The whole point of the online sales revolution, and as a direct result, the growth of companies like Amazon, eBay, and dozens of smaller sites like Newegg and ZipZoomFly, is to take advantage of the benefits brought by technology to the retail industry. These advantages include less overhead costs, fewer employees, constant availability, and instantaneous sales. So, please do tell, why is that you’re still manually verifying and validating all sales before they go out!?
This may not be too obvious when you’re selling tangible goods over the internet – after all, there is still a lot of the “human element” when it comes to packaging and shipping the product. But when you’re selling digital products, be it software, music, games, or text, you should never, ever have a human doing the verification. It’s insulting.
With presence of automated purchase validation systems, like 2Checkout and PayPal IPN available which give virtually real-time updates on the status of a transaction and let you know when you’ve received your money (or at least when it’s on its way), there is absolutely no need for a data monkey to press “OK” at the prompt. After all, what’s this data monkey know that PayPal’s IPN report hasn’t already told your system?
Case in point: a couple of weeks ago, we had to purchase a rewrite engine for IIS – we chose to go with Helicon Tech’s (God, is that a hard company name to remember!) ISAPI_Rewrite 3. We’d been first using the Lite version and later the free trial of their “full” package, and had decided to go ahead and make the buy. So we went ahead and entered our credit card details into their system, and sat down to wait for the “Here is your license key” email.
It never came. Or at least, that’s what it felt like, 13 hours on. A part of the website was down, pending the installation of ISAPI_Rewrite full, and we had expected it would take all of 60 seconds to make the purchase and enter our license details (ctrl+c from the email, ctrl+v into the program) and be on our way.
The sad thing is, Helicon Tech, like many other companies that make you wait for manual authorization of the purchase, outsource the entire payment process anyway. In this case, they’re using digital river’s ShareIt.com to process payments – and ShareIt provides instant notification of updates to payment status, in real-time:
If you didn’t already know: the tech industry is a high-paced world. Everything is based around the concept of getting data from one point to another in the least time possible. Whether we’re talking about ISP transfer rates, emails, or digital media.
It’s a real shame that, here on the verge of 2008, there’s still a need to make posts like this. Wake up, software developers – insist on complying with common sense and meeting basic internet necessities. If the person that hired you doesn’t see the value of instantaneous human-free interactions and you don’t bother to set him or her straight, then something is really wrong.
It doesn’t take much to make these things work the way end users expect them to, especially when there are no technical or domain limitations/restrictions in the way. It takes nothing more than adding a couple of lines of code (no more than 100 lines tops – no matter what language you’re using) to avoid stuff like this entirely – and on the plus side, you get to fire a couple of data monkeys too!