TLDR: We have addressed the issue causing the recent outage. We didn’t abandon the app. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Recently, Aussie Bargain has gone through a little turmoil whereby the app was not able to load deals from OzBargain. This resulted in quite a number of failure and error screen shown to our users across iOS and Android. We understand the frustration of missing out on deals and not being able to see the latest savings available in Australia. Throughout this incident, a few things have been brought to light that we would like to share.

The Good

We like the app and OzBargain. This app started as a passion project because a while back, we saw a gap in OzBargain where there was no app, no instant notification delivered to our phone with rich data. That plus the ability to collate and browse through the site quickly. And so we embarked on this journey to help provide to users out there another alternative to browsing OzB directly. It was also a learning journey for us as it was our first foray into mobile applications. It has been close to 6 years since the release of Aussie Bargain and we have gone through many many iterations and updates to provide the best to our users by adding new features or fixing issues. It was and is still a great passion side project that we are maintaining in order to provide users with alternatives.

Which brings me to the next point. We have not updated the app recently in the respective app stores but that DOES NOT mean we abandoned the app/project. To give you context, every app update requires us to submit builds to apple/google to verify and therefore to avoid that, we have built in some smarts so that our app can be updated remotely internally without having to go through the lengthy process. Of course, if there are major updates required, we would still go through apple/google but if we can fix internally, we would prefer to do so.

So, fret not, we are not going anywhere. Even if the app does not appear to be updated, it is still being updated internally and we are still working on it in the background.

The Bad

Well, not bad, but to no one’s surprise, we are not affiliated nor are we endorsed by OzBargain. We are not the official app of OzBargain and we do not have access to anything that is not public on OzBargain. And that’s fine and as intended as we are just an alternative solution to browsing OzBargain. An unofficial third-party app you may say. We did, in the beginning, reach out to Scott from OzBargain to ask for his permission to launch our app and, with his blessings, for which we are eternally grateful, we have launched ourselves into the world. Many OzBargain third-party apps have come and gone but we have been around for close to 6 years now, sending over a few million notifications to our users and providing users with instant access to deals.

That being said, we are not the official app. Our app is therefore at the mercy of any changes OzBargain go through. We build in resilience but it is not fool-proof and when drastic changes happen, we have to address it. This is in part what happened over the last month where our app suffered some outages. OzBargain went through some network layer changes, which to be fair, is a great initiative both cost wise and speed wise. This, unintentionally, impacted us as you might have seen.

The network layer change meant that it was a significant challenge for us to be able to fetch information from OzBargain to display in the app. There was no easy flick-of-a-switch solution to address the issue. Instead, it demanded time and effort to investigate and ensure that a proper resilient solution can be integrated. We didn’t want to promise our users that it would be fixed only to be thwarted by another change. That is why it took us a while to figure things out and fix it for our app users.

We have integrated a solution that seems to be working for now, being able to serve deals to our app users. It was not an easy solution and demanded quite a bit of effort but we are happy with what we landed on. At least we can continue to provide to our users, the possibility to continue to browse OzBargain through our app.

The Ugly

As we mentioned before, Aussie Bargain is a passion project for us. A side project that we maintain because we want to be able to see all the latest deals but also to share to anyone wanting to use our app. It was an idea born from gaps in OzBargain back then. It is not a money making machine nor will it ever be. We make a tiny amount of money monthly via ads and the infrequent inapp purchase, just enough to pay for our servers to send out notifications and handle all the other backend services. It is through our own personal time that we put in that is keeping the app alive. Because this was a side project it meant we could only look at this issue outside of working hours. The reason we say this is because during the recent outage, we have seen the ugly side of the internet rise up and attack us for something that unfortunately was out of our control. Just to give you a glimpse of it, below are some screenshots.

Those were just a few of the messages we received and quite honestly, we shouldn’t be surprised. Trolls on the internet, boosted by the power of anonimity, are free to say whatever they want. However, this came as a rude awakening bell. We have never seen such ugliness before, even when we suffered outages in the past.

That being said, we carried on because we still wanted to provide to users the best alternative to browse OzBargain. We are also extremely grateful for the other users who reached out in concern and were very understanding when we explained the problem!

The next part

This recent outage has been addressed and we hope that we won’t be facing another outage soon. It’s been close to 6 years that we have been serving you and we are still going strong. Even if this is a passion project, we intend to keep going as long as we can!

We thank all our users for their continued support, patience and understanding. If you have any concerns, please contact us at contact[at]2iins[dot]com


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