VerticalScope

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by shibby2, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. shibby2

    shibby2 Participant

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    Hi, does anyone have any experience with VerticalScope? I've been approached by them to sell my forum, and was wondering if anyone had any good or bad experiences?

    I guess they just want advertising rights to the forum.

    Any help or input is VERY appreciated, thanks!
     
  2. gogoblender

    gogoblender shiny happy pantless

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    Sounds cool!
    Mind showing us your forum?

    :D

    gogo
     
  3. shibby2

    shibby2 Participant

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    Not just yet, but I will eventually. :D

    Anyone else have experience with them? Anyone?
     
  4. The Equivocate

    The Equivocate Adherent

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    I've never personally worked with them but I'm a member of one of their forums, wrestlingforum.com. I don't know how much they do on the administrative end or if they buy it outright but it seems like they know what they're doing when it comes to their brand name and their forums.
     
  5. Valhalla

    Valhalla Neophyte

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    hey guys. i was just researching VS and came across this thread. so, i my experience can be of any help to others, i am gonna pas the word the best i can.

    recently 2 forums that i help operate were bought by verticalscope. once they accuired the forum, they completely spammed the site with google ads, gave all site sponsors a 300% increase in their rates, and even began charging long time members to be able to view the areas that were once free for them to see.

    if you truly care about the community that you have spent years working on, you will not sell out to VS. they are only there for the money and dont care about any part of their member base besides their wallet. the sites that i am talking about are www.gixxer.com and www.gsxr.com they are cornering the market on all motorcycle forums and are even going as far as sending threatening letters to any offspring sites that want to remain free. they are threatening legal action because they now "own" copyright on everything as small as similar colors beign used. example, the suxuki GSX-R has a distinct logo on the side of the bike. www.gixxer.com has that R in its site logo. now any other gsxr related site who displays the same suzuki logo has received a threatening letter from ther lawyer to remove the site and or logo.


    please dont sell out to VS, no matter how much they offer you to do so.

    on a side note, one of my members did throw this spoof site together poking fun at them

    www.horizontalscope.com
     
  6. Valhalla

    Valhalla Neophyte

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    so it looks like they took horizontalscope offline. it was fun while it lasted.
     
  7. VShater

    VShater Neophyte

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    If you care about your community do not even think about selling it. I was a member of a very tight knit community and within 6 months of the new ownership members had dwindled to nearly nothing and contact with VS was nonexistent. If it is payday for all your work and you are ready to move on and not watch the demolition begin then by all means sell.

    My community is a wasteland thanks to VS.
     
  8. NICEGUY77

    NICEGUY77 Habitué

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    I totally disagree.

    I used to work at Verticalscope, my time there was aprox 1.5 years. The staff while I was there are really great and knowledgeable. They have some top notch developers and when I was there some amazing sys admins. Their infrastructure is incredible.

    While I was employed there I was a forum manager, I was one of the people who worked closely to the communities I managed; I managed 24+ sites. Near the end it was becoming an impossible feet, being employed there became stressful because I seen some communities not getting attention and I had to always deal with the users on the sites.
    The purchase of Gixxer came after I had left the company and was replaced by a guy named Jim D (as seen on TennisForum here and here,computer world writer. ). In all fairness, Jim walked into a disaster, add the fact that he was cluseless about forums and you have failure. He was a body that filled a position (they lost both forum managers in 1 shot) and someone who could create visibility between the communities and the management at VS. He was later fired.

    There are flaws in all acquisitions, nothing goes perfect. There will always be people that bitch no matter what. Throwing up lame domains to attack a business is a real shame, you should go bitch at 'your buddy' who sold the site :) Better yet, you could have always bought the site yourself.

    WrestlingForum.com, that is a site I managed personally myself. That site had a lot of politics behind it as one guy owned it, sold it to VS, screwed the one admin out of cash and VS got wrapped up in the middle. There were soooo many hacks hacked installed onto that site it was a disaster. Now remember, this is 1 site of 40+ at the time, and at the same time there was a lot of success with www.mmaforum.com . Anyhow, I distinctly remember having to deal with a points issue on WrestlingForum. It took too long and was a failure on the part of VS, but not because people weren't trying, but because everyone was getting killed with more work.

    People forget that the admins / mods / developers all have lives outside of their 15+ hour work day.

    Valhalla, my guess is you feel owed for something, for all that volunteer work you put in. I know for certain there are staff who stayed on with sites who became 'paid employees' per say; that would have been more than you were previously getting if you would have stuck with it, but people get pissy when they don’t get their way.

    With regards to the advertisements. Sites cost money, the money needs to be recouped somewhere. I am guessing you Valhalla didn't want to donate a couple k towards the acquirement cost, so, ads it is. I am sure you can subscribe to their system of some sorts to not see advertisements.

    Point is, Verticalscope is a top notch company. No company is perfect and there is no exception with them, but if I had to hand over my community and I wanted to know it would be online, backed up, upgraded and managed by people who have an investment into it, then I would give them a consideration.


    What community is that ?

    I am guessing you weren't the owner?
     
  9. VShater

    VShater Neophyte

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    too bad I don't have my backup archives of the mod lounge, If Jim took over your accounts I could probably call you by your real name.

    No the owner is waiting for his non-compete agreement to expire so he can start a new site. He came back after a while to help try to save the site and was ignored by VS, if they trully were into keeping it online they might have tried harder to do the simple tasks he asked them to do to correct the issues. It is all moot now as a new site was finally created and the members that left through word of mouth started reappearing. The site might be upgraded and managed now but the old members are gone (and would have anyway) and nobody new is signing up because it looks like a spam site. Sites cost money but if you destroy them then what good is your investment?

    From the outside view of what I have seen from a LOT of research the sites that VS takes over the original communities leave. New members might sign up and like it but that is because they came after adam and eve ate the apple and they don't know any better.
     
  10. NICEGUY77

    NICEGUY77 Habitué

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    Depends on which site to be honest. There were so many, I ran most of the sports / power sports while my co worker looked after auto.
    however, both of us were on each others sites all the time, there was lots to do!
    We also used 1 login usually. this was so that if and when we quit or got fired, someone could slip into our place and take over.

    Well, theres always a few more sides to the story. I know during site acquirements mods and admins are all allowed to stay, most leave on their own accord. I am guessing after cashing in he wanted to bounce and have nothing to do with his members, remember, he 'sold out' and none of this would have been discussed if he hadn't.

    As an enthusiast, I agree with you. But as someone who may invest, content is king. If organic traffic is flowing in, advertisements are being viewed.
    The good news is for your friend now, a new site has been created, he doesn't need to make another :p


    That is a sad reality but a concept I myself could live with. People don't give new owners a chance, they freak out, list demands and when they are met, they leave anyways. I have been down that road a few times myself. The mistake VS makes is they have never been swift to ban the trouble makers.

    What community were you a part of that got destroyed?
     
  11. shibby2

    shibby2 Participant

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    Thanks for the info so far, its very helpfull. :)
     
  12. VShater

    VShater Neophyte

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    guessing this is you from way back when. Sorry still in the process of moving so not trying to make a lot of waves. This was a great find while researching VS, too funny

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV7bSXSkOI8
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 7, 2014
  13. NICEGUY77

    NICEGUY77 Habitué

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    Steve Ingram was the forum manager I worked with. VS and him parted ways within hours of myself leaving there.
    Steve was by far one of the hardest working guys there and I know did his best to keep the sites moving in a positive direction, we just didn't always have the support as there were other pressing things on the table for the company.

    Jim was at VS maybe a few weeks before Steve and I left. In the course of a day Jim went from working under us, to equal to our boss; at times things were a bit of a mess.
    I believe that is the Jim they reference in the video. LOL

    Sadly, I think VS has slowly gone from forum managers with experience to people who are learning as they go, to each their own.

    Regardless, they have the resources and infrastructure to continue scooping up sites.
     
  14. Shuyti

    Shuyti Neophyte

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    I am not an owner and was just looking around the net when I came across this thread in a google VS search. They didn't improve the forum I belonged to so everyone up and left. One of the mods started another forum and thats where we went. We all left due to VS's ad policies, new forum format, and other issues.

    The site VS took over was www.ducatimonster.org

    the site we went to is www.ducatimonsterforum.org
     
  15. NICEGUY77

    NICEGUY77 Habitué

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    www.ducatimonster.org has the content.

    The forum will repopulate. While I can sympathize with the fact that a core group of guys likely left and it sucked during the take over; with that much content there will be a new group of guys on the VS site.

    What happened to the guy who owned the site? Road off into the sunset ?
     
  16. Shuyti

    Shuyti Neophyte

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    I believe it was a couple of owners who were friends. VS payed them for the site and at first they remained as Admins. After more changes to the site some mods left and I think the Admins relinquished their responsibilities and VS chose successors.

    The admins got a hefty sum from VS. The community felt slighted because they felt it was a private non-commercial community made by and for real people's passion, not a cash cow. Many people in the community had given the admins donations to maintain the servers and donations of time and knowledge to provide content for the site and stability of the forum/ server.

    After the sale VS offered all of the old community members who made past donations a 1 year gold membership or something like that title. that gold membership allowed certain additional forum benefits and was an annual cost. Benefits everyone in the old community had regardless of donation status. People who had donated to the old community received a eternal Titanium membership that meant nothing except shiny stars near your name and some cheap swag which we all liked and joked about. No one donated for special access, it was all for the passion. People donated multiple times not to receive anything.

    I think in the end the biggest issue the community had was how we got the news. We found out by rumor that in about 2 weeks the site was being taken over. The admins came clean and announced it after that. Then the admins and VS tried to convince the community that nothing would change, but it did. The admin and VS had been in talks for many months and people who donated in the past 6 months felt their donations were going to a company and not the community they thought.

    This is the short answer :)
     
  17. sharpfan

    sharpfan Aspirant

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    I did a Google search and found this thread conversation. This company, VerticalScope, keeps buying out all my favorite sites and now they just bought CycleForums and are telling everyone its motorcycle.com buying them. I have no allegiance to this new owner, and it sucks because myself and most of the community gave our allegiance and efforts because of the face of the site with the old owner.

    I dont understand why only a small amount of people get upset about the hostile takeovers. They delete threads of disgruntled users, edit out people's posts if it doesnt match their ideology, and turn on the censor switch about certain things.

    From this thread after they Verticalscope just took over CycleForums:
    http://www.cycleforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=299132

    Here is something interesting, and I quote from a user within that thread:

    "But let me break down some of the sales numbers so you can see why I came up with the estimate I did. I just went strictly on ratios of previous sales. I was hoping maybe he got more, but it sounds like he got less.

    Site: gsxr.com
    Posts: 400,000
    Price: $41,000
    Admin Pay: $400/mo

    Site: twowheelforum.com
    Posts: 400,000
    Price: $38,000
    Admin Pay: $400/mo

    Site: kawiforums.com
    Posts: 1,000,000
    Price: $75,000
    Admin Pay: $450/mo

    Site: r1-forum.com
    Posts: 3,000,000
    Price: $300,000
    Admin Pay: $1500/mo

    Looking at motorcycle.com, they bought that, bought about 30 motorcycle forums, and I've noticed another 5 or 6 more on the internet that they dont even list, are they trying to control every form of motorcycle community out there?

    Where does it stop?
     
  18. NICEGUY77

    NICEGUY77 Habitué

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    From what I have read, the owner was in some serious financial troubles due to a pending lawsuit.
    You can't fault him for dealing with real life. Begging for donations doesn't give you a warm fuzzy feeling. :)
    I really don't see the issues with VS buying new forums. And really, you shouldn't gripe because they are doing it, if I personally had to lay blame it would be on those selling I suppose (but what is to gripe about at all??).

    Hostile takeover? What defines an offer and acceptance as a hostile takeover? From the sounds of it, the owner needed the cash, good timing.

    I think most community managers have no problem answering questions after new owners step in. The issue that I have seen is a lot of people feel they have an entitlement to information, renumeration or whatever they can dream up. There is only so many times a new forum manager is going to answer the same question, and only so much BS they are going to take before they start censoring, deleting and editing peoples posts.

    It is a privately owned forum, they could color it pink and call it Pocahontas if they wanted to.

    Unless that user is privileged to the contracts VS is sporting with people, it is pure speculation, all information should be taken with a grain of salt :|

    Where does it stop? I imagine VS will stop buying sites once they either sell their current network, all the sites of interest have been bought or the forum well has run dry.

    I don't anticipate their acquisition habits to change that drastically though I am told they feel the market is cold. What once may have been a 5/5 scoring site to them with regards to purchasing 1 year ago may be translating to a 3/5 site and they are not willing to spend as much. Naturally, I am not a spokeperson for them and I could easily have been misinformed, so again, do not take what I say as gospel.

    I can totally understand peoples feelings on being informed if a site has been sold and where it is going, but ultimately if they aren't paying the bills they should leave things be. I don't see why a community needs to know every detail behind the scenes, do you? Would it have made any difference to know that VS offered them, say $50,000 ? Would you have bought it?

    Was VS the right choice to sell to? Hard to say. Was VS the only players at the table at the time, that is possible. Realistically, VS is in this to make money, and if you put up the right dollars and cents you could likely acquire the site from them and run it any which way you feel like.

    I personally know the current forum manager of the above mentioned site. I worked with him before, his back ground in not in community management, he was a photographer for Modified Magazine (acquired from VS, click here to see a story by him). I believe he has aprox. 16 minutes per day per site on avg, what can you possibly get done in that time?
    Overall, can he get the job done, I believe so providing more resources are provided to him. Stew is an OK guy and really, only time will tell if he is the right man for the job.

    Would I let him run a forum of mine, not a chance in hell.
     
  19. REactorTrip

    REactorTrip Aspirant

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    I love stew and I still want to be best buddies with him.

    I am an admin of a new motorcycle forum and a former mod from that list of buyouts someone posted. I am glad to say myself and those who came with me destroyed VS's traffic from that site. I took the entire moderating team with me. Classic right there. VS is a terrible company. At first we had Mr. Jim D and later Stewie came aboard. Jim D quit on us (well apparently fired) right in the middle of our takeover. They basically made us lie to our community and then when that community started to rebel on us, VS disappeared. All attempts to bring back the community with any ideas we had were met with resistance or were just plain ignored. Another admin on the board had to put his creditablility on the line and basically was made to look like a jackass for this piece of **** company. Now the board is dead and VS really could careless because it's full of ads and retarded vendors still giving them money to basically have no customers.

    If you like your community in anyway, do not sell to this crappy company. If you want to make a quick buck, then sell.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2008
  20. sharpfan

    sharpfan Aspirant

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    Well I am staring at the contracts right now. I've gotten 2 forum owners to email me copies of their contracts they signed with some douche named Rob Laidlaw representing Verticalscope. I didnt know there were multiple contracts signed.

    There is a contract for Rob Laidlaw aka Verticalscope buying the forum. There is another contract to pay the admin a monthly stipend and that screws over the admin I dont see how any admin expects to realistically get paid every month with a contract like that. But that makes sense because there is another piece of paper which happens later and its Verticalscope telling the admin to basically **** off.

    So 2 forum owners emailed me their paperwork with Rob and Verticalscope. Another forum owner said he would email me his but hasnt already.

    1 forum owner who is pissed how he is treated forwarded me a few emails by these Verticalscope cronies who say one thing in one email and screw them over in later emails.

    Rob Laidlaw for before the sale who clearly lies about things.
    Jim Ducharme who cant give a straight answer in telling these guys how things will be.
    Ben Minbashian for after the sale who clearly is in it to screw over the old owner and see them on the way out.

    I havent seen much about this Stew character, just the usual he says things wont change but then things do change and he watches his wording. I dont understand why he isnt up front and honest with all the changes, and yet he expects the communities to not see the blatant lies.
     
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