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Features at a glance:
• More than 70 payment processors built in (Manual Transfer handling, Paypal (& Pro!), Google Checkout, 2Checkout, Authorize.net (& AIM, ARB, CIM!), iDeal, CCBill, Worldpay, Moneybookers...)
• Extensive Registration & Subscription workflow handling
• MicroIntegration API to attach PHP code to payment plans
• Already features more than 80 MicroIntegrations, including: emails, htaccess, mysql queries, assignment of Docman or VirtueMart groups and many more
• Multiple payment plan options (Paid, Free, Lifetime, Trials...)
• Integrated Registration and Subscription process with JomSocial and CommunityBuilder (amongst others)
• Professional features: Tax handling, Shopping carts, Discount Coupons, Plan Groups
Please check out our Tour - It will give you a much better insight into what AEC can do for you!
Their customer support is amazing as well as they have gone out of their way to make sure we were taken care of.
Thanks so much!
So, I contacted AEC with some specific questions and within an hour David form AEC answered all of them. Long story short, I purchased AEC and went on my way. After I installed it, which was done right out of the box, I got a bit intimidated with all those available functions, but since the purchase also includes a 30min Support session I wasn't worry at all.
Next day I got contacted by Jake, who runs the AEC support. He helped me getting the basic stuff setup, but i couldn't get it running as planned.
Now I could write a book about the coming days, me struggling with this system, but I guess you get the point....
A few days later, after sending numerous emails to David and Jake, I'm a happy camper with a fully working iProperty Subscription site.
So my recommendation is simple: If you are looking for a way to sell subscription based real estate listings, then go with AEC. It is not an easy system to setup by yourself (if you are not an VERY experienced programmer) but with their support it is a brise to get it done
Thanks so much to Jake and David, who showed an incredible patience with me ;) and helped me to get this done
2 THUMBS UP for this Extension
David has done a lot of work for us, I am currently testing it out on our live site and so far so good.
Have just renewed our subscription for a year this time.
There are a lot of options to set up plans, but with careful planning and watching the extensive tutorial videos on their site you can be up and running quite quickly.
Really pleased with it and the new version is great.
And a big thank you to David for his help!
Support has been the major weakness. After my subscriptions suddenly stopped expiring and I was unable to get the issue resolved through the ticket system, I traced the problem to a dB issue and defect in the code. I submitted the details, but have been ignored for weeks.
So, I advise to look elsewhere unless you are willing to invest significantly.
Alright, there are several things that strike me as odd here:
1. You inherited a site with a version of AEC that has been working fine for several years (I think we can count that as a plus here) and it "suddenly" stops working. Sorry, that's just not what software does. There has to be a cause for a problem and if the code worked well for years, it won't just suddenly stop.
You say that you further found an issue in the database and in the code - But if these were there all along, why did they not mess things up before?
I do know my code quite well and that a subscription expires is its natural state. In AEC, a membership is either "for life", or has an expiration date. So right from the get go, AEC cannot, by design, just stop expiring memberships. It's kind of in our name that this is what the software does.
From the top of my head, I can only think of two ways in which this can go wrong - if you made the memberships lifetime (although we prevent that if you're using recurring billing) or if something blocks our internal checking routines, if you disabled our plugins, for instance.
Furthermore, there are various ways in which an expiration date can be pushed along, as there is an option in AEC where you can set a membership plan to automatically "fall back" into another one instead of expiring.
2. I've just checked the ticket system and there is not a single ticket waiting for a reply. We really put a lot of work into our support and make extra sure that our clients are happy - and I think the other reviews to support that. I must assume that what happened was that you accidentally closed or deleted your own ticket.
3. Even though AEC worked well for years and you say it's "powerful" and "full featured" (although "not intuitive" and "cryptic" - something we worked on for the 1.0 release), you give it the worst rating possible. Not sure that's really fair, to be honest.
As a final note on #2: If you did find a bug, I would obviously LOVE to hear about it! I fail to comprehend how somebody would even imagine that I would not be interested in having a client not only find a bug, but solve it for me!
So - If you do read this, please contact me as soon as possible (there are several ways on the website, even if your account has expired) and I will make sure to get back to you as soon as I can.
This time I needed help with Post Affiliate Pro affiliate software which is not a "standard" Joomla extension and a rather complex piece of software, but David and his team went the extra mile to do the integration and make sure that everything worked properly. Definitely, not a trivial task.
Thanks for going above and beyond.
Great to be able to have that kind of support.
Back then it was pretty powerful, and ever since its got more powerful. Micro Integrations may actually take over the world one day (don't say you weren't warned). For the last 2 years I've been sat with 0.14.2 on my site and its been doing what it should without any issues so I haven't upgraded.
Today I upgraded.
Today I fell in love! (sk0re don't panick) The new backend is a piece of beauty...
All the hard core functionality is there ... more in fact. but it also looks like it does the job.
Keep up the good work.
Don't be under the misconception that this is an easy thing to get to grips with, even the geeks will need to refer to the manual to get your head around how it actually works, especially if you want to do something different.
The one failing I would have to say, which the guys at Valanx have identified as something they're working on, is the documentation. It is there, but it's often a challenge to find the correct information, and some parts are not up to date due to the fact that a new beta version has been released (which is awesome, and I would rather them spend time on getting the new version out than writing documentation when it's mostly the same)!
All in all, it's a great extension, hugely powerful, needs some respect when configuring it, and has a good support team behind it.
I have to say that the way to properly configure the component has not been easy. This happened because of many objective factors. Among them release a new version of the AEC, Joomla upgrade to version 2.5 and not a simple scheme of interaction with the payment system.
A total of debugging components on the site took more than two months. During that David took an active part in writing the payment processor and debugging. I could only test the component and send reports.
Perhaps, this stage was the most difficult. Because the remaining configuration of the system is intuitive, graphical user interface are excellent and provide great opportunities.
I would also like to note a great template design, almost no demanded changes to adapt to the design of the site. In the end I managed to do exactly the same site, which was conceived.
I am very glad that I was right to choose, and received a wonderful experience with the developer.
Whenever I ran into an "issue", my questions were always answered promptly and once I figured out that it wasn't an issue but more of a lack of understanding on my part on how AEC worked, it all came together and AEC works as advertised and does exactly what it needs to do on a regular basis - it eases the burden on our membership administrator tremendously!
Great work, guys!
AEC is very flexible and with the excellent advice of the Support Desk I was able to quickly implement the workflow that we had in mind.
After giving feedback on some minor issues I had, The Support Technician (Jake), quickly realised I had some errors in my Joomla installation (true, I had tried some other components and hacked around a bit) and he helped me solve them within no time.
Jake, thank you very very much for helping me today. You were fast and professional
.... and I am a lot less stressed
AEC is a great component and definitely worth the money
I wanted to thank the developer(s) for all the hard work they put into this product. You are amazing, and thank you for providing such a comprehensive product at a price that small business owners like me can afford.
Thank you again,
They keep the product updated on a regular basis so that it adapts to the most used Joomla components so that helps.
Customer Support was excellent as they took the time to help me to understand how the product works and assisted me in setting it up.
I tried others listed here and to say that they were nightmares is an understatement... Try this out, the price is right and they will help you along if you need help.
As other reviewers have mentioned, the configuration possibilities are endless in terms of how you can set up your subscriptions, the payment gateways you can use, and the integrations to other components really give you some power. The sheer fact that I can fire off just about any kind of action (db, email, web, sms) from a custom script in response to subscription events makes this a very powerful tool.
But AEC's greatest strength is also it's weakness - vast configuration. So much time has been spent trying to cover every angle that alot of polish was missed on just getting the very basics solid.
Here's an example, in the US, Authorize.net is utilized heavily. AEC recently moved from using Auth.net ARB based subscriptions to the more powerful CIM system at Auth.net - a good move in my view, but the implementation was very sloppy. The "happy path" works for checking out, but things get confusing when you run scenarios like a "failed" credit card at checkout, or incorrect handling of the messaging coming back from auth.net - like a cv2 code problem, or mismatched billing address (if you're using that verification in Auth.net, which you certainly should be). AEC also doesn't utilize the "preauth" feature (or at least offer it as an option) with CIM where you can validate the card at checkout time - you could as a result end up giving a customer access to a paid service until the first payment is attempted on the billing cycle. Offer a trial, and it compounds the issue. On failed transactions at checkout, the screen that comes back is insanely confusing to the end user. It displays the "profile" that was created in Auth.net (why do they need to see this? The customer doesn't care) with a cryptic message about having to re-enter their cv2 code and credit card number if they are changing their profile..."huh? profile? I just want to check out man!" This is where alot of the polish is missing - an attractive, but solid and functional end-user interface that handles all the permutations. The basics. But - I can sure create "fallback" subscription rules and "subscription limits" and coupons to my heart's content....if anyone's using that. My opinion only of course, but those advanced features are nice to have and should be developed after the basics are good and solid. I suppose that having to support so many checkout gateways, causes this problem as it's pretty common in most of the subscription management components out there - lots of the "basics" of operation just miss.
Aside from that the other real problem here is the business model. As others have stated this just has to be thrown out if the masses are going to take AEC seriously. I have no problem paying, and continuing to pay for upgrades and direct support like any other software model. AEC is mature enough that it's worth paying for. It's absolutely maddening though that I have to keep paying to get access to the documentation for a version I've already paid for, and especially access to a forum that is end-user driven ONLY. I lost count of the times I ran into an issue (i.e., custom code cleanup to fix that end-user interface html 101 stuff - come on guys, get a designer!) and wanted to visit the forum to see if any other users had suggestions or similar problems, only to find that my subscription had "just" run out. This is probably the single reason we finally walked from AEC and went with another tool. That's just absolutely re-donk-ulous.
As an aside, the ultimate future and direction of AEC is/was really unclear. David, AEC's creator (I believe) often saw it fit to turn the AEC site into a soap box for complaining about technology this, and process that, and often wrote long essays on how depressed he was and needed a vacation and yadda yadda. The problem is, you're users see this and wonder "ok, is AEC dying? Is this project stable? We've all invested alot of time into this so are you going to stop working on some of these issues that are so close to really working well". Really unprofessional in my view. Take the rants to Facebook - and keep the AEC site focused on AEC.
Aside from those negative points, again AEC is probably the most advanced and moldable Joomla paid subscription manager out there. Some of the bits are in fact REALLY well thought out, and you can see that when you dig into the code. I won't say it's the best solution out there - because everyone's needs are different. There are simpler and more attractive components out there if you're needs are simple, and you need it to "just work".
If you're going to use AEC, prepare for a learning curve, and have some html/php/Joomla skills on hand. It's really got the potential to be THE BEST component in this class, if Valanx and crew get that business model more realistic (even if it ultimately costs the end user MORE - let me pay for software upgrades and support - not documentation and end-user forums!), get some of the permutations with checkout and profile management in line, and get an artistic designer in there to fix the front end blah. It's close guys! Help me come back to you -