159 Comments

Original Poster

1. History of the site and previous changes
When HotUKDeals first started in 2004 it was a very personal, very small thing. At the time there were various deals places around but they were all sub-forums of a site or not very well made. I wanted to have a place which was just about finding deals and sharing them with others. We started off with a free postnuke CMS platform with a forum embedded. I doubt many current members here remember those days but that was the nucleus of the site for the first 18 months. As it grew the postnuke software started falling apart and we constantly had the site going down as the code was just horrendous. Also, the lack of connect between the forums and the front end deals meant that anything good was manually entered and put up on the front end by myself or the mods. This meant that members had no control over what was promoted on the front page.

In spring 2006 we moved away from postnuke to a combination of vbulletin forums and a customised front-end with a plugin for vbulletin. This was a massive change to how the site worked in terms of functionality, design, and editorial control. The colours of the site were changed from purple and orange to the red/green combination. The phpBB embedded forum was scrapped and vbulletin functions used instead. The deals/freebies/vouchers changed to a custom submission page that published the deals to the front end as well as made a thread in the forum. The biggest change though was that members now had the ability to vote on a deal and deals over a certain temperature would be displayed automatically on the front page. This moved control of promotion from myself and the mods into the hands of the members.

So at this point what we had was a forum which crossed over with a frontend which offered the ability to see deals full-view, to filter them with merchant/category/temp/price etc. The site grew massively during this period with the frontend attracting the use of the majority of users with the explicit forum view used by about 25% of users.

2. Problems with the old site and complaints from members
At this point we had grown so much that many problems with the setup and code were becoming apparent. About 8 months ago it became clear to us that the site as is was beginning to fail to do many of the things we originally wanted it to do. The main problems were performance, scalability, ease of finding a deal among the large volume, sorting wheat from chaff, preventing spam and self-promo, inability to narrow the interest field.

The problem we had with performance is that on one hand we had custom code running on the front but on the other we had to integrate it into the vbulletin forum. This meant that although we could maximise performance in some areas our hands were tied in others. Slow queries or intensive processing on certain areas of vbulletin were causing us a lot of problems which we could solve if we took control of that into our custom code and modified it there.

The issue of scalability was not just in terms of code and performance but also in terms of how do we scale up the model of recommendation when the signal to noise ratio keeps increasing? I really believe that the more members we have using HUKD the more useful it is because we will spot more bargains, find more cheap prices and obscure deals. However, it was becoming harder and harder to separate the wheat (good deals) from the chaff (volume of submissions). The problem with the forum view is that although this was a minority of users it was the majority of posters - so there were many good deals that would miss attention because they simply disappeared down the forum list and the forum users never saw them again, and the front page users never saw them voted up. The nature of a forum to list by recently discussed meant that the regular chat on deals would drown a new deal in a matter of minutes unless that deal was noticed and commented by someone. The forum offered the ability to view only new threads but this was not a normal or main function and only a small number of members used it or knew it was there.

Another problem with scale was that neither the forum view or front page offered a good way to see deals that were voted hot as they became hot. The forum would only show you what was being discussed and the front page only what was hot but in chronological order. For the front page if a deal was voted up right away that was fine, but if a deal was voted up hot a day later it meant most people never saw it because it was several pages back.

The problems of scale also impacted the other types of information posted in other non-deal areas. We were getting loads of useful help and info out of discussions in Misc, Requests but that info was not easy to find (a new user would have to come, try checking out the "Forums" link, navigate to a forum and then read through threads) and was not integrated into the main deal area. So we may have had great chat on the best LCD HDTV to buy but there was no way to tie this info into a deal that was just posted about a HDTV... there was no connection between the front-end deals and deal discussion happening elsewhere.

Lastly the scale meant that we had members that didn't care about one topic but cared deeply about others and were unable to narrow this interest field. Some members don't ever want to see another mobile deal or mobile discussion but other members only want to read about mobiles. This was a major complaint we were receiving over and over that members wanted categories or ways to filter out certain deals. At the time we had deals in topics but the only way to filter these was by using the front page filter bar and any time you wanted to change that or update you would need to re-filter.

Original Poster

3. What we wanted to achieve in the update
Our main motivation in the update was to address the problems listed above. We wanted to make it easier to find unrated and new deals, make it harder for good stuff to slip by, increase the site performance and speed, allow simple narrowing by interest group and integrate the discussion/chat on non-deals more tightly into the site. Most of what we needed to do would mean moving away from a traditional forum layout to a more flexible and simple style - however we also wanted to keep the forum feel and functions that people were used to.

4. The new site and the big change
So with all that in mind what did we actually do? Well in some ways alot and in others not that much. The base code of the site and how it works is massively different and this is the biggest change. We now have the flexibility in code to do whatever we want and need to do in the future. As I wrote at the beginning HotUKDeals was made solely as a site to find and share deals - with vbulletin we were trying to be a specialised site using software that was made to be as generic and non-specialised as possible. With the new platform in place we can develop tools and displays made just for what we are trying to do as a community, we do not have to rely on a generic platform which has to be hacked into doing what we need to do.

In other ways the site hasn't changed that much. Users who visited the front page still see the same full view listing of voted hot deals as before. Users who visit the forum still have the thread listings and comments as before. The forum index is now a header listing of forums to make jumping forums something that can be done from any page.

On a practical level we tried to address the problems through several layout and function changes.
(1) There is no distinction between front page and forums anymore. This allows a tight integration between deal and non-deal forums enabling members to easily access information held in other parts of the site. It also means more members can see and take part in non-deal discussion which has a direct impact on deals (like advice on HDTV's for example).
(2) It is now possible to narrow by interest topic. If a person is interested in only mobiles they can choose the Mobile topic and then the entire site becomes a mobile deals site... all the deals, all the vouchers, all the deal requests, all the misc chat will just be about mobiles.
(3) With the same idea of narrowing interests, anyone can now make their own Custom tab. We made this with complete flexibility so that the exact forums can be included or excluded, topics can be picked, merchants can be picked, even tags can be picked. Also the sort order can be chosen and other view preferences. This creates a Custom tab accessible on every page that takes you directly to just the stuff you want to see.
(4) The Hot, New, Discussed tabs enable quick sorting of any navigation options. We felt that the most important things to see on any information is: (a) what are the good deals (b) what are the newest submissions (c) what are people talking about. We made these tabs big because we think that this is the most important way to sort information in any forum.
(5)Making the site simple for casual users. As above, we made these new tabs the main feature. A casual user coming wants to find that info above and now they do not need to leave the home page to find it. The default view is Hot which shows any visitor the newest hot stuff on the site. Once click on the New tab will show them the newest submissions and one click on the Discussed tab will show them what people are talking about.
(6)Making the site complex for advanced users. Although we wanted to simplify things we also wanted to increase the power of advanced users. The category/forum navigation as well as the advanced searching and boolean search parameters are the first steps we have taken in this direction.

5. Mistakes we made and the future of HotUKDeals
Although I am confident that the changes made are the right thing to do for the site if it's going to continue to be useful for users I do think we messed up on how we rolled out these changes. Mainly I think we underestimated the scale of change for long time forum users. For myself personally I have been in the middle of this update for months and have been playing with the new layout as its grown, a lot of thought was put into thinking about how to keep forum functionality and feel and that probably fooled us into thinking it wasn't as drastic of a change as it was. The truth as we found out was that yeah it was a really big change for members and even worse there was the feeling this was being forced down throats instead of being done in the interests of everyone.

So I think we made mistakes by (a) not carrying more extensive beta testing with closed groups and members (b) not warning members more before the change was going to happen (c) having better communication and help topics for the immediate launch day that would provide detailed and easy help for learning the new navigation. I also think we made a mistake by changing the functionality and design at the same time. In retrospect it would have been smarter to keep the same design/images/colours and only change the functionality with a design change occurring later down the road. It was way too disorienting to have both the images and functions changed at the same time.

There has also been a lot of complaints about the timing of the change. I think this ties in with more warnings that it was going to happen, to be honest, no time is a good time for change! However, I think we launched about one week too early. On our part the rationale was that we know traffic and online shopping peaks around the 10th of December so we did not want to change prior to that peak - yet before the January sales which are actually a big traffic time on the site. However, we should have pushed it one more week back to this week when last order dates are ended and online shopping has slowed down a lot more.

So to the future of HotUKDeals. This update was really and update for the future. It is a platform and functionality update for making HUKD the best tool possible for finding and sharing online deals. The site has always been focussed on this and the most important thing is that we constantly improve and innovate the site to make it more effective for all of us. This means that yes this is not a final version and that yes we are going to keep changing....it's part of life.

One thing that has been both incredibly encouraging and incredibly painful in the past week has been the reaction of members to the change. It has been a huge encouragement to see how some members old and new have jumped in to help out and smooth the change even though they may have had reservations. On the other hand it has been really painful for myself personally to see how others began to fragment the community. It has been painful because I take this personally as my fault for not managing the change correctly. The heart of this site is a community that helps and shares with each other and although the site is a tool it must also be a home - any damage to that home is my responsibility.

Lastly, I want to say, that I think we're doing something big here. I've said it before and it's worth saying it again, we're doing something big when we share as a community, when we take the marketing and the advertising out of the hands of companies and into the hands of the consumer. The motivation and driving vision behind this site is towards making that happen more powerfully and more effectively. The old site was not going to scale to that vision, but the new site as imperfect as it may be right now, is a platform that we can grow on. I hope this whole write-up, as long as it may be, helps to show why I think that and where we can go with it.

Paul

Banned

well done admin, half hour and three threads later you finally managed to post it :giggle::giggle:

big up for the new site

but i still prefer the old layout

but times change and things needed to be changed so be it and respect for one of the best sites ever

:gift:

It's getting better everyday.

I already see the 'deserters' are silently filtering back.

skinner7408;1371115

I wish i had time to read through all that before being … I wish i had time to read through all that before being critical..................... but i still dont like it and preferred old site ! I think it is far too confusing and finding the deals i want is time consuming .It might grow on me but as yet im unimpressed .Sorry



So you haven't read the post, yet still decided to post this same tired message?

Admin, please delete this post.

Its got a long way to go, its a posting that should have happened a week before the changes, but I understand now at least some of it. I do not agree with your implementation or colour or site layout. If you are very lucky you may get the oldies back on board but you really MUST get the old sites colours and functionality back very quickly. I mean using a hacked browser to make an acceptable front end is farcical.

But at least you've had the guts to post now.

Next time trust the community and invite us in to help. Everyone likes being asked to help or give an opinion, no-one likes forced unexepected change.

In my opinion you need to

[LIST=1]
[*]Get the Font sizes sorted fast
[*]Get the colours back to the previous colours, they were not popular for no good reason
[*]Lose the rubbish on the right hand side of the screen
[*]Get the search facility working
[*]Lose the sort by relevance, for sensible sorts
[*]If possible put in sort header like windows explorer or outlook.
[/LIST]

I wish you all the best now, but you have a lot of work and bridge building to do.

Kindest thoughts for Christmas and 2008.

We all know it's easy to sling "criticisms"

thanks for all the hard work put into the new site.

[SIZE="3"][COLOR="Red"]The old site is dead .................Long LIVE the new site[/COLOR][/SIZE]

On the old site yoyu could view loads more deals on one page. The new site really restricts the amount of deals visible. Also none of the links to the deals direct seem to work. I am unable to view my subscribed threads easily now.

As a long time user of this site,it will have to be an absolutely horrendous change to get me to abandon ship.When i logged on last week,it was a tremendous shock as i had no idea of the change.I thought to myself WTF,but then instantly thought about the previous big change,where everybody reacted much the same way as now and were saying it will never work,well it did and we soon got to know and love the new site,just like we will with this new big change.So give it a chance guys and you will love it.I already feel very familiar after one week,so come the New Year i am sure we will appreciate the good work.:santa:

Some of the "deserters" as thesaint put it may have seen me post offering my email to anyone who wanted it in the pub thread because I wouldn't be around as much.... some seem to think that that is due to the change of layout and everything else HUKD's put upon us.

I've been around more than I anticipated this week - and each day I have logged on has been a little easier - bar the glaring white background which is doing nothing for my eyes! Paul - do you have plans on any different colour schemes? Will you consider bringing the old one back adjacent to this new white one?

Other than that - and although I haven't had as much time to play about on here as some others and still today I'm clicking through and going "Ohhhh I like that" - it's pretty cool.

Anyway - I have to run, I have an 8hr shift starting at 5 and then a major interview!

Thank you. It is probably what most members knew but it needed to be said by you. All seems to be going in the right direction though.:)

Banned

I think you should put me incharge really, and everything else will be sorted:-D

sassie;1371164

I think you should put me incharge really, and everything else will be … I think you should put me incharge really, and everything else will be sorted:-D




Sounds like the words "Adolf Hitler" muttered some years ago !! ;-)

so why does it say Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8 at the bottom ? does it use VB or not ?

The site works well for me.

Thanks to Admin for all the hard work.

Keith

Thanks for the explanation Paul. Must admit I didn't understand the technical side of things but I can grasp the overall picture.

I've already said what I wanted to say on another thread so no point in repeating myself. I'd just like to add one more thing from a purely personal point of view.

The only thing now that will stop me spending time on HUKD is the constant repetitive negative posts that we are being confronted with every time we log on. It is just so depressing and it cannot be good for the site now.

I fully support anyone having the right to put their point of view across in a respectful polite and intelligent manner but what we are getting with a few notable exceptions falls far short of that,
On top of that we are being subjected to other negative posts which try to plant seeds of doubt as well as the thinly veiled attempts to promote other "similar" sites,

It's also impossible to ignore them bexause they are everywhere. I also have a gut feeling people are being put off posting deals etc. for fear of being flamed and having their deals "iced".

HUKD needs a healing process so my plea would be for everyone to give the site a respectful chance. If people are lost or confused perhaps we could have one thread for help issues in the Feedback Forum which the Mods and knowledgable members can keep an eye on.

Can we please though put a stop to the mindless "This sites rubbish, [url]www.dealmyass[/url] is much better " posts. PLEASE !

Peace to all ! :santa:

hottoshop;1371308

Thanks for the explanation Paul. Must admit I didn't understand the … Thanks for the explanation Paul. Must admit I didn't understand the technical side of things but I can grasp the overall picture.I've already said what I wanted to say on another thread so no point in repeating myself. I'd just like to add one more thing from a purely personal point of view.The only thing now that will stop me spending time on HUKD is the constant repetitive negative posts that we are being confronted with every time we log on. It is just so depressing and it cannot be good for the site now. I fully support anyone having the right to put their point of view across in a respectful polite and intelligent manner but what we are getting with a few notable exceptions falls far short of that,On top of that we are being subjected to other negative posts which try to plant seeds of doubt as well as the thinly veiled attempts to promote other "similar" sites,It's also impossible to ignore them bexause they are everywhere. I also have a gut feeling people are being put off posting deals etc. for fear of being flamed and having their deals "iced".HUKD needs a healing process so my plea would be for everyone to give the site a respectful chance. If people are lost or confused perhaps we could have one thread for help issues in the Feedback Forum which the Mods and knowledgable members can keep an eye on.Can we please though put a stop to the mindless "This sites rubbish, [url]www.dealmyass[/url] is much better " posts. PLEASE !Peace to all ! :santa:



Thanks - I think many of us are feeling that way.

hottoshop...........
That is very well said and a very valid point and reflects the views of many on here !!:thumbsup:

Paul,
The effects of the change on the community have been catastrophic. It has been made worse by the way you have chosen to handle it. From the day of the change it has been made clear that it is considered more important to keep new members and casual users happy than help the old members to adjust.
By allowing members to post messages calling the grass-roots members lazy, old, behind the times and other such insults you have allowed them to be driven away. When these alienated members still try to keep the community going, via the pm system, they have received permenant bans for pm spamming. Banning good members will not keep them quiet. They will just go and voice their complaints elsewhere bringing this site into disrepute. I have seen on another site, today a thread where your grass-roots members are not going to be banned for voicing their discontent. It has over 100 posts. But, more to the point it has 11,400 views. That is 11,500 people who know about how little you care about your members opinions. They are not militant people or trouble causers, they are ordinary decent people who have been mistreated. How many members do you think you can ban when there only crime is not liking the changes you have made?
I think you need to take a good long look at what is going on in your name and decide what is really important to you.
Kind regards,
CS

the site is about a million times better than it was a week ago, but only about half as good as the old site IMHO. maybe another week and we will be there?
only thing that has really peeved me off is that last friday AM when the site was at its most unusable worst, the Luke Skywalker Lightsaber offer was posted and i totally missed it for some reason. :x
good work on the updates and ironing out the bugs though. :santa:

I must admit that I'm getting use to the new site, not as good as the old site.. but I'm getting use to it.
If Admin put the colours back as per the old site and sort the Hot and New forums the same way as the Discussed I'll be happy.


Keep up the good work

:santa:

Christmasshopper;1371344

But, more to the point it has 11,400 views. That is 11,500 people who … But, more to the point it has 11,400 views. That is 11,500 people who know about how little you care about your members opinions.



Are you certain? :?

Admin,

You can post as many essays on the justification for the changes, but its still rubbish, the website colour scheme is something out of a dazz advert, and the lamer who designed it needs to read up on website design.

The logo for the website should be changed from "deals anarchy for the masses" to "forum agony for the masses"

Original Poster

By allowing members to post messages calling the grass-roots members … By allowing members to post messages calling the grass-roots members lazy, old, behind the times and other such insults you have allowed them to be driven away. When these alienated members still try to keep the community going, via the pm system, they have received permenant bans for pm spamming. Banning good members will not keep them quiet.



Christmasshopper I will say publicly I have a lot of respect for you. You have been here from the start and been through a lot with us. I have to suggest however that the series of events you have posted above are not quite accurate. There have been several members banned for spamming by pm and this is a result of reports to us of this happening. I do not think sending unsolicited messages to members promoting your site is "keeping the community going".

I have sent you a pm previously and if you would like to carry up that conversation I would very much like to have it with you there.

Are we being fair here?



Posts like this?
Christmasshopper;1371344

Paul,The effects of the change on the community have been catastrophic. … Paul,The effects of the change on the community have been catastrophic. It has been made worse by the way you have chosen to handle it. From the day of the change it has been made clear that it is considered more important to keep new members and casual users happy than help the old members to adjust.By allowing members to post messages calling the grass-roots members lazy, old, behind the times and other such insults you have allowed them to be driven away. When these alienated members still try to keep the community going, via the pm system, they have received permenant bans for pm spamming. Banning good members will not keep them quiet. They will just go and voice their complaints elsewhere bringing this site into disrepute. I have seen on another site, today a thread where your grass-roots members are not going to be banned for voicing their discontent. It has over 100 posts. But, more to the point it has 11,400 views. That is 11,500 people who know about how little you care about your members opinions. They are not militant people or trouble causers, they are ordinary decent people who have been mistreated. How many members do you think you can ban when there only crime is not liking the changes you have made?I think you need to take a good long look at what is going on in your name and decide what is really important to you.Kind regards,CS

Quote:Originally Posted by shieldsy View PostPlease don't. As one of the … Quote:Originally Posted by shieldsy View PostPlease don't. As one of the people who's sat tight and is actually starting to appreciate some of the benefits of the new site, I'd rather those of you who have decided to give up on it would do just that instead of spoiling it for the rest of us.



Do you need a guide to use Mse?
forums.moneysavingexpert.com/sho…717

Original Poster

Fixed your formatting taasda.

:santa::stocking:Got used to it now and i must say the headers at the top are easier to navigate and i take the point about cliking on header for say mobiles and mobile deals are listed.

Feel much more confident using the site now. I LOVE HOT DEALS!!!! It has saved me lots and lots of money. I LOVE HOT DEALS!!

This made me laugh...

Originally Posted by Christmasshopper ....HUKD are deleting all posts … Originally Posted by Christmasshopper ....HUKD are deleting all posts with any mention of it....



Originally Posted by smallblueplanet How sad is that!?



Originally Posted by shieldsy Not quite as sad as starting your own … Originally Posted by shieldsy Not quite as sad as starting your own forum because you've had a strop about things not being like they were in the good old days IMHO!



:lol:

As for UKDS, I was popping in there for about a day before I took exception and left, never to return.

i still think it's rubbish. The forum was much better for regular users, it's a proven concept that works, and is the best way to present the site to everyone.

Not quite as buggy though.

osa;1371224

so why does it say Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8 at the bottom ? … so why does it say Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.8 at the bottom ? does it use VB or not ?



I believe it uses vB, just a totally customised version where all of the different views are coded from scratch to fit what it has to do.

Admin;1371455

Fixed your formatting taasda.



Oops - thanks :oops:

It has improved since launch, but it still suffers from enough design problems to keep me working at developing a similar site (if for nothing more than a learning exercise). Most notably, the biggest problem is different sets of "tabs" which make no logical sense in location, colour or size, and a confused cluttered design and colour scheme in general. The top 3rd of each page, the bit your eye is drawn to, is taken away from the content by needless clutter and on the average page I see 10+ colours and several different text sizes.

I really have no idea why you've stuck with Vbulletin if, as you've already said, you're having problems with it. Lack of coding ability perhaps? A site such as HotUKDeals is hardly a difficult thing to develop from scratch, and not having to pay for Vbulletin updates or use PHP would be a big bonus over hacking an existing codebase to pieces to fit your needs, along with improving customisation options. The phrase "when all you have is a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail" comes to mind.

And that's the very simple PR disasters non withstanding. Meh..

Original Poster

Hi Halo,

Did you read the whole thing? We aren't using vbulletin except for handling the comments pages so that previous members would have the same functions there.

As you say it didn't make sense anymore to hack vbulletin for display and data manipulation so we built out own. Maybe eventually we will handle our own comments but in the meantime we are happy to keep vb especially as members are already used to it.

Christmasshopper;1371344

Paul, When these alienated members still try to keep the community going, … Paul, When these alienated members still try to keep the community going, via the pm system, they have received permenant bans for pm spamming. Banning good members will not keep them quiet.



This was a PM I received from some one a few days after the new site was rolled out

Hey darling, all the old faces are meeting up at a new site. URL REMOVED … Hey darling, all the old faces are meeting up at a new site. URL REMOVED BY STARLETCome on over ...we having a party in the pub.See you soonUlt x



Assuming this member was banned for mass PMing people with an invite to another 'rival' site, can you explain to me how that's unfair and they were just trying to keep the community going? :whistling::giggle:

The only good thing to come out of this mess for me is less money being spent each month. I'll now just stick to using my Find-DVD, Find-Games and Gamestracker watchlists for bargains, plus a few forums like MSE, hdanddvdbargains, etc.

I honestly haven't been looking through the deals on here at all since the "upgrade". The white hurts my eyes and it's just too damn awkward with how the deals seem determined not to be in chronological order no matter what setting (new, discussed, hot, custom) I try. It's far easier and more enjoyable to use the other forums I have bookmarked these days.

I've posted deals on here for ages before on Tune Up, on my Aion account before it was banned, yet I still waited and came back with another account when the mods had stopped auto-banning every account I made. My thoughts for Admin and certain mods aside, I loved this site and refused to leave while I had the choice. However, this upgrade has killed the site for me, making it hard to use and painful for my fairly poor eyes. It's truly a shame the site has been near enough ruined needlessly.

Well I've been here a while now so first of all I would like to thank Paul for his hard work and time answering my questions.

When I first visited this site all though's months ago I used to visit every other day or so then every day. I could wake up flick open the laptop and see what was going on. Have a quick blast when waiting for the kettle to boil or when people went for a cig or drift off to sleep reading the posts of the new found friends on here.

Well to the new site, well at first I rushed round clicking on buttons getting stressed because it didn't work but every day it gets a little easier. I understand the new options now and find them useful.

Like most things that are new you will hate them at first then you accept them and if they are important enough you learn to love them. The old site was at the final stage and the new one after a week is into the second stage and maybe with time (and a COLOUR change) I will learn to love this site too.

I would like to say to everybody embrace change as that’s the only way forward.

I would like to wish Paul, the mods and all the members a happy xmas.

Please can you do something about the colour scheme, since the change I have been getting sore eyes when looking at the site now.

I know the site is never going to be the same but please help the pain in my eyes.

Paul,

Thanks for the lengthy heads up on the changes. I dont understand the technical but I am sure there are many who really do appreciate your candid acceptance about the roll out timing issues and member notification. Post Xmas/New Year would have been best in my opinion but it is here now so..end of.

I am not a computer whiz by any means and am still finding things frustrating, but there is no doubt that you have been tinkering with the layout/system etc and I am sure you will continue to improve the site (please think about the background colours!:thumbsup:) I know there are help threads and I have asked for this myself (No i do not consider myself lazy or stupid!) I am sure this will get sorted. .

Frankly - like many, HUKD was my favourite site. I have lost count of the hours I have had on line and get 'withdrawal' when I cannot check the deals. I am not a heavy deal poster ,as franky I do not have time to constantly surf for deals and always seem to be last on the posting list/mailshots and others beat me to it. I enjoy the site far too much however to disappear.

I have however lost count of the recommendations i have made to people for this site and hopefully have added to the 'Community' that way. I can say I have had calls from people asking 'what has happened'? or to help them and I just have to point them to the help forums or custom boxes as I still struggle with it.

This site is all about deal sharing & discussion & I dont mind where I go to find them. I have however met some great people on this site. Some things have however been getting personal and I dislike that. A split in the community, particularly long standing members (i am not one as only been here a year!:oops:) is not good, although your lengthy comments will help I am sure.

I appreciate that you must have been putting in some serious hours to try to sort things and it will not be an overnight fix. If I can offer any comment I hope that you will continue to take the main issues (that arise in the numerous 'complaints' threads) and try to sort these.

Its hard to describe how much better the site is today compared to even a few days ago. I can now start to see what you have been trying to do. However, taking everything into account, i still found the old site better to use. But that's just a personal preference and I'm sure I'll soon forget there was even an old site after Christmas. The colours and style of the new site are just very, very bland and i'm not convinced about the integrated forum.

I have to say though that i think you have played down how badly the new site was implemented. I work in Software Development and we've made our fair share of mistakes and i know how easy it is to convince yourself that you've tested everything and that everything will work fine. However, it was as if nobody had even checked the site at all! Stuff was all over the place, the forum hardly worked and its page numbering was the most confusing thing i have ever seen. These problems were not due to load and lot of damage was done in the first few days. Next time you make changes like this, do yourself a massive favour and double/triple check that everything actually works.
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