John Andrews is a Competitive Webmaster and Search Engine Optimization Consultant in Seattle, Washington. This is John Andrews blog on issues of interest to the SEO community and competitive webmasters. Want to know more?

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Dynamic Converter js Solution for Currency Conversion

This is a sponsored post. Not an advertisement, because I am not being paid to promote it. See the difference? The company went through ReviewMe to bring this to my attention. ReviewMe asked me to review it, and I accepted this one because I found it met my criteria:

  • Dynamic Converter is something competitive webmasters would use
  • Dynamic Converter works
  • Dynamic Converter is reasonably priced (free for small sites, price scaling based on usage)
  • Dynamic Converter was interesting to me, and useful to examine

So what it is? It’s a javascript solution for adding multiple currencies to your web pages. If you have a shopping cart especially, or any system that offers price as an attribute of display information, Dynamic Converter can swap the prices out and replace them with new prices in the currency of your choice. Even if you just write about prices on a web page, you can set Dynamic Converter into the page so the viewers can automagically change those prices into their own currency.

How does it work? You place the js onto your page. That’s it.

So what happens then? Well, as a js solution, it as flexible as you would like to make it. Using US$ as an example, if all you do is include the core js on the page, Dynamic Converter will  scan the page for $X.XX in your content and enhance it with an on-hover event which brings up a currency conversion pop-over, with the various conversions offered to your visitor. Dynamic Converter will also place your selected alternative currency next to the original price, using the appropriate currency unit symbol. You can see this on their examples page. I made a test page in about 10 seconds just to see the core functionality for myself.

Of course that is just the basic functionality, and DynamicConverter comes prepared for addition to most shopping carts including Zen Cart, OSCommerce, MiVA, X-cart. The carts they support are listed here, but as you can see from their Joomla! example or just the basic functionality, it’s a pretty simple matter to add to most any application. DynamicConverter scans the rendered page and interfaces via the DOM elements. The actual full Dynamic Converter is more involved if you like. They have a management page, built of course with on-hover js pop-over help that is very well done. You can set your defaults, pick your preferences, and customize a good deal of the full functionality of that pop-over. I played with it and didn’t have any trouble at all understanding how to work with it.

As I noted, once I saw all the bells and whistles, I immediately went to implement the basic functionality alone on a test page, because that is how I think about these things: I almost never fit into the category of “typical webmaster” and so I usually find configuration screens to be limiting. In this case, the basic was so simple, I easily understood what they were doing with the management interface. It’s no big deal… just a serious attempt at making it really easy for the web master to integrate in a custom way.

The free service requires a back link via a promotional “free currency conversion by Dynamic Converter” button, as seen on my sample page. You get up to 10,000 requests per month for that “free” price. If you are serious about your commerce site you will want to host the js on your own server, use it to calculate taxes as well as prices, and that functionality requires a paid license.

So what about the Competitive Webmaster? Well, you’re going to want to control the script as I said, so you’ll pay between $13 and $39 per month depending on which plan you choose. Dynamic Converter will require you to agree to an end user license agreement that tries to protect their intellectual property, which is only fair given this is a javascript solution and you get to see everything. The real value, in my opinion, is that these guys have committed to bringing a currency conversion utlity to market and so they must be deep into getting currency conversion right.. on an ongoing basis. The more they have invested it it working right, the more likely it is to work right.

As a webmaster, I would probably slap on some available currency converter and move on, only to have to come back to it when the currency world updated and the rules changed. At that point I would be at the mercy of the script I had adopted, and honestly, I typically end up rewriting adopting scripts once they break because that is usually easier than figuring out how to fix someone else’ code. I *hate* to wait while an open source package says something will be “fixed in the next release”. But with a company behind the functionality of the script (currency conversion) like this, I am really buying into that company’s commitment to currency conversion more than I am buying into their script.

Would I use Dynamic Converter? Sure. Especially the free version, until I knew how it worked with my particular site and application. It’s a no-brainer for Zen cart and other catalog style shopping cart apps, because it is so easy to implement. I don’t run any international ecommerce sites myself, but I imagine there are much more important issues regarding taxes and tarrifs to spend time on, so all the more reason to pick a working conversion solution like this and move on with actual business and not get bogged down in currency data, charsets, and the like.

Of course as Zen cart or X-Cart or any of the others respond to market pressures, they advance their own currency conversion features, which brings me back to the idea of choosing DynamicConverter for the updates rather than the technology. I’d bet they will always be ahead of the Open Source modules (especially the free ones) because of the basic business model - take away the hassles and uncertainties of currency conversion for web masters. As I said I don’t have much to compare them to, but for free up to 10,000 requests, I don’t need any. I can test their performance for myself. 

Want to read what other’s have said about Dynamic Converter? They have asked others to review the service, each from a different perspective. Check out:

 

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