AgileBill question

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#1 Tue, 02/06/2007 - 19:09

AgileBill question

First off I wouldn't normally bother anyone about a product that hides every important detail from there website and forcing everyone to email them with all there personal info including phone number like AgileBill is doing. I think that is underhanded and sneaky and only makes me think they are selling the peoples information.

Hell you can't even register on their forum.

However, since it seems they are forcing this I decided to ask here about it instead.

1) How much is it? 2) Is it stable? 3) Are all the features in VM Pro integrated into AgileBill ? 4) What hidden costs are there?

Frankly any company that does business in a cloak'n'dagger fashion I tend to stay away from. But any answers would be appreciated.

Tue, 02/06/2007 - 20:00
Joe's picture

Hey Scott,

Sorry you've had some issues getting information from the Agile folks. I can say that they're much nicer folks than the impression you have of them, and their motives aren't generally sinister. They are a small independent company, just like Virtualmin, Inc. and probably most of the hosting companies reading this, and they may simply not have the staff to handle keeping the website spinning nicely and prices up to date.

But I agree with you that companies really ought to be up front about pricing, and services and make it easy to do business with them. I also tend to think that if someone is ashamed to publish product prices then it's probably too expensive for me to afford! I also don't bother to ask for information if the only way to get it is via the phone. But, everybody approaches the sales problem differently.

While I don't have any direct experience with the product, I will say that they were the first major billing system to add support for Virtualmin...but they did the original implementation before the Virtualmin API existed, and the methods used were less than ideal. We've gotten them access to versions of the software with the APIs, so I suspect they've moved over to the cleaner implementation--and their prior experience with Virtualmin probably means they have a stronger idea of how to implement things. I can also say that our customers who <i>have</i> chosen Agile have generally been satisfied with the level of support they received, but the same can also be said of the other major option (AWBS). If anyone has any outstanding issues with either company or product, I don't know about them.

It is worth mentioning that I think in both cases, it is inadvisable to run the billing app on the same machine as Virtualmin--or you'll want to run it under a webserver that is not the Apache that Virtualmin is configuring. Virtualmin, since it includes its own webserver, has no hesitation about restarting Apache when a new SSL domain is added...this plays havoc with the session and state of the billing app if it is running under that Apache and is awaiting a confirmation that the domain has been created. Things go horribly awry. Took us a few backs and forths with the developer of AWBS and one of our customers to figure that one out.

Anyway, hopefully someone who is using Agile will chime in with more details.


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Tue, 02/06/2007 - 20:44 (Reply to #2)

I agree with you... If a company must use &quot;sneaky tactics&quot; to sell a product and won't publish their prices just makes me wonder about their business practises.

But I think recommending them as a billing program that works with VM should be warned first about this.

Joe, do you realize that even on there website they give zero information about what programs they are compatible with? They don't mention VM at all.

I think I am going to go with a gut feeling here and just pass them by. I don't like doing any business with a company that hides cost and major information a consumer should have and then tell them we want your name, address, phone number and email address before we talk to you about our product just screams &quot;WE SELL YOUR INFORMATION&quot; at me at least.

Mon, 03/19/2007 - 10:41

Our experience with AgileBill:
* Over-promised.
* Under-delivered.
* Very disappointing.

I bought AgileBill about 3 years ago. At that time, my sole purpose was to integrate the logins of several applications (i.e. content management, forum etc.) so that we only need to use one interface to create, invoice, update, disable etc. customer accounts (note: we are not a web hosting company). AgileBill failed to achieve what we want, even though the website clearly states that it is doable.

Our entire experience with AgileBill was that they have over-promised and under-delivered. The software was extremely buggy at that time. We had to iron out many many bugs on our own (some bugs are really basic mistakes), while we waited patiently for an updated version that promised to resolve a bunch of bugs at one go. The problem we had was that we customised AgileBill to suit our purpose, and did not want to just install the latest version that would wipe out our customised codes. Further, a later version sometimes did not address the specific bugs we felt were crucial.

I posted bugs and solutions on AgileCo forum to help other AgileBill users. I don't think my efforts were appreciated at all. My requests for help were not responded in a timely fashion, if at all.

Our licence was for 1 year. We spent half the time trying to resolve bugs and get AgileBill to work. In the end, AgileBill did not do what we had hoped it would do (even though the website clearly states that the software can achieve it).

I think AgileCo was (is?) extremely understaffed, which is typical of small 1-2 person software companies. Software quality and support were clearly lacking at that time. The feeling I got was that the people behind AgileBill were trying to get some income while they are improving a half-baked software. Understandable if you look at it from their point of view. From memory, we paid a few hundred dollars ($200-$300 I think) for the 1-year licence.

Compare that to what Joe Cooper is doing with Virtualmin Pro*, I'd say AgileBill was nowhere near half as good.

* What Joe is doing right with Virtualmin Pro:
A. Ensure low pricing to encourage takeup.
B. Larger userbase helps to identify more bugs and in a more timely fashion.
C. Given the workload, Joe is responding in a VERY timely fashion to requests for help and support.
D. Virtualmin Pro was already in a very satisfactory stage when it was first released commercially.
E. Joe maintains EXCELLENT communication with his customers, which increases exponentially customer satisfaction.
F. Bugs are patched in a timely fashion and improvements are to the software are never ending.

So, well done, Joe for your hard work. It is very much appreciated! *pat on the back*

Sun, 04/29/2007 - 00:05 (Reply to #4)

Hi there AH,

Have you scrapped AgileBill now or are you still using it? I brought a permanent license about 18 months ago but can't install it. Agileco wants me to pay for a 'professional' install and upgrade but after last time I'd rather not.

Here's what I keep getting. Any ideas?

CREATE TABLE ab_search ( id BIGINT NOT NULL, site_id BIGINT, date_orig BIGINT, date_expire BIGINT, session_id VARCHAR(32), account_id BIGINT, module INTEGER, sql LONGTEXT, order_by VARCHAR(255), limit_no INTEGER, results INTEGER, PRIMARY KEY (id) )
Error (install_sql-1): You have an error in your SQL syntax; check the manual that corresponds to your MySQL server version for the right syntax to use near 'sql LONGTEXT, order_by VARCHAR(255), limit_' at line 9

Buggared if I know how to fix that.


Sun, 04/29/2007 - 00:51 (Reply to #5)

There is no 'longtext' in SQL. Try using Varchar(500) to see if its sufficient for your data.

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