocked... On 13th October, Internet Brands released the new website for vBulletin - the most powerful forum software available, with by far, the largest customer base. This revelation included 3 new items apart from the new design: New Business Name (vBulletin Solutions) New Licensing Prices New License Agreement Firstly the new business name. Internet Brands acquired Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd in 2007. Until now, vBulletin has been operating under Jelsoft, however, earlier this year sparked a major incident whereby several key team members left, including the lead developer. Internet Brands appointed Ray Morgan as General Manager of vBulletin (Internet Brands, Inc. - Internet Brands Appoints Ray Morgan as General Manager of vBulletin). Several users became suspicious under this change with regards to their private information. A customer contacted vBulletin, and confirmed that Internet Brands held customer data. ICO or Companies House list that no data transfer has occurred out of the EU. Internet Brands seem to respond with either closing the forum theads (as happened with the majority of complaints or the removal of the thread in the first place) or providing a reponse then possibly closing the thread. This attempt to attain a response from staff regarding this has prompted the closure of 3 thread, with partial answers coming from staff. The staff say that it doesn't matter becuase the data (on the server) has remained in the same place for the former years, however, they do not seem to understand that Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd is responsible for the data, and must declare if transferred to a third party, vBulletin Solitions, a division of Internet Brands, such as Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. This saga continues with customers threatening to make a complaint with the ICO. Second comes the new Licensing Prices. There is currently a presale and it is obvious through staff comments and the website that they prefer that customers buy the vBulletin Suite: pricing it lower than the classic forums, in presale terms. Primarily, customers with expired licenses had to pay significantly more than those with active licenses. This price was also above the price for a new license. Customers were astonished to find that the "Project Tools" addon had been canned due to "low sales". Ray Morgan had informed us that Project Tools, Blogs (addons) and the new CMS were to be the main compontents of the vBulletin Suite (in additions to the forum). Customers with Blogs from the current 3.x scheme still pay the same price as active customers without. Those will multiple licenses, are given no discount, and subsequently feel cheated. We are seeing costs of up to $5000 for the payment of licenses in the presale period. Support via ticketing is no longer complementary, and costs $80 more. As a result of a backlash from customers, some issues were resolved, the price that non-active license holders were lowered. Customers had been pre-warned about the pre-sale and informed that it was in our best interests to keep the licenses active. The pre-sale time itself is less than 3 weeks, and ends at the end of this month. Many are unhappy at this time constraint and find it unacceptable that they are having to cough up money at such short notice. Many customers explained the reason for this to boots income and revenue in time for the Internet Brands Q3 report, due on the 28th October. Customers are concerned that they will face a similar situation in 18-24 months time, at which point we are expecting to see another software release. Many customers have been banned from the forum, one questioning the detrimental reliability (promissory estoppel). The license agreement has sparked quite a few conversations, mainly with the younger audience as it now states that those under the age of 18 cannot download the software, without parental consent. This may be as a result of the license being subjected to Californian law as stated in the agreement itself. Raging customers have sent messages to Bob Brisco, CEO Internet Brands via Twitter, he has not reponded yet. Former employees are making sly remarks about the event, however, these have since been removed, for whatever reason. Threads are being closed and removed on the vBulletin forums to try to cover up the outcry from the customers. The upgrade for forum owner for 3.x to 4.x was marketed as being free, but it was very limited, some even went as far as calling it a lie. It is free up to the time you get to the end of your 3.x license. At this point, you must pay $175 to continue use the software ->gain updates. Another issue making people's blood boil. In conclusion, there is a catalogue of business errors that are alienating customers and some feel that the product is becoming more geared towards the enterprise market. Wow, that's a long post.... but I needed to vent my anger.