Dolphin PRO Licensing Change Planned

Andrew Boon posted 23rd of October 2014 in Boonex News. 20 comments.

Dolphin PRO (aka Dolphin 7, aka Dolphin Classic) licenses are going to change starting from the next version update.  

New Licenses 

New licenses will be free for the core platform and base module packages. No attribution links will be required. Some modules that are currently included with the main package will be separated as commercial and will only be available for a fee via BoonEx Market. We anticipate modules to be priced in the range of $10 to $50, depending on complexity. 


Current Licenses

Existing Dolphin licenses work as a "coupon" allowing download of all BoonEx-made modules for free. Current Dolphin licences also cover Dolphin U, so all Boonex-made extensions for Dolphin U would still be available for free for the domains registered with current licences. 


Buy now? Buy now!

Dolphin licenses sell for $399 now ($799 for Prime - with mobile apps and installation). Once we switch to the new licensing, it may cost well over $1000 to buy all the modules Dolphin includes now. So, if you want to lock your expenses, buy now. 

And, to make it even more attractive, we're offering 20% discount on both Standard and Prime licenses till the end of October (that's just 7 days, so think fast)! 

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so what the prime users will get ? cause the mobile app i have paid for is useless seriously no functionality.
I wish you had considered a discussion in the community so we could have a full understanding of how this may impact current and future projects with Dolphin.
<< Existing Dolphin licenses work as a "coupon" allowing download of all BoonEx-made modules for free. Current Dolphin licences also cover Dolphin U, so all Boonex-made extensions for Dolphin U would still be available for free "for the domains registered with current licences." >> the domains can be changed? to explain better, if I now have licenses without have specifying a domain i can specify it later? and if I have a domain "" and use this see more coupon for this domain if later i no longer use more this domain i have the possibility to move this licence to a new domain for install the modules for free on the new domain?
second question: if I use a coupon for Dolphin Pro and then I decide to use Dolphin U, the coupon will be removed from Dolphin Pro to use it on a new site with Dolphin U
I'm also asking myself to what will happen to my 3 Premium licenses which aren't in use and so not registered to any domain yet.
Lots of questions will probably be forthcoming from the community. How is Boonex planning on protecting the modules? Will each module now have to call home to see if it is licensed? Come on Boonex, talk to us.
We are going to implement the system which is already done in Dolphin U. Site owner have to generate key&license on and enter them in dolphin, upon first paid module install the module is linked to this key&secret pair, so the module can't be installed on another site.
More detailed information on this process please. It is important for those currently using Dolphin to know the full process in details. I am already considering abandoning any future Dolphin products and just independently develop my site to add the features I need.
Site owner have to generate key&license on and enter them in dolphin - so dolphin site can ask for some info from the market for the site owner, for example list of bought modules.

Communication is performed using OAuth via https protocol.

Upon first install - module is linked to the particular key&secret, after first module install it is impossible to install it on another site.

Key&secret is linked to the particular site, so this pair have to be generated see more for every dolphin site you have.

Modules are updated automatically if they are in boonex market and free or was bought by the user.

All these is already working in Dolphin U - so you can try to see how it works!
So you are telling me that my site will be calling home to Boonex; how often will it be calling home. What happens if it can not call home to Boonex. You still are not providing the proper specifications, details, coding details on this.

And I really don't care what Dolphin U is doing or not doing.
I have been on the edge of buying a few licenses for Dolphin for a few months now. Really I have just been waiting for some updates, and not updates in pricing. I have bought about $300 worth of modules just for testing Boonex as I am looking at moving to this platform for several sites that I own, one of them actually very large. But I hate being nickle and dimed on license fees. This may lose you those sales, so you need to answer a few questions.

1. You state that the core modules will be free, see more what are considering the core modules?

2. When we "lock expenses" are we locking at the current price for adding licenses? What I mean here is that if I own 2-3 licenses and buy one for another site are we getting the same discount for all of the non-core modules in the future or will that new license be subject to this crappy new scheme?

3. You enter a key for each module or for each site?

4. How often is it calling home and what information is it sending?

5. Can automatic updates be disabled? The last thing I want is a module update that I cannot control, especially if I custom code part of it.

You guys really need to think some of this through and provide some real information. I am with geek_girl on the issue of abandoning Dolphin. It hasn't been updated in well over a year despite lots of talk and there are LOTS of features that other premium (and some free) packages have that Boonex does not that have prevented me from purchasing several licenses in the first place. A quick list of those would be:

1. The crappy forum structure. Compare the forum module on Dolphin to any forum you want, Dolphin looses. There are only 2 types of forum, public and private. You should be able to assign forums to user groups and do lots of other things. The fact that you cannot has been the major barrier to me moving to Dolphin as I will have to integrate yet another package into Dolphin (specifically vBulletin) to maintain my current level of functionality. The current Dolphin forum module is practically useless for any site that I run.

2. Multiple group membership. Another serious problem with Dolphin, every other platform in the world has this. You should be able to assign base/default permissions to a primary user group and then give them extra rights with another user group. This would allow people to buy multiple membership types depending on what you want to allow them access to and fine tune how your membership works.

I could write quite a bit here, but its probably not worth my time.
1) The core functionality related to profiles and social features will be free.

2) Since each module will be priced separately, so the sum of all modules will easy cost more than $1000, each license which is bought now for the current price (or with discount) can be exchanged to all paid modules from BoonEx in the future.

3) You don't need to enter license, you just login to your BoonEx account to install modules you bought.

4) In Dolphin U (the same procedure is going to be implemented see more in Dolphin Pro) connects to once a day to check for system and modules updates. All other connections originate site owner when login to from Dolphin, some more information is here:

5) Yes, you can disable it, there are settings to disable automatic updates for system and modules.

1. Groups have separate forum.
Also there is great alternative forum for Dolphin:

2. There are some 3rd-party modules to add more features to the membership system, I believe there is something that will ease membership creation/copying/etc.
1. That's really no answer. Blogs and Articles are "social features" aren't they? Forums are "social features" too aren't they? Every module is a "social feature", that is why were built in the first place.

2. But in the future the discounts for multiple licenses go away?

3. Ok.

4. I already read that, which is why I asked how often. You answered my question.

5. OK good.

1. The fact that you consider that a "great" alternative is part of the see more problem. I looked at PK Forum months ago, and its almost as bad as the default Boonex forum. Have none of you guys ever looked at a real forum structure like vBulletin or Xenforo or InvisionPower or even the free Simple Machines Forum? That is the standard you should be trying to meet. I think its pretty ridiculous that you basically just told me to spend "more than $1,000" on Boonex and then spend another $99 on a module that gives me half the stuff that one of the others listed above gives me.

2. Adding group features is not what I want, I want multiple group membership. My big forum has 1207 total subforums and 150 group membership options. Just in the Staff groups alone there is a definite need for multiple group memberships. For instance we have several Staff Departments that are not Admins with a few hundred Staff members. Groups like this:

Staff Default

Each of those groups has certain rights, based on what they do for the site. Some people are members of multiple groups. You might have someone who is a member of Content and Gaming, and someone who is a member of Content and Moderation. The way this is handled is that everyone is a member of Staff as their primary group, and their secondary groups give them rights to do other stuff. Because Boonex does not have multiple group membership, my 5 non Admin staff groups must become many more groups to cover all the possibilities.

Content/Moderation group
Conent/Gaming group
Content/Technical group

When you include the groups that belong to different parts of the community its much worse, that's actually where the bulk of the user groups are from. We have some members (out of 400,000 total) that are members of 10-12 groups. Under your system I would have to create a new group for each one of those possible combinations instead of having Primary and Secondary user groups.

There are parts of the Boonex package that I really like, which is why I was considering moving to it even though its more expensive than most other packages out there. But you just added $300 or so MORE to the cost and didn't give me any new features at all. Dolphin 7 hasnt been updated in over a year, which is really what I was waiting for. You are telling me to buy in now to lock my costs at the cheaper rate, and I still have no idea when you will be updating the package.

No thanks. This package now costs triple what other packages cost and while parts of it are better than other packages, parts of it are severely lacking.
1) For "Social features" I mean friends, messaging, social sharing, timeline, notification.

2) It will not be available in the beginning, but I think we will consider some discounts for multiple purchases of the same product (to install on different domains). By the way it would be available as feature for all (including 3rd-party) modules, not only BoonEx modules.

1. You are referring to the complete forum solution (when whole site is the forum), but can't concentrate all development see more effort on a single part, instead we created the simple solution in the beginning and enhance it over time. Please note we use the same forum software on and we was able to achieve everything we need with it. Also it will get some attention in 7.2 release.

2. I believe that it can be achieved with some 3rd-party modification, this is the first time such feature is requested.

PS: it isn't updated because of major version update is coming and there is no critical bugs in current version, also this version of compatible with great number of 3rd-party extensions.
1. OK, thanks. That is what I wanted, a list of modules.

2. OK. No details yet?

1. vBulletin started as a complete forum solution, with vBulletin 4 they added a lot of things very similar to what Dolphin has: Social Groups, Blogs, CMS (articles, front end management) and its far easier to skin. The whole site it not just a forum. XenForo and SMF are now doing the same thing. InvisionPower has all of that and more, though in the long run that one costs more as well, even more than Dolphin see more long term because of how they run updates.

I like the Dolphin platform for lots of reasons. I think it lays out better, and you guys did a great job with the drag and drop page builder. There are lots of good things with Dolphin, but where its weak its very weak. But the best thing you guys had going was a full install where you could play with everything for an extended period of time. Everyone else has 3-5 day test installs on their server only where you cannot play with the file structure. That is what got me interested in the first place, interested enough to buy a few hundred dollars worth of mods to test it further. Without that policy in place, I wouldn't still be here. I would have moved on to try something else.

2. That actually surprises me since almost every other package out there has multi group membership. Its pretty standard.

Regarding the PS: I understand that, and I am fine with that. What I am not fine with is the fact that I have been waiting to see what the update has before spending any more money, and you are raising the price before the update is released. That is a huge turnoff, and its more than a little irritating.

Dont get me wrong. I am fine with paying $1000 for a package that does what I want it to do. But this package is far from that as it stands now, and is twice the price of packages that are closer to what I need. Its now actually quadruple the price of vBulletin, so the question really becomes is it worth $750 more to have drag and drop page building. I think the answer to that is obvious.

To be fair vBulletin 5 does not have the CMS stuff (articles and blogs) but vBulletin 4 has long term support and I imagine they will put it back in for vB 6 since everyone there is raising hell about it. vBulletin has other inherent issues that I am not going to detail here that are prompting me to look at another package, but they are still very serious competition for Dolphin.

And since that competition is there then you guys need to take a serious look at how your competition does things. One goal of any company is to be better than the competition, or should be at least. And in some ways you are better, which again is why I am here.

What I havent seen in this thread is anyone that is happy that they have to pay more for it tomorrow than they did today, with no added features. And why would they be? I can promise you that if there was an update coming the day of the price change you wouldnt be catching as much heat for the change. But I would also bet that there are several people out there, such as me, that would be fine with a price increase if it came with some new stuff. Whoever thought that up needs to reconsider it. That was just a bad idea.

Dolphin absolutely has the potential to be the best full blown package on the market. But that doesnt happen if you only stick to your own idea of what it should be, or only what people request such as the multi group membership. You guys have to look at other platforms and see what they are doing and do it better. Especially since people will no longer be able to try the full package for free anymore.

What is going to happen under this model is exactly what I have been going through with other packages for the last 6 months. People will take a quick read through the features list (which will always be incomplete with not enough information) and if they dont see the core of what they want then they wont even try a demo. And if they do happen to try a demo if its a limited time demo like everyone else they will barely be able to figure out the basics, much less spend any time figuring out how to customize it so they can really see if it fits their needs.

I could write a novel here, but what I am looking for in a software package is something that is a mix of the best features out there. If it had all the features of vBulletin/XenForo/InvisionPower, and all the features of Dolphin then it would be a great start and I would already be on it with probably 10 sites. The multi-usergroup issue isn't the only thing I consider missing from Dolphin, just one of the big ones. The other big one is the weak forum setup.

But there are lots of other things out there that will attract bigger communities like mine. Some of them you guys have probably looked at, maybe even worked on (though I havent seen them mentioned anywhere) and some of them you havent. I would actually spend the time to create a detailed list if I thought someone was interested in seeing what some of the bigger communities out there want/need. I know some of it would be very long term, probably Dolphin 9 at the earliest, but I would still take the time to put a list together in the hopes you would actually use some of it. Simple stuff like BB Code (really, no bbcode support??) and more technical stuff like support for sphinxsearch.
I'm in agreement with several parts of your comment here. I've been trying out dolphin for a couple of years now, but never really felt the push to fully commit to it. I do admit that it's development has made some progress over the years and the upcoming v8 looks even better, but I share the belief that the license is way overpriced for what is currently available. It was overpriced before v7 and I started following the v8 development, which has been ongoing for well over a year now, hoping that see more it might be worth it; now the price has changed again.

I just recently paid over a couple hundred dollars to test the v7, hoping to deploy it for a client and I found it under par along with what you have outlined above; particularly with the crappy mobile apps included in the prime license. To have to pay so much now for what's forthcoming is ridiculous to me too.

I've developed quite a few sites with WP, Joomla and Drupal. For each project, I realize that it's still cheaper to accomplish my goal with other tools, even though Dolphin has some great features out of the box. Elgg has similar social features out of the box too and it's mostly free. It appears to me that the current license fees are more for a Dolphin9 or 10.
Is there a way to sell my Boonex licenses ?
Will my current Boonex license and Mobile license stop working?
BoonEx licenses are permanent, they will never stop working!
Below is the legacy version of the Boonex site, maintained for Dolphin.Pro 7.x support.
The new Dolphin solution is powered by UNA Community Management System.