Upon installing and setting up the calendar last week, I immediately encountered a few unexpected issues. Some issues had quick fixes via a search in Tribe’s forum, while other issues I was told to wait an unspecified amount of time to get the issue fixed in a future update.
I post this review because there is a lack of transparency out there about the problems with Tribe’s “The Events Calendar.” I was not aware of these issues until paying some significant money to buy all the calendar features I needed (almost $300). So I want others to be aware of the problems, and I also want Tribe to see what troubles users are facing which will hopefully cause them to improve the quality of their calendar plugin.
The plugin does have some commendable features like SEO-optimized listings which show up quickly at the top of the first page in Google – which surprised me and was impressive.
4 problems with Tribe’s Calendar:
- Very slow release on fixes:
Pro users, meaning those who pay at least $89/year (I paid almost $300 to get all the features desired), have numerous bug fixes that Tribe staff acknowledge are known issues but have no estimated update date available. One issue, which I encountered is a conflict with Tribe and Jetpack which causes an error message to be displayed to a user who submits a new community event. This looks very tacky to the user and causes them to think their event didn’t get submitted – they’ll likely not submit again. Tribe staff replied to a Pro user back in January that the issue had been identified and would be released in the next calendar update – “in weeks, not months.” Fast forward to March and the user asked in the forum for an update on the fix – it’s still not out (as of April 18, 2017). While conflict with the thousands of plugins out there is inevitable, Jetpack is so commonly used that ANY reputable paid plugin should be tested to ensure compatibility before even coming on the market. This reflects very poorly on Tribe.
- Pro tech support is only via forum. When I pay almost $300 for a plugin, I expect premium support – should I ever even need it. Upon installing I had several errors and needed a quick response. I didn’t get a response for about 24 hours, and one of the responses was just a canned standard “try disabling all your plugins first”. No email option. No phone option.
- iCal Importer error makes import useless. A key reason I went with Tribe’s Events Calendar was due to its aggregation feature that no other calendar has. It can automatically pull in events from Facebook pages and iCalendar – BUT when importing iCalendar events, I found the event times were all off by as much as 10 hours! An event that began at 7 p.m. showed up as beginning at 2 a.m., etc. This could be manually fixed, but the time would revert back to the wrong time whenever the auto-import feature checked for new events. Other users have apparently had this issue as well and were told a fix would be coming sometime in the future. I submitted a complaint via the forum about eight hours ago, but haven’t heard anything back yet.
- Basic features missing. One example is a “submit events” button on the Calendar page – it’s not available unless you custom code it. I’m not a coding expert and don’t know how to code CSS. That’s why I spent several hundred dollars on what was marketed as a “premium” events plugin. I was able to find a way to add a “submit events” link above the calendar, but unfortunately this shows up on every single calendar-related page now – including on the submit events page, which looks redundant and unprofessional. This is a basic feature that should be able to be added with the click of a checkbox. I’m not impressed.
Other options: Here’s 5 other plugins I considered before settling on Tribe (which might have been better options):
- EventsManagerPro: has a free version, with user submissions too – and a pro option. This was my second choice, so I’d recommend checking it out before going with Tribe.
- SpinGo: it’s a free calendar produced by CBS. It looks professional, but is a bit visually overpowering and slow. It’s not an independent calendar, since all your events can be pulled in by SpinGo on other sites too.
- Calendarize-it: This calendar did not look user friendly to set up and had something like 30 add-ons for every little feature, some of which are paid. I figured this would run about $80 for the features I needed, but opted against it just because of all the different add-ons looking too confusing.
- Time.ly: Costs $29/mo in order to get front-end user submission feature. This is a bit expensive. It’s the only calendar I saw that allows PAID user submissions though, so you can charge for users to submit their events and hopefully make up for some of the expense (the paid submission feature runs $99/mo though). If you need a lot of features though, compared to Tribe, $29/mo might be comparable and this could be a good option with hopefully better support.
- My Calendar Pro: Allows front-end submissions and is only $50/year. However, I noticed that mobile responsiveness was not a default feature – that’s a sign of a dated plugin.