Billing System Update (Launch Completed)

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puravida's picture
puravida
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Joined: 09/01/2007
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After much hoopla, we have finally finished launching the new billing system. I could never have imagined the number of obstacles we encountered and the unbelievable difficulty in overcoming those obstacles.

Provided that the billing system works as well as it did in the testing phase, this will also mark the introduction of our new pricing model. Existing users are grandfathered in under the old pricing model and may remain there, if they choose. However, any upgrades by existing customers will require a fairly simple and painless migration to the new billing system.

For some users, the new pricing model will cost more, and for most, it will cost slightly less or the same. However, this paves the way for us to announce further price cuts over the next year or two, as we make progress in cutting our own costs. We plan to pass those savings on in the form or reduced prices on new orders.

All we ask in return is that you continue to support us and spread the word as you always have! Thank you! Smile

Some of the more notable benefits of the new system are:

  1. Ability to upgrade to "Basic Account" for only $4.95/month
  2. Ability to easily upgrade, downgrade, cancel, or switch around services
  3. Ability to purchase non-expiring new requests
  4. Ability to purchase smaller blocks of new requests (5,000 per block)
  5. Ability to purchase "Bandwidth" instead of "Fetches" (1Gb = ~50,000 images @ 200x150)
  6. Ability to view/download PDF invoices*

*If your accounting department or your country's government absolutely requires monthly invoices as proof of payment, then you will want to migrate over immediately. In that case, please open a support ticket and we'll get you moved. The new system instantly generates a PDF invoice on any new order, order change that requires payment, or monthly billing.

GEEK-SPEAK
It definitely wasn't an easy journey and it took some real muscle to get everything to come together. It even took some major executive-level "string pulling" by our new billing system vendor (thanks, Zuora!) in order to convince Paypal just to process payments in the way we needed (to make our order process as simple as possible for users). Looking back, I realize that this past year building out this solution was a major life accomplishment and that's kind of sad that it had to take on that magnitude of difficulty.

Even though I was the first person in the world to get a fully stable and working automated screenshot system to run on Linux (which required many months of dedication, trial and error), that pales in comparison to how difficult this billing system has been. That is mostly due to corporate politics, the economic downturn killing credit markets, and corporate giants that are so big they stomp on growing businesses in a down economy. There are no words to describe the frustration but at least it's done. Hopefully it works. We have spent -literally- hundreds of hours in testing every imaginable scenario, so I feel confident in the system but we will have to wait a few hours for our first order to roll through using it. So here's to holding our breath!
Shock Puzzled

puravida's picture
puravida
Jedi Warrior
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Joined: 09/01/2007
Visit puravida's Website

We have a positive sign now since going live this morning:
A new user has signed up using Paypal subscription and it looks like everything worked as expected. We are waiting for their feedback on the process and are hopeful that all was simple.

puravida's picture
puravida
Jedi Warrior
Offline
Joined: 09/01/2007
Visit puravida's Website

Update: I finally had a chance to go back through the recent signups. On 09/29/2011, there was an American Express successful signup and on 09/30/2011, there was a VISA successful signup. So it appears that Credit Card subscriptions are also working well.

We also had a few customers modify or add on to existing subscriptions, so that tells us that we are looking good. If there are bugs/issues, they will be rare edge cases; although we tested thoroughly for those too, so hopefully we're 100% good-to-go with the billing system.

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