The unique features and customer support are top notch. The gamification, design, countless add-ons and ability to create forums and ranks with special permissions are among my favorite features. I also really like the detailed profiles, embedded videos, polls and Q&As. In terms of gamifications, the ranking system and badges are a lot of fun. One of the newest features I have discovered and think is really cool is the automated email integration with MailChimp based on RSS feed. I like the reaction bar and social log-in and sharing capabilities as well. There are many other features I like, but too many to name.
I wish I had instant access to data, I dislike the fact they we can only access our database of users once per month. My company does enjoy about a 10 percent, but I do wish the product was cheaper. I also really wish the announcements were more "global" and would show at the top of each forum topic. The view count on discussions often seems inaccurate, as a post may say it only has three views, yet somehow has seven comments. I wish there the ability to edit what the transactional emails say as well. I also wish there were more reporting features in terms of analytics.
Yes, I would recommend it. Pros include great support, features and integrations. Cons include price and not being able to access your database in a spreadsheet more than once per month (for the corporate version at least). But pros outweigh cons. And Vanilla worked out a nice discount for us.
Vanilla enables StartupNation to connect with entrepreneurs, small business owners and startups. It provides a space for these like-minded folks to share knowledge, ask questions, build relationships and foster small business. This is perfectly in-line with the StartupNation brand as an online media group and premier small business platform.
Benefits included with Vanilla that I didn't have with my previous forums platform:
-A smooth, clean-cut interface
-Fun features for users such as ranking system, badges, tagging and bookmarking
-Ability to create forums with special permissions
-Social log-ins and sharing
-Automated RSS feed emails with MailChimp
-Polls, Q&A and add-ons
-Auto-systems that help fight spam
-Pockets for ads and promotions