27 Replies Latest reply on May 17, 2010 9:07 PM by Bun-Bun

    Jive and Harmony Central

      Holy Cow, you guys did one heck of a job on their website.

       

      I hear their traffic is down 75%.

       

      I was considering jive for my own, similar forum.

       

      Are these the results I can expect?

        • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

          Omnis_Mom wrote:

           

          Holy Cow, you guys did one heck of a job on their website.

           

          I hear their traffic is down 75%.

           

          I was considering jive for my own, similar forum.

           

          Are these the results I can expect?

           

           

          I've seen the results you're talking about: slow loading pages, broken options, and format that doesn't work with how that site was originally laid out.

           

          I verified your "traffic" numbers and it does not look good.

           

          I too am now wondering if this is what this product creates: no web traffic, repulsive layouts (so white, you could blind a blind man), and features that are non-intuitive and poorly laid out.

          1 person found this helpful
            • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

              AN OPEN LETTER FROM CRAIG JOHNSON, HARMONY CENTRAL CEO


              Dear Harmony Central,

               

              We listened.

               

              Harmony  Central is not just a web site, nor is it bits and bytes. It is a community. This community has been loyal and supportive, and we have been happy to  provide a home for what we feel is the most important community in the  music world.

               

              Unfortunately,  that home has been falling apart at an accelerating rate due to a  combination of hardware and software issues, many unique to our  situation. To keep the community alive, we made a decision to switch to a  more capable platform. Our intention was to take Harmony  Central into the 21st century with a site worthy of all of you.

               

              As you know,  that is not what happened. After a week of operation, it’s painfully  clear HC 2.0 is not ready for prime time. However, we’re also aware that  many people are getting familiar with and enjoying the new site, bugs  and all, and we respect their opinion too.

               

              So, we are working to create a  “hybrid” site. For example, there have been virtually no negative  responses and many positive responses about news on HC 2.0, so it makes  no sense to roll that element back to the 1.0 version. On the other  hand, user reviews on HC 2.0 are, frankly, broken. There are no articles  in the 2.0 Resource Center, and due to the video player only recently  becoming stable, only a handful of videos in the 2.0 Media Center. And  the forums...

               

              This  is clearly unacceptable.

               

              Our plan – and there are significant technical  challenges, so bear with us – is to maintain those elements of 1.0 that  work until the equivalent elements in 2.0 are equal or better,  regardless of how long that takes. For example, if you want to go to  user reviews, then you could access the 1.0 version until we are  absolutely sure that the 2.0 version is better. If you want articles,  you’ll go to 1.0 because that’s where they are for now. Same with  videos.

               

              Forums  are a special case. Our plan is to make most forums available as HC 1.0  / VBulletin forums. There will be some exceptions (like Pro Reviews, as  they have so much rich media, and archived forums, as it makes no sense  to re-migrate them as they get limited traffic). If particular  moderators want their forums on 2.0, that’s fine; if they want to stay  with 1.0, that’s fine too. If they want, they can even moderate both and  steer them in different directions. We want the moderators – the unsung  heroes of Harmony Central – to have full freedom in charting the course  of their own communities.

               

              Concurrently, we plan to keep the 2.0 forums open  for two reasons. First, these forums need a lot of changes for them to  meet our (and your) expectations, so we need a “test lab” to try these  changes. Second, based on user feedback, there are people who see the  huge potential of the new format but don’t like the implementation, so  who better to direct us on how to improve it?

               

              Unfortunately, getting 1.0 back  into the picture brings back its problems as well. But if all goes  according to plan, 1.0 will remain viable while 2.0 will continue to  improve with the help of the community. In a way, it’s the same kind of  transition as when Apple went to OS X or Intel chips; old and new  platforms were supported until the new platforms were up to the task.

               

              One fact  remains certain: We can’t have a site where things don’t work, or that  people don’t want to visit. We recognize and deeply regret the  disruption to the community. The hybrid approach is risky, but either  rolling back completely to 1.0 or trying to tough it out with 2.0 are  even riskier. And details need to be worked out: What happens with  re-directs? Will you have to log in twice if you want to visit both 1.0  and 2.0? Will 1.0 crash and burn before 2.0 fulfills the community’s  expectations? Will it be possible to migrate the 1.0 forums to 2.0 if  2.0 is also live?

               

              So please, this isn’t the last word; this is the first  word. But we wanted to let you know as soon as possible what we hope to  do. We are certainly aware it’s a compromise, but after studying all the  possibilities, it’s the least objectionable combination of a quick fix  while simultaneously laying down the long-term foundation we have to  pursue.

               

              Finally,  I want to express my deepest appreciation for our exceptionally  hard-working team of moderators and our editorial staff, who have taken  the heat for problems not of their own making – particularly Craig  Anderton. They made a heroic effort to make a problematic site work, but  in the end, even they couldn’t. They have all served as extremely strong advocates for the community. The course of action we are  pursuing is based on their input as well as yours.

               

              Reading over  your feedback on the new site, yes, I saw anger but more than that, I  saw passion for what Harmony Central represents. We do not want – ever –  to interfere with that passion.

               

              Your support is greatly appreciated. Thank  you for speaking, so that we could listen. We can’t promise this will be  a glitch-free process, but we will do everything in our power to give  you the site you want now while simultaneously building you a  better one, with your continued (and greatly appreciated) assistance.

               

              Sincerely,

               

              Craig  Johnson

              CEO, Harmony Central

               

               

              That was in response to all the problems Harmony Central has had in the week they have been on Jive.  Here is the address to their new site feedback forum if you want to check it for yourself.....

               

              http://www.harmonycentral.com/community/getting-started/new_site_feedback?view=discussions

               

              There are seeminly many cool features with the Jive software, but as anyone who can read that forum, or anyone who has ever been to the original Harmony Central site can point out, the last week has been pretty much an epic fail.  It doesn't matter much if the new site has cool features if basic things like equipment reviews can't be indexed properly, and the site is not viewable in Opera and almost not workable in Internet Explorer.  These are pretty basic things for a company to screw up, but to let them go on for a WEEK, when there were SO many complaining about them.  Doesn't appear to have been much in the way of forum support other than a couple of the Harmony Central site's mods trying to maintain as best they could.  Does Jive have anything to say about this?  What about the fact that with the reviews indexing being all screwed up, it dropped HC off the Google search results almost completely with regard to Googling product reviews? 

               

              PLEASE, IF you all are given a second chance by HC, make sure you have the site actually ready and functional before you let it be taken live next time.....

                • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                  JonHiller wrote:

                   

                  AN OPEN LETTER FROM CRAIG JOHNSON, HARMONY CENTRAL CEO


                  Dear Harmony Central,

                   

                  We listened.

                   

                  Harmony  Central is not just a web site, nor is it bits and bytes. It is a community. This community has been loyal and supportive, and we have been happy to  provide a home for what we feel is the most important community in the  music world.

                   

                  Unfortunately,  that home has been falling apart at an accelerating rate due to a  combination of hardware and software issues, many unique to our  situation. To keep the community alive, we made a decision to switch to a  more capable platform. Our intention was to take Harmony  Central into the 21st century with a site worthy of all of you.

                   

                  As you know,  that is not what happened. After a week of operation, it’s painfully  clear HC 2.0 is not ready for prime time. However, we’re also aware that  many people are getting familiar with and enjoying the new site, bugs  and all, and we respect their opinion too.

                   

                  So, we are working to create a  “hybrid” site. For example, there have been virtually no negative  responses and many positive responses about news on HC 2.0, so it makes  no sense to roll that element back to the 1.0 version. On the other  hand, user reviews on HC 2.0 are, frankly, broken. There are no articles  in the 2.0 Resource Center, and due to the video player only recently  becoming stable, only a handful of videos in the 2.0 Media Center. And  the forums...

                   

                  This  is clearly unacceptable.

                   

                  Our plan – and there are significant technical  challenges, so bear with us – is to maintain those elements of 1.0 that  work until the equivalent elements in 2.0 are equal or better,  regardless of how long that takes. For example, if you want to go to  user reviews, then you could access the 1.0 version until we are  absolutely sure that the 2.0 version is better. If you want articles,  you’ll go to 1.0 because that’s where they are for now. Same with  videos.

                   

                  Forums  are a special case. Our plan is to make most forums available as HC 1.0  / VBulletin forums. There will be some exceptions (like Pro Reviews, as  they have so much rich media, and archived forums, as it makes no sense  to re-migrate them as they get limited traffic). If particular  moderators want their forums on 2.0, that’s fine; if they want to stay  with 1.0, that’s fine too. If they want, they can even moderate both and  steer them in different directions. We want the moderators – the unsung  heroes of Harmony Central – to have full freedom in charting the course  of their own communities.

                   

                  Concurrently, we plan to keep the 2.0 forums open  for two reasons. First, these forums need a lot of changes for them to  meet our (and your) expectations, so we need a “test lab” to try these  changes. Second, based on user feedback, there are people who see the  huge potential of the new format but don’t like the implementation, so  who better to direct us on how to improve it?

                   

                  Unfortunately, getting 1.0 back  into the picture brings back its problems as well. But if all goes  according to plan, 1.0 will remain viable while 2.0 will continue to  improve with the help of the community. In a way, it’s the same kind of  transition as when Apple went to OS X or Intel chips; old and new  platforms were supported until the new platforms were up to the task.

                   

                  One fact  remains certain: We can’t have a site where things don’t work, or that  people don’t want to visit. We recognize and deeply regret the  disruption to the community. The hybrid approach is risky, but either  rolling back completely to 1.0 or trying to tough it out with 2.0 are  even riskier. And details need to be worked out: What happens with  re-directs? Will you have to log in twice if you want to visit both 1.0  and 2.0? Will 1.0 crash and burn before 2.0 fulfills the community’s  expectations? Will it be possible to migrate the 1.0 forums to 2.0 if  2.0 is also live?

                   

                  So please, this isn’t the last word; this is the first  word. But we wanted to let you know as soon as possible what we hope to  do. We are certainly aware it’s a compromise, but after studying all the  possibilities, it’s the least objectionable combination of a quick fix  while simultaneously laying down the long-term foundation we have to  pursue.

                   

                  Finally,  I want to express my deepest appreciation for our exceptionally  hard-working team of moderators and our editorial staff, who have taken  the heat for problems not of their own making – particularly Craig  Anderton. They made a heroic effort to make a problematic site work, but  in the end, even they couldn’t. They have all served as extremely strong advocates for the community. The course of action we are  pursuing is based on their input as well as yours.

                   

                  Reading over  your feedback on the new site, yes, I saw anger but more than that, I  saw passion for what Harmony Central represents. We do not want – ever –  to interfere with that passion.

                   

                  Your support is greatly appreciated. Thank  you for speaking, so that we could listen. We can’t promise this will be  a glitch-free process, but we will do everything in our power to give  you the site you want now while simultaneously building you a  better one, with your continued (and greatly appreciated) assistance.

                   

                  Sincerely,

                   

                  Craig  Johnson

                  CEO, Harmony Central

                   

                   

                  That was in response to all the problems Harmony Central has had in the week they have been on Jive.  Here is the address to their new site feedback forum if you want to check it for yourself.....

                   

                  http://www.harmonycentral.com/community/getting-started/new_site_feedback?view=discussions

                   

                  There are seeminly many cool features with the Jive software, but as anyone who can read that forum, or anyone who has ever been to the original Harmony Central site can point out, the last week has been pretty much an epic fail.  It doesn't matter much if the new site has cool features if basic things like equipment reviews can't be indexed properly, and the site is not viewable in Opera and almost not workable in Internet Explorer.  These are pretty basic things for a company to screw up, but to let them go on for a WEEK, when there were SO many complaining about them.  Doesn't appear to have been much in the way of forum support other than a couple of the Harmony Central site's mods trying to maintain as best they could.  Does Jive have anything to say about this?  What about the fact that with the reviews indexing being all screwed up, it dropped HC off the Google search results almost completely with regard to Googling product reviews? 

                   

                  PLEASE, IF you all are given a second chance by HC, make sure you have the site actually ready and functional before you let it be taken live next time.....

                   

                  Interesting. I suppose I'll have to begin looking at other vendors, in that case. Harmony Central, from what I understand, is one of the biggest music sites around. If such a large corporation can't get a workable solution, what's to become of little old me, if I go with them? Those guys might have the resources to throw caution to the wind, but I certainly don't. I would hate to lose even one user do to a software choice. It's really starting to make me think twice. On the surface Jive seems like the perfect solution for me, but now I'm not so sure.

                   

                  I can't seem to find any info from Jive on that issue, either. I might have my confidence reinspired if I knew where they stood on it. Am I just missing it? I don't see anything on Jive's site, or Harmony Central. Is Harmony Central just panicking, or trying to make Jive look bad, or were their customers really that unhappy?

                    • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                      Omnis_Mom wrote:

                       

                       

                      Interesting. I suppose I'll have to begin looking at other vendors, in that case. Harmony Central, from what I understand, is one of the biggest music sites around. If such a large corporation can't get a workable solution, what's to become of little old me, if I go with them? Those guys might have the resources to throw caution to the wind, but I certainly don't. I would hate to lose even one user do to a software choice. It's really starting to make me think twice. On the surface Jive seems like the perfect solution for me, but now I'm not so sure.

                       

                      I can't seem to find any info from Jive on that issue, either. I might have my confidence reinspired if I knew where they stood on it. Am I just missing it? I don't see anything on Jive's site, or Harmony Central. Is Harmony Central just panicking, or trying to make Jive look bad, or were their customers really that unhappy?

                      You know, I think that a little bit of it IS that people aren't used to the new site, that is always a bit of a concern when you switch formats with a site.... that said, there are so many things that don't work right, and I have been accused of being a shill for Harmony Central/Musician's Friend because I have said on more than one occasion that I DO like the new layout and the possibilities that all the new features give us.  The problem is that probably half of the basic site's functionality is either so different that people can't figure it out, or else it just flat doesn't work.  It's been up a week and you can't post from a mobile device.  THAT is not panic, it's a problem.  The site is buggy, if it works at all, with Opera.  It's also really slow with Internet Explorer, although one of the mods said that they figured out what's wrong there and that there should be a fix in a little bit.  Again, THOSE are not panic, they are problems.  The biggest thing, though is that the database of the reviews is not being filtered or indexed right, or somthing.  If you do a simple search with the search box at the top of the screen, then on the next page, use the star button to filter by product reviews, you get ALL SORTS of results, much like you should (and let me say real quick that the Jive search IS a great search engine).  Now, here's the bad part.  If you do a search for a product with the drop down menu for reviews, the only reviews that come up are reviews that have the product brand in the title line.  So, to someone who isn't familiar enough with the site to know what's going on, and/or someone who followed a Google search link to the site, those reviews are just gone.  They don't show up in Google search and they don't show up in a drop down search, even though you CAN find them with a search box search.  That's clearly a big problem, and one that after a week, they haven't figured out.  It's driving new people away, I'm sure, due to Google no longer caching the search results from the site.  There's NO excuse for this having been this way for a week, in my opinion.  And, again, THAT is not panic on the users parts, THAT is a serious problem.

                       

                      As for the rest, there are a LOT of small things that people have asked for, and I know that a couple of the mods have asked for, that aren't really do or die sort of stuff, but just small things, like adding a quick reply at the bottom of the page, changing the background color of the site... stuff like that.  Only a small fraction of those have been implemented up to this point.

                       

                      The bottom line is that between functionality issues, and a lot of people not liking the new layout, that figure of about 75% of the traffic being down after one week, is probably about right.   That, and the fact that Craig Anderton, who is basically the head mod there, has been pretty much left out in the cold as far as what's going on and when fixes are going to be done, have made a LOT of people who are regulars of the site pretty mad, and I think it's fairly easy to see how.  In my opinion there's NO way that Jive should have let the site go live yet, surely to goodness they could tell that it wasn't totally ready.  I realize that the old, cobbled-together vbulletin version of the site was barely breathing, but at least as far as what the user community saw, about the only thing that didn't work right was the search.  Forum functions were basically 100%, as was the review database, which is the largest of all music sites on the web, and up to a week ago, was also by far the most trafficked.  I truly hope the majority of the community comes back, but I don't know, a lot of them have gone other places.

                       

                      If the site had just been held back until it was totally ready, I think it could have been so good, too, that's what is the most sad part, but not having basic issues worked out and going live anyway really ruined it for a lot of users.

                       

                      All that is just MY opinion, but I think if you go look over at Harmony Central, you'll actually find that many are more upset than I am, and, by and large, that I am being pretty nice about it when a LOT of people are really ticked, and asking for Jive not to even get a second chance.

                • Re: Jive and Harmony Central
                  Ted Hopton

                  Not sure why there's all the finger-pointing at Jive in this thread. Jive doesn't "produce" sites for people. Each person or organization launching a Jive site is responsible for designing it, setting it up, uploading and organizing the content, figuring out issues related to their specific business (e.g., Google search impact), etc.

                   

                  And why would you launch a site publicly without testing it thoroughly to uncover whether there are bugs, problems with specific browsers, etc.? C'mon, it sure sounds like the Harmony Central team didn't do their job in scoping this transition out.

                   

                  We don't upgrade our Jive site until we've checked everything top-to-bottom in our UAT site. Sure, we encounter issues when we test upgrade releases -- and we make a business decision whether to proceed or to wait for patch release fixes.

                    • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                      Ted Hopton wrote:

                       

                      Not sure why there's all the finger-pointing at Jive in this thread. Jive doesn't "produce" sites for people. Each person or organization launching a Jive site is responsible for designing it, setting it up, uploading and organizing the content, figuring out issues related to their specific business (e.g., Google search impact), etc.

                       

                      And why would you launch a site publicly without testing it thoroughly to uncover whether there are bugs, problems with specific browsers, etc.? C'mon, it sure sounds like the Harmony Central team didn't do their job in scoping this transition out.

                       

                      We don't upgrade our Jive site until we've checked everything top-to-bottom in our UAT site. Sure, we encounter issues when we test upgrade releases -- and we make a business decision whether to proceed or to wait for patch release fixes.

                      Really?  Wow, that's more information than we were ever given over at Harmony Central.  They just basically didn't answer anyone's questions, with the exception of Craig Anderton, who answered as many as he could.  Pretty much everyone over there thinks that the new site was designed by Jive to HC's specifications.... if that isn't the case, it is a REAL eye opener, for sure.  Honestly, with regard to the Jive layout and options, it definitely brings some very cool stuff to the table, in my opinion, but there have been SO many issues with the new site that Harmony Central actually finally made the decision to bring back the old forum and run both in as parallel a mode as they can, until they get the bugs worked out with the Jive site.  If this truly is HC's design team gone wrong, then some of us owe Jive an apology, but we certainly were allowed to believe it was designed by Jive.  It would be cool to get an absolute definitive answer from either someone who works for Jive or someone who works for HC that knows.  I think they are only telling Anderton what they want him to know and leaving him out in the cold like the rest of us otherwise.  I also think they have pretty unfairly allowed him to take quite a lot of heat over this, when it's becoming more and more apparent that he had little to nothing to do with the actual Jive site at all, but is more or less a middle man between HC and it's users.... Thanks for that information, Ted.

                        • Re: Jive and Harmony Central
                          Ted Hopton

                          Hi Jon,

                           

                          I'm not privy to what happened, and I never heard of Harmony Central before this thread. But I'm a satisfied Jive customer with both an extensive internal Jive site and several customer-facing ones. Jive provides the software (and the hosting in our case) and we set up our sites as we wished.

                           

                          I don't know if Harmony Central contracted with Jive's Professional Services, or if they followed whatever advice Jive gave them. But I can tell you the Jive folks are real pros when it comes to setting up communities, and this debacle isn't consistent with my experience with Jive's Professional Services team. As I said before, I see the full responsibility for the site design, testing and deployment resting on Harmony Central. It_is_their_site. It is for their customers. They own it.

                           

                          If I were you, I'd pressure Harmony Central to fess up about how this mess came about.

                        • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                          You are indeed correct. However it isnt the entire story. Many people are leaving not because of the "problems" but because of the Jive interface itself. I have used Jive on a few forums and I dont like it. It is a major step backwards to discussion forums to bring a lot of useless features that a forum does not need. Yes Harmony Central is to blame for not testing it properly and getting enough user feedback to begin with, but the interface is still a problem of Jive and they need to step up esspecially considering the price tag. Yes people are resistant to change (vBulletin vs Jive in this example), this is a fact and something that makes for poor buisness practice if ignored. Site managment is one thing; The site does not exist without its customers and customer satisfaction IS quality control.

                           

                          I can't make any comments from a database or management perspective but from a purely discussion forum user perspective Jive is completely unacceptable.

                           

                          For other content that is rich with media (reviews, blogs, news posts etc.) I can see the merits to the power of Jive. However vBullentin should be kept as the standard for discussion forums. Heck I just read on the front of these forums Jive is pushing forth open standards... whats more standard then vBulletin forums? (I know thats a stretch of a comparison).

                           

                          To put the amount of traffic drop into perspective, if I were to make a new thread in a particular forum on Harmony Central it would fall off the first page within 30 minutes if unanswered or be answered multiple times within that 30 minutes. After said thread died off it would be past page 5 within a couple days. Now there are posts that our hours old on the first page and days old posts on the second page. threads/questions go unanswered for days. It has gone from being the greatest resource for music on the internet to being a mediocre site at best.

                           

                          I avoid Jive based forums at all costs. The only time I use them is if I can not find another suitable resource for the paticular topic of discussion on my mind at the time. This is not since the Harmony Central debacle, these are my opinions of the software from before Harmany Central even announced it.

                            • Re: Jive and Harmony Central
                              Ted Hopton

                              If all you want is a forum, then I agree, you don't want Jive. If you want a full-featured online community, then Jive is a good way to go.

                               

                              Sounds like Harmony Central needs to figure out what its customers want.

                                • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                                  Ted Hopton wrote:

                                   

                                  If all you want is a forum, then I agree, you don't want Jive. If you want a full-featured online community, then Jive is a good way to go.

                                   

                                  Sounds like Harmony Central needs to figure out what its customers want.

                                  Indeed.  We've been telling them but they are insisting over half of the traffic of the site is spent outside of the forums and personally I don't believe it for a minute.  The HC 1.0 forum was so active that pages would fall off (even if you set the posts per page to 50) so quickly there was no way there is that same kind of traffic reading PRO REVIEWS.  I call BS on that one as I have never even needed to venture to that part of the site in my over 10 years on the forum.  People that do venture there are probably not familiar to the site and once they discover the forums they rarely venture outside of it.

                                   

                                  One other nugget is the Jive Software site here also crashed my Firefox Browser as I was just signing up to post this message.  This happened several times during the HC 2.0 fiasco and no one even acknowledged this and my guess is because it is a problem with Jive Software since it just re-occured here now.  Up to this date I have NEVER had Firefox crash other than a Jive Software forum.  Makes you wonder how Jive can be so revered and be so broken, huh?

                                    • Re: Jive and Harmony Central
                                      Ted Hopton

                                      All I can tell you is that Jive does not routinely crash Firefox. It's what I use and I'm in Jive sites all day every day.

                                       

                                      Seems to me there are a lot of angry people bashing Jive unfairly, wanting to take out their frustration. Of course Jive SBS is imperfect. It's software! And all of you forum-lovers are never going to like it because it's not a forum software. Choose the tool you like to use and vote with your feet. Go to a site that meets your needs.

                                        • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                                          Unfairly? Not really. If Jive is not suited as a "forum" software then it is up to Jive's sales department to ensure that HC has a better means to handle the forum side of things.  Jive should have been upfront with HC about the forum side and been there to make sure that it was implemented correctly. Jive has sold a product and should have followed through with the process. When I work with a client I go out of my way to think of things that they haven't ask me and try to anticipate issues/questions that are going to come up. Its not a one way street, a sale of this nature is definitly two way.

                                           

                                          Now I am shooting off my hip here as I dont know all the "behind the scenes" details of what went on between HC and Jive. But I think you get my point.

                                            • Re: Jive and Harmony Central
                                              Ted Hopton

                                              Frankly, I think the whole lot of you are shooting wildly without knowing the whole story. That's what I meant by unfair. How do you know what Jive told them or did or did not do? How do you know what follow through took place? Do you expect Jive to prevent customers from putting up misguided sites, and if so, how on earth should they go about that? Do you blame Microsoft for every lousy website built on Microsoft .NET?

                                                • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                                                  Actually I blame Microsoft for a lot of things.

                                                   

                                                  Including this disaster called Jive.

                                                   

                                                  And yes I do expect Jive to follow through and control theIR products final output to a certain degree. It is in fact their name that is still on the line. And were talking about some serious money being transfered here. I would definitly expect more.

                                                  • Re: Jive and Harmony Central
                                                    robert.brown

                                                    One of the great things about Social Business Software is that it provides a forum for authentic conversation about what's working - and what's not working. Because we're passionate about the role authentic conversation plays in helping companies take bigger risks and ultimately experience bigger outcomes, our goal is to "model the way." Jivespace is our SBS-powered community for our prospects, customers and Jivers to interact and collaborate in an authentic voice. And much of Jivespace is open for all to see. We've found that transparency - including warranted (and unwarranted) criticism - ultimately helps evolve the business-changing products we're delivering.

                                                     

                                                    Over the last week there have been a number of comments on Jivespace regarding Jive and Harmony Central, a leading online community for musicians. Harmony Central recently introduced a new community based on Jive SBS, and that rollout has not been smooth. Although we haven't commented on those posts - we feel the user feedback is best addressed by the Harmony Central team - we do want to assure everyone that we've been working with the Harmony Central team. Our number one priority has been supporting their efforts to incorporate feedback from their user community and moderators. We appreciate the positive comments from Craig Johnson, Harmony Central's CEO, on the work we've been doing with his team. To read his note, please see the announcement here..

                                                     

                                                    I'd also like to thank the many Jive customers who have commented on their experiences working with our team and our products. It's been inspiring to read your posts and emails - your support means the world to us! And special thanks to the Jivers who have been working tirelessly with Harmony Central.

                                                      • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                                                        The Harmony Central team isn't addressing them either. We have been left hanging while watching our community being destroyed.

                                                         

                                                        I find it absolutely dispicable that you, Jive, advertise on your site that Harmony Central is a sucessful client/customer when this couldn't be further from the truth.

                                                         

                                                        The corporate stiffs on both sides need to step up and realize that this has been a major disaster and something drastic needs to be done now. Jive is obviously not suited to or capable of handling Harmony Central dispite everything the sales and marketing people may or may not have said to the Harmony Central owners.

                                                      • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                                                        Ted Hopton wrote:

                                                         

                                                        Frankly, I think the whole lot of you are shooting wildly without knowing the whole story. That's what I meant by unfair. How do you know what Jive told them or did or did not do? How do you know what follow through took place? Do you expect Jive to prevent customers from putting up misguided sites, and if so, how on earth should they go about that? Do you blame Microsoft for every lousy website built on Microsoft .NET?

                                                         

                                                        According to mods on Harmony Central, Jive was hired to design, host, and manage the website.

                                                         

                                                        So yeah, I think it is fair to point blame at Jive and expect them to follow through and either admit they can't handle it or fix it. However I am 95% certain that Jive software is not flexible enough to deliver a vBulletin forum experience regardless of the amounts of codeing/customizing done. The sad thing is the money spent on this software could go a long ways with a vBulletin system. Both hardware and software wise.

                                                          • Re: Jive and Harmony Central
                                                            tmaurer

                                                            You know, there is really no purpose served by trashing anyone here.

                                                             

                                                            You can hire someone to re-roof your house and do it on the cheap, selecting products that don't last as long or look as nice as other products. And if someone did that, would you point a finger at the contractor and blame him for the fact that the red roof clashed with the green paint? Or that the quality of the shingles didn't meet with your standards as a neighbor who had to look at it? Or would you instead blame the homeowner who couldn't or didn't want to pay for something that would have met your standards? And is anyone really "to blame" in this situation?

                                                             

                                                            I've worked in between IT and business for a long time, and projects that go wrong almost almost always come down to decisions made along the way with regard to money, timing and quality. The saying is that a project can't be fast, cheap and high-quality - pick two. And sometimes decisions are made to satisfy the fast/cheap option that cause quality to suffer. Happens all the time. And when you enter into a software engagement, you don't know those decisions will happen. If Jive didn't let the site launch even though they felt the quality was poor, they likely would have been in breach of contract. Management at Harmony Central may have felt that they had already sunk more time and money into it than they could afford, and so were willing to live with whatever fall-out they'd get.

                                                             

                                                            Point is, none of us having this discussion knows what really happened. Take what lessons you can, and move on to something more productive.

                                                              • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                                                                If said contractor didn't deliver a product to specifications that we agreed upon before hand... then yes I would have issue with that.

                                                                 

                                                                I have been reading the Jive marketing mumbo jumbo. Jive does not deliver on its promises. Period.

                                                                 

                                                                FYI I work in Structural Engineering and I am expected to hold to specifications and the clients needs. If they are not met then my company is to blame.

                                                                 

                                                                The Harmony Central community is falling apart. Thus Jive has ultimately failed and needs to step up and admit it and bear the consequences of poor buisness practices.

                                                        • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                                                          Try this site with Firefox Portable.  Crashes frequently!

                                                • Re: Jive and Harmony Central
                                                  AvgUser

                                                  Two things:

                                                   

                                                  Yes, it's a complete disaster.  About 80% of the community has left the site.  Of course, some will return if it ever gets fixed.

                                                   

                                                  Second, of course it's HC's own fault.  After all, they:

                                                   

                                                  • Made the decision to go with Jive
                                                  • Spec'd out the build
                                                  • Ignored their own eyes looking at the beta
                                                  • Ignored the moderator / admin reactions and recommendations to the beta release
                                                  • Ignored the community reactions when they were allowed into the beta
                                                  • Neglected to run the two in parallel until the remaining bugs were addressed
                                                  • Continued to "Emperor's New Clothes" the community after the switch was thrown (No, really, it's great, you're imagining those problems)

                                                   

                                                  Not that Jive is without blame.

                                                   

                                                  I'm sitting here typing on this WYSIWYG editor using a dual core Pentium 3 GHz processor with 4GB of memory and it's LAGGING so bad I can barely type.  This on a machine that can run 3D games at 40 fps without a problem.   Is it IE8 to blame?  Well, a lot of people have IE8, maybe this should work in IE8.

                                                   

                                                  vBulletin is one of the most used forum software packages in the world.   Consequently, a lot of people know how to use it and are used to it.  Maybe Jive could have taken that into account before they renamed common forum functions to make them more confusing.  Maybe they could have made the nav just a bit more similar to avoid this blowback.  Maybe they could have implemented simple forum functions that everyone seems to want, like hovertext showing the first few lines of a post without having to open the post.

                                                   

                                                  Just my observations from the front lines.

                                                    • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                                                      AvgUser wrote:

                                                       

                                                      Two things:

                                                       

                                                      Yes, it's a complete disaster.  About 80% of the community has left the site.  Of course, some will return if it ever gets fixed.

                                                       

                                                      Second, of course it's HC's own fault.  After all, they:

                                                       

                                                      • Made the decision to go with Jive
                                                      • Spec'd out the build
                                                      • Ignored their own eyes looking at the beta
                                                      • Ignored the moderator / admin reactions and recommendations to the beta release
                                                      • Ignored the community reactions when they were allowed into the beta
                                                      • Neglected to run the two in parallel until the remaining bugs were addressed
                                                      • Continued to "Emperor's New Clothes" the community after the switch was thrown (No, really, it's great, you're imagining those problems)

                                                       

                                                      Not that Jive is without blame.

                                                       

                                                      I'm sitting here typing on this WYSIWYG editor using a dual core Pentium 3 GHz processor with 4GB of memory and it's LAGGING so bad I can barely type.  This on a machine that can run 3D games at 40 fps without a problem.   Is it IE8 to blame?  Well, a lot of people have IE8, maybe this should work in IE8.

                                                       

                                                      vBulletin is one of the most used forum software packages in the world.   Consequently, a lot of people know how to use it and are used to it.  Maybe Jive could have taken that into account before they renamed common forum functions to make them more confusing.  Maybe they could have made the nav just a bit more similar to avoid this blowback.  Maybe they could have implemented simple forum functions that everyone seems to want, like hovertext showing the first few lines of a post without having to open the post.

                                                       

                                                      Just my observations from the front lines.

                                                      Perfectly worded!

                                                      • Re: Jive and Harmony Central
                                                        cflanagan17

                                                        I'll chime in with Ted on this one.

                                                         

                                                        The tool selection is only one piece of a fine-crafted plan (and by the way, after we did our extensive analysis, we decided Jive was in fact the right tool for our use). There are many, many brands running external, customer facing communities as well as large scale enterprise-wide, internal communities using the Jive platform. I won't do Jive's Marketing job to talk about all the logo'd brands here, but many sites I visit are using Jive.

                                                         

                                                        Instead, let me re-iterate Ted's points.

                                                         

                                                        A good tool does not mean you have a successful plan. Any launch requires thorough planning, testing, Community management, launch plan management and engagement management (you better listen to what your users say and address them).

                                                         

                                                        We selected Jive's product and their hosting team to host a large, successful enterprise wide community that has a large volume of users, page views, global users and large database - and we have a successful system. We worked with Jive to plan our anticipated load levels, we put in place the added cost of web acceleration and we made sure we tested, tested and tested again before releasing new upgrades to our users. We ask global users to get involved in our release planning and test. We make it a point to listen to our users and adjust our plans based on their input.

                                                         

                                                        I'm not going to say that we don't run into road bumps, but they're bumps that are easily rectified while maintaining the overall health of the system. Jive has been a stellar partner with us in working through our issues. I have found them to have a high level of integrity and a strong focus on customer service. Our deployment and experience has been so successful we are aggressively looking at new ways to expand the use in major business areas within our company and with our customers.

                                                         

                                                        Like Ted, I don't know the specifics of the particular community discussed, but I thought I'd share CSC's own experience with Jive as a product and Jive as a hosting partner.

                                                         

                                                        I'll add a final point - CSC's success in our deployment relied as much on CSC, the rigor we brought to our project, the resources we put into the planning and the seriousness with which we took our responsibility. Vendors can only deliver so much. At some point, they need to rely on the customer to follow guidance, build good plans and support the tools for the defined business needs.

                                                         

                                                        Message was edited by: cflanagan17

                                                      • Re: Jive and Harmony Central
                                                        AvgUser

                                                        I guess all of us can speculate and argue 'til we're blue in the face about whose fault the HC meltdown was, but two things that can't be argued is that it IS a meltdown of spectacular proportion and it employs Jive software.

                                                         

                                                        I think anyone who is considering using Jive for a site of that size (Jive has never attempted anything close to that large before) or type (fast moving forums) would do well to examine the colossal failure and ghost town on display at www.harmonycentral.com before making a decision for their own site.  There's really no arguing with the result (see traffic graph below), whatever the cause.

                                                         

                                                        Props to Jive for allowing unbiased discussion on their own forums.

                                                         

                                                        HC traffic.jpg

                                                        • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                                                          There is an error on all Harmony Central pages for awhile now (a few hours or so...).

                                                          • Re: Jive and Harmony Central

                                                            Announced today.

                                                             

                                                            "Dear Harmony Central Community,

                                                             


                                                            We will be shutting down the Jive ("HC 2.0") forums Tuesday morning (May 18) at 3AM Pacific Time. The forums link in the top navigation bar will then become a  straight link to the vBulletin forums.


                                                            Jive search will be reindexed that  night, and all 2.0 forum posts will be removed from search. Nothing will  change for those using vBulletin already, but for at least  the short term the community will have to live with two accounts, two  profiles, and two log ins - one for the vBulletin forums, and for the content part of the site (articles, videos, etc.).


                                                            We deeply regret any inconvenience to those who liked the 2.0 forums, and want to thank you for standing by our attempts to renovate the forums to include more functionality. Unfortunately, we cannot continue to maintain two separate forum structures. Based on comments from the community and the traffic stats, there is an overwhelming preference for the vBulletin forums. Although the problems with the vBulletin forums that served as a motivation to change them remains, we are working on solutions to these problems. Please bear with us if there are occasional system outages as we work on this.


                                                            We also apologize for the short notice, but we want to implement these changes and fixes as soon as possible.


                                                            The content part of 2.0 will remain, and several fixes in that section are being made concurrently with the forum switchover: News articles will now display properly once you get past the first page, the session timeout is being increased to avoid people being logged off during long sessions, and user reviews will display the overall rating and number of reviews. Additional fixes, enhancements, and updates are forthcoming, and we will keep you informed of these.


                                                            We greatly appreciate your patience during this difficult transition to improve Harmony Central's reliability and functionality. Our commitment to creating a better site remains unchanged, and we will continue listening to the community in order to make sure that commitment takes the right direction.


                                                            Again, thank you. We believe the worst is behind us, and the best is yet to come.


                                                            -- Your Harmony Central Team"

                                                             

                                                            Let this be known to anyone considering Jive as the software behind their website. Especially if it has discussion forums as a major aspect to it.

                                                             

                                                            Jive failed. Big time. And If I was the one who had paid them I would be demanding a full refund and taking them to court over the damage caused. And yes, Jive was hired to design, manage, maintain, and host Harmony Central.

                                                             

                                                            It is despicable that you advertise Harmony Central as a successful customer of yours.You are flat out lying to prospective customers and then bending them over hard with your steep price for horrible software.