Important Changes to Diagnostic Network
Dear DN Members,
We have some changes to announce in our pricing structure that we think you are going to be excited about, but before we get to that good news, we think it’s important to explain how we got to this point, and what our plans are for the long term.
At the beginning of 2018, we began a journey to form an online community to help auto service industry professionals deal with the challenges we face today, and tomorrow. In that following month the idea was pitched, funding was secured, Diagnostic Network was incorporated, bank accounts were opened, and we started developing the community platform.
The development team, led by Tom Winzig, worked days, nights and weekends to launch Diagnostic Network in just a few months. We opened the doors publicly to DN for all users on May 27, 2018. Over the past year, we’ve watched our vision come to life. Along the way, we’ve faced challenges. Building a first-class community is not easy or cheap. We needed to create a capable platform and locate industry leaders and encourage participation. Scott Brown brought together a community of industry-leading experts and people passionate about our industry.
During this journey, we have also faced an ongoing, major challenge: we, along with Tom, Scott, and other DN team members individually, were sued by iATN and Identifix, and this lawsuit is now in its 15th grueling month. If you’re not familiar with these names, just know that they spent the past two decades building and managing iATN. They poured blood, sweat, and tears into iATN.
Several years ago, iATN was acquired by a company called Solera Holdings. After roughly three years of trying to deal with Solera management, Tom and Scott were informed of changes in the direction of iATN that Solera had planned, and decided to leave. Tom and Scott provided plenty of notice, and even helped to transition their duties to Identifix employees.
Now, iATN and Identifix claim that Tom and Scott (and other DN team members) stole their intellectual property for use at DN. This is just not true. Every DN employee signed a contract when they joined us that explicitly forbid bringing intellectual property from outside of DN, and all have complied with that contract.
We believe the lawsuit is entirely without merit, and that iATN and Identifix are continuing on with the primary purpose of inflicting financial pain upon each of us, forcing us to use valuable resources on this lawsuit, and attempting to drive us and our employees out of business. Despite the financial burden, we will not be bullied and will continue to vigorously defend ourselves against iATN’s and Identifix’s frivolous claims. While we are confident that we have not done anything wrong and we will ultimately prevail, the expense of defending against this meritless lawsuit has been very significant. That money could have been better spent to increase the development, marketing, and growth of DN, a fact not lost upon the plaintiffs. Not to mention the personal toll it has taken on our employees, who have done nothing more than leave a company after new owners changed its vision, and after these employees dedicated nearly their entire careers to building that vision.
The ongoing expense of defending against the lawsuit has been so significant that we have no choice but to make changes. We believe that DN and its vision must continue, but in the short term, we will have to change to stay viable. Scott and Tom remain dedicated to the project and its goals. Illustrative of their dedication and in order to ensure DN’s long-term viability, they have volunteered to transition to part-time status. Scott will continue to lead the community, but for now on a part-time basis. Likewise, Tom will work part-time to maintain the DN site and make the improvements that we are dying to make. We are confident that we will emerge from this even stronger than we started, but our employees will continue to be in for some tough times until this lawsuit is resolved.
Life has given us lemons, so we are going to make some kick-ass lemonade. Given our current structural changes, we are making changes to our subscription pricing, to lower our processing fees, and encourage faster growth. We have laid the groundwork to support this growth, with features like user groups, bounties, and tokens.
Effective immediately there are two subscription plans: Free ($0) and Premium ($49/year). The Free plan allows for full participation: start your own discussions, reply to others, and read everything. The Premium plan adds the ability to search everything, create and manage user groups, bookmark discussions for later, and more to come.
You may be thinking, “But I just paid to renew my subscription!” We have great news for you: everyone that has a current, paid subscription with us has been granted 4x their total paid period. We want everyone to be excited about the new pricing structure, especially those of you that have been with us all the way.
For example, if over the lifetime of your account you have paid us for one year of service, today we have extended the due date on your new Premium membership by an additional four years. If you’ve paid us for two months, we’ve extended your Premium membership by eight months, and so on. Founding Members — the earliest members who financially supported us before we even launched (including several Identifix employees!) — have been granted lifetime Premium memberships. If you have any questions or notice any issues with how this was implemented on your account, please contact us.
We also want to thank our corporate partners, who have supported us financially and otherwise.
Please Help Us Spread the Word
If you’re a manager or member of a Facebook Group, consider bringing your user group over to DN, where we value your privacy, and are building a vehicle-centric community platform.
Everyone’s participation will ensure that we can accelerate our mission: to connect professional technicians to enable successful repair of complex vehicles through peer discussion, partner collaboration and education.
Update (Oct 13, 2020): Conclusion of the lawsuit
From all of us at The SimplyDiag Network, we wish you the best for the future and success in your lawsuit. #StrongerTogether
As a sponsor and member TST wishes you guys success.
As a founding member want to thank DN, not just for what is doing for the industry, and also how they are taking care of us. Proud to be a founding member and wish you great success. #StrongerTogether
Keep up the great work and thank you to all the crew working diligently keeping this network the best. To borrow a little motivation from one of the great comedians Red Skelton. He said, They can build a brick wall around you but if your good you'll bust right through. I think I hear the hammer!!!!
It truly amazes me the lack of fore thought big companies have , if they could only realize, which they can't, that working together promotes a stronger community through a natural progression. But! there again the mind set is strictly based on the dollar not on the premise of success. Ladies and Gentlemen if I may say knowing some and hoping to know most ,there is a inner sanctum that they don't posses, unity by numbers and the strong belief , on a individual bases, in our industry......Aka passion . ......So! It will be a fight, and they will show their cards and with an outcome that be decided either join and work together or fail and be swept away by the winds of time.....Fight on as I am only one but I speak with many .....And never back down.
May Continued Success be all yours....
Charles R Pearson Jr. AMAM, CMAT L-1
It seems that no deed goes unpunished in the business world. It is too bad that when one leaves a company a bulls eye is placed on their back. Instead of hiring goons to harass DN, why don't the other folks see where they are lacking and make changes? Innovation is what has made DN great! There is plenty to go around. I maintained my membership on the other network. Maybe it is time for all of to pull our memberships from IATN and Identifix. Hit them where it counts. Hold off re-enlisting until there is no more threat to Scott and his team. Make it clear that the reason for pulling out is the lawsuit when discontinuing.
Amen Brother!!! This would be the QUICKEST resolve while they iron out the details!!!
If only I found out about this before Friday, last. Oh well. Since my credit card is expiring next week, an inaction by me will become an action next month. You've got the right idea.
Since we don't know each other, I don't know if you remember the trolls/extortionists (Messers Trevor, Hendrickson & Han) from a few years (17 actually) back. Scott should. IIRC, iATN kicked in some ducats to help take them down. Trevor & Associates thought that they were in the catbird seat. It didn't end too pretty for them. Worked almost to my satisfaction though. There's nothing like a good faceplant for the especially deserving.
metnews.com/articles/trev0… BTW, they resigned from the CA Bar about 6 weeks later. (It appears Han managed to have his ticket punched in WA 4 years later. I guess that old habits die hard.)
While I'm not trying to imply that Solera Holding's move is in the same league as these people, sometimes, you just have to leave a mark. Hit 'em hard. Hit 'em often. I have no problem kicking into the kitty. Something about that faceplant comes to mind. Besides, I just found out that $19/month got freed up all of a sudden.
We have watched DN grow and evolve. Sorry to hear that others in our repair community have short visions only focused on their bottom line. It is our hope that right will prevail. May this lawsuit soon end so that all can back to doing that which they do best - educating and guiding those who are seeking help to repair and maintain vehicles. None can know all. We need each other to learn. Trial and error is not a means in this day at the complexity of the vehicles now serviced.
Wishing you all the best for your efforts have been to create a new standard of "best".
As for myself, DN has been an incredible source of education. This network has helped me develop and hone my diagnostic skill set. If I need repair procedures and technical specifications, I use Identifix for that. They serve a different purpose than DN. Thank you Tom & Scott for providing a forum where we can learn and grow as technicians. I am honored to be a founding member and I will be here for the long haul.
I am sorry but not surprised. Large corporations do this on a regular basis. I work for one for a time that did this to their competition to try to keep them from getting a foothold.
I for one appreciate the new pricing structure, but I would be happy to keep paying the previous price so that the extra money could go toward your defense. Whatever you decide Is fine by me, and I know it’s only $20 a month, but I would be happy to pay it to see you guys win.
As an original founding member I have loved the information I have gained from reading this site. Best of luck while fighting the big bullies. We are here for the long hall.
Scott and Tom, It saddens me to hear the news about this lawsuit. I can only imagine they feel threatened and realize their site is not what it used to be. I have been a sponsoring member there for over 18 years and have watched the decline, as many of us have. If you start a go fund me page to help offset legal costs, myself and I'm sure many others will be there to help. Hang in there and stay strong.
Great idea i would agree
That is truly terrible to hear, but thank you for officially sharing it with us! The only good thing for me is that I now feel even more justified in having stopped giving iATN money months ago.
This was very disappointing to read… I am a member of multiple forums to enhance my productivity and resources.....when I read this post, my 1st thought was to cancel my IATN membership… this truly is disappointing news. I hope this does not change the Diagnostic Network community… I hope it does not minimize the quality of the content and the quality of the members that we currently have. Please, no matter what, as long as this site exists and the members that we have exist, let's continue to keep the high standard we currently have. Please do not allow this to become a catch all resource for maybes and possibilities. Let us continue our high end technical approach and our attention to detail and utmost professionalism!!!! My support to this site and all involved!
Do you plan to provide repair info,wiring diagrams etc.. so I can finally get rid of identifix?
I think it is still our responsibility as Technicians to have Mitchell or as I do, Alldata. Those options would be cool but it could change the entire premise of this site.
Hi Scott, Tom and crew, thank you for your openness and transparency in explaining the unfortunate situation that has arisen with Solera and Identifix. Thank you also for your update in the structure and support of the membership.
I do also believe that many of us here have participated in a wider variety of forums around the globe than just iATN. I suspect that many of those also vie "head to head" on an annual basis for corporate sponsorship funds to make operation possible. Perhaps Solera and Identifix should look within to see how they may better serve the membership at iATN, raise the bar over there and compete for other corporate funding to maintain the platform as desired.
For many of us to who are able to participate here, to embrace this forum and share our expertise, knowledge and experiences has been refreshing, since it is void of the argumentative culture that seems to have increasingly infected iATN in recent times.
FWIW, both iATN and Diagnostic Network should be able to exist as separate entities, since they serve communities that hold some rather different views and desires. I expect that Diagnostic Network, in forming relationships with companies which are/were previously associated with iATN, is the crux of some of the allegations. Life is full of competition for funding and there should be no healthy reason not to pursue past relationships for fear of "ruffling a few feathers."
Parity of ventures in a common field should be expected, where there are some parallels in place. However, the membership structure of Diagnostic Network in my humble opinion, differs somewhat from other online communities, so conflicts in that direction should not be a focus. I suspect that corporate greed in the monetary form is the root cause for allegations that Solera and Identifix has taken.
In the end, the burden of proof will be for the corporation that owns iATN to prove any wrong doing and that will be a significant challenge since there is no basis. When many of us learned that Scott and Tom were leaving iATN, we hoped for the possibility of developing a new platform where we could share our professional knowledge. As founding members, our input in regard to designing and implementing the type of forum that would serve our needs, was welcomed and is continually being considered while engineering the site to achieve these desires.
One notable driving force behind this community is our input as members and when other corporate entities recognize the worth of investment into Diagnostic Network rather than other communities, I believe that is because they "see what they like" and ultimately value association with Diagnostic Network as a place for professional interaction without any additional "baggage." Scott and Tom, as Founding Members we put our faith and trust in you when you considered creating this network and we will continue to support you through these darker days, until and beyond the time that the unfounded allegations of Solera and Identifix have been disproven and laid to rest. I wish you the best of success in disproving the validity of the issues raised by iATN's parent organization.
Thanks so much for your offer to help! Currently the best way to help us fight our legal battle is to subscribe at our Premium level, and invite your colleagues to join Diagnostic Network. Our growth will ensure that we stay viable and can continue to improve our offerings.
Man I just can’t believe how great this community is. We will pull through this because we are on the straight and narrow path doing what we believe in, not causing others pain or harm. Let them throw stones, we can take everything they dish out.
Diagnostic Network...... Assemble!
I feel your pain, as I was involved in a similar parting of the ways after 25 years due to "corporate changes" that I was not willing to support, and flew in the face of what policies the company was founded on and grew quickly.
Diagnostic Network looked like and achieved what I expected after seeing Scott Brown's name on it, a great place to learn and help others.
I too have been a long time subscriber to IATN, I am thinking seriously about cancelling my membership.
Dn is getting it done and I hope and expect this will be a small blip in the future.... I am behind DN all the way!!!
I'll be leaving iATN immediately. Thanks for letting us know what they've done.
Scott and Tom, continue fighting the good fight. I dislike bullying tactics used by large companies against startups. I'm in for the premium, keep fighting. Thank you.
Sorry to hear of the UnAmerican approach being used to subdue your efforts here. After having been a business sponsor of iATN since 1997, I just cancelled my sponsorship there and started my premium membership here. I hope they are humiliated in court. In the process of cancelling they ask the reason for stopping premium membership: I wrote "Due to the lawsuit involving the Diag.net organization, I am choosing to no longer fund this site." Best of luck.
This sad story seems to happen over and over. Small innovative companies like ours have tried and tried to move older established companies into the future. The message we always seem to get is "if it takes any work or a change in our business we are not interested". So that leaves it to us to continue the modernization of the next grass roots movement until the others simply fade into the past.
This truly makes this the most ironic post on the site, IMO.
Riggle?!?! Of "Depends" infamy?
Is that your signature?
LOL Jim. Jon's response was a bit wordy. I was simply expecting "Depends®"!
Yup, same guy! Well, that's my "digital" signature. Man I haven't seen one of those in years!
Thank you for the price drop and the great opportunity to join! I was going to join as a free member but decided to jump in for a year sub! Good luck and success!!!
Having been fortunate enough to be a friend for over 35 years and looking at all he has taken on and succeed in over those years. I have full faith and confidence that this onerous obstacle will fail to deter his success. Scott is a "force" to be reckoned with.
Hi Tom. It's been a while! The very people named as defendants in the law suit are also the very same individuals who have been the mainstay and bond whose collective efforts retained the loyalty of many of us over many years. These are real people, who have always been readily available to us for dialog and whose caring actions and investment in raising professionalism in the motor repair vehicle is unmatched and unrivaled. The relationships formed with them and their friendly personable attitudes are quite unique in comparison to the faceless entity that the current iATN management team has become in recent times.
Their willingness to provide advice, moderate as necessary and participate actively upon recommendations and respond to questions, no matter how simple they may seem, have for many of us held Scott, Tom, Lara and the gang in highest regards. None of us were diverted away from iATN, but when learning about the new venture from our friends, seized the opportunity to participate. This site is set up quite differently and that decries any concerns of "foul play". That so many support Scott, Tom and their employees during these times, demonstrates our belief in them.
While the plaintiffs lawyers may do their best to identify wrong doing and most likely in the area where corporate funding is up for grabs, they might learn that corporate sponsorship often follows individuals as much as the organizations that they represent. Formula 1® racing attracts corporate sponsorship to the tune of several millions of dollars annually and the funding can be secured by the individual driver and/or the team. When the annual "silly season" results in the "conveyor belt" driver line up shuffle, corporate sponsorship frequently moves with drivers who formed the relationships with the organizations. I suspect that given the demeanour and relationship building abilities of Scott and the crew, that some shift of corporate support should have been expected by the plaintiffs. From my perspective, this is fair play and iATN and Identifix would do well to tidy things up in their own back yard and restore membership support and corporate investment through hard work.
I was so excited when I found out my subscription was now good for 4 years. After reading this and learning the reason, it feels incredibly bittersweet. I hate the idea of getting more from this amazing resource at the expense of the people who've worked so hard to build and grow it. Is there perhaps a way to donate to the cause in order to help with legal fees? If not, I'd love to help start a go fund me or something similar in an effort to ease the financial burden of a truly ridiculous law suit. As always, I'll continue to encourage everyone I encounter in the industry to subscribe and do my best to contribute as much and as often as possible. Thanks so much to the entire Diagnostic Network family for all that you do.
Perhaps we can buy "Tokens" to be used for legal purposes. They may need to be set up separate, as "frivolous law suit Tokens", or something to that effect to differentiate them from the other tokens. I am all for continuing to pay at my previous level, plus as of 01 Sep 2019 I just freed up another $20.00 a month that was going to another forum - I believe their name is an acronym for "I Ain't Testin' Nothin!" In the little box where they asked why I am relinquishing my premium membership I put this:
I am not satisfied with iATN and it's parent or partner companies taking legal action against Diagnostic Network. If you have enough money to start frivolous legal actions like this then you do not need my money - I will give it to Diagnostic network. Let me know when the lawsuit is over. Who knows, I may actually reinstate my premium member ship at that time, if I find it brings me value.
I'm in for life and DN isnt even guilty. :p
Sorry you're bogged down with the lemons but looking forward to the lemonade! Excellent community for professional technicians to share problems and learn from one another. Thanks for putting it on the line for the profession Scott! Will place a Diagnostic Network promo slide in all the PowerPoints I present and will encourage all the other Delphi instructors to do likewise.
Great idea David. Nothing travels faster than "word of mouth". I wonder if Scott and Tom already have a promo slide handy for distribution.
Something as simple as a electronic "business card" format with a hyperlink to the site and sign up info, could also be shared easily via cell phone.
Great idea, here's a 3-slide power point you're free to use:
Thanks for the support!
Perfect Scott. Thanks. This way the message will be of consistent quality and delivery wherever used.
Thank you for the words of support. Attached is a 3-page slide deck you're free to use.
Hey Scott are you against one of us trying to set up a Go Fund me or other type of legal fund account? Or maybe implement something here.
Im sure many of us would be more than willing to help(in addition to our paid subscriptions)
Like many others,I now have a spare $20 a month to donate.
iATN won't get another dime out of me.
22 years a member, sponsor for at least half of it.
As a founding member of the DN this is disappointing news to me. The professional level of the members, posts and up to date information on the DN is on a completely different level.
Please keep up the good work and I look forward to the continuing success of the DN and all of the good it does for the automotive industry.
iATN: Premium Membership Set to Deactivate on 09/03/2019
It was an extremely tough decision for me to make personally but as the quality of posts and the professional level of the members on iATN has continued to decline with little indication for improvement I have decided to cancel my paid iATN support
The DN is the way of the future for the top level automotive industry professionals and I will do my best to help it succeed
I can appreciate you saying that it was a tough decision. Would you like a l'il positive reinforcement? (Sure, I knew you would.) Last month, one of our members made a post (thread) about publicly supporting DN. The post was removed, for whatever reason. True, there were some factual errors in it. Part of the post dealt with an interview at a security conference with the CEO of a particular corporation. (Even PC magazine did an article on it.)
Fast forward two and a half years later, the aforementioned CEO is now "retired". But, less than a year after the interview, it became clear that the comments made during the interview really didn't begin to shed the light on the direction one of the corporation's subsidiaries was heading. Here's an article from the Insurance Business America dated November 1, 2017.
Philosophically, in a "free enterprise society", do I have a problem with it? No. But I'm not going to give someone ammunition (money) to attack my fort (my business model).
See, it wasn't such a tough decision after all.
It took a while to get back to this thred, but I too have found a few extra dollars every month at my disposal, iATN did SOOO much for my business and career, but I downgraded my account a few weeks back.
I hope things are sorted out in a timely manner as I see DN has a bright future ahead.