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Thread: Merger

  1. #1
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    Merger

    Here is the annoucement of the merger...

    Hi everyone. I suppose you are wondering who I am, and why I'm posting a full site announcement. Well, I'm Mike Collins, of pdaPhoneHome, and I've been a big enthusiast of converged pdaPhones for a long time. When I launched pdaPhoneHome, it was with the intention of building a site where all pdaPhone enthusiasts could come together... a place where people could compare and learn before they buy one, and a place where owners could come to discuss ways of getting the most from their devices.

    What does this have to do with SmartphoneSource? I have been in discussions with JimmyJoe for several months about the concept of merging our sites to create an even larger body of pdaPhone enthusiasts than either site has alone. We have just reached an agreement to go forward with a merger and so I have become the new owner of SmartphoneSource, with the intention of merging the sites into one large vBulletin based community in the very near future.

    If you've visited pdaPhoneHome, you will note that the strengths of the two sites are very complimentary. I know how hard that JimmyJoe and Jazz, along with the other administrators, the moderators, and all of you have worked to make SmartphoneSource a great community, and rest assured that I will do everything possible to maintain what you love about SmartphoneSource in the merged site.

    There are many plans in store for the new site, but we will be concentrating on the merger in the near term... and on making it as seamless as possible. When we do the merger, your userids, post counts, and forum content will all be moved.... so please continue here as you always have. The forum organization of pdaPhoneHome is very similar to SmartPhoneSource, and so you don’t need to worry about things being dramatically different... it's also still vBulletin... even the same release. JimmyJoe and Jazz will still be around (I hope!), Marctronixx will continue to be an administrator, and I hope that all the moderators will continue on with the new site. When the dust settles, the combined site will nearly double in size, and the 6035 and 7135 forums will be the largest!

    I'm sure that everyone's reaction to this will be different... to some it will be a joy... to others a big unknown, and I'm sure to some it may even bring disappointment This is a big change, and so those are all natural reactions. All I can say is that I'll do everything I can to not lose any of what you love today. If you are unhappy about something, please let me know. I'll either make a change, or explain why I can't. Just be patient, as this is a pretty complex undertaking, and sometimes there are a few bumps along the way.

    What should you do now?

    1. Continue participating and posting here now, just as you always have.
    2. Watch the announcements regularly for news of the merger.
    3. If you are not a member today at pdaPhoneHome, there is no need to join... your id and counts will come with the merger. If you do have an id on both sites, you should make sure that a) the ids are the same, and b) the passwords are the same. If you aren't able to do this, we'll sort it out and get them merged... don't worry. The fewer people that have ids on both sites, the easier the merger will be... so please don't register at pdaPhoneHome now if you don't need to.

    There is so much to discuss, but this is enough for the announcement. I welcome comments and suggestions from everyone. I'll open a new thread in the Site News / Ideas forum to provide updates and information on the merger. This will likely be changing frequently, so feel free to check it often. I am committed to making this as smooth as possible. I also greatly look forward to meeting you in the forums, and sharing in our quest for the ultimate converged pdaPhone!
    Mike Collins
    pdaPhoneHome.com, Home of the i330 FAQ

  2. #2
    Registered User bhil's Avatar
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    I, for one, wish to be the first to welcome our new smartphone overlords . . . oops sorry, Simpsons was on.

    Personally, as much as I am going to miss SPS, I think this is a great move. The thing that keeps online communities like SPS and PPH going and great places to be, are the users. When you end up with two very popular and competing (in at least some sense of the word) communities, you are going to end up losing people, some to one side and some to the other, and in the end both sides lose. Merging the two sites will bring new users and insight to both sides, creating a larger stronger and more beneficial community for everyone.

    A sad day for SmartphoneSource, but a great day for smartphone users!

  3. #3
    Registered User skicheer12's Avatar
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    I can handle it. But, How are you going to break the news to Kyocera Tech Support? They are gonna have to learn something new, since they always refer people to SPS. I hope they can handle it

    Cool news.

    pdaphonehome + sps = more people to learn from

    Drew
    The one who dies with the most toys WINS :-)

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by bhil
    A sad day for SmartphoneSource, but a great day for smartphone users!
    One thing we should do is create a page somewhere for JimmyJoe to document the history of SmartphoneSource. I don't want to lose any of the heritage with this merger. The sites are nearly equal in size, so it really is a merger. Both domains will be here and work for getting to the site when everything is done. Actually, the current plan is to go to pdaphone.com as the overall name of the site and domain.... so both names would go, and a new one would emerge. I just don't want to deal with that until this is all settled. But, there is a new template in design for pdaphone.com.

    Here is an edited post that I did for the moderators that gives you a little more history and information about this....

    I guess the ownership change leaked out to some of you guys before everything was official, but its done now. I just want to say "Hi!" to everyone and introduce myself. I'm Mike Collins, the owner of pdaPhoneHome.com. I've been talking to JimmyJoe over the last 3-4 months about buying SmartphoneSource, and we finally got it done. I have been a longtime fan of this site, and the great community that you guys have created.

    The goal of pdaPhoneHome has been to create a site and climate where owners of all pdaPhones can come together for discussion and help on all pdaPhones. None of the pdaPhones today really have gotten everything right, so our quest is for the best converged device. PPH (pdaPhoneHome) has plenty of people that are passionate about one device, and there is always a friendly rivalry between them... but we try to keep that light and open so that new people aren't intimitidated. We have a lot of hard core power users in the device forums, and we also have a lot of new people as well... we encourage new people to join in and learn. We have started some new forums for new people who don't know what they want, to let them get some information before they dive into one of the devices.

    My intent is to merge the two sites, while retaining the best of both. It will essentially double the user base and content, which will be good for more discussion and fun. I am very sensitive to making the SPS members feel at home, and not feel like they are in a "new place", because it really isn't... with SPS contributing approximately half the content, it isn't a new place... just a little different. It is now, and will be vBulletin, and I'm committed to adding any hacks that I don't already have, and the SPS users really like. We do have a full mobile version today as well. If you look at the forum structure, you'll see that the merger will be very easy, and the places where SPS has a lot of activity, PPH doesn't, so SPS forums will essentially take over those forums. I will, obviously split the 6035 and 7135 content out the way it is now here.

    I spent several hours on the phone last night with JimmyJoe, and Jazz in the background, and know now why this is a great place to be... they are terrific people. It was fun connecting the dots with different interactions we've had over the years, when I didn't know the players. Tonight I got to recall the last year with JimmyJoe and Jazz and it was fun. My first interaction with SmartPhoneForums was back in the early days of pdaPhoneHome. I had started the site by building FAQs for PocketPCPassion, at the request of the moderators there... they wanted them hosted elsewhere, and since I had to do a lot of work to build them... I decided to make the site more general. There wasn't a site covering all the devices, so that was the niche.

    After the Pocket PC Phone was pretty well covered, I decided to branch out. I talked to one of the moderators at SmartPhoneSource... don't remember if it was HotSync or JimmyJoe... think it was HotSync and explained my idea about having a place where people could come together and learn about different phones, and that the FAQs were the way to do that. I asked for permission to publish some of the FAQs from SmartphoneSource in the pdaPhoneHome FAQ database, and we reached an agreement that I could if I stated that the source was SmartphoneSource. I did the same thing with Handspring... they too gave me permission to include FAQs if I referenced the source. As I expected, the FAQs got visitors to come look at them, but they would follow the links back to the other sites for discussions, which was the intent. That was cool, because that wasn't what we were trying to do at PPH. To this day, we still get a lot of people that come to the site via search engines to see the FAQs, and never go into the forum at all.

    Over time, the Pocket PC devices started to grow in forum content to the point that the site was on the verge of becoming singularly focused. We had developed good forum traffic on some of the Pocket PC devices like the i700, but all of the Palm based forums (and the other platforms as well) were pretty low traffic. We only had a few Palm based forums... Treo, Kyocera, and Samsung... no separate forums for devices like we had with the Pocket PC devices. My belief is that it doesn't make sense to split out the devices until the traffic builds to a critical mass.

    It became obvious that the only way to build the Palm based traffic and realize the vision as a place where all pdaPhone owners could come together, was to merge with an existing user base. The opportunity presented itself with SmartphoneForums this past July. That was right when SmartphoneSource had the database failure, and people got confused and thought that we had merged back then. The only problem with that merger in July was that we were on different bulletin board software. I decided that the new users from SmartphoneForums needed to feel at home, and that vBulletin was better, so I migrated the whole site to the SmartphoneForums' vBulletin base, and rewrote all my non-forum pages in vBulletin and vBindex. That was a lot more work than I imagined.

    Today, I believe the site is pretty well balanced... especially on the Palm and Pocket PC devices, not so much on Symbian... and Smartphone OS is growing. The one Palm device that we haven't grown much participation on is the Kyocera devices. We also haven't had a lot of growth with downloads or the off-topic discussion. So that is why I think this will be a good marriage.

    Another point where we crossed paths was when I was doing the merge with SPF and needed to migrate from phpBB to vBulletin... I sent a note over to JimmyJoe and asked about his experience. I didn't know at the time, but found out last night, that you guys switched from vB to phpBB and back to vB... wow! We are staying put on vB... it's way nicer. We got to talk about that history last night and it was fun to fill in the gaps.

    With this change, I'm sure that many of the SPS members will feel uncertain and uneasy, as they would with anything that is unknown. I am commited to making them (and you) all feel welcome so that everyone will be happy and want to stay. I hope everyone sees this as a positive union the way I do. If you talk to Marctronixx who came to PPH with the SPF merger, I think he'll tell you that I've gone out of my way to make members feel welcome, and to make changes to satisfy everyone.

    As for moderators, I would love for you all to continue, if you want to. We have a lot more moderators at PPH, because we cover a lot of devices and I've tried to get people that can speak to each device. That means we do have turnover because people come and go, but the core team has remained.

    One big difference between the sites is that PPH does advertise. That is out of neccessity to pay for the site hosting, business expenses, give-aways, and review products. We run on a dedicated server, and just moved to a dual xenon 2.4G box a few weeks ago, so that should mean good performance with the larger database. But, with the advertising, I have gone out of my way to be as conservative as I can with it. We don't do any popups ever (if one of the ad companies slips one in, it is reported by a user, and I have it removed... usually within a couple of hours), we don't allow any bold or annoying ads, and we try to do mostly ad content that is meaningful to the site. We have some Google Adwords on the pages, and they are targeted at the content of the page. Consequently, with a forum, sometimes Google can't figure out what the content is and runs public service Adwords. I've had people say they like that, but I might change that in the future... Anyway, I hope that people aren't too turned off by the ads.

    We have a lot of upcoming plans. One is that the domain pdaPhone.com is part of the site, and in fact you can use that domain today to access the site. I have a new style being developed that we will use to move to that new site name at some point. We have a very robust download engine that is in final test.

    Talk to you later....
    Mike Collins
    pdaPhoneHome.com, Home of the i330 FAQ

  5. #5
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    Anticipated forum matchups..

    Just to set your mind at ease on how I intend to merge the forums, here is a mapping of what I'm thinking. I'm also planning on pulling out a set of forums for new users to the site, and people who don't have a pdaPhone yet. If you have any ideas, or don't like this... let's here your thoughts.

    Device forums...

    On PPH, within the Palm pdaPhones section, I will split the Kyocera Based - 7135 / 6035 forum into Kyocera 6035 and Kyocera 7135 - two separate forums. Into these will be merged the 7135 Discussion and 6035 Discussion forums from SPS.

    FAQ forums...

    The content for the FAQ pages at PPH is inside the Device FAQ Content category. Initially, I will move the 6035 FAQ and 7135 FAQ forums into that category, then thread by thread they will be edited into the FAQ format and enabled to show on the FAQ pages.

    File Downloads...

    I will initially move the 6035 Files and 7135 Files forums into the Downloads category. PPH user Shackrat is building a new download engine that will be ready very soon, then we will load all the downloads into that. So this will be even better than the forum based download here today. It will fully integrated into the vBulletin capability.


    For the Off Topic category here, the following will be merged as follows...

    SPS Site News / Ideas with PPH Site Request and Problems... possibly renamed

    SPS General Discussion with PPH Off Topic ... may also need to split some of this out into the other forums since some of it is device specific at PPH, but not at SPS. The idea is to get things where they belong, but the Off Topic threads at SPS are way busier than PPH, so you guys will set the pace.

    SPS Classifieds with PPH Garage Sale ... this is a place where more is definitely better, and both are pretty active.

    SPS Palm OS Discussion is going to move over into the Palm based pdaphone category as is... we don't have that now. It will inspire my adding a similar category in the other devices.

    SPS News with PPH General News... then we'll split out the threads that are related to other devices into their respective categories... a lot will go into Palm based pdaPhone News.

    SPS Polls with PPH Polls


    This is my inititial thought on the merger, and I think you'll see that the flavor of many of the forums will be nearly the same, only with more folks joining in.
    Mike Collins
    pdaPhoneHome.com, Home of the i330 FAQ

  6. #6
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    That's pretty funny! I don't think that Kyocera is alone in that. At PPH, I have had a number of device mfgs and carriers that refer people to our site. The good part is this... they will still be able to refer people because the SPS domain isn't going anywhere. It will still work, so they don't need to learn anything new.

    Originally posted by skicheer12
    I can handle it. But, How are you going to break the news to Kyocera Tech Support? They are gonna have to learn something new, since they always refer people to SPS. I hope they can handle it

    Cool news.

    pdaphonehome + sps = more people to learn from

    Drew
    Mike Collins
    pdaPhoneHome.com, Home of the i330 FAQ

  7. #7
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    if anybody needs me to hold their hand thru all of this just send me a pm!

    mike really is a great guy and he will make this as painless as possible...

  8. #8
    Cornfused MGuzzy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by marctronixx
    if anybody needs me to hold their hand thru all of this just send me a pm!
    I'm not sure...I still in shock. I can't say that I'm surprised. I thought that something like this might be in works considering how long it was taking to get the site rebuilt after the july crash and from reading between the lines in other posts. On one hand I see the potential that the union of the two site becoming greater that the mere sum of the two. On the other hand I'm saddened at the evetual loss of the community personality that SPS has become.
    sigh...
    The King is dead...long live the king!
    mg
    Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.

  9. #9
    Techguru alanb's Avatar
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    Originally posted by MGuzzy
    On the other hand I'm saddened at the evetual loss of the community personality that SPS has become.
    sigh...
    The King is dead...long live the king!
    mg
    My feeling is that what makes SPS great is the people who contribute here. As long as we all stay around, I don't think there will really be much difference. I liked the fact that SPS was completly user supported so I didn't need to see advertisements all the time, but the ads at pdaPhoneHome are small, and on topic, so I'll live

    Alan

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    Originally posted by alanb
    My feeling is that what makes SPS great is the people who contribute here. As long as we all stay around, I don't think there will really be much difference. I liked the fact that SPS was completly user supported so I didn't need to see advertisements all the time, but the ads at pdaPhoneHome are small, and on topic, so I'll live

    Alan
    Alan,

    It is so true that the people make it what it is. PPH has a great group of people that are passionate about pdaPhones, much like you have here. One difference is that we don't all have the same device, so there is a friendly rivalry between us that adds to the fun. For example, Marctronixx never misses an opportunity to bust on me for not using his favorite device.... Over time, everyone would eventually switch devices as new ones come out over the years, so with the more diverse site, it will allow the community to stay together... and that is good. I am dedicated to making you guys happy!

    With the ads, I am thinking about a concept in the future to give people an option to be user-supported with an ad-free subscription. I think it might also be good in that case to allow people to attain a level of posting that would let them chose ad-free for free. It would be a choice that you could turn on or off, because some people like the ads, since they are often relevent to the content of the site, and in some cases get you discounts for purchases of accessories. There will always be a free version as it is today. That's something I'll be taking a look at once the merger is completed and the other in-progress things are completed. And of course, the mobile version doesn't have ads now.

    Thanks for the comments... keep them coming.
    Mike Collins
    pdaPhoneHome.com, Home of the i330 FAQ

  11. #11
    Techguru alanb's Avatar
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    Originally posted by pdaphonehome
    Alan,



    With the ads, I am thinking about a concept in the future to give people an option to be user-supported with an ad-free subscription. I think it might also be good in that case to allow people to attain a level of posting that would let them chose ad-free for free. It would be a choice that you could turn on or off, because some people like the ads, since they are often relevent to the content of the site, and in some cases get you discounts for purchases of accessories. There will always be a free version as it is today. That's something I'll be taking a look at once the merger is completed and the other in-progress things are completed. And of course, the mobile version doesn't have ads now.

    Thanks for the comments... keep them coming.
    You might want to look at what slashdot.org has done with user-support. They sell subscriptions as #of ad free views, rather then time limited subscriptions. This way, light users can pay less for an ad free experience then heavy users. I believe the idea was to be proportinate to the lost revenue of not showing adds to those users. They too have very stringent ad standards so free users are not overwelmed by innapropriate or overpowering ads.

    Alan

  12. #12
    Registered User Robert K.'s Avatar
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    Originally posted by pdaphonehome
    It is so true that the people make it what it is. PPH has a great group of people that are passionate about pdaPhones, much like you have here. One difference is that we don't all have the same device, so there is a friendly rivalry between us that adds to the fun. For example, Marctronixx never misses an opportunity to bust on me for not using his favorite device.... Over time, everyone would eventually switch devices as new ones come out over the years, so with the more diverse site, it will allow the community to stay together... and that is good.
    That pretty well sums up my feeling on the merger. I'm excited about the added diversity, and at the same time I'm no longer as concerned about the core SPS users moving on if some of us go different directions with our next device.

    I had been hanging out at the old SPF for as long as I have been part of SPS. And since the PPH/SPF merger I have been spending more and more time at PPH, because it has become the best single site for keeping up with all of the smartphones out there. With the PPH/SPS merger PPH is now the undisputed king of converged device discussion! (I think we're talking around 13,000 members??). I think the "friendly rivalries" are lots of fun too And I have seen how passionate Mike is about convergence, and how dedicated he is to making his site the best it can be for his members. I'm very confident that Mike will build on what JJ and jazz put so much effort into creating.
    Please visit my picture site: Robert-O-Rama :)

  13. #13
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    Originally posted by alanb
    You might want to look at what slashdot.org has done with user-support. They sell subscriptions as #of ad free views, rather then time limited subscriptions. This way, light users can pay less for an ad free experience then heavy users. I believe the idea was to be proportinate to the lost revenue of not showing adds to those users. They too have very stringent ad standards so free users are not overwelmed by innapropriate or overpowering ads.

    Alan
    That's a great idea Alan! I had never thought of it that way, but I would guess that would be pretty hard to implement. I'll definitely investigate it.
    Mike Collins
    pdaPhoneHome.com, Home of the i330 FAQ

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    i personally dont see what the problem is with the ads on PHP. they dont popup or interfere in my browsing in any way. there are no nag screens or anything being force fed down my mouth. i know there are not any ads here but i dont even notice the ads much on the site as i have gotten used to them.

    im sure once members play ball over there more they wil see that the ads pose no threat to life or limb....

  15. #15
    Registered User Robert K.'s Avatar
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    Originally posted by marctronixx
    i personally dont see what the problem is with the ads on PHP. they dont popup or interfere in my browsing in any way. there are no nag screens or anything being force fed down my mouth. i know there are not any ads here but i dont even notice the ads much on the site as i have gotten used to them.

    im sure once members play ball over there more they wil see that the ads pose no threat to life or limb....
    I agree 100%. I usually forget they are even there.
    Please visit my picture site: Robert-O-Rama :)

  16. #16
    Registered User Walcwlr's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Robert K.
    I agree 100%. I usually forget they are even there.
    Yeah... Hell, until Mike said he had ads on his site, I wouldn't have known. I guess that is good and bad. The Bad: If I'm not seeing the ads, then they aren't doing their jobs....
    The Good: I'm not seeing the ads... hehe

    I welcome the merger. I check out both boards daily. Being a 7135 owner, I see more posts here than there, but I'm sure that will all change. :redspotda

  17. #17
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    as long as you core memebers remain on board we wiill have a blast!

  18. #18
    Moddin' & Poddin' Markito's Avatar
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    Welcome pdaphonehome.


    Nice to be working for you.
    ~'kito
    pdaPhoneHome Moderator

  19. #19
    Registered User equus's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Markito
    Welcome pdaphonehome.


    Nice to be working for you.
    Awesome Board.

    By the way HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU MARKITO.
    :clap :clap :clap
    Funny it worked.....the last time! Now I am not sure what was working before they put a hole in my head !

  20. #20
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    Thanks guys! Our pdaPhoneHome members are already happy, as I'm adding some hacks that you guys had, and we didn't! I don't know why I didn't add Quick Reply a long time ago. Looking foward to getting to know you all better as we become one big family.

    That's a cool mega-smiley you did there...

    updated... Now I feel silly, you guys don't have Quick Reply! Well, you will when the merge is done.
    Mike Collins
    pdaPhoneHome.com, Home of the i330 FAQ

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