Saturday, April 14, 2012

Production Upgrade: New Downloader

Today we are making an improvement to the Bitmenu system that has been the result of observing tens of thousands of downloads.

As of today, Bitmenu has simplified the download process for most users.  Our new Flash-based downloader explicitly asks the user where they want to store their purchase, provides download status and then displays a "download complete" dialog.  While the process might seem simple, that's just the point.  We have reduced the process to its essential elements.

Not all users will see the new system.  If a user does not have Flash installed on their computer, our system will then look for Java in order to use the Java-based downloader.  If neither Flash nor Java is on the device  (some 8% of purchases are coming from smartphones and tablets now), the download will be managed via HTML.

In all cases, the user has one full download per purchase.

It's worth noting the unique nature of the system.  Louis CK's system lets buyers download 5 times and Pottermore gives users 8 tries for each e-book they purchase.  The Bitmenu system proves that one download is enough.  The benefit to users is they can try as many times as needed to get a full download.  Most problems come from network issues and with Bitmenu they can just try again.  

The good news for publishers is they can count on each download being tied to a purchase.  There is no "leakage" when a user sends their fulfillment URL to a friend.

Of course, our customer service team stands ready to assist users who encounter problems such as lost files, hard drives and computers.  Users sometimes ask for a second link for their home computer if they first downloaded to their office computer or after they have had to reformat their systems.  It's a straight-forward process for us to verify the purchase and authorize another single access link.

With today's upgrade, most buyers will see a smoother download.  We look forward to your feedback.