ezboard

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ezboard
Web address ezboard.com
Commercial? Yes
Type of site Bulletin Board System
Registration Required for creating forums and posting;
Admin optional for posting on Gold Community boards
Owner ezboard, Inc.
Created by Vanchau Nguyen
Alexa rank negative increase 1,048,445 (April 2014)[1]
Current status Moved to Yuku

ezboard, Inc., based in San Francisco, California, United States, is a provider of free and paid hosted Internet forums.

Description[edit]

ezboard was a provider of a free hosted message board for use by webmasters and message board administrators who have little to no experience running a web site. Along with having premade ezboard templates and a color picking tool, the ezboard community also supports volunteers who will help other users customize their ezboards.

ezboard offers free and paid accounts for both boards and users. The free accounts are supported through advertisements, and have fewer features in regards to customization and board management. Paid members are called "ezSupporters", while paid message boards are referred to as "Gold boards". Accounts can either be local (deprecated) and tied to a specific board, or global, which can be used for posting across the entire ezboard network.

ezboard and Yuku[edit]

Main article: Yuku

Yuku is the new version of ezboard.[2] It has been alpha/beta software since it was first unveiled at DEMOfall 2005.[3] On January 9, 2008, it was confirmed that Yuku is "coming out of beta", although a date has not been set.[4]

As of January 8, 2008, it has been confirmed that all ezboard communities will be moving to Yuku. However, board owners can ask for a delay in the migration process.[5]

As of January 15, 2008, the ezboard home page is now redirecting to a Yuku Welcome page. A link allows users to login to ezboard.

EzBoard has now switched all its boards to Yuku.

On September 8, 2011 Yuku was acquired by CrowdGather, Inc.[6] The acquisition included all legacy ezboard domains. [7]

ezboard history[edit]

ezboard is a web application, created in 1996[8] by Vanchau Nguyen. One of the earliest user-customisable online message board providers, it quickly grew. At its peak, it was a highly ranked Alexa site, but its Alexa ranking has been in steady decline since 2003, ranking at 717 on April 24, 2007.

In 2001 ezboard launched their first CSC (Community-Supported Communities) product, i.e. a paid version of ezboard without advertisements. This later split into CSC Blue (officially called CSC Community) and CSC Gold (officially called CSC Gold Community). CSC Blue removed intrusive advertising popups but retained advertising banners for a fixed price, while CSC Gold was 100% ad-free with extra features, but at a variable cost. It was reported that some very large ezboards paid the fixed price for CSC Blue, which ultimately proved to be an unprofitable product. ezboard announced that as of August 31, 2001 they would no longer renew CSC Blue boards.[9]

In 2002 ezboard introduced image hosting, which was provided by a third party and not in-house by ezboard. Announcements followed, which showed the image hosting deal to be an unfortunate disaster.[10][11][12] Eventually, the parent company filed for bankruptcy, leaving ezboard to continue operation of the image hosting in-house, while developing a new hosting product in parallel.[13] A later announcement highlighted a miscommunication between ezboard staff and moderators with an admission that the image hosting service had been a bad decision.[14]

On October 22, 2002, ezboard version 7.0 was released. This included a number of changes to free boards, which were met with negative comments from free board administrators.[15][16] 7.0 also included enhanced user profiles, a redesigned web site and a new-look control center.

On December 10, 2002, ezboard version 7.1 was released, which included the ezPost tool. This provided users with fast access to useful posting features, such as changing font sizes and inserting links. However, some admins were unhappy that users could now post in a variety of fonts and colors, thereby altering the look and feel of their boards. This divided feedback was very common on ezboard due to the large number of users.[17]

On March 11, 2003, ezboard version 7.2 was released.[18] This was the last version of the core ezboard product to contain new features for nearly four years. After 7.2, various patches were applied to other areas of the ezboard service, such as spellcheck,[19] free gold,[20] meetup,[21] and network performance and improvements.[22]

In January 2004, a SQL Based back-end created by Jordan Bortz began to be rolled out to all servers. This upgrade significantly enhanced performance and reliability; issues which had been significantly impacting ezboard previously.

On March 4, 2004, Robert Labatt was appointed as ezboard's new CEO.[23] Vanchau Nguyen later chose to leave ezboard but remained on the Board of Directors.[24] Vanchau left in April 2004 according to his linkedin page.[8]

On March 14, 2005, ezboard 7.32 was released.[25] This is the most recent numbered version to be released to all servers, although patches have been released since then.

On February 28, 2007, ezboard staff posted about a new version of ezboard - 7.33.[26] Although this was primarily to compile the patches made since version 7.32, several small enhancements were also mentioned - the first to the message boards since version 7.2, released on March 11, 2003. Users did not expect this move as moderators had often stated that ezboard would no longer be updated. On May 1, 2007, these changes were officially announced, although there was no mention of 7.33.[27] Therefore, the latest version of ezboard is still 7.32.

Technology[edit]

ezboard was written in Smalltalk VisualWorks 3.1 by Vanchau Nguyen with Jay O'Connor.[28] There was no database used on the back-end, but instead a built-in flat-file object-oriented datastore (BOSS) which together with the overall power of the Smalltalk language made the code fast and compact for the time.

Although it had been recommended to ezboard to move towards SQL and away from Smalltalk as early as 1999, the company did not act on these recommendations until many years later when the Yuku platform was developed. Eventually, a need to move forward to a more stable RDBMS-based solution became more apparent.[29] Ezboard made several unsuccessful attempts to create a database solution. After these failed attempts, an architect with more experience in this area was brought in to craft a solution.

Ezboard's creator, Vanchau Nguyen, said he had "bet his company, and his future, on Cincom Smalltalk". He also mentions ezboard's userbase, listed as having nearly 20 million registered users.[30]

One of the reasons cited by new ezboard management for writing the new Yuku software was the ezboard codebase becoming virtually unmaintainable and Smalltalk's inability to inexpensively and reliably work with relational databases like mySQL. However, the underlying technology, Smalltalk, was also given as a limitation of the ezboard service. The ezboard code base was replaced by Yuku, which was written in PHP and uses the LAMP stack with an in-house-developed PHP framework. In truth, the Smalltalk ezboard platform ran for years almost unmanned while Yuku was being developed.[citation needed]

ezboard data loss/alleged hack attack[edit]

On May 31, 2005, ezboad claimed they were cracked, causing many boards to lose information, become inaccessible, or be completely wiped. ezboard stated[31] that all historical post data and a significant amount of backup data was erased. Over the next month, some data that had been lost on ezboard was recovered; ezboard stating that there was some data from about 4000 non-Gold communities that had been restored.[32] ezboard has never stated precisely what proportion of data was lost and what was restored.

On June 3, 2005, CEO Robert Labatt stated that "I can tell you that we have suspects, we have evidence and we are working with the FBI. I can also tell you that we will be working to have the attacker punished to the full extent of the law." This story was picked up by the technical press.[33]

On August 30, 2007, ezboard, Inc. confirmed that two years after getting the FBI involved, offering a $5000 reward and despite having evidence, "the hacker remained uncaught".[34] At the time of the attack, ezboard stated that since 1999, "2.2 million boards have been created". It is unknown how many were active at this time, as ezboard declined to provide specific numbers.[35]

References[edit]

External links[edit]