Does SocialEngine Really Work?

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Does SocialEngine work?If you’ve wanted to be the next Mark Zuckerberg you’ve probably thought of building your own social network and considered SocialEngine as the way to get it done. This is a platform that promises to allow you to offer robust social networking capabilities to your visitors, allowing you to create your own public or private group of like-minded individuals. But how does this solution stack up to the competition, and is it better than just starting a group on Facebook?

Overview
Social networking is still on the rise, and although it seems to have boiled down to mostly Facebook, Twitter and to a growing extent Google Plus, there still could be room to add your name to the hat, especially if you’re in a specialized niche with fanatic and passionate followers. Seth Godin in his book Tribes said that people always want to join new tribes and that it doesn’t matter how many they’re already in, if they see a new one they like they’ll want to be part of that one too. This means that even if someone is already signed up with Facebook, they’d still join your network, if it’s something they’re interested in or passionate about.

The Claim
SocialEngine claims that they help you build your own customized community websites, but allow you to own and keep all of your content, without branding your pages with their logo. This can be an important factor as you don’t want your visitors seeing that you’re using a software package to maintain the site. By branding your pages with your own logo and not showing a “powered by” or “hosted by” credit, you give yourself more credibility of being a legitimate entity.

The Hype
Of course the demos and screengrab examples they show are of sites that have incorporated a great looking design along with the functionality that SocialEngine provides. This could give you the false idea that your site is going to look like the examples after you install the software. If you want things to look good and you aren’t a graphic designer yourself, you’ll want to hire one in order to help sync up the look between your main site and your social site.

The Cost
It’s $300 for the license on one site. You can buy every plugin they make for an extra $370. If you want it installed it’s just $30. So for $700 you can buy everything they make and have it all installed. If you factor in about $300 to have a designer make it look good for you, you can have a fully functional, good looking social networking site for $1000. Seeing how they’re projecting Facebook to have a $100B valuation on their IPO, that might not be the worst investment you could make.

The Commitment
There is a bit of commitment to using SocialEngine, especially if you want to customize it to make it look pretty and make it look like something people would actually want to sign up for. You also have to commit to getting people to use it, because nothing kills a social section of your site more than not having anyone socializing on it.

If you’re not computer savvy you might not be too familiar with terms like PHP or having something hosted on your own server. If this is the case you should get someone to manage SocialEngine for you, or plan on spending some time learning how to set this up on your own.

Evaluation
The platform is similar to Facebook, but not exactly like it. People would be familiar enough with the different features, and know how to use everything, without automatically thinking that you just ripped off Facebook. There are some pretty cool plugins, like the Forum plugin that turns your social site into a full on forum. They also have a music plugin that lets you do one better than Facebook, especially handy if you are in the music niche at all.

The only thing you really need to consider is whether it’s worth the time to set this up and bring traffic to it, or whether you should just set up a group on Facebook and advertise that through your site. Some people are hesitant to sign up for another social network when they’re already a member of so many. Since the majority of people will already be signed up for Facebook it’s far easier for them to join your group than it is to set up a new account at your branded site.

Final SocialEngine Review

You can’t go wrong with a fully free 30 day trial of SocialEngine. The kicker is they let you play around and use every single plugin they make so if you get attached to one you’re more likely to buy that plugin when the trial is up. The only real danger of trying it out is getting sold on it. But compared to your other options of a social site hosted on your own servers with no branding and no monthly fee, it’s not the worst decision you can make.

The reviews have been good for SocialEngine, and the support has been praised by those that have used it. Going the free route on something like this means you won’t have anyone to turn to if something goes wrong with your site, and you’ll have to rely on other members giving you their own advice.

Our Recommendation
If you do end up going with it after the trial ends, we recommend getting at least the Photo, Video, and Mobile plugins for it, because this is what people are into, they want to share their pics, vids, and be able to access your site while on the go. We also recommend getting the installation package if you’re not used to installing this sort of software. It will save you several hours and a lot of trial and error. It’s easy for someone that does it all the time, which is why you should let them do it for you.

What do you think? Does SocialEngine work or not?

8 Customer Reviews on “Does SocialEngine Really Work?

  1. It all started when Chris Messina, not the American actor but the open source advocate, powted a message
    with a hash symbol on Twitter in August 2007. There are quality training courses if
    you’re completely new to help you build up a good social media strategy to make things
    much easier. In fact, such strategies can backfire iif would-be “fans” view a company’s social
    networking efforts as manipulation.

  2. hello Mitchell could you please refer me to your website so I could see the pictures that appear sideways?am planning on buying social engine script….but am now having second thoughts after seeing your comment

  3. WARNING!!! Do NOT Purchase Social Engine, save yourself the headache. They have a lot of bugs mine specifically was profile pictures were being turned sideways. We went back and forth for 30 days and all I got was they could not reproduce the issue. They claimed it wasn’t happening on thier demo site. I payed $50 for them to look at my configuration and my site and they failed to address it. Bottom line our profile pictures are still sideways which makes this site unusable. All I get from them is to pay another $50. DO NOT BUY! SCAM!

  4. Hello,

    I’ve tried it out and it’s not a good product in my opinion. The php version looks terrible and is buggy. The support staff don’t always read the tickets very well so they don’t give you a response that matches. Then you have to wait another day and try again with your next response.

    Lisa

  5. they know manual is old.
    they know you cant get email to work or get back in admin area.
    they wont email you the info that is suppose to be in manual but of an old database!

  6. correction: manual online and info they keep sending, if you are lucky enough to fuss for days with them, then they send you OLD info that wont work, and send you back to support $50 tickets. its a scam.

  7. ell just to let people know……….. i found a scam in social engine today that might answer problem questions to hundreds out there that had problems with social engine. You have problems usually i more between 3-90 days of buying the script.. then you find out its a bug that you think is their fault……….. only customer serive KEEPS sending you to BUY a $50 (ongoing issues) ticket to fit the bug………….. THEY ALREADY know the bugs. They already KNOW that the manual they keep sending you is for 3.0 and not that of 40-4,8……………. some parts of the manual are for 3.5 and they know it!!!!!!!!!!!!! they have been scamming people for maintenance fees putting them at hardship, like blackmail to fix it! so if you have been having issues, this is why. .After 40 emails back and forth, and them admitting 3 times they were wrong to me, they STILL WANTED ME TO PAY! ISNT THAT BOLD! I THINK ABOUT ALL THESE PEOPLE THEY HAVE SCAMMED THIS WAY. ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO LOST MONEY IN INVESTING IN THIS SCRIPT WITH THEM KNOWING THEY WOULD DO SUCH TO PEOPLE. I CONTACTED THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. I HOPE THEY GET THEM GOOD…. IF YOU HAVE HAD THIS HAPPY, U SHOULD JOIN ME IN A in ACTION AGAINST SOCIAL ENGINE. they need to go before a judge for this scam

  8. Thanks for posting this article. I never knew about this SocialEngine… very helpful indeed.

    I think you’re completely right about picking up the plugins… especially the video one since nowadays it’s so important. Same goes for the photo plugin… people are nuts when it comes to instagram.

    I plan to check this out some more when I have time but as framework might be a lifesaver. Thanks.

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