The political fault in 2.0

/ By Ian Kullhem

When Trout’s Flyfishing (troutsflyfishing.com) abandoned Magento in 2018, it represented the best advice that Unleaded could give a customer.

The complications with the platform since its release were insurmountable to some website owners and an equal amount of website developers.

The first beta version of Magento launched in August 200. Unleaded was an early adaptor, participating in this beta testing. Over time, Unleaded was named a Gold Partner and later a Platinum Partner. It was the best of times. The search functionality offered in Magento was fresh and enviable. Polls of Internet 500 Top Retailers showed that big business and small (aspiring to be big) favored the Magento platform over all other eCommerce platforms.

An enthusiastic Oz worked for the original Magento creator Roy Rubin under the label of Varien, the company Roy created as a student. Oz was the marketing gunrunner for Magento during at that time. Periodically, actually frequently, Oz reached out to Unleaded for press releases about Unleaded’s latest Magento developments. Unleaded complied happily. Oz embodied the exuberance of under-the-stair-Harry-Potter-type internet guys. Maybe it sounds like a stereotype, but Oz lived and breathed the successes Magento was ticking off day by day.

The worst of times followed.

In 2010, eBay invested in Magento in 2010, worth a 49% ownership share of the company. By midyear, eBay announced it would be acquiring the rest of Magento, which would join its new X.Commerce initiative.

Magento put the full court press on sales. If a web dev firm sold X amount of Magento websites in a year, the firm was in turn promoted by Magento. Web dev films that were once the golden child(ren) became Magento’s stepchildren.

Unleaded continue to participate in Magento annual meetings, both in Europe and the U.S. even after  that famous spring when Unleaded’s president Jarod Clark traveled to Vegas for the annual event. Unleaded had built the website for www.ecomom.com founded by Jody Sherman, besties with Roy Rubin. In the months before the Vegas meet, Sherman had gone on tilt, demanding things of Unleaded. Threatening Unleaded. At that Vegas convention where Rubin blessed Ecomom publically for its successes, Sherman verbally assaulted Unleaded’s President Clark in front of hundreds of session attendees. Clark was true to his ethics. He walked away from Sherman. He may have had a sandwich.

Karma is a funny thing. Turns out ecomom.com had raised some many many millions just prior to Jan 2013. And then Sherman drove to the Nevada desert and shot himself. Investors wanted to know where the money had gone? Obituaries revealed the underbelly of his character. A pal of Sherman’s from high school relayed that Sherman committed insurance fraud while still a teen in high school just to make a dime.

Hindsight is something isn’t it?

By 2015, Magento was spun off as an independent company by the new owner Permira private equity.

The politics foreshadowed this years senate. In 2018 Adobe acquired Magento for $1.68bn with a view to integrating it into Adobe Experience Cloud, its Enterprise CMS platform. Magento 2, released years prior, is remembered in social media as a flop.

Fast forward and Unleaded was now promoting its favority program, Shopify.

One of Unleaded’s loyal customers onboarding to Shopify, called to ask, “Why would Unleaded encourage us to go with Shopify when you’ll lose nearly $3k a month not hosting our website?”

Because Unleaded wants your business over the long haul, not just for now and for money. We want our clients to live on the best platform for their operations. In this case, no question, Shopify was best.

Increasingly Unleaded’s long-term Magento customers have transitioned (or committed to transitioning this year as Magento no longer supports the original open-source community version of its platform) to Shopify.

Trouts Fly Fishing is one of them. Trout’s owner Tucker Ladd was one of Unleaded’s customers that started out on Magento. “Due to Magento 1.0 expiration, we were forced into working through a new website build to move into Magento 2.0.  Thankfully our team at Unleaded was forward thinking, and realized the many flaws that other merchants were experiencing with Magento 2.0, and encouraged us to look into a Shopify solution as an alternative,” Ladd said.

The result? According to Ladd, “The end result has been nothing but extraordinary, as we have seen both day-to-day efficiencies and overall conversions improve noticeably.  Shopify has proved to be a tremendous step forward for our company, and from day 1 proved to be a profit driven solution.  It is also worth noting the amazing job Unleaded did with weaving our Shopify eCommerce solution with a powerful CMS that met our content needs.  Being a Fly Fishing Outfitter, we do more than just sell product, and our website demanded a CMS platform that would allow us to effectively communicate with our users, and get them to the product and information they are seeking.  The end product is a website built on two platforms, but was so seamlessly built that the end user would never know.  In the end, without the team at Unleaded we would be another unfortunate client stuck in the limitations of Magento.”

Coulda woulda shoulda. When Shopify hit the market, Unleaded was cautious. We tested. We built. We tested. We tested again.

When Ian Kullhem, Unleaded’s CIO and longest term employee campaigned for a switch to Shopfy it marked a turning point for the company and its customers. To a one, customers praised the Shopify platform and none who have made the move have looked back at Magento.

Bottom line: Our developers are among the best in the world building Magento and hybrid ExpressionEngine-Magento websites. But we’ve found Shopify to be a superior platform for nearly all market niches particularly in its hybrid iterations.

Maybe your site would be better in Shopify? If not, UNLEADED.DIGITAL will be the first to tell you. If so, we’re the best to build it.

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