Likelihood to Recommend
You can tell from the CEO and all staff that this is a very competent company that wants you to succeed with integrity. There is a strong
support and services team that works collaboratively with us to make sure we are always getting what we need. They provide 24x7 emergency support, online ticket support, email support, a client community, and the ability to call and talk to the same account manager or community consultant every time (I even have Mariano's skype and he replies on weekends!). They recently launched a client community - so they are now even practicing what they preach. Our questions in the client community are always answered quickly. Read full review
For companies that want to customize almost anything and make the forum look like your site, Vanilla Forums is the one for you. Customization and automation of the data via the API with other systems is more than possible and they serve to be great as a hosting provider, dealing with all the upgrades, deployments and maintenance and threat management well. I would say they might be less turn key for a small application but the fact they have an open source community, the ability to find help and information can lower the barrier of entry for most.
Read full review Pros It's easy to use. The admin panel has a number of drag and drop options to modify the experience Flexibility. There are a large number of standard block features that can be added to areas. In addition, each dynamic block as a number of settings that allow you to tailor the experience you want to create. You can do this without being a programmer. Personalization. There are good tools that allow you to personalize the experience based on whether users are logged in or not, whether they are in particular segments (which we can create) or recommendations based on information the user has provided about themselves. Mobile. Small World Labs has a really great way of doing mobile. They give you a drag and drop interface for designing the mobile environment so there is a lot of flexibility with this. We are currently turning this module on. Read full review Gamification: The ability to incentivise community members to get involved with ranks and badges is one of the main reasons that we purchased the tool. Support: The Vanilla support team are incredible, often responding to issues very late at night and proactively fixing issues as soon as they occur. Customisation: Vanilla can be completely styled with css allowing us to match it to the branding of the rest of our website. Read full review Cons Integration with our Association Management System (AMS) didn't go as smoothly as I had wished. Having said that all of the issues with that integration have been addressed. Because the platform is updated so frequently you need to stay on top of what is available to you and your end users or you may miss out on key functionality releases. Read full review There are some features I wish Vanilla would implement that could improve ease of use in our specific community, but some of the ideas we have are not necessarily something that would benefit all of the forums that Vanilla works with. In the past, we've had issues with releases breaking some of our specific site features they built for us, but this has improved drastically recently. Read full review Likelihood to Renew
From the first conversation and beyond, it has been a pleasure working with Small World Labs. Their staff are genuinely interested in understanding our business and our goals, and actively make recommendation on continued improvement and long-term strategy. All of their staff demonstrate a clear understanding of the product and when to expect new features. Furthermore, their CEO, Michael Wilson, is more than competent and has proven to be an industry expert. He understands both the technical side and the community strategy side of the business. In fact, we have already initiated a project to build a second community with Small World Labs for a separate business unit
Read full review Usability
There are a multitude of options to configure the exact user experience you want and what you want to emphasize.
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It is very intuitive and simple to operate. Our customers immediately came up with the curve and began contributing content.
Read full review Reliability and Availability
Uptime has never been an issue.
Read full review Performance
Speed is not an issue.
Read full review Support Rating
The people at Small World Labs are very accessible. I can email, open a ticket, or call and they are there. I'd also point out that senior management is quite available too. We frequently have talks about potential strategies and new things we might be doing, which is great. I think the whole organization genuinely likes what they do and likes helping us succeed.
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They did an amazing job transferring our content from GetSatisfaction. We had almost 100% success in the transfer of 8 years worth of content.
Read full review In-Person Training
In-person training is more ad-hoc based on if they are traveling to you or you are going to visit them. I imagine that if I paid for in-person training that it would be set up as well, but I've just used the standard training that comes with the initial set up and ongoing support.
Read full review Online Training
Online training is through online webinar & how-to posts and videos in the client community.
Read full review Implementation Rating
We had staff turnover at our own organization during the implementation. We were able to get the community up and live in a good timeframe even though that happened and we had to switch some people around for managing the project on our side.
Read full review Alternatives Considered
We evaluated a few different community platform vendors over the course of a couple of months. I believe we also evaluated Jive, Lithium, KickApps, and Powered.
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From a footprint standpoint, Vanilla has less technical bloat than vbulletin or
, and it outdoes
as far as features and service go. The bloat of other services and ability to use new ways of engaging communities such as through Reactions are part of the reason Vanilla was selected. However, the features are better on a couple more seasoned platforms and more equipped to deal with issues and technical problems.
Read full review Return on Investment Our community has been very active since the re-launch of our site. Have seen some increases in member engagement. Feedback from our membership has been nothing but positive since we transitioned off of our older Sharepoint community. Look and feel and ease of use have been real pluses for our members. Having the Small World Labs community is allowing us to be more creative with the way we integrate our community into all aspects of our online presence, web-site, social media, etc. Read full review Increased uptime and overall speed in the forum (compared to our previous phpbb solution) Increased usage by users which resulted in a higher pages/session in a short amount of time Read full review ScreenShots CommUnity by Personify Screenshots Higher Logic Vanilla Screenshots