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EllisLab Pro Network Goes Offline

In an email sent to Pro Network members, EllisLab states that they will be performing “a full reset” of the Pro Network. This includes the members, as well as what the goals of the Pro Network actually are. So, from henceforth, the Pro Network is no longer in existence. EllisLab encourages you to send them feedback ( so that in the case the Pro Network returns, you and your business can find greater value in the program.

What are your thoughts on this?

The message in its entirety is below:


You are receiving this email as a member of the ExpressionEngine Pro Network.

Many of you have expressed to us that you feel that the Pro Network has become a bit crowded, with many members who did not keep their profiles updated. This has resulted in a once useful resource becoming less useful as the stale data made it frustrating for people to find someone who was both well suited to their project but also still using ExpressionEngine and in some cases even still in business.

Thus we have decided to “blow out the dust” so to speak and do a full reset. As of today, our Pro Network will be going offline.

We don’t want to disband it and simply start inviting participants in the same way as we originally did though, or its loss of value will be cyclical. We would like to consider ways to rebuild it in a way that ensures that the listings stay up to date, relevant, and represent only the highest quality agencies and freelancers.

For those those that wish to participate in the Pro Network if it returns, please let us know how your business can best benefit from the program so we can tailor the implementation to help you succeed. To help us organize the feedback, we’d love if you sent your emails to with the subject line “Pro Network”, or simply reply to this email.

We would like to thank you for your participation in this program, and we look forward to hearing from you about the future needs of the Pro Network.

The EllisLab Team

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 by Kyle Cotter

Filed Under: News

Bas van Ginkel15:16 on 11.25.2012

After collecting my thought i send the following reply to EllisLab.


I’m fully supportive in the fact that the ProNet has to be a useful resource to client when searching for a partner to do business with. The fact that some company’s haven’t maintained their data isn’t helping this cause. However, taking it offline on such a short notice introduces more problems then it solves in my honest opinion.

Client communication

I use the fact that i’m part of the Pro Network very extensively in my communication with my client. I always tell them member ship gives no guarantees and that there is no official bond between myself and EllisLab. The membership however does reflect a certain level of accomplishment with ExpressionEngine, otherwise the process of getting approved to it would be much easier. By taking the Pro Network offline your undermining this message i’ve been sending my clients since getting approved to it.

I have multiple outstanding quotes with multiple clients. If any of these client decide to check up on the membership, and i always encourage them to do that, they will get a very mixed message. Am I the one lying to them about the Pro Network membership? Is there a Pro Network? They won’t know because they don’t have a understanding about the inner workings of EllisLab.

Early warning, when to communicate

If you would have communicated your displeasure with the Pro Network a few weeks ago we would have had time to prepare. We could have had a discussion as a community about the ups and downs of the Pro Network as it stands. And perhaps we could have fixed it, perhaps not. But a heads-up on the going offline could have been taken into account with the quotes and communication we have with our clients.


All company’s have to build up a relationship with their customer and the feeling you have a solid and stable relationship to build upon is very important. The timing and abrupt nature of your message makes me question about how stable our relationship is. If you decide to take the Pro Network offline with an email on sunday morning (sunday evening for us here in Europe) what stops you from taking other radical decision like a 500% price increase in the future? Not that a price increase would be so bad but clear timely communication about it is essential for those parties who build their business upon your foundations.


2 years ago I made the decision to only work with ExpressionEngine as CMS because it makes my life easier, the projects more fun to do and my clients happy because they for the first time can manage their own site without technical knowledge, difficult interfaces or lengthy manuals. This won’t change, but i really hope EllisLab will learn to communicate more effectively and more timely then you have show in the past.

If i can be of any help in helping to develop an better Pro Network for the future i’m all yours.

Nick Benson15:16 on 11.25.2012

What in the hell is going on there? They’re actively making it harder for us to sell their product.. unbelievabe.

Brendan Underwood21:33 on 11.25.2012

Wow, this is a bit of a blow I must say. Really odd behaviour…if I didn’t know better, I would suspect there’s something else going on behind this. Anyway, here’s my feedback to the strange action:


Well to hear this news and with such short notice to the Pro Network seems like too much of a knee jerk reaction to me. There are certainly better ways to ‘clean out’ the entries to the Pro Network than just pulling the pin. An email to ask people to update their entries or confirm they’re still in business would have been pretty simple, but to pull the pin is just ridiculous.

I actively promote that I am an EE Pro Network member, you can see it on my email signature, I mention it to potential clients and it’s even printed on my business card. I’m also regularly contacted by potential clients who have found me on the Pro Network directory, looking for a developer within the Australian region and sometimes those looking here in Perth, Western Australia.

This particular action, puts serious doubt to as the trust I place with EL and the product EE when such decisions are made to important parts of the EE community at the drop of a hat.

I really hope that you can stop this decision of pulling it down, and come up with a better alternative to data cleansing the directory…it’s not rocket science.

Brendan Underwood
ExpressionEngine Pro Network Member

Erwin Heiser06:12 on 11.26.2012

*1 to Brendan, even a few days notice would have been better than this.

Jez Swinscoe08:08 on 11.26.2012

With the loss of volume discounts, no non-commercial licence and the loss of the Pro Network along with a move to paid support, one does have to wonder what is going on.

I think some long-er term loyal customers will see this as a kick in the teeth. It will make us consider a different CMS for the future

Chris10:56 on 11.26.2012

I have to agree with Jez Swinscoe. All the changes that have been introduced (with very little warning as far as I can tell) have severely dented my loyalty to EllisLab. There is nothing wrong with paid support for those who need it, but a free, snail-paced, support channel should have been maintained for all those low-volume users who really can’t justify spending $49 every time they need to ask a question.

I too shall be looking elsewhere, I fear.

Mike Zesn14:19 on 11.26.2012

As a pro network member, I agree with all the comments above.  This is extremely frustrating and communication with loyal customers was non-existent. It seems like a slap in the face for spending years of time learning, loving and promoting EE. I agree with Chris, these sudden changes have me already considering how to stop using EE.  It was a challenge selling EE with other open source options, now that support is a monthly fee, it will be even harder. I really hope EE re-considers these rash changes, otherwise they will start loosing loyal customers fast.

Brendan Underwood21:16 on 11.26.2012

I think the process of pulling the pin of the Pro Network until they’ve worked out a solution to how it should move forward is just shortsighted and arse about. Even though there were problems, it was still performing a function for many in the network, and could have easily been migrated into the new website with out too much grief, until which time the community feedback had come in that their now asking for, and then make the changes. Strategically, they’re now on the back foot with the Pro Network members and most, myself included, have lost trust in EllisLab to conduct business with a level head.

Bas van Ginkel03:22 on 11.27.2012

After the hurricane of news, comments and backlash i’m trying to look into the future. I realised my previous posts and emails didn’t touch on the subject of what to do with the Pro Network to ensure it’s future existence. So the following is my email to EllisLab to try and build a road into that future. I would love your hear you thought on this as well.


In your email your saying the Network had become crowded and contained out of date profiles. Because of me operating from the Netherlands i’m not aware of how big the Network was for the US but for the Netherlands we had about 15 Pro Network developers listed. Most of them are still operational and their data reflects how they operate.

The problem i’m having is that i don’t see what changes need to be made. Let’s operate under the assumption that the Pro Network is there for people looking for a reputable company with good ExpressionEngine experience to send a RFP to but that being a Pro Network member is in no way, shape or form an official endorsement from EllisLab.

The old Pro Network directory operated like a phone book. It focused on regions and from their on it just listed the entry’s. Because of this method some regions got pretty crowded but it did a good job to list without judgement.

In my honest opinion you can’t enrich the profiles with to much data because that would start to look like an official endorsements. People don’t want another site where they have to maintain a portfolio of their work so potential customers can see. I could envision a similar approach as SmashingMagazine chose for their directory.

When building your profile over their you got the following list of services to chose from.

        <li>User Interface Design and Usability</li>
        <li>Corporate Identity and Branding</li>
        <li>Web Design and Web Development   </li>
        <li>Graphic and Print Design   </li>
      <li>Software Development</li>
      <li>Mobile Application Development</li>
        <li>Email Marketing</li>
        <li>Editing and Copy Writing</li>
        <li>Internet Marketing</li>
  <li>Creative Services</li>
        <li>Content Management</li>
        <li>Web Hosting</li>
        <li>Web Services</li>

To prevent everybody from selecting everything your limited to displaying 4 to 6 (depending on your subscription level) of those services. For each service you got about 4 lines of text to explain yourself in. This made the profile pages short and easy to read. Limiting amount of services you could choses forced company’s to make a good decision on how to profile themselves and made the directory so that the client had something to chose from.

I think a new Pro Network Member profile should be made up of the following fields

  <li>contact information - url, adress, contact name, phone, email</li>
  <li>short general description of the company (not promoting services/products)</li>
  <li>services (matrix field with playa column and a free text field with limited character count)</li>
  <li>portfolio (assets with a max count of 5)</li>

To mitigate the problem of the outdated information i would send out an email every time a profile goes without an update/visit from it’s owner for 6 months. Send them a couple of messages before temporarily deactivating the listing untill the owner of the entry updated is or somehow pushed a button “This information is all accurate and up-to-date”. I don’t really see how else we could keep this information updated.

Hope you find something usefull in all of this and we can start working on a new Pro Network very soon. It really enjoyed being a Pro Network member and more importantly it made selling ExpressionEngine easier. One of the arguments i always used is that whatever happens between me and my clients they can always continue development with one of the other ExpressionEngine devs out their, and then i point them to the Pro Network page on the site.