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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, September 18, 2015

Zip, Zam, Zowie and SWOOSH!

An SSL certificate ("cert") is one of those techie things that I just have to have. Secure Socket Layer is the encryption that turns your payment info into gibberish to anyone intercepting a data transmission and the cert is what enables the encryption between my server and the bank. Here's a full explanation if you want to know more. 

The most basic GeoTrust certificate sets me back $35. The fancy cert that comes with a dynamic seal and turns the address bar green is $179. Upgrading to flashy security might sway a few more customers, but certs expire after one year and $179 is a big cash flow commitment. I can afford a $35 renewal no matter how lousy sales get. $179 would be a real hardship if it were due right now.

The annual renewal email makes me cringe every fall because, in addition to $35, the issuing authority wants an hour of my time to buy, request, generate, and install a new cert. If I screw up one of the steps fixing it can stretch to several hours, so I block out an afternoon for this chore. This year, though, MDD Hosting offers an automated quick installer. Lo and behold, I installed the new cert just minutes after plugging some basic info into a web form. Hallelujah! 

Now I only pray that it satisfies the new standards that PayPal's going to insist on beginning next month. PayPal keeps sending me scary emails about how they're trying to kill me. MDD assured me back in May that their new certs comply with the latest and greatest requirements and that I only needed to replace mine before October. Mission accomplished; now we shall see. Curio City is so fragile at the moment that it wouldn't take much to polish it off.


Speaking of sales turning lousy... Curio City had just four sales worth a whopping $80 from Sunday through yesterday. I'd expected at least $300. Things always crash after I do the vacation shutdown/revival; I suspect that Google punishes me for suspending my ads. The new SSL cert raised the prospect that something technical went wrong. A test transaction went through with no problems and I got a couple of small orders this morning, so... (shrug). Slumps happen. When they happen back to back, they yield a two-week paycheck that won't even reach $100.  

Blips like this one always pass sooner or later, but they hurt while they're happening. 

No disasters befell me or my computer during last week's mini-vacation. As usual, I'd gotten myself all worked up over nothing. Shutting down in September isn't something I ever intend to repeat, but it shouldn't prove fatal.    

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