phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

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Phil
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phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by Phil » Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:35 pm

It appears as if phpBB has begun to more or less endorse hosting providers as part of an affiliate program. My question for all of you is: do you think this will cause problems in the future?

Personally, I think, while the idea is noble (and should bring in a bit more money to phpBB, which is a good thing), users could eventually begin to assume that the providers that are listed are in some way "endorsed" by phpBB or work better than other hosting providers (there is a chance, I guess, that perhaps they'd begin to think other hosts didn't work with phpBB, but that's a bit out there). As of now, there isn't anything in the way of a disclaimer included (save the "commercial affiliates" comment), which, in my opinion, may save those of us doing support a world of trouble in the future. However, just the mention of the links in the header will probably cause most new users to rush to one of the listed hosts (likely the cheapest one).

As many of you probably recall, the whole JobCoin thing didn't go over so well, so I thought I'd bring this up as a point of community discussion. As asked above: do you think that this is a good move? And please provide reasoning, so this doesn't turn into a "yes" "no" "maybe so" thing :D
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Re: phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by poyntesm » Wed Dec 19, 2007 10:45 am

Having run a forum where we have business's that pay to advertise and learnt some lessons I will share my thoughts. This are my opinion.

There should be a clear difference between an affiliate and an advertiser, no matter of wether it is a commercial agreement or not. Lets look at the difference

af·fil·i·ate
A person, organization, or establishment associated with another as a subordinate, subsidiary, or member

ad·ver·tis·er
A person, organization, or establishment bringing the attention of the public to a product or business.

For our forum it was vital we made clear to members the difference. We allowed any business to advertise as long as we felt the advertising was not breaking any of our core ethos (racism, pornographic etc...)

For a company to be affiliate we required checks into their business practices, grievance procedures and since 90% of our business's were garages we checked into insurance details.

We still made clear that members should do the research themselves. All we were doing was saying we are at the moment happy to be associated with this business and the process was one of continual checks and renewal.

For phpBB to have affiliate conveys a level of trust. I would hope it means they have reviewed the business and found them suitable to be associated with and not that they are just willing to pay the sum required. It would be useful to see a statement that states the difference between an affiliated hoster and advertising hoster.

If the teams have checked into the current hosts and deemed them suitable for affiliate status then brilliant, if not I would like them to think about doing so.

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Re: phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by Noobarmy » Wed Dec 19, 2007 12:58 pm

well i was actually thinking aout this when i first saw the header navigation thing change, and was curious what the hosting page was. if we're looking at a new phpbb user's perspective the hosting tab is a useful way to find where they can put the code, and will reduce the "where should i host my phpbb" support topics and its an easy way for a user to see what is available. However in the long-run i think it will just cause more problems in support. Users asking support queries which the host should deal with on phpBB as they think that phpBB endorces the product and whathaveyou. Even with notices, rules, stickies informing users not to ask questions like that i still think its bound to happen.
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Re: phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by Vic D'Elfant » Wed Dec 19, 2007 4:07 pm

poyntesm wrote:If the teams have checked into the current hosts and deemed them suitable for affiliate status then brilliant, if not I would like them to think about doing so.
Yes, hosting providers have been checked for compatibility with phpBB and if one does encounter (compatibility) problems, we will review said hosting provider to ensure that all hosting providers currently listed on the "hosting" tab do indeed allow a user to run phpBB (when it comes to the server's configuration).

We hope that the "Important: phpBB’s community forums can only provide support to those that have downloaded phpBB, uploaded it, [...]" notice will be enough to stop most people from posting one-click install problems and the like.
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Re: phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by A_O_C » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:14 pm

Vic D'Elfant wrote:We hope that the "Important: phpBB’s community forums can only provide support to those that have downloaded phpBB, uploaded it, [...]" notice will be enough to stop most people from posting one-click install problems and the like.
fat chance...

do i think it will cause problems? yes. phpbb is about (omg, big shock coming)... phpbb! if it were me, i would allow hosting to be advertised (as it is now with the banner at the bottom, etc), but putting a hosting tab almost looks like phpbb is endorsing it. just my 2 cents. ;)

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Re: phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by Techie-Micheal » Wed Dec 19, 2007 8:58 pm

A_O_C wrote:
Vic D'Elfant wrote:We hope that the "Important: phpBB’s community forums can only provide support to those that have downloaded phpBB, uploaded it, [...]" notice will be enough to stop most people from posting one-click install problems and the like.
fat chance...

do i think it will cause problems? yes. phpbb is about (omg, big shock coming)... phpbb! if it were me, i would allow hosting to be advertised (as it is now with the banner at the bottom, etc), but putting a hosting tab almost looks like phpbb is endorsing it. just my 2 cents. ;)
For what it's worth, I agree with you.
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Re: phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by Tripp » Thu Dec 20, 2007 4:45 pm

Although it does seem like phpBB is endorsing these hosting companies, I find it a great "resource." I just got new hosting about a week ago and it was with a company I found through here. 600 GB of space an 6 TB of bandwidt. One of the best deals I've ever found. If it wasn't for phpBB, I might be using a hosting company that charges double for half the resources. But on the other hand, I do see where users might feel if something happens between the host and them, it is somehow phpBB's fault because they might feel like phpBB endorsed them.

Just my two cents.
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Re: phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by fld » Sat Dec 22, 2007 7:31 am

Speaking of hosting providers (didn't mean to change topic here but..) which of the providers that are working with phpBB are good?

I am interested in looking for a new provider for my site and forum. Because my current provider seem to be quite sucky at the moment. As in the site/forum would be unaccessible due to lack of resources? I'm not sure, but its quite often that I am unable to load my own site or forum which is very annoying.

So bascially, with all these partnership providers phpBB is working with. Anyone currently using any of their services? And how is? I am looking for something not too much, but still maintain a good load time on the site/forum.

My site and forum is quite small, not a lot of visitors or usuers. But I hope that would change soon or over time.

Maybe something within -$20 a month? any good providers that people can refer me to?

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Re: phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by arhodes16 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 1:16 pm

Drugs wrote:Although it does seem like phpBB is endorsing these hosting companies, I find it a great "resource." I just got new hosting about a week ago and it was with a company I found through here. 600 GB of space an 6 TB of bandwidt. One of the best deals I've ever found. If it wasn't for phpBB, I might be using a hosting company that charges double for half the resources.
No, if it weren't for phpBB, you might be using a host that doesn't oversell it's resources to ridiculous levels. And that's a worrying statement.

The minimum that any of the hosts listed on the affiliates page offer is 350GB disk space and 4TB (TB!!!) of monthly bandwidth. The maximum is 1.2TB of disk space, and 12TB of bandwidth. All for ~ $5 per month.

This is completely insane, and is nothing short of lies. They are not offering you that at all, and if you begin to use anywhere near that you'll be kicked off for "excessive server CPU usage" or such like. To offer you a server capable of 1.2TB redundant disk space and 12TB bandwidth the company would need a small network of servers just to host your site alone, it's ridiculous.

I personally don't have much of an issue with phpBB having 'affiliates' in the general sense, if they are at least checked out beyond "supports php and a db and therefore runs phpBB" (ie. 99% of hosts) and "willing to give us money". That's not an affiliate host, it's just any old host. There are a hell of a lot of good hosts that would be willing to sponsor phpBB, it's a shame to see you've sold out to these guys. Having them place banner adverts on the site is one thing, but to call them phpBB affiliates indicates something else.

Overselling has always been one of the major issues in the industry, and will be the number one cause of rubbish service and unreliable phpBB installs that people visiting this site encounter. To see phpBB actually endorsing these guys (and not just advertising them) is worrying indeed.

PS: Most of those affiliate accounts, from their specifications, would easily run all of phpBB.com. If they are truly valued affiliates, why don't phpBB do as they preach and run their site off one of those $5 accounts? :)

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Re: phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by SamG » Sat Dec 22, 2007 3:32 pm

It's pretty clear that phpBB.com for some time has been probing for reliable (and useful) revenue streams, and that seems to me to be unavoidably "compromising" in some way since it seems to unavoidably turn phpBB.com into a lowest common denominator marketplace of some kind. It may have something to do with the demographics of open source software communities.

Broadly speaking, we do have two kinds of free software, I think. Take a product like CCleaner, a useful product but one that has clearly been used as bait for the billboard; CCleaner itself is something of a loss leader. I have no problem with that, but I don't have any reason to take the CCleaner site very seriously.

Then there are open source software projects that at least at one time had some sort of philosophical bent. It's a movement, an agenda, a mindset that says software should come with certain freedoms. But there are no free lunches, so somebody somewhere along the line has to pay the bill.

The problem, as I see it, is twofold: how to avoid turning OSS into bait, and how to avoid stocking the pond with a disproportionate number of bottom feeders. For instance, I can't help but wonder if there really are "a hell of a lot of good hosts that would be willing to sponsor phpBB." It sounds right at first hearing, but I wonder if they can profitably market their services here. I just don't know.

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Re: phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by arhodes16 » Sat Dec 22, 2007 7:52 pm

SamG wrote:For instance, I can't help but wonder if there really are "a hell of a lot of good hosts that would be willing to sponsor phpBB." It sounds right at first hearing, but I wonder if they can profitably market their services here. I just don't know.
To be honest with you, on second thoughts I'm not sure it is a true statement (and I don't disagree with myself very often ;)). I think hosts that don't require thousands of new month-long signups probably have less to gain from advertising in this style - they are more interested in realistic long term customers for decent income, rather than just sheer numbers of newcomers chasing big numbers.

Like many others I've been around here long enough to remember the people at the top (so to speak) and their opinions on making minimal money from phpBB, and how the project went for so long without any advertising whatsoever. I personally never had an issue with introducing non-intrusive advertising, but I think maybe a line has been crossed recently, and quite possibly it's the small changes over the last few years (job boards, quality of front page links etc.) that have gradually pushed the project into the current situation. As someone once proud of phpBB.com and it's general philosophy, I have to wonder what I'd think of the site as a newcomer to the project today.

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Re: phpBB's "Hosting Providers"

Post by SamG » Sat Dec 22, 2007 8:22 pm

arhodes16 wrote:As someone once proud of phpBB.com and it's general philosophy, I have to wonder what I'd think of the site as a newcomer to the project today.
Agreed. I think at least a few of us old timers with our funny ideas may have outlived our usefulness to phpBB Inc. :)

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