Last post May 08, 2005 06:15 PM by cathal
Apr 25, 2005 09:25 AM|xddg|LINK
Hi, I wanted to post here and ask about module developers who have projects they want to sell, either anonymously or under their own name, and I am looking for great developers who have modules that are of quality and are looking for a reliable environment
to market their work, without needing to involve themselves with the public.
I'm about to launch my skinning/module/skinobject site - it's been something I have dearly wanted to do for so long but with the proper support/infrastructutre. It's taken long than I thought, but I believe we are very close and now I want to provide an
environment for the public who can purchase with confidence and support, module that work to show that DotNetNuke has a range of modules that outdo any other open source project.
Initially was going to simply launch a skinning site, but it's grown to more than that as I've time and money into products to be converted to DNN as well as being asked by some developers who wish to remain anonymous, to provide a supportive outlet for them
to sell their modules from.
I would appreciate any feedback from module developers in particular, on what they think is a good environment to work in, what their expectations are and if you are a developer who is looking for somewhere to market your products, perhaps test the waters first
by having beta testers (ones that don't just use you) or a live environment where people can experience their modules might like to contact me on
email@example.com and I'm very happy to listen and would appreciate your thoughts and comments on the subject here.
So In summary -
Thankyou very much for all the developers who do such an outstanding job on extending DotNetNuke and coming up with ideas and solutions in way I really think is simply remarkable and I am looking forward to your comments.
Apr 25, 2005 10:00 AM|nokiko|LINK
Great we have been waiting for this, I have hesitated in putting designs on snowcovered especially skins and containers because of the 90% of cr*p that is around there that people dont want to get associated with. And unfortunately the same is happening
with modules lately, there is no quality check at all.
then each product could have its own subforum that cleints of that module have acces to.
You could have people sign up for beta testing and the active beta testers can then have a free module of the one they have helped testing ) since request for betatesters on forum usually gets you only people that want free stuff and hardly give any reponse
just a few ideas
Apr 25, 2005 10:12 AM|Ed_DeGagne|LINK
Apr 25, 2005 10:37 AM|codegalaxy|LINK
I agree - some sort of active rating - the stuff on snowcovered seems to take so long to get posted and is so far behind - a forum for each product or something like that - maybe one forum to support the product and another to review it in case uses
A beta testing service - where you identify good beta testers might be another good idea - and handle all the recorded issue tracking
Apr 25, 2005 01:07 PM|phr0ze|LINK
Public module ratings aren't always effective. I've seen people give bad ratings because of something stupid. Like I'm going give this module a 1 out of 5 because I want this module translated to madarin chinese and the developer won't do it. Or I don't
like the license for this module so it sux. I like the idea of testers. You could have developers who are willing to voulunteer to take a module and give it a good work over. If they find problems, they should work it out with the developer. If the module
meets certain criteria, it should get a seal of approval type of thing that it can display. The module developers must agree that one free copy will be given to a single tester. If the developer is not happy with the tester (ie. the tester isn't doing his/her
job) the developer can authorize a second tester (another free copy).
The upsides to this (win, win, win)
Nina has a site with a higher quality of standards on the skins/modules/etc
The developer has more sales because buyers prefer quality assured software
The tester gets a free license to a module/skin for his or her time.
Finally to help prevent modules from being rubber stamped through:
A tester application process.
Testers sign up to test a module or skin when they have time. They can sign up for general types of things they would like to test but not actually get to pick. Like they can sign up for DNN Business Skins, or Forum/Blog Modules. This allows a tester who
is more skilled in a particular type of area to test those, but not just pick a specific module they 'want' to test because they want to get a free copy.
Developers would evaluate testers. And users who have purchased the software can evaluate whether they feel the tester gave the software a fair evaluation. If a tester is getting negative hits from all sides, they could have their status revoked or suspended.
That was it. Its kinda far fetched but it could work.
Apr 25, 2005 01:48 PM|stpeteluis|LINK
I think this is not only an excellent idea but also necessary alternative. Competition is the key to better products and services.
Best of Wishes.
Apr 25, 2005 02:31 PM|cniknet|LINK
I commend you on venturing to create an alternate marketplace. As a full-time component developer, I have some fairly strong opinions on this subject. My comments are intended to be general, so please don't take them as specific to your venture.
There is clearly a market need for a DNN "boutique" store, however I cannot see myself placing any of my products there unless it is run by someone who is focused on exclusively being a software distributor. If the person running the show is also selling
items on the same site, then regardless of their reputation/credibility/intent, their objectivity comes into question. How can a vendor be assured that her/his product that competes with the store owner's product will get fair play?
Secondly, there are only two things I expect from a store owner: marketing and eCommerce fulfillment. I do not want to associate with (another) distributor that provides a help desk or provides a means for pre-sales questions that requires involvement from
the vendor. This should be handled between the customer and the store, with the store staff contacting the vendor to get the required information. This is a horrid problem with SnowCovered as I have discussed in my blog and I wish they would fix it.
I am fine with a store owner publishing user reviews, but I will not post my products on a site where the store is doing the product reviews. Publishing reviews that are done by an independent third-party is fine. Again, it becomes an issue of objectivity.
How can a vendor know that the store has not colluded with another vendor to create a false review to drive sales and increase profits based?
I think the community would benefit greatly by having an independent reviewer of DNN products, provided the following conditions are met:
- The reviewer is not in the business of selling any DNN product. It is very hard to take any review as being objective when the reviewer is a potential competitor or a partner of the vendor whose product is being reviewed. This is why reviews are the traditional
domain of journalists. Although it isn't always the case, journalists are not beholden to anybody and are therefore clearly in the position of being advocates of the public.
- Reviews are done by individuals who have the knowledge, experience and profile for the task at hand. Just because a product is a DNN module, does not mean that it should be installable by an end-user. Many products are intutive for the end-user, but complex
to administer because they require domain knowledge. If the reviewer lacks the technical skills to install or configure a module, the module will receive a poor review. A review should at-minimum have two individuals participating. One, a reasonably technically
proficient user (I don't mean a developer), who can perform basic technical tasks related to ASP.Net, SQL, Win2K/Win2K3. The second, an end-user who matches the profile of a person who is generally expected to use the module. For example, if you have a module
that is to be used by librarians, it cannot be fair to have the module reviewed by someone who is not a librarian.
- The review process is unambiguous, transparent, defined in writing and has both objective and subjective components. For instance, it is easy to provide a matrix that displays if a module supports feature X or feature Y. This needs to be clearly separated
from the subjective portion of the review.
- The review process should not involve any exchange of free products. This, IMO, is very important. You can be assured that there will be bias if the reviewer is doing it to get a copy of the product. For this to work, the publisher (i.e. the entity soliciting
the reviews), has to have a monetary compensation plan in place for reviewers.
- Vendors (i.e. developers) should have no involvement whatsoever in the selection of reviewers. Who reviews a product should be determined by the review publisher based on the type of product and the suitability of the reviewer for the task.
- Reviewers have to earn their right to have their work published without peer review. Over time, the public will trust the opinion and instincts of certain reviewers. Until then, a peer review of the reviewer's work is necessary to ensure fairness and objectivity.
Now, to specifically answer your questions:
I am not, although I would consider it if it had the same or higher marketing bandwidth than SnowCovered. Between SC, Xtras and my own store, I have the bases well covered. The problem is not so much with SnowCovered, as they are just a distributor fulfilling
a market need. The problem is that consumers do not have good resources to easily distinguish what's good and what's not. In the absence of such a resource, it is an unpleasant game of trial, error and frustration for the end-user.
I don't know the answer to the question, but speaking as a consumer, I don't see myself paying for a product whose author is unwilling to associate her/his name with it. I can imagine that there may be reasons for this, and not everyone cares as much, but
this is my personal choice.
I think relationship-building with customers is important as is brand development. A demo is integral to the sales process and my brand, so I would not want to delegate that to a third-party unless it was fully brandable.
IMHO, the value proposition you offer to the community is your enthusiasm, talent, candor and commitment to DNN. Providing an alternate channel for the sale of quality-controlled modules is not, I think, the best fit for you as it is a niche that is quite
easy for anyone with time/desire/resources to fill. What I do think would be a perfect fit is for you to lead a team that independently reviews and rates modules. This would be a winner, especially if it were established as a zine, on an independent site with
the same principles of journalistic integrity that the media (in general) upholds.
(Apologies for the long post.)
Apr 25, 2005 02:34 PM|adefwebserver|LINK
Apr 25, 2005 02:36 PM|RLyda|LINK
Ratings yes, but moderated. I don't like Snow's putting all control into the developer's hands (I've had reasonable but bad feedback simply dropped by authors). I would think an ideal rating system might include:
1) User enters # of stars AND reason feedback;
2) If feedback is missing, or upon moderator review is deemed incomplete/jibberish to get by the validation, then disallow that particular vote;
3) If the feedback is negative, and the developer can prove to the moderator that the claim is incorrect, then disallow that particular vote;
4) If the feedback is negative, and the developer can prove to the moderator that the claim has been addressed by a free patch or other upgrade, then disallow that particular vote;
5) If the feedback is negative, and the developer can prove to the moderator that the claim has been addressed by a purchasable upgrade; then add back half the difference between the given score and the max score;
6) Weight diminish the scores based upon the number of major versions between the version the review was based upon and the current version.
Keep up the enthusiasm and standards Nina! Good work...
Apr 25, 2005 02:55 PM|codegalaxy|LINK
To a point I have to agree with Nik. An independent rating place would be a great resource but it would have to be independent of sales. Kind of a consumer reports type of setup -
Two problems that I see off the bat with that is resources to host a site to review products and how to gain credibility with the DNN community -
A project like this would have to have a big name behind it from the core team at the outset
Apr 25, 2005 02:58 PM|AerosSaga|LINK
Apr 25, 2005 03:07 PM|nokiko|LINK
True that module buyers want a central place but talking as a developer who has stuff on snowcovered, and what others have said also. You pay a hefty 25% of your income just to be on a central repository store with a few features and totally no quality control
what so ever
Apr 25, 2005 03:35 PM|AerosSaga|LINK
You pay a hefty 25% of your income just to be on a central repository store with a few features and totally no quality control what so ever
You pay a hefty 25% of your income just to be on a central repository store with a few features and totally no quality control what so ever
Apr 25, 2005 03:39 PM|cniknet|LINK
I don't see the problem with the 25%...it is well within the limit of 18-30% which is the standard for the industry.
It's all a matter of perception. Pay someone to do the marketing for you, or do it yourself through other channels. One way or the other, you are going to pay, unless your work is so well-known that people come beating down your door (or your site) looking
for your products. Seeing the 25% as "your income" is a bit naive, no? This business is all about eyeballs and without the SC marketing reach most of that income would not be yours at all. It is easy to grumble about the discount (or commission as SC calls
it) when you are getting the sales through SC and forget that without the infrastructure, aggregation and marketing they provide, you would be doing it all yourself.
The decision to post or not post on SC is a no-brainer -- for the same amount of money as the commission, can you get at least the same or better results (don't forget to add the cost of your time)? If you answer yes, then SC is not for you. And here's a
rhetorical question -- in the big scheme of things would you rather have 100% of 10 sales, or 75% of 25 sales?
Although I neither like having my products lost in the warehouse, nor do I like the U.I., SC is still a good investment because it provides a zero capital, high marketing reach for any software publisher catering to the DNN market. I would be crazy not to
maintain at least some presence on their site, which is exactly what I do right now.
Apr 25, 2005 03:44 PM|phr0ze|LINK
Well to tell you the truth its up to the developers to test their products, not the store. But the store should be accountable for selling bad products and offer refunds. When you shop at Sears, if the product is bad, Sears handles the return for a period
of time. If Sears gets too many returns, then they drop the product line. I know with the software world, returns are near impossible to handle because of dishonest people. Although if returns could be worked out, that would solve all the quality issues.
Snowcovered 25% fee is rediculous, i guess. Raise your price 25% and forget it. The markup in retail can be as high as 200% and higher. The manufacturers usually calculate that markup in the price. I know retail has overhead which snowcovered doesn't but
thats part of business.
Apr 25, 2005 03:52 PM|nokiko|LINK
well we are getting on a sidetrack here, its not the 25% that I mind but the quality of service and overall lack of quality control lately. dnn dev is only money on the side so i dont mind the money too much is just my perception of whats being offered lately,
lets keep it at that
Apr 25, 2005 04:21 PM|AerosSaga|LINK
Apr 25, 2005 06:48 PM|thedigitalnomad.com|LINK
Just butting in but I do think its a responsibility of the store manager to meet the expectations of theyre customers wether they are selling their own products or a third parties. Providing quality products and service should be part of any business ethos. The
situation here is that the customers have very little choice as to where to shop and developers very little choice as to where to sell. Just like a brick and mortar store if theyre is competition standards need to be maintained and continuosly improved upon.
I would prefer to deal with the developer directly.
A directory of reviewed developers would be more beneficial than a directory of reviewed modules.
Apr 25, 2005 07:23 PM|mzns1|LINK
Good luck in your venture. Our comments are below...
Hosters/Hobbyists and Businesses (Intranets)
We believe that there are 2 types of developers/buyers.
Hosters/Hobbyists want cheap/free modules. Period.
We are network people. We know many of those that run the small/medium and large networks throughout our local county. These are the types of buyers we try to reach and we believe that here is where the need for a new DNN Shop is most needed. When
you run a 100, 200, 500, 1000+ network you need a site that helps you to go home on time...
Here are some things to consider about Network people when it comes to software.
1. The developer needs a website with demos, contact information and forums.
2. Nothing will be purchased from "Anonymous Developers".
3. Software Patches should be hosted on the Developers website.
A link to the Developers site must be on the product description page.
4. Support is most needed AFTER an upgrade, not the initial installation. After a module is installed and in production, keeping it running becomes critical when it now contains MB's of data. If an upgrade breaks something we do not want to have to download
patch after patch that says "try this". The developers forum should contain every piece of information we need.
5. Module developers offering free upgrades for life are naive.
6. Reviews are like movie reviews. Most people ignore them. See Item #1.
We feel that SnowCovered just sells stuff. Nothing more, nothing less. That business model will shortly sink them if they do not improve. But, then again, the restuarant down the street just went under cause their food was less than mediocre. We wonder
if they knew that...
Good luck and g'day
Apr 25, 2005 08:36 PM|xddg|LINK
Wow,thanks so much for the fruitful comments and diversity of thoughts here on this post. I was asleep and I wake up and those great thoughts here. Each one has interesting reading and I've skimmed over them, but would like to read them all in more detail,
and post some thoughts further on this.
I would like to point out something perhaps that might be causing some confusion.
This is not suggestion as a *review* site, or a rating site to cause some sort of conflict or competition or ill feeling. I don't see this really being in competition with snowcovered, excepting that someone who has involvement
in the DNN community would like to help bridge the gaps that are appearing between novice end users who are coming into the market place and wanting to know more about what they buy and how to use it more.
My vision for this project isn't simply a buy and sell website - there already is one, so why bother. It's really meant for the developers who don't have the great infrastructure / time / resources but have good products (and there are plenty that I feel
need just a little more refinement, prettying up, flexibility to skin) and are not portrayed to their advantage.
I have on my own xd.com.au site, my own developer reviews where I have been fortunate to talk with great people, many of whom remain unknown until popular sites, like mine have these little things on them... like the blogs (which is free, and dnnstuff etc).
I would think that most developers won't ever have anything for sale on my skinning resource site and that's ok too. I still think plenty of people would really like to know about them.
XD is my personal site and the very reason I have not decided to run forums/ecommerce on it as I felt it inappropropriate and needed to look for an independent location and one that has relevance to dnn and not mixed with my own work.
I'm going to digest these comments posted here and I thank you for taking your time and putting your opinions forward and no offence is taken to any of your thoughts.
Regards and great to read all this.
Apr 26, 2005 09:57 AM|IcthusTech|LINK
I am here as a consumer, not a developer, so read this from that perspective.
Over the past year I have purchased over 30 different modules from Snowcovered, many of them multiple times for use on multiple installations and I can say without hesitation, there needs to be a different solution.
In my opinion a central location for purchase is not required. If the developer is not capable of selling and servicing there own products I have very little confidence in them. I am tired of waiting days, weeks, months, or worse forever, to get a response
to a support issue. If the sale and support of modules takes place on the developers site you can see immediatly how they respond to requests prior to purchasing.
As a consumer I value two things above all others.
I agree that a review process would be very valuable. And I also agree that this process can not be open to anyone who wishes to post a review. I also would suggest the review process be two fold, One review by a user without programing skills focusing on
usability and functionality, another review by a programmer looking at the "structural integrity" of the code. The review process should provide a vehicle for the developer to respond and make changes to adjust any non-favorable remarks.
I think that Scott McCulloch has got it exactly right. His subscription model is fantastic, but even if he were to sell his modules by each the result would be the same. Superior products backed by magnificent support coupled with an enhancement and bug
reporting process that is unmatched. If more developers followed his lead all users would benefit. Take 2 minutes, go to his
site and look through the forums. You instantly know you are dealing with a quality individual who cares about what his customers want and need. You know you can purchase
his products confident you will receive the service you deserve as a paying customer.
One of the biggest issues I think we have is the development process. Far to many modules are developed by skilled programmers to file a need
they have. Once that need is filled they figure they can make the module available for sale to recover some development costs. Many very good modules have come out of this process, so have many others that are, well, less than good.
The market will shake itself out over time, the good developers will continue to refine and enhance the products they have. They will also ask for and see the need for other solutions within the community and provide the appropriate products.
Nina, I admire your desire to provide Snowcovered with competition, and I assure you I will be a customer, but only if I can't get it from Scott McCulloch or Will Morgenweck (Active Modules)
May 08, 2005 05:46 AM|rodneyjoyce|LINK
May 08, 2005 05:56 PM|phebous|LINK
There is a need out there. I am not sure if the need is another store or not, although competition is always good. (And I would support another store.) What I would like to see over more reviews/beta testers/etc, is a process of certification. I think
that is what you are striving for with your independent beta testers.
What I would envision is to have a validation process where a 3rd party would qualify a module. It is not to say the module is good or bad or even useful. It is to say it installed correctly for various environments, does not contain errors, and adheres
to DNN quality standards. Once you pass all of the tests, you would be then granted a DNN Certified logo to include with your marketing material. An example of this is the Microsoft Certification Logo Program. It just needs to be implemented for DNN Modules.
My two cents,
May 08, 2005 06:15 PM|cathal|LINK
FYI: the idea of certifying modules has come up a few times in the past, usually with a vigorous debate on the pro's and con's. You can read some of the previous threads @