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Kaybee
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12/08/16 06:17 PM (4 months ago)

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT, PLEASE READ. - #16-002

Hi Everyone,

As you may know I acquired Buzztouch from David and the team as of the 1 December 2016.
Naturally, with new ownership comes a new way of doing things. In my previous post I mentioned I have invested in the BUSINESS of Buzztouch, and as such a number of things will need to change in order for it to be a success.
Please bear with me while I try and explain what is changing, how it affects you, and most importantly, why these changes are necessary.

Firstly, let me reconfirm Buzztouch's reason for existence.
We believe that everyone with access to the internet should have the opportunity to create apps and make something awesome for themselves, their family, their community or for their business, with the option to make it available globally on various app stores. We do this by creating class leading software that is affordable, easy to use, and flexible, while enjoying support from our internal community (the forum). They are able to do this all with our software, Buzztouch.

Creating a solution that is available to all remains my primary focus. I believe if we are to be successful as a business we should take advantage of the extremely large market that visits Buzztouch.com every day and convert them into, not only customers, but "App Makers" and community members. I think this is true to David's original vision for Buzztouch.
However, due to various reasons, the focus shifted naturally to more capable developers who in turn used the system in a way for which it was not designed.

I will elaborate. Some members have ended up using this platform in a way that is more common with an Enterprise software solution, at no fault of their own. There was an opportunity for all users to become "businesses" and use Buzztouch to make some serious money. Remember, loosely defined, "Enterprise application software (EAS), enterprise software is computer software used to satisfy the needs of an organization rather than individual users. Such organizations would include businesses, schools, interest-based user groups, clubs, charities, or governments".

As a result, some users have been using Buzztouch and, in isolated cases, abusing the API calls and in general the page views offered to them. One of the apps I stumbled across this week, while doing some digging to better understand our business, was hosted on BT and had over 4.3 million views, with another handful of apps with over 1m views. This user most definitely should be on an Enterprise plan and I will be reaching out to similar members like this that I believe should be moved to an Enterprise level agreement with Buzztouch.

As per my post on David's announcement, I have stopped yearly memberships for interim transition period. They will return in due course, but I think it’s best not to tie anyone into a yearly plan when we have not announced our plans for what Buzztouch will be in a few months’ time. This way either party can walk away and not have too much invested already.

I have changed the maximum number of apps per account on the Buzztouch server to 15, so $15 for 15 apps, if you research other platforms you will see this is still more affordable than any competitor. Again, this brings the product offering in line with what Buzztouch was built for.

I have also, as of today, halted Self-Hosted downloads for new customers. There will be some changes in this area in the near future, to align with my vision for the company.

I will post in due course about our Enterprise Self-Hosted option.

After reviewing the data on the customer database it was clear what we needed to fix first and that was payments. Our system was broken (it wasn't taking any payments at one stage) and when accounts subscriptions became overdue the users could still log in and ping the Buzztouch server to create a new self-hosted app, continuing as if nothing had happened. This is no way to run a business.

We have scrapped the previous payment gateway in favour of Stripe (All existing future transactions have been cancelled), which I am sure you are familiar with. Now, when you make a payment you will get a receipt from Stripe and your account expiry date will automatically be extended by another month, also your account will continue to be charged monthly until you decide to cancel your subscription, so less hassle for you and for us.

There are lots of outstanding membership fees, at mostly no fault of our users, but rather our previous system and payment gateway.

At the time of posting (9 December 2016) we are implementing a grace period until the end of this month (31 December 2016), allowing time for everyone to get their accounts in order.
From 1 of January 2017 if your account is not up to date we will disable your account and make your API key invalid until payment is made.

This may seem harsh, but it is normal business practise – we cannot invest in development without income.

You are now able to make your payments via Stripe in your account view on the Buzz touch platform.
We can confirm that the iOS10 update is on track for release prior to the end of the month, there might even be something from Santa this year ;)

I have some exciting things planned for Buzztouch this year and look forward to announcing them when the time is right, but first let’s get the basics sorted.

As always, I appreciate your support, and I am happy to field questions if there is anything that needs clarification.

See you on the forum.

Kristen
CEO - Buzztouch
 
sarahk
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12/08/16 06:55 PM (4 months ago)
Gawd, I haven't been paying attention. If Buzztouch had to be sold (and I'm not surprised at all) I'm thrilled it went to an insider and I have confidence in your ability to keep the ship afloat and on track.

Good luck and best wishes :)
 
Calypso Kid
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12/08/16 07:59 PM (4 months ago)
Thanks for the updates Kristen. Will the iOS 10 update include us self hosters? Will the current self hosted be grandfathered in or will we have to migrate back to BT servers ?

Thanks
Dave
 
Kaybee
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12/08/16 08:09 PM (4 months ago)
Hi Dave,

It WILL include an update for self hosted.

No plan on removing Self Hosted completely, it's just we need to define the difference between a self hosted user and an Enterprise User.

There really aren't that many self hosted users, we will be analysing all accounts and reaching out to those that we feel are actually using BT as an Enterprise solution ( see definition above ).

Don't want to say too much just yet. But I do expect there to be changes to Self hosted in the end to avoid any abuse of our API's etc. Think better control of our services that offer our customers.

Again, I intend to be 100% open and honest about what we do and why we doing it, I intend to be fair to all and in turn be fair to Buzztouch.

Hope that helps you.

Kristen
 
Calypso Kid
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12/08/16 08:12 PM (4 months ago)
Thanks for your honesty and thanks for taking the bull by the horns and whipping it into shape.

Dave
 
freesoftwarewiz
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12/08/16 09:01 PM (4 months ago)
I am sure we are all anxious to see code updates!

4.3 Million views? Wow.

The 2 things I'm anxious to know, is if self-hosts will have a limit of 15 (not sure how that would work) and what the "enterprise plan" would actually be?

It is going to be an interesting next few months. :-)

Joe
 
Kaybee
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12/08/16 09:12 PM (4 months ago)
Hi Joe,

For now, self hosted limit is not limited at all, for a couple of reasons. Mostly because we not going to change anything drastic and not give a reasonable alternative to move to. There is a possibility that Self hosted will have a different limit, something in between the Bt hosted and an Enterprise option. Naturally different pricing will be applied to a different product.


With regard to Enterprise solution pricing, these will be priced case by case.
 
KozmoWeb
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12/08/16 09:52 PM (4 months ago)
Hi Kristen,

I agree that billing was a mess for quite a while. I certainly want to pay my way for the services I use and believe in. I have no issue with that and I'm sure any active community member here won't argue that point.

My concern is how to 'catch up' with any discrepancies. For example: when the system was broken, and wasn't billing me monthly, I didn't know about it. I was set up to pay by a normal credit card debit monthly. Buzztouch simply didn't take the money.

When I realized this was not working, I looked in the Forum and saw that people were saying that only the monthly PayPal debits were working. When I saw that I signed up for the monthly draw via PayPal. Fine. That seemed to work and I let it run.

Now I've just checked my accounts and I see a discrepancy between what is reported in the Buzztouch console and what has been drawn in PayPal: PayPal says my last draw is current (end of Nov. 2016) while the Buzztouch payment history doesn't have any payments listed for a while (Sept. 2016).

I want to be clear: I want to be current with Buzztouch! I just need things to be clear, consistent and reliable from a service I use and believe in.

I trust (WE trust) you'll work this out. David always did and I believe you'll be the same. But, if need be, please work with us if we need some flexibility to get current.

Also, I appreciate the transparent and straightforward communication on all this. It's building trust with me and I'm sure others too.

I know I'm open to any direct conversation you may want to have (even though I'm one of the 'little guys' here) but I'm sure others are open to any direct conversation too.

I look forward to great things!

William
@KozmoWeb
 
Kaybee
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12/08/16 10:02 PM (4 months ago)
Hi William,

100% Everyone agrees the payments system was a mess. Exactly that point you have been paying and the dashboard does not reflect it.

I can PM you separately to confirm the details. But my suspicion is that your membership is paid up to 19th Dec 2016. Lets talk and i will adjust it on our end. If this is what you believe is correct, just comment here and I will update it.

Also like I mentioned we have de-activated any queued payments from Braintree so you should not get any draw requests from the old Buzztouch accounts.

PS. BT is all about the little guys. I am happy to look into each and every case.

Kristen
 
KozmoWeb
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12/08/16 10:14 PM (4 months ago)
Thanks Kristen.

I believe I'm up to date, and have tried to be. But I honestly can't be completely sure - frankly some of that is due to financial issues on my side (an identity theft issue and bank changes as a result of that).

For clarity sake:
Is there a new system (Stripe) I should subscribe to right now? Or will I be notified when I'm no longer current?

I'll PM you tomorrow as it's getting late here in Florida!

Best,

William
KozmoWeb
 
Kaybee
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12/08/16 10:18 PM (4 months ago)
Correct,

Everyone needs to update their subscription via "your Account" which will load the $15/month subscription managed by Stripe.

Your membership has been updated to valid till 19th December.

So I would subscribe again on the 18th then.

Kristen
 
KozmoWeb
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12/08/16 10:38 PM (4 months ago)
Gotcha! Thanks.
 
chris1
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12/08/16 10:40 PM (4 months ago)
Glad to see you taking these steps Kristen. It gives me comfort knowing Buzztouch is getting a renewed focus and sense of importance. Obviously nobody likes the idea of paying more money than they're used to, but if it means a better experience for the Buzztouch community I'm all for it. Looking forward to what the future holds.
 
Niraj Shah
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12/09/16 01:39 AM (4 months ago)
I like the focus on the business side. That gives me comfort on the sustainability of Buzztouch for the future.

Thanks for mentioning the forthcoming technology updates.

It's an appropriate split of roles, one person runs the business and the other evolves the technology. The overall product then has a better chance of thriving.

Change is good, no complaints here!

Carry on :-)

-- Niraj
 
FunkyMonkey
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12/09/16 02:19 AM (4 months ago)
Im with anything thats gonna improve Buzztouch, There couple of things that have limited me in app building due to my limited code knowledge, push being one of the big ones, I think the pricing structure needs to be set so you guys can earn money and invest more in buzz, Change is always scary but necessary for the survival and growth, I have just updated my credit details.
.Sean
 
DougJoseph
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12/09/16 03:40 PM (4 months ago)
Have you considered using the Dwolla.com API to process payments? There are no per-transaction fees with Dwolla.

I'm relieved, thrilled, nervous, and concerned all at the same time.
 
Kaybee
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12/09/16 03:54 PM (4 months ago)
Thank you for the heads up.

I have used Stripe for a few years now and I am happy to consume the relatively small charges for the service they provide.

Kristen
 
chadh0130
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12/09/16 06:47 PM (4 months ago)
I haven't been active for quite a while, but check back in from time to time. It's definitely cool to see the *buzz* going around.

Congrats to all and excited to see what the future holds. Hoping it'll bring me back :)
 
TVanTasel
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12/10/16 08:54 AM (4 months ago)
Hi Kristen,

I look forward to the new changes your organization is going to bring to BuzzTouch!

I own and operate a few streaming companies here is the US. I use the 'self hosted' version of BuzzTouch and have nearly 200 apps hosted on my server. Each app (majority are radio station streaming apps) supports both iOS and Android devices. I look forward to updates to the Self Hosted version and what the Enterprise version will offer in regards to my situation.

The primary question I have is concerning setting up a subscription. I've always been a yearly subscriber. At this time my renewal date is April 19th, 2017. Should I go ahead and setup a new subscription now? Will the system then postpone charges to my account until April 2017 or a credit given for the difference? Just want to make sure my account does not get disrupted.

Thanks,

Todd
 
Kaybee
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12/10/16 03:22 PM (4 months ago)
Hi Todd

That's right your current membership if valid till that date on your account.

Only renew it just prior to it expiring. Unfortunately the current system won't extend your current membership. It will only add 30 days from date of transaction.

Hope that makes sense.

Kristen
 
TVanTasel
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12/12/16 12:50 PM (4 months ago)
Yes, that makes since. I will setup my subscription in April of '17. Thanks!

Todd
 
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12/13/16 04:53 AM (4 months ago)
I hope that corrections are also on the plans of the "new company". I couldn't see anything in this announcement that focus on that, there are only statements about corrections on payments and subscriptions. I'm paying the higher monthly subscription that was announced a year ago I believe, and there were no updates on the platform since, only more errors that appear while trying to develop an app on this platform.

It was much easier and quicker to conclude the development of an stable app using Buzztouch. Nowadays it takes months to find out all the errors it produces while compiling it in Xcode and Studio.
Regarding Android, it's the worst, as a non-expert developer I gave up trying and I needed to contract an expert developer that works with Buzztouch and spend much more than the subscription to debug my app for this confusing OS and to develop corrections of the Buzztouch plugins to work on Android.

As you are investing in the "business" of Buzztouch as you said and directing it to a healthy company, I expect as a customer to see more updates and corrections of this platform.
 
Kaybee
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12/13/16 05:25 AM (4 months ago)
Alessandro,

Not sure you read my post or that of David's a few days ago properly.

ME - "We can confirm that the iOS10 update is on track for release prior to the end of the month, there might even be something from Santa this year ;) " & "I have some exciting things planned for Buzztouch this year and look forward to announcing them when the time is right..."

David - "Short Term: There are no plans to change the current Buzztouch offering. Some long overdue updates / fixes will be rolled out immediately. "

I look forward to you renewing your membership :)

PS thank you for completing the survey.

Regards

Kristen
 
Alessandro
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12/13/16 06:39 AM (4 months ago)
Thanks for the details Kristen.

Hope these fixes are really implemented, mainly for Android that needs many.

Sure, despite my deceptions on actual difficulties in creating an app using Buzztouch, mainly for Android, it's my intention to continue with my membership and keep trying to debug all those constant errors. I expect those errors are soon fixed for future apps I wish to create.

Regards.
 
Grateful
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12/13/16 05:02 PM (4 months ago)
The business side appears very promising. I wish Buzztouch extreme success.
 
freesoftwarewiz
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12/14/16 10:12 AM (4 months ago)
Alessandro,

Yes, we have all had issues with errors and warnings, and most of us learned how to deal with them, while waiting patiently for updates. So it was still a very useful platform.

Considering their objective, I am VERY confident Kristen & company will make the updates needed to fix the issues. I mean, consider that if they didn't, "normal" people who are NOT programmers or even "technical" would probably never use the platform, for the problems you mentioned. (the guys on my team stopped even trying to use my self-host almost 2 years ago because of it. They are all using Livecode now).

So I believe this change is a very positive thing, and a little more patience will work out well for all of us. :-)

Joe
 
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12/14/16 12:21 PM (4 months ago)
1 thing i did want to ask Kristen, is there any plans to fix the push system
 
Kaybee
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12/14/16 04:59 PM (4 months ago)
@Allesandro, exactly our aim is to make app building as friction-less as possible for non coders. Therefore the technical bugs need to be cleaned up.

@FunkeyMonkey, I agree with you push is extremely important in app development and adds a lot of value to the app. We will be working on what is the best solution(s) to go with bearing in mind my comment above regarding ease of use.

Kristen
 
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12/14/16 10:08 PM (4 months ago)
Whoop Whoop good to see buzztouch back in action , time to get back onboard.
 
aussiedra
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12/14/16 10:29 PM (4 months ago)
Any plans for more currency support other than the USD ?
 
Kaybee
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12/14/16 10:32 PM (4 months ago)
@aussiedra, not at this stage. Can you explain the real need for it? All transactions are converted into your local currency. Obviously we are a global solution so to cover everyone is impossible. Our costs are in USD, although I am here in Perth ;)

Cheers

Kristen
 
aussiedra
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12/14/16 10:51 PM (4 months ago)
@Kaybee not a big issue , just thinking now that buzz is aussie owned :-) Also a general question what will happend if you have more that 15 apps on the Buzz site ? like me 28 will they get auto trimmed ?
 
Kaybee
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12/14/16 11:01 PM (4 months ago)
They will not get trimmed. Just means you can't add new ones until you are under that number.

If you really need more. PM me and we can discuss your options.
 
FunkyMonkey
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12/15/16 01:48 AM (4 months ago)
Thats great Kristen and yes the push side is very important, The push system works as i have managed to get it to work a while back, its that last part in putting in the certificates in the buzz system thats failing.
Thanks
Sean
 
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12/15/16 08:33 PM (4 months ago)
What parts on android needs fixing? I've fixed the problems with posting and getting web services.
 

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