Site is back up, after some brief downtime was down for a while this morning, from a little after midnight until 9:15am (Eastern Time Zone), a downtime of about 9 hours.

The hosting company that serves Scubbly has not yet produced an incident report explaining the outage, which reportedly affected many other customers, not just Scubbly. I can attest that the entire service was off.

During the outage, everything related to Scubbly was off – including new sales, widgets, and downloading.

So far as I can tell, everything’s back and I’ve restarted all the web services, and everything’s OK. Here’s hoping it stays up. I’ll comment here to update this story with news as it becomes available upstream.



Announcing the Scubbly API – and New Widgets

Wow! Hard to believe that after over a year of work, the Scubbly API is finally being released. This has been a HUGE project, which started in the summer of 2013, continued over the winter and spring, involved a giant release of a totally revamped technical architecture in the spring of 2014, enabled major UI improvements throughout the summer of 2014, and now the underlying API is ready with a public-facing endpoint for autumn of 2014.

This API is the engine that makes Scubbly work. This isn’t just a limited toy box of little utilities that we grudgingly allow you to fiddle with. This API is the back-end software that does the heavy lifting for the actual website. With only a few exceptions, everything you can do on the public website can also be done via the API. With this API, you could indeed build your own fully-featured app. Not surprisingly, now that the API exists, building more Scubbly apps is something we want to do — On top of this powerful architecture we want to build new web applications, mobile apps, plugins, and integrations. Now, Scubbly isn’t just a website where you can sell downloads; it’s a platform.

Now, bear in mind that this is a BETA release of a product that is still under quite heavy development. It is possible that the endpoints, actions, parameters and syntax might change without notice. We’ll almost certainly be adding new actions, and refining the existing ones to make the entire API as consistent and coherent as possible. If you want to start using the API, please contact us first! Let us know what you’re planning to build, so we can open a channel of communication and collaborate to make sure those parts of the API interface you’ll be using are coherent, perfect, and stable.

You can find the API at Account > Integrations > API.

On top of the new API, there’s also an experimental set of new widgets! The widgets are actually a set of custom HTML5 markup tags that let you embed dynamic, functional Scubbly assets on your own website. Now, on your own third-party site, you can embed Scubbly’s product details, cart, and checkout functionality, for seamless integration between your marketing materials and your Scubbly store. The technical voodoo that makes them work is pretty impressive, too. Now these widgets are VERY experimental, some of them are a little buggy (for instance when you specify different languages or currencies) — so use them with caution. Try ‘em first.

Go admire the new widgets at Account > Integrations > Widgets

There’s a lot of activity going on & the platform is growing, and getting better all the time. We haven’t yet finished some of the stuff we started in the summer, like the changes to the storage fees. No worries – we’ll keep the fees as they are for a while longer. There are some wicked new features coming soon that will knock your socks off…



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!

Ian Ring

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!

Ian Ring


New Feature: Search Filtering on the Sales Report

You’ll see the new feature on this page:

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.


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:

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.


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.


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




Why is it a favorite speed climbing venue?


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


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?


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.


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


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.


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


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


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


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.


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?


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.


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


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.


Who buys them?


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.


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




Where else do you sell your products?

Hans: and in person at my speaking appearances.


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


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.


How do you market your products?


Face book mentions, email newsletter, tweets.


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


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.


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


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.