After searching for the software to run our new low cost social network I decided to give Boonex (Dolphin 7. X) a try.
I've had the site up an running for a couple of days now. Got my graphics all constructed; set my boilerplate "about us", "privacy" etc. and got the basic navigation all set up... and now I find out why this is such a cheap program.
The $99 fee to have the logo removed didn't turn me off, per se. Nor did the fact that you have to pay for support. (However, the $1000 all inclusive support package does piss me off.)
It wasn't until after I spent three days getting to know the program and doing all my setups that I realize - I have a really nice looking DATABASE. And that is really all it is. A nice looking screen to show off the members profiles.
Of course, no-one would actually join if they knew that once registered - you can't do anything other than look at other peoples profiles. Basicly, as a stand alone - it's worthless.
UNLESS, you start adding "modules" and "themes". Then the site can start to come together. First - find a theme for about $60. You will probably want a module for Groups, Classifieds, Video, etc. - you name it and you can probably find it.
The only problem is that these modules cost from anywhere from $25 - $75 each; they are made by third parties; and most are single-site licenses only. (Yes, there are a few freebies out there. But overall, expect to be spending a bunch of money.)
By the time you add up the cost of all the stuff (that's needed or worthwhile), you will easily hit $500 or more.
If everything worked great, and this was a stellar program it might be worth the money. But let's face it, at best it's a mediocre program.
To be honest, I'm not sure what I'm going to do next. I will certainly give SocialEngine a try first. Are they any better? I don't know yet. But considering that the cost of Boonex will surpass them anyway - it's worth a try.
That's my 2 cents.