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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Inside software credit system.

I want to implement inside my desktop software a credit system. Where the users of the software can purchase credits (something similar to game items) and use them for different tasks inside software. I think it is called pay-per-use business model. The software is B2B and expensive, so I was thinking of lowering the perception of the software cost by implementing such system. What are the easy to integrate payment processors that can handle such payment transactions and provide some library for integration?
RossR Send private email
Friday, November 01, 2013
Which payment processors did you already looked at and rejected as not right for you?

(It's really a polite way of saying that this is a lazy question. There are only a few payment processors so you're asking us to google for you, read their terms and summarize the research. Show us that you did a minimum of work and narrow down the search space for us).

As a side note: this is a bad idea.

In general, people like predictability. They don't like to pay $X only to find later that they have to pay $Y more in order to use the (apparently business critical) software.

It works for free-to-play games but those are different than B2B software. I can guarantee you that people will be surprised by this nickel-and-diming (even if you're very clear on your sale pages that $X only pays for some features but not others) and then they'll be supremely pissed at you.

When a user is about to do something in your software, interrupting them to ask for money will be rage inducing.

There's a reason no B2B desktop software (that I know of) does that: it's a really bad idea.
Krzysztof Kowalczyk Send private email
Friday, November 01, 2013
About the second part, It seems you don't  understand what I was asking about, but thanks for you analysis anyway. The software will implement a system to lower the price for businesses that will not use it frequently and will need only small specific job done with it. The predictability is there, you pay exactly what you need to use in the moment. Say you pay $20 now, not $2000 in advance without knowing how many you need at some future time.

About the first part: As someone long on this forum (even longer then you), please save me from you mentoring tone. I was looking for a recommendation from someone already using such system. You don't seems to be one.
RossR Send private email
Friday, November 01, 2013
I'm not using it yet, but FastSpring offers the feature I think you're looking for. Go to http://www.fastspring.com/features-subscription.php and scroll down to "On-Demand Subscriptions".
Bob Flora Send private email
Saturday, November 02, 2013
Thanks Bob. I am FastSpring customer but did not looked at this before. This seems to be what is needed.
RossR Send private email
Saturday, November 02, 2013
"a system to lower the price for businesses that will not use it frequently...you pay exactly what you need to use in the moment...without knowing how many you need at some future time"
Presumably your customers can't afford the $2000 license and won't use your software at all, if you can't break it down into bite-sized pieces.  But instead of selling different editions with different feature sets, you expect your customers to put a significant portion of the full edition cost into your virtual piggy bank, and hopefully use enough individual features of the software to get back the value of what they paid up front.  It's like selling coupon books, except once you use up half of the coupons, you have to buy the book again in order to use more coupons.  The whole idea of a coupon book is to convince customers that they can get far more value out of it than what the purchase price is, by using it more.

"this is a bad idea"
Absolutely.  If you want to sell me your software, either let me pay for each bite, and once I'm full, I won't need to do business with you again, or sell me a package where I can see how I can get more value out of it than what the sticker price is.  It costs you the same to develop it, right?  You have to put your resources up front to develop the finished product before you have any hope to get either $20 or $500 or $2000 from me.  And anyone can tell you that what I (as a customer) value feature X at is lower than what you (the developer) value it at.

Even if payment processors call it "on demand subscriptions" there is no such thing.  If you subscribe to a newspaper, do you get to read the paper before you decide if you want that issue included in the subscription you paid for?  Is your software so important that I need to pay a deposit to hold it for future use?  Sell it per use, sell it in a fixed package that the customer can evaluate the value of, or sell a subscription that doesn't change price depending on how much use the customer gets from it.    Anything else and you are just outsmarting yourself.
Howard Ness Send private email
Sunday, November 03, 2013
Thanks Howard for the analysis. It is not software that can be separated in piece, because it can do only one thing. Let me explain more and give some context. It is software that you use to create some specific optimization of resources. Some users can use it once in a while to produce desired result; some can use it on everyday basis. My idea is, to allow infrequent users to work with all the functionality of the software except to save the result. They can view the result modify it etc. To save the result it will require spending some prepaid credits. For users that use it frequently it will be more desirable to purchase the version that has no such limitations. The result of the software is used as input to other components in this industry. I saw that some competitors already provide such “pay to save” functionality.

The best solution will probably be web based Software as a service but at the moment I cannot get web based solution to work with desired functionality and speed.
RossR Send private email
Monday, November 04, 2013
"“pay to save” functionality"
Which is like uncrippling a demo version for a limited number of uses.  If you want to push your customers to buying a full unlimited version, this might be okay, but there is a real risk of ending up without customers. 

It's never a good idea to put customers in a no-win situation, which is what happens when you restrict the number of times customers can use your software.  Without saving results, your customers are just spending time (in B2B, the biggest cost component) learning how to use your software and if the results that they have to pay for have to be redone for any reason, it costs them more money as well as time. 

If you are missing out on sales because potential customers can't afford the unlimited version, sell a time-limited subscription, not a usage limited one.  Your customers want to be confident that they will get enough value from your product to justify the purchase, and by limiting their usage of the product, you take away their opportunity to keep using it until they feel they got their money's worth.

"some competitors already provide such ...  functionality"
Which means nothing.  You have no idea if it actually works for your competitors, and if you use the same approach, you have no opportunity to one-up them.
Howard Ness Send private email
Monday, November 04, 2013

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