Monday, September 08, 2008

The Scoop: The Demise of Available Tools

OK, I've asked in the past that people not run software (also known as robot services) that checks my website every minute of every day. It runs up my bandwidth hugely. I have had some even recently who are running up several tens of thousands of accesses per week. And then there are some people who just check by hand, refreshing the site hundreds or thousands of time per day.

While I greatly appreciate the fandom and interest in my products (I really really do!) it causes troubles on the site and my site admin gives me a very hard time about it. I'm worried that if I exceed my bandwidth allowance this month that I may have my site shut down...

So, after some consideration here is the solution that we came up with. Available Tools is gone from my site and will not return. From now on the only way to find out about a product release will be through this blog. I will make an announcement of whatever is available and I will provide a link. The link will go to a page on my site that is only accessible from the link I provide here on the blog. Additional links off the same blog page announcement will take international users to the additional postage pages so they can make up the extra postage.

I'm hoping that this will shift the robot users and obsessive site checkers over to this blog and keep the traffic more manageable on my site. We'll try it out later this week and see how it goes. Thanks for bearing with me and I look forward to many more future tool releases! :)

45 comments:

jeff said...

sounds good to me... hope it works... hate to see your site shut down... a victim of your own success ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanx from those of us with real jobs without computers who like your stuff.

TooSharp said...

It will be an even race now. Just subscribe to the RSS feed!

Stone Saenz said...

(*raises hand*)
Guilty!

I'm one of the guys who compulsively checks about 5-10 times per day to see if anything is available. I'll make it a point to check the blog instead. ;-]

Peter Atwood said...

LOL, that's nothing! Some of these folks are refreshing every minute.

tybeck said...

Great change! Maybe now I can get that tool I've been lusting after.

Ryan Barrett said...

Woohoo!! Thanks man. I had given up hope on getting anything ever again. Now I feel like I have a chance.

:D

Wayne said...

I'm guilty of checking 5-10X a day too. I don't even know about robots and other stuff. Shame on those folk. This is fine with me.

Peter Atwood said...

Geez, no one should feel guilty about checking the site a bunch of times per day. It's setting up automatic software which sends out an alert if their is a change to the site that pisses me off. I think this blog only method will solve that issue because everyone can sign up for RSS feed and then the playing field is somewhat more level.

THartley said...

I hope the field is level enough for those of us OS. The time zones can be a killer. That being said, I've had a very good run over the last couple of months, so it looks like persistence (and luck) pays off...

Google Reader is now updated !

Thomas

spiff d: said...

pix of keychain knife please :)

PS, please post the link not too early for the lazy west coast beach bums hehe

Anonymous said...

It's about damned time you learned to listen to the desires of your customers...

B. said...

@toolsharp

It's still not an even race. A robot can check an RSS feed just as easily (and tirelessly) as it can check a webpage.

A better solution would be to announce the day and time that new tools will go on sale a week in advance.

This would eliminate the benefit provided by checking the website/blog more than once a day. Since there's no benefit, the robots will go away, and the traffic problem will be solved.

It's still going to be a race on the day of the release, but at least everyone (humans and robots alike) are at the starting line when the pistol fires.

DB said...

Great idea Peter. Since my job changed, I only get to check your site about once a day if I'm lucky, and it's usually to read the blog to see if anything is up. Can't wait to see what you have in store for us in the coming month.

Knic Knic said...

All this bot business was no good(cost you and your webadmin time and money), if your webadmin spent a bunch of time he could have probably mostly fixed the issue. But that costs his time which costs your money. I like this approach it is simple and cheap. I was the one that gave you the link to your own blog rss feed btw :-)

I love reading your posts. Do you ever get metal slivers in you?

Peter N. Glaskowsky said...

Dude, it's because you price your tools too cheaply. The vast majority of your production goes to the people who are hammering your site-- commercial buyers who are in this for the money. Sure, they like your work, because it's highly profitable for them.

Now they'll just be hammering your blog instead, and your work will still go mostly to these same people.

Raise your darn prices so you're making the money instead of these vultures, and they won't have an incentive to run their robots.

The rest of us-- the people who just want to own one of these tools-- won't end up paying more because we can't get them at your price anyway; we can't compete with these professional buyers.

. png

Omer Bila said...

I have an alarm go off every day at 6:30 am because most of the tools you post start at 9:24 and 26 seconds AM eastern and sell out at 9:57 and 42 seconds easter average. Too bad I live on the west coast. I took the last 40 start times and the last 40 end times off the EDC Forums thread and averaged out the estimated time when Peter's candy is given out to us.

Ok no I didn't do that. But yes it crossed my mind. Love your stuff Peter! I'll be there to see the site crash and explode on Friday. - Omer

LeeFranke said...

I"m pretty sure (check the blogger TOS) that you only get so much bandwidth free thru blogger.

If this ends up being the case, there are several ways to reduce (sometimes drastically) bandwidth usage that are pretty easy to implement (well...I'm a web programmer, so the easy is relative).

Anonymous said...

Probably the professional solution would be to simply get a hosting solution that handled the bandwidth. If you can't afford that then there's something wrong with your business model and (or) you website design.

Peter Atwood said...

Well the short answer is if I got my own server I'd be all set except that it would take a shitload of work to make all the programming so that it would jive with a new system. Not only would it would cost me a lot to do all this but frankly I do not have the energy to deal with it right now. And neither does my wife who graciously takes care of all the site work for me at the moment. I really don't want to ask her to spend days of her time converting it all to a new server.

Anonymous said...

You wouldn't need to get your own server per say, there are lot of hosting solutions that provide all the hardware and software you need at pretty reasonable prices. It sounds like you are aware of the options though.

There's not doubt it would be a fair amount of work to move your site to a new setup.

However, I bet at least a handful of your customers would gracefully help you with your IT needs in exchange for some tools.

Another tact would be to block the ip addresses where the robots are coming from. I bet your current provider could do that pretty easily.

If the manual re-fresh guys along are enough to eat up your bandwidth there's a definite bigger problem to deal with.

I guess it is the kind of problems most business would like to have though.

Thanks for the great works.

Ed said...

Glaskowsky's right -- the correct mechanism isn't the location of the updates, it's the price. That's how markets handle scarcity, unfortunately for those of us who want a Mini Son of Prything.

Why not put your next batch of tools on your site in a reverse auction? Start them out at an absurdly high price and go down from there every day or week and see what the market will bear.

That'll pay for some bandwidth at least.

Noah said...

Meh, Think it's a decent change. Hopefully it works out better for all involved. Blogger is better equipped to handle the bots and RSS feeds will give everyone a roughly similar update time.. the only bummer is now that it's an RSS feed it can automatically go out to phones etc.. might be an even shorter window of opportunity to get a tool. Sigh, poor left coast beach bums, poor me..

Keep up the good work, hope this works out better for you.

~HattZ

Noah said...

@B

"It's still not an even race. A robot can check an RSS feed just as easily (and tirelessly) as it can check a webpage."

-Very true, that's kind of the definition of an RSS feed, information automatically checked by software for updates... but an RSS feed is literally a glorified text file a few lines long. And, RSS readers, feed readers, whatever you want to call em, just check to see if there is a new addition to the text file.

So it's much cheaper on bandwidth to send a few lines of text, than having to load a whole graphics intensive website.

Exit14a said...

C'mon Friday!!!!!!

myoho said...

...the new model for buying has been suggested .... let's just go with it and make it work .. and please stop suggesting raising prices, not everyone has loads of money..

..as mentioned there will be loads of blades ready soon so everyone in US (and I hope UK) will get one, wahaaaay!!!

Robert D. said...

Amen to let's stop suggesting raising prices... I don't have one yet and I don't want to have to quit buying before I even start.
Let's see what comes of the new model.

Anonymous said...

Through Google one can set up alerts to tell you when a blog post has been updated. This is what I use to keep up with your blog. So posting available tools on the blog makes my life easier. Thanks Peter!

Anonymous said...

There really is no reason to bombard Atwood's site waiting eagerly for his tools to pop up on sale. If you really have to have one of his tools and miss a sale, contact Peter (email)...he is a reasonable human being and he will help you if at all possible.

Hammering his site is bad for all Atwood followers!!! Take it down a notch boys!

BT

Anonymous said...

Its just as easy to write scripts to check the blog for links.... more supply would mean less demand though.

scottiver said...

I can see why you removed the "available tools" link but why did you remove the "past work" link? I often like to look at the old favorites and rarities

Anonymous said...

Pete,

Just keep up the great work and thanks for all the great tools. Hope i can catch one this week via blogger

mike

Anonymous said...

HUZAA!! Finally a Chance to get in on the fun... may I suggest using word verification on the link if thats even possible

Peter Atwood said...

I took down the pic galleries temporarily because I'm having insane amounts of bandwidth transfer in the past couple of days and we're trying to figure out why. Triple the usual traffic and it isn't mapping down to what we're seeing in the logs and the referrers. Something weird is going on...

Anonymous said...

Dude, it's because you price your tools too cheaply.Raise your darn prices so you're making the money instead of these vultures. ??????

Pleeese don't do this. You call a $150 + tool cheap? I am a tool user and will have to squeeze in a SOPT as it is with current pricing. Just because YOU can afford high prices how dare you suggest raising the price to prohibit others from owning!

spiff d: said...

many of us are on a super tight budget....we just love this stuff and like to carry it, (and i think peter understand that and hope this blog will help us out)
so thank you peter for all your effort.

be great if peter can focus more of his time on new designs etc

Jake said...

I would love to own an Atwood tool. I know that I will never be able to do so due to this "race" silliness. I refuse to wake up at some unholy hour in the morning (I live in Europe) to catch the 3 minute window when I know that I will forever be outbid by some chump who is buying his 23rd Prybaby or some commercial reseller who buys the whole lot all at once.

Sorry Peter - I would love to be a customer but until you change your business model, youwill never have a cent of my money

Peter Atwood said...

Well just what business model is that? I make stuff, I post it and it gets bought up fairly quickly. What exactly do you propose that I change? I'd rather keep it simple. If I start keeping lists again I guarantee that in one day I will have hundreds and hundreds of people on the list and then NOBODY will get ANYTHING because it takes ten times longer to process one transaction through a cumbersome list system than it does to just put the stuff out. Also, it would drive me friggin crazy. I have been there and done that and I'm not doing it that way ever again.

You know, anyone can email me at any time and see what I have in stock. If I have something done I will sell it to you. If I don't I won't. Otherwise folks can just wait until I release my batches as they are finished.

souptree said...

I am forever going to think of my 23rd PryBaby as "the Chump". :-D

I am picturing a PryBaby in a Larry Holmes style robe with CHUMP written on the back of it over the number 23.

Thanks for the laugh, Jake!!

spiff d: said...

ok, i think its friday already....
i like to see a drawing/pix of new design please :P

Anonymous said...

looking forward to friday hope things are improving for the site and your business model.

make art not lists
make tools not business
make time not money

good luck
Mike

Stone Saenz said...

Friday... Time to start checking the blog every minute. (j/k) Every 5... =-P

Brett said...

Peter,

How many tools do you typically build and sell at one time, or is there no typical build?

I don't know if you will see this message as I am not that familiar with the bog process. It sound like you will have your site back up soon. I know how frustrating that can be. But in your case, it sounds like it is just adding to the overall suspense of your next release. I have not been following your work for very long but I get the sense that you are on to somethng good with the unique and practical tools that you design and build. I'm impressed and wish you much fortune.

Peter Atwood said...

There is no typical build. It might be a dozen pieces in the case of knives or a hundred pieces in the case of Prybabies. It just depends and it's all over the place.

Anonymous said...

How about a test run of the new way to buy tools (from a blog post). Maybe with some sopt ;)