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Things I need with Invision


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As a community owner for over two decades, I wanted to give some personal feedback as to what I find very useful (and need) to keep my community alive. 

Big Tech Competition:  The biggest challenge has been competing with other online services like FB, Reddit, Twitter, etc, etc.  You guys have hit the sweet spot in generating useful integrations to these services.  I would also like one for Linkedin but I'm sure that's on the radar.  With any competition like big tech, we can provide a more specialized touch to any community.  I hope we can still maintain this presence and I have a feeling IBP5 will give us even more ways to create active sites that give the big boys a run for their money.

Monetization:  I have a specialized car club and, with Invision, I've been able to monetize our existence and pay our bills.  We are hosted on a dedicated server environment so we have our fair-share of bills.  I've looked into using a cloud-host but the costs don't justify simply putting a machine into a colo site.  We also have other bills like licensing, email services, and annual domain costs.  With the integrations to Google Adsense, Infolinks, and the paid subscription model (built into IPB), this has enabled us to pay these bills and continue well into the future.  The addition of Subscriptions has also helped us a LOT!!!!

3rd Pary Marketplace:  I have appreciated the Invision Community capabilities with 3rd party apps (Marketplace).  However, I see these have been depreciated for the upcoming release.  Some of these modules really gave us an edge and we were able to stand out.  I fear that removing this integration may put us into a general category just like everyone else.  So, I hope the team considers opening this up again or at least making it easier for us to customize our sites to provide unique services.  Some of the more important apps for us are Member Garage, Member Maps, Classified Ads (big one), Tapatalk, and Member Info blocks (we use member numbers for members to use as discount codes to our partners).

Advertising Banners:  We have used, and will continue to use banner sponsor placements on our site.  The one place we are missing is at the top of the screen.  Of course we can always do a pop-up or slide-down style ad.  But people tend to hate these and disable them.  So, if we can add more customizable locations for these banners, it would be a big hit for our business.  

Google & SEO:  This service is so strange and it seems to change every other quarter.  New rules all the time, and I've gone from ~$700/mo in banner income to ~$125/mo.  I have no idea why this is, but I did notice that Google doesn't do very well with active community sites (they prefer static pages I guess).  So, if you are building something new with the release of IPB5, I would be very interested to see how we can improve our SEO or even Google results.

Forum Layout:  I *REALLY* like the new look of your forum design in IPB5.  I cannot wait to use it.  The one thing our members really appreciate are the active notifications and easy way to see how things changed over the last 24/48 hours.  The new features coming seem to compliment this very well.  Not to mention a lot of people have been asking for the light/dark mode and it will be nice to see this capability built-in rather than having to design our own.

Community Experts:  I did see something about the addition of community experts.  VERY GOOD addition!!  In an automotive community like ours, there are always guys hanging around that are considered RL experts as well.  I'd love to give them the recognition they deserve and let people know they actually *DO* know what they are talking about.  I hope this is an 'approved only' capability as I am sure some people may request this status and don't really deserve it.  😉

Downloads, Knowledgebase, Gallery:  These existing capabilities are huge wins for us.  Although I would like to see an update to Gallery, the majority of the existing features work very well.  I hope these stay and continue to see improvements as the product goes into the next stage.

Blogs:  For us, the blog module has been a strange experience.  Some guys know how to use it, while other people tend to post questions and use it like a forum.  If we were to continue using blogs, it might be a great idea to make sure end-users know they are in a "blog module" rather than part of the forums.  It's hard to explain on text but honestly I think people get confused as to what a blog is versus a forum.

All in all, I am so happy to see that I've invested with a company that is taking this product to the next level.  Your team is amazing and it's reassuring to see that private communities are still a necessary part of the Internet.  As we continue forward, please understand that I'll stick around as a long term customer.  Just don't jack up the rates too high on us.   😉

Mike

Edited by Mike Gholson
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10 hours ago, Mike Gholson said:

3rd Pary Marketplace:  I have appreciated the Invision Community capabilities with 3rd party apps (Marketplace).  However, I see these have been depreciated for the upcoming release. 

To clarify: The possibility to install 3rd party apps wasn't removed in v5!

  • Plugins were deprecated, but applications can still be created, exported, imported, etc..
  • Hooks were replaced with Code Listeners and several new Extensions

But all in all, 3rd parties will still be able to create new apps like Member Garage, Member Maps, Classified Ads, Member Info blocks etc..

More information about the upcoming changes can be found in our Dev Blog: https://invisioncommunity.com/developers/devblog/blog/

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10 hours ago, Mike Gholson said:

Blogs:  For us, the blog module has been a strange experience.  Some guys know how to use it, while other people tend to post questions and use it like a forum.  If we were to continue using blogs, it might be a great idea to make sure end-users know they are in a "blog module" rather than part of the forums.  It's hard to explain on text but honestly I think people get confused as to what a blog is versus a forum.

We have the same experience. The most members use blogs as a kind of personal forum to ask questions. When they get enough answers, they remove the entry or hide it. Those who have commented are insulted. We would not like to remove the permissions to delete, edit or moderate own blogs. But the most users abuse these features. We have tried to put rules on the entry submission screen, this does not help. We have tried to explain, what blogging is, it did not help as well. 

At the end of the day, we will close our blogs after 15 years. We have over 10,000 “blog” entries. The most of them are just questions, 1–2 lines.

I think, there is no IPS's “fault”. We have just a wrong target audience.

 

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On 3/5/2024 at 1:43 AM, Daniel F said:

To clarify: The possibility to install 3rd party apps wasn't removed in v5!

  • Plugins were deprecated, but applications can still be created, exported, imported, etc..
  • Hooks were replaced with Code Listeners and several new Extensions

But all in all, 3rd parties will still be able to create new apps like Member Garage, Member Maps, Classified Ads, Member Info blocks etc..

More information about the upcoming changes can be found in our Dev Blog: https://invisioncommunity.com/developers/devblog/blog/

Awesome, thank you!  I thought the removal of Marketplace was depreciating the 3rd party capability.  I appreciate the clarification and this is great to see.  Hopefully the 3rd party developers can still make enough money to continue updating and supporting the apps.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/5/2024 at 2:29 AM, Sonya* said:

We have the same experience. The most members use blogs as a kind of personal forum to ask questions. When they get enough answers, they remove the entry or hide it. Those who have commented are insulted. We would not like to remove the permissions to delete, edit or moderate own blogs. But the most users abuse these features. We have tried to put rules on the entry submission screen, this does not help. We have tried to explain, what blogging is, it did not help as well. 

At the end of the day, we will close our blogs after 15 years. We have over 10,000 “blog” entries. The most of them are just questions, 1–2 lines.

I think, there is no IPS's “fault”. We have just a wrong target audience.

 

I think the blog feature is great for sites that want to use it correctly.  For instance, this website uses it as an information sharing feature.  Staff members will write blogs and articles about something related to the site.  It's great when used for this purpose.  I think giving everyone access to write their own blogs is likely the cause for this confusion.  Maybe we should give specific authors or publishers rights to it, after some proper training.  I've been approached by several publishers about doing write-ups or features on our site, which is probably the correct use of the application.

The reason I enabled it on my site was to give people a place to write about their cars, restoration projects, etc.  However, I see most of the members are simply creating their own 'build thread' in the forums instead.  

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