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back to article JustGiving.com website goes titsup after upgrade

Update: This story originally referred to JustGiving as a not-for-profit. It is not. Online charity outfit JustGiving has been hit by a series of major glitches since it launched a new website last Saturday morning. The organisation admitted deployment had been less than smooth and the site continues to have a number of “ …

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DOH!

Been down for a few days, LITERALLY when 2 of our guys had finished a 800 mile journey on their bikes and were hoping to start collecting!

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Latest news

The latest update on how the site is performing is up at http://blog.justgiving.com/2009/06/23/new-on-justgiving/update-on-the-new-justgiving-tuesday-23rd-june/

I should add again that we are very sorry that the new launch didn't go as smoothly as we had planned. We are fixing bugs as quickly as we can and we're trying to keep everyone up to date with our progress.

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Unhappy

Poor Timing for me

I'd just finished a much less impressive bike ride at only 40 miles but I was still expecting to raise some money for Cancer Research UK. No such luck the site was down in the crucial couple of days before the ride and buggy since!

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Really??

"Load testing didn't accurately reflect the way it's being used in the live environment," he explained.

Give me strength - this is coming from the CTO... does this guys have a clue???

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Go

all publicity is good publicity

Some publicity for the site though

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FAIL

I found the bug!

"It's based on Microsoft's .NET 3.5 technology."

There you go.....

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Stop

Too bad...

Now known as JustGivingUp.com

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Anonymous Coward

<obligatory MS/.NET-bashing comment>

Someone has to do it.

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Coat

Technology

.NET technology? How come everything MS does is a technology? Next time I make a sandwich maybe I'll apply for a layered bread meal patent.

Yes, I know its not really anything to do with the point of the article.

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Coat

600,000 per day at 5% "admin fee" = ...

Interesting that they released the figure of GBP600,000 takings per day. Based on the fact they take a 5% admin fee (that's not conjecture, it's stated in their Ts&Cs) that's just shy of 11 million quid per annum in admin fees. Take off the credit card company's 2.5% processing fee (though I bet they have negotiated a better rate) that gives them 5.5 million quid per annum. From hereon in you can only guess how that divvies up between staff costs, other fixed costs like rent, and IT running costs, but surely must be a fair amount of "not profit" left over.

So what I hear you say? Fair point, I'll get my...

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FAIL

WOW! New Icons!

and we still have Evil Bill and no Evil Ballmer

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twe

Fact Check

The article calls JustGiving a charity and a not-for-profit. Are you sure? Wikipedia and the site's own about page suggest it is a for-profit company (even if they are yet to actually return a profit to investors).

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FAIL

New justgiving website demonstrably worse

One thing which has gone uncommented so far...the new site is simply worse than the old one. There are a few stylistic things (I thought a thermometer was a much better way of showing how far I've gone to achieving my goal than a magic star) - however the one really key screwup they've made is that I used to be able to see *all* the donations on a page at once - now it shows a maximum of ten on any given page and users have to click "next" to get through each of the pages.

People look at who's donated what and typically decide how much to donate based on that. If the list doesn't show the bigger donations then people are likely to donate less. So they've (potentially at least) reduced the money which their charity customers raise.

Apart from the fact that it's a giant step back in web design - "you remember how much you used to love clicking "next" and "yes I really want to do this" when you used windows - well we can bring that experience to the web..." one assumes that the marketing people in the charity sector aren't on the marching powder so maybe that was thought up after some cider and particularly potent smokes...who knows but PLEASE FIX IT NOW!

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Anonymous Coward

Justgiving not for profit?

Is justgiving a not for profit organisation? I thought it was a profit-making business which served the not-for-profit sector?

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As an experienced performance tester...

To see the CTO give a quote of

"Load testing didn't accurately reflect the way it's being used in the live environment"

hardly surprises me, but is also pretty disappointing.

Given that the website has been around for some time and that therefore the usage profile is very well known, then its a pretty poor effort from JustGiving and should not have happened. Poor planning, poor testing - given how much they make (given the post by AC at 5:14) there is simply no excuse.

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Headmaster

Is JustGiving a charity now?

"The charity's CTO Dominic Lacey"

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Coat

Not Profit? (@AC)

Who said Just Giving were a Non-Profit? Companies House seem to think they are a private limited company and they arn't in the GuideStar database so they arn't a CSO in this country. Nothing wrong with that of course, they do good work and thats all that matters.

I gotta feel for Just Giving - anyone who's worked in software dev has had a site blow on deployment and its just not fun - I hope your fixes go smooth and speedy.

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Stop

JustGiving fees

are 5%, *plus* VAT, *plus* (particularly odiously) 1.4% if you tick the "I am a UK taxpayer" box, *plus* VAT on the 1.4%, *plus* credit card or PayPal charges. It's all right here: http://www.justgiving.com/info/fees/ - and it's why I stopped using them years ago.

JustGiving are not a charity - they are a for-profit company. Please update this article to reflect this.

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FAIL

My gues iss that the problems will continue

If they've use .NET then they've not used the best developers - that is shown by all the complaints about the usability.

.NET is one of those things where you initially think it is great - but the devil is in the details and they let it down.

And having had to work with .NET I can say that it's going to be extremely difficult to make copies and carry out any sort of testing - so they'll be trying to fix it in place. Then they will probably make things worse.

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FAIL

not reassuring

"The CTO said database transactions were going through on the backend, and added that users can be assured that their donations were being received despite the ongoing errors on the website."

That's actually less reassuring. I would prefer a page either a) fail or b) succeed. NOT charge my card but then put up an error page.

I'm not going to hate on .NET as easy as that might be to do -- but I will comment that something like .NET, Java, etc., is probably not a great thing to be running on a high-traffic server.

(I know some large sites *do* use them, but throw lots of hardware at the problem.)

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Oops...

Their website says "We invest continuously to make JustGiving the best and most robust fundraising platform in the world, for the benefit of our member charities"

that'll have to change then, when they have the time..."we invest continuously to change Justgiving. Sometimes we get it horribly wrong, for which we are very sorry".

Seriously, can anyone explain the point of load testing that doesn't represent real-life use of the site? Did someone think "I know, I'll see if it can support 10% of our expected load and cross my fingers when it goes live"?

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FAIL

Huh?

"Although it cleared all pre-deployment testing, it encountered some problems in the live website environment. " .... "Load testing didn't accurately reflect the way it's being used in the live environment"

I may suggest that your software testing need to be looked at in some detail then?

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