After a long planning and some software development, my company (Wintech Italia Srl) is starting to offer technical support on Delphi in an innovative way, private newsgroups supervised by a team of experts. The idea is to let every developer/company has its own private area, where to freely discuss both short-term day-to-day problems and long-term architectural decisions. A private area allows you to discuss specific and proprietary code and mention sensible company information without posting to a public forum. Optionally, the experts of the team can sign a specific NDA.
The service is called
support @ marcocantu.com
(yes, that's also a valid email, but the link is to a web site) and for now is focused on Delphi and has me as key expert. We won't be able to answer every possible question nor to handle bug fix requests as the official CodeGear service can do, but we hope to be competitive in terms of price and quality. Competition is probably not the right term, though, as our service is considerably different from the official support service CodeGear offers.
Beside newsgroups, the plan is to host chats, allow for direct calls (with a very limited time included by default) and just any other idea that would I or users will come up with. The fee is a flat yearly fee (and not a fee for each incident or request) and accounts for one new thread each week or 52 threads during the year. Now, that's not going to be an absolute limit, but we certainly want to discourage people from asking things they can find with a Google search. The second aim is that companies with multiple developers should not channel too many requests thought a single user, but create multiple accounts (on which we offer a significant discount).
We are still testing the configuration (and the Delphi configuration program) of our custom NNTP server (written in Delphi as well), and for this reason we are offering a limited number of interested users a beta service. You get 30 days free and at the end of the beta period, you'll be asked to pay for the rest of the year. First come, first served...
I'm also interested in getting a few more experts on board, so if you feel Delphi has no secrets and have some time to reserve to this work, feel free to ask. The number of experts will depend on the companies signing up, of course.