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Game Distribution Scenario

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Challengers
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Joined: 12/31/1969

Hi All!
I have the opportunity to market someone's game on the internet. The setup is as follows: I collect the orders then I send the information and most of the money to the game maker (holding back my profit), who will then ship the game to the buyer. I can charge whatever I wish.
Has anybody done this? I need a way to collect the money and info on my website. Ideally, this method would also forward same to the game maker.

Points to ponder:
1. I am new at this and very unsophisticated - but a fast learner!
2. The game maker is not a big-time drop-shipper, but will be acting as one
3. I do have an account with PayPal
4. I do not have $15,000 to spend :)

I appreciate any feedback.

Mitch

Zzzzz
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Joined: 06/20/2008
Game Distribution Scenario

What if this game maker decides not to ship the games to people who order from you?

As the seller you are the one liable for selling the product to the consumer and no one will care that another 3rd party game maker was at fault for not sending the game. You will be the one getting emailed/called about not receiving the game in the mail.

So unless you have a system in place to insure that your game maker will positively send the product, I would suggest that you dont send *ALL* the money to the game maker besides your profit. Maybe have a way to send them 50%, and the rest on completion of the order. it might make a little more work for you, but it will help you to keep everyone, including yourself, protected.

Besides that, I would tell you to consider having a lawyer write up a contract to protect both you and the game maker. If nothing else, this would help you if you have to ever go to court to settle an issue.

And dont get me wrong, maybe everything is legit, but you just never know.

Challengers
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Distribution Scenario

Thanks for those tips. Now, assuming everything on the legal side is set up,
what about the technical aspects of order delivery?

Mitch

HRPuffenstuf
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Distribution Scenario

my opinion is you don't take anyones money unless you have the stock to ship. Seeing that you're acting as a distributor, if you don't have product to ship, you're setting yourself up for issues (legalities aside, there are delays in manufacturing.) My question is why is the game manufacturer using you as a distributor seeing that you're new to distribution? Why aren't they shipping and promoting their own game? I hope that doesn't come across as rude because it's not meant to be that way. Hopefully a valid question.

Challengers
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Distribution Scenario

I liked the game and made positive comments to the game maker. After developing a relationship, the opportunity was presented for me to market the game. One option was to buy wholesale and sell retail. I don't have that kind of money. The other option is the one I am trying to get some ideas on.
Believe me, I know I am out of my league, but I do want to learn this business, since I have my own stuff to sell (eventually).
It appears from the two responses so far that I am taking an unnecessary risk as a distributor. Does this imply that my business model is flawed? Is there no comparable model?
I intend to forge ahead, nevertheless. I'm just looking for technical advice.

Thanks,

Mitch

HRPuffenstuf
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Distribution Scenario

why not offer to sell the games for retail but work out a deal for either consignment or stocking minimal quantities? How much is the game wholesale cost and what is the suggested retail price? It's better to buy 6 copies and realize you can't sell them vs. entering unknown territory for you being distribution. I think retail is very easy in that you buy a product and you mark it up. I'd try that first: however, if you're serious about distribution, write a business plan for yourself and see if it makes sense one week later.

HR Puff

Chip
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Distribution Scenario

Paypal has free tools that you can use to sell stuff from your own website. It's pretty basic but gets the job done. It's what I use on my site.

I wouldn't think you'll be suddenly inundated with orders. Which means if you have any problems along the way, either with your product provider not drop shipping in a timely manner, you finding it not worthwhile for whatever reason, or some other issue, you can always bail on the endeavor. To me it actually sounds like there's little risk involved - simply a bunch of your time perhaps. If you don't have to put up any money for product, and only a little perhaps to begin promotions, I'd say go for it.

One other thought - I'd set-up a separate Paypal account specifically for this endeavor. And you might also try contacting Mary Couzins at Discovergames.com. Her situation isn't exactly like yours, but she does promote others' products for a fee. She might have some advice for you.

Good luck.

Chip

Challengers
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Distribution Scenario

Thanks, Chip.
I thought PayPal would be the way to go. I will look into the tools.

Mitch

stark1261
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Joined: 09/08/2008
Game Distribution Scenario

I would use paypal and then handle shipping yourself. It seems you have a good relationship with the maker so why not buy in units of 5-10 to start with? This way you have CYA (Cover your A**) and can always ship up to 10. If it takes off you can always ship massively later. If for some reason you get swamped with orders you send an email saying you are temporarily out of stock and ship when you get more. (Usually a good idea to comp shipping if any delays. Well thats my two cents.

Challengers
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Distribution Scenario

Thanks, Stark1261. That was one of the options but, for reasons of time and (lack of) space, I decided that it would be more beneficial if the game maker continued to ship units, as the distribution channel kinks have already been worked out.

Mitch

emxibus
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Joined: 10/24/2008
Game Distribution Scenario

Challengers wrote:
Thanks, Stark1261. That was one of the options but, for reasons of time and (lack of) space, I decided that it would be more beneficial if the game maker continued to ship units, as the distribution channel kinks have already been worked out.

Mitch

Mitch, I've set up a few e-commerce sites that are currently active. I used oscommerce, a open source program. It works really well and it's easy to set up. Check it out and if you have questions I'd be happy to help out.

oscommerce.com

JR

Challengers
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Distribution Scenario

Hi JR,

Thanks for the link. According to one of my colleagues, I made a boneheaded decision when I upgraded my hosting to an Microsoft package. My reasoning was that I could probably learn .NET and ASP faster than I could learn perl, PHP, etc. But, looking at oscommerce, I wonder if I made a mistake.
So, the questions I have are as follows:

    Do I have to get the host admins to install oscommerce?
    Do I have to know php?
    Is the software tweakable without knowledge of php?
    Will it handle my third-party drop-shipping arrangement?
The last question is really the most important, as I don't want to switch back to Linux, only to find out that oscommerce won't do what I want.
I am leaning toward a PayPal shopping cart solution, as I already have a merchant account and an eBay account. In fact, if eBay can be set up the way I want, it could actually be the main site for this venture. I have successfully sold on eBay and I like the infrastructure.

Mitch

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emxibus
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Joined: 10/24/2008
Game Distribution Scenario

Challengers wrote:
Hi JR,

Thanks for the link. According to one of my colleagues, I made a boneheaded decision when I upgraded my hosting to an Microsoft package. My reasoning was that I could probably learn .NET and ASP faster than I could learn perl, PHP, etc. But, looking at oscommerce, I wonder if I made a mistake.
So, the questions I have are as follows:

    Do I have to get the host admins to install oscommerce?

It is possible to install via F T P. You upload the files and use an install script (via a webpage) to install it. You will also need to setup (username, password) your database before installing.

Quote:

    Do I have to know php?

Good question. There is an admin suite included that allows you to run the site. There are hundreds of add-on that others have written that can be install rather easily. So, if you can find what you need in the admin or add-ons then you probably could get by without much php knowlegde.

Quote:

    Is the software tweakable without knowledge of php?

If you can find an add-on that someone else has written then it usually comes with instructions on how to install it. Usually, a lot of cutting and pasting.

Quote:

    Will it handle my third-party drop-shipping arrangement?
The last question is really the most important, as I don't want to switch back to Linux, only to find out that oscommerce won't do what I want.
I am leaning toward a PayPal shopping cart solution, as I already have a merchant account and an eBay account. In fact, if eBay can be set up the way I want, it could actually be the main site for this venture. I have successfully sold on eBay and I like the infrastructure.

You could look through the contriubtion section and see if you can find what your looking for.

http://www.oscommerce.com/community/contributions

If your looking for something simple like an email, with the order info, sent to the game maker that would be very easy to write.

I haven't setup a site using Paypal (all my customers use their own credit card machines), but I know it's possible.

Ebay would be an easier setup, but I would assume they want a cut of the profits. On the other hand, you will propably get more inital traffic using Ebay.

JR

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Challengers
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Distribution Scenario

Thanks for all of your advice.

Mitch

Lor
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Game Distribution Scenario

It's not over yet! '-)

Challenger, I think you're on JUST the right track.

I have seat time in merchanting through PayPal and letting others collect the money and orders.

The system works. And it's worth giving Paypal their 3.2% per order.

I sell a product line called KeyGuides™, for those needing a rapid keyboard shortcut reference for their popular software titles. I self-publish these, using JIT management ("just-in-time"-- hm, good game mechanism.)

I have been taking orders directly and through associates all over for five years now. They set up their own Paypal receptors on their website stores, and then transmit to me my take along with the order information. I ship for them.

It's a big win-win. I extend my brand and product, in exchange for a little less profit. Believe me, volume makes up for it. And you'll probably see that it comes and goes in waves, seasonally. Doesn't have to be a fulltime thing at all. if oyu advertise, your activity will rise. I've seen that.

I will likely extend the model to my first game self-publish, coming this fall, and it's just great for a startup!

As for the open source solution, I have never investigated it. I'd be a little leary of it because support is probably limited. I don't know if there's a decent "back- end" which includes account management and client database and seller protection possibilities either. PayPal nailed those early on. They even make authoring Buy Now buttons a breeze.

Go for it. Wonderful mechanism, very very low fraud risk. The only one I encountered was, in my eagerness to please, I shipped overseas to a purchaser funding from his bank account, which Paypal allows. They couldn't collect. PP always warns you to wait for funds to clear before shipping on an eCheck or bank-funded order, so I can't fault them.

Be aware, their popularity has attracted scum who phish and send phony and very convincing emails to you telling you your login is incorrect or there's been a security breach or some other crap. I trash these immediately and NEVER ever click the links provided. You can reveal these links and their real names by copying the link to your clipboard (should be able to do this in Windows too) and opening the clipboard to examine it. Even then a link may appear convincing! It should *always* say "https" as a prefix. if not, you have a phisher. Report it to PayPal on their website. They quietly go after 'em.

I cannot recount any other hazards to using PayPal. Steller mechanism.
They have changed very little since being acquired by eBay. They were the first big do-it-yourself solution (displacing Kagi and a few other worthy startups which still operate in niche markets like software sales).

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