Locating Another User

Hi, my site allows users (buyers) to buy e-learning courses for other users (receivers). The buyer completes a form, entering in the receivers email address along with choosing an e-learning course for the receiver. These e-learning courses are presents (mostly surprises) and the majority of the time a buyer will not know if a receiver is already a member or not.

When payment is processed and the form is submitted, the site checks if the receiver is already a member, by checking if their email address is already associated with a user account, and therefore the site sends out 1 of 2 emails to the receiver:

A (receiver is already a member) - “you have received a new e-learning course from $buyer”

B (receiver is not a member) - “you have received a new e-learing course from $buyer, please click on the following link to complete your account”

Now i am thinking of adding a way so that the buyer can find / locate the receiver instead of just guessing / entering in the receiver’s email address, as a receiver might use a different email address than the one the buyer knows to create their account on the site.

What is the best way to do this… i think it would be illegal to add a “search receiver by email” to the site, as this would allow users to enter in an email address and then if an email address is found, the site will auto display the user’s first name and last name and username. I was then thinking maybe it is best to search for user by username… so if there is a result the site will auto display the usernames first name and last name only. Buyers can then focus on finding out the receivers username from them instead of the email address they signed up with… what do you think is the best approach… thanks in advance for your help…

I wouldn’t go that route, I’d likely allow the receiver to transfer said course to their existing account instead, so the buyer can still use whatever e-mail address they so desire, but the receiver then has the ability to transfer the course to their existing account.

Sorry, i don’t get you… the buyer needs to be able to assign a course to a receiver but the receiver might not be a member of the site yet…

Right, but wasn’t your issue defined as, the buyer inputs a receiver address that currently is not associated to an account, BUT that receiver has an account associated with a different e-mail address?

In that situation, transferring the course from the e-mail address the buyer entered, to the e-mail address the receiver has associated to their account seems like a valid option.

Another option you can add is allowing existing account holders to associate multiple e-mail addresses with their account, but have 1 marked as the primary for all communication, so a buyer could enter any of their e-mail addresses and be able to associate it to a receiver.

Ok thanks… i will have a think about this… thanks

If you do elect to allow the buyer to search for receivers, have them search by Name (First and Last), as they already likely have the wrong e-mail address. Then you can present a listing of the users that match that criteria for the buyer to choose from.

Granted, I still like the idea of allowing the receiver full control of the process instead of the buyer (allowing the receiver to transfer the course from one e-mail address to another, etc), but again, that is my preference.

Ok, thanks… but if a buyer searches for a receiver by first name… they might be several accounts with the same first and second name… so how can the buyer differentiate between users that have the same name when the results are returned

I’m not sure, as showing e-mail address isn’t a good idea, nor any other information about the receiver; which is sort of why I think allowing the receiver (has an account)/receiver-to-be (does not have an account) handle the situation is likely the best option.

how about:

handling it on the receiving side rather than the sending side. The sender enters the E-Mail address that they know. When the receiver accepts the gift, they are given the option to log in with an existing account or create a new account. In neither case does the account the receiver authenticates with need to match the one the sender entered, the gift is simply updated to reflect the E-Mail address that the receiver prefers to use.

I like that option :slight_smile: