Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Vendors going offline for a few days


I must put all my vendors offline urgently. Apez, the sales system I have been using for 4 years now, has decided not to let me withdraw the money I got from my recent sales anymore. People were still getting their products, but the money would not go to me, and would be stuck in the pipe. This is not the first time it happens and I usually got a good service from the Apez guys, but this time it is too much (that's more than L$68000 stuck somewhere and not guaranteed to be transferred to me ever).

Let me explain what Apez is, in a few words. It is a networked sales system that provides a merchant with a server and vendors to rez in-world, and that is all manageable through a web interface. It's cool... when it works. Apez Mann, the official bot used by that system, channels all the monetary transactions as sales are made.

Typically, when you buy something from me, I am paid the money you pay the vendor, then immediately the vendor makes me pay the same amount of money to Apez Mann, which adds this amount to a "virtual" account (yes, even more virtual than a SL account !) which is managed on that webpage. Every few days, I'd do what they call a "withdraw" from that account back to my SL account, and all is well. Only... this time the withdraw procedure does not work, it says that 100% of the money is "unavailable". It happens when the transactions cannot be verified, and apparently requires the owner of Apez, Cenji Neutra, to control all the transactions by hand. It takes days.

Problem is, Cenji has not logged on in 4 months. Their support ticket system is barely responding, nothing is happening, their forums are riddled with complaints and people are leaving for Hippo or other sales systems. This is too bad for the second biggest sales network in SL to end like that. What if I left too ? I am their biggest client after all, generating more than 10% of their daily sales. Should I expect better customer service from them ? Perhaps. But what am I getting ? Zilch. Zero. Nada. Total radio silence. This is unacceptable.

So I am currently working on a solution to put my vendors back up, be they Apez or anything else, but I do not intend to stay offline for too long.

Sorry for the inconvenience,