I've got to say, guys; I have no idea how the big companies do it, because selling and distributing your own product is bloody hard. Some of you may have noticed us whining on Twitter about PayPal, and you might also have noticed that we switched away from our own Shopp solution and PayPal, and to Amazon.com for our payment and ordering solution.
Temporarily not for sale on Amazon...
You may also have noticed that, as of this morning, the devices are no longer for sale on Amazon.com. That's not because we are out of stock - in fact, we have plenty of stock. The reason is that Amazon thought it was a little bit mysterious that we jumped from zero sales to thousands in the span of a few short weeks.
Fair enough; I'm guessing Amazon has algorithms and computers who look into selling patterns etc, and I'm also pretty sure that our particular sales pattern (zero sales one week, lots the next, even more the week after) happens relatively rarely. No hard feelings to Amazon; they have to protect their business, the same way we have to try to run ours. It is frustrating to us, of course, but we're working with Amazon to restore our account so we can continue selling the Triggertrap Mobile and relevant cables.
So where can I buy the Triggertrap Mobile and cables?
At the moment: Nowhere*.
Any orders that have already been paid for and made will be fulfilled as usual, of course - we just can't take any new orders.
We're in the weird limbo position of having more than enough stock (we have thousands of cables and dongles sitting in our Hong Kong warehouse, ready to be shipped out), and the infrastructure to ship them out... But since we are refusing to use PayPal (more about that in just a second); since Google Checkout doesn't work very well with the Shopp solution we were using, and only accepts payments in British Pound Sterling (which is confusing to a lot of our customers, it turns out); and since Amazon now has put our account on hold, we simply have no way of taking orders, processing payments, and sending out confirmation e-mails etc.
*) So, for the foreseeable future, we are only selling the Triggertrap Mobile dongle via our distributors - more information about where to find them will appear on our Where to Buy page.
Looking for other distribution channels
In the meantime, we have realised that whilst it has been interesting to take orders, deal with shipping warehouses, returns, and all that fun stuff, it isn't actually what we are about: Triggertrap is about creating amazing ways of triggering your camera, not about throwing 90% of our time at administrating our orders.
In the longer term, we would like to stop selling our own products, and instead link in with a distributor network. We have some exciting news coming up on that front, with distributors in the US, Israel and Dubai - but we are looking for more distributors, too, both aiming at online and retail distribution.
If you're a distributor who wants to get on board, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll take it from there!
So what about PayPal?
Feel free to skip this bit; it's a bit ranty.
The PayPal saga is still rolling on. Basically, they have 'limited' our account - which is fair enough for the same reasons as Amazon's reasons above. However, PayPal are a lot more opaque about things. Instead of telling us up front what they need from us, they've added five different limitations to our account, now, back-to-back, which means that, despite the thousands of sales we've made since May 1st, we haven't received a penny of the money.
The most recent limitation went on on May 7th, and they told us it would take 'up to 14 days'. So, on Monday (the 14th day), I called them, and they said "Oh. We meant 14 days by the end of play, so there are still a few hours to go". So I called on Tuesday, and they said "Oh, it'll be resolved in a few hours", and I asked them to add a note to the account. Then I called on Wednesday, and they said "Oh, we'll look at it in the next 24-48 hours" - but couldn't find the note we had added to the account the day before.
It may seem a little bit ironic to some, perhaps, that we get so upset about PayPal holding on to our money, when some of you have been waiting for quite a while to receive your Triggertrap v1 devices. We get where you are coming from, but the big problem for us is this: PayPal is currently hanging on to more than 80% of the assets of Triggertrap Ltd. To us, this is a risk, because for as long as PayPal decides to hang on to this money, we have a pretty serious cash flow risk. Imagine for a moment that PayPal is your checking account (except, instead of paying you interest, they charge you 3% for receiving money), but they are simply refusing to give you your own money. Let's just say this; If they had been a proper bank, they would have been eaten alive by the Financial Services Authority.