Here’s a top ten list of thoughts about the many changes made today by EllisLab.
1) Switching all the products to be under the EllisLab domain is a good move and a strong signal. It’s now ellislab.com/expressionengine, not expressionengine.com, and this makes sense—especially if the company plans to promote itself and its brand more aggresively—though that would require additional outreach and communication, which isn’t exactly the trend. But we’ll see.
2) Imagine, for a minute, you are a person who hasn’t heard about ExpressionEngine. (There are many of these people in the world.) So you come to the site and you want to know, say, what are the requirements are? Or what features it has (commenting, templating, spam handling, search, caching, performance…) There’s nothing like that here any more. EllisLab doesn’t actually describe the product any more, they just assume you want it, or will want it, after knowing it will “help you succeed.” Sorry, that’s not good enough. (Bonus item: The testimonial on the bottom of this page from “Wes Baker, VP of Technology”—what company does he work for? EllisLab. See #6…)
3) Offering paid support is great, and I’m excited about it. But offering only paid support is crazy. The forums were a great place to find solutions to problems quickly without requiring direct assistance from an EE staff person. Now, that’s all locked away and even if EllisLab gets rich answering paid support, I won’t benefit from it; I’ll have slowness, delays and frustration. They say they want to help us, but this isn’t putting their actions in line with their talk. Offering three months free with first purchase is a band-aid that recognizes this problem, but I think the real consequences will show up in about 4 months, when everyone has used up their free support trials and the wave of frustration at this program really hits home.
4) That said, the pricing structure of the new paid support is insane. $50 / month for a responses only from 7:00am to 3:00pm Pacific Time with a 2-day wait for a first reply? How is that acceptable for ANY product, especially a business product? Or how about $2000 / month for 4-hour response, and that by email only, no phone support? For $24,000 / year, I better have a number I can reach you at, and it should be 24-hours, or at least go past 3 p.m.—basically, if I have the best possible plan offered, and I file a support request at noon, they still don’t have to answer until the next morning, 17 hours later.
5) MojoMotor now has equal billing with ExpressionEngine. Truly shows that what makes money runs the show now, not what does the job. (Since MojoMotor is the most profitable product of EllisLab, requiring almost no development or support.)
6) What’s with the staff list and the company history at the bottom of the home page? (“Spark Japan Launch Evolving Chatty Ignited EllisLab Onward”) What does that even mean? And besides, name one other company that puts the company’s history on the home page. Nothing personal, Ellislab, but we don’t care about you! We care about your products and what they can do. Showcase your add-ons, your best sites, your successes, not your history. And the periodic table / staff listing… it’s cute. But it doesn’t mean anything real, and it shouldn’t take up more space on the home page than ExpressionEngine does.
7) Not having any links to Devot:ee, EE Insider, Director-ee, Train-ee, Show-EE... it just shows how insular EllisLab is today. These sites and the people there are what has built your community, EllisLab. Their success helps me, and you. Why shun and ignore them? Speaking of which…
8) Pro Network: gone. Reason given: “Many of you have expressed to us that you feel that the Pro Network has become a bit crowded, with many members who did not keep their profiles updated.” This is horse-crap. “Many of you” is a lame way to pretend that there’s community support for a non-supported decision, and getting people to keep their profiles updated is EASY, especially when those members get business directly from their listing. No, you basically ditched the Pro Network in favor of Enterprise Partners—and the fact that you forwarded the link for every Pro Network member to the new Enterprise Partners page, even if you later modified on this, speaks directly to the fact that this was clearly your goal. Disclosure: Hop Studios is/was in the Pro Network.
9) Minor(?) peeves: The EE version 1 legacy docs are now gone. You can download them, but that’s it, they’re not online. This is stupid: I still use them regularly. You also took down the wiki, which was stagant and I’m glad it’s gone if it’s not used—but it was also the only place anyone could find EE’s Parse order documented. Rescue that, please!
10) New CEO: Good luck, Derek! I hope you don’t get “the wrong advices” (Check out the site’s new 404 page. It’s very apropos.)