Can we beat vBulletin/IPB?

this afternoon, i’m chatting with Allan, and he just asked me a simple question: do you think you can write a script that can be better than vB?

the answer was quite simple, but i never wrote it nowhere, so here it is:

Sure.

… end of answer!

nah, seriously, what i see in this market may be something most people does not evaluate, because they do not know the whole story of the web. So yes, it is simple to beat vBulletin. What makes it so popular and so respected?… when it started in 2001, there was no real solution for communities, because it was a new concept, and the only real solutions were costly and for schools or groups, like UBB which vB is a branch of btw.

So, vBulletin was quite alone on the market, there was no alternative at that price, and they worked pretty well on it for the first 3 years, until 3.0. IPB was there, but at first it was a volunteers project where i was involved, and the goal was to beat other projects without looking at vB. when IPS called the shot and moved to a paid product, their goal was then to beat vB, and the competition raised with the arrival of some forums like phpBB and MyBB etc in the course… but they are all from volunteers, so they can not be raised commercially.

What is the future of vB?… if they are not moving to a larger market, touching webmasters and multi-sites owners, they will stop evolving. A forum is a forum, no matter what feature you add to it. 50% of the job is made by the designers and the admins, so the software itself is atop of comparaisons when we list user-friendly points, nothing more.

vBulletin, IPB, phpBB, they are all competing among themselves, but none is trying to invade other markets like the classified ads, advertising, auctions etc… because it would branch their market wider and they can not loose the chance they actually have to sit on a solid ground. If they make an error, they loose.

That is where we have the advantage; we start anew, we have no barriers, we have no solid ground, we will be the ones writing it, and we will grab all the markets that they are not touching yet. to have such ability, IB would have to have a secret group working on a vBulletin 10, with all the named features… which is complicated in that kind of business because they have a business plan to follow, and their stock holders would be shocked to see such move.

So, with IPS, it is different, IP.Board is multi-levels… nope. their biggest part of the cake is commercial, they deal with companies, big names, and small clients for fan sites. If they add a feature, it is due to clients requests… the more they add, the more staff they need to support their script and their clients.

It is easier for a new project to make plans like this, because we will be able to evolve on due times, instead of breaking a beat to flip on side. We do not have to maintain an old backward compatible script like vB is… we do not have to recode our entire core to fit with the new PHP or LAMP structures… we’re building it ahead of the demand… what we code today is to be compliant with the servers of tomorrow, so we’re taking a leap nobody can right now.

And what about the other softwares, like the Esvon suite? i have these codes in hand — developer key, a privilege. most of these big projects aside of the communities are driven by old codes, to be easier to install on anything. their codes are obsolete, not designer friendly, not compatible with new servers securities etc… and they usually encrypt their codes not for secrets, but for hiding their horrible codes. Esvon suite is coded in PHP 4.2, updated on the flow of bugs. same for phpAuctions, a great engine for auctions that i had to entirely recode 5 years ago… was coded in PHP 3, i recoded it to 4.2… and their versions did not raise that much, so i suppose it is still the horrible code. *(would you pay 1000$ for a non-encrypted version?… they have more than 3000 clients who paid the 400$ script, that’s only an auction, not even community integrated)

Imagine that we could beat them all because we will have a great marketing plan with ads and resellers that talk about our product… We can build something, we’re not stupids, and we know where we go… do you think IB know where their vB 4.0 goes?.. they do not even have a roadmap for 4.1…

5 réponses sur “Can we beat vBulletin/IPB?”

  1. You have a point here. IPB and IB are looking at each other and are measuring themselves in comparison to the other. In this respect I would say IPB is ahead of the game.

    But when you take another look. And think about what websites need, then both IPB and IB are behind. Far behind the demand.

    For vb and ipb you will have a very hard time to find wiki, classifieds, image gallery, music & radio system, video system, links, downloads, news system, reviews, advanced Social Networking, real groups & email lists, support suite, chat, IM gateway, desktop applications, advanced polls, surveys, mobile applications, advanced SEO, email bulletin, bounced mail management, events system, a comprehensive moderation system, directory listings, and many other applications that are widely used on non-vbulletin websites.

    I dont think it will ever be possible to get all that from one source, but vb doesnt provide any of those popular applications.

    There are a few coders that provide some of it as addons.

    IMHO there is basically a gap in the market the size of the grand canyon.

  2. It « could » be possible to have everything under the same script, IF that script permit and promote bridge between useful apps…

    as an example, JFusion that i played with… it is a bridge between Joomla and other apps… So if you use Joomla as the master, you can have a vbulletin, a wiki and a chat as slaves to the master and your members does not see any differences, as the templates and authentication are bridged.

    what i have in mind for our engine is that it will provide addons to answer the needs, and if we can not have an integrated solution for need « x », we will try to provide a bridge with other platforms that provide that solution, by offering the developers a SDK for every need, and even our support to do so…

    because the more we help expand the applications of our engine, the more clients we will grab because they are satisfied by our protocol.

    as an example: vB have 3 types of forum displays… linear, hybrid or threaded… they are just unused by 99% of the vBulletin clients, because the other 2 solutions are ugly. But if we simply provide 3 different forum types, with these system seperate, we spare some energy supporting the ones that are not used. We can have multiple « forum » type, like we can have multiple « classified ads » systems, multiple « faq » systems… the site admin choose the one he wants.

    at first we will provide some default versions of types, but with the time, any coder/developer can provide his own versions that are supported and approved by the project.

    not sure yet how we will deal with outsourcers… i like the « approved seal » thing where a coder prove his potential and we give him a seal to be part of the distribution… no need to pay for that, we will receive so much more revenues with the core if the outsourcers are on our side instead of fighting against the system, like Photopost and others are doing right now.

    i remember the old days where we had an exclusive promotion of photopost on vb.com because the company was driving clients to Jelsoft… good old days.

    anyway, what next…

  3. @nexia 23564 wrote:

    It « could » be possible to have everything under the same script, IF that script permit and promote bridge between useful apps…

    Bridge? Blehg. YUK!

    Tight integration and intuitive use is what I want.

    Don’t say the B word again or Ill start using your ugly smilies on ya.

  4. i mean when we have no solutions…

    a would prefer to bridge a really efficient video-conference script instead of having one of these crap ajax chat… don’t you ?

    btw, with all the scripts i have in bank, it will be hard to find a solution that we don’t have… do you have somewhere on the web a script that help gardeners keep track of their plants and seeds, distribute/sell them and display timeline pictures of the plants?

    i do… 🙂