Although it really does look nice, it's not really 1.5 Native, supports only one checkout system (PayPal), and to perform anything useful one needs to purchase the clunky commercial version of this product for 220 Euros at over 4 times the price of an actual production system you can trust w/serious sellers.
Our client wanted to implement a niche auction site w/Joomla and the lack of features that Auction Factory has at this time it's not likely that a real auction system capable of handling auctions w/most of the basic functions of checkouts and billing/accounts, shipping, administration, and feedback/dispute resolution, etc., is going to be available for at least a year.
Like I said, this product (and the commercial version of the product) are merely glmpses of what an actual Auction sytem for Joomla might look like when one is available some time from now.
What we ended up doing was wrapping phpuctionpro inside a Joomla install for our client, which provided a true commercial auction site after we built a utility to integrate the user registrtion databases w/some custom fields built w/Community Builder. The result is a fully blown auction site that is of commerical grade, with the auction portion costing 200 Dollars and then labor for the integration w/Joomla.
Our result wasn't Joomla 1.5 native, and the integration between the true auction system and Joomla is indeed patched together, but considering the only thing that Auction Factory was able to deliver was a very nice cosmetic look over an almost non-functional auction system we think we did pretty good.
I would really like to use this system if they would merely take the actual features of a real commercial auction system and implement them into their product.
The problem with Auction Factory is that even once they complete these very basic neccessities in their products, they still won't be competitive enough at the prices their asking for their commercial version to compete with the stand alone auction systems which can merely be wrapped and integrated with a CB database (You'll need CB in order to actually merge a single user registration regardless of what auction system you use).
On the bright side, this snippet of things to come in a year or so far exceeds, in my opinion, what the operational auction systems have in the way of cosmetics.
When Auction Factory releases a 1.5 Native (1.6 by then) version of their GPL product (the one being reviewed here) that will be the time that a developer can take their product and build a "basic" auction site that is native within Joomla. Even the folks at 'thefactory.ro' (the people who created Auction Factory) say that this GPL'd version is functional - it is only a skeleton for a developer to code and build a real auction site from, which means that you would have to reinvent the wheel because this is only really a demo of a working (and very limited) auction system that they provide for a large fee, and even then we found their support to be too limited, waiting on tickets, etc.
If you're running a club where everyone knows each other and is trusted, you meet regularly, etc., and can exchange the monies in person for your club's auctions, this version might work for you since you don't need any of the shipping and feedback and checkout systems all of the products - not just the GPL'd version here - are without.
For example, we have a client that is a Ham Radio club and are working on implementing this GPL'd version of Auction Factory on their club's Joomla site. But as I just pointed out, these are people who meet once a month, are local to each other, and can make deals based on a handshake, which is all that Auction Factory is really capable of sustaining at this time.
To sum it all up, this is a very beautiful looking auction system, and although it is only a glimpse of what an actually viable auction system is going to require for someone to adopt it, it shows very much promise and I am looking forward to this offering being an actual candidate for entry into the marketplace - since all those other auction wares have the same boring look to them, and this one has an extremely refreshing look and feel - go out and checkout the demo of this offering, you will be very impressed with the way it is laid out in a Joomla System.
Perhaps one of the best ways for the folks at 'thefactory.ro' to push this product is to finish with the 1.5 native integration, release the entire product with every feature and system that a real auction house operator is truly going to need to get people to register and use the auction site, and then charge monies for the checkout systems which must be supported - PayPal, GCO, RME, Authorize.net, Moneybookers, Nochex, Auctionchex, ProPay, 2Co, worldpay, etc., as these are the things an auction site must have in order to do business and attract sellers, and if Auction Factory had all of the Auction features and systems that a serious adopter of auction software needed they could rake in the big bucks for the checkout systems since everyone would truly want this product for their own website.
You guys have a very promising product, but it is certainly not ready for prime time and you released it way before the time where it's actually a viable offering in the auction software marketplace. Keep up the good work and I'll be one of your first customers when you finish building this product!
Than you for your extensive review. We really appreciate any feedback - negative or positive.
It saddens me that you felt we deserved just one star, regardless of the shortcomings you allege our product has. It seems a pretty harsh and unfair rating, since yourself is seeing this product as at least promising.
We also tried to contact you in order to settle some points and issues you claim you have, but in all these months there was no way getting hold of you. Also we cannot find any purchase information regarding yourself in our customer database, so i assume your client purchased the software - since i cannot imagine you would use a warez version of our extension.
Anyway, since we could not get to you, we have to answer you here. In the latest versions of our product we addressed many of your complaints, we added a lot of features that make this review less accurate that it originally was. It would make a huge difference if your customer would request an update to the latest version.
The Factory Team
When I happened upon BlastChat I liked the idea of not tying up my resources and simply embedding a client - but with almost granular management features from the joom backend and native to Joom 1.5 w/user integration and management too!
hm.. a while later I get a few notices about some spurious problems with the site. Apparently, the install/upload was slightly botched due to a connectivity local to my worksatation - didn't find this out till later.
I didn't flame or come off half cocked like the guy below, I posted a thorough assessment of my issue to the support forum satting that I had to be back up soon or I'd be forced to run a restore.
Well, I figure that's about it for a day or so, yet while I was idling in the BlastChat client a visitor popped in - Administrator!
um... Wait, that's me!!! Oh, it's a BlastChat admin, and it's been less than five minutes since my post.
The developer was not only prompt, but went ABOVE and BEYOND to fix my site's database and set everything up correctly! Within 45 minutes of noticing the problem we were stylin' again!
The guy in the review below obviously perceives his needs to be a requirement with a different model of implementation. So he wants to have the chat service running on the same box - that's kewl too, but I'm very happy with the BlastChat model - it scales seamlessly as you grow.
We're very happy with this product! Thanks Peter!