After posting about the ability to convert Scrypt ASICs into Hashlet Prime on Saturday, GAW_CEO actually commented that "This is an oversight with the department that does the site listings. All orders will be canceled and refunded. We apologize for the error." Well, Josh was apparently serious as the four Thunder X6 ASICs that I purchased have been "refunded" -- except by "refunded" I mean they're gone and I have received an email saying I've been refunded, but the funds are nowhere to be found. Here's what I've received (note that there was no other email communication prior to this):
GAW Miners has refunded your order (#XXXX) a total of $449.95 USD for:
1x 18-20 Mh/s - Thunder X6 by Zeusminer - 1 Month of FREE ZenCloud Hosting Service - 24-Hour Activation! (Low-Power Scrypt ASIC Miner)
So, let me get this straight: GAW gave users the ability to convert Scrypt ASICs into Hashlet Prime, and that was an oversight -- but apparently it's not being rolled back. They also forgot that they sold ASICs before creating Hashlets and that they still have an inventory of Zeusminer Thunder X6 ASICs sitting around. That "oversight" on the other hand is being rolled back, so all recent Thunder X6 purchases that were converted into Hashlet Prime (I'm assuming) are void. What's worse, the only notification people get is that they've been "refunded". That's horrible customer service, period.
The proper way to handle this -- well, other than not accidentally enabling a feature, for the second time in as many weeks (remember the "incorrect price of the Hashlet Genesis" last week? Which wasn't actually incorrect; it was just deployed earlier than anticipated I guess) -- is that the first step is to email all of those that ordered and say, "We inadvertently enabled a feature and you used that feature, resulting in a better price than we intended. While we did not intend to allow users to purchase the Thunder X6 ASIC and immediately convert it into Hashlet Prime, we admit that this is purely an error on our part and we would like to offer you [insert some reasonable token of appreciation]." Maybe others got that treatment but I certainly didn't.
Anyway, GAW did issue a public apology of sorts last week for basically releasing shoddy code on a regular basis. They should have done more than that for this case of, "Oops -- our bad." As I've said in the earlier post, Hashlets originally were priced at $14.95, which means GAW did some projections and said, "Yeah, we can make some good money at that price." Except they underestimated demand, supplies were running short, and they got greedy and increased the price by more than 100% to $39.95, adding a variety of other Hashlets in the process. Then the price was increased again to $49.95. Those that got in early were just "lucky" I guess.
The same holds for the Vaultbreaker pre-orders, who received 750MH of Hashlet Prime in place of their ASIC, which is sort of (but not really) like getting $37,500 in Hashlets instead of a $10,000 ASIC ($13.33 per MH). And Vaultbreaker batch #2 is getting their 750 MH at $9.33 per MH now. So really, $22.50 - $25 per MH for Hashlet Prime is not even an exceptional deal; it's just better than the exorbitant $49.95 that no one in their right mind should be paying.
Finally, just last week Josh was going on about dropping the price of Hashlet Prime back to $25 and holding off on some of the extra features they had originally planned to add to Primes. I already said I thought the "Plan B" was a load of manure and that "Plan A" was never going to happen, and I was right: Hashlet Prime is staying at $50. (Shocker!) But that does mean $25 Hashlet Prime is hardly out of the realm of feasibility.
It's sad that Josh/GAW has gone on about "doing the right thing" by their customers on so many other occasions, and now through no fault of their own a bunch of people that took advantage of a good deal are basically being given the shaft, with pretty much zero communication on the matter. And it's probably because those early adopters that paid $14.95 or less per Prime just want to keep the perceived value of their Primes way higher than they should be -- at least until they can sell them and cash out.
That said, I'm far less enamored with GAW after this exchange, and there are certainly other viable options. LTC Gear is one of the better ones I've been eyeing lately, where they currently have the ASIC share1K6X Anniversary that will give you 160 MH of shares for one year for a price of $1805. Yeah, that would be $11.28 per MH, but it doesn't end there. Use the code "anniversary1yr" and you get a final price of $920.55, or only $5.75 per MH. I don't know how much I trust LTC Gear, but that's ROI in about 45 days at the current rate. Food for thought if you're looking for GAW alternatives....
By the way, I still have no idea how I'm being "refunded". I sent about 5 BTC to GAW for the ASIC purchases on Saturday evening, and I now have nothing to show for it. They haven't asked for an address where they can send my missing BTC, but they did disable my "oversight" Hashlet Primes. Again, this is not how you handle customer service, GAW. Hopefully they learn from this sort of mistake, but so far GAW has been playing fast and loose and it's bitten them in the butt on more than one occasion. Keep that up and your competition may end up surpassing you, even if Scrypt mining is "your house".
Update: And how's this -- I got banned (community banned?) on Hashtalk.org thanks apparently to my thread on this topic. It started with me pointing out the option to get Primes at a lower price, and when Josh said it was an oversight (aka, stupidity on the part of his web programmers) I contended that refunding was not very good customer service. Apparently some Hashtalk users downvoted my posts because they didn't like my perspective (or my blog?), so now I'm gone. If you can see the posts that got downvoted, you'd see just how ludicrous this is; my post here is far more negative than anything that I said at Hashtalk, and there's a reason for it: banning a blogger doesn't generally shut him up.
That's a "great community" they have over there; I guess they're more than welcome to it. Why agree to disagree when we can instead just stifle free speech and ban people for voicing opinions? Here's another suggestion, for GAW/Hashtalk: don't let anyone -- mods or regular users -- vote in threads where they have participated. I'm pretty sure the people that downvoted me are users that had already said they disagreed with my view, so they basically say, "you're wrong, and you don't get to respond." I also like the downvotes on the first post: "This guy says he converted ASICs into Primes -- DOWNVOTE for telling the truth!" Well played, Hashtalk users; well played.
UPDATE #2: I'm double-posting this note as it's important to know what you're getting into with GAW. Roughly one week later, my orders (and presumably all orders of new ASICs that were converted into Hashlet Prime) have been canceled. I received email messages saying I was "refunded", but let's be clear: I HAVE NOT BEEN REFUNDED. GAW received my Bitcoin, they activated them on Zenminer, I converted them into Hashlet Prime -- all using the interface they provided. This is not an exploit; it's something they allowed. Now they canceled my miner purchases and Prime conversions, but they did not return my Bitcoins. I opened a ticket on 9/29; three days later the ticket hasn't even received a response. Coupled with the permanent banning from Hashtalk and I have to wonder if accusations of GAW being a ponzi scheme may prove correct.