COG's Online Evolution
COG Micapeak.com Email Listserver
The COG list on Micapeak.com has been around since 1995, and is a throwback to the time of when internet listservers were a common thing. It provides an internet/email based chat among owners and fans of Kawasaki Concours and GTR-1000 motorcycles. It is NOT exclusively for members of COG, although it is associated loosely with our club. Micapeak is funded by donations from user their users. The COG email listserver still exists here, although only a small number of users remain active on there.
Original Concours.org Website
A group of COG members, including Rick Hall, launched and administered the first COG website concours.org on March 28 1996. The domain name was registered in COG’s name and the initial registration payment made by COG.
Initially coined "COG-Net," the story of the inception and volunteers involved are covered in the following 3 articles from the Concourier archives:
In the early 2000's, the proliferation of community websites (social media) like MySpace, Facebook, and others raised the bar on what our members began expecting from the club in terms of a COG community website. As the popularity of the WWW continued to explode, so did the number of requests from club members to take COG's membership renewal, event registration, merchandise sales, etc. available online.
A Web Committee was formed August 2007 following a COG Board of Directors meeting held at the 2007 National in Canaan, West Virginia. It was agreed to “form a team by September 1st, to investigate performing online membership registration, merchandise, purchasing, and payment option analysis and report back to the Board with options by November 1st 2007." Then paraphrased: “Areas would find the team members who could do this and funnel them back to [Exec Dir] Guy Young, who would set up a conference call."
2007 Committee Members:
The committee investigated 9 initial solution candidates and selected a short list of 4 that included: two Software as a Services (SaaS) solutions (Memberize and ClubExpress), a Credit Card payment processing plug-in to current Concours.org website, and lastly creating a custom built membership management software solution within the current COG (Concours.org) website. The committee named the proposed system COG Membership Online Services (COGMOS).
The COGMOS Committee detailed report was presented at the November 2007 COG Board of Directors meeting, where the directors subsequently ratified the Committee's recommendation to use the SaaS solution from Memberize. The SaaS build-out progressed and went live early 2008. A general announcement was provided to members in the following Spring 2008 Concourier magazine article "COG On-Line to Make Major Changes," by Colin Prior.
COG-Online Forum Upgrade 2010
In October 2010 a new web forum was rolled out and introduced to members. The forum used Simple Machines Forum (SMF), a popular and very powerful forum software. All posts were migrated from the Memberize exported and integrated into the new forum before it was was disabled.
Concours.org Web & Forum Upgrade 2020
In 2015, a committee was formed to begin researching and evaluating web services upgrade options as the Memberize SaaS had no upgrades and felt unsupported. This led to member complaints and frustrations from members. After evaluating options, the project began to move forward in 2017 and led to the choice of Wild Apricot as the member services SaaS and Xenforo as the web forum software. In 2019, a decision was made to develop a forum addon bridge to integrate user authentication, and the task was outsourced and project managed by Brian Heiple. Over time, several members have participated on the committee. As part of this migration the club once again began using the concours.org as its primary domain for web and email services. This is the team vital to bringing this complicated project to completion and who were part of the August 2020 web migration:
Forum Upgrades 2024
Some bugs in the Xenforo Addon were identified after the major online service upgrade 2020 rollout. Shortly after the rollout, a significant code bug affecting membership level and status management that block login of legitimate users was identified and patched by a member of the Web Committee. However, additional requirements were identified and left on the table to address in the future. The IT Officer position had a high churn rate beginning in 2020, and the team had a significant void when Membership Officer Fred Boothe passed away unexpectedly.
The efforts to upgrade our custom Xenforo to Wild Apricot bridge addon began to gain traction in 2023. Due to vacant IT Officer, the project was managed for the club by Steve Smith, NEAD. A change specification was developed, and the search for contract developer began. An offshore Xenforo Addon developer was found and engaged a a developer to update the addon code. Rollout and testing of the addon update was conducted JAN 20-23, 2024, completed JAN 23 2024. COG's two custom Xenforo Addons were updated. The code updates affect very limited and specific features. No user facing feature have changed.
COG has entered the realm of social media in 2008 and created accounts as additional options for members and friends to network and communicate. These social media pages also provide an opportunity to expand the marketing of the club, with the hope that more Concours enthusiasts will learn about the club and become paid members.
The COGMOS (COG Members Online System) is still like any website/system in the process of evolving and as the current IT Officer, I welcome suggestions for improvement.
IT Officer, Concours Owners Group.