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SmartDD v3 Features

I know it’s been a long time in coming, but SmartDD v3 is ready to release apart from the docs.

I’ve been using it on a couple of sites, and although I haven’t used every new feature in earnest, everything has been tested to my satisfaction.  Even so, I guess we’ll find a couple of minor bugs here and there which we’ll fix as we go.

New stuff then.

o Kunaki integration with BOTH your web sites AND eBay.  No need to run two scripts, SmartDD will do it all for you.

In case you don’t know what Kunaki is, it’s a global Print On Demand (POD) service for CDs and DVDs.  Customers can buy from you anywhere in the world, and SmartDD will handle the sale and pass the creation and fulfillment onto Kunaki, who then send your customer the CD or DVD.

o Free sign up.  In response to many requests, we’ve added the ability to offer a product on a secure download page in return for a sign up to your mailing list.  The built in example is for Aweber, but you can use it with any self-hosted or service based autoresponder.

o One Time Offers.  Now you can sell a digital item via your web store or eBay, and then upsell via the use of a one time offer (OTO).  An OTO is a method whereby the prospective buyer sees a reduced price for just one time.  If they pass on the offer, then they will only ever get to see it at its full price afterwards.

You can of course use this in conjunction with a free sign up.  😉

o Affiliate scheme.  We’ve added in a simple affiliate scheme in the format of:-

http://www.YOURDOMAIN.com/?e=PayPalEmailAddress

for any percentage commission, 0-100, variable by saleable item.  Even at 100% the admin always gets the first commission to prevent people from buying from themselves by using their personal and business accounts.

So if you created a saleable item at 100% commission, and an OTO item at 50% commission, the admin would get the full amount of the first sale for both items.  Thereafter, the affiliate would get all of the sales for the first item, and the sales of every other item paid directly into their PayPal account.

Affiliate cookies work across all products for an installation of SmartDD.  So if you’ve created a sales page for one item and your affiliate sends traffic to it, then the prospect buys something else from you, your affiliate gets the credit for that purchase too.

You can set by saleable item that only customers can be affiliates (why you’d want to do that I don’t know, but some people do), and you can also restrict individual customers from being affiliates.

o Web store.  Take almost any web template, and turn it into a completely database driven web store.  This was actually in v2, but was never documented.  I’m very sorry about that, believe me.

o Physical goods handling enhanced.

o Create a product and an item through a single screen.  The normal method of setting SmartDD up is to create your products first, and then link them to a saleable item.  If you only have one product though, you can now create the product and the item at the same time.

o Run ALL your sites through one central location.  This has always been possible with SmartDD, but we’ve made it a whole lot better by adding some additional template formats.

o The ability to copy all template types as well as amend and remove.  This makes it faster to take an existing template, copy and edit it.

o Three professionally designed built in template themes, courtesy of ECoverPalace.com.  One in red, one in green and one in blue.  The template designs have been added to all the template formats:-

– Catalogue Templates (web store)
– Cart Templates (web store)
– Download Templates
– Order Confirmation Templates (thank you pages)
– Free Sign Up Templates
– Item / One Time Offer Templates

Additionally, the templates are provided separately so that you can use them to create traditional sales pages, or for your web store.

o Friendly URLs.  This aids in SEO of your web store as SmartDD will create search engine friendly URLs for you, based on the category names.  You’ll need to be running your web site via Apache with mod-rewrite enabled in order to use this.  A good old cPanel server will allow you to do this.

o Finally, as usual there have been a lot of “under the hood” and plenty of other small changes all of which combine to make SmartDD the best delivery script on the market.

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So when is it being released?

Thursday 16th October 3.00pm GMT.

If you purchased the full version (v2) after 1st March 2008 then you’ll get the upgrade to v3 for free.  Otherwise there will be a 24 hour special for the upgrade at $17.  After that it will be $27 – still an amazing bargain if you’re upgrading from v2.

And of course lets not forget all the people who’ve taken a couple of special offers I’ve made who will get the upgrade for free.  😉

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business

How SmartDD v2 Protects Your LARGE Downloads

When I released the original SmartDD (v0.98), there were a couple of minor niggles with it that made themselves apparent over time.

I think that the most annoying one for people was securely delivering large files.

To begin with the file size wasn’t a problem, but after a few months I started to get more and more support questions about why some files wouldn’t download.  After clicking on the link, the web page seemed to hang there without doing anything, and finally timing out.

We eventually realised what was happening.  Because of the way that SmartDD delivers files securely, it takes up a memory buffer on the web server equivalent to the size of the file.  If you’re delivering an ebook, it isn’t a problem as the zip files involved are only about 3-5MB.  The delay while creating the memory buffer is almost unnoticeable.

But if you’re delivering a video or an MP3, or any other large file, then it can take several seconds to create the memory buffer.

This became a problem when the file was very large and the time went over 30 seconds.  Many servers are now configured to time out after 30 seconds without a “keep alive” signal from the application.

Another problem was that an increasing amount of servers are being configured to only allow 8MB of memory to be allocated to an application.  Again this is a problem for people who want to deliver large file sizes securely.

Well, we fixed that in version 2.

Now you can specify a normal URL to a file and SmartDD will hide the real link while delivering it via the normal HTTP method.

While this isn’t as secure as the file system method, it’s still very secure.  The reason it isn’t as secure as the file system method is because you have to put the file inside your web space somewhere.  With the file system method you can store your file above the web root where no browser can get at it.

So, if you have small files (less than 8MB), use the file system method for very secure storage and download of files.  If you have larger files, use a URL to the file and SmartDD v2 (and above) will still hide the real location.

The reason I’ve said v2 and above is because we’re almost ready to release v3.  We have to do a little testing first, but when we’re done I’ll roll it out.

There will be a small charge for upgrading to v3 from v2, but I won’t be asking you to part with another $97.

I’ll post more details about the new features etc, here on this blog when I can.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood in internet business