Long Post so maybe grab some coffee first.
Hello, Everyone. I am back from Hurricane Ground Zero and trying to get caught up on everything. We had our weekly meeting yesterday and it was a long one. I thought I would post and bring you all up to speed.
(My family and I are fine as is our home. Since it was rebuilt to the new hurricane standards two years ago we suffered only minor damage. My neighborhood however was not so lucky and several homes are now unlivable. I’ve been in cleanup mode for the last several days and am now sunburned, tired, and sporting chainsaw blisters. On the plus side I’m down a few pounds, so it kind of balanced out.)
So where are we at as far as ScribeCount?
As mentioned before we got a bit ahead of ourselves on the development side. We’ve now stopped development and are focusing on strengthening the features we have and making adjustments for all the resent “maintenance” the platforms did. Let’s start there.
B&N has finally finished their tinkering and we have coded a fix for all the changes they made. If you are still having issues connecting please follow these steps:
1. Log out of the B&N website.
2. Clear/Delete all the history/cookies/cashe in your browser.
3. Login to the ScribeCount portal. Click on “Go to Login” in the portal to login B&N using your credentials.
4. Click on the SC extension icon in your browser tool bar and start the sync process.
That should overcome any roadblocks to getting B&N to sync and appear in your charts.
Amazon did a LOT of changes during their maintenance period. Most were in the backend and not visible on the dashboard itself. We were seeing double and even triple reporting of sales. They also launched their "Amazon Attribution” program which resulted in even more backend changes for us to deal with. We’ll be launching the research team toward that very soon and making the needed adjustments to add it to the Ad Tracking feature.
Amazon will be a NEVERENDING BATTLE as far as reporting goes as they simply provide the bare minimum when it comes to data and they then adjust that data without warning. We are watching a pot and waiting for it to boil. A good example is the pricing issue they are having right now. Authors in this group and others are posting about it and we are trying to follow. Amazon says they are “aware and are addressing the problem” but that’s all. We have no choice but to wait and see what they do and then adjust accordingly.
The subscription page was not displaying the buttons/choices for everyone uniformly. Something we were unaware of until you sent in tickets letting us know. We fixed the issue with the page, and then went through every single subscription one at a time to ensure they were all correct. This obviously took some time but it had to be done. If anyone has a question about the status of their subscription please let us know.
With each change to the platform software we have to follow it up with the verification software. (This is code that checks the code we are receiving and makes sure it matches). But “garbage-in-garbage-out” still applies. If the platform labels a FREE book as being sold (Looking at you Apple and Smash) the verification software doesn’t always see it. We’ll be updating that code this week.
A word about accuracy.
We get tickets from authors saying, “My data is wrong”. Sometimes it is and we fix it, but many times it’s an issue with normalization and the author not knowing the details of how the platform reports their sales. Example: Apple doesn’t use a standard calendar; they use a fiscal calendar of their own invention. (Because: Apple) This is how the Apple calendar works: The months of a quarter are standardized like this: 28,28,35. Since the rest of world is not insane we use the regular calendar. ScribeCount automatically adjusts the Apple calendar to fit the normal calendar we all use. So your “Month” at Apple will most-likely never perfectly match your “Month” at ScribeCount. We normalize ALL your sales data so a month is a month is a month.
Another example is B&N.
On your B&N dashboard your charts and numbers are always 2 days behind, yet your charts and numbers at ScribeCount are up-to-date. How does that happen!? We have a secret wormhole that allows us to see into the future! Not really. What we have is the spreadsheet they provide. While the charts have a two-day lag in their reporting the spreadsheet B&N provides does not, so we pull your data from that spreadsheet and give you up-to-date reporting. So it looks like we know the future. Unfortunately it’s just an illusion, I don’t know tomorrow’s lottery numbers or the outcome of the next football game, so please don’t ask.
Something similar happens at Amazon. The dashboard there shows sales as soon as they happen, while the spreadsheet they provide shows sales that are “Fully Processed”. This is short for “Paid For”. Due to time zones, Credit Card processing times, fees, KENP rates, returns, currency exchange rates, etc, the numbers on the charts are never the same as the numbers in the spreadsheet. The numbers usually match up by the end of the month when the KU rates and exchange rates have been finalized. When our software sees those rates adjust it automatically adjusts your numbers and charts to match. This is why you see things change around the 15thof the month and again near the end of the month. Your data isn’t wrong, it’s that Amazon finally supplied the numbers/rates/data needed for us to adjust it and make it accurate.
I could do this for every platform but this post is already too long. Let’s talk about the future.
ScribeCount will be accurate again very soon. Its all we are working on right now. I feel we’ll be “back to normal” by the end of the month with all adjustments made to accommodate the maintenance done by the various platforms.
Both myself and Elizabeth will be attending several in the coming weeks and if you see us please don’t hesitate to bend our ear. We recently attended NINC and have pages of notes to work with. A lot of future partnerships with other services. A lot of great ideas that we’ll be exploring once we are all back at our desks.
As for future development, audio is number one. I talked with Will Dagus while at NINC and Findaway will soon be ready for integration with ScribeCount. I can’t give you a timeline yet unfortunately, we’ll have to see when our nerds can get together. Our plan with Audio is to add them all at once. So not only Findaway but every direct option as well. It’s a big project, we’re talking several platforms and a huge aggregator, so it will take some time.
I have it from a trusted source that Kobo is revamping their entire reporting dashboard.
“Kobo will be changing their dashboard soon to bring Kobo Plus into real time reporting, along with ebook and audiobook sales. That's always been a sticking point, because they don't report Kobo Plus borrows until the end of the following month.”
This is a great example of what we deal with on a daily basis. Many of you have asked about Kobo preorders and why we don’t have them. The reason is that the data is in a different place. In layman’s terms the bulk of Kobo data is in one building but the Preorders and Plus data were added later and are stored in buildings down the street. This issue is not confined to Kobo. Other platforms have done the same thing. New features are not added to the core system but instead were stored in separate buildings as they were attached to their base reporting system. This is the multiple-platforms-in-one-platform issue I have spoken of in other posts. I’m glad that Kobo are consolidating this data into one place and hopefully we can adjust without disrupting our own dashboard too much. I’ll be reaching out them soon to try and make that happen.
Smaller Platforms. Ad Tracking. Integration with Production Software.
Eden. BookBub. Writing Software integration. VA and Publisher dashboards. These are all items’ people mentioned at NINC and we’re adjusting our development plans accordingly. I’ll update everyone when I have more information.
I’ll cut this post off here as its long. Watch for more posts/updates over the next week. We have a lot going on and I want to keep you all informed as best I can.