Sponsorship Transactions

Dear Vetronians:

Time – it is a finicky resource. Whenever needed the most, it seems hardest to find. At least that is how is appears in my corner of the world. Then again, when time isn’t at a premium, it seems that someone is paying gremlins overtime. I look at the action items that were planned for January and none of them have moved off the drawing board, except for one – automatic sponsorship activation and management. The plan was to merge PayPal and other merchant account services such that members could use debit/credit cards issued by banks that don’t play nice with PayPal. TheFinalSnow can certain attest to that one. Furthermore, it would also allow us to consider payments from Apple Pay and other payment systems and alternate currencies such as BitCoin.

What seemed to be a detailed, but relatively straightforward task turned into a nightmarish game of finger-pointing instead of problem resolution. VC wasted a lot of time, effort, and dollars deploying a third-party pay portal/clearing house set up that was supposed to integrate different payment systems, provide flexibility, and grow as VC rolls out additional gameplay options and features. At least, that was the theory. Reality pointed out otherwise. The end result is that given sufficient time, I have enough material to write a detailed case study regarding electronic banking, its processes, and policies and their glaring failure to step into the 21st century.

Before this turns into a full rant, I’ll leave it at that and just let off a little more steam to lower my stress levels. What we are trying to do is not difficult, however the electronic payment market is in turmoil as agile companies (i.e. Apple, Google, etc.) are filling a much needed void with their payment systems. Rather than embracing change that will benefit everyone in the long run, older institutions (event those working with the aforementioned) rather dig in their heels much like the entertainment industry in the late 90s desperately trying to hold onto an antiquated, failing business model. Granted, there are millions of electronic storefronts processing billions of dollars each year as long as they do it the way their bank or clearing house wants it done, which may not necessarily be the most cost-effective and flexible means for doing so.

Okay, that’s the end of the rant – I promise. In short, if one wants it done right, one has to do it themselves. I just wish I had that insight 30 days ago, rather than wasting time and money on an integrated solution that never… well… integrated. Tuition to the School of Hard Knocks – I guess Frown

I’d be okay if this only caused me frustrations. Unfortunately, it has also seriously affected the registration of new sponsors and issuing sponsorship stipends. Transactions were not reconciling, received, or executing on our system. I’ve pulled the plug (and pluginSmile ) on the new transaction portal. Most of this week was spent reconciling transaction reports to ensure that none were missed. I’ve intentionally held off on completing transactions until the reconciliation process was completed – 1 hour ago as of this writing. I will be bringing everyone current within the next 24-48 hours that haven’t already been handled by LWK. There will be a 20% bonus on the stipends. Until we have our own payment portal in place, all PayPal transactions will be handled manually as we had done for a long time. Barring any unforeseen road blocks, I expect that we will have a new, simpler, and better automated system up and running in 2-3 weeks. From there, we can expand to other clearing systems to provide a bit more flexibility.

In hindsight, I should have mentioned this sooner, but given the nature of the problem it was better to make sure that it was solved first and ask for forgiveness later. The good news is that Minecraft 1.9 hasn’t appeared yet, though with 51 snapshot releases so far, it can’t be far off. That itself, will be a lot of work and it will be good to get this pesky transaction portal problem solved once and for all.

Best regards,


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