osCommerce Forum opens up to Commercial Interest

By | April 11, 2012

It’s been a long time coming but at last the osCommerce Forum has become more open to commercialism in terms of people asking how/where to find developers and for coding projects.

This will hopefully be a very good alternative to the usual places that people find coders such as the “lancer” sites and so on. Being able to go direct to the forum (of the software you are using) has to be a better way to find a quality developer than using a site where you have no clue what the coder might be doing to your site.

The two commercial forums are for 2.x and 3.x osCommerce, and are protected forums…meaning that the general public can not see topics being posted.

Well done Harald, I appreciate the difficulties in bringing commercial interest to osCommerce – hopefully it will be a great benefit to the community! In the future, possibilities exist to extend this, with osCommerce being able to benefit financially from it. Stay tuned!

10 thoughts on “osCommerce Forum opens up to Commercial Interest

  1. enigma1

    To tell you the truth Gary, I am not too enthusiastic about it. Requests for professional support were always present in the forums in -lets say- a discreet way. In many cases they were associated with a module thread. Moderators would leave those questions alone in most cases, in case someone could post a solution or give a chance to other members to initiate contact with the poster. Although Harald never published any specifics on the subject that was the message I got. In my view that was very effective for various reasons. Nowdays I see followups to those requests like “not allowed” which indicates the false perspective many have on the way the osC forum operates.

    I think now the new forums on the one hand may attract more people to post problems and ask for help but it is clear that will be “paid support” and may shift the interest of developers to get more work that way and stick on it, something invisible to others.

    I remember I was contacted by quite few members every so often and some of them didn’t want or couldn’t afford to pay and had to address each case differently. If it was something I could use with my existing contributions, publish a new one, or utilize the code elsewhere, I could help some members for free. Now this is no longer the case from what I understand as the focus will be shifted to these particular forums.

  2. Gary Post author

    I don’t think that’ll happen – I think (and hope) that professional shopowners will post in the commercial area, when they realise that the only hope they have of getting help is to go the commercial route.

    I think mostly everyone has gotten to the point of understanding that a business needs to spend money in order to get value…

  3. George

    Isn’t it like this, that those professional shop owners, who know that they have to spend money for value, in the same way they pay the window cleaning service for their shop windows, that those shop owners are not running around in the forum? Are they not all busy with their stores? Do they not already trust their store development to a professional?

    I think that half of the people asking questions in the forum are :developers”, taking money from people seeking free help in the forum. Isn’t it like this that the other half arrived at osCommerce because they don’t want to spend a cent for their store? Aren’t most of the questions of type “do it for me?”

    I think that this commercial forum section is a good idea and will remain a good one if used in the way Gary said above: a professional store owner post right away his request in the new forum section

    We will see

  4. Gary Post author

    Yeah, I think so – more or less, most shopowners who realise that they are running a business have a developer who they go to 90% of the time. But for new people setting out to use osCommerce, it seems to be a good idea to have the ability to reach out and find a developer if they feel like they need to do so.

    It is all about MORE choice for the users of osC.

  5. enigma1

    I am not sure the way a store owner tries to improve his store has something to do with the way the new channels are implemented. Whether is time or money the store owner will decide the way he wants to invest and what he does reflects on his business venture afterwards.

    I think Gary you need to make it clear, the new channels can be viewed by corporate sponsors and community sponsors. I know you’re both are, so you should have full access, but I do not think other members realized how these channels will work from what I read in the osC forum thread. And lack of a sponsor badge doesn’t imply lack of technical skills working with osCommerce.

  6. Gary Post author

    Hi Mark – yes, the topics in the new forums can be seen by sponsors (and the posters own topic can be seen by themselves). Other than that, these are private forums. The cost of being able to see the forum is 10 euros per month, a sponsorship.

    A sponsor can have no technical skill at all. They are unlinked.

    It is a good first step towards a future that includes commercial interest, and that can only be a good thing. Too many times have I seen users abandon osCommerce, these new forums might just work well to help stop that.

  7. enigma1

    Depends on the philosophy of each of us. In my view it’s not money that needs to be regained rather productivity and talent. From my experience people abandoned osC because they couldn’t find a solution to their problem in the forums (which is what you experienced so we agree on it) but if you carefully watch in recent years a large number of responses is irrelevant to the question of the poster. Go back to 2003-2007 and compare the type of responses.

    So for example if you have a new osC member who asks why my newly installed osc cart doesn’t work with PHP 5.4 what is the “technical” answer? “osC doesn’t support 5.4”. Which of course is nonsense. Or another good one is when I see all these posts about don’t use version 3 use version 2 instead surely won’t attract members to use version 3 now isn’t it? Or when some members troll contribution threads, when questions arise with the usual answer “This contribution is dead”. How truly technical. So off they go to try another cart. You would do the same. To me that’s lack of forum moderation that makes new members try another cart instead because they don’t understand why they can’t use something that is there. And how long the admin security issue was floating with the RC versions, do you recall? Even now they still have an admin login page of which security depends solely on the server environment. To users who may use IIS the stock osC is a no-no because the admin part doesn’t deal with the server specifics. How hard it is to put a form to confirm the admin part is first locked from the host control panel before allowing anything to run. Instead you have a bunch of security contributions bloating the cart and in many cases break its functionality.

    So having said all this, I don’t see how these issues will be resolved just because commercial channels are open inside the forum.

  8. Gary Post author

    Mark – I think you and I are fairly close in philosophy. Of course, the new channels are not going to solve all the problems in osCommerce – what they do (in my opinion) is this;

    a. allow the pro developers on the board to legitimately contact people asking for help. That is inclusion for a part of the community that has always been ignored (you know that and I know that).

    b. stops people from getting spammed by so called developers (I know that one of my favourite clients has been led up the garden path by developers like this in the past). If someone is posting in a forum where only a handful of people can see the request, they are not going to get many people responding with crap.

    c. opens up the opportunity for people to find developers at the source of the software. Some of your code is in the core of osCommerce. Some of my code is in the core of osCommerce. Are we not better placed to work with osCommerce than 99.9% of the rest of the planet?

    In general, it adds more choice for the people using osC. And that, in the end, can only be considered a good thing.

    Let’s move on to those complaining about this move; I cannot understand why anyone would be displeased that forum members have the ability to post commercial requests. And I don’t think that is the cause of the complaint in most cases. From what I read the complaint is due the fact that one has to be a sponsor in order to read the commercial posts – I agree with that complaint, but I also live in the real world. In the real world, Harald needs to have the osCommerce site raise cash – whether that is for server costs, or Beer, or Cake…Harald has to look after the existing sponsors. Allowing anyone to read the commercial posts is unfair on those existing sponsors.

    Is the complaint about the cost of becoming a sponsor? Surely it cannot be – 10 euros per month is a tiny business cost and can easily be regained from the very first job accepted.

    Harald is trying to do what’s right. And this is a good first step in the road to taking osCommerce to a new more professional level.

  9. Scott Wilson

    It’s interesting that they’re adopting this about a year after Zen Cart stopped doing it. The Zen Cart team found that they were getting dragged into disputes between store owners and people in the development forums who weren’t delivering as promised.

  10. Gary Post author

    Hi Scott

    I think there are plans to change this into something far more professional. The forum channel is I think a stop gap in the meantime until something else happens…

    it is interesting though that the ZC team stopped a similar thing. We shall see what happens at osc…

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