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Have you heard the one about the Monotreme and the Marsupial?

The Platycow wants a rematch! Did you hear? We’re bringing sexy back. We launched Platypus v6.0 yesterday, on time (it was November 15th somewhere), with great fanfare.

Sayeth Marketing:

The Platypus Billing System is Tucow’s class-leading billing solution for providers of internet related services. Platypus 6.0 is the most hosting-friendly release to date, making it even easier to manage a hosting business than ever before.
That’s nice stuff. Platypus v6.0 is definitely the biggest release we’ve ever done in terms of new features and improvements. In case you haven’t read your solicited commercial email describing the key features of v6, here are a few, from

  • Integration with leading web hosting control panels: Integration with cPanel, Plesk, H-Sphere and Ensim let Platypus communicate with these control panels seamlessly. Platypus 6.0’s domain-centric service structure allows hosting companies to tie multiple services to one domain name.
  • Nested services: Platypus 6.0 lets companies tie multiple services to one product out of the box, with no custom configuration required.
  • Service contracts: Enforce contract terms with early cancellation penalties. Contract penalties can be fixed or scaled.
  • Logic-driven provisioning: Platypus' provisioning integration system now supports VB scripting, giving you the ability to develop logic-driven provisioning rules without complicated external coding.
  • Server pooling: Use Platypus 6.0 to perform load balanced provisioning of end user control panels on web hosting servers.

Technically, I suppose the integrations with the control panels are a huge benefit to hosting companies. But to me, the nested services are the sharpest improvement of v6. In the old days, services provided by a rate group were just a loose collection of unstructured step-kids that belonged to a rate. Now with nested services, you have a sensible representation of the services you are providing. A domain service could own email services, and an email service could own an anti-spam service. Or a dialup service could own an accelerator service.

Apart from just looking neat, that lets you provision much more intelligently and simply.

I actually made one guy cry at ISPCon, when I told him about two features that would reduce the number (thousands) of rate groups he had defined. The first: the ability to handle multiple billing frequencies with a single rate group definition. Ja, gut. And the second: the ability to completely override and customize any rate group after it’s assigned to a customer. Hosting companies never do the same deal twice, so this feature is huge.

There are other pretty cool additions, such as a screen that shows you a live view of our integrations vault. A single service can now bill for more than one type of billing; in the past you’d need multiple overlapping services. We added the ability to move rates and services, even between customers. VZ redid most of the wizards to make them easier to use without losing any of their power. Oh, and we added VB scripting support to our provisioning wizard, which means you can basically make it do anything now.

A big THANKS to the dev team who did a great job on Platypus v6. I hope you like it as much as we do.