by John Eberhard

I’m not usually one to complain about things. But I had an experience buying Boonex.com’s Dolphin 7.0 software recently for a client, that has to qualify as my worst software buying experience ever.

I think that after working for two software companies (Executive Software [now Diskeeper Corporation], and Panda Software) for a total of 7 years, and having bought and used software from numerous companies including Microsoft, Adobe, and many others, that I have a good idea of what one can reasonably expect when buying software.

A client came to me and wanted a web site set up for her that would be a social media networking site similar to Facebook, but for artists. After considering two options, we decided on Dolphin and the client paid $300 for an unlimited license and $99 for them to install the software.

We spent the next month arguing with Boonex as to whether my client really paid for the software, and who our “agent” was (their term for a customer service rep). Basically Boonex agents Mike and Lyubov were both claiming the other was our agent. Finally we got it settled that she did pay for the software and Mike was our agent. Only took a month. The lack of care was just unbelievable.

Next we set up a hosting account with a company they recommended, and the hosting company installed the software. Boonex never did.

Next I set about trying to figure out how to customize and configure the setup for the Dolphin software. I found Boonex’s help section on their website to be almost no help. They referred me to another site called www.boonexnerd.net, however nearly all the instructions there were for Dolphin 6.0 and did not work for Dolphin 7.0. I Googled for more instructions but again nearly all that I could find were for Dolphin 6.0 and did not work for 7.0. Lyubov did offer to help us at $150 per hour.

One of the things I wanted to do was remove the default Flash animation from the home page, which featured pictures of origami, horses, penguins, and of course – dolphins, and replace it with something I chose. Nope. Can’t access it anywhere in the interface. No instructions anywhere, except for – you guessed it – Dolphin 6.0.

Not exactly a newbie here – I’ve designed about 40 website – I expected I could figure out how to customize this site. But after roughly 5 hours of digging, no joy.

I happen to think the idea of putting up social media networking sites like this is a great idea. But I have to recommend that you stay away from Dolphin.