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New Product Idea: IP.Demo for Demo/Test installations


KT Walrus
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I'm recently in the market for some MarketPlace products (skins, apps, etc.) and I'm finding the MarketPlace somewhat inefficient and pre-sales demos are hit or miss.

This experience got me thinking. What if IPS developed a product called IP.Demo that contained all IPS products with a fully populated set of forums, members, topics, blogs, galleries, etc (more than the initial install database contains). IP.Demo would not be available for download, but would be available as an IPS Hosted Cloud App.

A developer/customer could purchase a hosted instance of IP.Demo and install all their skins, apps, hooks, etc into the base install. Once they are satisfied that the hosted instance has been customized to their liking, they could "publish" the instance. Published instances would act just like the IPS product evaluation demo in that anyone interested in evaluating the developer's products would have a demo instance created for them for N hours of evaluation. The demo instances would have admin/user accounts already created each with the same simple password (probably a user account in each member group).

The MarketPlace products could then have standard demo links that point to the developer's IP.Demo instance.

You could charge for IP.Demo for non-MarketPlace developers and provide it free of charge to those that post their products to the MarketPlace.

Note that customers like me (non-MarketPlace seller) would probably be willing to pay for their own personal instance of IP.Demo (hosted by IPS) to serve as my test board. Since it would come with a pre-populated database that has a variety of topics, members, galleries, etc., it would make a great test installation. I could customize my IP.Demo instance just like developers would customize theirs and then test it by creating demo instances off the base installation.

It also occurs to me that IPS could use IP.Demo as a way of having beta testers check out betas of IPS products as they move into the beta stage. I rarely test IPS betas since it is a hassle, but if I could easily create an IP.Demo instance of the beta for me to play around with, I think I would do that. And, this might shake out a few more issues before the beta goes GA resulting in high customer satisfaction for your products.

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I'm recently in the market for some MarketPlace products (skins, apps, etc.) and I'm finding the MarketPlace somewhat inefficient and pre-sales demos are hit or miss.

This experience got me thinking. What if IPS developed a product called IP.Demo that contained all IPS products with a fully populated set of forums, members, topics, blogs, galleries, etc (more than the initial install database contains). IP.Demo would not be available for download, but would be available as an IPS Hosted Cloud App.

A developer/customer could purchase a hosted instance of IP.Demo and install all their skins, apps, hooks, etc into the base install. Once they are satisfied that the hosted instance has been customized to their liking, they could "publish" the instance. Published instances would act just like the IPS product evaluation demo in that anyone interested in evaluating the developer's products would have a demo instance created for them for N hours of evaluation. The demo instances would have admin/user accounts already created each with the same simple password (probably a user account in each member group).

The MarketPlace products could then have standard demo links that point to the developer's IP.Demo instance.

You could charge for IP.Demo for non-MarketPlace developers and provide it free of charge to those that post their products to the MarketPlace.

Note that customers like me (non-MarketPlace seller) would probably be willing to pay for their own personal instance of IP.Demo (hosted by IPS) to serve as my test board. Since it would come with a pre-populated database that has a variety of topics, members, galleries, etc., it would make a great test installation. I could customize my IP.Demo instance just like developers would customize theirs and then test it by creating demo instances off the base installation.

It also occurs to me that IPS could use IP.Demo as a way of having beta testers check out betas of IPS products as they move into the beta stage. I rarely test IPS betas since it is a hassle, but if I could easily create an IP.Demo instance of the beta for me to play around with, I think I would do that. And, this might shake out a few more issues before the beta goes GA resulting in high customer satisfaction for your products.

Almost all of our apps are included in our basic $10 hosting plan. If a marketplace author really wanted to pay us for an online demo, they could just use that...

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Nice, sorry for stealing the topic but I have 3 questions:

1 - files are encoded? (no problem with that)
2 - Will I have a FTP account to upload my stuff?
3 - Do I need a domain ?

They are, you do gain access to FTP :) And you can have your own (Such as I have demo.themetent.com) or you can use one of pre-defined ones. Such as themetent.invisionzone.com is.

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Almost all of our apps are included in our basic $10 hosting plan. If a marketplace author really wanted to pay us for an online demo, they could just use that...

I think you missed my motivation for suggesting such an idea. If you provide IP.Demo instances for free to the marketplace authors, you will encourage a better customer experience and that has to be very beneficial to IPS. And, I think the marketplace products would sell better since people can try before they buy. I would go even further and require all marketplace authors to configure an IP.Demo instance for customers thinking of purchasing their product in the marketplace. That way, a marketplace author couldn't post a product until they have setup an IP.Demo for the product. One of the things that disappoints me about IPS products is that there isn't very many quality 3rd party addon products that I would consider buying. I want to see tens of thousands of addons in the MarketPlace by now. I would encourage IPS to focus on developing a vibrant and huge 3rd party developer community and one way to do that is to make it better for customers looking for 3rd party addons.

I just bought a license for IP.Content and IP.Nexus because of your Demo site. I didn't realize how much better these products are since I tried them years ago.

Also, IP.Demo would be structured to create a clean demo environment for each evaluator. Just like your Demo site works, the marketplace authors can ensure that all evaluators see the same starting configuration. If a marketplace author just purchased a $10 hosting plan, they would have to periodically refresh the database or some evaluators will see the junk left behind by a previous evaluator. They would be "re-inventing the wheel" when even IPS found they need a good Demo/Trial site to sell the IPS products.

Finally, I think having an instance with a prepopulated database of topics, members, etc. that reflects a medium sized site would be extremely valuable to many customers. I think those customers that want to do initial testing of new versions or updated configurations would appreciate the ease of use of an IP.Demo instance in the Cloud. And, I think you should charge for this (maybe like Amazon EC2 instances which are sold by the hour). You could sell an IP.Demo instance for $5 a day or $25 a week. I know I would buy 2 or 3 weeks a year. You could also provide IP.Demo instances with IPS betas installed for free for 1 day use.

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I'm sure many of our contributors would love free demo accounts, but I'm afraid it's rather unlikely we are going to provide free hosting accounts to anyone who uploads third party contributions here. That's a lot of free hosting. ;)

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