End of an Era

Ian Somers

Staff member
We started the Somersoft Forums back in 1999 as a way of building a community for property investors to learn from each other by sharing their knowledge and experiences. It was really a natural extension of what we have been trying to achieve through our books and software tools: to help fellow property investors and potential property investors gain the knowledge necessary to confidently invest in real estate. It may have been a simple idea but as it turned out, it was a very popular one.

After 16 years, the forum has grown into Australia's largest and most respected property investment discussion community. We may have been the instigator and primary sponsor, but its success has mostly been as a result of the enthusiastic support of property investors and the hard work of a group of volunteers in ensuring that the discussions remained on track and free from chaos. We are very proud of the valuable information resource that has been created and are very appreciative of the contributions that so many people have made to make it what it is today. The growth of the community forum has far exceeded our hopes and expectations.

Until now, the costs to us to host and administer the site have been relatively modest. For this we must thank the volunteer moderation team and in particular Simon Hampel (Sim) who helped enormously in terms of technical support and forum administration. This made it possible for the forum to remain somewhat independent of commercial influence and free of advertisements.

However, it has now reached a point where the costs of hosting such a busy forum, including the costs of administration and community management, have become unsustainable without some form of commercialisation. After much soul searching and negotiating we have collectively come up with the following plan.

The current Somersoft forum will be preserved as an independent educational resource for the property investing community, providing insight and understanding to new generations of property investors who come seeking knowledge. To facilitate this, we will shortly be archiving the Somersoft forum, making it read-only in that no more threads or posts can be made - but allowing the content to be freely searched and accessed into the future.

To provide a new home for existing members who wish to continue contributing and engaging with other property investors, Simon has been working hard to build a new website independent of Somersoft. Simon is the owner and operator of the new site and we wish him all the best and are confident that the skills and dedication that he demonstrated in managing the Somersoft forum since 2002, will ensure its long term success.

At this point, we wish to recognise the contribution of our members - without you the site could not have become what it is today. We also want to highlight the efforts of our volunteer moderators over many years in tirelessly dealing with spam and recalcitrant members to keep the community on track and in order. Finally we wish to again thank Simon Hampel for all his efforts in building and maintaining the current version of the Somersoft forums - we have enjoyed working with Simon and very much appreciate the time he has dedicated to making the site the success that it has been.

While the forum may well be undergoing a dramatic change, our Somersoft book and software business (www.somersoft.com.au) will still be open for business and we thank our loyal customers for their support over many years and look forward to working with them into the future.

We will leave Simon to explain the timeline for the upcoming changes to the forum and answer any questions about the process and the transition.

Thank you and best wishes,

Jan & Ian Somers
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Questions and Answers

Q: What is happening to somersoft.com
A: It is being archived - the site will become read-only and it will not be possible to post new discussions or reply to existing discussions.

Q: Why archive the site?
A: The costs of operating the site have become unsustainable without commercialising it and Jan & Ian wanted to maintain the existing site as a non-commercial educational resource for the community

Q: Why not just sell it?
A: Jan & Ian's view is that the existing site is something to which the community has made a large contribution and it did not seem appropriate to sell a community resource.

Q: What about having users pay to access the site or donate towards its operating costs?
A: The likely income would not cover the substantial hosting and administrative costs.

Q: What about the PIA Software?
A: Ian Somers will continue to support and develop the Property Investment Analysis (PIA) software product as normal - nothing changes with the core Somersoft business.

Q: What happens now?
A: We will shortly be disabling new user registrations on Somersoft. We encourage new users to join the new PropertyChat community at propertychat.com.au

From next week we will disable the ability to start new threads on Somersoft. You will still be able to reply to existing threads at this time.

A week after that we will disable the ability to reply to existing threads or post any new content on Somersoft.

On June 30th the Somersoft site will be put into archive mode with user logins disabled and the site being made read-only.

Q: Who owns PropertyChat?
A: PropertyChat is a new website owned and operated by Simon Hampel, independent of Somersoft.

Q: Will any posts or user accounts be migrated to PropertyChat?
A: No, PropertyChat is a brand new website and all existing content will remain on Somersoft.

Q: Can I keep my Somersoft username on PropertyChat?
A: Yes, we will be restricting registrations on PropertyChat for the first month or so such that other people will be prevented from registering a username that matches an existing name that has been actively used on Somersoft. After the transition period, this restriction will be removed and anyone will be allowed to register any username - so we recommend you register your Somersoft username as soon as possible. Any name not already registered on Somersoft can be registered by new users at any time. Registering an account on PropertyChat is free.

Q: What about my Private Messages?
A: You should save any private messages you want to keep as soon as possible. On June 30th all remaining private messages on Somersoft will be deleted.

Q: What about our meetups?
A: I suggest you start a new thread on PropertyChat as soon as possible to continue the discussion about meetups you have planned.

Q: What if I have a question about the Somersoft website after June 30th?
A: The webmaster email address for the Somersoft forums will continue to be monitored - please use the contact form on the website to send us a message with your query.
Even though he banned me, I thank Sim, the other mods and mostly Jan & Ian Somers for providing this most valuable resource for property investors et all.

It got me started and finished (in more ways than one eh Sim!):D

Anyway, thanks to all, be nice, dont stress too much who is in Govt, work around it.

Take care.
Big thanks from me too for providing this incredible resource and all the work behind the scenes from the mod teams plus all the people posting valuable and entertaining information - has really helped me jump right in to property investing.
I have been advocating this site to many clients, friends and those who want to learn for years now. Its disappointing, but understandable. Thank you all.

Simon, will propertychat.com.au be mobile phone friendly to interact on the forum?

Many thanks to all - especially Ian and Jan for the initial idea and charitably supporting SS for so long. Innovative and insightful thinking so many years ago.

Will be a bit sad to lose the feel of the old site, though it will exist in archive.

Looking forward to Sim's new toy!
I've have been on Somersoft since it was given birth to back in 1999.

I would like to thank Jan & Ian Somers for kindly providing this wondering medium for us all to learn and share the world of property investment.

Thank you to Sim and and all the current moderators including all the ones that have come and gone over the past 16 years.

The end of an era but as one door closes another door opens.

Fair well to the good ship SS forum.
Thank you, Ian and Jan, for your support of this forum and its at-times unruly participants over the years. Thanks, Sim, and see you at propertychat. :)
Sniff sniff .

So sad . This place has been a part of my life for the last 15 odd years . I will miss it .


As will I - it has been far more than a website to me - it has been a genuine community and I have made many very close friends though the site.
We often forget that the amount of time and money people put in to provide these little gems. Thanks to Sim and all the moderators for all your efforts behind the scenes.
Ditto, thanks to the Somers.... Much appreciated! Yes thanks to Sim too, and those who give their free time like the moderators.

Wow I can't believe it, no more SS!! But we will all find and make ourselves at home at the new site. :D

I'm glad I'm on holidays right now so I'll have time to go edit old posts before I can no longer do so when it's read only. I'll also save some of my pm's