Subject: Re: payment aggregator service?
From: "Russell Nelson" <nelson@CRYNWR.COM>
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 1994 09:57:20 EST

On Tue, 8 Feb 94 06:59 PST, "Adam J. Richter" <adam@ADAM.YGGDRASIL.COM> wrote:
> Russ,
> 	I would like to see some sort of conduit for connecting
> linux (and other free OS) developers to commercial outfits that would
> like to be confident in their ability to exchange money for tech support
> at a reasonable rate.
> 	I have considered schemes similar to yours in the past, but
> the devil is in the details.

I agree that the devil is in the details.  Fortunately, the only
fixed fee is $2.50 for the check draft service bureau.  The rest of
the cost is my time.  I think I would guarantee the providers a
certain percentage for a period of time.  At that point I would
adjust the percentage so that I was making the same average hourly
wage as the providers.  That satisfies my sense of what is right and

> 	$5 of revenue for the typical tech support call will not be
> profitable under the scenario you propose.

Ahhh, sorry, I meant that as an example.

> Allowing every one of your individual support providers to set up
> their own pricing scheme also makes the customer spend a lot of
> time on research (which is the sort of activity that the customer
> is trying to avoid by calling you)

Well, my assumption is that the providers will have a published
hourly rate, or else a fixed fee per call.  Either way, the clients
will be able to find all providers and their fees by contacting me.

> and may put you in the middle of payment disputes.

I plan to resolve payment disputes by staying out of it.  I will set
up some kind of arbitration service.  Clients and providers both will
be required to either agree, or pay for the arbitration service.  I
expect that the transaction amounts will be low enough that people
will just write off bad debts.

> 	We have a 900 number at Yggdrasil.  We charge $2.95/minute, of
> which, we get $1.50/minute.  The industry standard for payment in the
> 900 business seems to be net 90.  That's right.  Three months after
> we've provided the service, we finally get paid.  I'm told that our first
> payment check is on its way.  The 900 number is a money loser, but
> it eliminates most of the support calls from people who find it more
> convenient to call us than to read a man page.  (BTW, we do provide
> a small amount of free tech support, but that's another matter.)
> On the other hand, if we were to market the 900 number harder, it might
> be profitable.

The goal for TinyPay is to return much more than 51% to the provider,
and to pay within 30 days.  I think that if I can't return more than
80%, I wouldn't bother with it.

-russ <>
Crynwr Software   | Crynwr Software sells packet driver support.
11 Grant St.      | +1 315 268 1925 (9201 FAX)    | Quakers do it in the light
Potsdam, NY 13676 | LPF member - ask me about the harm software patents do.