BazQux Reader Community

Western sanctions impact

@vshabanov:
I understand Bazqux is run and developed in Russia. The sanctions raise some questions:

  1. Where is the service physically hosted? If outside Russia, can you actually pay for hosting?
  2. As a corollary to the previous question, if Bazqux is hosted inside Russia do you anticipate any impact from foreign users subscribing to news RSS feeds that may now break Russian law? Do you plan to block these feeds? if so this would obviously immediately lose my business and many others, but of course you may have no choice in the matter.
  3. How will you accept payments? Western users like myself are extraordinarily unlikely to sign up with Russian or Chinese payment systems, and I have no plans to use cryptocurrency either.
  4. Do you have a mechanism to warn us, provide advance notice, if the service is likely to be discontinued? I just exported my OPML feed so I’m ready but many users won’t think to do so.
  5. Do you anticipate any other impact I missed?

Hopefully this situation is resolved peacefully and soon.

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Yup, I was really curious about this too. I hope the war is over soon

  1. Main servers are located in Germany (Hetzner). Few proxy and backup servers are located in USA (Linode). Both have advance payments for 6 months ahead. I can’t pay now via credit card or PayPal, but can use a wire transfer.

  2. BazQux was always hosted in Germany. It’s cheaper, police can’t seize your servers just because they want to destroy your business or racket you (happily, I’m too small to raise their interest, but I sleep better with servers outside of Russia), and, most importantly, internet is working fine here so I could fetch feeds. OK, with GDPR there are some problems with German Internet too (that’s why I’m using USA proxies now), but it’s not like in Russia, where major parts of the web (like the whole Wordpress) are blocked for years (not just now).

  3. The same way as earlier – via FastSpring (USA company). They use Hyperwallet (a PayPal service) to make payouts, and it will soon stop making wire transfers to Russia. I’m checking with FastSpring on whether they’ll be able to do wire transfers themselves (like they did until a couple years ago). Hope that I will find a way to receive money.

  4. I could email OPML to everybody if something will happen.

  5. There are several other sources of major impact:
    5.1. Cutting off the whole Russia from the SWIFT. This will make wire transfers prohibitively expensive or impossible at all. Now only 7 banks are cut off from the SWIFT (mine is not affected). But this will affect all businesses working with Russia, and many people living abroad (like migrants inside Russia and Russian migrants outside be unable to send money to their relatives). Banning Central Bank of Russia is actually a much more serious blow, so I hope that there will be no total ban on SWIFT.
    5.2. Prohibiting of foreign currency wire transfers by Russian government. There are not enough dollars/euros in Russia after the Central Bank ban, so there are already severe limits for people (you can’t transfer more than $5k/month, and buying cash foreign currency is prohibited). It could be extended to businesses. I hope that it won’t (Russia is very import-dependent), but there could be arbitrary limits and it will be hard to pay for services.
    5.3. Cutting off Russia from the Internet (either by Russian government or by the West). Totally stupid thing to do for both sides, but who knows.
    5.4. Hosting providers stopping to work with Russia. That’s really horrible, because it will be hard to have alternative for Hetzner with its cheap dedicated servers.
    5.5. FastSpring stopping working with Russia – problems with accepting payments (could be solved somehow and payments could be postponed).
    5.6. FastMail stopping working with Russia – problems with my email (could be solved too, but not as convenient).

I hope that Internet companies won’t ban Russia because it’s really stupid. If Russia will be isolated from the Internet, nobody inside will know what’s really going on.

So, there are lots of unknowns and I can not guarantee that service will continue to work.

I’m also trying to get the UK visa at the moment (signed a contract on the day the war started, what a coincidence), so I may move to London in a few months and things could become easier. But there is no guarantee for that too.

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Thanks, those are basically the answers I wanted to hear. Agree on 5.3 in particular.

Good luck with your visa!

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Thanks so much for your candor in this thread, and best of luck with your visa!

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Is there any chance you will accept payment for a service from Russia? My subscription is going to expire in two month, I really doubt situation will get any simpler during this time.

We have quite limited options here: local bank or some kind of cryptocurrency.

Good luck with your current visa endeavours

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Thank you. I’m integrating payments in rubles via Tinkoff Bank right now, so it will be possible to pay from Russia.

Splendid, thanks a lot!

Do bazqux support export starred items? I search the website but couldn’t find a way to do that.

Exporting of starred items is not implemented. But you could use API to export them in JSON:
https://bazqux.com/reader/api/0/stream/contents?s=user/-/state/com.google/starred&n=1000
or XML format:
https://bazqux.com/reader/atom?s=user/-/state/com.google/starred&n=1000

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An update: I’ve got my UK visa and will move to London later this month (job starts on 1 July). I will receive an UK credit card so the payments for the servers will not be an issue (at the moment servers are prepaid for 3 more months). I will also change my country and address in hosting provider account to not be the Russian business that could be banned from using cloud services.

So, it seems that BazQux Reader is saved. I’ll keep you posted once I arrive to the UK and set everything up.

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Congratulations, very glad to hear it!

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And here’s an update.

I have been in London for the last two weeks. I have a bank account and a card in the UK.

All hosting and service provider accounts used by BazQux (Hetzner, Linode, Gandi, Mailgun) are changed to my UK address, phone and bank card.

Twitter & Facebook are not yet changed since it requires a new business verification. I don’t think that there will be any ban on social media (both Twitter and FB are already banned in Russia), so I don’t expect any issues there. And if there will be any, I will register a business in the UK.

FastSpring is not changed yet either, as I need to pay off the Russian credit card debt first (and need to learn how to do business in UK to properly change all the details). If transfers to Russia will be totally prohibited I’ll just transfer money there in UK (and will pay off the credit from my rental and Russian clients income). If FastSptring will stop working with Russian business I’ll change it to UK one and could just prolong subscriptions until I will be able to receive payments again.

So I think that BazQux is really saved now.

On the other hand, I have a full-time job, so the reader will be in support mode. Who knows, maybe in the future I’ll come back to add some features, but obviously not now, as I need to adapt to my new circumstances: do my job, find housing, school and nursery for the kids, learn English, immerse myself in UK culture and history, explore London and the country and so on.

I can’t think of any new features that I’d want from bazqux. Not saying a software should stagnate, but not everything needs to be updated all the time for the sake of updating it. There’s some comfort in familiarity and consistency…I guess that’s part of the reason I switched to and use bazqux, continuation of Google Reader. As long as it continues to work and doesn’t break :+1:

Great to hear. All the best to you and your family.

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