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JustGiving CEO pledges refund over upgrade cockup

Fundraisers slam dot com era 'amateurism'

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JustGiving.com’s CEO has apologised to users of the company’s online charity donation service, following a clumsy upgrade that has plagued the system since going live over a week ago.

The firm is offering cheesed-off users, who struggled to access fundraising pages and logon to the system after the relaunch of the JustGiving website, a refund of the five per cent transaction fee for any donations made since 20 June for seven days.

“We did carry out extensive testing before we launched it last weekend. However, what we now know is that we didn’t test it extensively enough, or try hard enough to break it,” admitted JustGiving’s boss Zarine Kharas in a miserable blog post late last week.

In the meantime the company is continuing to grapple with the upgrade cockup.

“We take full responsibility for our mistakes and our tech team is working 24 hours a day to fix everything, and the rest of the team are staffing the phones and email enquiries to try and help out as quickly as possible,” said Kharas.

“The bottom line is this: we know that the performance of the new site over the past week has been totally unacceptable. We take full responsibility for that and are committed not only to fixing it, but also to showing that we’re sorry.”

JustGiving’s CEO is hoping that refunding the transaction fee to those affected by the upgrade will help draw a line under the matter.

However, many are complaining it doesn’t go far enough to compensate those people who have faced major strife collecting and making donations via the site.

“To me, it just seems a bit dotcomish, a bit amateurish, which is fine if you’re launching a free service from your garage, not so fine if you’ve been going for 10 years and have turned over £20+ million,” commented angry JustGiving user SteveK on the firm’s blog.

On Saturday the firm posted an update to its blog, confirming it was still having problems but added most issues had now been fixed.

Unfortunately some users are still struggling to view fundraising pages, while others are unable to create new pages since the website relaunched.

Users continue to complain about the upgrade snafu.

"My event completed yesterday, everybody raising money for the charity I am supporting has had issues in the build-up to this event," wrote CharlieW in a comment below the company's latest blog post.

"How many donations are being lost because donators are put off by amateur implementation of new website?", asked "less than impressed" user Dave.

Last week the website’s CTO Dominic Lacey confessed to El Reg that deployment of the upgrade had been less than smooth.

"Load testing didn't accurately reflect the way it's being used in the live environment," explained Lacey last Tuesday, a message that was echoed yesterday by the company’s boss.

We’ve asked JustGiving to provide more details on when users can expect to see the website return to life fully in order that they can, you know, help to improve lives and that via their much-needed fundraising efforts. At time of writing the firm hadn’t got back to us with comment. ®

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