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April 2017 UPDATE: Vantage 4.0 has officially been released (current version is 4.01. You can’t yet migrate your old Vantage (3.x) sites to the new theme (that’s coming in version 4.10, later in April) but the theme is, overall……very well done – a legitimate candidate for first choice amongst all the competing WP directory themes (Listify/Listable/et al) and has the best price point, relative to what you get by default – of the bunch)

While my thoughts and opinions below remain true – I DID buy Vantage 4.0 when it was released last month – I DID get the Launch special plugin pack here, too + I do believe, if you are focused on marketing, developing and GROWING a directory business, rather than obsessed or doing the very common “analysis paralysis” through trying to making the pixel perfect directory choice for YOUR unique business or site launch – of all the recommendations I’ve made in the my LAUNCHiT! series for directory builders and authority site entrepreneurs, I’d recommend Vantage 4.0 as the #1 choice – for ease of execution, simplicity in scale – and cost basis to boot) To get the additional plugins (the launch special) – you have until April 21st – it’s a great deal and the best way to launch a brand new directory for under 100 bucks – bar none.

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UPDATED, update.  (Jan 30)  The comment I posted below on the appthemes blog was in fact “approved” and posted – and it appears Vantage 4.0 is still about a month away, per the new timeline David posted this weekend.  As I mentioned on their blog – the more I look at the theme, the more I am starting to really like it, and the more cool and creative opportunities I’m starting to visualize that ought to be uniquely advantageous to the Vantage framework.  So my recommendation (for those who care 🙂 IS in fact, to wait until a few more weeks before you launch a new directory project – if in fact, you don’t fancy shifting gears mid project from one framework to another.

I’m re-posting this comment here, only because I want it to be said – and I worry a bit that they won’t “approve” my comment on the actual thread that is updating users on when Vantage 4.0 will be available, what is changing, what is improving, what is missing, (apparently a lot! 🙂 and all of that good stuff.

(David from Appthemes HAS approved all of my comments thus far – and I certainly don’t mean to be critical or unfair when making suggestions or recommendations, but I do worry that he won’t approve this one, and I do know that people are reading my blog now for updates on Vantage/and other directory theme choices like Listify or Listable, etc – so I do feel a little bit of an obligation and responsibility when I’ve recommended folks wait till it gets released to start a directory, that they at least get an updated idea of where my personal thoughts are, as more of the actual theme/framework/launch details are available)

That said, I’m sure David from Appthemes is a lovely guy, who wants to build a great directory theme, and I’m sure he is working as hard as the rest of us in trying to make our customers/clients/readers and subscribers happy each and every day. (it ain’t easy – and I rarely do it well – although the stray cat I’ve adopted in December seems to think I’m doing a bang up job of being an exemplary human)

So, I’d encourage you (before you buy Vantage 4.0) to read the comments on their OFFICIAL blog post updating it’s progress and release, and to also read my thoughts below (as of Jan 23, 2017). I posted this a few minutes ago on the comments after reading of yet another thing it looks like they are stripping out of the new version (robust support for featured listings) and some other troubling odds and ends.

Again – I’m only posting this comment as it’s “waiting to be approved” on their blog itself – and in the event they don’t publish it, I want to be able to say “I told you so” when people yell at me because the new theme disappoints…..after I recommended you buy it.

(this is why I should have stayed at Payless Shoes instead of becoming an internet marketing person.  I could have been regional manager by now, in charge of all rubber soled footwear in the south eastern USA.  #lifegoals)

Hi David – I just took a peek at this comment – and wanted to chime in on both the featured listing front – and the WC vendors front – from the perspective of folks who want to build a marketplace – and allow their users to sell products from their listings – as a way of extending the value that we (as the site owners) provide to both the public – and the professionals who are listed/featured on the directory itself.

1 – The idea of not having robust support for “featured” listings – because they “clog up” the front page – is going to be an anathema to most of your prospective buyers. (especially as it’s a core function of selling the virtues of paying for a listing now to our members – and many of the folks who will be UPGRADING to 4.0 – already have members who have paid to be featured on categories, localities/etc – as is. If this isn’t baked in to the new version of the theme (e.g. – those featured listings in local categories or packages don’t pass to the new version – it’s going to be a significant burden for many) Simply stated – omitting this from the next version is a puzzling choice -and one that runs counter to how most of your customers monetize their sites as is.

2 – I’m also surprised – that the WC vendors integration feels like something that needs clarification on your end. The most popular directories now – the ones that are clearly the ones you’ll be competing with – are integrating with WC vendors (or other marketplace style WC extensions) that allow our listings (the folks we want to submit their businesses to our site) SELL products alongside their listings – as a further way of extending the value proposition to induce, excite, enthuse and inspire them to choose “our” community (your vantage buyers) over the panapole of other communities/directories or portals that are available. This still CAN be achieved by dint of using external products links in the base WooCommerce (allowing members to list products in the store) – but having a more refined integration is obviously preferable.

I’m a bit surprised that this isn’t something you’ve thought deeply about already with regard to re-conceptualizing the theme – as it feels like a pretty obvious marketing intuition you’d want to have thought through – and…… it’s already something that is pretty easily achievable (and super appealing) to directory builders who are using Woocommerce already, on tens of thousands of directory sites as is 🙂 (in other words – this is already something that is “standard” – because it’s so popular with users – on the major directory frameworks being sold everywhere else)

I’m a bit weary of how you are re-thinking the theme – predicated on real world use cases- on the drips and drabs I’ve read here – and on what I would hope would be your base intuition – to improve upon – and enhance – and push the envelope a bit beyond what is already out there – or at a minimum at least – not to strip out what made the original Vantage an appealing option to begin with.

I’m going to buy it either way as it looks good and I want to support your launch – but I’m hoping that you’ve spent as much time understanding what IS in fact working well now in this space for thousands of people who are running directory style businesses – and not cutting out essential features (nor omitting or failing to identify very conventional use cases already in the wild – e.g. – why one would ask about WC vendors ) – as ultimately – these are the things that will delight, or disappoint your users when the theme goes live.

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I am an author, artist and entrepreneur. My 2 passions are writing about, and teaching Marketing and Meditation. I like to think I’m a lot like Eckhart Tolle, if only he was taller, and a much better tennis player. (it turns out in person, he’s super short, has a terrible backhand and wears this weird scottish hat thingy that makes it really difficult to concentrate while serving) Plus he refuses to keep score and says ” it’s always NOW” when you ask who is up. Enough about me. We barely know each other. Stop staring. You’re making me nervous.