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  1. #1
    eigo hanasemasu ka? Yes. =) ZuulJin's Avatar
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    Am I Sabotaging Myself?

    Hello all... I'm writing a small .net/Flash web app to aid Japanese in learning the English language. I'll be using a subscription payment model with PayPal as my transaction processor.

    Overall, I'm going for simplicity, speed, and elegance. I want the user to think in the back of their mind "huh, that was easy and fast!". Instead of, "hmm, how do I... why is this taking so long?".

    In spirit of that, and since PayPal is the payment processor, I'm streamlining my signup/payment process to this:

    User visits my website for the first time. Clicks the "SignUp!" link. My webapp will load the form fhe user needs to complete. The form contains a textbox for their desired username, password, password again (verify typos), and email address. Assuming their username isn't in use already, their passwords matched, and their email address is a valid internet email address... my webapp loads them into the database and sends them to the login page. They are entered in the new user role, and have access to nothing but the new user page. The new user page has the instructions on how to subscribe. My web app will be using PayPal IPN, so once PayPal notifies me that the payment was completed, my webapp will change the user's role to subscribed user. At that time, they have access to the content.

    Overall a very smooth process for the user. However, my webapp itself is not tracking things like the user's firstname, lastname, address, etc. Only the username, password(hashed), and email address. I'll be depending on PayPal for the IPN's to grant/remove access to the content. (the username will be passed to PayPal, to allow me to match payments to users).

    All this was to ask this question... am I sabotaging myself by doing it this way?

    Btw, the monthly subscription fee is miniscule... 250/mo which is about $2.46 a month.

    And finally, could this become a nightmare if the site happens to reach 100,000+ subscribers?

    Thanks in advance!
    U.S. DoD Member in Japan?
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  2. #2
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    Personally, I would be recording as much information as possible about each subscriber before you send them to Paypal - name, address, phone, etc, plus IP address, date/time of subscription etc etc. I also would not rely on Paypal sending back that IPN so maybe a nice and easy manual account activation system should be built as backup...

    We've used Paypal for a lot of things in the past, and from experience know that not only can things go wrong (fraud, IPN goes missing), but people can be real dumb (commonly using a Paypal email address that they no longer have access to which doesn't help if they need info in the email you send them after payment). It helps to know as much about these people as possible, especially a Paypal aren't exaclty the most reliable company in the world when it comes to sending the info you need.

    If you've collected personal details about someone on your site, you should be able to send this over to paypal with all the other form variables, so the customer doesn't need to fill it in again.

  3. #3
    eigo hanasemasu ka? Yes. =) ZuulJin's Avatar
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    Points taken. How often did the IPN's go missing? What did you do when they did?

    I am hesitating a bit on the sheer simplicity factor... simply because I want to ensure nothing goes wrong. I know that's impossible, but I can at least plan for the worse and have backup plans to take care of emergencies.

    What sorts of things should I be ready for when using PayPal as my sole transaction processor? What emergency plans have worked for you in the past? I am building user interaction stories right now, and would like to create some stories about the contigency plans.

    Thanks!
    U.S. DoD Member in Japan?
    Choose your base. Buy|Sell. Easy
    @ APO Ads.




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