denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote in [site community profile] dw_biz2010-04-06 12:51 am

Dreamwidth Points Launch FAQ

I mentioned back in the 23 March [site community profile] dw_news (item 4) that, with our new payment processor, we were taking the opportunity to implement the gift certificate/credit system that we've been meaning to do for a while. Many people had questions! At the time, several of the details were still fuzzy, and some of the ideas we described there turned out to be too confusing in practice. So, we changed some of the details, and we wanted to make sure you understand how the points system works and what benefits it will give you.

First off, let me say that the process of buying paid time for your account won't fundamentally change! You'll still be able to do everything you could do before; you just can do more now. (Or, rather, you will be able to as soon as we do a code push with the new payment system, which will be as soon as we clear up one last detail with our merchant provider.)

Our end goal is to have a lot of flexibility in how you choose to spend, save, and send your points, so everyone can work out something that works best for their own use of the site.

We'll start with the official FAQs:

What are Dreamwidth Points?
How do I buy paid time for my account?
What are paid accounts? (has the cost of shop items, in points)

Then, some Q&A:

Can I buy points just to have on hand?

Yes, you can. There'll be a link in the shop to buy points. You can buy any amount over 30 points at any time. (Remember, one Dreamwidth Point is the equivalent of $.10 USD, so that's $3 USD.) Until you use the points, they will stay in your account. You'll use the points by creating an order for a specific item in the shop and applying your points to that order.

What can points be used for?

All purchases from the DW Shop will be paid for in points. Even if you don't have any points on hand and are paying for the entire cost of your shop item at the time of checkout, what you're really doing is buying points first and then the system will automatically convert your points to your desired item. See the examples in the next section if this doesn't make sense yet!

Can I still buy, for instance, a year of paid services at a time?

Yes, you can. It's just done slightly differently. When you load the shop, you'll still see the available items (1 month, 2 months, 6 months, and 12 months of paid time; 6 months and 12 months of premium-paid time), along with their points cost. You'll pick the one you want (in this case, 12 months of paid time). The cost is 350 points, and, assuming you have 0 points in your account, you will need to buy all 350 points. By putting the 12 months of paid time in your cart, the system creates an order for a bundle of 350 points (to cover the cost of that specific item). When you check out your order, the system will charge you $35.00 USD for those 350 points, which are associated with the order of the specific item you wanted (the 12 months of paid time). You check out, you pay us, and the points are delivered to your account and automatically converted to the specific item they were for (the paid time). You won't have to do anything differently than you do right now: the system handles everything for you.

It sounds a lot more complicated than it is. Mark did a great job of making it really clear, with the help of our project leaders over the past few days.

So if the system handles everything, why not keep charging directly for paid time and save the points for 'gift certificates'?

Doing it this way, where everything is points-based, vastly simplifies the code and the calculations. Since we were determined to do something other than gift certificates where you have a GC that can only be used all at once on the same order, we would have had to do some gnarly (and confusing) pro-rating work to combine things, and people would have been left with balances hanging around anyway. Doing it this way means we can let people store and use their points whenever they want, and let them pay for an item in the shop with either existing points or by making a payment right there and then, all with the same programming.

Do points ever expire?

No. Once you've paid for points, they hang out until you use them.

If I buy, like, 1000 points ($100 USD) on one order, do I have to use them all at once?

Nope. You could use them one or two at a time. (If we had items that cost $.10 or $.20 in points, that is -- and in the future, we might: how awesome would it be to be able to buy icons one slot at a time until you had enough, knowing that you could add on more at any time?) Or, when we add v-gifts, we'll use points for those as well, so you can "top off the points tank" when you have some spare cash and then send vgifts when you think of them. That kind of thing.

Can I transfer points to a friend?

Not yet. In the near future, you will be able to. There'll be no minimum on the number of points you can transfer out of your account (as long as you have the points to cover them), so if you want to 'tip' a friend or a community 1 point ($.10 USD), you will be able to.

Why is there a minimum point order?

With anything lower than $3 charges, the fees get silly. 30 points (for $3) is the smallest amount we can charge at a time without the fees getting too painful.

Does this mean I can 'pre-pay' my paid account without penalty?

Absolutely. Just like with the old system, where buying more paid time added on to your expiration date, under this system, anytime you have a spare $3 lying around, you can turn it into another 30 points to put in your account and have handy. That way, when your expiration rolls around you'll have the points on hand.

At what point in the checkout process are my points considered 'used'?

Not until you actually check out a cart that contains an item you're using those points for. Just putting the item into the cart doesn't use the points.

Next, I'll walk you through some scenarios that will be common and the questions they'll bring up:


1. You have: 0 points. You want: 6 months paid service (175 points).

You'll go to the shop, pick the 6 months of paid service for 175 points option, and check out. The system sees you have 0 points and need 175 for what you want, so it will charge you $17.50 for the 175 points. You pay it (credit card, check, or money order). The system delivers the 175 points and automatically converts it into your 6 months of paid service that you wanted. You go upload more icons to fill all the new slots you now have.

2. You have: 50 points. You want: 12 months paid service (350 points).

You'll go to the shop, pick the 12 months of paid service for 350 points option, and check out. The system sees you have 50 points and need 350 for what you want, so you don't have enough points to cover it. Since 350-50=300, it will charge you $30.00 (remember, 1 point = $.10). You pay it (credit card, check, money order). The system delivers the 300 points you just bought, deducts the 50 points you already have, and automatically converts it into the 12 months of paid service you wanted. You go upload more icons to fill all the new slots you now have.

3. You have: 210 points. You want: 6 months paid service (175 points).

You'll go to the shop, pick the 6 months of paid service for 175 points option, and check out. The system sees you have 210 points and need 175 for what you want. Since you have enough points to cover your order, all you'll need to do is hit the "free checkout" button it gives you and, yup, it's icon uploading time.

4. You have: 170 points. You want: 6 months paid service (175 points).

You'll go to the shop, pick the 6 months of paid service for 175 points option, and check out. The system sees you have 170 points and need 175 for what you want. You need 5 more points, but 5 points (which costs $.50) is less than the 30 point minimum order. The system will charge you $3.00 for 30 points. You pay (you know the methods by now). The system delivers the points you just bought, adds them to your existing points (leaving you with 200 points), then deducts the point cost of the item you want (175 points). The system automatically converts the 175 points it deducted into the 6 months of paid service item you wanted, leaving you with 25 points to play with in the future.

5. You have: 50 points. You want: 50 points for your friend.

Right now there's no way to transfer points, although we want to add that very quickly. (This is version 1.0, so people could start paying us, and Mark will be doing another round of improvements very soon.) So, you'd go to the shop and buy 50 for $5.00 for your friend, since you can't use points to buy points. You pay your $5, and the system delivers the points you just bought directly to your friend, who can use them however they want.

6. You have: 50 points. You want: 6 months paid service (175 points) for your friend.

If you don't want to mess around with walking a friend through how to apply points like in #3, you can pick the item you want to give them directly. You can apply your existing points to this order, since you're converting points to paid services. The system uses your 50 points, then charges you $12.50 to buy 125 more points for the remaining point cost. You pay it! It then automatically applies the points to the 6 months of paid service you wanted to give directly to your friend. Your friend starts uploading icons.

7. You have: 0 points. You want: 12 months paid service (350 points), plus an extra 100 points ($10.00) to have on hand.

You'll go to the shop, pick the 12 months of paid service for 350 points option. Then, you go back to the front of the shop and choose to add another 100 points that aren't bundled with a specific paid time option. When you have those two items together in your cart, you check out. The system sees you have 0 points and need 450 for what you want (350 points for account + 100 points that you wanted to buy), so it adds up the entire total and charges you $45.00 for 450 points. Then, the system automatically applies 350 of those points to the paid services you requested, and puts the 100 remaining points in your account.


Future improvements on the points system, and by future I mean as soon as possible:

* You'll be able to transfer points, in any amount, to another account, including to communities.

* Once you've used points to activate paid time, you'll be able to convert that paid time back into points at any time. There will be some limitations to avoid gaming the system: you'll only be able to convert whole months. (For instance, if you have 11 months and 23 days left of paid services, and you want to 'cash in' back to points, you'd get 30 points times 11 months, or 330 points, and have 23 days remaining of paid time. And yes, the math doesn't work out exact, but we're not going to sweat it -- we'll always round in your favor.)

* Something else to redeem credits for other than paid services: rename tokens are coming soon!

And yes, we're also looking into the idea of applying credits for small paid feature add-ons like choose-your-own-number-of-icon-slots. We will have to be very careful with that, but we think this system eliminates many of the problems with micropayments and pro-rating that we'd identified as problems with offering those paid account add-ons. We still aren't 100% sure we can do it, from a business standpoint, but we're seriously looking at it.

I hope this helps clear up some of the questions about the points system. It will be going "live" sometime tomorrow, hopefully. Once it does, if there's anything unclear, you can either ask here or open a support request in the Account Payments department and we will be happy to answer them for you.
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)

[personal profile] yvi 2010-04-06 07:16 am (UTC)(link)
Not yet. In the near future, you will be able to. There'll be no minimum on the number of points you can transfer out of your account (as long as you have the points to cover them), so if you want to 'tip' a friend or a community 1 point ($.10 USD), you will be able to.

Awesome!

* Once you've used points to activate paid time, you'll be able to convert that paid time back into points at any time.

And that, right there? Really shiny and customer-friendly.

(no subject)

[personal profile] yvi - 2010-04-06 07:25 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] sophie - 2010-04-06 09:47 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] goodbyebird - 2010-04-06 22:33 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] goodbyebird - 2010-04-07 01:02 (UTC) - Expand
hatman: Glowing Dreamwidth logo. Caption: "OOO, SHINY!" (shiny)

[personal profile] hatman 2010-04-06 07:46 am (UTC)(link)
This sounds so cool. It'll make it much easier to have contests in and fundraisers for communities. And it'll make buying paid accounts for friends much more flexible. Do I want to gift a smaller amount of Premium Paid time or a larger amount of plain old Paid time? Now I don't have to choose. I can gift the points and let the recipient decide!
lanterne_rouee: dreamwidth logo transparent background (dw transparent d)

[personal profile] lanterne_rouee 2010-04-06 08:00 am (UTC)(link)
very cool.
elfy: (Default)

[personal profile] elfy 2010-04-06 08:18 am (UTC)(link)
sound great :)

just except there is still no easy solution for people without credit cards :( yes, yes, i know, check and money order, but thats not *really* convienient. and yes, i know it's not your fault!

(no subject)

[personal profile] elfy - 2010-04-06 14:14 (UTC) - Expand
noxie: friendly girl smiling (Default)

[personal profile] noxie 2010-04-06 08:36 am (UTC)(link)
Will it be possible to have the cost displayed in another currency before you pay? Say, in euros instead of dollars? That would be truly great.
pne: A picture of a plush toy, halfway between a duck and a platypus, with a green body and a yellow bill and feet. (Default)

[personal profile] pne 2010-04-06 09:29 am (UTC)(link)
I suspect that they can only charge your card in dollars -- so if your account is in a different currency, your card issuer will do the currency conversion, and Dreamwidth has no idea what exchange rate they'll use or which fees they might apply. So they can't tell you how much $35 (say) would be in euros *for you*.

(And if you want an approximation, use an online currency converter -- I like http://xe.net/ucc/ personally -- but realise that the amount you'll be charged by your card issuer will almost certainly be different.)

(no subject)

[personal profile] noxie - 2010-04-07 09:42 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] noxie - 2010-04-07 09:35 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] rustnroses - 2010-04-06 13:50 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] noxie - 2010-04-07 09:39 (UTC) - Expand
skuf: Faniversity - DW campus (Default)

[personal profile] skuf 2010-04-06 08:46 am (UTC)(link)
It all sounds very exciting and very easy to understand!
cesy: "Cesy" - An old-fashioned quill and ink (Default)

[personal profile] cesy 2010-04-06 10:31 am (UTC)(link)
One of the links in the first FAQ appears to go to Mark's Dreamhack instead of the main site.

The rest of this sounds really cool, though.
Edited 2010-04-06 10:32 (UTC)
rebelsheart: Original Concept  by Me (Default)

[personal profile] rebelsheart 2010-04-06 11:05 am (UTC)(link)
If you are ever unsatisfied with your purchase for any reason, please contact us by emailing accounts@dreamwidth.org and let us know what the problem is. We're happy to work with you to find a solution.

The above line appears in the Paid Account FAQ but not in the FAQ on Dreamwidth points. It is a excellent customer service statement and should probably be in both.
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)

[personal profile] kate_nepveu 2010-04-06 11:12 am (UTC)(link)
Nice!
ilyena_sylph: picture of masked woman with bisexual-triangle colors in gradient background (Bi masked)

[personal profile] ilyena_sylph 2010-04-06 11:58 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, whoa.

I ♥ Dreamwidth so much.

*hums to self, waiting to be able to buy time for RP accounts and such*
yvi: Kaylee half-smiling, looking very pretty (Default)

[personal profile] yvi 2010-04-06 12:23 pm (UTC)(link)
I can't believe this has been up for a few hours without an explosion over and in the future, we might: how awesome would it be to be able to buy icons one slot at a time until you had enough, knowing that you could add on more at any time? :)
fangirlism: (Default)

[personal profile] fangirlism 2010-04-07 07:58 am (UTC)(link)
I was just thinking about that. I bet DW implements this before LJ does.

(no subject)

[personal profile] yvi - 2010-04-07 08:06 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] fangirlism - 2010-04-07 08:23 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] yvi - 2010-04-07 08:25 (UTC) - Expand
paian: Daniel giving a thumbs-up, caption 'whoo!' (whoo by littlekfru)

[personal profile] paian 2010-04-06 02:48 pm (UTC)(link)
This is fabulous. :-) :-)
sofiaviolet: drawing of three violets and three leaves (Default)

[personal profile] sofiaviolet 2010-04-06 03:49 pm (UTC)(link)
♥_♥

OMG YOU GUYS

This is so, so cool. I can't wait until you roll out direct points transfer.
chris: (crash smash)

[personal profile] chris 2010-04-06 05:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Very cool, and highly intuitive. Thank you!

There'll be no minimum on the number of points you can transfer out of your account (as long as you have the points to cover them), so if you want to 'tip' a friend or a community 1 point ($.10 USD), you will be able to.

Do you intend that it ought to be possible to tip less than a whole point, or do you intend the points to be atomic?

I quite like the idea of, and may yet suggest to dw-suggestions down the line, an opt-in feature whereby you automatically tip every post made to your circle (or, possibly, every post made to your circle by people you specify). Yes, this is open to abuse, but I would trust the people in my circle (or, at least, the people for whom I might turn on automatic tipping) to maintain quality rather than maximise quantity. Tipping as much as the equivalent of US$0.1, potentially many times a day, strikes me as beyond my means with the exchange rate as it is, but I like the thought of living in a world where everyone automatically tips something for everything. (Other people may not like this thought, as it means tipping becomes less special, but that's opt-in for you.)

Unrelatedly - and I assume the answer is no, but assumptions are just that - do you intend to offer the facility to convert DW points into either cash or some other form of scrip, such as either (a) counterpart credit on some other Dreamwidth installation or (b) gift certificates for other cites? I believe you don't currently offer refunds and don't currently intend to offer them (I don't intend to take the offer up if you do!) so I might guess that that would extend to other methods of converting points out of the system, and I would be perfectly prepared to believe that ever offering such an ability might expose DW to all manner of bank-style regulation which would involve a thousand times as much effort as it's worth.

(Edited: *checks TOS* Section II says "Payments to Dreamwidth Studios, for account services or for any other purpose, are refundable or transferable solely at Dreamwidth's discretion", so "you don't currently offer refunds" is not strictly accurate, though I believe it to generally be true.)
Edited 2010-04-06 17:06 (UTC)

(no subject)

[personal profile] chris - 2010-04-06 18:18 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] pauamma - 2010-04-06 22:06 (UTC) - Expand
the_wanlorn: The Doubtful Guest (Default)

[personal profile] the_wanlorn 2010-04-06 05:32 pm (UTC)(link)
I think my favorite part of this new system is that I look at 350 points, and then look at $35, and go "Holy shit, 35 is WAY less than 350! This is an AWESOME DEAL!!" and don't feel bad about spending money on something that isn't groceries/bills/rent. :DDDDDD
angelikitten: Cat with a halo (Default)

[personal profile] angelikitten 2010-04-06 06:02 pm (UTC)(link)
This is possibly just me missing the obvious, but does anyone know/know where to find out which credit cards are accepted?

(no subject)

[personal profile] angelikitten - 2010-04-06 18:12 (UTC) - Expand

[personal profile] piscinarii 2010-04-06 06:02 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm very excited about this. It does seem to make things simpler :D
shyfoxling: fox in a witch's hat and Ravenclaw colors scarf with a wand and shiny swirly bits (Default)

[personal profile] shyfoxling 2010-04-06 06:06 pm (UTC)(link)
lol. I love how the first order of business is always MOAR ICONS.

The system sees you have 0 points and need 450 for what you want (350 points for account + 100 points that you wanted to buy)

Um.. so the system allows you to use points to buy points, technically speaking? Which is a silly thing to try to do, obviously, but it sounds like that's just what it's doing...
foxfirefey: Fox stealing an egg. (mischief)

[personal profile] foxfirefey 2010-04-06 06:08 pm (UTC)(link)
No, no, in the hypothetical situation you want to buy an account and buy 100 points, so since the account is 350 points itself, you end up buying 450 points. You can't buy points with points, the system is smart enough for that!
rivenwanderer: (Default)

[personal profile] rivenwanderer 2010-04-06 06:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Will a point always equal 10 US cents? If it ever changes (to 5 or 20 cents, for instance), will existing pools of points be converted, or stay the same?
draigwen: (Default)

[personal profile] draigwen 2010-04-06 06:51 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm not sure if this is a likely scenario but what if rather than point 2:

2. You have: 50 points. You want: 12 months paid service (350 points).

You're in this situation:

2. You have: 50 points. You want: 12 months paid service (350 points) plus an extra 50 points to have on hand.

i.e. you want to buy 12 months and keep your 50 points in hand?

(no subject)

[personal profile] draigwen - 2010-04-06 19:07 (UTC) - Expand

[personal profile] nantahala 2010-04-06 07:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Excellent! I love the points system - easy and streamlined. \o/
enigel: (DW Jack pretty and wistful)

[personal profile] enigel 2010-04-06 08:28 pm (UTC)(link)
how awesome would it be to be able to buy icons one slot at a time until you had enough

Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiis awesome! :D
enigel: small aeroplane in flight, with the flight deck windows looking at the viewer (DW Jack shameless)

Typo in FAQid4

[personal profile] enigel 2010-04-06 10:18 pm (UTC)(link)
http://www.dreamwidth.org/support/faqbrowse?faqid=4

"We offer two levels of paida ccount services" (em. mine) Sorry, I'm just wired to spot typos, it's a gift. ;)

Re: Typo in FAQid4

[personal profile] enigel - 2010-04-07 00:47 (UTC) - Expand
dragovianknight: (Default)

[personal profile] dragovianknight 2010-04-06 10:25 pm (UTC)(link)
how awesome would it be to be able to buy icons one slot at a time until you had enough, knowing that you could add on more at any time?

It's like you care about how we use our journals and what we want, or something!
goodbyebird: Arrested Development: Buster is shocked by this sheep, which is actually a bunny manipped in there for the lulz. (AD Buster Bunny Busted aaaaaaah!)

[personal profile] goodbyebird 2010-04-06 10:38 pm (UTC)(link)
This is not how the world works!! *panics*

(no subject)

[personal profile] dragovianknight - 2010-04-07 03:51 (UTC) - Expand
pauamma: Cartooney crab holding drink (Default)

[personal profile] pauamma 2010-04-06 11:32 pm (UTC)(link)
In scenario 6 (need 5 points more than I have to buy what I want, but I can't bet 5 cents buy 5 points), do I get a "you're about to buy 30 points, not 5" warning? (I haven't set things up on my Dreamhack, and I don't have points to try buying stuff - or stuff to buy - on DW itself)

(no subject)

[staff profile] fu - 2010-04-07 02:06 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[staff profile] fu - 2010-04-07 02:42 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

[personal profile] pauamma - 2010-04-07 12:30 (UTC) - Expand

Page 1 of 2

<< [1] [2] >>