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SimplePress Suddenly Starts Charging For Support (35 posts)

  1. demonboy
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    My wife has just spent the last four months learning WordPress and SimplePress. She doesn't work and doesn't earn money but has spent all her time and effort building a community around her new project. This month it was officially launched and has just taken off.

    Meanwhile it seems the people behind SimplePress have suddenly pulled the plug on their support forum. It is no longer possible to post up a question without paying a fee.

    Now this practice is all well and good and I understand why they want to charge for their support. However there are two issues at stake here: they did not forewarn their users and they offer no free alternative.

    Quite frankly the way in which they have sneakily pulled the plug on their support and back-stabbed loyal users like my wife, who is not the most technically literate, is disgusting. Their argument is that they spend much of their time in the support forums answering questions. If they want to charge for this, no problem, but at least provide an alternative forum for free that they don't monitor.

    It was only recently that we were trying out the different forums and opted for SimplePress over the others. If they had forewarned my wife about this decision she might have taken it into consideration when choosing her WordPress plug-in. What a waste of time, effort and energy.

    Needless to say we will be migrating to an alternative forum ASAP, leaving behind SimplePress with a very bitter taste in our mouths. My wife will now have to go through a similar learning curve, which you or I might find easy but to a non-technical person this is quite distressing. She is really upset.

    SimplePress ought to be ashamed at pulling a stunt like this.

  2. MickeyRoush
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I feel your pain. Thank god, that I was turned off by the responsiveness of SimplePress and never used it in a production site. There's a lot of open source choices for you. I hope you find one that works for you.

  3. BobHatcher
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I have been on the verge of using it. I actually installed it on one very simple site and liked it. I had a very simple question about a plugin that would notify each (of a dozen) users of a new post. I emailed the moderators and told them I'd pay if I could be assured that such a plugin existed but got no response.

    It's such a turnoff.

    MickeyRoush, other than bbpress, what else do you like? I wanted simple:press because it had a plugin that allowed posters to attach documents so I could use it as a simple document repository. bbpress doesn't have that but it does have the notifier.

  4. MickeyRoush
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    @ BobHatcher

    They only other WordPress forum plugin that I have experience with is Mingle Forum.

    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/mingle-forum/

    It's a lot lighter than SimplePress but I don't believe it has as many bells and whistles as SimplePress.

    I just know that many sites I work with just need a simple forum that they can post and reply on, so bbPress usually fits the bill. In fact, I've had some clients only want something simple like bbPress. They don't want all the bells and whistles.

  5. demonboy
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    If it's any help, when my wife and I looked at forums we very nearly went for Mingle. We got as far as installing it and almost chose it over SimplePress. The only reason for going with SimplePress was because it did something that the others didn't... and for the life of me I can't remember what it was! It was quite specific to my wife's requirements, perhaps being able to create read-only threads at a certain level that only certain forum members could reply to... or something. Anyway, it was an oddity that most forum users wouldn't require, so with this in mind I would also recommend Mingle.

    I found BBPress a bit confusing. It was trying to be a bit too clever and required a bit too much of a learning curve to get our heads around. Perhaps it's great for full-blown forum requirements but, like I said, my wife's is a small community with only certain needs. Mingle very nearly fit the bill, so definitely worth a peak. Oh, and their support was really responsive and helpful too.

  6. MickeyRoush
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Yeah, with bbPress some themes require some css and other editing to make them look just right. So I know what you mean there.

  7. BobHatcher
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I have bbpress running on four sites right now, and simple:press on one. bbpress is very simple (far simpler than simple:press) and it works great, but it doesn't have the ability to have attachments into posts.

    My sites are all private in that everyone gets redirected to a WordPress login page and everyone has been added as users. I use a plugin called "Restricted Site Access" for that and it's brilliant. Getting notified of new content is mandatory for this group.

    Because my sites are available to a small group we use it as a document repository too that's why I want members to be able to attach files. But, the notification requirement is far more important. So, until and unless the simple:press guys get back to me to tell me they have a notifier plugin I'll stick with what I have.

  8. MickeyRoush
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    @ BobHatcher

    You may want to look into these plugins. I've never used any of them, so I can't really provide any comment on them.

    For attachments:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/gd-bbpress-attachments/screenshots/

    For notifications:
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bbpress-notify/
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/bbpress-new-topic-notifications/

  9. fraxture
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Hi All, I'm also irritated with this new pay scheme, which is also rather pricey I'd say for something that one is not likely to use very often. It's also irritating because there upgrade to v5 seems to have stripped out a bunch of standard features. All the post editing options seem to have disappeared for example. Anyone know how to get these back? Anyone having a similar problem??

  10. kylemarvin
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I have been on Mingle, and have over 3300 posts from 170 users, but it is just not as feature rich as I need. So I'm trying to experiment with SimplePress. The main reason is that it seems to have the features I want, and that I can export all my current forum content from Mingle to SP. However, I don't want to spend $39 on support if it turns out I can't do what I need done. I don't mind them charging somehow, I mean, I don't do things for free why should we expect them? But it's a bit risky until I know it works for me.

    I can't figure out how to export the forum from Mingle. It asks for:

    Mingle Database Name
    Mingle Database User Name
    Mingle Database Password
    Mingle Database Host
    Mingle Table Prefix
    Wordpress User Table Prefix

    I don't know where to get ANY of this information, as I use Mingle as a plugin. I never manually setup a database for it, and don't know how to get the information to enter. Does anyone know where you might find that stuff? I'm sure it has to be word-for-word for it to work. My whole plan of moving to simplepress is a waste of time if I can't get this to import.

  11. demonboy
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    It's been two months now since I posted my original objection and we have heard nothing from SimplePress.

    Seems the developers are lying low.

  12. MickeyRoush
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    What SimplePress did is pretty bad. Getting people to use it for free than all of sudden start charging for support. I guess it's their plugin and they can do what they want, but from now on I have to recommend to everyone that they use an alternative. Especially when trying to decide what's best for you.

  13. Nicola
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I am really disappointed in what Simple:Press did, I had a few issues with the forum that I didn't know how to fix without the support forums. Due to this I moved to BBPress, which is in my opinion the worst forum provider I've ever used but that's another story...

    I use buddypress so I wanted a forum that could incorporate this somehow. After weeks of trying, testing and searching I've realised that Simple:Press was the best for me which is such a shame since I can't use it properly as they now charge for support and plugins!

    I had an account with them which got deleted! I contacted them via Twitter and they didn't respond after I requested for my account to be restored as they said that earlier accounts could still access the forum.

    I hate bad customer service.

  14. MickeyRoush
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    @ nicoleuk

    You should try Mingle Forum.
    http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/mingle-forum/

    It's more robust than bbPress, but less so compared to Simple:Press.

    bbPress is built on the same mind set as WordPress. Keep it simple and let the deveolper/designer make it look right. So it can take some work making it look right per theme. Some themes it will work right out of the box.

    I have a BuddyPress site that uses Mingle Forum instead of the bundled bbPress. It works good.

  15. Nicola
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Thank you, I am now using Mingle Forum and it's been great so far! I managed to find a mod to incorporate it with buddypress. So far so good.

  16. lgice
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I with you MickeyRoush I use mingle forums and even though it lacks alot of nice features that would be wonderful if it had. it is a great forum solution to simple:press of BBpress.
    I tried using bbpress by my theme just does work well with it and idk where to start or how to start to make it look and work right.

    Mingle-forum is the best solution for forums on WP to me. Easy Simple and Support is quick nice and they explain everything nice even for new users.
    Its sad that simple:press did this with no warning and no alternative support oh well it will only hurt them by losing user base. im sorry but 40 bucks is not worth asking 1 question that you will need

  17. matemp
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I didn't like the way simple press yanked the support from underneath us in which we now have to pay for support and plug-ins. However, I need a simple plug-in but I don't like paying $39. Does anybody want to share in the membership cost? I just need at least 1 other person but preferably 2 or 3. If so contact me at my member name at juno.com.

  18. noteasypeasy
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    Interesting this discussion, as I have been looking at wordpress integrated forums, and short-listed Mingle and Simple Press does anyone have links to their existing forums so that we can view them?

  19. Rosie-L
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    The fact that they haven't entered this discussion in four months says a lot about their commitment to supporting the product. It doesn't exactly give one confidence that spending $39 would be good value.

    Simple:Press looks like it will do everything I need, but the information that is publicly viewable is pretty sparse.

    So how do I know that the information hidden away behind the too-expensive support fee is any better? Answer: I don't! And I'm not going to pay $39 to find out that they don't give a stuff, or that they talk in riddles, or that they take ages to reply.

    If these people had a clue at all about marketing, promotion and customer service they would have a user-supported forum which they kept out of and so didn't "waste" their valuable time. There is a place for paid-support, but as the only avenue for product configuration information it's a very poor business decision.

    I looked at Mingle Forum some time back and the big feature it was missing was no ability to notify members of new posts to the forum or to follow a particular thread. The developer kept threatening to provide that feature for a long time, but nothing ever happened. Has that changed?

  20. gabemott
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    I think it's just dissapointing that they don't tell you upfront. It is still "fronting" as a free tool but once you've sort of committed you get to the page where the price is a surprise. They can charge whatever they want but they have wasted my time because they lead one to believe it will be free.

    AND its not just $39, it's $39 a month right? I hope I am wrong.

  21. Rosie-L
    Member
    Posted 2 years ago #

    $39 for two months, $99 for 12 months.

    Utterly absurd whichever way you look at it.

  22. AdamsAutoAdvice
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    It's not cool SimplePress did this, but I understand why.

    If people are looking for truly free forum software MyBB, FluxBB, and Simple Machines Forum (SMF) are probably your best options.

  23. Boba Lou Lou
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I was searching for a forum earlier this year for my site that played well with WordPress; preferably integrating with it seamlessly.

    I tried Mingle forum at first. It was ok. If all you need is the barebones, Mingle will do. I decided I was looking for something more robust. After doing a lot of research, it came down to VBulletin or Simple Press.

    VBulletin is considered the most comprehensive forum software around. A license will cost you over $100 though, and it doesn't integrate into WordPress seamlessly.

    On the other hand, the Simple Press forum software is free, though you have to pay either $39 for two months or $99 for 12 months to view and write in the support forum, and download the various plugins.

    For me, Simple Press won out because I only had to invest $39 for help and the plugins as opposed to over $100 for VBulletin and more importantly Simple Press will integrate into WordPress perfectly. In addition Simple Press has a lot of bells and whistles I was looking for.

    If you only need barebones, go for Mingle. If you need or want a more robust forum experience, I'd go with Simple Press. In my opinion it is worth the minimum $39 you put into it. I've received outstanding support. My inital questions get answered within 2 hours.

    They are now offering a demo experience for those on the fence: http://demo.simple-press.com/

  24. demonboy
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    This still does not excuse their behaviour and treatment of current users, Boba.

  25. Boba Lou Lou
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I guess you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs...
    It's not possible to please everyone, especially when it comes to business.

  26. Rosie-L
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    the
    After Simple:Press drove me away (see my first post above) I kept looking, and I came up with a different solution altogether.

    Think about it: exactly how much WordPress integration do you need of your forum? For most people it will simply be the same look 'n feel across your WordPress site and your forum, and a common login to both.

    The ability to customise appearance is built into most forum software, so look 'n feel doesn't really become an issue. So thinking that the implementation of the common login might be possible with code, I broadened my search parameters to include ANY forum software.

    Keeping the story short, after many trials I settled on giving Phorum software a good run, and I haven't looked back since. It's flexibility is incredible and, although I haven't implemented that feature myself yet, making a common login between WordPress and Phorum is quite possible and has been done by many participants in their *FREE* support forum. Oh, and did I mention that Phorum itself is also *FREE*(donations encouraged and welcome)!

    Unfortunately I'm no coder yet, but even I have managed to make some tricky behind-the-scenes modifications to the way that Phorum operates. As a beginner coder the only problem I have with Phorum is that some of their most advanced adherents sometimes speak in shorthand in reply to technical please-help questions. But if you are polite, persevere and keep digging, you will find what you need and you can do pretty much anything your heart desires with this software.

    If you are already competent with PHP and CSS there are no limits to what you can do as far as modifying Phorum to your own requirements. But even if you are a coding dummy like me this solution is WELL worth looking at. Even in its stock standard form it is the best forum solution of the many I looked at.

    http://www.Phorum.org

  27. roostertail
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I agree with this discussion. I originally gave a sizable donation for their efforts. They gave me two months free(?) support when they changed to a fee base support system. I too get their desire to charge for support, but think that a lot of issues can be resolved within the community and the principles need not even get involved.

    I am now in the process of changing to a different forum software. I originally started with Mingle Forum. It was a nice, good performing system, but has some major limitations (for my needs). I'm now running a test forum using phpBB3 - https://www.phpbb.com/. It's free, but it isn't a WordPress plugin so there are some difficulties with bridging it with WP. There is a plugin, WP phpBB Bridge...but I have not been able to get it to work (and frankly have given up). There also is a plugin called WP United - http://wp-united.com , but it is in a major overhall and previous versions haven't worked for me. With all that said, I think phpBB3 will be the way to go. It has some major similarities to V-Bulletin which I am very familiar with. All support is free and the community has developed a lot of add-on's to improve the forums based on specific styles, tastes, etc.

  28. beggers
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I've used phpBB3 for nearly a decade and it's the best forum software around but it will never properly integrate into WordPress. It's not a plugin and never will be. So I looked at Buddypress/bbPress but those solutions seem light years behind phpBB3. It's almost like no one there has real experience running a large message board. Plus, the designers and users seem to disagree about a lot of things.

    That lead me to WPMU which requires $39.50/mth and honestly their plugins just don't look like I think they should. The Chat, for example, seems almost cartoonish.

    So next was Simple Press. I think that's the closest to phpBB3 that I've seen. They seem to have a good idea of how message boards are supposed to work. But I looked at the support boards and noticed that you can't read any of the replies to some important questions unless you're paying for support. And frankly, how a company answers support questions tells the real story, because no matter what plugin you choose, you're going to have a lot of questions. Also, they claim to have a importer for phpBB3 but I can't access the docs for it so without paying I really don't know what its limitations are. In other words, I'm not sure it will work for me.

    I'm really not sold on any of these at this point.

  29. puffidredz
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    yea i think they should have a free site as well. i downloaded simplepress months ago, after usng phpbb for years, and simplepress ran fine without me even needing anything; i jus kept everything at default. i just ran the default but then i logged into my site today and simplepress had disabled all my forums because it said it needed an upgrade. so i clicked upgrade and now the simplepress forums has somehow become detached from my web site and no longer integrated. and of course i'm not going to pay a monthly fee for a simplepress on a web site that only gets views from like 10 people a month. the money just does not justify the means to pay so much for it.

  30. gorky5
    Member
    Posted 1 year ago #

    I have a bit of sympathy with the SP devs. They were putting a lot of work into improving the plugin and providing support in the forums, and presumably weren't getting enough back in donations.

    However, so far I've been reluctant to pay $39 or $99 when generally I only need to ask one or two questions a year. If I could buy a week's access that'd be much better.

    Actually, I'd much rather they charged a fee for the plugin itself, then provided support FOC to their customers. The extra functionality plugins for the forum could be sold for a small fee too.

    As it is, there's nothing to stop someone setting up an unofficial forum to provide free peer support. If it did well it might make the SP devs rethink their pricing policy. Anyone fancy doing this?

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