Impending policy change, regarding file storage fee.

Hi all!

I’m writing today to tell you about a change that’s coming soon, regarding the fees we charge for file storage. Today, these fees only apply to you if you have very large files in our storage (over 60 Mb), charged monthly. How this works now is, if you have a product whose file is over 60MB, that product receives a monthly storage fee of a few pennies – the current fee is $0.03 per 100MB or part thereof per month or part thereof.

Since we’ve changed the way products and files are coupled together, this fee doesn’t make sense any more. It’s possible to have files that belong to more than one product. But it’s not fair to charge more than once for the same file storage. Similarly, you can have files that aren’t part of an active product, but that file still takes up space in Scubbly’s secure distrbution cloud, and there is a cost for that.

So, Scubbly is going to implement a new fee structure for oversized storage. Instead of being a total per product, it will be a charge for *all files combined* in your store, regardless of how they’re bundled into products. This new fee will replace the old one. There will still be a minimum level, below which storage is free.

The details of this change will be decided upon in the next few days, and I’ll post here again when that comes about. The new policy will definitely be decided before the next monthly payout on June 1.

** UPDATE June 21 **

The change to the file storage policy is being delayed. There are no sellers who will be negatively impacted by the delay. We’re amid discussions about how to implement the new policy, and then we’ll need to integrate that decision into the software. When the changes come into effect, it will be announced here on the Scubbly blog. Thanks ~

 

Major upgrade! Check out the new features.

So exciting!

Scubbly just launched a huge suite of upgrades to the live website. Here’s what is different:

  • the “sell” pages are gone, replaced with just one section named “account”
  • files and products are decoupled, so you may have more than one file per product, and a file may appear in more than one product.
  • uploading tools upgraded and improved
  • fixed a whole bunch of problems with balance calcuation
  • the “stats” section contains better, faster report rendering
  • a new affiliate report shows profit earned as an affiliate, but also commissions paid on sales of your products
  • a radically improved seller & store management interface

That’s just the stuff you can see on the website interface. Under the hood, there have been huge changes that will ultimately make Scubbly more stable, scalable, and capable of adding new features with less hassle. You can expect the new features will be rolling out more often in the future.

For sellers, most of the tools you’re used to using are still there, but they might be in a different place, or have an updated appearance. If you have any questions about the new Scubbly, contact me!

Cheers,
Ian Ring
Administrator
Scubbly.com

New Feature: Use your PayPal Transaction ID to retrieve products

This is an idea that we’re hoping will alleviate a lot of the customer frustration when – for whatever reason – their email with the token isn’t received.

On the download retrieval page, now there is a form where you may paste in your PayPal Transaction ID, and it works just like your Scubbly Token as proof of purchase.

Retrieval of downloads using this method is still subject to the 30-day expiry on the tokens. Entering a PayPal Transaction ID that corresponds to an expired token will return the same error as if you had entered the token itself.

There are lots of little features almost ready to ship out – watch this blog in the coming days & weeks for more news!

 

New policy! Download window is increased tenfold!

Hi all sellers!

After some consultation with a focus group of sellers and much internal deliberation, Scubbly has decided to increase the “download window” – the number of days that a token is valid – from 3 days to 30 days. From now on, when someone buys a product, their token expiry will be set to 30 days from the moment of purchase.

The impetus behind this change was a gradual but unmanageable increase in the quantity of buyers who delay downloading their product, for a variety of reasons, who then find that the token has expired.

I believe this change is going to be good. Please let us know what you think in the comments section. Cheers!

 

 

Excuse our dust – big changes are coming!

Hi folks,

It’s been quite a while since the last blog post here. But that doesn’t mean we’ve been idle! For the past 6 months, Scubbly has been undergoing a complete software overhaul, to support some of the new features scheduled for 2014. Some of these changes have already been implemented on the live site, and you can see them today; other changes will be ready later in 2014 and will be announced here as they’re launched.

The changes have been *mostly* invisible and trouble-free. There have been software bugs released a few times that were caught fairly quickly & fixed immediately. I apologize if you encountered any of them… and thanks to those of you who did – and reported them quickly!

Some things coming down the pike:

  • A new UI design – with flatter buttons, larger form elements, more responsive elements optimized for mobile devices,
  • A fully-featured API, capable of enabling Scubbly e-commerce for 3rd party apps,
  • A WordPress plugin, which will allow you to quickly integrate Scubbly sales into a WordPress-driven website,
  • A faster search and indexing engine,
  • Better widgets,
  • Web hooks
  • Buyer feedback

Goodbye, Categories

Most notably – and already noticed by some of you – is the disappearance of “categories” from the site. We looked at our traffic analytics and discovered that no one was browsing categories anyways, and choosing a category for each product was an annoyance for sellers, not a useful feature. So we scrapped it. That means sellers no longer have to pigeonhole their products into one of our arbitrarily-chosen categories, and the entire “browse” section of the site is gone.

One product = Multiple files

The biggest change that’s happening is a fundamental shift of our product structure. Soon, we will be breaking the one-to-one relationship between products and files. You will be able to attach multiple files to a single product, and a file can belong to more than one product. This allows easy “product bundling”, whereby things you are selling individually can be bundled into a new product, perhaps with a discounted price or value-added extras. For example, you might bundle songs into an album, documents into a book, books into a collection, podcasts into a playlist, etc.

2013 was a slow year for feature releases, mostly because so much effort was going into invisible behind-the-scenes preparation work. 2014 is already shaping up to be a big year with many improvements to make Scubbly even better!

Cheers
Ian Ring
Administrator

 

New Feature: Search Filtering on the Sales Report

You’ll see the new feature on this page:

http://www.scubbly.com/account/stats/sales/

You can still filter the sales report by date range, but now you can also filter it by email address, so you can quickly find a record you’re looking for. This is particularly useful when a customer’s download token has expired, and you want to refresh it for another 3 days.

The search box does a “wildcard” match, so the letters you type in will match anywhere in the email address. So you can enter “frank” or “@gmail” or just “fr”, etc – or just the letter “f” and it’ll show you only the sales to buyers with an “f” anywhere in their address.

Enjoy!

New Feature: Twitter Cards

As of a few moments ago, every “item detail” page on Scubbly is equipped with a “Twitter Card”.

For the full details about Twitter Cards, read more: https://dev.twitter.com/docs/cards

What these cards do is expand links that are shared on Twitter with a “summary card” – so when someone tweets about your product with a link to it, some clients will show a summary beneath containing the product name, price, excerpt of the description, and an image.

You don’t need to do anything to enable this feature – it’s been rolled out across the entire Scubbly platform.

Enjoy!

Seller Interview: “Hans Florine’s Online Store”

Today’s seller interview is with Hans Florine, proprietor of Hans Florine’s Online Store. Hans is a renowned rock climber, famous for his world record speed climb of this famous cliff in Yosemite Park:

El Capitain. photo credit: Mike Murphy. (source)

Hans has created a very unique product: he sells his personal notes, guides, tricks, maps, and audio material describing the best way to climb this massive cliff. It’s all digitized, and packaged up as a collection of audio, video, and documents.

Scubbly:

First, explain what is “The Nose”. Is Nose the most difficult climb around?

Hans:

No.

Scubbly:

Why is it a favorite speed climbing venue?

Hans:

It was the first route up the middle of El Capitan and took the most direct line up the middle.

Scubbly:

You broke the speed record again, just a couple of months ago (June 2012). Needless to say, you’re not an average climber. For folks who aren’t quite as accomplished, is the Nose a feasible climbing challenge?

Hans:

Yes. In 1988 I tried The Nose and failed after four pitches. I had only been climbing 5 years and had only climbed one other big wall. I returned the following year and made it up the route with the same partner and we didn’t have very much more experience, we just learned a few things about hauling, we studied the tops a little more, and we felt a little better on granite. Someone who is consistently climbing 5.10s in The Valley would have no troubles on The Nose. It is possible to climb The Nose having only a solid 5.9 Yosemite level climbing ability, but there would be challenges along the way where tricky aiding would be needed.

Scubbly:

Obviously you are also very fit. How do you stay in shape? Just tons of climbing?

Hans:

Mostly climbing, but I’ve taken up biking the last few years and that’s good for cardio. I’ve taken on managing a gym the last 2 years. However I’ve always managed to try out some Yoga, Indoor Cycling, core classes, and weight lifting to keep me all around fit. Lots of climbing in the gym as well.

Scubbly:

How many one-armed chin-ups can you do?

Hans:

None. I probably could knock off 20 two arm pull-ups.

Scubbly:

You even have your own wikipedia page. And you do speaking engagements. What do you speak about?

Hans:

I speak at Business conventions, Sales meetings, Association trade shows, kindergarten classes, universities, and other groups. I always work in a few different stories about my climbing. Most people want to know about The Nose speed ascent, but I’ll also talk about adventuring in the mountains of Patagonia, Kenya, or Papua New Guinea with a blind climber or climber with a missing leg. I’m working on two books right now, and an app, as well as some web based fitness ideas.

Scubbly:

You also promote speed in other aspects of life – such as your “Speed is Power” audio program. What does it mean to incorporate speed into your business and life?

Hans:

It’s really about being efficient much like the Six Sigma programs of zero waste or the American Production and Inventory Control Society. The more philosophical aspect is really living with a live of urgency so you stop procrastinating.

Scubbly:

How much work went into creating the digital version of your climbing instructions?

Hans:

I did not keep track of the hours, but it was done over a number of years, recording things in hotel rooms, car parking lots, at home, and airports. You’ve got to just keep plugging at it until you’ve got enough info for folks that you satisfied they’ll get something out of it. Of course you know you can always add stuff and you can always improve it, but you’ve eventually got to say: “This is worth way more then I’m charging and I’ve got to get it out there for people to use.” that’s one of the beautiful things about a digital product it cost very little to update it and have it contain all the latest info I know about the route. I also offer to send updates to people who’ve purchased it long ago.

Scubbly:

Who buys them?

Hans:

good news is that my buyers private info is secure. I don’t have info about them unless they respond to my confirmation email with follow up questions or to let me know they climbed the route. I can say that the product has sold in many countries, and I’ve had great feedback from people.

Scubbly:

Taking into account the cost of production, is your Scubbly store profitable?

Hans:

Yes

Scubbly:

Where else do you sell your products?

Hans:

http://hansflorine.com/shop/ and in person at my speaking appearances.

Scubbly:

How much of your business happens at Scubbly, vs selling directly or via other means?

Hans:

This varies widely, I might have a presentation where I sell a bunch of product or the venue buys a bunch, but then other times where my only income from the product is from the web. In the last few years with Scubbly I’ve sold 5 downloads of the product for every one hard copy CD sale online. The past two years my in person sales exceeded my Scubbly sales, but the year before that no.

Scubbly:

How do you market your products?

Hans:

Face book mentions, email newsletter, tweets.

Scubbly:

Why did you choose to sell them at Scubbly, instead of setting up your own e-commerce store?

Hans:

I set up my own store that automatically took payment similar to Scubbly. after a year or two of it having some bugs and I missed some key sales I handed it over to Scubbly.

Scubbly:

What advice would you give to someone getting started with online sales?

Hans:

DO IT! There is almost no downside. Protect your time by using people like Scubbly to get the stuff to the market immediately. Think of yourself as the inventor or creator, you need to focus on creating new products, not learning how to program and monitor web sites. If you have one successful product you’ll have more, don’t be satisfied with one, keeping thinking of ideas, getting em out there and improve them later.

 

Thanks to Hans for sharing this with us! Stay tuned for other seller interviews coming soon.

 

Download Problems – and how to solve them

This post is in response to several help requests related to interrupted, incomplete or otherwise failed downloads. Occasionally – especially with very large files – downloading from Scubbly fails. Here’s a trick that has, so far, solved the problem every time.

Some background

A typical HTTP download is sequential. That means a connection is established with Scubbly, and the file begins to transfer starting at the beginning, and continues reading the file until it reaches the end. This usually works fine – unless the connection to Scubbly is interrupted! If the connection disappears, then the transfer fails. You either end up with an incomplete file, or nothing at all. It’s immensely frustrating.

Lots of things can interrupt a sequential download. Even a momentary glitch in your internet connection will screw it up. The only thing you can do is start over again. If you’re downloading a feature-length movie on a residential connection, having the download fail after 2 hours is infuriating!

There’s A Better Way

Scubbly also supports resumable downloading. It’s different from sequential downloads, because instead of starting at the beginning and reading until the end, a resumable download will grab little chunks of the file from the beginning, the end, and the middle, all at once. Each little piece is a separate download – and if one of them fails, it’s no big deal; the downloading agent tries again.

Because the download is done in little independent chunks, it won’t be ruined by interruptions in your internet connection. When the connection is re-established, the download resumes grabbing more pieces. It continues to grab little pieces until the entire thing is done.

When all the pieces of the file have been downloaded, then the entire file is stitched together into a whole.

This makes your download more reliable, less prone to failure, and it’s faster, too! With resumable downloads, you’re not getting the file in a single stream; you’re grabbing many pieces at once. I’ve watched downloads increase 3x faster using this method. I was skeptical at first, but after trying it I’m convinced – it really works!

How to do this

There are other programs that enable resumable downloading, but I’ve found this one to be very effective:
https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/downthemall/

It’s a plugin for Firefox that, once installed, lets you do resumable downloading straight from the Scubbly Download page. When you click the “Download” button at Scubbly.com, instead of “Save As”, you’d choose “DownThemAll”. Then, instead of doing a sequential download of the file, it will start a resumable download – as described above.

An anecdote

This feature was added to Scubbly in response to a plea from a buyer, stationed at a remote military base. Their internet connection was, they said, “spotty at best”, and after many frustrating tries, she was unable to get the product she bought – it kept quitting after a few minutes. After a quick and heroic effort from our engineering team, we revved up a new download server that was capable of resumable downloads. Using the DownThemAll Firefox plugin and Scubbly’s new server, she was able to get her product quickly and without any problems!

New Authentication – More security

Scubbly has replaced its entire authentication system with a brand new hand-crafted system, redesigned for impeccable security.

Not that it was insecure before. It was actually quite good. Here’s why it’s better:

The new system includes a neat feature that wasn’t there before. Now, if a bad password is entered more than five times, your account will be locked. From that point on, you can’t log in even if you have the correct password. You get five attempts to log in.

In a locked account, activity in your store is not interrupted – you will still make sales and earn revenue and receive sales notifications. But you will be unable to log in to scubbly.com to maintain your store.

A locked account can only be unlocked by clicking a verification email sent to your email address.

This new “lock down” feature means your account is not vulnerable to a “dictonary attack”, i.e. when a malicious would-be intruder tries to gain access by trying millions of passwords.

Another interesting detail: the new authentication system will only allow one account per email address. If you need/want more than one Scubbly store, they must be hooked up to different email addresses.

The new authentication system also employs new technology architecture changes that detach data access for increased security and flexibility. Now that it’s done, developing new features for Scubbly will be easier, faster, safer, and more robust.

The ironic thing is, you shouldn’t notice anything different. All Scubbly accounts were migrated over to the new system without incident. If you have any problems with logging in, out, or changing your profile or password, please let us know immediately.

Cheers