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A Review of 4sprung Rate Topic   - - - - -

 

Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:12 AM #1

tl;dr: Incompetent developers with managers who are eager to push the blame to the client rather than facing serious incompetency and quality issues. Stay far away.

This is a quick review of 4sprung, who's services I had used extensively for my online store throughout a period of 4 months.

Before I begin my review, I should mention what types of development help I had asked of them:
  • Design implementation to CS-Cart
  • Custom development of add-ons
  • Malware/virus help
I had contacted 4sprung to implement a custom design produced by a professional web designer to CS-Cart 3.0.1. Having experienced working with outsourced developers from developing countries like Pakistan and India, I was looking for a native English speaker with a development from first world countries, hoping that the quality of work would be much better.

So, I came across 4sprung and seeing that they're from "Australia" I contacted them and chose them for the project after speaking with 3 other companies. Before I had signed anything, I wanted to make sure the development team was indeed from Australia and not further outsourced to development teams elsewhere. The reply I got from the owner of the business was that they do at times outsource their work if they needed extra help.

This was the first sign that something was wrong.

Not only was my website completely developed by an outsourced team in India as IP records show, the quality was horrendous and feedback/suggestions to improve quality was not taken seriously. Here's a short list of things they should have known better (and which even a rookie developer should know is sub-par work):
  • Buttons and button text as images instead of plain text styled in CSS
  • noindex, nofollow was not removed from the template after the website went live which lead to several weeks of SERP
  • Hooks were not properly used to facilitate future updates to core despite me asking (and being reassured) that it'll be done
  • Newsletters and subscriptions stopped working after a week or two when the website went live
  • Minor details in design files were not implemented into the implemented CS-Cart site, showing a lack of care and lack of focus in details
And this is just a short list. I could go on and on but I'll stop. Basically, wherever there's a corner they've cut it and it shows in the quality of the work.

When confronted with these issues, the manager - Steve - was willing to help and suggested that one single spreadsheet listing the issues would suffice. I thought so too but then came the seemingly endless cycle of feedback. When one issue was fixed, another popped up. I waited for all the "fixes" to be made and then created another spreadsheet listing the fixes that were "fixed" but weren't actually as well as issues that have been created after the "fixes" were applied. In the end, I think we had came up with something like 4 of these spreadsheets.

What did their management (CEO/founder) think of this long process? They blamed it on me, not sending them one single spreadsheet detailing ALL OF THE ISSUES. I tried explaining that this wasn't possible due to issues that weren't actually fixed and new issues that had popped up due to the fixes. But, he simply waved it off and kept to his notion.

Now is the part where it gets worse. Immediately after the website went live, I discovered that there were pop-under ads embedded into my store! These are 3rd-party ads which linked to text that were in a couple of our pages. When confronted of the issue, the management said it could well have to do with us using Wordpress and that the CMS gets hacked often. That would sort of make sense if the ads were showing on our blog, but this was on our CS-Cart installation. Of course, management waved this off and said that we should have somebody maintain our website since obviously it wasn't being managed well enough (they also offer website management services).

It was simply too convenient that the website started showing these ads after our server details were given to 4sprung. And, we had only given it to them - no other provider had them.

Anyways, this would have been "fine" as I could simply search for the malware and remove it myself BUT THEN THE VIRUS APPEARED. This virus injected malicious code to randomly selected visitors to our website, created forwards in the htaccess that point to malicious web pages etc. When asked for emergency assistance, all that came back was...silence.

I'm not saying that 4sprung knowingly injected the adware, malware/virus to our server, but based on their lack of attention to detail in their work it's a possibility that there was a security breach on their end which resulted in malicious access to our server.

All in all, I would stay away from 4sprung.

 
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Posted 01 February 2013 - 05:38 AM #2

Are they listed in CS-CART official - https://www.cs-cart....-templates.html

Why you didn't choose from one of the coder from official listed designer ?

Anyway how much you have wasted your money ?
CS-CART 3.0.6 GRENADE

Please vote for CDN Add-on

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:22 AM #3

A very large percentage of @quicksilver1024 requirements would not be met by most "skin developers" on cs-cart's list. The vast majority will not utilize hooks to implement their changes, they will simply provide a new skin. Hence at next upgrade, good chance additional work will be required to get the site live again.

Doing custom work either requires a commitment to ongoing maintenance (hence a service contract should be purchased) or a lot of work and forethought needs to be applied to implement a custom look and feel that meets the customer's needs and also fits within the existing hooks that are available in the standard distribution. Note too that sometimes (for reasons unknown to me), cs-cart chooses to change hooks they have added and break compatibility with prior versions unnecessarily.

No one should ever expect any customization to work in future versions without modification. However, whether you are paying for 4 hours or 40 hours per version upgrade is a function of both the quality of the customer requirements and the quality of the development work provided.

EZ Merchant Solutions: Custom (USA based) B2B Development, Consulting, Development and Special Projects (get a quote here).
Commercial addons, payment methods and modifications to meet your business and operations needs.


 

Posted 02 February 2013 - 08:06 AM #4

Yes, I was looking for work beyond simple skin development as I needed some specific features added.

I decided to go with them because I thought they had in-depth knowledge and expertise with CS-Cart, seeing that they've built a comprehensive and powerful shopping cart on top of CS-Cart.

It's not about how much money I've lost. It's about how much money I'm going to continue to lose from here on due to their lackluster and incompetent efforts.

 
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Posted 13 August 2013 - 04:51 AM #5

Hello,

We develop e-commerce websites for over 17 years and have dealt with many hundreds of clients and 95% of our business is via referral. Do a search and see how many reviews like the above you find on google and make up your own mind whether we still would be in business after 17 years.

90% of clients are awesome and a pleasure to work 9% are difficult but reasonable and the end result is satisfactory for both parties, but unfortunately once in a while you get a "special" customer where the client/customer relationship just does not fit.

I could now write a lengthy counterclaim and how we bent over backwards to accommodate this client ,his changes, lack of understanding his unreasonable demands and expectations but I really do not want to waste more of our time but here are just some quick facts:
  • We implemented his design as per his specs and his design requirements. Hooks where used wherever possible however there where quite some modifications requested to the cart and layout have a look at http://postertext.com/ it still looks like the design provided and our dev version.
  • Unfortunately CS cart changes hooks from time to time and as more custom development you have as more time you will need to update your cart especially if due to budget constraints core modifications are done and not add-on's. To expect to just automatically update a highly modified cart without testing and some modifications is completely unrealistic.
  • Customer insisted of doing the QA himself and opted out of our black box QA due to his budget.
  • We requested for him to QA and provide a initial QA sheet with all issues (which as always we fix as part of the development) It is not feasible to fix one issue a day so if you insist on doing the black box QA yourself you will need to provide QA sheet. If there is one or the other issue overlooked we certainly will fix it later but in general QA and the fixing of any issues cannot be done one issue a day. That’s why we have a professional dedicated black box QA team.

    QA is a multistep process as sometimes you fix one issue and create a new one, that is normal and one of the reasons why we have a dedicated QA team. I understand that the process may be difficult to understand for non developer and we learned from this and will not accept jobs any more without the budget for our internal white and black box QA.
Fact is we stand 100% behind our development and fix any issues or bugs caused by us free of charge within the first month's after the site goes live.
At a later stage we fix issues for free at our discretion as we have no influence over the site once we release it to the client and in most cases later issues are caused by the client not our development.


In regards to the virus, the site was 100% not infected by us!

The development cart for the Client on our development server did not have any of the injections it only appeared after the site was moved live to the clients hosting account which also hosts his WP installation which we did not install or monitor.


The compromise displayed was a classical wordpress exploit and the are 1000's of examples for it out there.

It is highly advisable not to run WordPress on the same domain you run your shopping cart. We hardly ever have seen a CS-Cart compromised and in the very few cases we did, someone gained access to the server via a vulnerable Word Press installation. This is one of the reasons why we wrote the blog add-on.

When Peter Kao requested "emergency assistant" we responded the same day and offered to investigate but he informed us it was not required he never engaged us for virus removal and we never worked on this for him.

Security is a main concern so all of our machines, many of our staff use Apple Mac and everyone has updated virus protection, passwords are shared only via a need to know basis and via secure means. Whenever possible we access via SFTP.

Just Google WordPress vulnerabilities.

The whole point of the attacks usually is to gain access and then install backdoors everywhere on the domain so It’s very difficult for layman to remove all instances.

If you really need to run WordPress on the same domain we strongly suggest using a service like Sucuri and let a professional harden your WordPress installation.

Yes we have a office in Sydney with 5 people and a office in Chennai with 6 full time staff and are transparent about it. We do not “outsource” work on a project basis.

All research, concept’s and design QA is done here in Australia and the development is done by our Indian office. For all projects Client communication is via our Australian office.

Anyway I went on much longer than I intended to so for us the subject is closed and I will not waste more time on this.

Regards

Steve
[size=5]4Sprung web development[/size]
67 Botany Rd Waterloo NSW Sydney Australia
for over 19 years we provide everything e-commerce. Over 20.000h CS Cart Development Expirience

 
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Posted 13 August 2013 - 05:11 AM #6

noindex, nofollow was not removed from the template after the website went live which lead to several weeks of SERP


That’s actually correct and we now implemented measures that these cannot happen again. However I do have to say if we would have QA'd the job we would have picked this up as it is part of our QA procedure.
[size=5]4Sprung web development[/size]
67 Botany Rd Waterloo NSW Sydney Australia
for over 19 years we provide everything e-commerce. Over 20.000h CS Cart Development Expirience

 
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Posted 15 October 2013 - 07:19 AM #7

Here is my experience with them, no hard feeling okay. (its what your customer testimonial, hopefully you can improve it to better from it)

Support : 1/5
Addons : 4/5
Problem solving : 0/5

I do not recommend 4Sprung, i feel so badly tricky of them. i do ever purchase they addon, and i would like to install by my self because expensive side. BANG! i cant even install it after i buy it and there's no manual from them, and they said the addon may work if they installed it and i need order again technical support! if so why you dont merged it on the price from begin? this is my first time that i saw developer sell seperated product that cant be install by client, must order again technical support for making addon work. hopefully you will get better in future man..

Note : until now i cant be able use your addon since 2010 and i already lose almost $500 for nothing.

 
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Posted 17 October 2013 - 03:29 AM #8

this are non one trick addons they are complex and feature rich and tap in to many different cs cart functions.

you purchase something which cost many , many thousands $ and several hundred hours in development for a pittance and despite is clearly stating that we highly recommend the installation service you don't care but then complain if you can't install it and you have to pay $65 for one support hour.

to be honest if you are that kind of customer , want everything for next to nothing and don't value the functionality and effort we have put in to the development don't purchase from us.

here is what the product description say:

If you decide not to choose our installation service but then require support for your installation please be aware that we will charge AU$65 per support hour for ANY installations support. If your installation problems are caused by any issue in our code we will refund the support fee.
We will immediately stop to provide any support for people who lack common courtesy and we will not tolerate abusive or disrespectful emails.

Please do not order if you do not agree to the above!
[size=5]4Sprung web development[/size]
67 Botany Rd Waterloo NSW Sydney Australia
for over 19 years we provide everything e-commerce. Over 20.000h CS Cart Development Expirience

 
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Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:51 AM #9

Not impressed with the slow turn-around time on ordering. This is crazy. Since Wednesday still waiting. Also when I wake up here. its already 7 oclock at night for them.. Don't think I will be ordering anything further due to support issues
[center]www.vapeking.co.za[/center]

 
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Posted 23 October 2013 - 07:12 AM #10

Not impressed with the slow turn-around time on ordering. This is crazy. Since Wednesday still waiting. Also when I wake up here. its already 7 oclock at night for them.. Don't think I will be ordering anything further due to support issues


Hello Warren,I do not understand you, you ordered 16/10/2013, 22:21 so in the middle of the night and you are well aware that we are in Australia. We clearly state 24-48 business hours.

We requested your server, php details on the 17th.We emailed you both addons on the 18th.
You had issues installing them yourself on the 18th so we installed them for you the same day. There where some issues after the installation which where fixed on the 19th. We also installed both addons for free for you.

Both addons are complex addons with tons of functionality the blog addon replaces wordpress, the seo addon is the most comprehensive seon addon around.

Show me any software with such complexity which is has not a single issues regardless of the system, cart set up, template implementation! Both addons work together and have unparalleled functionality and are very complex. The development cost for both addons together is over $50.000 if we charged this on our standard hourly rate of AU$65 p/h.

You received it for under $400 including free installation. Yes there where some issues which we fixed asap. If we need to test the addons in every possible configuration, server set up etc we need to sell the addons for $1000 each so we test on our development set ups and if issues arise we fix them.

You still have a issues because you have over 40.0000 products and every sitemap may time out including the default cs cart sitemap as google is having trouble indexing such large sitemaps and your server is timing out.

So you need your sitemaps broken down in to multiple sitemaps and separately submitted to google.This is not a issue with our code but an issue with your server and google.

We would have been happy to make the modification for you and I actually quoted you 3 hours for it however after reading your feedback here we are not interested working further with you.

Best regards

Steve

PS again this is the text on our product page don't purchase from us if you need instant gratification and are not willing to work trough possible issues!

IMPORTANT PLEASE READ BEFORE YOU PURCHASE

Please understand this is a complex add-on which has taken many hundreds of hours of development work to program.

To protect our code parts of the add-on are encrypted with the IonCube encoder which is pre-installed on most UNIX web servers. Please ensure you have the latest version on your web server.

Our Add-on's are installed on dozens of different web sites with different CS-Carts versions however there are many variables depending on your cart version, hosting set up like PHP, MYSQL and IonCube/ZendGuard version.
If you don't have a stock standard CS Cart, have modified code or have 3rd part addons installed we can NOT gurantee that our add-on works without changes which we are happy to make at our standard hourly rate.
If you don't purchase the blog design please be aware that some slight code changes for alignements, fonts, sizes, social media sharing icons may be required to aligne everything and adjust it to your overall design. This is NOT included in the purchase price!
We strongly recommend to use our professional installation service as our development team can easily identify any issues with your hosting setup and in most cases install the add-on without any further changes from you or your hosting provider.

99% of installation issues are caused either by the customer or by out-dated software like IonCube.

If you decide not to choose our installation service but then require support for your installation please be aware that we will charge AU$65 per support hour for ANY installations support. If your installation problems are caused by any issue in our code we will refund the support fee.
We will immediately stop to provide any support for people who lack common courtesy and we will not tolerate abusive or disrespectful emails.

Please do not order if you do not agree to the above!
[size=5]4Sprung web development[/size]
67 Botany Rd Waterloo NSW Sydney Australia
for over 19 years we provide everything e-commerce. Over 20.000h CS Cart Development Expirience

 

Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:00 PM #11

You might want to create a splash page that says the above, you won't be able to scare customers off faster otherwise.
I've moved on from CS-Cart to WooC******** - If you need anything I can be of little help.

 
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Posted 23 October 2013 - 07:49 PM #12

You might want to create a splash page that says the above, you won't be able to scare customers off faster otherwise.


[size=5]4Sprung web development[/size]
67 Botany Rd Waterloo NSW Sydney Australia
for over 19 years we provide everything e-commerce. Over 20.000h CS Cart Development Expirience

 

Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:44 PM #13

I would assume you read the product description if you purchase something.

and yes you a right customers like this we want to scare off so good idea.

we don't need to sell addons that's not our business. Personally I would be happy that someone invest the time writing something I could never write myself is very useful for my business and I could never afford to commission and I can pick up for a fraction of the cost .


Steve,

With every industry you've got to target a certain demographic - this forum is full of whiny cheap ***** who think Freelancer.com is a valid destination for coding projects. It would be better worth your time to refine your addons and target CS-Cart stores in Australia / New Zealand who will appreciate your efforts based upon the expected charge ($500 may be high in USD, but it certainly isn't in AUD).

I get consistent calls to drop my prices to wholesale levels, to which I reply "F***off" - I know how you feel.

J.
I've moved on from CS-Cart to WooC******** - If you need anything I can be of little help.

 
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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:06 PM #14

Thanks for the eye opener. I will gladly stay away, but more because of the response from 4Sprung. While I agree with some things that 4Sprung has said, there are too many other things that scare me. The fact that you say you have to install it is enough for me to say no thanks. If I can install CS but I can't install a modification or add-on from you then it just isn't for me.

I'm guessing Jesse would tell you you're better off that I'm staying away.

GOOD LUCK!
Regards,
Jim

 
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Posted 24 October 2013 - 03:54 AM #15

Thanks for the eye opener. I will gladly stay away, but more because of the response from 4Sprung. While I agree with some things that 4Sprung has said, there are too many other things that scare me. The fact that you say you have to install it is enough for me to say no thanks. If I can install CS but I can't install a modification or add-on from you then it just isn't for me.

I'm guessing Jesse would tell you you're better off that I'm staying away.

GOOD LUCK!


yes I understand where you're coming from and you may well be able to install it however experience over the past couple of weeks have shown that some customers had problems installing it the main reasons were:
  • files were not placed in the correct locations
  • the server did not have the correct encoder versions
  • customer provided incorrect PHP versions
  • the installation instructions were not followed
The blog add-on and the advanced seo add-on are pretty complex add-ons and and it takes some care to install them.

We sold the addons which cost us between 400 and 600 h development time (depending on the addon) for a reduced price $159 and even at the full price (if you look at the functionality and time invested) its pretty cheap. However if we then need to provide several hours of installation support in trying to figure out what went wrong, you will understand that it's not a viable business as we pretty much give the add-ons away for free.

Most customers are also quickly to point the finger to us or the add-on even though in most cases the issues were caused as listed above and had nothing to do with coding.

Hence the decision to include the installation for these two particular add-ons to eliminate the source of frustration for both parties.

We still provide the add-on as a file to several developers who purchase from us and where we know they can install it without an issue however in general the add-ons do include installation as we feel in most cases it is the better option for both parties.
[size=5]4Sprung web development[/size]
67 Botany Rd Waterloo NSW Sydney Australia
for over 19 years we provide everything e-commerce. Over 20.000h CS Cart Development Expirience

 
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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:56 AM #16

I purchased the SEO addon from 4Sprung. I installed it and had a small issue with my site on one particular browser. I emailed them. They replied on Sunday!! saying they would investigate first thing Monday morning. It was fixed Monday morning.

I could not ask for more really and hope support like that continues.

 
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Posted 24 October 2013 - 07:19 AM #17

Steve,

With every industry you've got to target a certain demographic - this forum is full of whiny cheap ***** who think Freelancer.com is a valid destination for coding projects. It would be better worth your time to refine your addons and target CS-Cart stores in Australia / New Zealand who will appreciate your efforts based upon the expected charge ($500 may be high in USD, but it certainly isn't in AUD).

I get consistent calls to drop my prices to wholesale levels, to which I reply "F***off" - I know how you feel.

J.


very, very close to drop the whole addon sales again, we don't need it and the amount of hassle we have since doing it does not warrant the return.

We've done over 200 add-ons and we just thought it would be nice to share the more complex ones with the CS Community and enable people who never could pay such a development to use it and certainly recover some of the ongoing development costs to improve the add-ons.
[size=5]4Sprung web development[/size]
67 Botany Rd Waterloo NSW Sydney Australia
for over 19 years we provide everything e-commerce. Over 20.000h CS Cart Development Expirience

 
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Posted 24 October 2013 - 02:14 PM #18

I hope you don't CS-Cart addon development Steve.
I love the Advanced SEO addon that you guys wrote. It's the best addon I've ever purchased and I want to upgrade it to v4 when I upgrade my store.

Don't let some customers spoil it for the rest of us. There are always customers that are problems, and it's unfortunate when they post their rant on public forums. I can see that you're taking the high road - don't let the bums get you down.

As a CS-Cart webmaster that has maintained his own CS-Cart store since v1, I can vouch for 4Sprung. They do good work and their Advanced SEO addon is top notch.

CS-Cart Ultimate ver 4.11.3


 
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Posted 24 October 2013 - 07:41 PM #19

It is good to see some positive response from some of your other customers. I would however hate to be on the end that had a problem with your products. Not to mention being reminded that you don't need customers is kind of a turn off too. You may have a big business that doesn't need CS-Cart users, and we appreciate some of the cool mods or add ons you are doing and offering to the community, but when you reply in the some of the manners you do you will just turn other potential customers away.

BTW, I can also see where the initial post of this thread did not seem to be your "fault", but likewise I can see how your response would make some angry or afraid to do business with you.
Regards,
Jim

 
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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:25 PM #20

I purchased the SEO addon from 4Sprung. I installed it and had a small issue with my site on one particular browser. I emailed them. They replied on Sunday!! saying they would investigate first thing Monday morning. It was fixed Monday morning.

I could not ask for more really and hope support like that continues.

This is what happens if you have a problem with us as long as you have common courtesy. Gizmo who questioned our support above had a new split site map feature implemented within a day even after his, in our eyes very undeserved review?


Can we please leave it as this as it is a wast of time


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[size=5]4Sprung web development[/size]
67 Botany Rd Waterloo NSW Sydney Australia
for over 19 years we provide everything e-commerce. Over 20.000h CS Cart Development Expirience