If you peruse this website (while logged into the forum), you may notice a tiny little surprise. It's on every single page.
Did you find it? Good! Well, that is obviously nothing useful or interesting, but it was a simple test as the first step toward Dumb Accounts. See, here's the story:
Plimus, the company that currently handles our orders, is failing us. Not to say anything is broken, or your orders are in any danger - on the contrary, everything is exactly as it has always been. It's perfectly secure, and works just fine. The problem is that it IS how it's always been. I've been asking them to fix this one minor problem for over a year now (I think for two years, but I'm not sure). I get answers anywhere from a big run-around where they need to ask other people (other people who I have since asked myself, to discover that they are not involved at all) to no reply at all. The problem is simple enough: the default shipping option on CD orders for international customers is this insane $65+ fee. I don't even need them to remove that option, just make it not be the default! It's been used several times, always
on accident (who would intentionally use that?!). So then we always have to go through this process with an upset customer, and refunding money and all this stuff. It's utterly ridiculous and it's a five second fix for them to do.
So I told them I'm done if they don't fix it. Well, I got no reply to that, so I am done. How does this all lead to Dumb Accounts? Well, I am going to switch to Paypal for order processing. I think that's a good thing - everybody knows Paypal, so it will be well trusted. And it's not just Paypal payments, they handle credit cards and all just like Plimus. The other great thing about them is that their rates are very low, so I'll make quite a bit more per sale (well, actually about $1 on an average sale, but that adds up!). The downside is that it functions in a completely different way, so I need to do major backend changes to the website. This is also a sort of upside, however! That's because the way Paypal functions gives me more flexibility and power here on the site, much like when I had my own merchant account, way back when.
And that, in part, is where Dumb Accounts come in. A Dumb Account is your forum account, simple as that. But as you can see by the little surprise on every page, it will be linked to the entire site, not just the forum. And it will contain a lot more than just forum stuff. Here are some ideas I have had for what it could be used for:
- Store your shipping and billing addresses (not shown publicly!), to make ordering easier.
- Track what products you own from us, and you can get new download links automatically - but I get notified when you do, so I can stop abuse of this feature.
- Track your prize points!
- Maybe someday, spend your prize points directly through a web interface (and apply them to game orders sort of like a gift certificate).
- Definitely lots more ways to GET prize points and spend them.
- Future games can have an online score system tied to Dumb Accounts. Your scores go up under your Dumb Account, instead of under some random name.
- At last, a hand-made, trustworthy chatroom, where you are who you are and it can be verified! And you won't have to login - you're already logged in as long as your Dumb Account is. Incidentally, I'm also hoping to implement this chatroom into future games, so you can chat with people playing games and on the site while you are playing. Need help? Just ask right in-game!
- An automatic sig generator that displays your achievements in our games, or which games you have? Maybe somehow. You could use it anywhere, it'd just be an image generated here. Spread the word of Hamumu! This is inspired by the Xbox Gamerscore thing you see people posting on their blogs and such. Same idea, but for your Hamumu games.
- Integration with Dumb: The Game, so your DQ is under your Dumb Account too (and can go in that sig! Or you can hide it in shame).
- User ratings and reviews of our games? Doesn't really require Dumb Accounts to do, but something that could be done with them.
- Not that we have so many products, but it might be fun to do the statistics across accounts and do the "If you liked Supreme, you need to try Kid Mystic!" recommendation system (based on which games tend to be owned by owners of the game you're looking at).
Do you have any ideas of stuff that Dumb Accounts could do for us?
By the way, this is not coming soon. Well, fairly soon - it's my top priority project, and LL:TT is now on the back burner until this gets handled. But it'll take quite a while to get working, I fear. Web programming is hard!