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August 17, 2016

What Happened to SamCart?

Sinking Ship Image

Samcart logoI signed up for Samcart a few months ago. It looked pretty sweet. Nice looking order form, order bumps, upsells, affiliate sales, integration to Infusionsoft, Authorize.net and PayPal. Awesome right?

Now it’s been a few months and I’m at the point of abandoning Samcart.

Why?

The main gripes I have are

  • The backend has only very basic information. I can’t lookup the credit card information for a sale to know what card was used. Fortunately Authorize.net shows the last 4, which helps. But this should be available in the back end. Matt gave a reason that it is in violation of PCI compliance standards. Sorry Matt. I know other platforms do this. PCI compliance has more to do with having a tight server with all of your server software current and patched. You can’t store the CCV number, but other data can be stored. Just be SUPER careful as it makes your server a hacker target.
  • Samcart has dropped support for Authorize.net for new accounts. It is listed as Deprecated in the back end. Why? Authorize.net is an industry standard. Why on earth would you drop it?
  • Not enough detail on the order summary. The order information for any particular order is very basic. It’s difficult to see exactly what’s happening with a particular order or client.
  • Infusionsoft integration is marginal. Yes, Samcart can add/remove tags for various things like orders, refunds, cancellations etc. They do NOT create Infusionsoft subscriptions or add the credit card via the Infusionsoft API. When my customers go to the billing site I’ve setup, it checks all of their orders, subscriptions, credit cards etc IN INFUSIONSOFT. Since Samcart doesn’t add them, my customers can’t self-manage their billing and subscriptions.

I have to ask any customers who have subscriptions to update their credit card in Infusionsoft now so I can move their subscriptions out of Samcart. Really Samcart?

For me, it’s Game Over with Samcart

Game Over image

Think VERY carefully if you have a subscription product and are contemplating using Samcart. If you ever change your mind and want to move, it’s a nightmare.

UPDATE. I asked this question in the Samcart support:
So I can’t get the CC data into Infusionsoft?

Scott’s Answer:
Not with the way our Infusion integration is setup. It would violate a lot of compliance issues to pass over the CC data.
At one point, we have a really crazy Infusionsoft integration that did this. Took a lot of time to create it, had a lot of people test it out. And we were forced to shut it off. Infusionsoft’s API created a really poor experience for people. Information kept getting missed, order information not passed correctly, it was a mess.
So our current integration is much simpler. And we think SamCart’s speed, simplicity, stats, etc. all make SamCart a great tool to create your checkout pages, track stats, and manage orders. While passing tags and allowing Infusion to do what it does best, all of the automation and segmenting.
Scott

My questions are:

  • If it was working, why turn it off?
  • What problems did you have with the Infusionsoft API? I personally have found it easy to work with.
December 15, 2015

How to Capture IP Address in an Infusionsoft Hosted Web Form

Infusionsoft is an amazing platform, but it has occasional roadblocks to doing certain things. One of these little things is capturing a visitor’s IP address on an Infusionsoft hosted web form.

I think this should be baked into the application. However, we have the ability to work around it using Javascript. Thanks to a service at http://l2.io/ this procedure is pretty straightforward.

Step 1: Create a custom field to hold the IP address

Go to Admin > Settings

Admin > Settings Image

Click on the “Go” button to modify the Contact custom fields

Custom Fields Contact Image


Now add the custom field

Add Custom Field Image

  1. Click the “Add” button for a field
  2. Type in “IPaddress”
  3. Set the field type to “Text”
  4. Click the “Save this Field” button
 

Step 2: Edit the Web Form in Campaign Builder

Double Click on the Web Form Icon to edit the form
Open Web Form Image

 

Add a “Hidden” Field Snippet to your form
Drag hidden field snippet to form image

 

Select the “IPaddress” field and click the “Save” button
2015-12-15_11-08-02

 

Step 3: Lookup the Form Field ID and edit the code to work with your form

Look on the “Code” tab and load the hosted web form. We need to find the form field id to target it with Javascript.
Open Hosted Web Form Image

 

Right click and select “View Page Source” (Chrome)
View Page Source Image

 

Search for “IPaddress” to find the form field’s id.
– Save this id value.
– Note the underscore in front of it.
  – The id is case sensitive!

Form id for ipaddress field image

Add your IPaddress form field id to this code. 

<script type=”text/javascript”>var userip;</script>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”https://l2.io/ip.js?var=userip”></script>
<script type=”text/javascript”>
document.getElementById(‘***YOUR-FORM-FIELD-ID-GOES-HERE***‘).value = userip;
</script>

For example:

<script type=”text/javascript”>var userip;</script>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”https://l2.io/ip.js?var=userip”></script>
<script type=”text/javascript”>
document.getElementById(‘_IPaddress‘).value = userip;
</script>

NOTE: This is case sensitive and you MUST include the leading underscore!!

 

Step 4: Insert your code in the Web Form


Go back to your Infusionsoft Web Form and add an HTML Snippet to your form

HTML snippet Image

 

After you release your mouse, paste the code with your form ID
Paste your code in image

 

Step 5: Publish the form and test that it works

Publish your campaign, then reload the form, submit it and check that the contact record has the IP address field populated
IP address recorded in contact record image

 

That’s it!

I used this same idea to capture IP address data in a clickfunnels form that submits to Infusionsoft.

After you have the contact’s IP address, you can lookup the location at http://whatismyipaddress.com/

I still wish Infusionsoft had a built in way to add IP address to a form field, but until they do, we have a workaround.

November 25, 2014

The Round Table with Ian Scott on Thursday Dec 4th

Ian-Scott Image

Former Goldman Sachs option floor trader Ian Scott will present “Thinking like a Goldman Sachs Trader” on Dec 4th, 2014.

Mr. Scott has been the investment manager of Eventus Trading Partners, LLC and Eventus Capital Group, LLC since June 2008. He is the Fund’s primary trader responsible for all trading, pricing, execution and risk management. His expertise is in execution management and his ability to accurately price and gain from arbitrage opportunities in the market.

From 1999 to 2003 Mr. Scott was employed at Goldman Sachs (Spear Leeds & Kellogg) as an options trader on the floor of The American Stock Exchange. From 2003-2004 Mr. Scott was an options floor broker for ABN AMRO. From 2004 to 2008, Mr. Scott was an arbitrage trader for C&C Trading, a boutique trading firm in New York. Mr. Scott attended Baruch College in New York. He also took post graduate classes at The New York Institute of Finance.

While working at Goldman Sachs Mr. Scott held a Series 7, a Series 55 and a Series 63 license.

Click here to register for this free event

We will record this event and post it in our free members area.
Get your free login here if you don’t have one already.

We hope to see you in the webinar on Thursday.

November 3, 2014

The Floater Trade

Mallard Duck Image

Jim Riggio put an SPX trade on about two months ago when the SPX was at 2000. Jim put a 90-day (DEC expiration) 1975/2000/2025 butterfly on. Nothing fancy or unbalanced. I put the same trade on the next day.

Jim and I took two different approaches to managing the trade

Jim was a “set and forget” while I started making the trade a broken wing butterfly as the market started moving down. My trade made a $1256 profit in just short of two months on about $7500 of margin used in the trade. That’s a return of +16.75% in two months.

But what does this have to do with that duck?

The way I managed the trade was to lift the downside and lower the upside. I was “floating” the expiration profit/loss up and down, as the market moved. Just as a duck floats on the water and goes up and down with the tide, I was floating my expiration profit/loss lines up and down.

Does it work when the market goes up?

Of course. I put the next floater trade on about a week ago with SPX around 1958. SPX is now at 2018 and I’ve “floated” my call side up above $0 profit at expiration. Let me show you.

Trade Entry

OptionVue Matrix: SPX was at 19582014-10-27 Floater Entry Matrix Image
2014-10-27 Floater Entry Chart
Notice how narrow this butterfly is. The probability of profit at expiration is only 12% if you don’t make any adjustments. Also notice how much time premium is in this trade. Because you are selling at-the-money options, you collect a huge amount of time premium to play with.

The First Adjustment

The next day, SPX starting roaring to the upside. I made my first adjustment by simply adding a bull call spread at 1950/1925. I’m generally trying to use the same strikes. It doesn’t matter if I use calls or puts. Vertical spreads at the same strikes are the same. One is a credit and the other is a debit, but the risk/reward is identical. I’m also trying to use strikes at major price levels as those strikes are more heavily traded.

2014-10-28 Floater Matrix Image

Notice how the symmetric butterfly has changed to a broken wing butterfly
2014-11-02 Floater 10-28 Chart Image

Fast forward a few days to Oct 30th.

SPX kept rising and I floated my call side up and the put side down a little more. This was because SPX is now well above the expiration break even and I needed to keep flattening the T+0 line. Here’s what the trade looked like at the end of the day on Oct 30th:

2014-10-30 Floater Chart Image

Current Position

SPX is now at 2018 and I’ve floated the call side up and the put side down a bit more:

2014-10-31 Floater Matrix Image

2014-10-31 Floater Chart

Notice the call side expiration profit is now above zero. The put short strike deltas are at -19.2 so the probabilities are shifting in the trade’s favor. The probability of profit in 33 days is about 80%.

Summary

This is a trade in development in my “test kitchen.” I need to spend some time back testing this. (I wish QuantyCarlo was ready to go). I need to develop a set of rules for the trade, but at the moment, it’s a trader’s trade. The main goal is to keep the T+0 line pretty flat and the risk under control.
I like this trade for several reasons:

  • You start with a lot of time premium to play with so you can make a good number of adjustments without ruining your profit potential
  • The trade starts market neutral. You let the market tell you which way it wants to go and you react to that.
  • If the market goes sideways, you start with good theta so you can make a profit relatively quickly.
  • Risk is very low. The T+0 line is FLAT. My 10 lot butterfly was only $2000 in margin to start with. If we had a flash crash, that’s the most I could lose.
  • Because I’m starting farther out in time, short term movements don’t need to be reacted on in the same way with a shorter time frame trade.

What do you think?

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are for this trade. Either reply in the comments below or join us in the forums to discuss this trade at http://forums.capitaldiscussions.com/
October 12, 2013

The Weirdor: A Weird Looking Iron Condor

NOTE: Jim Riggio’s modified Weirdor is the JEEP trade. Jim did a presentation at Options Tribe about this recently. The replay and slides are available at Capital Discussions.

Dan Harvey is a retired Sheridan Options Mentoring mentor who has been trading iron condors for many years.  Dan is a retired medical surgeon who has done surgery on the Iron Condor to modify it to address several problems he saw in traditional Iron Condors.

What’s wrong with the Iron Condor?

  • Iron Condors are short Vega and volatility normally goes up as the underlying price goes down.  This pushes the P/L curve down from volatility while you are losing money from price action at the same time.
  • As you move from the center of an Iron Condor, gamma kicks in and makes the T+0 curve “bend” and change relatively quickly so you tend to adjust fairly soon.
  • There is more time premium in Puts than Calls so you have less distance to your upside short strike (assuming you are selling the same delta for the Puts and Calls).  Markets tend to rise so you spend many expiration cycles fighting the Iron Condor on up moves.

How can we address these problems?

The first step is to add a put debit spread near the money.  This helps reduce the Vega and reduces Gamma so as price moves down and volatility moves up, the Put debit spread is flattening your T+0 curve and reducing the negative effect of Vega.

To flatten the T+0 curve on the up side, we sell less call credit spreads.  If you are selling 12 to 15 put credit spreads, a typical Weirdor will sell two or three.  This makes the upside risk much less from the beginning of the trade and it’s easy to manage.

If the market is moving up, the typical Weirdor defense is to take the calls off if the price of the short call increased 50% to 100%.  Because there are so few calls, taking the calls off doesn’t hurt the profit potential of the trade very much.  It also eliminates risk to the upside.

Why did Dan Harvey call this trade a Weirdor?

Dan said the graph has a “weird” looking shape but it’s really a modified Iron Condor.  When you combine “Weird” with “Iron Condor” you end up with a “Weirdor.”

Let’s see an example of a Weirdor

With RUT at 1047.70 and 37 Days to expiration, here is a typical Weirdor:

Put debit spread
+1 RUT NOV 1040 PUTS @ 26.40
-1 RUT NOV 1020 PUTS @ 19.60

Put credit spreads
-12 RUT NOV 920 PUTS @ 4.30
+12 RUT NOV 900 PUTS @ 3.20

Call credit spreads
-2 RUT NOV 1135 CALLS @ 1.85
+2 RUT NOV 1155 CALLS @ 0.80

This example is at 37 days to expiration.  Most Weirdor traders start 45-60 days to expiration.  Don’t start a Weirdor with less than 30 days to expiration.

What does this trade look like?

Weirdor risk chart

Weirdor Risk Chart

As you can see, there is little risk on the up side from the beginning of the trade. Typically a Weirdor will have +3% profit on a move up.  If the market goes sideways, you can usually get a bit more than +3% because the T+0 line actually goes above the expiration line a little bit near the end of the trade.

If the market falls, the debit spread can provide a nice boost to the profit and end up with +8% or more.

What are the characteristics of the Weirdor?

That varies from trader to trader, but typical traders win about 85% of the time.  This is similar to an Iron Condor that you are selling 8 delta options.  The trade has a very smooth equity growth chart compared to an Iron Condor due to the lower drawdowns and the Weirdor has a higher expected return than conventional Iron Condors.   Dan Harvey’s results have been:

  • 87% wins
  • Average winner 6% to 7%
  • Average loser -3.5% to -4.0%
  • Expected return of +4.6% of margin
  • Probability of Ruin  0.0000%

Risk is easy to manage with zero or one adjustment per trade being typical.

What vehicles can you trade the Weirdor?

Almost anything.  You can trade indexes, stocks or futures options as long as there are enough strikes available.  Lower priced stocks probably aren’t suitable.  Make sure you check the open interest and option volume.

Does this mean you shouldn’t trade an Iron Condor?

Not necessarily.  The Iron Condor will make more money if the market goes sideways or up a little bit.  The Iron Condor requires more adjustments than the Weirdor.  If you are late adjusting, you can put yourself in a hole too deep to dig out of very easily.  People do trade the Iron Condor and make money, but you have to have a good trading plan and risk management to make it work.

The biggest problem of the Iron Condor compared to the Weirdor are the larger average losses.  This is what makes the equity growth chart choppier.

My initial experience so far

I have been trading a mini-Weirdor on the RUT in the last two months.  I was in the first trade for 31 days and made +3.26%.  I’m still in the second trade.  It weathered the recent market sell off and reversal quite easily.  I added one extra Put debit spread that smoothed my T+0 line and reduced my Vega.  The margin on the trade is $11,000 and my maximum unrealized loss was -$560, or about -5%.  That was primarily due to volatility spiking up and pushing the T+0 line down.  If I didn’t have the additional debit spreads, I think I would have been down over 10% at one point.

When the market reversed, I simply took off my additional Put debit spread for a small loss.  I did sell one additional put credit spread below my original put credit spreads to offset this loss.  My margin increased to $13,000 temporarily but is now back to $11,000 and my Weirdor has no risk to the upside as I took off the Call credit spreads already.

If the RUT stays above 1070 (currently at 1084) the Weirdor will net +3.93% and if the RUT goes below 1060, it will net +13.36% if I leave it on until NOV expiration in 34 days.

I found the adjustment to be quite easy.  I entered the additional Put Debit spread manually, but if I had a job and couldn’t be at the computer, my adjustment could have been put on automatically with a contingent order.

Conclusion

The Weirdor is a low stress alternative to a conventional iron condor.  It has a very high win percentage with very little upside risk.  Downside risk is easily managed by adding wide debit spreads.  The Weirdor consistently attains yields of 5% to 8% with smaller drawdowns than conventional iron condors.  The low drawdowns is what makes the equity growth curve so smooth.

Next Steps

You should back test and/or paper trade any new strategy.  When you start live trading, trade very small until you prove to yourself you can successfully handle the trade.  Then start scaling it up in size.

Post your questions or comments about your experience with the Weirdor in the comments below.

Amy Meissner's Weirdor Trade Alerts banner

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