TicketDesk Pro v1.2

In case you missed it the other week, or you’ve dropped off the mailing list, there’s a new version of TicketDesk Pro been released, v1.2. This addresses a bug mainly for moderators where they only have certain departments allocated to them.

We think most people using TicketDesk Pro won’t have fallen foul of it as only two people spotted it, pretty much at the same time, but it’s a good idea to grab the update. I’m not sure if I’ve also mentioned there’s a German language file included too. This was kindly donated by Sebastian Schertel of http://www.perfect-marketing.de/.

Also, I’ve decided to scrap the use of JV Manager to handle the sales process of my products and I’ll be using SmartDD for everything instead.

It makes sense for a number of reasons. SmartDD now supports ClickBank as well as PayPal and is a lot simpler to use. The functionality of SmartDD is also very similar to JVM, but more logical.

And of course SmartDD is in active development. Did I mention we’re working on membership functionality within SmartDD? Paul tells me it’s 2/3rds done, so that’s something to look forward to. It will be a minor v3.x release, so you’ll get that upgrade for free if you’ve already purchased v3.

The main reason I’ve dropped JV Manager is because I monitor the flow through my sites. When I flipped the TicketDesk Pro site over to JVM, I saw a huge increase in abandonment on the pages where the customer / prospect is asked to enter their email address. And also on the following page where the customer / prospect is asked to enter their name, address etc. details.

I spent a good few hours searching for the code that forces that, tried a few things to remove it, tried some other stuff like changing the fields to say “optional”, but it made no difference. Eventually I decided enough was enough – I’d spent far too much time fiddling with it – and since I’d first installed it, we’d released SmartDD v3 which now handles ClickBank sales and has a simple affiliate scheme for PayPal.

So that was that.

In case you were wondering, the correct process is to only ask for a name and email address if you’re giving something away. If you’re selling, make the sale FIRST, then gather their details afterwards, and give your customers a choice of whether or not they join the mailing list.

Now I’m using a single installation of SmartDD on one site and letting that handle the sales process of all my other products. Eventually I’ll also flip the SmartDD site over to it as well (currently running on the Butterfly Marketing script), but not until memberships are working. It will take a while as there are something like 15,000 members now. Even with a bit of custom migration code, it will still take a while to get right, but will all be worth it in the long run.

Hmm, I can feel a bit of discussion about the abilities of SmartDD v3 coming on, so let’s save that for another post.

-Frank Haywood


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11 Comments

  1. Hey Frank,

    I’ve always thought it was funny that you weren’t using your own product to sell your products. “Lead by example” “Don’t ask others to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself” ;-)

    I’m glad you’re switching over to SmartDD.

    Now, about capabilities…

    Does SmartDD work for affiliate sales? (I may have missed that in the latest release)

    Memberships – Will it work with paypal subscriptions, and will it have a locked down members’ area?

    I’m loving all the changes you’re adding to SmartDD. It’s almost exactly what I have always been looking for.

    Keep improving it, and you’ll soon have the best “run your business complete” script on the market.

    Regards,
    Charles Burleigh

  2. Frank Haywood says:

    Hi Charles,

    You’re right about leading by example, and of course the more I use SmartDD, then the more I’ll want bits and pieces added to it (sorry Paul).

    It’s bugged me for a long time now that I wasn’t using SmartDD to sell SmartDD if you know what I mean. But I needed a membership script to handle it, or at least thought I did.

    Now v3 is here, I don’t believe I need to stick with the BM script any longer, and when the membership side of SmartDD is complete there’ll be a slug of work to migrate everything over. There are also lots of little tweaks needed to make it easier to use.

    For instance, SmartDD supports SMTP, but you have to change the config file to activate it – that should be in the system menu. And the free sign up template system is a bit rough and can be difficult to understand – that should be menu driven I think.

    SmartDD now has a simple affiliate system built in which uses the 7DS method of appending ?=PayPalEmailAddress to the end of the domain and rotating payment between you and the affiliate, or of course you can use ClickBank.

    When we introduce memberships, we’ll also introduce subscriptions too, and you’ll be be able to set up remote membership sites controlled PROPERLY by PHP log in, and not “basic auth” like JVM does. ;)

    Yeah I’m excited about it.

    -Frank

  3. Donna Walsh says:

    Hi Frank

    I am a long time user of fantasos and I would like to see a side by side comparision. Because what you have stated is ONLY the basics of what Fantasos des.

    Since Fantasos is updated with new features and new plug-ins every month how does your program compare?

    Can you offer Ministes, local and remote memberships, integration with 11 different payment processors, bans, short URLs, and on and on.

    And can I sell hosted accounts of your program thereby making thousands of dollars every month? And with these hosted accounts, can I have different levels of services offered?

    How about my JV Partners submitting products for my approval?

    And can I issue Reseller’s licenses and collect Royalties with your program?

    Is there a shipping module that integrates with Kunaki?

    How about autoresponder integration? Aweber integartion? Messages and Emails sent by your program? Mass mailings. And on and on.

    Thanks, I will stay with Fantyasos. It is much, much more than a membership script.

    Donna Walsh

  4. Donna Walsh says:

    When you compare to Fantasos, you are comparing a shrimp to the ulrimate business platform. Fantaos is definitely much morw trhan a membership software and does about 100X what your program does.

    i am sure you will not post this comment but do be fair. John would never put doen your piffly program so don’t big on the best there is.

    Donna Walsh

  5. Frank Haywood says:

    Hi Donna,

    I didn’t mention Fantasos, the product I’d tried out was JV Manager. As a techy, I found it to be over-complicated and inflexible. Fantasos may be much better, but once bitten…

    SmartDD can be used with all your minisites from a central location and will shortly be able to handle subscriptions and true membership functionality, remotely or otherwise. We have a prototype working now on the Vendiva.com site handling subscriptions to the price comparison service.

    SmartDD has full Kunaki support.

    SmartDD has flexible autoresponder integration and will POST data off to services like Aweber rather than send an email which is how I found JVM does it. Maybe Fantasos does it differently. Paul tells me that 99% of the autoresponder code required is there in SDD, it just needs a front end.

    SmartDD has support for PayPal and ClickBank, and the code has been written for World Pay too although we haven’t enabled it yet. Google Checkout will be in the next release. Paul tells me that adding payment processors is no big deal, but then we’ve never been asked for any other than ClickBank and Google Checkout. I personally would also like to see Moneybookers in there, but then again maybe I’d never use it.

    Some of the other things you mention I don’t believe get used? Just a finger in the air here, but of all the products I’ve purchased online, I’ve never seen a site which has the ability for me to add my products for approval. Similarly with resellers licences etc.

    I think the thing to remember here is we offer the most used, most required functionality and have kept the price low so that anyone can afford it.

    Free and you can install it as many sites as you personally own. In most cases the free version is all that people will ever need as it has the ability to securely deliver 5 products. If you really want to centralise as we’re now doing with SmartDD, you can get the full version for as little as $67, and I’ll be doing a WSO soon for an even lower price.

    Certainly comparing SmartDD with Fantasos isn’t something I’d do as I believe most of the functionality in Fantasos is never used by most people. ;-)

    And at $3,000 I’d expect Fantasos to be BLOODY good and very easy to use.

    But as I said, I found JV Manager to be unwieldy and non-intuitive. Annoyingly, people kept telling me to use RAPS instead, but RAPS doesn’t allow you to centralise like SmartDD does.

    You might say SmartDD is unintuitive and unwieldy, but I personally find it’s a lot easier to use. But then I *would* say that wouldn’t I? :-)

    -Frank

  6. Donna Walsh says:

    Hi Frank

    Maybe you wouldn’t use all of the features of Fantasos but many certainly do! And I am just one of them. :)

    My objecton is that you put down on JV Manager which is the little brother of Fantasos.

    You could have tooted your own horn without making derogatory statements about JV Manager and THAT is why I have posted these comments.

    Donna

  7. Frank Haywood says:

    Hi Donna,

    I don’t think I did take a pop at JVM. What I said was I saw a huge increase in abandonment in the sales process when I flipped over to it.

    That was an observation based on tracking the flow through the TDP site.

    The thing is, I suspected that would happen but thought that so many JVM users couldn’t be wrong so I must be mistaken. The fact is, asking people to part with their details before the sale is (proven by my own observation) a sales killer.

    Mike Filsaime told me that 2 years ago, and I can now confirm his wisdom. ;-)

    What he told me was when someone is ready to buy, let them. Don’t slow them down as they may stop and think and decide not to buy after all.

    My own advice is make it easy for a prospect to buy and then ask for their details after the event, or like SmartDD does, get their details from the payment processor in the background.

    -Frank Haywood

  8. Arris Oldman says:

    Frank,

    “Internet Marketing Professional”

    What does this mean to you?

    What does this signify to the Internet Community,
    to Web travelers in general?

    Respect for fellow marketers should be a priority
    for anyone who makes a living online. period.

    Let’s not split hairs about the name of the product you
    ARE putting down. JVManager2/FANTASOS is the
    name of the product.

    Come on Frank, you know JVManager2 was named the most
    Valuable Software Product 2007, by the Internet Community?
    But, if you missed it.

    Popularity?

    Google SmartDD?

    About 13,000 results.

    Now JVManager?

    650,000 results.

    Ok, forget numbers, popularity, etc.

    Why not compare (ethically) your product to something
    similar class/price like MyDD?

    Good News, Frank!

    You can redeem yourself.

    You named your product Smart; Are you Smart too?
    Are you a gentleman?

    A sincere apology to creator of JVManager/FANTASOS
    would indeed be in your best interest, don’t you think?

    Regards,

    Arris Oldman, A.O.

  9. Frank Haywood says:

    Arris,

    It’s nice to see you have an opinion. Can I have one too?

    *Without* you getting hot under the collar because our experience and opinions differ?

    After spending about 60+ hours with JV Manager and desparately trying to get it to accept payment without people having to register first, plus enlisting the hep of two other long time JVM users (hi Mike, hi Anand) to set up the TDP site, I gave up.

    It doesn’t do what I want it to do in the way that I want. I found it inflexible and confusing. I may be in the minority in terms of numbers, but that’s my experience.

    All I wanted to do was to centralise my sales and take payment for products, and somewhere along the way get a customer to sign up to a mailing list so I could let them know about updates.

    Experience (and Mike) told me that the best way to make a sale was to let people pay and gather data afterwards. If you’re giving a freebie away, then it’s fine to get people to register first as that’s the “payment”. (Personally I don’t like squeeze pages either, but that’s just my opinion.)

    I know that there’s 3 things you don’t talk about in public unless that’s your niche as it causes people to get upset.

    Sex.

    Politics.

    Religion.

    I avoid all three. I unsubscribe from mailing lists that go anywhere near them.

    Which of those in your opinion do you think JVM comes under?

    To answer your question, I won’t be apologising for an opinion and a statement of what I found to be *fact* because it doesn’t sit well with you.

    Nowhere in this post have I attacked JVM, Fantasos or John Delavera – that’s just NOT the kind of thing I do. As I’m sure you know, there are more than enough REAL targets out there (not JVM, Fantasos or John Delavera) who would benefit from a product or character assasination, but that’s NOT something I do anyway.

    I have merely stated my opinion based on my experience.

    -Frank Haywood

  10. Donna Walsh says:

    I am sorry but I can’t agree with MF on anything. I have purchsed several products from him only to find that they are buggy and overpriced. S following his advice about anythingis certainly soething I wouldn’t d.

    As to asking for someonme’s name and email addres first, there are specific LOGICAL reasons why JVM and Fantasos do this. One is tio check that email addres against my bam list. I certainly don’t want to sell a product to someone who is a serial refunder and whom I have added to my ban list.

    Here is the logic written by John and which I as well as any others agree with:

    Why does customer have to:

    first choose the product
    then fill in his/her email address
    then proceed with the second order page
    then fill in his billing information
    then select the payment gateway
    then order
    and then reaches the thank you page?

    Shouldn’t it be EASIER just to have customer clicking 1 “button,” get the payment and deliver the product?

    YES!
    It’d be easier of course.

    So… why Fantasos® uses a different logic??

    The answer is simpler than you think.

    Fantasos® wants to know 2 things:

    What’s the Package/Product we are talking about, and
    What’s the email address of the customer?

    Why?

    Because Fantasos® wants to IDENTIFY the customer!

    Think about it…

    The email address of the customer is unique.
    So we had to choose a UNIQUE identifier for doing OUR TRICKS when the customer clicks the “Proceed” button…

    What tricks??

    You see… When the customer clicks the “Proceed” button, Fantasos® STARTS CHECKING:

    Is the email address BANNED? If yes, DO NOT allow the customer to proceed with the order page 2…

    Is the IP address of the customer BANNED? If yes, DO NOT allow the customer to proceed with the order page 2…

    Is the Product offered ONLY to SPECIAL customers? If yes, then does the email address belong to a special customer? If not, then do not allow the customer to proceed with the order page 2. Example: when we offer a specific product to existing specific customers of another Package.

    Believe it or not, Fantasos® does many calculations on behalf of you:

    Does the email address belong to a customer that has Points to his/her account? If yes, is this product offered through Points? If yes, does the customer have enough points to get the product instead of paying for it? If yes, then display the points on the second order page and allow the customer to get the product through Points…

    Is any COUPON offered for that specific product selected by the customer on the first order page? If yes, then is the coupon offered by affiliates only? If yes, is this customer referred to this order page by an affiliate? If not, then do not allow the customer to use the coupon unless an affiliate link directs him/her to the order page…

    Donna

  11. Frank Haywood says:

    Hi Donna,

    I agree that some of Mike’s products are buggy. However, his marketing acumen is untouchable.

    Yes I understand why JVM (and I guess Fantasos) works the way it does – I just don’t agree with the logic based on my own findings.

    Bans based on email address are easy to get round too – just use a different email address. I personally have about 50 email addresses for different sites etc. I often don’t buy things with the same email address as I tend to compartmentalise things.

    From a SmartDD perspective what we’ll be doing is to ban customers based on two things (in the next release).

    #1 – Their PayPal ID – everyone gets one of those and it’s unique and we store that data.
    #2 – Their email address.

    As we add other payment processors, we’ll see if there isn’t some unique identifier like the PayPal one as that’s really the best way to apply a ban.

    We’ll apply the bans simply by not delivering the product after the sale.

    If it’s a genuine mistake, then you can rectify it after the event. If it’s a true application of the ban, then you can rectify it at your leisure while the serial refunder stews at the fact that she hasn’t managed to get the product while already having had to part with the money.

    I personally think that’s a far more satisfying way of getting “revenge” on an offending buyer.

    Yes eventually you’ll have to refund them, but while doing so, you get the opportunity to flag the offending buyer at the payment processor. If enough people do this, then eventually the payment processor will flag that person as a bad buyer and no longer accept any kind of payment from them.

    This is a far better method of applying the ban than doing it before the sale goes through as you often get to have your say to the payment processor.

    I’m sure you’ll agree with that logic. Or not. ;)

    SmartDD already identifies customers by email address, and you can easily view your list of customers and what orders they’ve made. You can also easily create orders manually for a customer if you wish, just by clicking a couple of buttons – I never found an easy way to do that with JVM, maybe Fantasos has fixed that.

    You can then send them an email you’ve associated with the saleable item to let them know, with another couple of button clicks. This is a NICE way to easily reward your individual customers, and a simple way of giving products to your JV partners as you can quickly and easily add a new customer manually.

    When we finally get round to releasing Site Flow Manager, you’ll get everything that SmartDD does and a lot of the little niceties like points and discount coupons. It’s not that far away – a few weeks maybe.

    And it won’t break your bank account either… ;)

    -Frank

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