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2Much.net Bounces Back From Billing Bust

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Jan 29, 2004 6:20 PM PST    Text size: 
Montreal, Quebec - 2Much Internet Services, the company responsible for last year's surprise entry in high-end video-audio streaming and billing software, LiveCamNetwork 1.9, was forced to a standstill over the weekend of January 16-19 when its newly formed network of websites virtually lost the capacity to accept payments from clients. In what can be seen as yet another deadly Internet undertow, ProBilling, the third-party billing company 2much.net has dealt with since last summer, announced it would cease all credit card billing services, with only e-checking remaining. Citing "challenging times for all online credit card processing companies" in their January 16 bombshell communiqué, Probilling claimed "due to the increased scrutiny by the credit card associations we feel that we can no longer offer reliable credit card processing". Calling the credit giants "high risk processing" Pro Billing cancelled these services with only a four-day warning on Visa and none for MasterCard. 2Much Internet services, which powers a few dozen chat websites and requires a reliable third-party billing processor to enable customer purchases, was obliged to put normal operations on hold and hunt the market to seal a deal before the January 20th deadline. 2Much President and CEO Mark Prince and his programming team immediately began approaching companies, dealing for compatibility to the 2Much system. Each billing company is unique and shares no standards when communicating sensitive customer data between transaction points. "We have had to write new software," said Ye Zhang, head programmer at 2Much.net, "for each of the billing companies we have tested." The distinctive E-Wallet system LiveCamNetwork 1.9 uses simplifies purchases for end users but can't be universally adapted to just any third party billing system. 2much.net had the unpleasant option to either re-write its LiveCamNetwork software or reconsider the system altogether, but in the end decided against either course. "It was hell," Prince said. "Phones rang, customers were nervous. They just dropped $12,000 on our software and they needed service. It has been hectic." Prince remained upbeat throughout, he claims, and remembered when a previous billing company pulled the rug from under his feet. "It was a challenge. Our software actually grew because we found new ways to work with billing companies as far as improving the transfer of data and improving the customer experience by way of the new e-wallet function." Five days past the deadline, 2Much was still testing. "We're looking into standardizing ourselves with one company in particular, and I have a pretty good idea who that'll be, but I won't say any more for now," said Prince. Despite his lack of rancor, Prince said he had a bone to pick with ProBilling. "They announced it on a Friday, making finding another company to work with harder. Then there's the fact that nobody was open on Martin Luther King Day, a three-day weekend." Despite a quick response by 2Much, the eleventh-hour announcement from ProBilling has been unduly harmful. "All 2much-powered sites had approximately 70% drop in sales, " said Prince. 2Much.net sites lost money, said 2Much Communications Director Greg Jones, "but not faith in 2much. Actually, reactions have been encouraging and calm on behalf of the webmasters. I think that demonstrates a great amount of faith and understanding on their part. I just hope no one took too much of a financial beating." Prince was even more confident. "LiveCamNetwork 1.9 features the MBase model sharing and our e-wallet system. All this will be forgotten inside a week. We've already found our billing companies and are signing agreements with them as I speak. Now is time to get back to making money." For more information, please visit the site at www.2Much.net
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