Drugs-Forum is at an important crossroad and will never be the same again. The situation is similar as 8 years ago. In 2005 we migrated drugs-forum.com from webwiz forum software to vbulletin. Webwiz was simply not good enough for us as a growing community anymore. We needed a better platform, better functions, a more professional design and something with much better security. vbulletin forum software offered that. vbulletin had a long history with drug related forums, as part of vbulletin was coded by Overgrow. Overgrow.com was the largest drug related forum at that time. Running vbulletin since the start of vb in the last century. I built drugs-forum with the hope of it becoming bigger than Overgrow. Moving to it was a very good choice and allowed drugs-forum.com to grow even more and even faster. To a size much bigger than Overgrow was when it got raided and closed down.
On the vbulletin platform I could add whatever function that I could dream up or our members would request. Either I could buy the function somewhere or I could have it created by one of the great developers I have worked with during those years. Or I could just go in the code and modify it to our needs. Nowadays we run 110 addons on top of vbulletin, which makes vbulletin just a small but important part of the site.
Another really cool thing about vbulletin is that the Jelsoft developers listened to my suggestions, so I sent them hundreds. It just got better and better.
Times change for vbulletin
In 2007 the tide started to change for vbulletin as it was bought from Jelsoft by Internet Brands. Internet Brands is a multi-million / multi-billion corporation that buys up successful communities and bleeds them dry for advertising revenue. A quick search on the net will show you that a lot of what they touch turns to mud. They own over 2000 websites which compete with vbulletin websites and earn about 100 million a year in advertising revenue. Which is many times more than vbulletin will ever be worth. After all that I have seen from Internet Brands it is not unthinkable that they seek the destruction or takeover of their rivals, instead of providing solid software.
It did not take long before releases started to include security vulnerabilities, things that sabotage search engine ranking, many thousands of bugs, functions that leaked member data to Internet Brands servers and a lot of things started to happen that drove webmasters into despair. Internet Brands contacted a lot of webmasters to buy up their websites cheap. They did not update their own sites to the latest releases though. Neither did we. Like Internet Brands we still run vbulletin 3, while vbulletin 5 has been out for a year.
I can safely say that we will not upgrade to vbulletin 4 or 5 ever. If you want to experience why then please checkout www.vbulletin.com or any other vb5 forum. Mind that the vbulletin.com forum runs on an advanced and optimized server network and that negative remarks on vb.com are in a hidden forum. Other sites will face even more difficulties running it.
vbulletin gets Hacked
Recently vbulletin.com and vbulletin.org got hacked repeatedly, due to a number of security vulnerabilities in vbulletin 4 and 5 and one issue in vb3. As a result other websites like macrumors.com got hacked as well. The private details of macrumors its 800.000 members were compromised. Internet Brands staff denied details of the hack and did not email us.
We patched the vbulletin 3 issue. Over the years we have experienced attacks many times and as a result our server security is extremely high. Security is essential for a drug related website. After all our members post sensitive data and we want to keep that secure.
As time goes by vbulletin gets ever more outdated. Staying on vbulletin 3 is not an option. Sooner or later the old technology it relies on will become a security risk. This includes End of Life server software and outdated third party software. Time is ticking.
As the net keep revolutionizing itself. everyone gets used to better and better functions. Social media like Facebook are fighting for your time. Information oriented website have gotten pretty good in delivering the answers you seek. And at the same time drugs-forum in all its excellence relies on highly outdated features, buggy notification. Something has gotta give here.
I think you know what I am saying.
Dear Drugs-Forum readers: We are a small non-profit that runs one of the most read drug information & addiction help websites in the world. We serve over 4 million readers per month, and have costs like all popular websites: servers, hosting, licenses and software. To protect our independence we do not run ads. We take no government funds. We run on donations which average $25. If everyone reading this would donate $5 then this fund raiser would be done in an hour. If Drugs-Forum is useful to you, take one minute to keep it online another year by donating whatever you can today. Donations are currently not sufficient to pay our bills and keep the site up. Your help is most welcome. Thank you.