Vanilla is a cloud-based community management solution for consumer goods, financial services, gaming, media and publishing and technology. The solution helps organizations engage members, create discussion forums and gather ideas through crowdsourcing.
Vanilla’s forums module enables users to start and moderate discussions. The module allows members to tag other members, add photos and videos to the discussion, create profiles, enable real-time edits and send private messages. Members can also create their online avatars using different icons.
The solution’s gamification functionality enables users to earn ranks, badges and followers. Also, the functionality enables users to remove spam and abusive content from the discussion on the basis of user reactions.
The platform can be integrated with third-party software such as WordPress, Zendesk, GitHub, Salesforce, MailChimp and HootSuite. Vanilla integrates with social-networking platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Lee Employees number: 1 employee
-Lost of modern functions including the ability to like posts and @mentions.
-You can self-host it for free of charge or go for a paid version that provides support
-Very flexible: Can even be customised to display web pages
-Gamification: reward users for participating by earn badges and new abilities
The ability to add images is a little cumbersome. I wish it could be done with 1 click! But other than that, there is little to complain about.
Chris from Tomodomo
It has made it easy for us to create beautiful, effective forums with awesome community management features to boot.
Our agency helps other companies manage and build online communities so we've encountered a lot of community platforms. Vanilla is by far our favourite though, for a few reasons. First, it's incredibly customisable. The theming architecture in particular is incredible and allows us to create beautiful forums that integrate with seamlessly with our branding. Second, it's actively developed and open source. You can watch its development openly, suggest ideas for features, etc. Third, it has a killer API which allows you to make cool app integrations, software extensions, etc. Finally, the company's support is incredibles. The support team and customer success managers are amazing at answering questions and will help you implement all kinds of awesome ideas. Vanilla rocks!
Most of my issues are with super technical details nested "Smarty" tags in Pockets would be nice to have, I wish "reactions" and other gamification features were available in the open source product, etc. Overall though those are nitpicky things the base platform itself is awesome even without them.
Ashley from Photographer
We all love it so much it's so easy to use and everyone I've spoken to really likes it a lot. Plan on using it for very long time
Easy to get up and running, customize and make into your own community, with strong moderation tools.
A few long-standing bugs, but overall still solid. Support is decent, but could be more responsive I guess.
Garrett from Penny Arcade
Employees number: 11-50 employees
Allows our users to engage and communicate in a fashion that was similar to previously used software, while simultaneously being a significantly more stable and less stressful product.
Vanilla provides simple forum software, but they still possessed the know-how to incorporate features needed by our community. Staff is friendly and quick to handle major problems and crises that occur.
Over the years, staff has been slower to fix bugs, with some minor ones persisting for years at this point. Communication could be better.
After many years of using vbBulletin, our site switch to Vanilla Software in 2011. The problem with vbBulletin was one of stability: we were having frequent outages in one incident we had to close the forum for about a month to deal with issues. The software was also not very flexbility, with each custom feature we added increasing vbBulletin's instability. With so many users, however, we need software that would cater to our needs and provide the features our users had become accustomed to over the years.
Vanilla solved these problems wonderfully. While Vanilla's primary service is simple, straight-forward forum software, they were incredibly accommodating to needs. Many features were tailor-made for us, and forum stability has been excellent. Their staff has always been patient and friendly, taking our requests for new features without any problems.
The staff is excellent. They are in constant contact, and are very easy to contact in a moment's notice should something go wrong. In many cases they go above and beyond what we request, adding useful new features for us to test before deciding to fully implemented on our own forums.
Vanilla's strength is very strong and basic forums, and as a result it can take time for them roll out requested feature. This is typically not a problem, as the extra time is generally spent ensuring that the feature will satisfy our needs.
I'm a volunteer community manager for a sizable web-based community. We switched from a software that was unable to handle the size of our growing community, and it was causing issues with stability.
My favorite feature is the reaction system!
Jacob from Collect America
Employees number: 201-500 employees
I'm a moderator on a community that switched to Vanilla three years ago from a heavily hacked-together vBulletin. I was initially ambivalent about the switch - even though our old software had become hopelessly inadequate to our needs, it was super-tailored to the needs of our community - but Vanilla won me over, primarily on the strength of their support staff, who are not only pleasant and helpful, but are engaged in the community in a real way. As participants in our forum, they've come to know our needs as well as we do, and not only have all our old favorite features come back in newer, spiffier implementations, in a couple instances they have added entirely new features that addressed needs I didn't even know I had but now couldn't live without.
It's a slick, modern forum implementation that is heavily customizable (as a cursory flick through the diverse kinds of communities running the software can illustrate) with some features I really welcome in 2015, particularly the Minion, which automates a lot of tasks that used to require babysitting by moderators or community managers. This was something Vanilla provided us because they saw the kinds of things we were dealing with and they anticipated the need - that's service I appreciate.
The customer service is excellent and the team is eager to help find software solutions to community problems, but it can take a while for requested fixes to make their way through the pipeline.
Michael from Pacific Coastal Airlines
Employees number: 201-500 employees
Having outgrown free forum software, a paid solution was searched for. Vanilla provided an easy transition into something more robust and secure with the support to back it during the transitional period.
Great customer support and ease of use.
Search feature can require extra work to find what you're looking for. Results often buried in nested conversations.
I work as a moderator for a large gaming-related community. We use Vanilla forum software as the backbone for everything we do, and the difference between it and our previous software is striking. It's reliable, easy to use, and Vanilla support has been very easy to work with
The communication with Vanilla has been above and beyond what I expected. Any issues we might have are addressed quickly and well.
There are some minor feature issues. The poll software isn't as comprehensive as I'd like
I'm a moderator for a fairly large online community. We've used various solutions in the past, but none have proven as versatile as Vanilla. It's clean, fast, and always improving to meet our needs.
Customization options, theming, responsiveness, clean and intuitive interface, excellent customer service.
Content search still needs work. New custom features understandably require more time to perfect.