Mid-Week Updates

  • Jacob@DPD
  • September 21, 2010
  • No Comments

Today’s release brings a handful of changes to DPD.

Updated Purchase List

We’ve upgraded everyone’s purchase list with useful new features:

  • Search for purchases by customer name.
  • Date range presets save you a few seconds every time you use them.
  • Sales total is now displayed at the top of the purchase list. You no longer have to add up all those numbers by hand!
  • Export as CSV feature lets you import the data into Excel or any other program that supports reading CSV files.

SSL Everywhere

DPD now uses HTTPS (secure HTTP) for every admin and delivery page on the site. This makes DPD 100% safe to use on insecure networks like public WiFi. All existing carts and buy now buttons will be automatically redirected to HTTPS without any intervention on your part. All new buttons will use HTTPS by default.

Miscellaneous Changes

  • Added option to email affiliates when posting new news.
  • Fixed name and description getting garbled in Google Checkout when using accented and non-ASCII characters.
  • Do not show “payment received” line on delivery pages when giving free downloads.
  • Added feedback tab back to admin. Keep the feedback coming, we love it!
  • Fixed incorrectly PayPal masspay file. If you received an “invalid masspay file” error in PayPal, please re-export your masspay file and try again.

The Inside Scoop on Product Size, Price, and Sales

  • Jason@DPD
  • September 17, 2010
  • No Comments

Here at DPD we maintain a content delivery and ecommerce network that delivers thousands of products. This generates a mountain of data on product sizes, product prices, sales volume, most popular product types, etc.

We’re serious about our privacy policy though, and we never share or sell sales information about any vendor or their product performance to 3rd parties. We do however use anonymous sales and product data to plan our infrastructure and future features to to provide the best possible service to our vendors.

This data includes things like product size, product price, product type (video, pdf, etc.), and how many sales they’ve had. This helps us gauge our storage and bandwidth requirements and is a crucial tool for us to make sure we have enough capacity to meet demand.

In this post we’d like to share a few of those anonymous product statistics with you for fun and informational purposes. For the sake of simplicity we’ll look only at products that are being sold in US Dollars (which accounts for the vast majority of DPD products).

Largest Products

First up, we’ll look at the top 10 largest products being delivered with DPD along with their price and how many times they’ve been purchased. As stated above, to keep this anonymous we’ve stripped all product names and IDs and we’re just looking at the raw size and transaction data.

 Size (MB)   Product Price   Purchase Count 
3141 49.00 122
2882 48.50 572
2882 97.00 2038
2882 48.50 58
2116 19.95 87
2048 67.00 58
2048 49.00 97
2025 29.00 421
1722 15.95 3
1695 39.95 11

Almost without exception these large 1, 2, and 3GB+ files are all video products. These might be training videos or independent films for example.

Before we make any determinations or correlations, lets look at a little more data.

Most Expensive Products

Next we’ll look at the top 10 most expensive products in our system. This table includes data for single item products, not any combos that might be made up of other collections of products at a higher price.

 Size (MB)   Product Price   Purchase Count 
4 $4,795.00 1
$1,000.00 20
2 $999.00 1
1 $995.00 1
2 $699.00 97
3 $500.00 1
70 $499.99 1
1631 $498.00 3
2 $495.00 4
$397.00 3

You’ll notice in this table that there are a couple products without a size. These are keycode products where the vendor is selling a software key, more than likely to activate a shareware or trail version of software or to unlock access to a subscription area on a website.

With one exception these most expensive products are all very small, which typically means the product is a PDF ebook, spreadsheet, or other non-multimedia document. You’ll also notice that the purchase count averages very low for expensive products.

Best Selling products

Finally, we’ll look at the data for the most popular products in the DPD system. These products are ordered by the number of sales, not the net sales amount.

 Size (MB)   Product Price   Purchase Count 
1 $4.99 4394
$79.00 3454
5 $39.95 3360
$8.04 2982
3 $29.00 2922
3 $57.00 2619
1 $10.00 2418
9 $19.99 2199
2882 $97.00 2038
11 $25.00 1756

The thing we find most striking about this final table are the small product sizes. These files are almost all PDF products, scripts, small programs, website themes, or other non-multimedia products.

There is also a fairly wide range of product prices in this list- they range anywhere from $4.99 to $97.99. It’s interesting that the #2 product at $7.99 outsells the #4 product which is almost 1/10 the price. However, its important to take sales volume in to account when looking at pricing your own product.

For example:

4394 x $4.99 = $21,926.06

2982 x $8.04 = $23,975.28

1756 x $25.00 = $43,900.00

While cheaper products do tend to sell more copies, net income definitely favors the higher priced product.

Also, from looking at this information one might conclude that information products such as PDFs and other smaller products tend to sell more than large multimedia files like video. Of course, without knowing the specific products and their marketing efforts it would all just be conjecture.

You can see right off the bat why DPD can afford to give so much more product storage space compared to our competitors- while we do store many HUGE files, the most popular files in our system are relatively small, allowing us to average the total bandwidth and disk space costs and provide a better value to everyone. Number #9 on the list? We lose money on that guy every month. Thats ok though as long as everyone doesn’t have a wildly popular 2.8GB product 🙂

We’re developers here at DPD and we love analyzing raw technical and sales data. We’ve purposely left this post open to interpretation, and we’re interested in what you think.

Drop us a comment and tell us what conclusions you’ve come up with from looking at this data!

New DPD Features: TGIF Edition!

  • Jason@DPD
  • September 10, 2010
  • 2 Comments

It’s been a long week at DPD HQ and we’re happy to announce our intrepid developers got out of bed at 6AM to publish a special TGIF update that brings a number of new features that vendors have been asking for:

Tangible Goods

DPD now supports the sale of simple tangible goods along side your downloadable products.

Tangible goods are anything that needs to be delivered. So you’re no longer limited to digital files and product codes with DPD. Sell physical copies of your products like CDs or DVDs. Sell company memorabilia like coffee mugs, yoga mats, bobble heads, t-shirts or stationary. Sell lawn furniture, or your custom replicas of Yoda’s gimmer stick.* If you have something to sell, DPD can help you sell it.

Our focus will always be on digital product delivery (It is our name after all), but we wanted to accommodate those vendors who might want to sell a boxed or printed product along side their digital delivery in the same cart.

Along with tangible goods support, we’ve upgraded the purchase tracking system to handle the stuff unique to physical products. DPD now also has:

  • Shipping Cost Support
  • Tax Support
  • Inventory Tracking
  • Invoices
  • Updated Purchases List with Status Icons and Color Coded rows for easy order management

Learn More: Tangible Goods Documentation

Quantities

An often requested feature was the ability to sell multiple quantities of downloadable products for people that wanted to sell multiple software or usage licenses, etc. You can now enable the sale of multiple quantities when configuring a product.

The customer will still get one download button with multiple quantities (as downloading the same thing more than once is just silly), but if they purchase more than one their receipt will show the quantity purchased. Also, if it is a product with keycodes, DPD will automatically deliver the number of keys purchased (so if they bought a quantity of 3, they’ll get 3 keys).

Selling multiple quantities defaults to off for digital products and on for tangible goods.

Learn More: Selling Multiple Quantities of Products

Automated FTP Mass Upload

DPD has always offered FTP as a product file upload method, but it was a manual operation and you had to contact support for an account, wait for us to attach your file to your product, etc. That was a major pain in the butt for everyone, so we’ve made it completely automated.

On the product file upload page you’ll find FTP upload instructions for connecting to your own personal DPD FTP account. Once you upload your products, they’ll magically appear in DPD so you can attach them to your products without any need for contacting support!

This will also be handy if you have a bunch of products to set up- just queue them up in your FTP program and walk away- they’ll upload while you’re doing other things and when they’re done you can come back attach the product files to your products. We think you’ll really like this feature for the time savings.

Learn More: Mass Upload Your Products with FTP

PDF Buyer Tracking Update

We’ve improved one of DPD’s most popular features- PDF Buyer Tracking. Vendors can now customize how their PDFs are stamped with buyer information:

  • Tracking Format allows you to customize the text that is displayed in your watermark. Merge variables allow you to specify where the purchase information goes.
  • Tracking Page Limit will allow you to chose how many pages, starting from the first page, to apply the watermark. This is great for documents that are intended to be printed, but without a watermark.
  • Font Color lets you choose the color of the watermark so it stands out or blends in with the background.

Learn More: PDF Buyer Tracking Feature Information

Thats about it for this update. We’re all going to head to the bar for some recreational binge drinking, so hopefully nothing broke.

Just kidding!
We’ll be standing by if anyone has an problems like always- to get some help with anything log in to your DPD account and submit a support ticket– we’re here if you need us!

*One of the developers wrote this. What can I say, developers are pretty nerdy sometimes.

The Newest Member of the DPD Family

  • Jason@DPD
  • August 27, 2010
  • 3 Comments

Early Tuesday morning Jacob’s wife gave birth to a beautiful and healthy baby boy. Jacob is one of the brilliant developers behind DPD and as one of the two original founders wrote most of the code that delivers your products each and every day.

Jacob and his Son
Jacob and his Son

Most of you never speak to Jacob, but thats not because he’s on vacation. As head of development for DPD he focuses on the technical aspects of the service and keeps everything running under the hood along with our newest partner, Scott. Rest assured though, if you’ve ever received a reply from me that read “One of the developers checked it out and fixed…” there’s a good chance he was the one that solved your problem.

He’s been my best friend for over 20 years and I’ve come to think of him as the brother I’ve never had. I have no doubt he will make a great father. Please join me in wishing him well while he works through his first days of being a new dad!

New Features! Custom Templates and Customer Info Collection for Free Products

  • Jason@DPD
  • August 10, 2010
  • 1 Comment

Would you like that a bit more blue?

How about making the fonts a nice shade of green? Want to scrap what we gave you and start from scratch? Now you can! DPD now supports full cart and delivery page customization for all 20 product or more plans. We have two different ways to do it for your customization pleasure: Basic color and the advanced full template customization.

To get started, go to the Look and Feel page of your website profile and open up a template editor:

If you get lost, just read the button

Basic: Color Customization

Not so keen on the HTML and CSS? No problem- Go the easy route and pick 11 glorious colors to make the default template look a little more like your site.

Color Pickers. Because they pick colors, Avi.

Advanced: Full Template Customization

For the artistic and technical types we offer full template customization so you can customize how your cart and delivery pages look down to the last pixel. This powerful method is not for the faint of heart, so be sure to check out the documentation before diving in here.

Yes, that is completely my cat Pickles. And yes, Pickles is the most awesome name for a cat ever.

Whichever method you choose to customize your customer experience, we’re pretty sure you’ll never want to go back to stock. But if you happen to make your website a bit too purple and red, click on the revert link to start over.


New Feature Documentation: Cart and Delivery Page Customization

Collect Customer Info on Free Downloads

Tired of giving free downloads to random strangers? Now you can make them stand up and be counted. The “collect customer info” feature requires that anybody downloading your product gratis is required to give a name and an email address. Of course we’ll treat these downloads like any other purchase and ping you with the API and send your customer’s information on to your mailing list manager.

Yeah, that's easy.

This is a per product option and all new products will default to “Collect Info On” for free checkout buttons and sales that result in a free checkout because of coupons.

You can also customize the collect customer info page template to your hearts content just like the cart and delivery pages!

Did somebody say list building?

What’s next? We’re not saying much but it rhymes with smaultiple squantities and stangible sgoods.

DPD Update: New Vendor Control Panel

  • Jason@DPD
  • July 29, 2010
  • No Comments

This morning we published an update that introduced an all new vendor control panel. This fluid, full width admin interface makes better use of widescreen monitors and higher resolution displays- something our server usage stats tell us that most vendors are moving toward. We’ve also made a couple usability improvements that we hope will make things easier to understand for everyone that uses DPD to sell downloads.

New Vendor Control Panel

New Vendor User Interface

The new vendor control panel is based on the 960gs system and is a fluid, full width template that uses 100% of your monitor instead of the bit in the middle. This gives us the ability to pack more information on a screen, reduces scrolling, and gives us lots of places to stick new features 🙂

Of note in the new admin interface is the side navigation- we’ve moved all commonly used vendor functions to the left sidebar for easy navigation from any page in the admin. We hope this will help people find everything they’re looking for a little easier.

Usability Improvements- “New Product Wizard”

New Product Wizard
New Product Wizard

As far as we know, DPD is the only download cart on the internet that allows users to set up multiple websites, each with their own customizations, on one account. Sadly, this also made DPD a little more complicated than other carts. To help correct this and make DPD easier to use for all, we’ve created a “New Product Wizard” that guides you step by step through picking the store you want to sell through, choosing your product type, uploading your product, and setting its features and options.

Vendors no longer have to go to the specific store they want to create a product under and hunt for a create product button- just click the “Add New Product” link in the new left nav menu for every new product- we explain the process along the way in plain english once you get started!

New Customization Option… Tomorrow

Tomorrow we’re adding a powerful new customization option that will let you completely control the look and feel of your cart and delivery pages. Check the blog tomorrow for the feature announcement and a link to the documentation for this powerful new feature!

As always, we value everyone’s feedback and we read every message you send us. If anyone has any questions, problems, or comments please log in to your DPD account and submit a ticket- we’ll get back with you ASAP!

DPD Review: ProductShotPro

  • Jason@DPD
  • June 14, 2010
  • No Comments

We’re going to start featuring great products and services who use DPD to sell and deliver their products. We love to support vendors who use DPD, and we enjoy seeing what you guys have done with your site and products!

ProductShotPro has two things going for it that make it a great featured vendor for DPD- A great product that lots of DPD vendors can use and a great website integration with DPD 🙂

Sample box product shot created with ProductShotPro

What is ProductShotPro?

Digital product graphics are popular with vendors who sell downloads. When buyers see a product shot of the item they are about to download they may be less apprehensive about spending money on downloadable products or software- helping to increase sales. This is where ebook cover software like ProductShotPro comes in.

Product Shot Pro is a complete graphics suite of professionally designed and easy to use 3D style product cover templates. With ProductShotPro you can create professional product shots of software boxes, ebook cover graphics, CD and DVD cases, and more. It uses Photoshop CS4 and CS5 Smart Objects to automatically turn your flat cover image in to a 3D product packaging graphic.

Sample report cover created with ProductShotPro

It includes over 100 product shots you can design, including:

  • Software Boxes
  • CD and DVD Covers
  • Binders and Notebooks
  • Hardcover Books
  • Paperback Books
  • Magazines and Reports
  • Brochures, Stationary, and Business Cards
  • 3D Screenshot layouts and more!

We’ve seen quite a few software packages and online services to create professional product shot graphics, but ProductShotPro has to be the most complete and well put together package of high resolution smart objects we’ve come across. In just a few minutes I was able to create all the sample “DPD Products” you see in this review!

How Does it Work?

ProductShotPro uses Smart Objects, which are like embeded Photoshop Images + transformations + effects inside other Photoshop documents. To create your cover graphic, you simply open the smart object that corresponds to the side or face of the product you are working on- for example the “front” or “spine” of a book or product box.

You then design your flat face graphic and save it- ProductShotPro smart objects automatically scale, transform, and apply layer effects and insert your flat 2D image in to a high definition, 3D product shot. ProductShotPro will automatically add reflections and shadows too!

ProductShotPro turns your 2D flat cover graphic in to professional 3D product shots.

ProductShotPro is a professional tool for making great high definition product shots, and you do need to have Photoshop CS4 or CS5 to use the smart objects. However, the included quick-start guide and clearly labeled and organized layers make it easy for anyone to start creating their own great looking product shots.

If you want to learn more they have a quick tour video that shows just how easy it is to create your own graphics on the ProductShotPro website– just click “View Tour” in the top right corner of the page.

DVD case made wth ProductShotPro

What is Included?

  • ProductShotPro Quick-Start Guide
  • Photoshop PSD product shot templates with smart objects
  • Free sample graphics to get you started
  • Quick reference chart to help you pick the perfect product shot

How Much Does it Cost?

ProductShotPro is available in a complete package with over 100 product shot types, or you can buy individual groups for just the products you need. Individual packs are a very reasonable $29, or you can pick up the complete suite for $199. You can browse all the pages in their DPD powered store.

When I told the guys at ProductShotPro that I wanted to review their product for DPD users they offered to give a special discount! You can use the coupon code below to save 15% off your purchase of an individual pack or the complete suite!

ProductShotPro 15% Off Coupon: DPDSAVE15%

Check out this ebook cover software today!

HDMonitor Recursive ProductShotPro Crazyness

And just for fun, here is a shot using the HD Monitor template that contains a screenshot of my desktop making the HD monitor template that includes a screenshot of me making the DVD cover graphic. You know, because I can.

DPD Vendors: Have a product you think other DPD users might be interested in? Have a great integration of the DPD cart with your sales site you want to show off? Drop us a line– you might be our next featured vendor!

DPD was not paid for this review, but ProductShotPro is a DPD vendor.

DPD Featured Vendors

  • Jason@DPD
  • June 14, 2010
  • No Comments

We’ve decided that we’re going to start making semi-regular “DPD Featured Vendor” product and site review posts here on the DPD Blog for products and services that might be of interest to other DPD vendors.

This is good for a few reasons-

  • It gives DPD vendors free reviews, exposure, and promotion to a targeted group of users (download product sellers)
  • It shows people what others are doing with their DPD powered cart
  • It lets DPD show off great looking sites that use DPD
  • It lets DPD vendors provide a coupon or special value to other DPD vendors, saving them money while driving sales

DPD Featured Vendors will have a free review posted on the DPD blog as well as a spotlight link in the DPD newsletter. This will be for DPD vendors only and the featured vendors will be picked by the DPD team.

Want to be a DPD Featured Vendor?

Drop us a line and tell us about your product. Make sure you include a link to your sales site where you have integrated DPD as your solution to sell downloads. If you want to offer a special deal to other DPD users and readers of this blog, let us know what you have in mind. We’ll go from there! We want to spotlight and review products that other DPD vendors could use.

Some good examples might be:

  • Guides or ebooks related to selling downloads
  • Website templates, etc. for sales pages and selling downloads
  • Articles, content, graphics related to selling

Things that probably wouldn’t make good featured products:

  • Products completely unrelated to selling downloads like needlepoint patterns, scrapbook graphics, Adsense Affiliate guides, etc.
  • Products that are political or religious in nature
  • Adult, offensive, or illegal content not allowed for sale by DPD 🙂

You can check out our first featured vendor post here: ProductShotPro Review

ClickBank Updates, Additions to IPN Notification System

  • Jason@DPD
  • June 12, 2010
  • No Comments

Today we published a small update that tweaked how a couple DPD features worked. None of these affect currently deployed DPD buy buttons or products already set up in the system.

ClickBank Updates

Previously DPD would only work if a ClickBank sale initiated through a DPD generated buy button. DPD will now work with ClickBank if the sale initiates through either a DPD buy button OR a direct ClickBank link such as itemnumber.username.clickbank.net.

This should solve problems going forward with some users using pre-built scripts to power their ClickBank sales sites, and also sales that originate through 3rd party ClickBank directory type sites.

Also, ClickBank “thank you” pages provided by DPD now show a relevant error instead of the standard 404 error for dead pages when they are browsed to directly. The page will show an “active” status message when the product is set up and good to go. DPD generated “thank you” pages will only provide download links when part of a successful checkout through ClickBank.

This only affects new products being created from today forward. Previously created products are unchanged to prevent breaking already deployed buy buttons. If anyone wants the new functionality they are welcome to update their buy button code, but it is not required.

IPN Notification URL Updates

We’ve added POST vars for the contents of the cart checkout to the DPD IPN Notification URL system. These new additions include:

X = the item number in the checkout, i.e. 1, 2, 3, etc.

For each item:

‘item_nameX => The product name for this item
‘item_numberX => The DPD product ID number for this item
‘quantityX => The quantity of this item sold. Typically “1”
‘mc_gross_X => The product price for this item
‘mc_currency_X => The price currency for this item
‘skuX => The SKU / Stock number for this item
‘product_keyX => If a product key was delivered through DPD’s new keycode delivery system for this item, it will be included here.

These are all the same as PayPal IPN POST vars, so they should be very close to compatible with any 3rd party services or scripts designed for PayPal or the PayPal IPN system.