Stop making it so hard for me to give you my money

Shut up and take my money!

I sent the following letter to shinywhitebox’s customer support today after trying to buy iShowU HD. iShowU HD is a terribly-named but genuinely good piece of Mac software. Unfortunately, the experience of buying it almost made me give up in frustration.


Dear shinywhitebox,

You guys made it really difficult to give you my money today. I was trying to buy the $69.95 iShowU HD Pro / Stomp bundle, but I couldn’t for about 15 minutes.

Using Safari 5.1.5 for Mac, I registered, then tried PayPal—it went to a sandbox account which I couldn’t log into. I tried my Visa and it was declined (the card is fine and I double checked the info). I tried Kagi but it only has iShowU for sale. Not inspiring a lot of confidence here.

I looked on the Mac App Store but it’s $30 more for both. That’s hard to swallow.

I started the process on the website over again in Chrome, because I had clicked several times on iShowU HD’s Add to Cart button but because of lack of feedback I thought it wasn’t working—instead it kept incrementing the quantity counter on the right, up to 5. Even though I had changed it to 0 and clicked Update before I tried my first purchase attempt, when I tried to start over in Safari the 5 still appeared.

Anyway, there was no record of the user I created. So I created it again (I guess it’s only created on successful payment). This time the card worked, and I was presented with the products I had just purchased.

Well, the names anyway. There were no download links. If I just purchased the software, you should present the download links immediately, even if I can easily find them on the website.

I checked my email and found two duplicate “Your new account details” emails—one from “LocalTestSupport” and another from shinywhitebox Support. The final third email did, in fact, have download links.

In the final email, there was a typo:

Load the app at least once (you’ve done this already right? cos you downloaded them demo … right? :-)

No, I had deleted the demo because I had tried to do the software update before all of this and it failed. It was probably a year old and I chalked it up to something breaking in the interim.

Guys, you make a great app, but you made it so hard for me to get a registered copy of it that I wonder how many potential customers you bounce in the process.

p.s. Your contact form declined my perfectly valid .name email address. If you care about customer feedback, you should make email optional anyway.

Update from Neil Clayton at shinywhitebox: Neil responded to this by email with a detailed reply that covered most of the issues I raised. It looks like I was somehow funneled to the test server, but he was unsure how it happened (and, I assume, will investigate). Besides that, he has:

  • Created a ticket to add download links to his emails.
  • Fixed the typos.
  • Removed the email validation on the contact form.

No word on the price discrepancy of the Mac App Store versus the website, or the different product offering on the Kagi store, but thanks to Neil for taking the time to address some of these concerns.

Like this post? You might also like Coalmine, my centralized error tracking service for your apps. Coalmine captures errors and all kinds of helpful debugging information, notifies you, and makes it all searchable. Check it out!



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