More About CRELoaded

I don’t like the direction that many things are going with CRE. It is more than going to a subscription model, it is a dramatic shift into something less… in many ways.

They state that they’ll be doing more for support. But they’ve banned some of their most active members from their forums, stating that they did so due to rude and disruptive statements by those members. Yet that was not the case in at least one instance. Those active members have been, over the years, the REAL support and function behind CRE. Without them, no one would be able to use the software.

It is the opinion of many that the members were banned due to disagreement. That they disagreed with the developers. Posts that disagree are promptly removed.

This is no longer about community. It is about dictatorship. Understand that Open Source REQUIRES a community to succeed. CRE succeeded because members contributed. Now they have no reason to do so. Why should they for the profit of someone else? And especially when that someone else is no longer listening to the community.

It is disheartening. There are those who still want to contribute – myself included. But we will be very reluctant to do so if the project moves more in the direction that it is going now.

It is no longer about one thing. It isn’t about whether it is a paid or free model. It is about community. And it seems that the developers no longer appreciate their users. They SAY they do. But their actions are indicating a profound disrespect for them.

Note: The opinions expressed in this post are the perceptions of the writer, and should not be interpreted or quoted as fact without corroborrating evidence.

5 Responses to More About CRELoaded

  • Thanks for calling us out and letting us know how you feel. As CEO of Chain Reaction Ecommerce (the team behind of CRE Loaded), I can sometimes get insulated from the thoughts and feelings of our community members – especially when they are negative. I am not exactly sure what happened, and perhaps that is less important than knowing how we can make it right.
    We are in the midst of a significant transition as a company right now, but that’s no excuse. I can assure you from my office down, we take our community very seriously. We count on an active and vocal group to help shape our product and employ it in the marketplace. We’ve done what we feel is our best in creating an win/win economy; our CRE Lance match-making site should be evidence of that. If we can do more, we are ready to listen. You are welcome to reach out to me directly so we can discuss how to make things right. Best, Michael Valverde

  • Laura says:

    No intent to sound rude or anything, but I am seeing a lot of “nice words” on the forums also. Your response has a lot of words, but very little meaning behind them. I think that the CRE leadership now consists of many skilled politicians. The words seem to be carefully chosen to mollify with no real promise of any kind of change or improvement.

    I think, rather than putting out publicity brushfires verbally, your time might be better spent on actions that actually reflect an effort to meet the needs of the CRE community. I am not the only person who will pay more attention to deeds than to smooth words.

  • Which specific needs, Laura? The previous post speaks of banned participants, I will personally look into those matters and report to the forums. Perhaps the member mentioned would like to contact me directly? I would also welcome that too. We’re on the same team here.

  • Laura says:

    Wide eyed ignorance? I don’t think so. The issues I mentioned in multiple posts here are well known, frequently discussed, and always shut down on the forums. But just so the others reading this will understand what your company is already aware of, but does not address, I’ll give a short list.

    1. Purchasers who purchased Pro or B2B less than 60 days ago have no consideration on the yearly subscription, other than a reduced upgrade price. Getting hit with $120 when they just paid $200 is no consolation.
    2. Support and information to keep 6.2 functional is no longer available, except through the forums, which have been muzzled.
    3. The forums are policed so free conversation cannot take place. Any time anyone criticizes CRE’s current course, the thread is locked. Shutting up your customers is NOT smart.
    4. 6.3 introduces only a few bells and whistles, leaving longstanding issues unresolved. The Admin interface is still painfully slow, inconvenient, requiring 2-3 clicks (accompanied by VERY slow wait times) just to perform a single task.
    5. The new 6.3 package has permissions pre-set to 776, and 664, making it completely inoperable on servers running phpsuexec, and costing a significant period of time to correct since EVERY FILE, and EVERY FOLDER must be re-chmoded. In the effort to save 5 minutes for some users, you’ve cost others hours of time.
    6. The “new” documentation stinks. It is outdated, and some does not apply to 6.3, even though the screenshots are of 6.3.
    7. The “new” template is worst to edit than the standard, and reducing from four templates to 2 is not progress. I suppose it does make you think more people will buy the commercial templates though.
    8. The subscription model blackmails existing users – faced not just with a price, but a yearly one, or with the choice of rebuilding their store. No warning, no ability for users to make another choice if they built their store a month or two before the release of 6.3.
    9. Your site has never tracked memberships correctly. I have registered with the site at least 6 different times. If I login more than 2 weeks after creating an account, the system tells me the username and password are invalid. If I use the password recovery, it tells me no such email address is found. If I try to reregister, it tells me that email address is in use. This happens for myself, and my husband both, on different computers. Your tech support knows of this issue. If I email them about it, they tell me to use the password recovery tool (they do not read what I say), or they tell me to just email any time I have a problem – like I have the time to wait on a support ticket every time I need to access something in the registered area of the site! This has NOT changed with the site rebuild.
    10. Answers are not provided by your staff on support issues. They do not respond to user needs on the forums, and the most helpful community members have had their accounts suspended. Kinda dumb. And SERIOUSLY inconvenient for your users. “Better” support is not evident AT ALL.
    11. Functions that should be simple are buried in illogical places, and this is no better on old issues, worse on some new ones, with 6.3. Instructions for them are out of date, so they cannot be performed easily. Is this how you get people to pay for more support?
    12. Commercialism is so rampant that we feel bombarded on every side. All access to free and community contributed modules have been removed, replaced by commercial versions, or now not available through the site. Even the software we now pay to use is riddled with sales pitches on every side. As soon as I’ve paid for the software, there you are again with your hand out every time I try to use the store. Tacky. Inconsiderate.
    13. CRELance is useless to the majority of CRE professionals. We don’t have time to use a frustrating interface. Most of our clients who use CRE had no idea that CRELance even existed (In fact, they have no idea that CRE exists… WE introduce them to it, and WE bring you those users!). It is not in any way proof that you want to do well by the community, merely proof that you want to profit from people who are expert at using the software.

    In better times, your users might have stood for some of this. Treating them in this manner when prices are rising all over and sales are dropping for them is an ill-considered move. I’m watching your contributors dry up, and users walking away. Have fun weathering the recession – it is only just starting!

    Want more?


  • Thanks for taking the time to provide this initial list. I can assure you it will be put to good use. Some of your points are things we can sort out fairly quickly, other will take some time. As you said in a previous post, action speaks louder than words, so we will get to work. Our new leadership needs to hear this info and I will make sure they do. We’ll never please everyone, nor make all the right moves, but we can do better than this.
    And, yes I do want more.

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