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

Payment scenarios )

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.