informa
3 min read
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Desura Died & Took My Customers Down With Them

Desura's parent company is reportedly bankrupt, the site is incommunicado, and I have no way to migrate my customers to a surviving platform.

Desura was the second marketplace where I began selling I Get This Call Every Day. To date, I estimate that 605 people have purchased the game there, making Desura responsible for about 8% of the game's total sales and nearly 5% of the game's net profits. I've never really liked Desura as a service, and if I didn't have customers who had bought my work through it, I'd be apathetic about it's current collapse. 

However, I've held a strong belief that if you buy a digital creation from me, you should have access to it for as long as I can provide. Back when I used Sellbox and Fastspring, I was emailing customers a permanent, alternative download link hosted on my own server because the ones provided by those vendors were always temporary. I've since migrated nearly all my non-itch.io customers to Humble, so they're more likely to retain access to their purchase for a long time.

There was one small storefront I also used in the early days, named Indievania. It was a competent storefront, independently run by a small game developer, and I made about 40 sales there. One day, it vanished. It took with it all my sales data from its service. The 40 or so customers who purchased my work from Indievania will never have access to it again; I have no way of even knowing who they were.

The same thing is going to happen, soon or eventually, with Desura. They've stopped communicating with developers, their Twitter is inactive, they don't respond to email, and there's word that their parent company has filed for bankruptcy.

Unlike almost every other storefront I have used thus far, Desura decided to completely anonymize customer data. I can see a host of demographic data that I don't get with other storefronts (not that I want or need it), but there is nothing in any sales records available from Desura that identifies who my customers are, including that all-important email address. If I had access to those addresses, I could very easily migrate those customers over to Humble or itch.io and ensure that they retain access to their purchases and future updates. But I don't. My request from three weeks ago to get this data from Desura was ignored. I doubt I'll ever have access to this data before Desura disappears completely.

So, that's 605 customers who will not have access to their purchase of I Get This Call Every Day when Desura's servers finally go offline. That's 605 customers who will not get access to the upcoming v1.5 update. That's 605 customers who will not be getting Steam keys when it is eventually released on that platform.

There is a sad irony at work here, in that several months ago I had an incident with Desura's Twitter account. This was back when I was planning to prevent any customers who supported GamerGate from receiving Steam keys for I Get This Call Every Day; I was berated by Desura's social media manager and told that the site would not discriminate against any of its customers. Now, because of poor records handling and whatever circumstances that led to the collapse of their business, they're going to indiscriminately leave my customers out in the cold.

UPDATE: As of July 4th 2016, Desura's website and backend are still operational. I Get This Call Every Day launched on Steam on June 9, and Steam keys for purchasers have been uploaded. There's no telling if or when the site will shut down, but hopefully it does so sometime after all my customers have claimed their keys.

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