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  #1  
Old 04-17-2009, 12:17 PM
babyREFLUX + babyREFLUX is offline
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Lightbulb Magento - not all that it seems...

I don't normally post about competitive products but I think the launch of the Magento Enterprise Edition warrants a mention.

As many already know, Magento is an Open Source eCommerce solution that has been around almost the same length of time as ISC. In this time the Magneto community has grown and grown and it now has many developers around the world pushing the product.

This week Varien, the company behind Magento launched an Enterprise version to try and monetize an organisation that has relied on VC. This edition costs $8,900 USD per server, per year.

The almost $10k price tag gets you an SLA and not much else at the moment - apart from the already 'free' community edition. Although Varien suggest they will be developing the open source/community edition at the same rate as the Enterprise edition...history in this sector shows us that the community edition will suffer - after all resources and focus will now have to be split.

One of th biggest complaints about ISC recently has been the support and upgrade policy - if you look at the two side by side you start to see that the cost of owning ISC suddenly looks very respectable.

Not only that, the successful running of Magento seems to be a lottery.

Many users love it and say it is fast, feature rich and 'cheap'. Others with identical install and hosting say it is slow (can take 10-15 seconds per page), buggy and requires a developer working almost full-time if you want to upgrade and make and changes...even to the template.

I have looked at Magento on two occasions to see if it can do what I need it to for my store. The first time was before I purchased ISC and the second was about 6 months ago as I like to make sure I have the best solution I can.

From a store owners perspective the conclusion was clear on both occasions - the price point was about the same as it takes several thousand dollars a year for a developer to work on Magento to keep it 'current'.

Having a developer on hand to make all site changes also meant a loss of control. With ISC, I can virtually do everything I need to myself with technical expertise out of the box.

This is why us 'store owners' are happy to pay for upgrades to the software. ISC do all the hard work providing a system that is fixed consistently and maintained by experts who understand the software.

I won't get into the ISC upgrade policy issues here as that is a separate argument based around poor communication and expectation rather than a flawed business model.

Suffice to say, the grass isn't always greener in on the other side...and I'd like to be the first to welcome those from the Magento camp who will now see ISC as a solid, competent and economical option to selling online.
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  #2  
Old 04-18-2009, 01:37 AM
websnail + websnail is offline
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Had a chance to think about this and my gut reaction is that your comparison is a bit too glib.

Interspire have too many problems with their business model and the retro-active approach to things like upgrades/updates that words like "solid" and "competent" are not ones I would apply to this company. Maybe in the future but no, they haven't earned them yet.

Overall I've realised my difficulties in accepting Interspire receiving accolades isn't with the products it's with the actual business structure behind it. If the issues of support times, time to resolution, proper beta testing and a holistic, pro-active communication system could be addressed then I doubt there'd be much left aside from actual bugs.

As it is, they still aren't using this forum to actually address group issues... If they were, stuff like this wouldn't blow out of proportion because it would be nipped in the bud with facts instead of conjecture.



As to Magento... Well, they must really consider "Enterprise" to mean Global corporate and really I can't help but think they're out of their minds.
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  #3  
Old 04-18-2009, 02:03 AM
gudge + gudge is offline
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ok, we probably all agree it looks very reasonable against Magento Enterprise Edition.

All that means is that they have $%^&ed up the business model worse than ISC
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  #4  
Old 04-18-2009, 09:52 AM
babyREFLUX + babyREFLUX is offline
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The reason I wrote the piece was to establish that there isn't an eCommerce provider out there that has it right. The grass isn't necessarily greener elsewhere.

This is why people bounce from one cart to another.

I worked with 2 extremely large eCommerce solutions last year being brought into substantial retail outfits. The monthly spend for these was around £12,000 on licenses and maintenance. Both customers chose the solutions because they had all the features, support and resources they needed after going out to tender and spending 8 months choosing.

Guess what...they still moan and groan that support is too slow, that there are bugs, that the next feature is not coming quick enough. Human nature I'm afraid...

Interspire are like every other provider - as a commercial organisation they can flower up the product to make it world-beating and you only find the glitches once you are using the system.

The product isn't bad at all and like for like is as good as any other. The one area they fall down on at the moment is transparency and this is winding up the customer base.

Being open and admitting mistakes, or announcing bad news (such as price increases) is hard. But it is a sure fire way of keeping customers for longer and building a relationship of trust. Being duplicitous will only hurt companies in the long run.

My one wish for Interspire is to have a more open dialogue. Chris is great in the forums, completely open and honest. But it looks like his role has been changed as he rarely comments any more...nobody from Interspire does.

As customers do we know what is on the horizon? Can developers help their customers with what is round the next bend? This is not about a roadmap but an honest conversation with your customer. The gloss on the website about understanding the customers sadly isn't the case.

That aside...we all look forward to the next announcement about where the product is heading.
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  #5  
Old 04-18-2009, 11:18 AM
websnail + websnail is offline
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Thanks for that last post Jon.. It provides a lot more context to your comments and explains the background to a number of your posts to date..

It really is a shame that there isn't too much out there that compares favourably...
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  #6  
Old 04-20-2009, 08:51 AM
tonybarnes + tonybarnes is offline
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I tried using Magento as a favour to a friend, suffice to say, I gave up. It took over half an hour to work out how to import products, then when I did, they took over an hour to actually import (200 lines!). Then I spent an hour or two looking at how to customise, went mildly insane, and told my mate that I didn't owe him that big a favour!!!

Can't believe what they're trying to charge for it, daylight robbery.
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  #7  
Old 04-20-2009, 04:21 PM
Kurtd + Kurtd is offline
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I looked into magento before settling on ISC. One thing I noticed about magento in the magento forums was lots of horror stories when upgrading to a new version. They also don't have the amazing templates like ISC has. The UI is not as easy as ISC. You would have to modify magento just to install a wysiwyg product editor. These are just a few things I noticed when comparing the two. Free isn't always free...
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http://ideas.interspire.com/pages/sh...-functionality

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http://ideas.interspire.com/pages/35...oxes?ref=title
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  #8  
Old 04-27-2009, 06:23 PM
eve + eve is offline
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I looked into Magento also and it looked like it was going to be a lot of the same nightmares as CRE Loaded. It's almost the exact same thing. I said "no thanks."

There isn't much out there for businesses that are too big for the cheap and free ecommerce but are not big enough to spend thousands per month on their solution.

It takes me just as much time to do for myself on ISC what I used to have to explain to a developer. I could not do much with CRE Loaded without paying a programmer and Magento looked to be pretty much the same.
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  #9  
Old 04-28-2009, 04:31 AM
jonahcoyote + jonahcoyote is offline
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I used Magento for one project and while there were some nice things about there were way more bad things.

One sort of good thing is it's got a decent administration although it's a little busy. I guess with the power of an application like Magento you're going to end up with lot's of screens and lot's of options regardless. It's feature packed with most of the e-Commerce functionality you're ever going to need. Some of the features of the templating engine seem nice, but overall it seems overly complex to get working.

In the end it's just way too slow on shared hosting or at least was about a year ago. I'm sure it's improved some since then but from what I've read with subsequent updates over the last year is that it still doesn't run all that well on shared hosting. I know, I know, for a professional ecommerce website shared hosting should not even be a consideration. But... for a lot of companies starting up and wanting to get into ecom with something powerful and flexible, sometimes it's nice to start out with shared hosting and expand as needed. I suppose though you could argue to start out big just in case and downgrade if you're not using a more expensive dedicated, VPS or other hosting.

The other bads with Magento is that there are still no standard administration features like the WYSIWYG editor for products and still no true CMS functionality for pages, blog, etc.

It looks like a great package though if you've got a talented, experienced team behind you with developers and designers who can hop right in and work with the code and templating system. Otherwise, look elsewhere for now. ISC, even with it's own downsides, is one of the best shopping carts I've seen yet and I've tried almost all of the big ones, Business Catalyst, Pinnacle Cart, Magento, CRE Loaded, UltraCart, Shopify, Volusion, PrestaShop and more...

I really like the template engine for ISC, the clean and very easy to use administration and all of the powerful front end features like the search prediction, recently viewed products, product page tabs, sorting, product variations, etc..

I'm going to keep an eye on Magento because I did like what I saw and I know they are working on making it a better app, but so will ISC and all the others. It's just a matter of what you need and what appeals to you.

- Jonah
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  #10  
Old 04-28-2009, 05:35 AM
scruffydoo + scruffydoo is offline
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I'm, actually astonished that after all these years of ecomm there still isn't a clear leader in cart development with simple to use, stable, mid priced, fully featured and tested product, the markets wide open and the first company to provide a decent solution will clean up I'm sure.

I had prices ranging from $10-30,000 (AUS) to provide me with a working ecomm solution, mostly based around the usual suspects such as magento, oscommerce, aspdotnet, so as a non programmer and doing it myself with ISC, all issues aside, its still a bargain to me and if it pays for itself in sales then I have no problem paying for upgrades either as long as they have features useful to me.

Last edited by scruffydoo; 04-28-2009 at 05:38 AM..
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