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Terraforming Mars Review

TL;DR: Terraforming Mars game mechanics are exceptional but it desperately needs a second edition to do a complete art design overhaul, new play mats (similar to Scythe), rules/guidebook re-write, and improve overall quality of the product.

The biggest issue I have with the game is that the art design is really bad, it’s as if the game designer had provisioned multiple artists and had a deadline of 2 weeks. I’m serious AF when I say this. I thought the design was intentional , i.e. retro cheesy science mix, but after our first game I noticed a lot of layout errors that would be caught during review. If you have TM a good example of this is the margin spacing on the instructional cards (which is inconsistent between cards and left/right of some cards).

Speaking of instructions — I want to applaud the person that can read the guide and fully understand how the game works without any help (YouTube or friends). The guidebook needs a re-write with an easier way to reference common mechanics of the game.

It just seems to me that the overall quality wasn’t a priority for the release, almost as if this was a beta testers edition to test the mechanics.

The play mats (and the cards) are fairly low quality glossy paper, and any slight bump of the table or the play mats you’ll be asking to yourself “where were these cubes exactly?”. It’s no wonder I see a lot of alternative play mats for TM.

Again, the vibe of Terraforming Mars is a beta release stands out as soon as you open the box. Everything is simply thrown in baggies, there are no dividers. With this game having tons of cards the expectation is at least a card tray in the box. It’s no wonder (again) there are a lot of organizers for TM.

I know, I know, this is all superficial and that’s why with all these quality issues I still see it being an excellent game. One that I highly recommend playing.

I’d recommend when playing drafting process for selecting project cards, it’s going to add some time but it will prevent the game from titling in a players direction based on a random draw. That said it has a trade-off of extending the game time, especially if you have slower players, so ‍♂️

After playing for a bit you will notice how well thought out everything is; which allows for you as a player to be fully engrossed in terraforming mars.


Sprout Apps in Review

This isn’t my “2016 in review” like so many other #WordPress businesses have published this week. For starters, I’m less productive than those I admire and it’s overdue. Joking aside; I’m going to share my journey with Sprout Apps in regards to financial up/downs/ups/drops/outlook…

A Chart…

I’m going to be referring to the chart below, so analyze it and pick it apart. I also understand if it’s your TL;DR synopsis and you don’t read anything else, sorry to bore ya.


As you can see I haven’t shared $$ numbers [insert unwarranted apology for those upset]; I simply don’t feel comfortable sharing Sprout Apps revenue, a small part of that hesitation is competition anxiety, but it’s simply a personal preference not to share income 1. That said, don’t be distracted by the mystery, plug-in your own financial “Nut” and “Goal” (after expenses), and continue reading…

Early days…

Keep in mind that Sprout Invoices started development late June of that same year, and during that time I wasn’t doing much contract work. In early June I decided to go all in and build my own plugin, I had already ran a successful plugin business for years (as a client project), and I thought I knew how the business should/could be run from top/bottom. My concept of “going all in” was to not moonlight the product while I worked on services during the day, it was to quit accepting projects so I could spend at least 80% of my work day on this new product. Admittedly I was very lucky 2 to have the financial security to do this, since I had saved a lot during the first 5+ years of Sprout Venture and my wife is unsurprisingly supportive.

The plan had a six month term; get the product out early August and if the sales can support my family (i.e. Nut line) than I’d continue it, if not I’d push it to the side and go back to client work.

That first six months of Sprout Invoices was brutal. I released late. I had the unrealistic notion that selling a plugin that people wanted was easy, and consumer confidence (i.e. credibility) had nothing to do with it. My view of the landscape was: if it’s the better product than that other crap people will buy it. 😂

I knew early I wasn’t going to hit my goal in January, the ~six month timeline, even though I waited until the end of January to make a decision. My hope was that people wanted to change their invoicing software early in the year and the growth I saw in December would translate to an awesome January. It was not awesome, my plan called for quitting.


I was crazy though, and I didn’t quit (obviously).

What changed my mind/plan was reading/hearing encouraging stories from other product business owners, especially James Laws Ninja Forms journey 3. Thank you WP Biz Community.

I can credit Pressnomics (held in January) for helping SA tremendously. That conference did a number on me that year. It was a conference that revitalized me (more than those encouraging stories) and taught me how to properly market 4. Thank you Strebel family (and friends).

Those things I learned at Pressnomics immediately paid off in February. Although I had some yo-yo months, one month of exceptional growth (e.g. February) followed by a down-turn (e.g. March), it was bit maddening to see those down months. Retrospectively looking at those down months wasn’t a big deal but they were, I was working so hard to get to that goal of financial security. Especially since I felt as though I was pillaging my savings every month.

I didn’t lose sight of the trend, and I after an awesome December I finally felt confident that I had a business — 18 months after starting it. “Business” defined by me was not having to dip into saving anymore and I could say that Sprout Apps was “finally  profitable” 5.

I hit my “Nut”, gosh I regret a lot in life and not using a different term is one of them, but the chart is done so I digress.

Financial security…

As you can see from the chart above my trend line has finally hit my monthly goal 6. This is the sweet-spot I wrote about earlier, and it took a long time to get here.

Now I get to pay off that money I used in my business savings for this venture, slowly building financial security for the next opportunity. Hopefully Sprout Apps lasts long enough for that next fork of my business. [shrug emoji]

Recipe for disaster…

I don’t recommend my process, there’s a reason people moonlight their products and proving there’s a business before jumping in. Although, for me personally I don’t think I could have built Sprout Apps without the commitment I had, regardless of it being an obligation at times.

Admittedly this journey would be a disaster without a lot of luck and persistence…but I find luck with my persistence, so maybe you can too.



  1. More than simply saying “My business supports my family and lifestyle…”.
  2. This isn’t the only luck I’ve had.
  3. I tried finding the original article I read but can’t find it.
  4. Even though I still have a lot to learn
  5. Since it could pay my full salary
  6. Confident in the trend despite the steep declines. The steep decline in July can be attributed the review issues in .org, May’s is attributed to a bug in my email marketing and from what I heard May was a down month for a lot of other product businesses.

Gaining Confidence in my WordPress Product Business

After writing my notes for my recent interview on the Matt Report I wanted to expand on two things I wrote:

  1. I don’t have a goal for “$15k a month” because I don’t have a plan at the moment to get there
  2. …at the moment I’m fine tuning my business process in order to continue to grow at 15-20% without having to put in 15-20% more work. In fact I want to decrease my workload and continue a stable business. If I end up having to work really hard later because I took my “foot off the gas” than so-be-it.

Yes, in the beginning I had aspirations to earn enough to hire a developer and some other support folks, allowing me to build the business into something more than WordPress. However that all changed after my first year of doing Sprout Apps; since that first year was an arduous battle (struggling to continue, & losing money); my outlook/perspective on the business changed, I learned something — there’s a sweet-spot.

The sweet spot (to me) is continually hitting the monthly financial goal while reducing workload 1.

My Goal:

My financial goal is about 35% over my nut (AKA the amount I need to make before I tap into savings to pay the bills). The majority of the 35% (~75%) is used for business savings — since I depleted most of it in the first year of Sprout Apps.

aside: if you’re running any type of business (i.e. product or services) start saving, get a rainy day fund of 1.5 years. The only reason I was able to build Sprout Apps, without spending a lot more time moonlighting on the product, was because of this savings strategy.

The rest of that 35% is added to our personal savings, so we can take awesome family vacations (like Europe this last summer) 2

A Chart with some history


I’m going to talk about this chart in more detail in a soon to be published post. A short overview for this the sake of this post would be:

The first six months of Sprout Invoices was brutal, and my trend line has finally hit my monthly goal.

Guarding the Goal

I expect over the next 6-8 months to be rather difficult. The business took a hit in July (review-gate) and after expanding some marketing efforts (i.e PPC) the big June hasn’t been reproducible. Sprout Invoices and Sprout Clients have features coming that will not be easy to develop and will take months, all while daily support increases. However if this trend line continues, I’ll be able to hire some help (without slumping below the net goal).

All That Said…

I’m extremely lucky, seriously. I have a supportive wife/friend that pushes me to pursue growth, personally and professionally. She’s the reason I was able to quite my job 8 years ago, and without her trust over two years ago I couldn’t have pursued this business.

My true “sweet spot” is being able to have a business that supports our family, and providing me the time to spend with them.

Hopefully it’s a place I can stay for a while.


  1. I love being a father and husband — it’s my priority. Reducing my work week to spend more time with them is simply proving my priorities.
  2. If you haven’t heard this before: buy memories, not stuff.

What Did I Just Say? on an episode of Matt Report Season 4

I don’t like doing podcasts, I get nervous, and just clam up, public speaking is just a fear that I’ve been trying to break…and up until recently I had done one podcast 1, which was an old cast of Apply Filters. It was a surprising  invite to be interviewed on the Matt Report, and because of my fear of humiliation I almost said “no”; however when a WP Legend asks to be on their podcast I had to say “hell yeah”.

I survived and the episode was recently published, so go check it out (and the many other great interviews).

Our conversation was wonderful, it really was. Even though I was still a little sick, which is why my voice is so rugged, and I found myself lost without an answer (remember I wasn’t feeling good), I think our conversation could end up being beneficial to a few of his listeners.

Here are some notes:

  • Matt’s intro is awesome and I’m not offended at all. A “blue collar” WP product guy is right on: I worked hard to get to the point were I have a business that provides for my family, and I don’t have those world domination goals that the opportunists bring with them when building a product business using WP as act one.
  • I did make $6k in that first calendar year of Sprout Apps. It was rough, and in the beginning of 2015 I was very close of giving up until I read this post from James Laws at Ninja Forms. There was another blog post and some conversations about the early day struggles of WP product businesses…anyway, I was able to learn from others that if I wanted to make Sprout Apps succeed I needed persistence.
  • Matt talks about intimidation factor by hearing about the successful folks in WordPress a lot…then I reiterate what he says as if I wasn’t listening. Which is sorta ironic because I talk about mixed messages…haha, hey I was sick!
  • I threw out arbitrary numbers of for my goals, I don’t have a goal for “$15k a month” because I don’t have a plan at the moment to get there
  • …at the moment I’m fine tuning my business process in order to continue to grow at 15-20% without having to put in 15-20% more work. In fact I want to decrease my workload and continue a stable business. If I end up having to work really hard later because I took my “foot off the gas” than so-be-it.
  • I wrote about the “review gate” stuff here. I don’t want to rehash that debate, I only brought it up to show how something like this affected me personally rather than it affecting only my business.
  • I wrote about the Freshbooks squatting on “Sprout Invoices” here. It’s a better read than a listen, since I was obviously was unprepared to talk about it clearly. 😕
  • Here’s a email marketing blog post, which has more detail than what I talked about.
  • I briefly forget what content marketing was until…yeah, thanks for listening this far into the show. Oh and I said, “I know…I think” while talking about something.
  • My multi-pronged marketing approach: (free download marketing), e-mail marketing, (very little) affiliate marketing.
  • I was asked about content marketing and I meandered into how I do email marketing, so I never really answered the original question. The point is that I don’t do content email marketing to I grow a subscriber list. I only do email marketing to convert.
  • My method to convert (via email marketing) is starting to create a conversation, with a basic promotion or asking them how I can help.

Thanks Matt for the opportunity!


  1. I can’t count that one podcast I did with a friend that had two subscribers: me and him

Big Man, Freshbooks

Update: A rep from Freshbooks reached out to me days after this post, and we started a conversation that led to me talking with with their SEM lead. They said the bids on the “Sprout Invoices” term was unintentional and an automated process via broad match and keyword insertion; I don’t completely agree that it was fully automated knowing a little about how those adwords features work. That said, it doesn’t matter at this point since FB stopped bidding entirely on the term “Sprout Invoices”, which I appreciate and is something they didn’t have to do.

A couple months ago (June ’16) it was brought to my attention that Freshbooks was squatting on the term “Sprout Invoices” on Google, which is perfectly fine although this wasn’t.

Screen Shot 2016-06-28 at 11.16.23 AM

Not cool dudes!

The resolution was to go through the process of a trademark claim, which took about a month to process. The sad thing is I had to reach out to Google again about this particular ad, I guess they don’t retroactively remove ads, which is a shame.

Today the ad is gone…now Freshbooks is outbidding me for “Sprout Invoices” — which is flattering.

Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 9.37.20 AM

Reviews & Download Counts

Trying to find a positive of the review-gate I decided this was a great opportunity to find how positive ratings affects download counts.

Be warned: while I like numbers, statistics isn’t a strong area of mine; and while I tried to be objective about these numbers it’s sorta impossible when my intent is to prove a point.  So take the data that you can find on the stat’s page of Sprout Invoices (and any others) and let me know what I got wrong/right, I don’t mind.

Question 1: Do negative reviews (sub 2.5 stars) affect download counts?

On June 28th and 29th SI had a rating average of 2.2: downloads counts for those two days were down ~30 & ~18% respectively.


  • I used another invoicing plugin in the .org repo to act as a control. So that the decrease could be applied to a WordPress user deciding to download X instead of Y based on the difference in reviews.
    • The numbers show that the percentage of downloads decreased for SI while the percentage of downloads increasing for the other plugin. The trend line looks like an x, displacing downloads from one to the other and the assumptive cause is the reviews.
  • I understand this is an extremely short sample size and since SI received a single positive review on the 1st of July I can’t extend this any further.

I’m fairly confident that the answer is “yes”, that’s a no brainer. However, I don’t feel confident providing a percentage, other than to say it must be more than the percentage decreased based on the second question…

Question 2: Do more positive reviews affect download rates?

Since the 28th (until yesterday) I’m finding a 15% decrease in downloads.

Again, this is controlled by the average download count 1 that uses a similar plugin to see if the downloads went to the plugin with more or less positive reviews. In this case SI had one single 5 star review, the other had on average 26 reviews with a 4.9 rated average.

Question 3: Does it matter if you’re selling premium upgrades?

At this point, I don’t know. In order to draw any conclusions I’d first need to know the time it takes for a free user to convert to the paid version, and I’m not going research that anytime soon. More importantly, the data set would need to be large enough to create a median so that poor/good conversion rates don’t skew the results.




  1. Adjusted for releases and balanced for anomalies in total download counts for the day

What Now? No Way? Huh?

Let me preface this post by mentioning that this was difficult to write, I’m still frustrated but I’ve accepted the immediate outcome 1. That said…

Last week I received an email from the plugin review team that Sprout Invoices “has been found to be in violation of the repository guidelines, found at“.

Turns out this was the issue:


What did .org do?

Since I was accused of compensating reviews through “bribery”: Sprout Invoices was immediately pulled out of the repo until that link (and the page at the other end of “send us the link”) were removed.

Also all 5-star reviews were deleted; all of them…

“The reviews that have been associated with this method have been removed from the system in order to restore equilibrium to the reviews.”

Was I compensating reviewers?

Obviously yes; through a discount of a pro license, I figured it was alright to compensate their time.

 Was it “Bribery” or did I “Pay Reviewers”? Why does that distinction matter?

In no way was this “bribery”!

Semantics are important, as are my ethics (business and personal) . In no way did I try to persuade a reviewer to provide a good review by offering a discount. Never did I tell a reviewer that submitted for a discount that s/he should change their review. Never did I pay for a review. In fact, the entire system was automated: form submitted, auto-reply sent.

The .org team telling me that I “bribed” users and attempted to “defraud a system” is was is insulting. It’s too bad they continue to use that type of language instead of broadening their understanding.

Did I know that this type of compensation was against any guidelines?


Should I have known?

No, since there’s no guideline.

What do you mean there’s no guideline against compensating reviews?

There isn’t. Check for yourself –

Nor is any of this mentioned in the TOS.

Although, this was offered in our conversation, “If it’s not clear enough, we’re serious. We even posted on make/plugins –“; a Make blog post shouldn’t be required reading for plugin authors.

Does it matter to them if I knew or not?

No, since the reviews are considered spam.

“The question I have in such a case is: Why do we care what you knew? In our view, you spammed us.”

Does it matter to me (and by extension us)?

Yes. Otherwise any wrong doing can be concluded by opinion, regardless of community feedback.

It’s why the best thing to do IMO (in my case and others) was to reach out first, letting me know the link could be judged as spam inducing.

If the Make blog post was the team’s way of reaching out to everyone: fine.

Are these reviews spam?

This is where opinions diverge.

I agree that they can judge all SI reviews as spam, they can set the conditions for “spam” to apply to any review in the system.

However, were they spam two years ago when there was no guideline, no Make blog post, and no public conversation was had about compensating for a review (regardless of rating)? IMHO, no.

How should they have handled it then?

They could have pulled the plugin from the repo until I fixed the link, explaining that compensating for reviews is deemed as spam and against a guideline (that’s “yet to be published” and then publish something). Warning me to never ask for reviews in this manner again.

So, reviews shouldn’t have been deleted?

No, and for two reasons:

  1. The “guideline” that I was breaking isn’t a guideline at all. So for me to say that I was unknowingly breaking a guideline for two years is perfectly valid.
    1. They mention there is precedence and “I’m not the first” but I’ve never heard of this happening before and I’ve been around for a very long time.
    2. The precedence I see while searching “bribery” and “compensation reviews” in the Slack channels show incidences where only a single review was removed, even though it seems like the plugin author was a repeat offender.
  2. Their intent was: “the reviews that have been associated with this method have been removed…”. Instead they deleted all reviews because there was no way for them to know if a review had received a discount.

Is there a way to find out if a review was associated with a discount?

Yes, and I provided it to them (since it’s a basic list of form submissions, including their review link). Since November of 2014 — 34 submissions were made, 8 of those submissions didn’t review the plugin (although they still got a discount).

I asked that instead of deleting all 110+ reviews the 26 (that can be associated) be removed instead, they disagreed 😕.

Did they overreact?


I get that the .org teams put up with a lot of shit, and they need to be dogmatic. I also (honestly) respect their time and effort.

I just wish they reached out to me first. I can’t imagine their original thought was “Dan is spamming our system” with reviews. I had around 120 reviews in two years and thousands of active installs, those numbers prove I’m not a spammer trying to just sell a pro product.

The reviews are from real people that shared their experience.

“We’re basically at odds with people trying to use our directory to sell their wares here, because we’re not a place to sell things in the first place. This is why we have such strong opinions on the matter. This is why we require GPL compatible everything. Because we’re all about community, and the community frequently is hurt by competition, but benefits from collaboration.”

These specific reviews (26 of them) for Sprout Invoices were not spam, they were reviews from SI users that wanted to pay for the pro version because they liked the free version (after using it). The free version in the repo is by no means a trojan horse to force users to upgrade, active installs bear that out. These reviewers are pieces of this community too, as am I.

Update: The reviews are still in the DB but they can’t be updated/edited/published.

I was contacted by one of my users that wanted to edit his review. I asked the .org team and the response was: “No, those reviewers can never leave reviews ever again [on that plugin]. Reviews are a one-time deal.
Again, this is why we tell people not to buy reviews. Not only are they all deleted, but the people who left reviews now cannot do so again [on that plugin]. They left a review, it got deleted, and now, they have lost their opportunity.”

This is rather sad; I can easily explain why their review was deleted, “I unknowingly broke a guideline and offered a discount for reviews…the .org team couldn’t conclude if your review was one of them so all were deleted…”, I can’t easily explain how that relates to them now that they want to change/edit or resubmit a new review.


Apparently not.

I’ve tried. I made my points clear, maybe not concise, but I was nice and respectful throughout (except at one point when I said the response was “vitriolic” but I quickly apologized and pointed out the hypocrisy since I had/have such an issue with “bribery”). I shared that I would respect their decision but I would like for the decision to be fair.

I’ve been told there’s a “zero tolerance policy” for compensated reviews. Regardless if the policy in question is undefined and it’s unknowingly broken. It’s [scare quotes]their system[/scare quotes], which I get — to a point.

I just don’t think the result is fair, even if my opinion is that some reviews can now be deemed spam.

And as a plugin author I shouldn’t be nervous that something I’m currently doing is later deemed malicious, i.e. asking for a review at all or advertising a pro version.

What would have been the result if I read the Make blog post from a month ago?

Nothing! This is the most depressing part of this entire incident: the thought nothing would have happened if I learned about this before last Tuesday is maddening. Sigh.

What next?

  • I somehow stay proud of all the hard work I’ve poured into the project — which those reviews proved but are now deemed “dishonest”.
  • Track whether ratings affect for download counts; spoiler: they do and I’ll write about that later.
  • I somehow prove that some changes need to be made (including the process) and my suggestions below are considered.

What I’d like to see (i.e. suggestions):

  1. The guidelines updated to cover compensated reviews.
    1. Clearly defining what is and what isn’t considered.
    2. Possibly the repercussions; not a first/second offense plan but a “we will delete all reviews if we find you’ve broken these rules, and without warning.“.
  2. Expectations for plugin authors to keep up to date should be provided, unless a written warning is to be expected now.
  3. A disclaimer for all below every review submission to not review the plugin if: “You have or will be compensated in anyway”.
    1. Other disclaimers that all plugin authors have been begging for can also be added, i.e. “A review is a place to ask for support, or demand a feature not present”.


This entire incident still really bums me out, to the point of wanting to throw my hands up and walking away; is hard to find joy in my work at the moment. It’s hard to reconcile that I can still be proud of all the hard work if all these opinions/reviews are labeled dishonest from a respected team. Being accused of “bribing” my users, and “defrauding a system” that I respect and I feel I’ve contributed to, is rough.

Should you (and I) be outraged?

Haha, no. I’m upset by their decision and tact but that doesn’t mean much more than I hope I prove a point so things can change for the better. I also care about people and can see past our disagreements to enjoy a beer in the (hopefully near) future.

So don’t make this out to be fuel for your own personal dumpster fire against .org, or the community. This is my rant to try to improve things for everyone.





  1. although I understand that the larger repercussions are yet to come

New Car Gone?

Been waiting, and waiting, for the final settlement on the VW diesel buyback/recall for months now, the “agreement” has been sealed until it was submitted to the courts today but I’m finding nothing that will help me figure out what I’m supposed to do (with my a3 tdi). Sigh.

  • It looks like they won’t start the buyback process until October and the’ll go off Sept. KBB rates.
  • The $5-10k compensation will be on a sliding scale (which means I will likely get very little).
  • There might be a way to “fix” the emissions issue but from what I’ve heard (friend/audi-mech) it’s not possible on the smaller cars.

It’s bittersweet for me: I love this car (super fun to drive, comfortable, they don’t make sport backs anymore, …) but if I need to turn it in I rather rip the bandaid off sooner rather than later when I start getting too attached.

aside: while the pic isn’t my car, duh, it is the same exact model, year, make, color, without the big TDI on the side 😏

Why our Refund Rates being so High isn’t Alarming (or Terrible)

James Laws asked me last week for my “lifetime refund percentage” (over at Sprout Apps) so he could get a general feel for our industry. He briefly mentioned his percentage was sub-5% which gave me pause, my immediate reaction was to think I’m doing something wrong; even though (at the time) I didn’t know my numbers. Knowing SA’s refunds were much higher I dug into the numbers, creating a report of sales 1 over the last 10 months 2.

percent of sales count

Wow, 13% of sales were refunds. I was expecting a high number (by comparison) but not by that much. Then I immediately noticed that it’s more like 16% (seen in the second chart) because I included Abandon/Failed. Oh my!

Digging a bit more I wanted to know what the refund % was based on sales value (not based on total sales). This way I could determine if  smaller purchases (which are less likely to be refunded) are skewing the percentages. Put another way, were refunds more of an issue with sales of Sprout Invoices or Help Scout Desk (which are $60+), or with add-ons.

Percent of sales count

The percentages above show that the refund rate is slightly worse with those more expensive purchases…which was no surprise. Still though., sigh.

What does this mean for revenue? Since there are percentages of percentages above, the numbers get a bit convoluted, so I wanted to see what percentage of revenue is refunded and found it’s slightly better than I thought…

sales perc

This shows that with every $100k is sales, that I’m refunding 11%.

Why are my refund rates so high?

I think it’s a combination of the money back guarantee, how I market it as a selling point, and the use of a timed offer. A recent customer that recently received a refund noted:

“I probably should have tried the demo first…I was just meaning to do some light research yesterday (not buy) but the 25% discount timer got me. If it wasn’t for the discount timer I would have waited and tried the demo today before buying. But the 25% off plus the 30 day guarantee made me think “why not? Lets go for it”.

Here’s that special timed offer that we’re referring to. It’s something I offer to hesitant customers 3 onsite (and via email).

sa discount

Knowing that this combination has exponentially increased sales for Sprout Apps last year I have no qualms with the refund rate being so high. I can convert customers better than visitors. Simply, a customer purchasing with the intent to trial the product will convert more than a visitor that demos before purchase.

I hope this doesn’t come off as deceptive marketing; To be completely honest, it’s slightly manipulative but not deceptive. Manipulative in the good way, since there are no downsides since I offer a 30-day MBG.

Obviously my goal is to convert visitors to customers, so that they can see the value of my products, and I can prove how awesome the support is. Things a website full of screenshots and text can’t do very well alone.

So that explains why refund rates are relatively high, now what I’m really worried about is the abandoned/failed purchases. This number is something that I’m going to work on decreasing over the next year, there’s no apparent reason for it to be that high. Although I first need to validate if this number is a concern since I’m already attempting to convert these to customers via Customer Segment, and abandoned/failed checkouts aren’t removed if they do end up purchasing later.

What’s your opinion?






  1. Sales excludes any purchases of free items.
  2. My data set is based on any sale after I added the money back guarantee and the limited time offer.
  3. There’s a lot of logic that goes into showing this promo. It’s not just available for everyone, there are certain actions that need to occur on the site first.

Speaking Tour

One of my new year goals is to do more talks, specifically speaking at meet-ups. Yesterday was my first; not the first of the year, my first talk that I’ve given to a complete set of strangers — ever.

My hope that it would be easy to do a simple overview of Sprout Invoices was wrong. Sounds easy right? I ended up stumbling over the first few slides, my mind filled with doubt and evaluating everything I say. It was stressful. 😳

Much like my podcast interview I did with Apply Filters (a long time ago) it didn’t end as badly as it started, somehow I got comfortable and was able to get some sensible words out, at least I hope that’s what happened.

I need to figure this out, it’s most definitely a fear that I need to get over, hopefully jumping in and speaking a couple times next month will help. Although, those talks are going to be much longer, and one is at a local meet-up and not to an audience I can’t see.

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Dan Cameron

I build stuff with WordPress

I'm currently building Sprout Apps to help small businesses and freelancers running WordPress.