Learn how to make the most of PayPal to get... From how to take steps to protect yourself while buying...

Document technical information

Format pdf
Size 4.3 MB
First found Jun 9, 2017

Document content analysis

Language
English
Type
not defined
Concepts
no text concepts found

Persons

David Nielsen
David Nielsen

wikipedia, lookup

Tim King
Tim King

wikipedia, lookup

Joseph Lowery
Joseph Lowery

wikipedia, lookup

Dave McClure
Dave McClure

wikipedia, lookup

Organizations

Places

Transcript

< Day Day Up >
•
Table of Contents
•
Index
•
Reviews
•
Reader Reviews
•
Errata
•
Academic
PayPal Hacks
By Dave Burchell , David Nielsen, Shannon Sofield
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pub Date: September 2004
ISBN: 0-596-00751-5
Pages: 368
Learn how to make the most of PayPal to get the most out of your online business or transactions.
From how to take steps to protect yourself while buying and selling on eBay to using PayPal on your
own site to handle subscriptions, affiliations, and donations,PayPal Hacks provides the tools and
details necessary to make PayPal more profitable, more flexible, and more convenient.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
•
Table of Contents
•
Index
•
Reviews
•
Reader Reviews
•
Errata
•
Academic
PayPal Hacks
By Dave Burchell , David Nielsen, Shannon Sofield
Publisher: O'Reilly
Pub Date: September 2004
ISBN: 0-596-00751-5
Pages: 368
Copyright
Credits
About the Authors
Contributors
Acknowledgments
Preface
Why PayPal Hacks?
Getting Started with the Code in This Book
Database Coding and Platform Choices
Further Study
How to Use This Book
How This Book Is Organized
Conventions Used in This Book
Using Code Examples
How to Contact Us
Got a Hack?
Chapter 1. Account Management
Introduction: Hacks #1-9
Hack 1. Create a PayPal Account
Hack 2. Verify Your PayPal Account
Hack 3. Confirm Your Mailing Address
Hack 4. Pay When You've Forgotten Your Password
Hack 5. Restore Your Account if It Has Been Limited
Hack 6. Create a Separate Login for Each Employee
Hack 7. Access Member Information
Hack 8. Manage PayPal Email
Hack 9. Get Help from PayPal
Chapter 2. Making Payments
Introduction: Hacks #10-16
Hack 10. Send Money to Anyone
Hack 11. Choose How to Fund Payments
Hack 12. Use Your PayPal Funds Anywhere
Hack 13. Pay from a Cell Phone
Hack 14. Pay Seller Fees when Buying
Hack 15. Send Money Without Creating a PayPal Account
Hack 16. Dispute Merchandise Payments
Chapter 3. Selling with PayPal
Introduction: Hacks #17-27
Upgrade to Business Class
Set Your Payment Receiving Preferences
Identify Yourself to Your Customers
Hack 17. Request Money the PayPal Way
Hack 18. Ask for Money in Your Own Way
Hack 19. Request Money Without an Account
Hack 20. Get Your Money
Hack 21. Refund a Payment
Hack 22. Quick-Link to Transaction Details
Hack 23. Lower Your Seller Fees
Hack 24. Protect Yourself from Buyer Fraud
Hack 25. Protect Yourself from Chargebacks
Hack 26. Avoid Chargebacks on Digital Goods
Hack 27. Handle Merchandise Disputes Effectively
Chapter 4. Payment Buttons
Introduction: Hacks #28-44
Hack 28. Create a Buy Now Button
Hack 29. Use a Custom Button Image
Hack 30. Create a Purchase Button for Services
Hack 31. Create an Auction Payment Button
Hack 32. Provide Purchase Options with Drop-Down Listboxes
Hack 33. Include More Than Two Option Fields
Hack 34. Override Shipping and Handling Preferences
Hack 35. Build Notification Tracking
Hack 36. Hack-Proof Your Payment
Hack 37. Hack-Proof Your Buttons with Encryption
Hack 38. Include Payment Buttons in Email Messages
Hack 39. Hide Your Email Address from Spammers
Hack 40. Accept Donations
Hack 41. PayPal-Enable Your Flash
Hack 42. Get More Out of Dreamweaver and PayPal
Hack 43. Provide Options with ASP.NET Web Controls
Hack 44. Try Accepting Payments in a Bogus Currency
Chapter 5. Storefronts and Shopping Carts
Introduction: Hacks #45-50
Hack 45. Hack Shopping Cart Buttons
Hack 46. Create Shopping Cart Links
Hack 47. Specify the Size of the Shopping Cart Window
Hack 48. Deal with Design and Layout Issues
Hack 49. Put Both Cart Buttons in One Form
Hack 50. Integrate a Third-Party Shopping Cart with PayPal
Hack 51. Customize Checkout Pages
Hack 52. Display the Merchant Transaction ID on Your Return Page
Hack 53. Remember Your Customers
Hack 54. Create a Dynamic Storefront
Hack 55. Add Dynamic Storefront Details
Hack 56. Insert Dynamic Images
Hack 57. Build an Order-Tracking Page
Hack 58. Offer Discount Coupons
Hack 59. Increase Search Engine Exposure
Hack 60. Sell Digital Goods with PayLoadz
Chapter 6. Managing Subscriptions
Introduction: Hacks #61-64
Hack 61. Sell Subscriptions to Your Online Content
Hack 62. Offer Tiered Subscriptions
Hack 63. Time Your Subscriptions to End on Specific Dates
Hack 64. Manage Subscription Passwords the Easy Way
Chapter 7. IPN and PDT
Introduction: Hacks #65-86
What IPN and PDT Are
How IPN Works
Advantages of PDT
Hack 65. Receive Instant Payment Notifications
Hack 66. Troubleshoot Instant Payment Notifications
Hack 67. Send a Purchase Confirmation Email with IPN
Hack 68. Process Shopping Carts with IPN
Hack 69. Use IPN with eBay Listings
Hack 70. Track Your eBay Products with IPN
Hack 71. Deliver Digital Goods with IPN
Hack 72. Deliver Digital Goods with a Return Page
Hack 73. Implement Price Checking with IPN
Hack 74. Provide an Order Summary with IPN
Hack 75. Upsell Your Customers
Hack 76. Enable Multiple IPN Pages
Hack 77. Use Mass Pay to Create an Affiliate System
Hack 78. Manage Your Inventory with IPN
Hack 79. Display Donation Goals on Your Web Site
Hack 80. Display a Recent Donor List
Hack 81. Capture Customer Information with IPN
Hack 82. Insert Payment Details into a Database with IPN
Hack 83. Insert Cart Details into a Database
Hack 84. Track Google Referrals
Hack 85. Process Payments like a Credit Card with PDT
Hack 86. Synchronizing PDT and IPN
Chapter 8. The PayPal Web Services API
Introduction: Hacks #87-100
Section 8.2. Create a Developer Account
Hack 87. Set up the Sandbox
Hack 88. Make Your First API Call
Hack 89. Create a Wrapper Class for Your API Calls
Hack 90. Use the PayPal API Wrapper Class
Hack 91. Refund Payments with the API
Hack 92. Handle Transaction Errors within the API Wrapper
Hack 93. Retrieve Transaction Details with the API
Hack 94. Search for PayPal Transactions
Hack 95. Hack the API Wrapper
Hack 96. Issue Payments en Masse with the Mass Pay API
Hack 97. Pay Affiliates and Suppliers on a Schedule
Hack 98. Search eBay for Listings that Accept PayPal
Hack 99. Test IPN and PDT in the Sandbox
Hack 100. Go Live
Colophon
Index
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Copyright © 2004 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc., 1005 Gravenstein Highway North, Sebastopol, CA 95472.
O'Reilly books may be purchased for educational, business, or sales promotional use. Online editions
are also available for most titles (http://safari.oreilly.com). For more information, contact our
corporate/institutional sales department: (800) 998-9938 or [email protected]
Nutshell Handbook, the Nutshell Handbook logo, and the O'Reilly logo are registered trademarks of
O'Reilly Media, Inc. The Hacks series designations, PayPal Hacks, the image of a money changer,
"Hacks 100 Industrial-Strength Tips and Tools," and related trade dress are trademarks of O'Reilly
Media, Inc.
Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed
as trademarks. Where those designations appear in this book, and O'Reilly Media, Inc. was aware of
a trademark claim, the designations have been printed in caps or initial caps.
While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this book, the publisher and authors
assume no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the
information contained herein.
Small print: The technologies discussed in this publication, the limitations on these technologies that
technology and content owners seek to impose, and the laws actually limiting the use of these
technologies are constantly changing. Thus, some of the hacks described in this publication may not
work, may cause unintended harm to systems on which they are used, or may not be consistent with
applicable user agreements. Your use of these hacks is at your own risk, and O'Reilly Media, Inc.
disclaims responsibility for any damage or expense resulting from their use. In any event, you should
take care that your use of these hacks does not violate any applicable laws, including copyright laws.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Credits
About the Authors
Contributors
Acknowledgments
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
About the Authors
Shannon Sofield is the personification of a hack: he takes anything that is supposed to do one thing
and manipulates it to serve his own purposes, in both his life as a developer and his life in general. If
it was originally supposed to do one thing, he probably has it doing something entirely different.
Shannon began creating PayPal solutions more than three years ago using his original databasedriven PayPal purchase system that integrated with Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev. Since then,
he has gone on to implement unique fixes for common eCommerce problems using PayPal. He has
written several tutorials and articles and has spoken on the topic of using PayPal in new ways. One of
the first members of the PayPal Developer Network, he was added to the PayPal Developer Network
Advisory Boards on its inception. He also served several terms as a member of Team Macromedia for
their web development program Dreamweaver, which he uses in his daily PayPal development. His
technical background extends back to the initial Internet boom, when he began picking up simple
web design that evolved into web planning and programming using a variety of technologies,
languages, and databases. Currently, he manages the PayLoadz Digital Goods eCommerce system
that allows merchants to sell digital goods securely with PayPal. One of the first and most successful
third-party solutions for PayPal, this system made headlines when it launched Madonna's "American
Life" single higher on the Billboard music charts than any previous digital single (and he did it before
selling digital music was cool). In addition, he continually contributes to the PayPal Developer
Network Message Boards (http://www.paypaldev.org), which his company, Superfreaker Studios,
hosts and maintains. When he's not slogging through code at his computer in a caffeinated, sleepdeprived state, Shannon enjoys outdoor activities that fit the time of year. In the summer, he surfs
and volunteers for the surfboard manufacturer Wave Riding Vehicles; in the winter, he can be found
on the slopes, working on his kicker spins. Year-round, he can be found reliving his BMX days on his
24" GT cruiser. In his undergraduate studies, Shannon majored in Finance and Accounting, while his
Masters in Business Administration includes a concentration in Finance. Ctrl-C is his best friend.
Dave Nielsen is a Technical Evangelist within the PayPal Developer Network, a member of SDForum's
Executive Council, and the founder of the Web Services SIG of Silicon Valley. Dave has a Bachelor of
Science degree in Business from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and is armed with an education in
engineering and marketing, as well as many technical certifications. As a technical trainer in the early
'90s, Dave taught classes in languages such as Visual Basic, SQL and ASP. Dave was an early
Internet programming enthusiast and found himself hounding Microsoft for data-driven web
developer tools. After taking a chance on early beta versions of IIS and Active Server Pages, Dave
became one of the first technical trainers certified to teach the now popular ASP technology. At
PayPal, Dave focuses his efforts on creating tools that help developers create great eCommerce web
sites. These projects include the Payment Request Wizard, the JavaScript Button Factory, the PayPal
SDK for ASP.NET and the PayPal Commerce Starter Kit. Dave can be found online at
http://www.paypalhacks.com, at conferences, and "competing" in an occasional triathlon. At
home,his girlfriend tries to stop him from selling everything he owns on eBay.
Dave Burchell got his start with computers by programming the Radio Shack TRS-80 in BASIC and
the Commodore 64 in 6510 assembly. Currently, Dave's favorite programming languages are Perl
and XSLT. A fervent proponent of XML, Dave enjoys solving content management problems with
markup and open source software. His other interests include American history and Hellenistic
philosophy. Dave lives with his wife, Renee, and children, Max, Gus, and Samantha Grace, in Lincoln,
Nebraska.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Contributors
The following people contributed their writing, code, and inspiration toPayPal Hacks:
Paulam Baldwin is a PayPal Developer Technical Support Agent. She started at PayPal in July
2003. Paulam holds a B.S. in Computer Science. She got her start with computers by creating
an intranet workflow module, written in JavaScript and server-side JavaScript, for students
reapplying to the Central University of Venezuela. Paulam enjoys origami and learning about the
world's cultures. She believes that making people happy is the best way to live life.
Loyal Bassett is one of the many content programmers in the PayPal Fraud Engineering group.
He has been diligently working at PayPal for over two years. He enjoys cycling and his friendly
cat, Mr. Kitty.
Michael Blanton is a Technical Integrations Manager for PayPal, where he has helped integrate
PayPal into such sites as B&H Photo/Video (http://www.bhphotovideo.com) and NewEgg.com
(http://www.newegg.com). Prior to joining PayPal, Michael was an Architect/Developer for
CyberSource Professional Services. At PayPal, Michael not only helps integrate the PayPal
Payment Solution into their largest merchants, but he also helps develop new product ideas that
work for enterprise-class customers. At home, he focuses all of his efforts on his wife, son, and
his son's LEGO.
Patrick Breitenbach, a Bay Area native, spent over four years as a UCSB Gaucho and over six
years at American Express in New York before returning to San Francisco five years ago to work
at X.com (now known as PayPal). Patrick is a manager of the PayPal Developer Network
(http://www.paypal.com/pdn). He enjoys mountain biking, magazines, gadgets, and all things
Apple.
May Chen is a Product Manager within the Consumer Protections Product team. May has a
Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Prior to
PayPal, May worked for a financial services company and also for an online payment processing
company. At PayPal, May previously was a part of the Customer Service and Operations Product
Team, primarily focusing on internal customer service tools for PayPal's contact centers. Now on
the Consumer Protections team, May focuses on products to improve dispute resolution
processes.
Rob Conery is a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Developer who has been using
Microsoft technologies for the last 14 years, architecting and building enterprise applications for
Fortune 500 companies such as SBC, KLA-Tencor, and WekeRoad. Rob has been described by
his clients as both innovative and color-blind; one client likened his skill set to that of a
homeless person's shopping cart, which he is still trying to understand. Prior to spinning the
twirly on his nerd hat, Rob pretended to be a geologist while hogging VAX time in the computer
lab at his alma mater, UC Santa Barbara. It is believed that his final for his Pascal class is still
compiling.
Souvik Das has a Master's degree in Computer Science. He started his engineering career in a
company doing research on security policies. He has worked in various engineering positions at
Netscape, AOL, and PayPal. His interests lie in building highly scalable, available, and reliable
Internet applications. Outside of work, he loves to spend time with his son and listen to
Hindustani classical music.
Glenn Ellingson is a bold, strapping young man who spends a disturbing amount of time playing
with cars. To fund this rather unfortunate habit, he also plays with computers. He has
contributed to financial applications in Vermont, multiplayer gaming in Massachusetts,
document management software in Illinois, telephony in Florida, and now online payments in
California. He reports mixed feelings that Googling his name reveals he has "killed billions of
sentient beings and should be treated with utmost caution."
Gina Han is a product manager at PayPal, specializing in consumer protections programs for
buyers and sellers. This involves online dispute resolution to help the community resolve issues
around merchandise transactions. Gina has a long history of helping people, developing an ementoring program for science students, giving teens a way to shop online (okay, maybe this
wasn't exactly altruistic), and building software that enabled people to trace their family trees.
Her hobbies do not include karaoke, taxidermy, or participating in hotdog-eating contests.
Stephen Ivaskevicius is the PayPal Developer Technical Support Supervisor who started at
PayPal in January of 2001 and currently supports PayPal Web Services. Stephen has contributed
to the enhancements of many PayPal features over the years. He has a strong inclination for
eating cheeseburgers in paradise, searching for lost shakers of salt on his motorcycle, and
shouting "Fins up!" at the top of his lungs.
David A. Karp just likes to see his name in print. In addition to being the editor for this book,
David is the author of eBay Hacks, the upcoming eBay PowerSeller: The Missing Manual, and
the best-selling Windows Annoyances series (the latest installment of which isWindows XP
Annoyances). His books are currently available in ten different languages, and his online help
site, Annoyances.org, is one of the most popular of its kind. He has also written for a number of
magazines-including PC Magazine, Windows Sources Magazine, Windows Pro Magazine, and
New Media Magazine-and he is a contributing editor for ZTrack Magazine. Noted recognition
includes PC Computing magazine, Windows Magazine, the San Francisco Examiner, and The
New York Times. He uses PayPal as a means to acquire more junk on eBay.
Sarah Livnat is a PayPal Product Manager who has worked with Limited Account Access and
many of PayPal's compliance and risk products. Prior to joining PayPal, Sarah was a Product
Manager at Chemdex/Ventro, a B2B marketplace application service provider. Sarah is an avid
world traveler, just having returned from a year-long expedition to Southern Africa, Nepal,
Southeast Asia, and the Oceana.
Joseph Lowery's books on the Web and web-building tools are international bestsellers, having
sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide in nine different languages. He is the author of the
Dreamweaver Bible and the Fireworks Bible series (both from Wiley Publishing), and he
coauthored Dreamweaver MX 2004 Web Application Recipes (New Rider Publishing) with Eric
Ott, president of WebAssist (http://www.webassist.com). WebAssist is the leading provider of
extensions (software add-ons) for the Macromedia platform. WebAssist hosts a self-service
developer community with over 100,000 members registered. WebAssist's partners include
Macromedia, PayPal, Affinity, Yahoo!, and Google.
Dave Lundvall is a Senior Sales Consultant for Oracle, specializing in Oracle's Application Server
10g. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University at Buffalo.
Dave began programming soon after his family purchased a Commodore 64 in the mid `80s.
Now Dave has experience building everything from mobile phone applications to enterprise
portals. Before Dave moved into the J2EE world, he was even once a Microsoft Certified
Solutions Developer (MCSD). A couple of Dave's interests outside of software are competing in
triathlons and volunteering for Team in Training, which raises funds for the Leukemia and
Lymphoma Society. Dave can be reached at [email protected]
Dave McClure is Director of the PayPal Developer Network (http://www.paypal.com/pdn), and
also a current geek and former entrepreneur (http://www.500hats.com). His interests and
hobbies include finance and economics, entrepreneurship and venture capital, jazz and baroque
music, politics and business, numerous sports and games, ultimate Frisbee, cartoons and
animation, and an ever-growing collection of funny-looking hats. Dave is a huge fan of Dr.
Seuss, The Economist, and the Muppets, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife,
Saya, a talented jazz pianist and composer (http://www.saya.com).
Jeffrey McManus is a Senior Manager of Developer Relations at eBay and has over 15 years of
experience as a developer, technology manager and technical writer. He is proficient in many
development technologies and has written six books, including theC# Developer's Guide to
ASP.NET, XML, and ADO.NET and the VB.NET Developer's Guide to ASP.NET, XML and ADO.NET
(both from Addison-Wesley). In his spare time, Jeffrey enjoys helping high school kids build
robots for competitions.
Evan McPhillips is a Product Integration Specialist for PayPal and has worked with PayPal for
almost two years. He started in Member Services, then moved to Resolution Services as a
Customer Service Representative, then moved to Protection Services as a Seller Protection
Agent, and has been in his current position for the last couple of months. He has over 10 years
in the customer service industry. Evan has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religious Studies and is
an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy novels and an Everquest junkie.
Hugo Olliphant is a PayPal Product Manager who has worked with eBay Gift Certificates,
Merchant-Initiated Payment, and many of PayPal's reporting tools. Prior to joining PayPal, Hugo
was the CEO of gMoney Corp, a company that provides financial management solutions for
groups involving roommates, ski houses, car pools, and the like. Hugo has a penchant for polar
exploration literature and dinosaur origami.
Patrick O'Neal is a PayPal Technical Support Senior Agent who has worked primarily with
supporting PayPal's Merchant Features (e.g., web site payment buttons, IPN, and PDT). Before
working at PayPal, Patrick was a Customer Service Analyst with Ameritrade. Patrick holds an
Associate's degree in Computer Network Systems and a Bachelor of Science degree in
Computer Science with an emphasis on Web Programming. In his free time, Patrick enjoys
writing and producing hip-hop music and learning new programming languages.
Ray Tanaka is the Technical Architect for the PayPal Sandbox and Web Services APIs. Prior to
joining PayPal, Ray was with SkyGo, Inc. (now known as Enpocket), working on wireless
marketing solutions. His hobbies include sleeping, foosball, racquetball, and spending time with
his girlfriend.
Alan Tien is a PayPal Global Product Manager. His primary claim to fame is releasing PayPal's
Web Services. Prior to PayPal, Alan was a Senior Product Manager at the ASP aggregator
Jamcracker, a $140M dot com flameout. Before the Internet era, Alan was a consultant at
WESTT and Accenture (then known as Andersen Consulting). He graduated from Stanford with
a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering but carefully avoided any career that
would actually use his education.
Katherine Woo is a Director of Product Management at PayPal, where she manages the
Merchant Features Product Team. Her prior experience includes product management at
Netscape (AOL), strategy consulting at Mercer Management Consulting, and an MBA from
Stanford. She dreams one day of making a line of greeting cards or designing wine labels.
Mike Yeung, a Development Architect, is responsible for providing technical leadership and
project management for major integration projects at Grand Central. Mike has over 12 years of
experience in software development and technical management. He has previously worked at
companies such as Chinadotcom, Netscape, and Oracle in various technical and management
positions. Mike holds a Master of Science degree from Stanford University and a Bachelor of
Science degree from UC, Berkeley, both in Computer Science.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Acknowledgments
The authors and contributors wish to thank Rael Dornfest, Kyle Hart, and Dan Woods. Jamie Peppard,
Brian Sawyer and Darren Kelly were instrumental in cleaning up our work for this book.
Shannon Sofield
I'd like to thank the PayPal team for creating a great service and for their support throughout this
process. I also would like to thank the "Daves" that helped get this book written: Dave McClure, for
being there from the beginning, David A. Karp for putting up with my writing habits, Dave Nielsen for
his expertise and management, and Dave Burchell for stepping up and helping us get this out the
door. Also, thanks to my parents and friends for their motivation.
Dave Nielsen
I'd like to thank PayPalians, past and present, for creating this awesome payment platform; Dave
McClure, my PDN mentor, for taking me under his wing; PB, for his mastery of the multitude of
PayPal's intricate features; David A. Karp, cat-wrangler extraordinaire, for his encouragement and
perseverance; Mom and brother Mark for putting up with my quest for answers to life's persistent
questions; Dad for leaving me his wacky inventiveness; and Erika, my inspiration, who makes me
smile every day. Erika, I feel so lucky to have found you. With you, every day is beautiful and new.
Nothing would make me happier than to spend the rest of my life with you...Erika Anderson, will you
marry me?
Dave Burchell
I wish to extend my thanks to the many coworkers who assisted me while working on this book,
including Paulam Chang, Debbie Becker, Claudia Erickson, Stephen Ivaskevicius, Warren Lynch,
Patrick O'Neal, Michelle Taylor, Patricia Truit, and Kim Weiss. My thanks also to marketing maven
Evelyn Schlaphoff of SourceLink/Los Angeles, guru Mike Lewis of The World Book, and to our
masterful, patient, and dedicated editor, David A. Karp.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Preface
PayPal wasn't the first company to build an online payment system, but it might as well be the last.
With over 50 million registered accounts, PayPal is rapidly becoming a household name. But, as
indicated, there have been others; PayPal's predecessors attempted to capitalize on the Internet
boom by building new forms of money. But whether this new currency was called Flooz, Beanz, or
eCash, it didn't matter, because people didn't buy it. PayPal based its system on plain old dollar bills
(not to mention yen, euros, and pounds sterling), which, in the end, turned out to be more valuable
than Internet gold.
PayPal's next brilliant move was to identify each account by an email address. That way, anyone with
an email account could send money to anyone else just by knowing the recipient's email address. The
email proclaiming "You've got cash" turned out to be extremely motivating.
From its beginning, PayPal empowered the little guy to compete in the big world. It made doing
business over the Internet easy for individuals, who could attach their bank accounts to their PayPal
accounts without requiring a CFO's signature. And the little guy returned the favor. After all, it was
the little guys who paved the way for PayPal to become the number one payment system on eBay.
PayPal also removed the technical challenges. PayPal made it possible for an HTML developer to
accept online credit card payments from any web page without requiring the years of programming
skills necessary to install credit card processing software on a web server. A simple Pay Now button
in an eBay auction page became as empowering as the most expensive eCommerce site on the
Internet.
For developers, it didn't stop there. Buy Now, Donate, Add to Cart, and Subscription buttons make
Internet commerce in all flavors possible. And with innovations such as Website Payments, Instant
Payment Notification, and PayPal Web Services, all the power of this eCommerce giant is only a few
lines of code away. It's not surprising that PayPal is being touted as the payment platform of the
future. But for those who learn what it can already do, it may mean making profits today!
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Why PayPal Hacks?
The term hacking has a bad reputation in the press. They use it to refer to someone who breaks into
systems or wreaks havoc with computers as their weapon. Among people who write code, though,
the term hack refers to a "quick-and-dirty" solution to a problem, or a clever way to get something
done. And the term hacker is taken very much as a compliment, referring to someone as being
creative and having the technical chops to get things done. The Hacks series is an attempt to reclaim
the word, document the good ways people are hacking, and pass the hacker ethic of creative
participation on to the uninitiated. Seeing how others approach systems and problems is often the
quickest way to learn about a new technology.
As any experienced merchant will tell you, there are plenty of tasks involved in accepting payments
on the Internet, and anything that can be done to make those tasks easier, faster, or more effective
will improve your profits and give you more time to grow your business. But despite the titlePayPal
Hacks, this book is also not about "hacking into a system" or anything so nefarious-quite the
contrary. In fact, you'll find in this book a very real emphasis on trading responsibly and ethically, as
well as extensive tools and tips for protecting yourself as both a buyer and a seller.
PayPal, on the surface, seems like a simple system allowing you to send and receive payments. But
there's a whole lot more under the hood; there are many tips and tricks you can use to save time
and improve sales with PayPal. The hacks in this book address the technological and diplomatic
challenges faced by all PayPal members, and are written from the perspectives of both PayPal
insiders and experienced solution providers. Essentially, you'll find the tools to help you buy and sell
smarter and safer, make more money, and have fun doing it.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Getting Started with the Code in This Book
The sample code in this book should serve as a good jumping-off point for however you want to use
each hack in the real world. To that end, PayPal Hacks provides real code you can type in and run
yourself.
PayPal's home is the Web, a heterogeneous place governed by well-defined standards. The concepts
presented in this book work with any programming language or platform you might be using with
your web site. However, the example code is primarily kept to three language and platform
combinations, each inhabiting its own niche of the Internet ecology: server-side scripting, client-side
(browser) scripting, and desktop applications.
Server-Side Scripting
Server-side scripts are installed on a web server. When a user requests a web page that contains a
server-side script, the script is processed on the web server and its output is converted to HTML and
delivered to the end user's web browser.
Most of the hacks in this book that involve server-side scripting are written inVBScript (Visual Basic
Script), which runs on a web server with support for Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP). The
ASP/VBScript combination is one of the most popular platforms among webmasters and developers
using Microsoft systems. Microsoft's newest web platform, ASP.NET, is growing rapidly; it is
backward-compatible and will also run ASP/VBScript code.
You can host the VBScript examples using a modern Microsoft operating system, such as Microsoft
Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, or Microsoft Windows 2003 Server.
Each of these products comes with Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS), an ASP-capable web
server. In practice, you might not have (or desire to set up) your own web server; many ISPs offer
affordable (or free) space on preconfigured web servers that are capable of hosting ASP/VBScript.
To create ASP/VBScript pages, simply type them into your favorite text editor, whether you're using
Microsoft's default Notepad or the powerful Vim editor, which is popular amongst Unix jocks. If you're
already using an ASP-compatible web site editor, such as Dreamweaver or Microsoft Visual Studio,
you can use that instead. Once you have created your ASP/VBScript pages, upload them to your web
server (typically via FTP) and view them with your web browser. (The steps to do this vary; check
with your ISP for specific instructions.)
To browse ASP/VBScript pages, you (or your customers) need only an ordinary web browser, such as
Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Mozilla, Opera, or even Lynx. You will, however, need to know
the URLs of your ASP/VBScript pages (e.g., http://www.yourdomain.com/pagename.asp). If you host
the pages on the same computer as your web browser, the URL will likely start withhttp://localhost/.
Because the VBScript is processed on the web server that turns it into HTML, your (or your
customer's) web browser does not need any VBScript capabilities.
Although many of the hacks in this book are written in ASP/VBScript, Perl,
Python, PHP, Java, and Cold Fusion are all good choices for developing
eCommerce web pages that use PayPal as a payment method. No exotic
features unique to VBScript are used, so the concepts and examples should
readily translate to your favorite platform.
Client-Side (Browser) Scripting
Browser, or client-side, scripts are embedded in the HTML of the web page and are executed by the
browser. The first and still most popular browser scripting technology isJavaScript. Since its
introduction, JavaScript has been cloned by Microsoft (their offering is called JScript) and
standardized by an international standards organization (resulting in ECMAScript). The bland flavor of
JavaScript/JScript/ECMAScript used in the examples should be palatable to all modern JavaScriptcapable browsers.
To try the JavaScript examples, you need only a text editor, such as Microsoft Notepad or VIM, or
some other HTML authoring tool, such as Microsoft FrontPage, Macromedia Dreamweaver,
NetObjects Fusion, or Adobe GoLive. Save your JavaScript-laden HTML pages to your computer's
hard drive and view them in any modern browser with JavaScript support enabled.
Desktop Applications
The examples provided with PayPal's API hacks involve the building ofdesktop applications. Although
they use the Internet and HTTP to access the PayPal API, these are standalone applications designed
to work on your Windows desktop (as opposed to working from within a web browser).
While you can access the PayPal API from within any programming language that supports SOAP
(.NET, Java, Perl, PHP), the examples in this book are all written in C# and require the Microsoft.NET
Framework. To try these examples yourself, you need to first compile them with a C# development
environment, such as Microsoft Visual Studio .NET or Borland C#Builder. (You can't use an older
version of Visual Studio, because it won't support SOAP or .NET). To run the examples, you (and
your employees or customers) need Microsoft's .NET Framework 1.1 installed on each computer on
which your application is to run. The .NET framework is installed by default on Microsoft Windows XP
and is freely available for previous versions of Windows, such as Windows 2000, from
http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Database Coding and Platform Choices
Many of the hacks in this book rely on your ability to set up adatabase and connect to it with code. A
database table looks something like an Excel spreadsheet, with rows (records) and columns (fields).
Table P-1 shows a simple products database table.
Table P-1. An extremely simple table with three fields (columns) and as
many records (products) as you wish to store in it
ID
Description
Price
0001 Acme Widget
$37.94
0002 Industrial, Co. Wicket
$12.88
0003 Krusty Brand Tongue Depressor
$0.40
Here, each record corresponds to a single product. The data is divided into three fields: a unique
numeric ID (ID), a product description (Description), and the unit price (Price). You'll not only
need to choose a database application with which to create your tables and manage your data, you'll
need to include code (specific to the platform you choose) to connect to your database.
Most of the database-enabled hacks in this book cite a Structured Query Language (SQL) query to
retrieve data from a database or store data back into it. In order to put these hacks to use, you'll
have to customize the code for use with your server and database platform.
There are two general platforms commonly used to host web sites: Windows and Unix/Linux. These
two systems can provide similar functionality, but they do so in completely different ways. The
problem is that some of the more advanced code, especially code that accesses databases, might
work on one platform but not the other. For instance, Windows servers have a built-in web server
capable of interpreting VBScript or JavaScript that is executed in Active Server Pages (ASP). On the
other hand, Unix/Linux platforms typically use the Apache web server, which can understand
Hypertext Preprocessor (PHP) code (i.e., code with a .php extension). Of course, you can run ASP
pages on Unix/Linux platforms using ChiliSoft ASP, and you can run PHP scripted pages on a Windows
machine by installing the Windows version of the Apache web server.
Once you've chosen a server platform, you'll need to choose a database technology that works with
that system. For instance, Windows servers will likely be integrated with a Microsoft Access, MSDE, or
Microsoft SQL database, whereas Unix/Linux servers will likely be using MySQL, Postgres, or Oracle.
It almost goes without saying that a dynamic web site (dynamic in that the
content is created on the fly) will be much more powerful with the benefit of a
relational database management system (RDBMS). The examples that require
a database were tested against Microsoft's SQL Server 2000 or better, but with
some small modifications the examples will work with any popular RDBMS,
such as MySQL or Oracle.
Many of the advanced hacks in this book reference a recordset in their instructions, so you'll need to
do something like the following to deploy those hacks. This code creates arecordset named
rsProducts using VBScript for ASP:
1. connStore="DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};DBQ=" C:/InetPub/wwwroot/
database/dbPayPal.mdb")
2. set rsProducts = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
3. rsProducts.ActiveConnection = connStore
4. rsProducts.Source = "SELECT item_name FROM tblProducts "
5. rsProducts.Open( )
6. Response.Write(rsProducts.Fields.Item("item_name").Value)
Line 1 defines the location of the database and specifies the database driver. Line 2 initiates a new
recordset named rsProducts. Line 5 actually executes the database query, and line 6 sends the
contents of a field to the output (in this case, the item_name column returned from the database is
displayed).
To put this code to use, replace the SQL statement on line 4 with the SQL query shown in the hack
you wish to use.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Further Study
To learn more about some of the aforementioned technologies used in this book, check out the
following O'Reilly books:
ASP
Programming ASP.NET by Jesse Liberty and Dan Hurwitz
Access (Database)
Access Database Design & Programming by Steven Roman, Ph.D.
JavaScript
JavaScript: The Definitive Guide by David Flanagan
MySQL (Database)
Managing & Using MySQL by George Reese, Randy Jay Yarger, and Tim King
PHP
PHP Cookbook by David Sklar and Adam Trachtenberg
SQL
SQL Pocket Guide by Jonathan Gennick
VB.NET
VB.NET Language in a Nutshell by Steven Roman, Ph.D., Ron Petrusha, and Paul Lomax
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
How to Use This Book
You can read this book from cover to cover if you like, but you'll probably be better off picking an
interesting item from the table of contents and just diving in. Each hack stands on its own, so feel
free to browse and jump to the different sections that interest you most. If there's a prerequisite you
need to know about, a cross-reference will guide you to the right hack.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
How This Book Is Organized
Each hack has been designed to show you how to complete a specific task, streamline a common
practice, or overcome a PayPal limitation. Some hacks point to obscure features on the web site,
while others present code to solve problems or unlock hidden features.
The 100 hacks in this book are distributed into eight chapters:
Chapter 1, Account Management
Use the hacks in this chapter to set up a PayPal account and keep it in good standing. If you're
new to PayPal, make sure to verify your account [Hack #2] and confirm your address [Hack
#3].
Chapter 2, Making Payments
PayPal's all about sending payments. This chapter covers the basics of buying with PayPal and
protecting yourself when you do.
Chapter 3, Selling with PayPal
The real fun of PayPal starts when you begin accepting payments. Upgrade to a Business or
Premier account and then hook up your PayPal account with your eBay auctions or eCommerce
web site and watch the money roll in. Make sure you take steps to protect yourself from buyer
fraud [Hack #24] and chargebacks [Hack #25] .
Chapter 4, Payment Buttons
Integrate PayPal with your web site and begin accepting PayPal payments for goods and
services in minutes. Although adding the most basic PayPal Buy Now button[Hack #28] to
your site involves little more than copying and pasting a simple HTML form onto a web page,
there are dozens of ways to extend and customize your online storefront and fine-tune your
customer's purchase experience.
Chapter 5, Storefronts and Shopping Carts
Take payment buttons a step further and allow customers to purchase multiple items in a
single transaction. PayPal provides everything you need to set up a simple shopping cart
interface with your web site; just add a few buttons [Hack #45] to your pages to get started.
Chapter 6, Managing Subscriptions
Accept recurring payments from other PayPal members and provide paid access to online
content and other membership-based products.
Chapter 7, IPN & PDT
Automate your business by setting up PayPal to notify your server whenever you receive a
payment, allowing you to automatically record all transactions into a local database, offer
instant fulfillment of digital goods, and provide instant access to online content.
Chapter 8, The PayPal Web Services API
Leave the PayPal web site behind and build applications and web sites using the PayPal Web
Services API as a development platform.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Conventions Used in This Book
The following is a list of the typographical conventions used in this book:
Italics
Used to indicate URLs, filenames, filename extensions, and directory/folder names. For
example, a path in the filesystem appears as /Developer/Applications.
Constant width
Used to show code examples, the contents of files, and console output, as well as the names of
variables, commands, and other code excerpts.
Constant width bold
Used to highlight portions of code, typically new additions to old code.
Constant width italic
Used in code examples and tables to show sample text to be replaced with your own values.
You should pay special attention to notes set apart from the text with the following icons:
This is a tip, suggestion, or general note. It contains useful supplementary
information about the topic at hand.
This is a warning or note of caution, often indicating that your money or your
privacy might be at risk.
The thermometer icons, found next to each hack, indicate the relative complexity of the hack:
beginner
moderate
< Day Day Up >
expert
< Day Day Up >
Using Code Examples
This book is here to help you get your job done. In general, you may use the code in this book in
your programs and documentation. You do not need to contact us for permission unless you're
reproducing a significant portion of the code. For example, writing a program that uses several
chunks of code from this book does not require permission. Selling or distributing a CD-ROM of
examples from O'Reilly books does require permission. Answering a question by citing this book and
quoting example code does not require permission. Incorporating a significant amount of example
code from this book into your product's documentation does require permission.
We appreciate, but do not require, attribution. An attribution usually includes the title, author,
publisher, and ISBN. For example: "PayPal Hacks by Shannon Sofield, Dave Nielsen, and Dave
Burchell. Copyright 2004 O'Reilly Media, Inc., 0-596-00751-5."
If you feel your use of code examples falls outside fair use or the permission given above, feel free to
contact us at [email protected]
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
How to Contact Us
We have tested and verified the information in this book to the best of our ability, but you may find
that features have changed (or even that we have made mistakes!). As a reader of this book, you
can help us to improve future editions by sending us your feedback. Please let us know about any
errors, inaccuracies, bugs, misleading or confusing statements, and typos that you find anywhere in
this book.
Please also let us know what we can do to make this book more useful to you. We take your
comments seriously and will try to incorporate reasonable suggestions into future editions. You can
write to us at:
O'Reilly Media, Inc.
1005 Gravenstein Highway North
Sebastopol, CA 95472
(800) 998-9938 (in the U.S. or Canada)
(707) 829-0515 (international/local)
(707) 829-0104 (fax)
To ask technical questions or to comment on the book, send email to:
[email protected]
The web site for PayPal Hacks lists examples, errata, and plans for future editions. You can find this
page at:
http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/payhks/
Download sample code from:
http://www.paypalhacks.com
For more information about this book and others, see the O'Reilly web site:
http://www.oreilly.com
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Got a Hack?
To explore Hacks books online or to contribute a hack for future titles, visit:
http://hacks.oreilly.com
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Chapter 1. Account Management
Introduction: Hacks #1-9
Hack 1. Create a PayPal Account
Hack 2. Verify Your PayPal Account
Hack 3. Confirm Your Mailing Address
Hack 4. Pay When You've Forgotten Your Password
Hack 5. Restore Your Account if It Has Been Limited
Hack 6. Create a Separate Login for Each Employee
Hack 7. Access Member Information
Hack 8. Manage PayPal Email
Hack 9. Get Help from PayPal
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Introduction: Hacks #1-9
You can use PayPal to send and receive money, but you need a PayPal account to manage your
payments and your business. There's something comforting about having your own account. Sure,
it's yet another password to remember, but it's all yours. You can visit a site like PayPal, log in, and
see your settings, your name, and your history-proof that you've been there before and that
someone (er, something) remembers you. But a PayPal account [Hack #1], in particular, has the
added bonus of being able to store cold, hard cash. You can't really touch it, but it's there, and it's
yours.
You can use your PayPal balance to pay for stuff [Hack #11], or you can withdraw it [Hack #20]
and add it to the shoebox under your mattress. You can also watch it grow, as your eBay bidders pay
for your stuff, web site customers buy your products, or friends pay you back for sushi dinners.
But it's not about sending and receiving money; it's about finding new ways to handle transactions so
that you can spend more time eating sushi (or curly fries, or whatever). The real power of PayPal is
its invisibility; you can have strangers send you money and still keep your account all to yourself.
Whether you're selling a single product [Hack #28], or a cart full of products [Hack #45], PayPal
can be as slick as you need it to be. If you take things even further, you can have PayPal notify your
server [Hack #65] when you receive money, or even write a standalone application [Hack #88] to
manage your sales without ever having to log into your account.
But it all begins with learning the ins and outs of your PayPal account, and that's what this chapter is
about. Chow down, and have fun, but don't linger; there's code to be written.
If you want to get anywhere in this business, make sure you verify your
account [Hack #2] and confirm your address [Hack #3], and then make
sure you never forget your password [Hack #4].
Get to PayPal in Five Keystrokes or Fewer
"How many licks does it take to get the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop? One, Two,
Three?" The world may never know, but it takes exactly five keystrokes to get to
http://www.paypal.com. But how can this be? There are 10 keystrokes in paypal.com
(not including the Enter key), not 5!
The clues leading to the answer can be found only by examining the history of PayPal.
PayPal was not always named PayPal. It was founded in January 1999 under then name
FieldLink and renamed Confinity later that same year. In May 2000, Confinity merged
with another company and the combined entities renamed themselves PayPal.
Can you name the company that merged with Confinity? The answer is the third-to-last
letter in the alphabet: X.com, to be exact. X.com and Confinity were competitors who
merged to form PayPal. The URL http://www.x.com now points to
http://www.paypal.com. So, if you're in a real hurry, just type x.com and you'll get to
PayPal (paypal.com) in half the keystrokes!
Internet Explorer users can get to PayPal even quicker by typing x into the address bar,
then pressing Ctrl-Enter.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 1 Create a PayPal Account
Sign up for your own PayPal account, which is necessary if you'll be receiving payments
or using just about any other hack in this book.
Although you can send money without creating a PayPal account [Hack #15], there are advantages
to having an account, including PayPal Buyer Protection, receiving payments, and viewing account
history. And since there is no cost to create or maintain an account, the benefits easily outweigh the
costs.
Here's what you'll need to get started:
Your email address
Your postal mailing address
Your phone number
You'll also be asked to provide two of the following four pieces of personal information, which will be
used to verify your identity if you ever forget your account password:
Your mother's maiden name
The last four digits of your driver's license
The last four digits of your Social Security number
Your city of birth
To sign up for a Personal PayPal account (see the introduction to Chapter 3 for information on
Business accounts), follow these steps:
1. Go to http://www.paypal.com and click Sign Up.
2. Select the Personal Account option, select your country, and then click Continue.
3. On the Account Signup page, enter your postal mailing address. PayPal will double-check the
city, state, and Zip Code, so they must be valid. The address you provide should be the same as
the billing address of the credit card you plan on adding to your account, although you will be
given the opportunity to change it later.
4. Enter your telephone number, email address, and password. The email address must
4.
correspond to a valid email account to which you have immediate access, because you won't be
able to use your PayPal account until you respond to the verification email that PayPal sends
you.
For security reasons, do not use the same password for your PayPal
account and your email account. Otherwise, anyone who has access to
your email account will also have access to your PayPal account and the
money within.
You should also enter a real phone number, since it's one of the ways PayPal allows you to
regain access to your account if you forget your password [Hack #4].
5. Enter your Security Question answers. If you're concerned about divulging real information
here, then don't enter it! You can put any secret words or phrases into these fields, provided
that you'll be able to remember them later on.
6. When asked if you'd like this to be a Premier Account, select No.
If anyone sends you a payment funded with a credit card, PayPal will
require that you upgrade to a Premier (or Business) account at that time
to accept the payment. Although there are advantages to these account
types, you'll be charged a small fee for each subsequent payment you
receive, regardless of the funding source. See the introduction to Chapter
3 for further details.
7. Select Yes to indicate that you agree with the User Agreement and Privacy Policy, and check Yes
again to indicate that you've read the Legal Disputes section. Enter the Security Measure
characters as shown in the box [Hack #15] .
8. Click Signup when you're done.
9. The next page instructs you how to confirm your email address, which involves nothing more
than opening the email message PayPal has just sent you and clicking the link inside.
After you confirm your email address, you will be able to use your account. However, you will have
limited abilities until you verify your PayPal account [Hack #2].
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 2 Verify Your PayPal Account
Provide PayPal with your necessary account information without waiting for your monthly
bank statements.
Federal banking regulations require financial institutions to obtain proof of your identity before
allowing you to open a bank account, and PayPal uses this fact to add security to their system. If you
have a bank account, it proves you are a real person, at least in the eyes of PayPal. To unlock all the
features of a new PayPal account, you'll have to attach a bank account and confirm it.
Once you do this, your account will be verified and the following will happen:
You'll become eligible for Seller Protection [Hack #25] .
You'll be able to send as much money as you like. Unverified accounts are otherwise limited in
the total amount of money that can be sent ($2,000 for U.S. accounts, for instance).
You'll be able to pay instantly from your checking account, rather than having to wait for
eChecks to clear [Hack #11] .
You'll be able to withdraw money to your bank account [Hack #20] .
1.3.1 Add a Bank Account
Here's how to become verified:
1. Log into your PayPal account, click the My Account tab and then click Profile.
2. Click the Bank Accounts link under the Financial Information heading.
3. Type the name of the bank that holds your checking account, and choose either Checking or
Savings to indicate the type of account you're adding.
4. Grab one of the checks from your checkbook and type your bank's routing number and your
account number, as illustrated in Figure 1-1.
Figure 1-1. Adding a bank account
5. Retype the account number in the next field to ensure there are no typos.
6. Click Add Bank Account when you're finished here.
The next page that appears will inform you that your bank account was successfully added, but
you're not done yet; you still need to confirm your bank account.
1.3.2 Confirm an Account and Get Free Cash
PayPal makes two small deposits into your bank account, each in an amount between $.01 and $.99.
Because you alone have access to your bank statement, only you and PayPal have access to the
exact amounts deposited. When you receive your bank statement, return to PayPal and confirm your
account by typing the respective amounts of the two deposits made to your account.
These two random deposits are yours to keep, so you can earn between two
cents and $1.98 just by confirming your bank account.
Now, if you're the patient type, waiting up to a month for your paper bank statement to arrive in the
mail should be no problem. However, in most cases, you won't have to. If your bank provides online
access to your account (most do), all you need to do is log in and retrieve the two deposit amounts.
PayPal initiates these two small deposits into your bank account right away, but
the banking system typically requires three to four business days to process
them. So, even if you have online banking, you won't be able to confirm a bank
account the same day you add it to PayPal. Instead, give it a few days and log
into your bank's web site on the third or fourth day.
Once you have the amounts of the two deposits, log into your PayPal account. Click the My Account
tab, click Profile, and then click Bank Accounts (under the Financial Information heading). Your newly
added bank account should be listed here; select the account (if there's more than one), and then
click Confirm. Enter the amounts of the deposits into the Confirm Bank Account page (as shown in
Figure 1-2), and click Submit when you're done.
Figure 1-2. Entering the random deposit amounts
Your account is now verified, and you're ready to start sending as much money as you like.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 3 Confirm Your Mailing Address
Add a credit card and a confirmed shipping address to your PayPal account to have your
payments accepted by more sellers.
Whenever you buy something online using a credit card, the store from which you made the
purchase checks that the address you provided matches the address on file with your credit card
company. Retailers do this as a security precaution to guard against payments made with stolen
credit cards; otherwise, a thief could use your credit card number to purchase something and have it
shipped anywhere.
Address matching is done through a standard system called Address Verification System/Service
(AVS), which is set up by all the credit card companies. PayPal does the same thing when you add a
credit card to your PayPal account:
1. Log into PayPal, click the My Account tab, and then click Profile.
2. Select Credit Cards under Financial Information.
3. Any credit cards currently attached to your account will be shown here. Click Add to attach a
new card.
4. Fill in your credit card number and mailing address; make sure the address matches the one on
file with your credit card company as precisely as possible.
5. Click Add Card when you're done.
If PayPal is able to match the address through AVS, it will designate your address as Confirmed and
you'll be able to use your credit card to fund payments right away. Plus, your payments will be
eligible for PayPal's Seller Protection Policy [Hack #25], and sellers (especially on eBay) will be
much more likely to accept your payments.
If you're an online seller, you'll need to decide if and when you'll consider
shipping items to an unconfirmed address. See the introduction toChapter 3
and [Hack #25] for account settings related to accepting payments from
unconfirmed addresses.
1.4.1 Expanded Use Enrollment
If PayPal is unable to confirm your address through AVS, it will remain Unconfirmed and you won't be
able to make credit card payments until you complete the Expanded Use Enrollment. Essentially,
PayPal initiates the process by charging your credit card US$1.95 (don't worry; you'll get it back).
When you receive your next credit card statement, a unique, randomly generated four-digit
Expanded Use Number will accompany the charge.
If you have online access to your credit card account, check your statement
online after three to four business days to view the Expanded Use Number.
Otherwise, you'll have to wait for your credit card statement to arrive in the
mail.
Once you obtain the Expanded Use Number, enter it into PayPal. Your address will be confirmed and
you'll be able to make payments with your credit card. Plus, you'll get your $1.95 back in the form of
a credit to your PayPal account.
If you can't complete the Expanded Use Enrollment, you'll have to complete
Alternate Address Confirmation, which involves faxing several documents to
PayPal. To qualify, you must be verified [Hack #2], a PayPal member for
more than 90 days, and a U.S. member in good standing. You also must have
a Buyer Participation buyer number [Hack #7] of more than 10.
1.4.2 Confirming a Second Address
Although some sellers ship anywhere you ask them to, most want to abide by PayPal's Seller
Protection Policy [Hack #25] and thus will ship only to a confirmed address. Naturally, you might
want to have more than one confirmed mailing address on your PayPal account.
There are two ways to go about this. The best way is to contact your credit card company and
request that a second address be added to your credit card account. Most credit card banks will add
an address to your credit card account for this purpose. You usually need to call your bank directly
and provide them with the address. Some banks require you to fax or mail the request.
Once you have worked with your bank to have the new address added to your credit card account,
you'll need to have it confirmed by PayPal:
1. Log into PayPal, click the My Account tab, and then click Profile.
2. Select Street Address under Account Information.
3. Click Add, fill in the new address, and click Save when you're done.
4. Select the address you just entered and click Confirm.
5. Fill in your credit card information and click Continue.
If everything goes smoothly, PayPal will now designate that address as Confirmed and you'll get all
the benefits of using a confirmed address.
Alternatively, if the need arises, you can use the Alternative Address Confirmation (AAC) process
described on the PayPal web site.
- Patrick Breitenbach
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 4 Pay When You've Forgotten Your Password
Use an extra credit card to pay when you can't get into your account and don't have time
to recover a forgotten password
If you find you have forgotten your password, PayPal can help. But if you need to make a payment
now and don't have time to recover your password (a process that can take from a minute to over a
week, depending on how much you know about your own account and how current that information
is), there is a shortcut: use a credit card that is not already attached to a PayPal account to make
your purchase.
You can't use a credit card already attached to an existing PayPal account; the
system won't allow it. If you have only one credit card, you're out of luck and
will need to recover your password before you can make another payment.
Note that if your debit card doubles as a credit card, you can use it with PayPal,
either for a one-time purchase or, more permanently, by attaching it to your
PayPal account.
Here's how to do it:
1. Clear the cookies in your web browser.
2. Click the appropriate button to make the payment, such as a Buy Now button on a seller's web
site or an eBay checkout flow.
3. Choose the option for paying with a credit card if you do not have a PayPal account ("If you
don't have a PayPal account and want to pay with a credit card...").
4. You will be prompted to complete your payment.
Now that you have made your purchase, don't forget to recover your password! You have several
choices at this point, depending on how much you know about your account and how current your
account information is:
Security Questions and Answers
A forgotten password is a prime example of how PayPal uses the security questions you
set up when you opened your PayPal account to protect you. Personal information (stuff
that only you would know), such as your city of birth, your mother's maiden name, or
the last four digits of your Social Security number, is used by PayPal to make sure you
are who you say you are.
Make sure your security questions (and corresponding answers) are current and
sufficiently private. To review your security questions or change your answers, open
PayPal's Profile Summary page (My Account
Profile) and click Password. Choose the
security questions from the list and click Edit.
Password reset by email
If one of your current email addresses is registered with your PayPal account, start the process
by clicking the "Forget your password?" link in the Member Log In box on the PayPal home
page. Type in your email address (one to which you currently have access), click Submit, and
follow the further instructions in the email message you'll receive shortly. Click the link in the
email to go to a page where you can answer questions about the bank and credit card accounts
listed on your account or your personalized security questions (see the "Security Questions and
Answers" sidebar). Once your identity has been verified, you'll be given the opportunity to
choose a new password.
If you don't receive the email message, you might have an overly aggressive
spam filter. Make sure to check your incoming spam folder or temporarily
disable your spam filter (or your ISP's filter) and try again if you suspect that
PayPal's confirmation email was deleted.
Telephone password recovery process
If you no longer use any of the email addresses registered with your PayPal account, but you
do know the answer to your security questions and still use a telephone number registered with
your account, you can use the telephone password recovery process:
1. First, click the "Forget your password?" link and enter your old email address as though
you were still using it.
2. Next, click "I no longer have access to this email address." The system then verifies your
identity by asking you to fill in some personal information. Provide this information and
then click Submit.
3. On the Password Recovery by Phone page, select the telephone number where you would
3.
like to be called and provide a current email address. Click Continue. A PayPal
Confirmation PIN will be shown.
4. Next, PayPal places an automated telephone call to the phone number associated with
your account. Assuming you're able to answer, you'll be asked to enter the PIN provided
by PayPal into the telephone keypad, followed by the pound key (#).
5. Once you have done so, hang up and click Continue. You will be prompted to enter (and
reenter) a new password and select and answer two security questions. Remember this
password. Use it with the email address you just added to log in to your PayPal account.
If all else fails
If neither of these solutions works, you can recover your password by postal mail and other
means. At this point, it's best to contact PayPal directly and have customer service help you
recover your password.
Obviously, it's best to keep all your information (email addresses, postal addresses, and phone
numbers) current, so that if you ever need to recover an inaccessible account, you can do so in
minutes rather than days.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 5 Restore Your Account if It Has Been Limited
In the event that PayPal limits your account as a result of suspected fraud or other
problem, you can restore it to its original, unrestricted state.
If PayPal determines that you have been engaging in fraudulent or high-risk activity (such as selling
fake merchandise or using stolen credit cards) or that you have not been abiding by the terms of the
user agreement (e.g., you've been using PayPal to sell pornographic material or weapons), PayPal
will impose limits on your account. Your account might also be limited if you initiate a bank transfer
that then fails due to insufficient funds or if you accept a payment that is later disputed by its sender.
PayPal often limits the account's access to certain features, such as sending, withdrawing, or even
receiving money. This helps protect any other PayPal users with whom you've been dealing and helps
reduce subsequent losses that PayPal would otherwise have to incur.
You know that PayPal has limited your account when your Account Overview
page has a pink box that says Account Access Limited. As you might expect,
click the "Click here for details" link for an explanation.
PayPal prides itself on being good at spotting high-risk behavior, but they also recognize that not all
high-risk transactions are necessarily fraudulent or bad and not all disputes are the seller's fault.
Thus, PayPal has an appeals process for those who have had their accounts limited.
1.6.1 Filing an Appeal
Needless to say, the best thing you can do if your account has been limited is to precisely follow the
instructions on the web site and in the notification email you receive. Often, this entails completing a
sequence of steps to provide PayPal with evidence of ownership of the PayPal account, ownership of
the financials attached to the account, and verification of your own identity and address.
Only after you have completed all the required steps will a PayPal Account
Review Representative review your account. For instance, if PayPal asks you to
fax several documents, your account will not be reviewed until you submit all
requested documents and have completed all the remaining steps.
In addition, make sure to double-check the email you received notifying you of your account's limited
access, because the PayPal Account Review Representative might have added extra steps for you to
complete that are not listed on the web site. For instance, if you are a seller on eBay, PayPal will
likely request tracking information for items you've delivered and proof of inventory for additional
items you're currently selling.
If you lose the email, you might not necessarily be able to find all the steps to
complete on the PayPal web site; in this case, your best bet is to call PayPal
[Hack #9]. However, if you no longer have access to your email account
[Hack #4], you might have bigger fish to fry.
1.6.2 A Last Resort
If you're really in a bind and cannot complete the steps requested of you for legitimate reasons, you
can always escalate your issue by writing a letter to a PayPal executive, contacting the Better
Business Bureau, or working with a legal representative.
Escalation in itself is not a guarantee that your issue will be resolved, but if your issue is legitimate, it
is likely that a new pair of eyes, perhaps with more experience and background, will look at your
issue and help reach a fair resolution.
1.6.3 Avoiding Suspicion
To prevent your account from being limited in the first place, keep your account in order by following
these guidelines:
Treat your PayPal account as you would your bank account: use secret passwords and keep
them to yourself!
Make sure your true name is on your PayPal account and that it matches the name on your
bank and credit card accounts. If you are a business, make sure the bank account and credit
card on your account are also in your business name.
Use accurate addresses and phone numbers that match those on your credit card and bank
account, and keep them current. False contact information can raise suspicion on your account
and make it more difficult to regain access.
Delete old or obsolete bank accounts and credit cards from your account. If you do not keep
your account up-to-date, you might find yourself in a bind when your account is limited and
PayPal asks you to prove ownership of a bank account with an old address.
If you are a seller, always use electronically trackable shipping methods[Hack #24] so that if
the shipment or receipt of a physical good is in doubt, you can easily prove your case. Also
make sure to keep proof of inventory or merchandise, such as receipts, invoices, or proof of
authenticity for older, collectible items. Maintain good relationships with your suppliers so that
you can easily access this information when you need it.
If you have any old or abandoned PayPal accounts, make sure to resolve your issues with those
accounts and then close them. If your account has been limited and PayPal sees linked accounts
with issues, such as a negative balance or outstanding buyer complaints, PayPal will probably
ask you to resolve those issues as well before they'll be willing to lift the limitation on your
active account.
1.6.4 See Also
There are lots of things you can do to protect yourself and your account, both before and after you
encounter a problem. See the following hacks for more details:
[Hack #16]
[Hack #24]
[Hack #25]
Sarah Livnet
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 6 Create a Separate Login for Each Employee
Use PayPal's Multi-User Access feature to provide a separate login for each employee in
your organization.
Even though you might trust your employees to take care of your kids for the weekend, you might
have second thoughts about giving them full access your organization's PayPal account. To that end,
the Multi-User Access system enables you to add up to 200 different users to a single account, each
with configurable account privileges. Each user is assigned a separate login ID and password.
1.7.1 Adding a New User
PayPal first has you establish an Administrative email address. PayPal will send all email notifications
related to your account Profile to this email address. This is a security precaution so that PayPal can
alert you at a different email address if someone tries to change the primary email address on your
account.
PayPal steers you in this direction the first time you try to create a new user. Even before that, you
should make sure you have at least two email addresses registered and confirmed in your account
[Hack #8].
Once you have your two email addresses, you are ready:
1. Log in to PayPal, and go to Profile
Multi-User Access.
2. Select an address from the list; note that you won't be able to select your Primary address.
3. To create your first login, click Add and type in the user's name when prompted. It's best to use
the person's actual name, but you could also consider using a job function or other nickname
(e.g., Customer Service 1).
4. Choose a User ID (must be 10-16 characters).
4.
The length requirement and restriction against special characters make
choosing a user ID is less than optimal. Further compounding the
problem, these user IDs need to be unique for all of PayPal, not just for
your account (e.g., customerservice and jennifersmith were taken a long
time ago). A good approach is to think up a short prefix to append to the
front of each user ID, perhaps something related to your business
name-for example, abcJohnSmith and abcMaryJones. User IDs are not
case sensitive, so you'll be able to log in with abcJohnSmith and
abcjohnsmith.
5. Choose a password (must be eight characters or longer).
6. Check off the boxes that correspond to the privileges you want to grant this user. A good rule of
thumb is to initially grant the fewest privileges possible when setting up a new user. You can
always add more privileges later. But you can't undo mishaps!
7. Click Save when you're done.
You should now see something like Figure 1-3.
Figure 1-3. Adding new users to your account
You can add up to 200 users to your account, each with different login privileges.
1.7.2 Setting Privileges
You have a lot of flexibility in setting up different privileges for different users, as shown inFigure 14. To allow read-only access, leave all boxes unchecked.
Figure 1-4. Selecting any combination of privileges for each user
Obviously, the users and privileges you assign depends on how many employees you have and how
you run your business. A typical medium-sized business might use the following setup:
Customer Service Rep
Leave all boxes unchecked for read-only access.
Refund Rep
Check the Refunds option.
Financial Reconciliation
Turn on the View Balance and Settlement File options.
Head of Finance
Check View Balance and Withdraw Funds.
If your employees or partners used to log in with your password, it's a good idea to change it once
you get everyone set up.
1.7.3 Adding an Administrative Account
An additional benefit of Multi-User Access is that you can create a username-based login for yourself.
Traditionally, a user logs into PayPal with an email address and a password. I don't know about you,
but my email address is pretty lengthy, and having to type the ampersand (@) and dot (.) characters
gets annoying.
Just add a new user to your account, and check all the boxes to give yourself full access.
You'll probably want to leave API Activation unchecked; that setting is needed
only for using the PayPal API [Hack #88] .
1.7.4 Responding if Something Goes Wrong
If you spot unexpected account activity, it's best to do some research before starting to point fingers.
Review all the users and their privileges. If none appear to have the privilege to perform the activity
you discovered, someone else might have used your login.
Protect Your Account Against Phishing
Phishing, the act of sending out bogus emails and creating fake web sites to trick users
into giving up their passwords, has become a major problem on the internet. Phishers
have become so adept at their profession that they have even managed to secure
passwords from the most savvy of web users.
Creating PayPal logins for your employees with limited privileges can minimize the
consequences if one of your employees yields to a phisher. If you suspect that you or
one of your employees has unknowingly given their password to a phisher, you should
first attempt to change your administrative password. Then, contact PayPal Customer
Service to let them know what might have happened. They usually can shut down any
nefarious activity before it happens, provided that you contact them promptly.
Unfortunately, the PayPal site doesn't indicate the name of the person who performed any given
activity on your account. If you really get into a bind, you can contact PayPal's Customer Service and
they will be able to pull up a list of user activity. PayPal usually also has the IP address of the
computer that was used, so you might be able to match it to one of your company's PCs or
determine that the activity was performed from outside your company.
- Patrick Breitenbach
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 7 Access Member Information
Use the information PayPal publishes about members to scope out sellers and buyers, and
see what they can learn about you.
While all human relationships are built on trust, you might not want to rely on blind faith alone when
your money is at stake. To help you determine which vendors and customers to trust and which to
avoid, PayPal offers information about its members' standing with PayPal.
1.8.1 Looking Up a User's Status
You can check any PayPal account's User Status by initiating (but not necessarily completing) a
transaction with that user:
1. Log in to your PayPal account.
2. Click the Request Money tab.
3. Enter the email address of your prospective buyer, enter an amount to request (a single penny
will do), and select the type Goods (other).
4. Click Continue.
5. The Request Money-Confirm page that appears (shown in Figure 1-5) will tell you the account
type, Seller Reputation Number, and verification status of your buyer. Click the reputation link
after Recipient Status: for information on the age of the account.
Figure 1-5. Checking a buyer's User Status
1. Because you are just making an inquiry here and don't actually intend to request money, click
Cancel.
If you don't complete the transaction, the would-be recipient will not be notified.
1.8.2 Understanding the User Status
Here are some of the things you'll see in the Member Information box:
Seller Reputation
Although PayPal refers to these scores as reputation numbers, they are based solely on the
number of transactions completed. Unlike feedback scores at eBay and other communityoriented sites, PayPal reputation numbers are not in any way based on ratings from other
PayPal members.
PayPal's calculation of reputation numbers is delayed, such that any
transaction in which you're involved won't be counted until 30 days after
the transaction completes successfully. Also, only transactions $5.00 or
greater in value with verified members are counted.
Account Status
This field shows whether or not the account is verified [Hack #2].
Account Type
This shows the country in which the account is registered and whether it is a Personal, Premier,
or Business account (the differences between these account types are described in the
introduction to Chapter 3).
Account Creation Date
This field is self-explanatory: the date that the PayPal account was created. (This information is
restated in the PayPal Member For field.)
1.8.3 Checking Your Reputation as a Seller
Before conducting business or making payments with your PayPal account, you'd be wise to know
what others can learn about you through PayPal.
If you have a Premier or Business account, a number will appear in parentheses after the word
Verified or Unverified in the Account Overview page. Click the number to display your Member
Information Box, the same box others see when they use the procedure in the beginning of this hack.
To find the Member Information Box for your Personal account, you'll need to use another PayPal
account (either your own or a friend's) and follow the same procedure.
1.8.4 Checking Your Reputation as a Buyer
To find out your Buyer Reputation Number, go to https://www.paypal.com/REPNUM. If you have not
logged in, you will be prompted to do so. Click "View your Buyer and Seller Reputation Numbers"
near the bottom of the page to display your Buyer and Seller Reputation Numbers.
As confusing as it might be, your Buyer Reputation Number is not the same as your Seller Reputation
Number. See the "Why Is My Seller Reputation Zero?" sidebar for moreinformation.
Why Is My Seller Reputation Zero?
If you have used PayPal for some time as a buyer but are accepting payments for goods
for the first time, you might be surprised to find your Seller Reputation Number is 0. The
explanation lies with two numbers PayPal maintains for every account: a Seller
Reputation Number and a Buyer Reputation Number.
Your Buyer Reputation Number measures the number of unique verified PayPal members
you have paid, while your Seller Reputation Number tells you how many unique verified
PayPal members have paid you.
Purchasing goods and services with PayPal can, over time, drive your Buyer Reputation
Number into the stratosphere. But until you rack up qualifyingsales, your Seller
Reputation Number will languish.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 8 Manage PayPal Email
Set up multiple email accounts and filtering to manage PayPal email notifications more
efficiently.
PayPal sends a lot of email to its members, ranging from payment notifications to PayPal news and
account updates. It's not uncommon for important emails to get lost in the shuffle. But there are
several things you can do to make PayPal emails more manageable.
There are two primary strategies to make email more manageable:
Set up multiple email accounts for different purposes.
Use the routing and filtering capabilities of your email reader to segregate the different types of
email.
1.9.1 Setting Up Multiple Email Addresses
As you've probably figured out, email addresses are very important at PayPal. You log in with an
email address, send money to other email addresses, and receive "You've got cash" emails (the
most-read email messages on the Internet, by the way!) in your own email inbox.
But PayPal doesn't limit you to one email address, and with good reason: by associating multiple
email addresses with a single account, it can be easier to deal with incoming payments and the
associated orders that need to be filled.
The first thing you can do is register a second email address to be used to notify you of changes to
your account Profile. If you are using PayPal's Multi-User Access feature [Hack #6], you've already
set up an administrative email address. But if not, consider doing so anyway, even if you don't intend
to use the Multi-User Access feature.
PayPal uses the administrative email address to send notices when you make changes to your Profile.
This is primarily a security measure intended to make it more difficult for a thief or phisher to gain
access to your account and change your primary email address.
Before setting up an administrative email address, you should have access to at least two email
accounts. Many ISPs allow single users to hold multiple email accounts, and if you have your own
domain name, so much the better. Otherwise, you can use one of the free providers, such as Yahoo,
Hotmail or Gmail.
1. Log into PayPal and click Profile.
2.
1.
2. Go to Email under Account Information.
3. Make sure you have at least two confirmed email addresses listed (there's no indicator that an
email address is confirmed, but an Unconfirmed label will appear next to unconfirmed
addresses). If you need to confirm an address, do so now by selecting an address and clicking
Confirm. Or, click Add to enter a new address, and then confirm it.
4. PayPal sends an email to the new account; open it, click the link inside, and enter your
password at the PayPal web site when prompted.
5. Next, set up your administrative email by returning to the Profile page and clicking Multi-User
Access.
6. Select the email address that you want to use as the administrative email address and click
Save.
1.9.2 Using Different Email Addresses
Probably the most beneficial aspect to using more than one email address is that you can more easily
separate payments made for different purposes. For instance, you might have both
[email protected] and [email protected] registered to a single PayPal account, one for
web site payments and the other for eBay auction payments.
Not only does PayPal send the "You've got cash" notification to the email
address to which the payment was sent, but PayPal also keeps track of that
address for future reference. For example, in PayPal's downloadable logs, one
of the columns lists which email address received the payment that was sent,
making it easy to sort and group payments.
You can type either email address into your web site payment buttons[Hack #28], into eBay's Sell
Your Item form, or even in text links [Hack #17] .
Regardless of how you end up using them, you'll most likely want to filter your email so that different
payment notifications are sent to different places.
1.9.3 Filtering Your Incoming Email
After setting up a second address, you'll still receive a lot of email from PayPal; it'll just be divided
across both addresses. Most email applications, as well as many web-based email services, offer
ways to filter, route, and automatically file emails in different folders.
A basic filter in Outlook Express, shown in Figure 1-6, sorts messages into different folders depending
on the email address to which the payment was sent.
Figure 1-6. Setting up Outlook to automatically route emails to folders
based on the From address or Subject line
Here's how to set up a Mail Rule in Outlook Express for Windows to separate your PayPal email:
1. Start Outlook Express
2. Right-click on Local Folders and select New Folder.
3. Type PayPal for eBay and press Enter to create a new mail folder.
4. Go to Tools
Message Rules
Mail.
5. Turn on both the "Where the From line contains people" and "Where the To line contains
people" option in box 1.
6. Turn on the "Move it to the specified folder" option in box 2.
7. In box 3, next to "Where the From line," click "contains people" and [email protected] Click
Add and then OK when you're done here.
8. In box 3, next to "Where the To line," click "contains people" and type the first of your email
addresses on file with PayPal (e.g., [email protected]). Click Add and then OK when
you're done here, too.
9. Click "specified" in box 3, and select the new PayPal folder you created in step 3.
10. Name the rule something like PayPal in box 4, click OK, and then click OK again when you're
11.
9.
10.
done.
11. Repeat these steps for each additional email address you have on file for PayPal, specifying a
different folder for each address.
That's just a start; you can be creative, doing such things as automatically sending "Thank you for
your purchase" emails to all your eBay customers, for instance.
You can also prioritize your mail by severity: set up a mail rule that looks for "Notification of
Reversed Transaction" in the Subject line and route it to a Reversals folder.
1.9.4 Setting Notification Preferences
PayPal sends out a lot of email to its members, but luckily, most of it can be turned off by using the
Notifications settings in your account Profile, as shown in Figure 1-7.
Figure 1-7. Choosing which emails you want to receive from PayPal
As desirable as it might be, you won't be able to turn off every single
notification. PayPal will still send the occasional email describing changes to the
Terms of Use and major product changes.
Some PayPal users actually prefer to receive every email that PayPal sends, and given the sensitive
nature of the business, this is understandable. Since you can automatically filter the various email
messages PayPal sends you, you might be more inclined to sign up for all of PayPal's emails. Of
course, if a message subsequently sneaks through the Mail Rule, you can easily modify the rule or
create a new filter to catch it the next time. That way, you'll always have an archive of messages
relating to your account, without having them clutter up your Inbox.
- Patrick Breitenbach
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 9 Get Help from PayPal
When things go wrong, don't run screaming for the hills. Use PayPal's various forms and
phone numbers to get help fast.
Even if you aren't much of a fan of online help systems, it's probably the best place to start if you run
into a problem with your account. PayPal Help is especially useful when it comes to PayPal's vast
assortment of policies and procedures.
You'll find a link to Help in the upper-right corner of every page of the PayPal site. There are two
main ways to use PayPal Help:
Browse by category (e.g., Making Payments, Seller Tools, etc.)
Search using natural language questions (e.g., "how do I earn interest?")
As with most search engines, you don't have to type a whole question to get good results. "add
email" works just as well as "Can I add another email address?"
If the answer you find is particularly good or bad, you can do your good deed
for the PayPal community by pressing the "Was the answer helpful?" buttons.
We're told that PayPal actually does modify the Help system based on this
feedback. In fact, PayPal performed a large-scale redesign of the Help system
in early 2004.
Unfortunately PayPal's Help URLs do not remain constant, so don't try to bookmark specific pages for
future reference. If you need to refer a friend or customer to a PayPal Help page, it's best to indicate
a search term that brings up the article in question.
1.10.1 Email Support
Like many companies, PayPal doesn't let you send a regular email directly to Customer Service. You
must navigate through some web forms and give the web site the chance to answer your question.
But eventually, you can write an open-ended question to PayPal. PayPal has a large support staff in
Omaha, Nebraska, as well as in Omaha's unofficial sister city, Dublin, Ireland, to answer your
questions and process your requests.
If you have a PayPal account (and are able to log in), you should always log in
before sending your message. Doing so makes it much easier for PayPal to
locate and reference your account.
As with any email inquiry, it's crucial that you provide as specific and clear information about your
situation as you can. Instead of paraphrasing error messages or web page text, copy and paste the
exact passage. PayPal gives you up to 1,000 characters with which to write your question, which
should cover most situations.
You should never type your password or complete credit card number in a web
form or email, even when sending it to PayPal.
1.10.2 Telephone Support
Let's be honest; some situations require talking to an actual person on the phone:
If you're in the U.S., call PayPal toll-free at 888-221-1161.
If you are outside the U.S. or for any reason need to use a non-toll-free number, call 402-9352050. European customers can call 0870-730-7191.
PayPal Customer Service representatives can talk only to the primary contact listed on the account.
To verify this, they will likely ask you for your telephone number, email address, or last four digits
from your credit card or bank account number, so make sure to have these on hand when you call.
If you don't have access to a live Internet connection while calling, try to prepare for the call ahead of
time by collecting all the specific information about your inquiry. This information might include such
details as the PayPal transaction ID, payment date and amount, payment recipient, eBay auction
number and username, online store web site address, and so on.
1.10.3 Support Forums
There are several online support forums that can also be good places to ask questions and get
answers. PayPal has two official forums:
The PayPal forum at the eBay Discussion Boards (http://forums.ebay.com/db2/forum.jsp?
forum=97)
The PayPal Developer Forums (http://developer.paypal.com)
Good independent forums include:
Fatwallet (http://www.fatwallet.com)
For general information about a variety of online commerce topics.
Vendio Community (http://www.vendio.com/mesg/)
For discussions about online auctions. See the eBay boards, as well as the PayPal board under
Vendio Partner Services.
PayPalDev.org (http://www.paypaldev.org)
An independently operated board for PayPal programmers.
1.10.4 eBay University
Finally, eBay offers hands-on courses in which you can learn a lot about trading on eBay from expert
instructors. While eBay University is heavily focused on eBay, PayPal is becoming an increasingly
popular topic. Furthermore, instructors usually stick around after the course to answer any PayPal
questions you might have. To find out when eBay University will bein your area, check the eBay site
(http://www.ebay.com/university/).
- Patrick Breitenbach
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Chapter 2. Making Payments
Introduction: Hacks #10-16
Hack 10. Send Money to Anyone
Hack 11. Choose How to Fund Payments
Hack 12. Use Your PayPal Funds Anywhere
Hack 13. Pay from a Cell Phone
Hack 14. Pay Seller Fees when Buying
Hack 15. Send Money Without Creating a PayPal Account
Hack 16. Dispute Merchandise Payments
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Introduction: Hacks #10-16
So, you've just bought a genuine Zapp Brannigan Atomic Ray Gun on eBay, and now it's time to pony
up the dough. You might be able to mail a personal check, but most sellers won't take them (and
when they do, there's an extra week to wait for them to clear). Money orders and cashier's checks
usually cost money and take several days to arrive, and then there's still no protection if the seller
takes the ray gun and runs. Some sellers accept credit cards directly, but few provide online ordering
or other safe means of sending your payment information.
This is where many buyers are introduced to PayPal. With a few clicks and usually no typing, you can
send large or small sums of money across the country or around the world almost instantaneously
and get fraud protection while doing it.
The first thing to remember when making a payment with PayPal is to be certain you've got it right.
Review the details of the payment you're about to make on the Check Payment Details page,
because once you hit the Pay button, there is no going back. You won't be able to rescind the
payment, change the recipient in the case of a typo, or change the way the payment is funded[Hack
#11] .
Keep a close eye on the source of funds [Hack #11]; if you don't have enough
money in your checking account and would prefer to use your credit card
instead, you'll need to make that selection before you pay. Even if you r
recipient were to refund the payment immediately [Hack #21], the funds
would still be pulled from your bank account or charged on your credit card.
Now, none of
doesn't claim
you'll be able
person in the
this means that PayPal doesn't have policies in place to protect you. If the recipient
a pending payment within 30 days, for example, you'll get it back automatically. And
to dispute payments made for merchandise [Hack #16] in the event of fraud. But the
best position to protect your money is you, so use that position wisely.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 10 Send Money to Anyone
Use PayPal's most basic feature to send money to anyone with an email address, even if
the recipient doesn't have a PayPal account.
It's a little-known fact that you can send money to anyone who has an email address: the person to
whom you send money doesn't need a PayPal account! The only information you need is the
recipient's email address and, of course, the amount of money you would like to send.
Back in the days when PayPal was giving away $10 for each new account referred, some
entrepreneurial students would send $.20 payments to every kid in their school in hopes that the
recipient would create an account. If no one claimed the payment, the money would eventually go
back to the sender. Not a bad moneymaking scheme, even if only 1 in 20 recipients signed up!
Today, with over 50,000 new users each day, PayPal doesn't offer such a bounty for referral.
However, you can still enjoy the fun of surprising someone with a"You've got cash" email.
2.2.1 Sending a Payment via Email
To send money to someone (whether they have a PayPal account or not):
1. Log into your PayPal account.
2. Click the Send Money tab, and then click the Pay Anyone subtab.
3. Enter the recipient's email address.
4. Enter the amount to send and select the currency you wish to use.
5. For Type, select Goods or Service if you are paying someone back for a good or service they
provided you.
If you select Quasi-Cash and pay with a credit card or debit card, your
card issuer might treat the transaction as a cash advance and charge you
a cash advance fee.
6. Enter a Subject and a Note (both are optional). The Subject is important, because it appears as
the subject of the email sent to the recipient of your payment. The note, however, is less likely
to be seen, because it appears buried in the email. If you need to include important details, it is
best to send them in a separate email.
7.
7. Click Continue when you're finished with this page. The next page shows a summary of the
payment.
At this point, if the recipient does not have a PayPal account, you'll see,
"This recipient is not yet registered. PayPal will send an email to the
recipient explaining how to open an account and receive your transaction."
See the next section of this hack for details on what to do if your recipient
doesn't open an account.
8. Click More Funding Options to choose how to fund your payment [Hack #11] .
9. If you are just sending money to a friend, select "No shipping address required" in the Shipping
Information section. Otherwise, if you are paying for an item that will be shipped to you, you'll
most likely want to provide your address. Note that some sellers will refuse your payment if you
don't include a confirmed address [Hack #3].
10. Click Send Money when you're done.
To confirm that everything has gone as planned, PayPal will send you a "Receipt of your payment"
email to notify you that you have indeed sent the money. If the recipient has a PayPal account, she
will receive a similar email letting her know that she has received money. If the recipient doesn't
have an account, PayPal will send a "You've got cash" email, along with instructions to sign up for a
PayPal account. Only after signing up for an account will the recipient be able to access your
payment.
If you pay with a credit card and the recipient has a Premier or Business account, the money will be
deposited directly into the account. If you're sending money to a friend, you might want to send it to
her personal account to avoid the PayPal fees, although this means you won't be able to fund the
payment with a credit card [Hack #11] .
2.2.2 What If They Don't Sign Up?
If you send money to someone without a PayPal account, it's possible that the recipient won't sign up
and claim the money. This can happen, for instance, if the recipient confuses PayPal's "You've got
cash" email with unsolicited spam. Also, many people feel uneasy about signing up for a service like
PayPal, thinking that they might be charged a bunch of fees or that they'll be victimized if they share
their financial information over the Internet. For this reason, you might need to reassure skittish
payees before sending them money with PayPal.
If, for whatever reason, the recipient doesn't sign up and claim thepayment within 30 days, PayPal
will return the funds to your account (or refund your credit card, if that's how you funded the
payment). PayPal will also reverse the payment if you try to send a credit card-funded payment to a
Personal account and the recipient doesn't upgrade to a Business or Premier account within 30 days
to accept the payment. Either way, you can try to resend the money, but your best bet is to contact
the recipient separately via email to ensure you have the right email address and that they
understand what they need to do to get the money.
Just as you would look someone in the face before handing over a fistful of
cash, be sure to double-check the email address of the recipient before you
send money, because there isn't any easy way to get your money back if you
send it to the wrong person. See [Hack #16] if this happens to you.
If you decide to cancel an unclaimed payment for any reason, you can reverse the transaction before
the 30-day automatic reversal period only if the recipient has not signed up and claimed the money.
To cancel a pending payment, log into your PayPal account and click the History tab to view your
transaction history. Find the payment you'd like to reverse and click the Cancelbutton.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 11 Choose How to Fund Payments
Select your preferred payment funding source each time you make a payment, a
necessary step if you want to pay with a credit card or alternate bank account.
While a primary reason so many people use PayPal (PayPal reports over 45 million users as of March
31, 2004) is to send and receive credit card payments, there are several other ways to make a
payment without using a credit card at all.
Each time you make a payment [Hack #10], PayPal displays the Source of Funds (as shown in
Figure 2-1) that will be used to make the payment on the Check Payment Details page and gives you
an opportunity to switch sources if you so desire. Always review how you're making your payment
and switch payment sources if necessary.
Figure 2-1. Choosing a source of funds
Click More Funding Options to display the Funding Options page, as shown inFigure 2-2. Each time
you make a payment, you can select a funding source among several choices.
Figure 2-2. Selecting funding options
PayPal offers several different ways to fund your payment:
PayPal Balance
If you have funds sitting in your PayPal account, they are always used first when making a
payment. Only if the amount of your payment exceeds your balance will you be able to choose
the source for the remaining funds. The exception is the eCheck option, which can be used
whether or not you have funds in your PayPal account. See the next section of this hack for a
workaround.
Instant Transfer
The funds necessary to make the payment will be drawn from your bank account. Although
PayPal does not actually get the funds from your bank for several days (thus, the transfer is
not technically instant), the payment recipient will have immediate access to the funds you
have sent.
Because of this, PayPal requires that you set up a backup funding source to be used in the
event that the bank transfer fails (i.e., the transfer bounces). Your credit card is normally used
as the backup funding source; if you don't have a credit card on file with your PayPal account,
you might have to send an eCheck instead.
Credit Card
An immediate charge to your credit card or debit card will be made. In the U.S., PayPal
supports Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. In the UK, Switch and Solo are
also supported.
One reason people like to pay with a credit card is the added protection
afforded by credit card issuers. Fortunately, if you use PayPal to pay for
an eBay auction (and some other terms are met), you might be eligible
for the Buyer Protection Policy [Hack #16], regardless of the funding
source you choose for the payment.
eCheck
An eCheck is a noninstant bank transfer, in which your payment will remain pending until
PayPal receives the funds from your bank. When the bank transfer clears, PayPal switches the
payment status to Completed and deposits the money in the recipient's account. This usually
takes two to four business days. eChecks are useful for large payments (greater than $1,000),
since they can be used when other payment options aren't available (if, for example, you have
maxed out your credit card).
The maximum fee assessed to an eCheck recipient is $5.00. This means that
eChecks are a good way to lower your seller fees [Hack #23], at least for any
payment of US$162.07 or more. Although you, as the buyer, will not directly
benefit from this price advantage, you might be able to negotiate a discount on
the purchase, since the seller will be saving quite a bit on PayPal transaction
fees. For example, on a $1,000 purchase, the seller could stand to save $17.90
to $24.30 in transaction fees.
2.3.1 Overriding the Funding Source Hierarchy
As mentioned in the previous section, if you have a balance in your PayPal account, it will be used to
fund all your payments. Only if the amount of a payment exceeds your balance will you be able to
fund your payment with a credit card or checking account transfer. (An eCheck can be sent
regardless of your PayPal balance, however.)
To work around this limitation, bring your account balance down to zero before making your
payment. Here's how to do it:
1. Make a payment to an email address that you control but that isn't registered with PayPal. Set
the amount of the payment equal to the balance in your PayPal account.
As described in [Hack #10], the status of the payment will be pending,
because it was sent to an email address that is not registered with PayPal.
2. Make the payment you were originally intending, and fund it with a credit card or Instant
Transfer.
3. Once you've completed the payment, go to your payment history and cancel the pending
payment you made to yourself. The funds will then be moved back into your PayPal account.
This is a quick and effective way to use a credit card or Instant Transfer, without having to withdraw
any funds in your account [Hack #20] .
2.3.2 eBay-only Payment Methods
eBay buyers have the benefit of three additional PayPal payment methods not available elsewhere:
eBay Anything Points
eBay Anything Points is a loyalty program, similar to airline frequent flyer miles, introduced by
eBay in 2003. You can earn points from:
Companies who have partnered with eBay to offer points for joining their service (for
example, Hilton, American Airlines, and Earthlink)
Individual eBay sellers who offer points to the winning bidders of their auctions
Every purchase made with the eBay Credit Card
Once you've saved up enough Anything Points, you can use them with PayPal to make
purchases for eBay auctions. When you go through the eBay checkout process, before you get
to the PayPal payment screen, you have the option of using eBay Anything Points to pay the
entire amount or just a portion of it. For more information, visit
http://anythingpoints.ebay.com.
eBay Gift Certificates
If someone emails you an eBay Gift Certificate, it shows up in your PayPal account, just like an
ordinary payment. You can apply it to any auction you win, provided that you go through the
eBay checkout process. For more information, visit https://certificates.ebay.com.
PayPal Buyer Credit
PayPal Buyer Credit is basically a personal loan extended to you by PayPal (actually, by
PayPal's lending partner, GE Credit), that can be paid down over time. As with most forms of
credit, not everyone gets approved, and if you don't pay your bill on time, you will pay
penalties. PayPal Buyer Credit can be used only on eBay listings in which the seller explicitly
offers the Buyer Credit option.
2.3.3 Buying from Outside the USA
The funding sources available to non-U.S. users is more limited. For most countries, credit/debit
cards and PayPal balances are the only methods available. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and
Discover can generally be used in any country, and UK users also have the option of Switch and Solo.
While the Instant Transfer and eCheck payment methods are not available outside the U.S., it is
possible for German and Dutch users to load up their PayPal accounts from a bank account. You must
prepare ahead of time, however, because this takes several days. PayPal provides all the bank
account information needed to use the standard interbank transferring systems of Germany and the
Netherlands.
PayPal expects to be able to offer an Instant Transfer-like payment method in Germany sometime in
2004.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 12 Use Your PayPal Funds Anywhere
Use the PayPal Virtual Debit Bar to pay for goods or services at web sites that don't
normally accept PayPal.
It's possible for you to pay someone via PayPal even if the recipient doesn't have a PayPal account
[Hack #15], but only if you know the email address of the person or business to whom you wish to
send money and only if the recipient is willing to sign up and accept your payment. But what do you
do if you want to buy something from an online retailer that doesn't accept PayPal?
There is, as it turns out, a way to pay with PayPal as though your account were a debit or credit card.
There's a hard-to-find page at PayPal that allows you to set up and use the virtual Debit Bar to turn
your PayPal email address into a virtual MasterCard debit card number. To get a virtual debit card
number, you'll need to do all of the following:
Have a PayPal balance of at least one U.S. dollar
Add and confirm control of a checking account [Hack #2]
Add a credit card to your PayPal account and complete your Expanded Use Enrollment[Hack
#3]
To use the virtual debit card, start by opening the virtual Debit Bar:
1. Log in to your PayPal account.
2. Visit the PayPal virtual Debit Bar web page (shown in Figure 2-3) at
https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/shop/vdebit.
PayPal has removed most links to the virtual debit card from its web site,
but you might still find it at this URL.
Figure 2-3. Choosing an online retailer at which to shop with PayPal's
virtual Debit Bar
3. From the drop-down list, pick an online store from which you want to make a purchase; or, in
the second box, enter the URL of the store (as shown in Figure 2-3). Either way, you can switch
web sites at any time without affecting your virtual debit card.
4. Click the appropriate Go button. The online store you specified then opens in a new browser
window and the virtual Debit Bar appears at the bottom of your screen in another browser
window (as shown in Figure 2-4) and remains visible while you shop.
Figure 2-4. The virtual Debit Bar
5. When you're ready to make a purchase, use the debit card information in the virtual Debit Bar
just as you would any MasterCard debit card.
6. You will find all the debit card information on the Debit Bar. Fill out the billing information
(name, billing address, debit card type, debit cart number, and expiration date) on the web site,
just as you would with any other debit card. You can copy and paste the debit card information
in the virtual Debit Bar to save time.
7. For the security of your PayPal Account, close the PayPal virtual Debit Bar browser window
7.
when you are finished shopping. Close the bar the same way you would any other web browser.
Keep the following in mind while using the virtual Debit Bar:
You'll need at least one U.S. dollar in your PayPal account to activate the virtual Debit Bar, and
you'll need sufficient funds in your account to cover any purchase you make. If you try to spend
more than your current balance, your card will be declined.
The spending limit for the virtual debit card is $150 per day.
The virtual debit card does not have a three-digit Card Verification Value (CVV), so it won't be
accepted by online retailers that require one.
For those retailers that will ship only to your credit card billing address, your virtual debit card
billing address is the same as the address listed with the primary credit card registered to your
PayPal Account.
The expiration date for your virtual debit card (displayed on the upper-right corner of the virtual
Debit Bar window) is set for two years from the date the card number was issued.
If you need a plastic debit card that is linked to your PayPal account, you can
apply for a PayPal ATM/debit card [Hack #20] . You can also apply for a
PayPal Providian credit card (http://www.paypalcreditcard.com), although it
won't be linked to your PayPal account balance. Both plastic cards are available
only to U.S. members.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 13 Pay from a Cell Phone
Send a payment or request a payment with a WAP-enabled cell phone.
Imagine rummaging through items at a garage sale and finding a priceless antique. Now imagine
checking in your wallet only to discover that you don't have the $19.00 to pay for it. What do you do?
Hide the antique behind a box, run to the nearest ATM, and hope the item is still there when you
return? No, you use your head, the power of PayPal, and the wonder of technology: pull out your
web-enabled cell phone and use it to send a PayPal payment on the spot!
To navigate to PayPal's Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) site, open your phone's browser, choose
"Go to URL" (or something similar), enter paypal.com, and click OK.
PayPal's WAP site is shown automatically to anyone accessing
http://www.paypal.com from a WAP-enabled cell phone or PDA. It's a secure
(https) connection, but must already have a PayPal account before you can use
it.
2.5.1 Sending Money
After you have successfully logged in, you can select the Send Money link from the main menu, as
shown in Figure 2-5. Next, enter the recipient's email address, the amount in dollars, and the amount
in cents.
Figure 2-5. Sending a PayPal payment from a WAP-enabled cell phone
When you're done, click Submit. This brings you to a screen where you can confirm the payment by
selecting Yes, as shown in Figure 2-6.
Figure 2-6. Select Yes to confirm your payment
2.5.2 Checking the Payment
After you have made the payment, the recipient might want to verify that the transaction has
completed.
If you're feeling charitable and the recipient is standing next to you, you can
simply log out on your phone, hand it over, and let her verify your payment.
To check the status of a payment, log into PayPal on your phone and select the History link to display
a transaction log that lists transaction amounts (debit or credit) and transaction dates in
chronological order (newest to oldest). Select a transaction to view more details, such as who sent
the money and whether the transaction has completed successfully.
2.5.3 Requesting Payment with a Text Message
You can send an SMS message directly from your own cell phone, from the web site of your
recipient's carrier, or from email. Each cell phone and carrier has a slightly different procedure; refer
to your phone or calling plan documentation for details.
When you enter the text message, make sure to include paypal.com. If the recipient is using a WAPenabled phone, he simply clicks the Go option button that appears and is taken to the PayPal WAP
site to complete the transaction.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 14 Pay Seller Fees when Buying
Send a payment along with the respective seller fees using the Mass Pay feature, so that
your recipient gets precisely what you promised.
Whether a product is sold or a service is performed, most people generally accept that the product or
service provider is responsible for paying any applicable processing fees. But there are plenty of
scenarios in which the recipient of your payment is not expecting or willing to pay any fees:
Someone who has loaned you money should not have to pay a fee to get paid back.
Members of your web site's affiliate program [Hack #77] are not likely to expect to lose 2.9%
of their referral fees.
Those new to selling on eBay often don't realize that accepting PayPal for their auctions
generates enough additional business to be worth the applicable PayPal fees. If you're buying
something from an eBay seller who is unwilling to accept PayPal because of the fees, you can
often grease the wheels by offering to cover the fees yourself.
Of course, PayPal doesn't charge seller fees for payments received into Personal accounts, but these
accounts have their own limitations (described in the introduction toChapter 3), rendering them
useless for this purpose. If you need to make a payment to a recipient's Premier or Business account
for a specific amount without generating fees for him, you have two options: calculate the seller fees
yourself or use Mass Pay.
2.6.1 Calculating the Fees Yourself
The first solution is to include the applicable fees with your payment, so that when PayPal deducts the
fees, the recipient ends up with the intended amount. The equation (yes, there's some math
involved) to calculate the total amount received is as follows:
Amount Received = Amount Sent - PayPal Fees
Seller fees for Business and Premier accounts are typically 30 cents plus 2.9% of the amount sent. If
you send someone $40, PayPal takes $1.46 (2.9% x $40 + $.30), leaving $38.54 for therecipient.
Non-U.S. account holders and those doing business with non-U.S. account
holders might be subject to additional fees or a different fee rate. See[Hack
#7] for a way to determine whether your recipient has a Personal account, in
which case, no seller fees at all will be incurred.
If you're having trouble remembering your high-school algebra, you might think that all you'd have
to do is pay an extra $1.46 for the recipient to get the correct payment, but it doesn't turn out that
way:
Amount
Amount
Amount
Amount
Received
Received
Received
Received
=
=
=
=
Amount Sent - PayPal Fees
$41.46 - (2.9% x $41.46 + $.30)
$41.46 - $1.50
$39.96
It's close, but you've still underpaid by 4 cents. The reason is that the goal, $40 in this case, was
plugged into the wrong part of the equation. Here's the correct calculation:
Amount Received = Amount Sent - PayPal Fees
$40 = Amount Sent - (2.9% x Amount Sent + $.30)
$40 + $.30 = Amount Sent - (2.9% x Amount Sent)
$40 + $.30 = Amount Sent x (1 - 2.9%)
($40 + $.30) / (1 - 2.9%) = Amount Sent
$41.50 = Amount Sent
Plugging $41.50 back into the original equation, you can see that it does indeed work:
Amount Received = $41.50 - (2.9% x $41.50 + $.30)
Amount Received = $41.50 - $1.5035
Amount Received = $39.9965 or $40.00
When dealing with fractions, PayPal rounds to the nearest penny.
Here's a general equation you can use to calculate seller fees:
Amount to Send = (Amount to be Received + $.30) / (1 - 2.9%)
2.6.2 Covering the Recipient's Fees Using Mass Pay
Another, more direct way to cover the seller fees is to use an underused PayPal tool called Mass Pay
[Hack #77] . With Mass Pay, PayPal deducts the fees from the sender's account rather than the
recipient's account. In addition to being a simpler method than the arithmetic above, using Mass Pay
in this way can make your bookkeeping easier, because the fees appear in your transaction history
more clearly.
But the best part about Mass Pay is that the fee is a flat 2% and is capped at $1.00 per transaction
(e.g., per recipient). In the scenario described earlier in this hack, the recipient would get the full $40
and you'd be charged only $0.80 instead of $1.50.
See [Hack #23] for other ways to reduce PayPal's seller fees.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 15 Send Money Without Creating a PayPal Account
Pay someone quickly without going to the trouble of setting up an account .
If you don't have a PayPal account and you want to see what the fuss is about, send someone money
using PayPal. After all, everyone owes someone for something. Perhaps you owe a coworker for
lunch, a friend who bought you a ticket to the big game, or another friend who sold you his old DVD
player. Why not pay them via PayPal?
But to send someone money, you'll have to sign up for an account. Or will you? The answer is no, as
long as the recipient has a PayPal account!
Using this procedure, you can also request and accept payments without
requiring the customer to sign up for a PayPal account. Just fill in your own
email address into the URL discussed here and send it to your customers.
To send money without creating a PayPal account, open up any web browser, and type this address
(URL):
http://paypal.com/xclick/business=
Add the email address of the recipient of the money to the end of the URL, like this:
[email protected]
After pressing the Enter key (or Return on the Mac), the email address ([email protected], in
this case) will be sent to the PayPal web site, which will look up the user's account. If the email
address refers to an existing PayPal account, you will see the Payment Details page (shown in Figure
2-7) with the following information:
Pay To
The email address of the recipient of your payment.
Payment For
An optional field, into which you can enter a note describing what the payment is for.
Currency
The currency it expects you to use; the default is U.S. dollars.
Amount
In this example, you will be required to enter the amount you wish to pay, since you didn't put
the amount in the URL
Figure 2-7. Payment Details screen for customers sending money to
registered PayPal sellers
If, on the other hand, the email address of the recipient does not refer to an existing PayPal account,
you will see a slightly different Payment Details page, as shown inFigure 2-8. In this case, you'll be
required to sign up for a PayPal account as a part of the payment process.
Figure 2-8. Payment Details screen for customers sending money to
unregistered users
At this point, you'll have two choices:
If you have a PayPal account, you can type your email address and password here and click
Login to pay with your account.
Otherwise, click the Continue Checkout button. Use this option if you don't want to pay with
your PayPal account, or if you don't have a PayPal account and want to pay with a credit card.
If you or someone else has previously accessed a PayPal account on your computer, the Payment
Details page might look a little different, as shown inFigure 2-9. You will see the email address of the
PayPal customer who previously used your computer, and you'll be prompted for a password. But you
can still get to the new user page shown earlier in this hack by clicking the Click Here button, at
which point you'll be able to pay without logging in.
Figure 2-9. Payment Details screen with cookies enabled
Cookies and Personal Information
Cookies are tidbits of information that web sites store on your computer for future
reference; they typically contain just enough information for the web site to identify your
login or user ID.
A good example of how cookies can work to your advantage is the way both eBay and
PayPal use cookies to keep you signed in and remember you the next time you visit.
To experience PayPal as a new PayPal user would, find and delete your PayPal cookie. If
you're using Internet Explorer, look for a text file containing the [email protected]
in your Cookies folder (or Temporary Internet Files if you're using Windows 2000). If
you're using Netscape or Mozilla, go to Tools
Cookie Manager. In either case,
deleting this cookie is harmless, so give it a try and see what happens when you return
to the PayPal web site.
Next comes the Shipping Information page; for purchases that do not require shipping (e.g., for
repaying a friend or for a digital download), select the No Shipping Required option and click Continue
Checkout.
If PayPal skips the Shipping Information page and instead shows you theBilling
Information page, then the person you are trying to pay does not have a
PayPal account. You will be asked to create an account before sending the
money.
Otherwise, if you're purchasing a physical product that must be shipped, enter your shipping address
here. Select Yes at the bottom if this address is the same as your credit card billing address, and click
Continue Checkout when you're done.
On the Billing Information page, enter your credit card information and email address. (If you
indicated that your billing and shipping addresses are the same on the previous page, your billing
address will appear here; otherwise, you'll need to fill it in.) You'll also need to fill in your phone
number and security code.
The security code, typically a word embedded in a pattern, is an extra step that
PayPal requires to ensure that you are a real person and not a computer trying
to gain automated access to PayPal. In theory, only human beings have the
patience to read the code and enter it.
You'll also have another chance (in addition to the aforementioned Payment For field) to leave a
message to the seller in the Message to Seller field.
When you're done, click Continue Checkout. On the Review Information page, review the details of
your payment and click Pay to complete the transaction. Assuming your credit card is accepted, you
have just made a payment!
When you are finished making your payment, one of two things will happen:
If the email address to which you sent the money is registered with PayPal, the money will be
deposited directly into the email owner's PayPal account.
If the email address is not registered with PayPal, a "You've got cash" email will be sent to the
owner of the email address. The recipient will then need to follow the instructions in the email to
sign up for a PayPal account and accept the money. Note that your email address will be used
as the return address, suggesting its origin and allowing the recipient to reply to the message
and easily email you.
Either way, after accepting the money, the recipient will be able to use your payment to pay
someone else, transfer the money into her bank account, or even have a check sent to her from
PayPal [Hack #20] .
Truth be told, this process isn't all that easy. In fact, it's more involved than paying with an existing
PayPal account. It is, however, easier (in the short term, anyway) for those who don't yet have
PayPal accounts, and this fact might be enough to attract customers who otherwise might be scared
off by PayPal.
On the last page of the payment process, you will be invited to create a PayPal account using the
credit card information you have just provided. If you plan on using PayPal to pay again or perhaps
to even accept payments yourself, go ahead and accept the invitation. There is no easier way to
create a PayPal account than at this moment. And the next time you need to make a payment, the
process will be even easier, because you won't have to enter all your payment informationagain.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 16 Dispute Merchandise Payments
Know your rights! Use PayPal's Buyer Protection policy to get your money back in the
event that a seller has defrauded you.
Let's say you just found an unbelievable deal for a plasma screen TV on eBay and you pay for it with
PayPal. But it's been two weeks and still no TV has been delivered, and the seller doesn't respond to
any of your emails.
Or you buy a high-end coffee grinder from eBay, pay with PayPal, and it's shipped to you quickly. But
when you plug it in, nothing happens. In fact, upon closer inspection, there is nothing inside the
grinder at all: it's just a shell with no parts. You get ahold of the seller, but he is uncooperative.
Fortunately, PayPal can help resolve merchandise disputes. The key is to understand the delicate
processes and etiquette involved so that your dispute can be handled quickly and painlessly.
If you're a seller, see [Hack #27] for ways to defend yourself against disputes
filed against you.
2.8.1 PayPal Buyer Protection
PayPal Buyer Protection uses online dispute resolution to address transaction-related disputes
between buyers and sellers. For transactions that are eligible for PayPal Buyer Protection (look for the
blue and white shield on the eBay listing), buyers can report a problem with a purchase as long as it's
tangible merchandise that has been shipped by a courier that uses online package tracking.
What isn't covered? Vehicles (e.g., cars and boats), intangible goods such as
online subscriptions, and anything in violation of PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy
are not covered.
There are two kinds of claims you can file as a buyer:
You did not receive a package.
You received a package, but it is not as described (which includes getting an empty box).
A bunch of rules and conditions apply; see the "PayPal Buyer Protection Fine
Print" sidebar for details. Buyers don't do anything to qualify, but there are
rules that must be followed to retain coverage.
PayPal Buyer Protection Fine Print
Look for the blue and white shield in the Seller Information box. Those are the only
listings eligible for PayPal Buyer Protection.
Covers up to $500 USD. If your transaction is over $500, you might still get all your
money back if the seller has it in his PayPal balance. If he doesn't, you'll get $500
and then PayPal limits the seller's account until he pays you back.
File within 30 days. PayPal counts down to the very second. If you miss the
window, they won't help you.
Limit of one claim per payment. Even if there are multiple listings within a single
payment, you can file only once for the entire order.
Limit of two refunds per calendar year. You can file as many claims as you want,
but only two listings will be refunded up to $500. The others will fall under the
standard Buyer Complaint Process where recovery is not guaranteed (although
PayPal will make a best effort to get your money back from the seller when
appropriate).
Pay the seller's PayPal account under which he listed the item. As long as you use
any of the eBay/PayPal checkout processes, the funds automatically go to the right
account. If you send money, make sure you send it to the PayPal account
associated with the listing and not to some other account the seller asks you to use.
To file a PayPal Buyer Protection claim, log in to your PaypPal account, click theResolution Center
tab, and read the instructions. When you're ready, click File a Claim and fill in the information as
prompted.
The first thing you'll be asked for is the PayPal Transaction ID, a unique 17-digit code that
corresponds to the transaction you're disputing. To find the code, click Get PayPal Transaction ID and
then wade through your PayPal history until you've found the transaction. Simply click the code in the
Transaction ID column, and PayPal will automatically insert it into the claim form.
You might have a stack of proof you think PayPal should review, but hold onto
it for now; PayPal might never even ask for it. PayPal typically cares only about
objective evidence that they can verify with a third party.
Each claim opens a case at PayPal and notifies the seller to respond. Once you have filed a claim,
click the Resolution Center tab to check the status of your claim.
2.8.2 Buyer Protection Etiquette
Before you transact with a seller, make sure you read the merchandise description carefully for
details and disclaimers. If the deal seems too good to be true, beware! A brand new iPod for half the
price you'd normally pay should raise a big red flag. (You can also buy a plasma screen TV off the
back of a truck in a dim alley.) Great deals can be found online, but don't ignore your common sense.
Always contact the seller before filing a claim; sellers appreciate this and might be willing to work
things out to avert the claim going on their PayPal record. (If your neighbor's dog is barking all night,
try talking to your neighbor before calling animal control about a rabid dog.) A lot of issues can be
resolved with simple communication, leaving both the buyer and seller on good terms.
Allow the seller time to ship the merchandise to you. Sellers are required to ship within seven days to
qualify for the Seller Protection Policy, that this does not include the time it might take for the courier
to deliver the package. International shipments might take longer, due to customs and fundamental
shipping delays. Obviously, filing a claim an hour after you pay makes you appear irrational and only
angers your seller. An angry seller will be less likely to be reasonable and responsive to your claim.
Buyers must file a claim under PayPal Buyer Protection within 30 days from the
date of the PayPal transaction. Sellers might have legitimate reasons for not
immediately responding to emails or for delaying your shipment, but beware of
sellers who repeatedly put off your inquiries about when the merchandise will
be shipped.
Finally, be patient. Instead of contacting PayPal in multiple ways at multiple times, allow the claim
process to work. Multiple contacts just add clutter to your case and might actually delay it.
2.8.3 Can I Get My Money Back?
Filing a claim does not necessarily mean that you'll get your money back. As with any online dispute
resolution forum, both parties involved in the dispute tell their sides of the story and are asked to
submit information to substantiate their statements. Most claims are resolved without any
intervention from PayPal at all; for instance, you might cancel your claim after receiving a tracking
number from the seller.
2.8.3.1 Does PayPal just take the buyer's word?
PayPal uses a variety of checks and balances to vet the buyer's claims. This might include requiring
you to fax a letter of inauthenticity from a third-party dealer on claims for counterfeit goods or fax a
police report for higher-priced merchandise.
Buyers who abuse PayPal Buyer Protection are investigated by fraud specialists
and are dealt with appropriately (which might include escalation to law
enforcement), so don't file reports frivolously.
2.8.3.2 What does significantly "not as described" mean?
"Not as described" claims are handled on a case-by-case basis because there are millions of items
that change hands every day, and it's impossible to generalize about the meaning: a scratch on a
priceless violin cannot be compared to a scratch on a Frisbee©.
If it's an eBay item, the original eBay listing is the main decision factor: what exactly did the seller
advertise? Only claims for significantly "not as described" merchandise will be granted. (If a shirt is
light blue instead of dark blue, you'll probably be denied arefund.)
In almost all cases, a buyer has to return (at her own expense) the significantly not-as-described
merchandise to the seller before getting a refund. Buyers do not get to keep both the item and the
money.
2.8.3.3 Where does the refund come from?
Although PayPal might find that you're due a refund, PayPal never draws money from a seller's bank
account or credit card without the seller's permission (this would be considered an unauthorized
transaction and is therefore illegal). PayPal might not be perfect (in some people's opinions), but
they're not stupid. For this reason, don't dawdle when it comes to filing Buyer Protection claims.
PayPal Buyer Protection ensures that buyers are refunded up to $500 no
matter how much sellers have in their PayPal balances.
If a seller's PayPal balance has insufficient funds to complete a refund, the PayPal account balance
will become negative as soon as the buyer has been refunded and the acouunt might be limited. See
[Hack #5] for more information on what you can do if your account has been limited.
2.8.3.4 What happens to bad sellers? I want justice!
Even if a buyer's claim is denied, there is a record of every claim on the seller's account. Sellers with
a high claim rate quickly trigger investigation by PayPal. Fraudulent sellers have been taken to court,
convicted, heavily fined, put in jail, and blacklisted. Every now and then, you'll read about these
cases in the newspaper.
Unfortunately, due to privacy concerns, PayPal never reveals what actions have
been taken against a seller (if any). You can, however, subsequently check the
status of the seller's PayPal account [Hack #7].
If you made your purchase on eBay, you can also check out eBay's Security Center to read about
ways to protect yourself. In 2003 or earlier, eBay might have paid you under their $200 ($25
processing fee) purchase protection program, but now that eBay and PayPal are one company, there
is sufficient coordination such that you'll be directed to the right place to file a claim. If your purchase
was paid for with PayPal, eBay will ask you to work with PayPal to get your money back. For other
issues, you will find various forms in the Security Center to report sellers asking for additional money
after the listing ends, suspended sellers selling under another ID, sellers abusing feedback, and so
on. In addition to getting your money back from PayPal, you can alert eBay to problem sellers.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Chapter 3. Selling with PayPal
Introduction: Hacks #17-27
Upgrade to Business Class
Set Your Payment Receiving Preferences
Identify Yourself to Your Customers
Hack 17. Request Money the PayPal Way
Hack 18. Ask for Money in Your Own Way
Hack 19. Request Money Without an Account
Hack 20. Get Your Money
Hack 21. Refund a Payment
Hack 22. Quick-Link to Transaction Details
Hack 23. Lower Your Seller Fees
Hack 24. Protect Yourself from Buyer Fraud
Hack 25. Protect Yourself from Chargebacks
Hack 26. Avoid Chargebacks on Digital Goods
Hack 27. Handle Merchandise Disputes Effectively
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Introduction: Hacks #17-27
From accepting occasional donations to receiving payments from thousands of customers, PayPal
provides the tools and support you need to build your business. Rather than having to complete a
complicated and costly application for a merchant account so that you can accept payments, all you
have to do is fill out a form at http://www.paypal.com, and PayPal will handle all the dirty work. To
get started, all you have to do is to set up your PayPal account for accepting payments.
PayPal offers three types of accounts. All of them can be used for making and accepting payments,
but each has its own unique features:
Personal
Personal accounts [Hack #1] are the most common, because they are what most new PayPal
members choose by default. Most buyers who use PayPal to make payments have a Personal
account.
There is no fee for sending or receiving payments with a Personal account, but there are
limitations. Personal accounts cannot receive payments funded by credit cards; since many
PayPal buyers like to fund their payments with a credit card, a Personal account severely limits
a seller's customer base. Also, Personal accounts are limited to receiving $1,000 in payments
per month.
Premier
Premier accounts can accept payments funded with credit cards. There is no fee for sending
payments with a Premier account, but there is a fee for accepting payments, no matter how
they are funded. Premier accounts also include a host of features to help make your business
successful and efficient, such as the Seller Protection Policy, the PayPal Shopping Cart,
Subscriptions, Recurring Payments, and a listing in PayPal Shops.
Business
Business accounts are nearly identical to Premier accounts, but they offer a few added features
of interest to businesses. For instance, your PayPal account is identified to your customers as
your business name instead of your personal name (as it is with both Personal and Premier
accounts). The fee structure for Business accounts is the same as for Premier accounts.
Choosing a Business account over a Premier account can be a good way to
protect your privacy and reinforce your business presence. If you're an eBay
seller, for instance, you can set your PayPal business name to be the same as
your eBay user ID.
If you're serious about making it easy for your customers to pay you, you will want to hold a Premier
or Business account.
PayPal's policies allow each person to hold no more than two accounts. If you
do hold two accounts, one must be Personal and one must be Business or
Premier. See [Hack #23] for reasons you might want to hold a separate
Personal account.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Upgrade to Business Class
If you have only a Personal account, you can easily upgrade it:
1. Log into your PayPal Personal account.
2. Click Upgrade Account.
3. On the Upgrade Your Account screen, click Upgrade Now.
4. On the Choose a Name to Do Business As page, choose either Premier or Business. Choosing
Business allows you to enter business information, such as customer service contact information
for your business, on the next screen.
When you're done, your account will immediately be capable of accepting payments funded by credit
cards .
Should you change your mind, you can downgrade a Premier or Business
account to a Personal account only once. If you think you might want to use a
Personal account after upgrading, it's best to open a separate account.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Set Your Payment Receiving Preferences
Before using your account, you might want to take a moment to review yourPayment Receiving
Preferences, as shown in Figure 3-1. You can set your PayPal account to accept or reject payments
based on your business needs.
Figure 3-1. Using the Payment Receiving Preferences page to choose
which types of payments to accept
Here's how to access these settings:
1. Log into your PayPal Premier or Business account.
2. Click the My Account tab, and then click the Profile subtab.
3.
1.
2.
3. Click the Payment Receiving Preferences tab under the Selling Preferences heading.
Here you can make your choices about whether to accept payments:
From unconfirmed addresses
You might choose to accept, block, or decide on a case-by-case basis whether to accept
payments from members without confirmed addresses [Hack #3]. If you intend to accept
payment only for goods covered by the Seller Protection Policy, this is a good option.
In a foreign currency
You can block payments in currencies you do not currently hold, automatically convert them to
your primary currency, or decide on a case-by-case basis. You might not want to automatically
accept payments in foreign currencies if you might want your customers, rather than yourself,
to pay the fee for converting money from one currency to another.
For example, suppose you are a U.S. account holder and a customer wants to pay you in
pounds sterling. The newspaper reports the current exchange rate as 1.8 USD to 1 GBP, which
prompts you to sell $18 worth of coffee for £10. You now have a balance of £10 in your
PayPal account. When you withdraw that money from your PayPal account to your U.S. bank
account, you need to convert the money to dollars. PayPal will do this for you, but you won't
get the exchange rate listed in the newspaper. You will get a rate, determined by PayPal, that
might be considered a retail rate; for example, you might see your £10 converted into only
$17.
If you choose the Ask Me option for either the "From unconfirmed addresses"
or "In a foreign currency" settings, you will get an email from PayPal each time
you receive such a payment, allowing you to accept or deny the payment. This
allows you to choose on a case-by-case basis or simply gives you the time to
learn more about the buyer before you accept the payment.
From non-U.S. account holders
You might want to avoid the cross-border fee by refusing payments from non-U.S. accounts
(this fee applies to U.S. PayPal accounts only).
The cross-border payment fee, assessed on payments made to Business and Premier accounts
receiving a payment from someone in a different country, is an additional 1% for payments in
U.S. dollars and .5% for payments in Canadian dollars, euros, pounds sterling, and yen. (This
cross-border fee is waived for Canadian sellers receiving payments from U.S. buyers.)
Another reason to restrict foreign payments is that most non-U.S. PayPal members cannot
confirm their addresses, which means that payments from these customers will not be covered
by PayPal's Seller Protection Policy [Hack #24] .
Made from the Pay Anyone subtab of the Send Money tab
This option forestalls payments made directly from your customers' PayPal accounts, allowing
you to require that all payments you receive come through, say, your online shop or directly
through eBay checkout. This can be useful if, for instance, you need special information from
the customer to accompany each order.
Fill in the Alternate Payment URL if you want customers who try to pay through the PayPal
interface redirected to your web site.
Funded by a credit card when the sender has a bank account
You can force customers who have a bank account attached to their PayPal account to use it
when paying you. This discourages customers from paying with credit cards unless it's their
only choice. Doing so might reduce the risk of chargebacks [Hack #25], a possible problem
when accepting payments funded by credit cards.
Funded by an eCheck for Website and Smart Logo payments
Instant Transfer payments are instant payments funded with a bank account; they appear in
your PayPal account immediately. However, processing payments through the banking system
usually takes three to four business days, and PayPal can't be assured of receiving the money
until the bank transfer is complete. Because PayPal is opening itself up to some risk with this
policy, PayPal allows a buyer to send an Instant Transfer payment only if the sender's account
has a backup funding source, such as a valid credit card or second bank account.
An eCheck is also an electronic bank transfer, but it requires no backup funding source and is
therefore not credited instantly to your account. Instead, during the waiting period of three to
four business days, the payment is listed in your PayPal account as Pending. The payment will
not be credited to your PayPal balance (achieving a status of Completed) until the buyer's
funds have been transferred to PayPal.
If you receive an eCheck and the buyer's bank account lacks sufficient funds
for the transaction or has been closed, the transaction might never be
completed and you might never receive those funds. For this reason, you
should never ship your product until an eCheck payment has cleared and its
status is listed as Completed.
If you would prefer to receive only payments that will be completed immediately, you might want to
block eChecks. This setting applies to payments sent through your web site, such as with Buy Now
buttons, as well as Smart Logo payments, such as those sent through eBay checkout. Customers will
still be able to send eChecks through the PayPal interface, unless you also checkthe "Made from the
Pay Anyone subtab of the Send Money tab" setting.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Identify Yourself to Your Customers
Building a relationship with your customers translates into satisfied buyers who return to your site (or
eBay auctions) again and again. A basic step in building a relationship is establishing your identity;
your customers need to know who you are and what you are about. Here are some ways PayPal can
help you establish your identity:
Set the string that appears on credit card statements. When a buyer who funded her payment
with a credit card opens her monthly statement, she will see a payment to PayPal.
Unfortunately, some consumers have a notoriously short memory and might not recall using
PayPal and a credit card to make a payment to your eCommerce site a month ago. To jog their
memories, PayPal allows you to choose an 11-character string to be displayed on your
customers' credit card statements. To edit this string, go to the Payment Receiving Preferences
page (shown earlier in Figure 3-1) and enter up to 11 letters and numbers that will identify your
business to your buyers.
Add appropriate email addresses. Your PayPal account can have up to eight email addresses
listed, all of which can be used to receive payments. If you are running two or more separate
businesses, each with its own identity or branding, you might want to add an email address for
each one.
If you import both organic coffee and hand-rolled cigars from Bolivia and would rather not be
known to your coffee customers as a cigar outlet (or vice versa), you can set up two email
addresses, such as [email protected] and [email protected] Each address
can be used to receive payments to your single PayPal account, but without confusing your two
brands to your probably mutually exclusive sets of customers. See [Hack #8] for more
information on adding multiple email addresses to your account.
Customize PayPal's checkout process. See [Hack #51] for ways to customize PayPal's
payment pages to match the look and feel of your web site.
If you're an eBay seller, see Chapter 4 for eBay-specific hacks.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 17 Request Money the PayPal Way
Use PayPal's Request Money feature to ask someone for a payment, whether you need to
invoice a customer or collect money from a friend.
Anyone who goes to lunch with friends regularly knows the uncomfortable feeling of not having
enough cash to cover your portion of the meal. One solution is to offer to pay for everyone with a
credit card and then ask the others for cash to cover their portions. This works out well, because the
card holder doesn't have to borrow money and it saves a trip to the bank.
But what if there are two or even three of you with the same cash flow problem? Then it becomes
tricky. That's when you can say, "I'll pay with my credit card and the rest of you can PayPal me." This
way, no one has to worry about having the right amount of cash. The only problem is having to
remember to send the money requests, but PayPal makes this easy.
When requesting money from friends, use your Personal PayPal account to
avoid paying the associated fees. If the payment is optional, send the request
via email [Hack #18] so that the request doesn't show up in your PayPal
history.
Use these steps to request money from anyone with an email address:
1. Log into your PayPal account, and click the Request Money tab.
2. Enter a subject and a note (both are optional).
The subject is more important than the note, because it is used as the
subject for the email your recipient gets. The note, however, is less likely
to be seen, because it appears buried within the email. If you need to
include important details, it is best to send them in a separate email.
3. For the Payment Type, select Goods (other), Service, or Quasi-Cash. You can also select eBay
Items or Auction Goods (non-eBay) if you want to bill someone for an auction.
4. Click Continue to view the confirmation page. Double-check the email address to make sure you
have the correct email address.
5. Click Request Money.
PayPal generates a payment transaction record in its database and sends a custom email (shown in
5.
Figure 3-2) with a link that will enable the recipient to pay the amount requested.
Figure 3-2. Request Money email
3.5.1 Requesting Money from Multiple People
Sending single money requests to several people can be repetitive and time-consuming; not only do
you have to enter the email address, amount, currency, and payment type for each person, you
might also need to personalize each request.
To make this process easier, PayPal provides a feature called Request Money-Group, which lets you
request money from multiple people all at once. This is most useful when you are requesting money
from people for a specific occasion, such as a group lunch or group movie tickets, wherein the email
subject and note are the same. The Request Money-Group feature also lets you specify additional
details, such as an event name, event date, and a different amount, if necessary, for each person on
your list.
To use Request Money-Group, follow these steps:
1.
1. Begin the standard Request Money procedure, as explained earlier in this hack.
2. After entering the first email address, enter a comma, followed by a second email address.
Continue this process until you have entered the email address for each of the individuals from
whom you want to request money.
If you've requested money from any of these people previously, their
email addresses might already be listed in the drop-down listbox. If so,
you can save time by selecting the applicable recipients from the list (one
by one) and inserting them into the email address field instead of having
to type them all in.
3. After you have entered all the email addresses, enter the amount that each person should pay
and select the currency. If each recipient is to pay a different amount, don't worry about that
here; just type any amount. You'll have a chance to specify individual amounts on the next
page.
4. Enter the optional email subject and note, and click Continue when you're done.
5. The next page, Request Money-Group, differs from the standard Request Money confirmation
page. Here, you can type an Event Name and Event Date, along with the standard Email
Subject and Note fields.
Keep in mind that everyone gets the same message, so make the details
(event name, event date, subject, and note) appropriate for everyone.
6. In the bottom half of the page, you'll see the total number of recipients of the email, followed by
a total amount you will receive from the group (provided that everybody pays!). The total
amount is initially calculated by multiplying the amount from the last page by the number of
recipient emails, but you can change it freely and click Calculate to update the individual
amounts. Alternatively, you can enter the individual amounts of the money requests and then
click Calculate Total Cost to update the Total Amount field. Either way, make sure that
everything adds up before you continue.
7. Click Continue to view the Request Money-Confirm page. Be sure to confirm that each email
address and corresponding request amount is correct. If you're sure that the information on the
page is correct, press Request Money.
Each recipient in your group will receive an email requesting payment, complete with all the
information you've entered here. You can confirm that each individual email has been sent by clicking
the Overview tab.
3.5.2 Sending Custom Requests to Multiple Recipients
While the Request Money-Group feature can make multiple requests easier, it allows for only a
single note and email subject for all recipients. To send a custom note to each person from whom you
are requesting money, you'll need to send separate requests. Here's a way to make this process
easier:
1. Use the Request Money feature as described in the beginning of this hack. After sending the first
Money Request, you'll find yourself on the Money Request Sent page.
2. Click your web browser's Back button to return to the Request Money-Confirm page, as shown
in Figure 3-3.
If you're using Microsoft's Internet Explorer, you will see a "Warning: Page
has Expired" message. Click Refresh, and you'll see a Retry/Cancel dialog
box that reads, "This page cannot be refreshed without resending the
information...". Click Retry to continue.
If you're using Netscape/Mozilla, you'll see an OK/Cancel dialog box that
reads, "The page you are trying to view contains POSTDATA that has
expired from cache...". Click OK to continue.
Figure 3-3. Returning to the Request Money-Confirm page to send
another money request
3. Click the Edit button to modify the details of the previous money request. Simply replace the
email address, make any other changes, and click the Continue button to send another request.
3.
For security reasons, PayPal has a five-minute timeout, which means that if
you wait more than five minutes before viewing another page at PayPal, you'll
be required to log in again. If this happens while you are sending multiple
money requests, you'll lose the data from the last money request.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 18 Ask for Money in Your Own Way
Generate your own PayPal payment links for use in email or your web site, and get a little
more flexibility in how to ask people for payments. There are more ways available than
using the Request Money feature.
Using Request Money [Hack #17] is a useful technique if you're sending invoices to customers for
items already sold or services already rendered, especially when PayPal is the likely form of payment.
(For example, an eBay seller who accepts PayPal might use Request Money to send a payment
request to a customer who has just won an auction.)
However, Request Money isn't a good idea when you're uncertain whether a payment will take place
at all. For example, recipients might find it presumptive and uncomfortable if a fundraising volunteer
used Request Money to send donation requests. Likewise, it would be inappropriate to use Request
Money to send a customer a product brochure or other advertising. Instead, use a more passive
payment link.
The simplest way to ask for money is to send a PayPal payment link with the payment details inside,
but without registering the request at the PayPal site. When the recipient sees the link, he can click it
and be whisked to http://www.paypal.com to make the payment, or he can simply delete the email
and be rid of it.
3.6.1 Creating a Request URL
Here's an example of a request URL to pay $10.00 for a baseball jersey, where [email protected] is
your PayPal email address and the account into which the payment will be deposited:
http:[email protected]&amount=10.00&
item_name=baseball_jersey
Sending a link like this, along with some instructions, is easy to do and can be used almost
anywhere, such as in an email message body:
Here is your last chance to get your own Cubs 2003 pennant race jerseys. On sale
while supplies last:
Cubs 2003 Jersey Size Small: http://paypal.com/xclick/business= [email protected]
&amount=10.00&item_name=smalljersey
Cubs 2003 Jersey Size Medium
http:[email protected]&amount=10.00
&item_name=mediumjersey
Cubs 2003 Jersey Size Large http://paypal.com/xclick/business= [email protected]
&amount=10.00&item_name=largejersey
3.6.2 Choosing the Best Approach
So, between requesting money the PayPal way [Hack #17] and requesting money via email, which
is the best way to request money?
Here are the benefits of using PayPal's Request Money feature over sending custom payment
requests:
PayPal sends a PayPal-branded email to the recipient with one tamper-proof PayPal payment
link.
The money request shows up as Unpaid in the recipient's and sender's accounts until the
recipient denies the request, the sender cancels the request, or the money request is paid.
The recipient gets the payment request just by logging into PayPal, even if the email gets lost or
deleted.
And here are the benefits of creating your own PayPal payment links over using the Request Money
feature:
You're able to send a customized email directly to the recipient.
You can send a single email to multiple recipients as easily as to one.
You have the option to include multiple payment links in a single email, including one or more
custom payment buttons [Hack #38] .
The request does not show up in the recipient's account (or yours) until it has been paid.
The recipient might feel less obliged to pay, which is useful for advertising or collecting
donations.
Probably the most compelling difference between these two methods involves the record keeping.
Unless you want PayPal to record your money requests, you'll probably want to create your own
custom payment links. In the end, you might want to use both methods, either in unison or
individually on a case-by-case basis.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 19 Request Money Without an Account
Send a PayPal payment request without having to create a PayPal account, and send
payment requests on behalf of other PayPal users.
Collecting small debts can be tricky, and most of us aren't good at it. It's easy to sound petty when
asking for small amounts of money, so many people often don't. And borrowers often forget to pay.
But if the subject comes up, it can be an awkward moment as the two individuals try to decide what's
worse, being petty or being a deadbeat. Then there's the issue of exact change. If you remind them
of the debt and they don't have enough money on hand, it means you have to go through the
uncomfortable scenario all over again.
No one wants to be a debt collector, so wouldn't it be great if there were a service that would ask for
money on your behalf? PayPal's Request Money feature will send an email to someone and politely
request money on your behalf. Asking for money via email is a great way to get paid, because it
allows you to make your request without requiring them to respond immediately. Offering PayPal as
the payment method is even better, because others don't have to pay you in person and can make
their payment for the exact amount they owe, using whatever means is most convenient (PayPal
balance, credit card, electronic bank transfer, etc.).
However, to use Request Money you must have and log into your PayPal account. Or must you? Few
people know that you can create your own payment request by adding a special link in your own
email. And you don't even have to have a PayPal account.
To request money without using the PayPal web site, open any email program and start a new
message.
Type this URL somewhere in the body of your email:
http://www.paypal.com/xclick/business=
Add the email address to which the money should be sent (e.g., your email address):
http:[email protected]
You'll probably want to specify an amount by adding the optionalamount parameter, like this, where
17.00 is the dollar amount you'd like the recipient to send you:
http:[email protected]&amount=17.00
Finally, add text to your email, explaining why you are asking for money, and include a note that
makes PayPal sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread (be careful not to sound like a
spammer, however):
Hi Joe,
Thought I'd send you a friendly reminder to pay me the $17 you
owe me for that book I picked up for you last week. If you'd like,
you can pay me via PayPal by clicking this link and following the
instructions:
http:[email protected]&amount=17.00
When you're done, send the email!
When the recipient opens your message, he will read your note and (hopefully) click the PayPal link.
Most people will be thankful that you have offered them an easy way to pay, or at the very least,
you'll know that they know that you haven't forgotten.
3.7.1 See Also
For a taste of what your recipient will see, see [Hack #15] .
To send a payment request from the PayPal site, see [Hack #17] .
See [Hack #38] for another way to request money via email.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 20 Get Your Money
Retrieve the money in your PayPal account with an electronic bank account transfer or
other means.
PayPal makes sending money a cinch. But getting your money out of PayPal is also pretty easy. You
might have money in your PayPal account if anyone has sent you cash or a payment for an item you
sold on eBay or your own web site. Money is also deposited to your account when you receive a
refund for a payment you made with a PayPal balance, when you transfer funds from your bank
account into PayPal, or when you receive a bonus for referring a new user to PayPal.
Your balance (or balances, if you have multiple currencies) is always displayed prominently, under
the My Account tab, whenever you log into PayPal. Click Withdraw to reveal the range of money
retrieval options at your disposal.
3.8.1 Withdraw Without Withdrawing
Of course, you can always use the money in your PayPal account to fund a payment to someone else,
such as to pay for an item you won on eBay or to shop at an online store. In fact, your PayPal
balance will be the default funding source the next time you send money.
This is popular among eBay users who do a lot of both buying and selling, yet don't want their
checking account or credit card statements cluttered with lots of transactions. In fact, some of the
best-selling items on eBay are seller supplies such as boxes and bubble wrap! You can send and
receive all the payments you want (subject to PayPal limits), instantaneously and without clutter.
Be careful when using PayPal funds to pay for high-risk purchases on eBay,
because you won't have the extra purchase protection afforded by other
means. See [Hack #16] for details.
3.8.2 Transfer to a Bank Account
Certainly, a common means of retrieving money from PayPal is to withdraw it to a bank account.
Once you've registered a bank account with PayPal, you'll be able to ask PayPal to transfer your
funds to the bank account.
First, you'll need to attach a bank account to your PayPal account [Hack #2], if you haven't done so
already.
Once you've registered a bank account, you can immediately request a withdrawal to it. Click the My
Account tab, and then click Withdraw to display the Withdraw Funds by Electronic Transfer page, as
shown in Figure 3-4.
Figure 3-4. Withdraw Funds by Electronic Transfer
Your current balance is shown at the center of the page; immediately underneath, type the amount
you'd like to withdraw. Choose the bank account to which the funds should be sent, and click
Continue
.
Your account will be subject to a withdrawal limit of $500 per month until you
do at least two of the following three tasks [Hack #2] :
Verify your PayPal account.
Enter your Expanded Use Number.
Confirm your social security number
Withdrawals take a few days to show up in your bank account, a delay that can be caused by any of
the following:
PayPal initiates bank transfers several times throughout the day. If you miss the last cutoff
(about 5:00 p.m. Pacific time), your request won't be processed until the next business day.
The transfer is made over the standard bank Automated Clearing House (ACH) network that all
U.S. banks use to transfer funds between bank accounts. These transfers take two to four
business days on average and sometimes take longer.
After transfers are made, they can then take a few hours or even a day or two for your bank to
post the funds to your account and make them available to you. This varies by bank and is
usually explained in your account details.
PayPal currently can processes bank withdrawals to accounts in the following countries: Australia,
Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, Mexico,
Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the
United Kingdom, and the United States.
Each transfer typically must be performed in the native currency of the country in which your PayPal
account has been established. This means that you won't be able to make a withdrawal in U.S.
dollars to a Canadian bank account, even if the bank account is denominated in U.S. dollars. Avoid
currency conversion as much as possible, since PayPal's rates are not favorable for large amounts.
Unlike withdrawals to U.S. bank accounts (which are free), PayPal assesses a
fee on withdrawals to non-U.S. accounts. For a complete listing of these fees,
see https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_display-withdrawalfees.
Another option for sellers outside the U.S. is to use the PayPal debit card
(provided that you have a U.S.-based PayPal account), as described later in
this hack.
3.8.3 Auto-Sweep
You can have PayPal transfer funds into your bank account automatically every business day using
PayPal's Auto-Sweep feature.
You must contact Customer Service to activate Auto-Sweep. Thereafter, an Auto-Sweep option will
appear in your Profile. Once activated, PayPal tallies your balance once each business day (usually
early in the morning) and initiates a transfer for the entire amount. The transfer happens over the
same ACH network as ordinary transfers and thus is subject to the same delays and limitations.
Auto-Sweep is free. Once you have it set up, it continues to operate until you
log in and switch it off.
Auto-Sweep is a good option if you primarily receive payments and do little or no spending through
PayPal. Plus, you'll consistently have one funds transfer per day, which might make subsequent
bookkeeping easier.
PayPal also offers an automatic withdrawal option designed for large sellers who need precise
reconciliation details. To find out more about this option, contact PayPal and ask aboutAutomatic
Settlement Withdrawal.
3.8.4 Just Send Me a Check
As a last resort, PayPal can mail U.S.-based sellers a paper check through postal mail. You won't
want to do this too often, because PayPal charges $1.50 per check. The check will be made payable
to the name listed on your account (or your business name if you have a Business account). Further,
PayPal will mail the check only to a confirmed mailing address listed on your account, so make sure
to confirm a shipping address [Hack #3].
PayPal can send checks only within the United States, drawn on a U.S. bank, and made out in U.S.
dollars. If you are outside the U.S., you should make sure that one of the other withdrawal methods
discussed in this hack works for you before you start receiving a lot of payments. Otherwise, the only
thing you'll be able to do with the money is use it to fund PayPal payments to other people.
3.8.5 Get Paid to Use the PayPal Debit Card
The most profitable and flexible way to retrieve your PayPal balance is to use the PayPal MasterCard
debit card. PayPal pays you up to 1.5% cash back (in the form of credits to your account) every time
you use your card to make a purchase. The money comes from MasterCard every time you use your
card, and PayPal passes these bonuses on to you when you follow certain guidelines.
The card works just like a MasterCard credit card, except that instead of getting billed each month for
all your charges, the funds will come right out of your PayPal account immediately every time you
make the purchase.
Since there's no delay, the PayPal debit card is the fastest way to retrieve your
PayPal balance. Another option is to use the virtual Debit Bar [Hack #12],
which allows you to use your PayPal funds at web sites that don't accept
PayPal.
To be eligible for the PayPal debit card, you must meet these conditions:
You need to have a U.S.-based PayPal account, and the account needs to be active and in good
standing for at least 60 days.
You need a Premier or Business account, as described in the beginning of this chapter.
You must attach a credit card that has its monthly statement sent to a physical street address
(not a P.O. box).
You must be verified [Hack #2].
To apply for the card, log into PayPal, click the My Account tab, and then click Withdraw. Click "Shop
with a PayPal debit card" and then click Continue. The next page displays your name and confirmed
address, as listed with the aforementioned credit card. Double-check your information here, check
the box to indicate that you have read and agree to the user agreement, and click Submit when
you're done. PayPal then processes your application and sends you a physical card in the mail.
Now, to get cash back from PayPal when you make debit card purchases, you have to become PayPal
Preferred. To qualify, you must be an eBay seller and agree to choose only PayPal when specifying
the payment methods in eBay's Sell Your Item form. You can still accept checks and money orders,
and you can even mention other online payment services in your end-of-listing email to buyers, but
you need to advertise PayPal exclusively in your actual eBay listing. To get started, click PayPal
Preferred in the Enhance Account box to the left of your Account Overview page.
The PayPal debit card can also be used like an ATM card to withdraw money at automated cash
machines that display the Cirrus or MasterCard logo; this covers most ATMs, including many outside
the U.S. However, you won't earn any cash back when you use the ATM card to make cash
withdrawals. And since PayPal charges $1.00 for each ATM withdrawal (regardless of the amount),
it's best to make cash withdrawals only in emergencies.
PayPal sets a daily limit on debit card usage. The limit typically falls between
$1,000 to $3,000 per day for debit purchases and $300 to $400 per day for
ATM withdrawals. You can view your limits by logging into PayPal and selecting
View Limits on the Overview page.
Some users have found the debit card to be a good way to transfer money to other parts of the
world. While PayPal issues debit cards to U.S.-based PayPal members only, it's possible for someone
outside the U.S. to make ATM withdrawals or debit card purchases.
If you already have one debit card, you will most likely be eligible to receive a second debit card,
which can be used by your partner, spouse, child, or whomever you allow to access your PayPal
account funds. All the same cash back credits and charge limits will apply. If eligible, PayPal will
provide a Request a Second Debit Card link on your account Overview page in the What's New
section.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 21 Refund a Payment
Return payments to your customers without doubling up PayPal's fees.
No one likes to have to return a payment; the fact that keeping money is better for business isn't
rocket science. Sometimes, however, refunds are unavoidable: a buyer might need to cancel an
order, a seller can run low on inventory, or a purchased item might not work out as planned.
Fortunately, PayPal makes refunding payments easy.
PayPal also allows you to make partial refunds. This can be handy when a dispute with your buyer is
just about the item's price. If a buyer believes the condition of a used item is not as good as
expected, you might offer to refund 20% of the purchase price as compensation. Your buyer will have
the option to accept or decline your refund offer.
To refund a payment:
1. Log in to your PayPal account and click History.
2. Scroll through or search your account history and find the payment you need to refund, and
click the corresponding Details link.
3. Near the bottom of the Transaction Details page, click the Refund Payment link.
4. On the Refund Offer page, fill in the amount of the refund you want to make, or leave the
default amount to make a full refund. Fill in a note to your buyer if necessary, and then click
Submit.
5. On the Confirm Refund Offer page, check the details of the transaction and click Process Refund
when you're done.
The payment will then show up in your account history with the status Refunded.
Why Not Just Make Another Payment?
PayPal lets you make and receive payments, so you might wonder why you would want
to bother issuing a refund when you can simply make another payment back to the
person who paid you originally.
First, if you refund a payment, the person who originally paid you will see the status of
that payment as Refunded rather than Completed. This might prevent the confusion that
otherwise might arise if the buyer has to reconcile the originalsent payment with a
separate received payment.
Second, when you refund a payment, you'll get all the PayPal seller fees back. If you
refund a $10 payment, for which 59 cents in fees were incurred, your customer will get a
refund of $10 and you'll get a credit to your account for 59 cents. If you were to send a
separate payment for that same $10, PayPal would charge each of you the 59 cents in
fees.
When working with refunds, keep this in mind:
You may offer a refund only for a limited time, usually 60 days. If you need to make a refund
after that time, you will need to initiate a new PayPal payment to your buyer.
If you offer the buyer a partial refund, she has 10 days to decline it if she wishes. (Full refunds
are automatically processed.) As with most eCommerce, good communication with your
customer can be especially helpful here; discuss the partial refund with your buyer to make sure
she will be satisfied and will not decline it.
Be sure you know where the funds are coming from; the Refund Offer page provides
information about this. If the money will be transferred from your bank account, be sure there
are sufficient funds there to cover the refund.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 22 Quick-Link to Transaction Details
View the details of past purchases and sales without having to wade through the PayPal
history listings.
If you buy and sell a lot with PayPal, you undoubtedly often need to look up past transactions in
order to get the payment status, shipping address, customer notes, and other details, as well as
issue refunds. Unfortunately, getting to the details of past transactions can be laborious, requiring
that you click through three or four screens before you can search for a payment bytransaction ID.
The good news is that there's a better way. PayPal provides a special URL that takes you directly to a
payment's details page. You might have seen links like this in confirmation emails, where
xxxxxxxxxxxxx is the transaction ID:
https://www.paypal.com/vst/id=xxxxxxxxxxxxx
For example:
https://www.paypal.com/vst/id=4WC420852U475861R
Click the link in the email or type it into your browser's address bar, and you'll be sent straight to the
payment details for the specified transaction ID (after logging in, if necessary).
Whenever you click on a link that takes you to a PayPal page, you should make
sure that https://www.paypal.com/ is then displayed in your web browser's
address box (the s in https is especially important). Otherwise, you might
unwittingly try to log into a spoof site-one that looks like PayPal, but exists
only to divert your login information to an unauthroized third party.
3.10.1 Where to Get Transaction IDs
Since transaction IDs are the definitive way to reference a payment on PayPal, you'll see them in a
lot of places at PayPal:
The Payment Details page, shown immediately after making a payment or in both PayPal
History logs (for both buyers and sellers)
Downloaded logs obtained from the PayPal History page
Payment confirmation emails, such as "Receipt for your Payment" emails (for buyers) and
"Notification of an Instant Payment Received" emails for eBay sellers
Instant Payment Notifications (IPNs) [Hack #65]
Payment Data Transfers (PDTs) [Hack #85]
If you're developing with the PayPal Web Services API, see Chapter 8 for
several ways to obtain and use PayPal transaction IDs.
This technique works for both the sender and the recipient who are looking up the payment details by
either transaction ID. It's also common for the other person involved in a payment to reference the
transaction ID when emailing or calling you to inquire about an order.
One thing to watch out for is that PayPal assigns a different transaction ID to the sender and
recipient of a transaction. This can sometimes be confusing when, for example, you look up a
transaction using an ID given to you by the payment sender and you see a different transaction ID
on the Payment Details page.
You will, of course, not be able to see the details for a payment that you weren't involved in!
3.10.2 Making a Web Interface
Once you have the transaction ID or a list of IDs, you can write a script to output a list of links that
you (or your customers) can use to easily get to the transaction details page for each payment:
<html>
<body>
<a href="https://www.paypal.com/vst/id=4WC420852U475861R">4WC420852U475861R</a>
<a href="https://www.paypal.com/vst/id=93H8WR41HAV710IU9">93H8WR41HAV710IU9</a>
</body>
</html>
Or, create a simple web-based tool that includes an ID field and a Submit button, allowing you to look
up a single transaction without having to remember the aforementioned URL:
<html><body>
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_vst">
Transaction ID: <input type="text" name="id" value="">
<input type="submit" value="Get Details">
</form>
</body></html>
See [Hack #52] for a way to obtain the transaction ID programmatically (necessary to create a web
interface like this one). Of course, the slickest way to do it iswith the PayPal Web Services API
[Hack #94] .
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 23 Lower Your Seller Fees
Here are five ways to lower the commissions PayPal charges you when you receive
money.
Many sellers using PayPal don't sell enough to really care about an extra 0.7% transaction fee. For
them, the convenience of PayPal is enough. With no startup fees, no monthly fees, and no long-term
commitment, PayPal is a no-brainer. However, when you start doing $5,000 per month in sales,
those fees start to add up. Many merchants don't realize there are extra steps they can take to
reduce or offset their transaction fees.
3.11.1 Apply for the Merchant Rate
The standard rate (known as the discount rate by credit card merchants) for accepting a payment
with a PayPal Premier or Business account is 2.9% plus $0.30 per transaction. (This rate applies to
transactions between U.S. accounts; fees vary for oversees or international transactions.) You can
reduce your rate to 2.5%, 2.2%, or even 1.9% (plus US$0.30 per transaction) by qualifying for the
PayPal merchant rate. Table 3-1 illustrates this new tiered fee structure.
Table 3-1. Tiered structure for the PayPal merchant rate (in USD)
Tier
Rate
$0.00-$3,000.00
2.9% + $0.30
$3,000.01-$10,000.00
2.5% + $0.30
$10,000.01-$100,000.00
2.2% + $0.30
>$100,000.00
1.9% + $0.30
The rates in Table 3-1 apply to payments from U.S. buyers. Payments from
non-U.S. buyers are assessed an additional 1%.
To qualify for the lower rates, you must have a Premier or Business account in good standing that
has been open for at least 90 days and you must have received at least $3,000 in payments in a
single calendar month. (Note that these criteria apply to U.S. account holders only; international
accounts might need to meet other requirements.)
To apply, follow these steps:
1. Log in to your PayPal Premier or Business account (if you're still using a Personal Account, refer
to the introduction to this chapter for upgrade details).
2. Click Fees at the bottom of the page.
3. On the Receive Funds row, click the rate link in the Premier/Business Account column (for U.S.
sellers, this link reads "1.9% + $0.30 USD to 2.9% + $0.30 USD"). Click Merchant Rate at the
top of the next page, and then click Apply Now on the page that appears.
4. Fill out the Merchant Rate Application, as shown inFigure 3-5.
Figure 3-5. Using the Merchant Rate Application form to lower your
discount rate
5. Click Submit when you're done.
The confirmation screen will tell you if your request was accepted, denied, or queued for review. If all
5.
goes well, the new, lower rate should go into effect immediately!
Receiving fees are determined at the beginning of every month, based on your
receiving volume in the previous calendar month. Once you complete the
aforementioned one-time merchant rate application, PayPal automatically
assigns the appropriate rate for each month.
3.11.2 Ask for eChecks
There is a maximum fee of US$5.00 for each eCheck payment you receive. To put this in perspective,
the standard fee to accept a US$1,000 payment funded by a credit card is $29.30, nearly six times
the measly $5 fee for a $1,000 eCheck. If you use eChecks for all your large payments, you will
enjoy significant savings. See the beginning of this chapter for more information on eChecks.
3.11.3 Receive Money into Your Personal Account
If you hold both a Personal and a Premier or Business account, you can ask any customers who
prefer to make payments funded by their bank account or PayPal balance to send payments to your
Personal PayPal account. Receiving a payment into your Personal account incurs no fee, but you
won't be able to accept payments funded by credit cards.
Personal accounts are also limited to receiving US$1,000 (or the equivalent in other currencies) per
month. This limit is reset each month on the anniversary of the account's opening. To view your
Personal account's limit:
1. Log into your PayPal account.
2. Click the My Account tab, and then click the Overview subtab.
3. Click View Limits.
3.11.4 Enroll in the PayPal Money Market
The PayPal Money Market Fund allows you to earn returns on your PayPal balance by turning your
PayPal account into an investment from which you can earn dividends. To enroll in the PayPal Money
Market, click the Money Market link in the Enhance Account section of your account overview page
and follow the directions.
At the time of this writing, the current yield is 0.99%. There is no limit on withdrawals and no
minimum investment.
Be advised that rates of return fluctuate and enrolling in any money market
account carries risk. The money market account is not insured and might lose
value. Read the prospectus carefully (it is available on the PayPal site) and
consider consulting a qualified financial advisor.
3.11.5 Use the PayPal ATM/Debit Card
PayPal pays you a 1.5% cash-back bonus for every purchase made with the PayPal ATM/debit card
when you use it as a MasterCard. The bonus does not apply to ATM withdrawals or point-of-sale
purchases when you use your ATM card PIN. To take advantage of this offer, you need to have a
Business or Premier account, add a credit card, and add (and confirm) a bank account[Hack #2].
If you use your PayPal debit card to pay your eBay seller fees, you'll effectively
lower your eBay fees by 1.5%!
3.11.6 Let Your Customers Pay
Naturally, if your customers pay your seller fees for you [Hack #14], you won't pay any fees at all.
Among other things, a buyer can use PayPal's Mass Pay feature to not only cover the seller's fees,
but to do so at only 2% (as opposed to the 2.9% plus $.30normally charged).
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 24 Protect Yourself from Buyer Fraud
Use PayPal's Seller Protection Policy to ensure that you don't lose money to fraudulent
payments.
Whether you use PayPal as a buyer or a seller, you need to be on the lookout for fraud. If you don't
take the proper steps to protect yourself, PayPal might need to retract a payment from your account,
even after you've filled the customer's order.
For instance, a credit card holder can dispute any credit card payment, even after you've received
the payment and delivered the goods or service the customer agreed to buy. This is the customer's
right and it can be an effective means of buyer protection, but dishonest buyers can also abuse this
service to intimidate or cheat honest sellers.
Furthermore, a person using a PayPal account to pay you might have hijacked the account from its
rightful owner, or someone might have funded a PayPal payment with a stolen credit card. Either
way, the rightful owner will, understandably, dispute any such charges once she has discovered
them.
PayPal's Seller Protection Policy can mitigate the risk, often to the point of allowing you to keep
disputed funds, but the best way to avoid fraud is to spot it going in. Here are some ways to
minimize your risk as a seller.
3.12.1 Qualifying for Seller Protection
If you are a U.S. or Canadian seller dealing with U.S. buyers or a UK seller transacting with UK or
U.S. buyers, you might qualify for PayPal's Seller Protection Policy, which covers up to $5,000 per
year of reversals. To qualify, you must do all of the following:
Ship a tangible product. (See [Hack #26] for a cute workaround.)
Ship only to a confirmed shipping address [Hack #3].
Ship promptly and use some form of package tracking.
Respond quickly to any complaints, either from the customer or from PayPal.
Meet additional requirements discussed at https://www.paypal.com/sellerprotection and
http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/gen/ua/policy_spp-outside.
If you follow these guidelines diligently, you might be able to avoid losses to buyer fraud completely.
3.12.2 Checking the Buyer's User Status
Use the information resources that PayPal provides to learn about your prospective buyer. The Seller
Reputation Number [Hack #7] gives you a feel for how much selling your buyer has been doing with
this PayPal account. Because many PayPal users do only selling or only buying with any given PayPal
account, a buyer's reputation as a seller might not be the most useful information.
As a seller, you will be more interested in your customer's Buyer Reputation Number. However, this
score is not readily available; PayPal makes this information available to you only when you are
asked to accept or deny a payment sent without a confirmed address.
See the beginning of this chapter for more information on the settings that
affect whether you're asked to accept or deny payments.
Possibly the best indicator of a buyer's reputability is his accounts Status. Holders of verified[Hack
#2] accounts have shown PayPal that they are in fact in control of the email addresses on file with
PayPal and have legitimate bank accounts. PayPal trusts these members more than unverified
account holders, so it makes sense for you to trust them as well.
Your prospective buyer's account creation date tells you how long the buyer has been a PayPal
member. Buyers using relatively new PayPal accounts or accounts with low reputation numbers have
a short track record as PayPal members, but this doesn't mean they can't be trusted. However, you
might want to avoid doing business with buyers until they become better established. A long-standing
account is less likely to have been set up with the commission of fraud in mind. On the other hand,
accounts of any age can, and sometimes are, hijacked by phishers and crackers.
3.12.3 Conducting a Little Reconnaissance
Here are some tips to help you decide whether to do business with any particular person:
Consider the buyer's reputation. In addition to the user status information provided by PayPal,
do you have other sources you can use to gather information? If you're conducting business via
eBay or another auction site, check your buyer's feedback rating or community reputation. Also,
look for a history of fraud or payment disputes in the recent comments from other sellers.
If you're at all suspicious, take it one step further and look for any recent
purchasing activity that appears out of the ordinary (such as numerous
high-value items). At the eBay site, go to Search
By Bidder, type the
customer's user ID, indicate that you want to include completed items,
and click Search.
Contact the buyer. For any item, especially one that is expensive and easily resold, it makes
sense to contact the buyer directly. Email to confirm purchase details or on the premise of
confirming that the product will really suit the buyer's needs. Be particularly wary if the buyer
takes little interest in your questions. Some social engineering and a nose for fraud can save
major headaches.
Use common sense. If you sell only Beanie Babies, ball bearings, and body oil on your
eCommerce web site and a single buyer suddenly orders ten boxes, bushels, and bottles of
each, ask a few questions before shipping.
In the end, you will probably choose to do business with most of the customers you encounter. But a
little common sense and awareness can protect you from most types of fraud.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 25 Protect Yourself from Chargebacks
Reduce or eliminate the risk of having disputed payments reversed from your PayPal
account.
A chargeback is the result of a credit card charge being rejected by the credit card holder, typically in
cases where the credit card was stolen and used fraudulently. But such charges can also be disputed
by customers who feel that they've been defrauded by sellers.
If you accept credit cards, in person or through PayPal, you might encounter a chargeback from a
buyer, just as a seller accepting personal checks might receive an occasional bad check. Chargebacks
are an unfortunate but realistic cost of doing business, so most sellers factor this cost into their
business plans.
When a customer initiates a chargeback with his or her credit card company, PayPal may deduct the
amount of the transaction from your account if you're not covered under PayPal's Seller Protection
Policy [Hack #24] . All sellers who accept credit card payments run this risk and might be liable for
chargebacks.
Even if you have a low-volume online business, you cannot avoid the risk of
chargebacks. According to a study by the Gartner Group, approximately 1.1%
of online transactions are estimated to result in fraudulent buyer chargebacks.
That's like paying an extra 1.1% fee for each and every transaction! Of course,
chargeback risk varies a good deal depending on the type of goods you sell,
but nearly everyone who accepts credit card payments faces some chargeback
risk.
Of course, none of this applies to non-credit card transactions, such as payments funded by a bank
account transfer or PayPal balance.
3.13.1 Protecting Yourself
Whereas most merchant account providers and payment companies simply pass all of the chargeback
risks and associated fees and liabilities on to sellers, PayPal is different. As long as you follow PayPal's
guidelines (the Seller Protection Policy outlines these guidelines), PayPal helps protect you against
fraudulent chargebacks.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with this policy; click the User Agreement link on the bottom of any
page on the PayPal web site, and then click Seller Protection Policy. When you follow the policy's
guidelines strictly, PayPal protects you from chargeback liability on all qualified transactions. In
addition, PayPal takes chargeback claims seriously and, when appropriate, investigates and
vigorously contests chargebacks on your behalf.
PayPal is able to guarantee protection against reversal of funds only if a
chargeback occurs for nonreceipt of the product or in the event of an
unauthorized charge (resulting from a stolen credit card or account takeover).
Even then, you're entitled to this protection only if you have followed the terms
of the Seller Protection Policy.
Here are some best practices you should follow to prevent chargebacks from occurring:
Make sure the item you're selling is described (on your site or in your eBay listing) in as much
detail and as accurately as possible. You should not assume that simply providing a picture in
your listing will sufficiently answer any quality questions that your customers might have. Avoid
merely stating that the merchandise is being sold "as-is." This won't protect you as much as you
might expect. A detailed item description will help your defense in the event that a buyer claims
that your item was not as described.
Get to know your customers. Although selling in an online environment doesn't make it easy to
build a face-to-face rapport, it doesn't have to keep you from learning about your customers.
While the volume of your business might prevent you from contacting all your buyers, you
should make every effort to respond to any customer inquiries regarding the transaction or the
purchased items, both before and after the transaction. Plus, this practice will help get you
more repeat customers.
Keep any and all records and correspondence with your customers. This allows you to provide
further evidence that you adequately described the item to the customer or responded to the
customer's inquiries.
Take some time to review the online resources listed at the PayPal web site. Click Security
Center at the bottom of any page for further help. For more tips on how to avoid fraudulent
transactions, see [Hack #24] .
3.13.2 Shipping Products
When a customer disputes a transaction (e.g., files a chargeback) with her credit card company for
an unauthorized charge or undelivered item, the first item of information the credit card company will
expect from PayPal (and you) when disputing the chargeback is proof that the customer received the
merchandise.
Providing verifiable proof that the customer received the item in question does not mean simply being
able to prove that you shipped the merchandise. You must also prove that the package was delivered
and, if applicable, signed for. To that end, you should always use a shipping service that provides
some type of online package tracking.
To further protect yourself, make a habit of requiring a signature for delivery, a
feature required for items worth US$250 (or the equivalent in the currency of
the transaction) or more. Checking the box on the shipping form that indicates
that a signature must be obtained overrides any waiver of signature that the
customer might have on file with that shipping company.
Use the PayPal Shipping Tool by clicking the Ship button in your transaction history, as shown in
Figure 3-6.
Figure 3-6. Using the PayPal Shipping Tool
This way, your customer's shipping information is automatically inserted into the shipping label
(saving you time), and the resulting shipment tracking information is automatically stored along with
the transaction details (streamlining any subsequent chargeback defense), as shown inFigure 3-7.
Figure 3-7. Tracking any package shipped with the PayPal Shipping Tool
If you don't use the PayPal Shipping Tool, you can still provide PayPal (and your customers) with
your tracking information. Just open the transaction in your account history and click the Add button
next to Shipment Tracking Information. Among other things, this feature will also eliminate a large
portion of customer complaints and possible disputes filed prematurely by impatient or otherwise
confused customers for nondelivery of items.
For eBay auctions, use PayPal's Post Sale Manager (located under the Auction Tools tab of your
account) to help manage shipments, as shown in Figure 3-8.
Figure 3-8. Using PayPal's Post-Sale Manager to manage shipments for
eBay sales
3.13.3 Responding When You Receive a Chargeback
Unfortunately, no matter what steps you take during the transaction process, you still might receive
a chargeback. Whether it is due to nonreceipt of an item, an item not as described, or a transaction
that was reported as unauthorized, it can happen to you.
The first step when you receive a chargeback notification is to make sure that you respond with
accurate information and do so within the requested timeframe. This allows PayPal to effectively
dispute the chargeback case on your behalf. Keeping good records of transactions and shipment of
goods and communications, as described earlier in this hack, will make this an easy task.
Keep in mind that the rules governing a chargeback resolution are not the
same as policies for PayPal's buyer-protection process. Credit card companies
provide their customers with different timeframes in which to dispute
transactions (and thus initiate chargebacks), and each card association (Visa,
MasterCard, American Express, Discover, etc.) has different chargeback
processing rules.
When a chargeback is first received, PayPal places a temporary hold on the associated funds in your
account until PayPal is able to investigate the transaction and determine whether you're covered
under the Seller Protection Policy. This does not mean your PayPal account will be debited; rather, it
means the funds are, in essence, frozen and that a reversal is pending, which means that you cannot
withdraw or otherwise use those funds. Upon review of your case (which can take up to 30 days),
either of the following can happen:
If PayPal determines that you are protected under the Seller Protection Policy, the temporary
hold of funds will be cancelled (the funds will beunfrozen) and released back to your PayPal
account. You will not be held liable for the chargeback case.
If it turns out that you (and the transaction) are not protected under the Seller Protection
Policy, PayPal might still dispute the chargeback on your behalf. (Obviously, providing as much
information to help PayPal support the dispute on your behalf is crucial.) If this is the case,
PayPal will, unfortunately, have to recover these funds from you while the chargeback is being
disputed with the buyer's credit card company. If PayPal ultimately wins the chargeback
dispute, the credit card company will reimburse PayPal for the chargeback and PayPal will
reverse the recovered funds back to your account. This process may take up to 75 days,
depending on the card type in the chargeback dispute.
As soon as PayPal notifies you of a chargeback, open the Transaction Disputes page by logging into
your PayPal account and clicking the Resolution Center tab (or by going to
https://www.paypal.com/SRVCTR). Next, select Open Disputes to go to the transaction in question,
and click the Resolve button in the action column. Read the status details of the complaint and click
the Resolve Chargeback Now button. At this point, you'll have three options:
Provide valid tracking information in order to dispute the chargeback.
Provide valid proof of a refund (either within or outside of PayPal) in order to dispute the
chargeback.
Accept liability for the chargeback.
Click Continue and follow the instructions provided.
3.13.4 Providing Additional Information About Your Case
PayPal welcomes any additional information that might aid the dispute process; the information that
might be helpful depends on the type of chargeback you're fighting:
Nonreceipt of merchandise
The information that PayPal needs to successfully dispute this type of chargeback is proof of
delivery to the buyer's confirmed address. In most cases, this proof will be in the form of a
tracking number that can be entered into your courier's web site. (You did use a courier with
online tracking, right?) Many larger couriers also provide a copy of the recipient's signature
online, evidence that can you use to prove that your customer actually received the product in
question.
Unauthorized credit card transaction
If you can provide proof of delivery of the item to the customer's confirmed address[Hack
#3], plus any records of correspondence, PayPal will have a higher chance of successfully
disputing the chargeback. In short, do your best to prove that the transaction was indeed
legitimate and not "unauthorized" as the customer might be contending.
Merchandise not as described (quality of merchandise disputes)
PayPal needs any description or details of the merchandise in question. If you sent a
replacement item for the original item being disputed, you should provide tracking for that
replacement item. If you already provided a refund for the disputed transaction, you should
provide proof of the refund. If the original merchandise has been returned to you from the
customer, provide the details regarding that return.
Duplicate processing
If the customer has indicated that he was charged twice for the same transaction, you'll need
to provide a separate tracking number for each transaction or item, such that you can correlate
each charge with a distinct, tangible product that you've shipped. Or, if the second PayPal
transaction ID number is indeed a duplicate transaction, you'll need to provide proof that you
have refunded the duplicate transaction.
If, at any time, you discover additional information pertinent to an open case, you should send it
through PayPal's secure web server. Simply log in to the PayPal web site, click Contact Us at the
bottom of any PayPal page, and then click Contact Customer Service. When completing the Ask Your
Question web form, make sure to include the chargeback case ID number (e.g.,PP-xxx-xxx-xxx) in
the subject line of the Transaction Disputes page. This allows PayPal'sChargeback Department to
quickly associate the response with the appropriate case. If you are unable to provide all of the
information you have through the PayPal web site, you can send an email to [email protected] Again, be sure to include the PayPal chargeback case ID in the subject line.
Timing and Chargebacks
Because chargebacks usually happen in response to a claim or discovery that occurs well
after the initial transaction, it can be weeks or even months before you learn that a
chargeback has been initiated by the issuer (on the buyer's behalf) and that the
transaction is going to be reversed.
Although there might be a delay before a chargeback is initiated, you (and PayPal)
typically do not have the same luxury. PayPal is limited by the timeframe provided to
PayPal by the buyer's credit card company, so they attempt to work toward the quickest
possible resolution of the issue.
In general, upon initial notification of a chargeback case, you should provide all
supporting documentation to assist in the chargeback dispute within three business days.
Under certain circumstances during the processing of chargeback disputes, PayPal might
ask for additional information from you to support the dispute. Any additional information
should be supplied within the same timeframe of three business days.
When sending emails to PayPal, keep in mind that you will not be able to include attachments.
However, if you need to provide additional documentation that cannot be described easily in an
email, you can fax additional chargeback dispute information to PayPal's Chargeback Department at
(402) 537-5755. Of course, you should always include yourPayPal Case ID as a reference.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 26 Avoid Chargebacks on Digital Goods
Make purchases of digital goods eligible for PayPal's Seller Protection by mailing physical
goods.
PayPal's Seller Protection Policy [Hack #25] limits your exposure to fraud, provided that you follow
its guidelines to the letter. The problem is that the policy applies "only to the sale of physical goods,
and not to any services, intangible goods or sales or licenses of digital content." So what's a digitalgoods merchant to do?
3.14.1 Shipping a Physical Version
The solution is to sell physical goods. Ship media, such as a CD-ROM, containing your software or ebook. You can still grant your customers immediate download privileges for the material they will be
receiving on CD or floppy, but ship a physical product as well. Be sure to offer tracking of the
package.
3.14.2 Thinking Outside the Disk
If you want to avoid the cost of a disk, mailer, and added postage every time you ship a CD, use
paper instead. Encode your digital item with base64,[1] and then print it with a small font on both
sides of plain letter-sized paper. Half a megabyte of data can easily be stored on 15 pages, which
should weigh no more than three ounces.
[1]
Go to http://www.fourmilab.ch/webtools/base64/ for one of many publicly available base64 encoder/decoder
utilities.
Your customer can then scan the sheets with a scanner, convert them back into digital data with OCR
software, and then decode the base64 code to recreate the original product. Obviously, it's unlikely
that any customer will bother doing this, but since it's technically possible, your shipment will qualify
for the Seller Protection Policy.
Be careful what you end up shipping. For instance, the User Agreement
specifically states that "this protection applies only to the sale of physical
goods, and not to any services, intangible goods or sales or licenses of digital
content." This means that sending only a paper license or certificate of
ownership would be insufficient for eligibility.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 27 Handle Merchandise Disputes Effectively
Here's what to do when a buyer disputes a payment sent to you.
If you're a seller and a buyer has filed a claim against you [Hack #16] or initiated a chargeback
[Hack #25], you should respond online through PayPal's Resolution Center within 10 days. If you
don't, you'll forfeit your defense and PayPal will refund the buyer.
3.15.1 First Response
When you respond, you'll be able to choose how to resolve the dispute from a menu of options,
including disagreeing with the buyer's claim.
Most claims involve nonreceipt of merchandise. Nervous buyers sometimes file claims before sellers
have had a chance to ship merchandise. The most effective way to respond to such a claim is to
promptly provide an online tracking number for your shipment. This allows the customer (and
PayPal) to confirm that the merchandise was not only shipped, but also delivered to an address
attached to the buyer's PayPal account.
Never ship to a gift address, a friend's address, or any address in a country
different than the one listed on the customer's PayPal account.
Without verifiable proof (e.g., a tracking number) that your package was shipped, you'll lose the
dispute and forfeit the payment.
3.15.2 Preventive Maintenance
Overcommunicate with your buyers, especially newbies. Email them when you expect to ship, and
email them again when you actually do ship (include a tracking number whenever possible). This
allows your customer to check delivery status, which helps to reduce buyer anxiety about transacting
with a stranger and thus reduces the likelihood that a dispute will ever be filed.
Also, be compulsive when writing your product or eBay listing descriptions. (Good descriptions often
garner more buyer interest anyway.) If the item is used, say so, and exhaustively describe all wear
and tear. Include actual photos you took yourself (e.g., a picture of the actual iPod you're selling
rather than one you grabbed from Apple's web site).
Finally, to protect yourself against fraudulent chargebacks, ship to your customer's address as listed
on the Transaction Details page, and ship only if you see that the transaction is eligible for the Seller
Protection Policy [Hack #25] .
Unfortunately, there is no way to automatically refuse payments that are
ineligible for the Seller Protection Policy. Keep in mind that such transactions
are not necessarily bad or risky. For instance, the buyer might simply live in a
country in which some of the eligibility requirements are not available.
As a seller, you can pick and choose with whom you do business. If someone makes a payment you
subsequently decide is not worth the risk, you can always issue a refund[Hack #21] and make
other arrangements.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Chapter 4. Payment Buttons
Introduction: Hacks #28-44
Hack 28. Create a Buy Now Button
Hack 29. Use a Custom Button Image
Hack 30. Create a Purchase Button for Services
Hack 31. Create an Auction Payment Button
Hack 32. Provide Purchase Options with Drop-Down Listboxes
Hack 33. Include More Than Two Option Fields
Hack 34. Override Shipping and Handling Preferences
Hack 35. Build Notification Tracking
Hack 36. Hack-Proof Your Payment
Hack 37. Hack-Proof Your Buttons with Encryption
Hack 38. Include Payment Buttons in Email Messages
Hack 39. Hide Your Email Address from Spammers
Hack 40. Accept Donations
Hack 41. PayPal-Enable Your Flash
Hack 42. Get More Out of Dreamweaver and PayPal
Hack 43. Provide Options with ASP.NET Web Controls
Hack 44. Try Accepting Payments in a Bogus Currency
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Introduction: Hacks #28-44
The most common question of PayPal's merchant support staff might be, "How do I start using
PayPal as a seller?"
For a buyer, PayPal is straightforward: sign up for an account and start using it to pay for goods and
services on the Internet. But for merchants, PayPal offers so many options to fit each seller's needs
that it can seem overwhelming when you first endeavor to sell online. Unless you plan to sell only on
eBay (in which case you should see eBay Hacks by David A. Karp), here is the basic information you
need to get started.
PayPal is an online payment processor; it allows buyers and sellers to make monetary transactions
easily and securely. PayPal is not, however, a credit card gateway; to accept payments with PayPal
you do not have to pass a rigorous credit check, install any equipment or special software, make
agreements with a bank, or send in signed documents. You also do not need to gather credit card
numbers from your buyers or subsequently safeguard such sensitive financial information.
Buyers using PayPal can either open PayPal accounts (which is recommended, especially if you use
PayPal often) or just enter their credit cards for each purchase. Sellers who accept PayPal must have
PayPal accounts, and merchants who are doing serious business with PayPal will want to have a
Business account, which allows acceptance of payments funded by credit cards. There is no fee for
opening or holding a Business account-only a per-transaction fee of 2.9% plus $0.30 on each
payment received.
Non-U.S. account holders, and those doing business with non-U.S. account holders, might be subject
to additional fees or a different fee rate.
The best way to start using PayPal to sell merchandise online is to add one or more PayPal buttons to
your web site. You can do this by logging into your PayPal account (create one now[Hack #1] if you
don't have one yet), generating a button with the Merchant Tools PayPal provides, and copying it to a
page on your site. You can literally start offering items for sale in 10 minutes.
PayPal buttons are nothing more than HTML forms. They live on your web pages, but they direct your
customers to PayPal for processing payments. All the software and complexity of processing those
payments is done for you.
PayPal offers four types of payment buttons to meet the various needs of online enterprises, all at no
additional charge:
Buy Now
The most basic payment button is the Buy Now button. It lets your customers easily buy a
single item from your site. One click directs a buyer to the PayPal system, where they can
make their payment. See [Hack #28] to start hacking Buy Now buttons.
Add To Cart
The Add To Cart button lets a buyer accumulate a group of items in a shopping basket and
then pay for them all at once. You should add an individual Add To Cart button for each item
you sell. When they are ready, customers click the Checkout button (also on your site) to go
PayPal and complete their payment. See [Hack #45] and all of Chapter 5 to get started.
Subscribe
A PayPal subscription button lets your customer easily set up a subscription (a recurring
payment) from the customer's PayPal account to yours. You can set the terms of the
subscription to fit your business model, and you or your customer can cancel the subscription
at any time without further obligation. See Chapter 6 for more details on subscription buttons.
Donate Now
The PayPal donation button is nearly identical to a Buy Now button. The wording of the
payment screens, however, indicates the processing of a donation rather than the purchase of
a product or service. See [Hack #40] for an introduction and [Hack #79] and [Hack #80]
for ways to take donation buttons further.
PayPal is a flexible system. With your own software, you can use it to accommodate just about any
business process, such as delivering digital goods instantly, collecting conference registration fees, or
cooperating with an extant shopping cart system. If you are just getting started, PayPal's buttons are
the way to do it. The rest of this book should fire your imagination with ideas of where to go from
there.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 28 Create a Buy Now Button
Accept payments on your web site with a simple button that sends the customer, along
with all necessary payment information, to PayPal.
The most basic way to accept payments on your web site is to deploy a Buy Now button, which
essentially consists of an HTML form.
In order to use the Buy Now system, you need to have a Business or Premier account at PayPal.
Use the Merchant Tools section of the PayPal web site to generate the necessary code to sell goods
from your web site. Once you have the code for one item, you can modify that code for any of your
other products by changing a few variable values.
4.2.1 The Code
To generate a simple block of button code, follow these steps:
1. Go to http://www.paypal.com, log into your account, and click the Merchant Tools tab.
2. Click the Buy Now link under the Website Payments section to open thePayPal Button Factory,
as shown in Figure 4-1.
Figure 4-1. Using the PayPal Button Factory to create generic button
code you can modify later
3. Create a basic button by entering the item name and item number. Leave the Buyer Country as
is, and enter 1 for the amount. Skip the rest of the settings, but make sure to change the
Encrypt Button option to No.
4. When you're done, click Create Button Now to generate the code.
The resulting code should look like this:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
1.
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget">
2.
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Wid-001">
3.
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src=
"https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif" border="0"
name="submit">
</form>
Most of the variables will not change, regardless of the item you're selling. The variables on lines 1 ,2
, and 3 are the only ones you'll need to customize for each particular product.
Modifications to the variables are straightforward and can be done directly in the HTML. For instance,
to specify a price, replace 1.00 with the price of your item, in dollars and cents (but no dollar sign).
Likewise, set the item_name variable to the name of the product, and set the item_number variable
to a unique product number or SKU code that makes sense for your store.
4.2.2 Hacking the Hack
In addition to the aforementioned variables, there are also other PayPal-supported options you can
add to your purchase buttons. For example, the return and cancel_return variables define the
addresses of web pages to which the user should be taken after the payment process has been
completed or if the process is cancelled, respectively:
<input type="hidden" name="return" value=" http://yoursite.com/thankyou.html">
<input type="hidden" name="cancel_return" value=
"http://yoursite.com/cancel.html">
Simply insert additional variables anywhere in your button code, so long as they appear between the
opening <form> and closing </form> tags. Other variables include:
cn
The text label to appear above the note field (maximum of 40 characters).
cs
Sets the background color of your payment pages to black (1); the default is white (0).
currency_code
The three-digit code indicating the currency in which the payment is to be made.
custom and invoice
Both custom and invoice are pass-through variables, never shown to customers, to be
returned to you when the payment process is complete.
handling
The shipping surcharge, applied regardless of the number of items ordered.
image_url
The address (URL) of your company logo. The image can be up to 150x50 pixels. If this
variable is omitted, the customer will see your business name if you have a Business account
or your email address if you have a Premier account.
no_note
If this variable is set to 1, the customer will not be allowed to include a note. It's probably best
to specify the no_note option (as in the example earlier in this hack) if you'll be automating
your operation and are unlikely to see any notes your customers would enter here.
no_shipping
See [Hack #34] for more information on this setting.
on0, on1, os0, and os1
See [Hack #33] for more information on these four settings.
page_style
Sets the Custom Payment Page style for payment pages. This variable should be the name of
one of the styles listed on the Custom Payment Page Styles page. To add or edit custom
payment pages, click the My Account tab, click Profile, and click the Custom Payment Pages
link. See [Hack #51] for further details.
return
The URL of the page on your web site to which the customer will be sent when the transaction
is complete.
rm
Specifies the behavior of the return URL (see the return option). If this variable is set to 1, the
buyer will be sent back to the return URL using a GET method, and no transaction variables will
be submitted. If rm is set to 2, the buyer will be sent back to the return URL using a POST
method, to which all available transaction variables will also be posted. Ifrm is omitted or set
to 0, GET methods will be used for all Shopping Cart transactions in which IPN is not enabled
and POST methods with variables will be used for the rest.
shipping, shipping2
The amount to charge the customer for shipping, per item. If you specify an amount for
shipping2, the shipping amount will be charged only for the first item ordered and
shipping2 amount will be charged for each additional item (all of which applies only if the
customer orders a quantity of more than one).
tax
If this variable is omitted, the sales tax specified in your account preferences will take effect.
Otherwise, use tax to specify a flat tax (in dollars and cents, rather than a percentage) to
apply to the order.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 29 Use a Custom Button Image
Customize the appearance of the Buy Now button with a few changes to the Button
Factory code
The PayPal Button Factory generates HTML code that you insert into your payment pages to facilitate
sales. The code you initially get depends on the values you type into the form, but you can
subsequently edit it manually before you install it onto your site. This simple hack walks you through
the modification of your button code to use your own custom Buy Now button images.
4.3.1 Preparing the Image and Code
First, you'll need to prepare another button image for use in the form. It can be either a GIF or JPG
image file, but it must be located somewhere on your web site or elsewhere on the Internet so that
you can reference its location in your code. See the next section for button design tips.
Start by generating the code for an ordinary Buy Now button [Hack #28] . Copy the HTML code and
paste it into your favorite HTML editor, such as Dreamweaver, FrontPage, or any plain-text editor
(e.g., Notepad). Find the piece of code that references the image:
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/images/x-click-but23.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's
fast, free
and secure!">
The src parameter contains the location (URL) of the image to be used:
src="https://www.paypal.com/images/x-click-but23.gif"
Simply change this source to the address (URL) of your button image:
src="http://www.anothersite.com/yournewimage.gif"
Or, if the image is located on the same site as your button code, it could be as simple as this:
src="/images/ournewimage.gif"
So, the final code should look like this:
<input type="image" ="http://www.anothersite.com/ournewimage.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's
fast, free and secure!">
4.3.2 Button Design 101
The PayPal Button Factory provides some options for button appearance, though most of the supplied
images are branded with the PayPal look and might not integrate cleanly with your web site's design.
The previous section shows how to use any image you like, provided that you have one at the ready.
With a simple web search, you can find images of buttons at web sites that specialize in shopping cart
buttons. But for even more seamless integration, you can create your own image in an image-editing
program, such as Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro.
The ideal sizes for your buttons, based on the sizes PayPal uses for their buttons, are 68x23 pixels for
Buy Now buttons and 87x23 pixels for Shopping Cart buttons. You do not have to use these exact
sizes for your own buttons, but do use them as guidelines when choosing appropriate sizes for your
buttons.
You can also add interaction to your buttons by providing different variations of your images so that
they look lit up or pushed in when your customers click them or move over them with their mice. This
visual feedback and interactivity makes your buttons look and act more clickable, and it is a good
way to get more customers to click them. To give your image a slightly different appearance on
mouseover or when clicked, you need to have two button images: one to act as the normal,
unactivated state and another to replace the original image with activated.Figure 4-2 shows two
such images.
Figure 4-2. Normal and activated images for one button
The images in Figure 4-2 are identical, except that the activated image has been tinted gray. You
might prefer a little more color or perhaps a highlighted border; to make the image look pushed in,
replace the shadow pixels with the button foreground color (in this case, white).
Simply include this JavaScript code to swap one image for another upon mouseover:
<input type="image" name="submit" src="yourbutton_up.gif" onmouseover=
"this.src='yourbutton_over.gif'" onmouseout=
"this.src='yourbutton_up.gif'">
The two images for normal and activated states are yourbutton_up.gif and yourbutton_over.gif,
respectively, in the preceding code. To have the button change when it is clicked (as opposed to
responding to a mouseover), use this code instead:
<input type="image" name="submit" src="yourbutton_up.gif" onMouseDown=
"this.src='yourbutton_over.gif'">
This just scratches the surface of what you can do. The more you do to polish the appearance and
behavior of your buttons, the more customized (and hopefully professional) your site will appear to
your customers.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 30 Create a Purchase Button for Services
Streamline your purchase buttons for selling intangible goods and services by removing
unnecessary fields. By removing certain shipping requirements, you can accept payments
from all buyers, regardless of whether they can provide confirmed addresses.
PayPal allows you to accept payment for almost any kind of tangible product or intangible service.
When you're selling services, much of the information PayPal gathers is superfluous. You might not
always need the customer's address, for instance, and you most likely will not need to charge any
shipping or handling fees. By eliminating these options in your purchase buttons, you can simplify the
checkout process for your customers, thus making it easier to sell your services.
Here's the code for a service button, adapted from [Hack #28] :
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Service">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Serv-001">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">
1.
<input type="hidden" name="shipping" value="0.00">
2.
<input type="hidden" name="handling" value="0.00">
3.
<input type="hidden" name="no_shipping" value="1">
4.
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src=
"https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
</form>
The difference between this code and an ordinary Buy Now button is the addition of two variables,
shipping and handling (lines 1 and 2, respectively), both of which are set to 0.00. This trumps any
shipping charges you might have in your PayPal profile. Also, theno_shipping variable (line 3)
instructs PayPal not to ask for a shipping address, and the no_note variable (line 4) turns off the
note field during checkout. All of this makes a simple and streamlined checkout process.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 31 Create an Auction Payment Button
Create payment buttons for auctions, such that the completed transaction updates the
payment status on the auction web site automatically.
Merchants that sell using auction sites such as eBay often have to collect payment for their goods
after the auction has ended. Sometimes, it can be confusing to the winning bidder how to complete
payment, and you'll want to make it as easy as possible for your customers to send you money.
Using some simple HTML, you can construct a payment button much like the payment buttons
generated by PayPal for Shopping Cart and Web Accept purchases. You then present this button to
the winning bidder in an email or on your web site to supplement the payment buttons already on the
auction site.
4.5.1 The Easy Way
Since PayPal is an eBay company, it shouldn't be surprising that PayPal is well integrated with the
eBay web site. For instance, if you indicate that you accept PayPal payments when constructing an
eBay listing, a PayPal button will automatically appear for the winning bidder when the listing ends.
Here's how to build the link between your eBay account and your PayPal account:
1. Go to the eBay web site and log into your eBay account.
2. Go to My eBay and click the eBay Preferences link under the My Account heading.
3. Click the Change link next to the Payment Preferences heading, and turn on all the PayPalrelated settings here.
4. When you sell your next item, check the PayPal option in the "Seller-accepted payment
methods" section and enter the email address of the PayPal account to which you'd like auction
payments to be sent.
That's it! When your auction ends, a PayPal payment button will automatically appear at the top of
the auction page, but for the winning bidder only.
Furthermore, you can configure PayPal to automatically insert a Pay Now button into each of your
running auctions:
1. Log into your PayPal account.
2. Click the Profile tab and then click Auctions.
3.
1.
2.
3. If your eBay account isn't listed here, click Add, and then enter your eBay user ID and
password.
4. Otherwise, simply turn on the features you'd like to employ. The changes will take effect
immediately.
The PayPal Auction options include the following:
Automatic Logo Insertion
PayPal automatically inserts a PayPal logo into the description of each of your running auctions
(using eBay's Add to Description feature). This not only advertises the fact that you accept
PayPal, it also gives your winning bidder a shortcut to the payment process.
Winning Buyer Notification
This instructs PayPal to automatically send an email to all your winning bidders, complete with
payment instructions and a Pay Now button. This email is sent independently of eBay's
"Congratulations! You are the buyer for..." email.
PayPal Preferred on eBay
This inserts the PayPal logo into the "Payment methods accepted" section of your auction page,
as shown in Figure 4-3. The PayPal logo appears in addition to the logo that might already be
there and suggests to your customers that you not only accept PayPal, but you wholeheartedly prefer it as a means of payment.
Figure 4-3. Buttons indicating that you prefer PayPal in an eBay listing
4.5.2 Making Your Own Button
Although eBay provides payment buttons for high bidders, you might want to supplement these
buttons with your own. Plus, you might want to add eBay-like functionality to other auction sites,
such as Yahoo!, uBid, Amazon.com, MSN, and Bidville auctions.
This code displays a simple Pay Now button that sends your customers to the PayPal web site and
guides them through the payment process. The system automatically tracks the payment for this
particular auction, so your customer will not have to enter any additional auction-related information.
Plus, the auction site, provided that it's linked up with PayPal, will be notified automatically so that it
can update the payment status of the auction for you and your bidder.
The goal of providing an extra payment button like this one is to reduce the chances that your
customer (bidder) will use PayPal's Send Money function to pay for an auction; in that case, you
would receive a payment not linked to its corresponding auction.
Among other difficulties, PayPal's Send Money tab makes it possible for your
customer to "forget" to include the shipping charge or sales tax, you might
have to process the order manually (or simply refund the payment), and the
auction site might not reflect that the customer has paid. To automatically
reject all payments sent this way, configure your PayPal account to "Block
Payments from users who initiate payments from the Pay Anyone subtab of the
Send Money tab," as described in Chapter 3.
Here is the HTML code for an auction payment button, linked to a particular auction:
<form method="get" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value=_cart>
<input type="hidden" name="business" value=" [email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name_1" value=" Widget">
<input type="hidden" name="amount_1" value=" 1.00">
<input type="hidden" name="quantity_1" value=" 1">
<input type="hidden" name="site_1" value=" eBay">
<input type="hidden" name="ai_1" value=" 2540252652">
<input type="hidden" name="ab_1" value=" your_ebay_id">
<input type="submit" name="upload" value="Pay Now">
</form>
This code is similar to the code used in [Hack #50], with the exception of a few new variables:
site_n, ai_n, and ab_n, where n is a number representing the item in multiple item payments,
starting with 1 (for example, include ab_1, ab_2, and ab_3 if you're requesting payment for three
different auctions).
The site_n variable defines the site on which the auction was listed, and it should be set toeBay for
eBay auctions or Yahoo for Yahoo! Auctions. This value is case sensitive, so for other auction sites,
you'd type uBid, Amazon, MSN, or Bidville. The second variable, ai_n, should be set to the auction
(or listing) number at the auction site. Finally, ab_n, is your user ID at the auction site
(your_ebay_id in this example). Naturally, you'll need to replace all italicized text in the code with
the details of your transaction.
The other variables, such as item_name_n and amount_n, can be modified as described in [Hack
#28] .
4.5.3 Hacking the Hack
This hack demonstrates how you can create buttons that facilitate auction-specific payments.
Naturally, creating a button for each auction manually would be a time-consuming process, but you
can use the eBay API to automate this process. Start by sending a query to obtain the information for
each of your completed auctions using a GetTransactionDetails call, and then assemble your
buttons and email them to the high bidders. The technical procedures involved with implementing this
type of system go beyond the scope of this book, but extensive information can be found inDavid A.
Karp's eBay Hacks (O'Reilly).
If you use an off-site listing tool or a third-party listing service to build your auctions, you might be
able to tie your application into the application's local database. However, you will also need a means
of obtaining completed-item details (such as the final price and high-bidder contact information). For
an example that shows how to build payment buttons dynamically, see [Hack #54] .
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 32 Provide Purchase Options with Drop-Down
Listboxes
Change a few lines of the PayPal Button Factory code to restrict purchase options to a
distinct list of choices.
By default, the item_name variable created by the PayPal Button Factory [Hack #28] is a hidden
field containing a single string of text, which means that a single payment button corresponds to a
single product. So, if you sell three products, you'll need three payment buttons, right?
Not so, thanks to drop-down listboxes.
Since many of the products you're selling probably come in a combination of styles or sizes, you can
merge those variations into a single purchase button. For instance, if you're selling clothing, a Size
option might contain three choices: Small, Medium, and Large. Fortunately, PayPal doesn't
distinguish between text strings sent from text boxes and list elements selected from drop-down
listboxes, so you can easily replace any <input> field with a <select> drop-down list. For instance,
take:
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="T-Shirt">
and replace it with:
<select name="item_name" id="item_name">
<option>T-Shirt</option>
</select>
The problem here is that we still provide the customer with only one option. To add more options,
simply insert additional <option> tags, one for each variation, like this:
<select name="item_name" id="item_name">
<option>T-Shirt, Small</option>
<option>T-Shirt, Medium</option>
<option>T-Shirt, Large</option>
</select>
Figure 4-4 shows the completed drop-down listbox.
Figure 4-4. Taking advantage of PayPal's option fields with a simple
drop-down listbox.
With this simple change, your customers choose a size, click the Buy Now button, and pay for your
item. PayPal then sends the customer's selection back to you in the "You've got cash" email.
If you need to provide your customers with more than one option, you can include up to two
additional option fields [Hack #33] and convert both of them to drop-down lists with this same
procedure. Thus, you can have up to three different options with a single payment button.
4.6.1 Hacking the Hack
You can take this hack a step further by changing the values of other fields based on selection. For
instance, you can change the price based on the shirt size your customer chooses and send the
correct price to PayPal along with the corresponding options. You need to add a few pieces of code to
your payment button form for this to work.
First, place this JavaScript code in the section of your page between the <head> and </head> tags:
<script type="text/javascript">
<!-- Update Price Change
function UpdateForm (object1) {
// process change selects
var i,item_amt,object,position,val;
item_amt = object1.amount.value;
// default amount
for (i=0; i<object1.length; i++) {
// check options
object = object1.elements[i];
if (object.type == "select-one" &&
object.name == "cng") {
position = object.selectedIndex;
// must be named cng
// option selected
val = object.options[position].value; // selected value
position
= val.indexOf ("$");
// set new price
if (position >= 0) item_amt = val.substring (position + 1)*1.0;
}
}
object1.amount.value = item_amt;
if (object1.item_total) object1.item_total.value = "$" + item_amt;
}
//-->
</script>
Next, change the <form> tag for your payment button code so the JavaScript function is executed
when the form is submitted, like this:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post"
onsubmit="this.target='paypal';UpdateForm(this);">
Finally, modify the <select> tag so that it, too, is linked to the JavaScript code:
<select name="cng" onchange="UpdateForm(this.form);">
<option value="Small $1.00">Size: Small $1.00</option>
<option value="Medium $2.00">Size: Medium $2.00</option>
<option value="Large $3.00">Size: Large $3.00</option>
</select>
You can edit the amount charged to your customer by changing the value="Small $1.00" section of
the form field. You can also change the text displayed to your customer by changing the value
between the <option> and </option> sections.
Make sure the amount tag in your form is set to the same value as the default value of the dropdown menu. That way, if the form is submitted without changing the values, the amount has the
correct default value.
When this code is in place, the price is updated automatically whenever a new size is selected.
Since this solution relies on JavaScript to update the price according to a
customer action, it will fail if the customer has disabled JavaScript. Although
PayPal doesn't do price checking, you can effectively prevent this problem by
checking for JavaScript before displaying order pages to your customers.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 33 Include More Than Two Option Fields
Give your customers a large selection of options when purchasing their items, despite the
limitations of payment buttons.
PayPal buttons enable you to easily offer fixed products to your customers. Although some flexibility
is provided in the form of option fields [Hack #32], PayPal currently supports only two such fields. If
your product has more than two options (e.g., Size, Color, and Material), you can employ a little
JavaScript code and a hidden field to create as many option fields as you need.
Start with the basic Buy Now button code [Hack #28] for a single item, although this works with
Shopping Cart, Subscription, and Donation buttons as well:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/youbscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget One">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Wid-001">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src=
"https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif"
border="0" name="submit>
</form>
Suppose the item you're selling has three options: Color, Size, and Material. You can provide three
drop-down lists [Hack #32], one for each option, with which your customers can customize their
purchases. To keep things simple, name your drop-down elements custom1, custom2, and custom3.
This code joins all three of the selected options into a singlevariable, custom, to be passed to PayPal.
You'll need to add the custom form element to your button as a hidden variable with no value
specified. The value will be populated by the JavaScript code when the form is submitted. Here's an
HTML form with form options and the custom field:
Color
<select name="custom1">
<option value="White" selected>White</option>
<option value="Grey">Grey</option>
<option value="Black">Black</option>
</select>
<br>
Size
<select name="custom2">
<option value="Small">Small</option>
<option value="Medium">Medium</option>
<option value="Large" selected>Large</option>
<option value="X-Large">X-Large</option>
</select>
<br>
Material
<select name="custom3">
<option value="Spandex" selected>Spandex</option>
<option value="Cotton">Cotton</option>
</select>
<input type="hidden" name="custom" value="">
Figure 4-5 shows the additional custom fields in action. You can include as many option fields as you
can fit on your page.
Figure 4-5. Including additional option fields
You can continue adding as many option fields as you need, provided that you use the samecustom#
naming format. Just be sure that the total character count for the labels and their possible variable
values does not exceed 256 characters, the size limit of PayPal's custom variable.
Add the HTML code to your PayPal button form between the opening and closing<form> tags. Then
add the following JavaScript code to the head of the web page:
<script language="JavaScript">
<!-function joinFields( ){
fmBuy.custom.value = 'Color:' + fmBuy.custom1.value + ' Size:' +
fmBuy.custom2.value + ' Material:' + fmBuy.custom3.value
}
// -->
</script>
If you add additional fields, you'll need to modify this code to accommodate them.
Finally, add a call to the joinFields routine by inserting the name and onSubmit attributes to the
existing <form> tag (the values for the action and method attributes remain unchanged):
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/youbscr" method="post"
name="fmBuy" onSubmit="joinFields( )">
Here is the final code for the example form:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/youbscr" method="post" name="fmBuy"
onSubmit="joinFields( )">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget One">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Wid-001">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
Color
<select name="custom1">
<option value="White" selected>White</option>
<option value="Grey">Grey</option>
<option value="Black">Black</option>
</select>
<br>
Size
<select name="custom2">
<option value="Small">Small</option>
<option value="Medium">Medium</option>
<option value="Large" selected>Large</option>
<option value="X-Large">X-Large</option>
</select>
<br>
Material
<select name="custom3">
<option value="Spandex" selected>Spandex</option>
<option value="Cotton">Cotton</option>
</select>
<input type="hidden" name="custom" value="">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
</form>
When the complete page is loaded (with the button code in the page body and the JavaScript in the
page head), the customer-selected option fields will be concatenated into one string and passed
through to PayPal in the custom variable. For instance, if the form is submitted with its default
values, the custom variable will be set to Color:White Size:Large Material:Spandex. The string
will appear in details of the transaction in your PayPal account; your customers will never see it. If
necessary, you can also parse this field out in the IPN page [Hack #80] .
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 34 Override Shipping and Handling Preferences
Modify purchase buttons to override your Profile settings, allowing you to set shipping
and handling fees to zero for digital goods.
Certain goods, such as software or other downloadable products, should not incur any shipping
charges. By default, PayPal calculates the applicable shipping fees and applies them to every order.
To configure your shipping calculation preferences, log into PayPal, click Profile, and then click
Shipping Calculations.
The problem is that PayPal applies your shipping preferences to all purchases placed through your
PayPal buttons. If you sell both tangible and digital products, you might need to charge different
shipping amounts for different products.
To override your shipping and handling preferences, turn on the "Allow transaction-based shipping
values to override the profile shipping settings" options in yourShipping Calculations profile page.
Then, add two additional variables to applicable buttons and set each of them to zero (or any values
you wish) for digital goods purchases, like this:
<input type="hidden" name="shipping" value="0.00">
<input type="hidden" name="handling" value="0.00">
If you were to omit these two new variables, the shipping fees applied to that product would default
to the values in your PayPal profile. You can add these two new form variables anywhere in your
button code, as long as they appear between the opening <form> and closing </form> tags.
When you override your Profile's Shipping Preferences for a single item in your PayPal Shopping Cart,
the override applies only to that item. All other items are charged shipping according to your Profile's
Shipping Preferences.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 35 Build Notification Tracking
Track how your PayPal applications are used by including the Build Notification (BN) tag
with all your payment buttons and resulting transactions.
PayPal originally introduced the Build Notification (BN) tag as a way to track developers' projects,
allowing them to, for example, include version numbers to gauge application performance. The BN
tag is a field for your payment buttons into which you place an identifier string you choose.
An unexpected benefit of the BN tag is that, by demonstrating that your site or application generates
a significant amount of transactions, you can receive the benefits of a high-volume merchant. While
there is no official disclosure of any specific application rewards, developers can often expect to
receive specialized technical support if they ever have problems that affect their applications or sites.
High-volume merchants are also invited to participate in testing new features of the PayPal system
and receive advance notice of upcoming releases of new product features.
To use the BN system, PayPal suggests assigning a unique, readable value to the BN tag, including
the version (and build) number of your application as well as your company name. The suggested
format of the BN value is company.product.version, like this:
<input type="hidden" name="bn" value="GeekSoft.Cart.1.0">
Insert the bn variable into your PayPal form buttons just as you would any other values [Hack #28]
:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="bn" value="GeekSoft.Cart.1.0">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1">
<input type="image" src=http://images.paypal.com/images/x-click-butcc.gif
border="0" name="submit">
</form>
Once you deploy the BN tag in your form buttons, make sure you register your application with
PayPal so that they can begin tracking your usage. Send an email [email protected] with the
BN ID text you use in each of your solutions, along with the name of your company, the title of your
application or web site, and your contact information. For further information, see
http://www.paypal.com/pdn-submit.
4.9.1 Hacking the Hack
The BN tag only allows PayPal to track your sales internally; you won't have access to any usage
statistics connected with your use of the BN tag on your web site.
However, you can track your sales by including the custom variable in your purchase buttons. Set the
value of the custom variable to some unique identifier for the application or web site in which the
button appears:
<input type="hidden" name="custom" value=" GeekSoft.Cart.1.3">
Every time a payment is made with this button, PayPal records the custom value in your transaction
history. Next, use the Download My History feature to generate a tab- or comma-delimited text file,
as shown in Figure 4-6. Finally, import the file into your spreadsheet or database and use the tools at
your disposal to plot sales trends, run reports, or perform statistical analysis.
Figure 4-6. Pulling a comma-delimited file from your PayPal history for
use in spreadsheets and statistical analysis applications
You can also export your PayPal history into files that Quicken and Quickbooks can understand,
allowing you to integrate PayPal sales with your accounting software.
4.9.2 See Also
[Hack #77] shows another way to track sales through your PayPal payment buttons.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 36 Hack-Proof Your Payment
Prevent code-tampering and price-spoofing with a hidden form post .
When deploying PayPal buttons on your web site, you should consider the risk of spoofed payments. PayPal
buttons are normally created in plain HTML, with the variables and their values available for anyone to see
(select View
Source in your browser to see for yourself). This means that anyone can view your button
source code, copy the HTML to her own system, make changes to the variables (such as the price), and
make a payment with the modified button. You can manually review purchases to make sure no tampering
has taken place, but in high-volume or automated systems, this might be a difficult or even impossible task.
PayPal offers a button encryption system that allows you to encrypt your purchase
buttons, provided that you're not using buttons modified with custom variables.
Button encryption is also not supported with Shopping Cart buttons.
This hack uses techniques covered in some of the other hacks in this book to create ahidden form post that
sends the button information to PayPal without allowing the customer to see it. To use this technique to its
fullest, you should already have deployed [Hack #54] .
4.10.1 The Code
The hack consists of two pages: link.asp and jump.asp . First, link.asp contains the product and selling
information, as well as a link to the second page:
<html>
<body>
Widget<br>
<a href="jump.asp?id=123">Click here to buy</a>
</body>
</html>
This first page mimics the Buy Now button, but instead of sending the customer to PayPal, it links to the
jump page. Next, jump.asp queries your database for the product info and sends the purchase information to
PayPal. This code is written in ASP:
<%
'Connect to database and create recordset
1.
connStore = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/
dbPayPal.mdb")
set rsJump= Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsJump.ActiveConnection = connStore
2.
rsJump.Source = "SELECT tblProducts FROM tblProducts WHERE Id = " & Request("id")
3.
rsJump.Open( )
%>
<html>
4.
<body onLoad="document.fmPost.submit( )">
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post" name="fmPost">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value=
"<%=(rsJump("ItemName").Value)%>">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value=
"<%=(rsJump("ItemID").Value)%>">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value=
"<%=(rsJump("ItemPrice").Value)%>">
</form>
</body>
</html>
<%
rsJump.Close( )
%>
The jump page queries the database (line 2) for the requested product information (based on the URL
embedded in the link page) and then dynamically builds a PayPal form from this information. Finally, the
page uses an onLoad function (line 4) to automatically submit the form as soon as the page loads, without
the customer ever seeing the page.
Depending on your platform, you might need to change the code that connects to your
database (lines 1 to 3) and creates the rsJump recordset from the query results. See
"Database Coding and Platform Choices" in the Preface for more information.
4.10.2 Hacking the Hack
You don't necessarily have to use the database method described here. Instead, you can simply create a
static jump page for each product, complete with all of the product information (name, price, etc.) embedded
right in the code. Although this approach wouldn't make any sense for an online store that sells hundreds or
thousands of items, it would ultimately be easier to implement than a full database if you sell only one or two
products on your site.
4.10.3 Plan B: Obfuscate Your Button Code
If all this seems like too much trouble to guard against a remote possibility, there is an easier way to keep
casual observers from seeing exactly what your button code contains and spoofing your button. (Isn't it
handy that the word obfuscate is, itself, a rather cryptic term?)
1. Create a Buy Now, Add to Cart, Subscription, or Donation button using PayPal's Merchant Tools.
2. Go to http://www.dynamicdrive.com/dynamicindex9/encrypter.htm . Copy and paste your button code
into the text area window.
3. Click Encrypt. The HTML will be replaced with encoded text that is much harder for mere mortals to
read, but the encoded text will easily be parsed and displayed by your customers' browsers.
4. Copy and paste this scrambled code into your web page.
This quick and easy obfuscator makes it harder for casual viewers to see how your button is coded and thus
helps protect it from tampering. Additionally, it foils most web spiders looking for fresh email addresses to
spam.
This trick is no substitute for real encryption [Hack #37] . The material is all there,
just in a form that is hard for a person to read. Anyone with some time, patience, and
an understanding of common encoding methods (or anyone with access to this book)
will crack the obfuscation in no time. Also, even if the HTML is not obvious, all the
information critical to the consumers' buying decision will be echoed by PayPal once
your customer clicks the button.
To illustrate, here's an ordinary payment button:
<h1>Plain button</h1>
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Jackie Chan bobble head">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="jc-bh">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="9.99">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src=
"https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's
fast, free and secure!">
</form>
And here's the obfuscated version of the same code:
<h1>Button obfuscated</h1>
<script>
<!-document.write(unescape("%3Cform%20action%3D%22https%3A//www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr%22%
20method%3D%22post%22%3E%0D%0A%3Cinput%20type%3D%22hidden%22%20
name%3D%22cmd%22%20value%3D%22_xclick%22%3E%0D%0A%3Cinput%20type%3D%22hidden
[email protected]%22%3E%0D%0A%3Cinpu
%20type%3D%22hidden%22%20name%3D%22item_name%22%20value%3D%22Jackie%20Chan
%20bobble%20head%22%3E%0D%0A%3Cinput%20type%3D%22hidden%22%20name%3D%22item_number%22
%20value%3D%22jc-bh%22%3E%0D%0A%3Cinput%20type%3D%22hidden%22%20name
%3D%22amount%22%20value%3D%229.99%22%3E%0D%0A%3Cinput%20type%3D%22hidden
%22%20name%3D%22currency_code%22%20value%3D%22USD%22%3E%0D%0A%3Cinput
%20type%3D%22image%22%20src%3D%22https%3A//www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif%22
%20border%3D%220%22%20name%3D%22submit%22%20alt%3D%22Make%20
payments%20with%20PayPal%20-%20it%27s%20fast%2C%20free%20and%20secure%21%22%
3E%0D%0A%3C/form%3E"));
//-->
</script>
While this hack can indeed be applied to an already-encrypted button (as detailed in[Hack #37] ,
encrypted buttons hardly need the added protection of obfuscation.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 37 Hack-Proof Your Buttons with Encryption
Add yet another layer of security to a Buy Now Button by encrypting its contents with
OpenSSL and C/C++ .
Now that you've created a complete Buy Now button [Hack #28] , how can you prevent potential
hackers from seeing (and possibly changing) the information you're passing to PayPal? PayPal's button
encryption enables you to hide the exact contents of your HTML form in aPKCS7-encrypted blob.
While it is not necessary to integrate button encryption into every web site, it does allow you to provide
another layer of security without affecting your customers' buying experience.
This hack shows how to secure the contents of a button using OpenSSL and
C/C++. For a simpler solution, see [Hack #36] .
4.11.1 OpenSSL and Keys
Button encryption is done using a cryptography library, such as OpenSSL, and a pair ofcryptographic
keys. OpenSSL is nice, because it allows you to both sign and envelope the message in one action. The
first thing to do is install OpenSSL, which is available for download at http://www.openssl.org.
Note that some knowledge of compiling programs is required for the installation of OpenSSL on Unix.
Instructions for compiling and installation on various platforms can be found in the OpenSSL download. A
precompiled Windows version is available at http://www.slproweb.com/products/Win32OpenSSL.html .
Simply follow the installation instructions for your particular environment.
Cryptographic keys must be exchanged in order for button encryption to work. You'll need to contact
PayPal to obtain PayPal's public key, and you must provide your public key to PayPal. You should
generate your keys in PEM format; consult the OpenSSL documentation
(http://www.openssl.org/docs/HOWTO/keys.txt ) for details.
4.11.2 Basic Button Encryption Using OpenSSL
Start with an unencrypted HTML form tag in your HTML page:
<form method="post" action="https://www. paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif"
name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free
and secure!">
</form>
The first thing you need to do is convert all the hidden field name/value pairs from this form into a single
string, like this:
cmd=_xclick
[email protected]
amount=1.00
currency_code=USD
Keep in mind that the line feeds required are Unix line feeds (\n ), not Windows
line feeds (\r\n ). Ensure that your program is creating the string correctly or you
will get decryption errors when posting your encrypted form.
Next, load the PayPal public key from the paypal_cert.pem file:
BIO *bio;
X509 *gPPx509;
char* payPalCertPath = "/opt/keys/paypal_cert.pem";
if ((bio = BIO_new_file(payPalCertPath, "rt")) == NULL) {
printf("Fatal Error: Failed to open (%s)\n", payPalCertPath);
goto end;
}
if ((gPPx509 = PEM_read_bio_X509(bio, NULL, NULL, NULL)) == NULL) {
printf("Fatal Error: Failed to read Paypal certificate from
(%s)\n", payPalCertPath);
return "";
}
BIO_free(bio);
Then, load your public and private keys:
X509 *x509 = NULL;
RSA *rsa = NULL;
char* certPath = "/opt/keys/my_cert.pem";
char* keyPath = "/opt/keys/my_key.pem";
if ((bio = BIO_new_file(certPath, "rt")) == NULL) {
printf("Fatal Error: Failed to open (%s)\n", certPath);
goto end;
}
if ((x509 = PEM_read_bio_X509(bio, NULL, NULL, NULL)) == NULL) {
printf("Fatal Error: Failed to read certificate from (%s)\n", certPath);
goto end;
}
BIO_free(bio);
if ((bio = BIO_new_file(keyPath, "rt")) == NULL) {
printf("Fatal Error: Failed to open (%s)\n", keyPath);
goto end;
}
if ((rsa = PEM_read_bio_RSAPrivateKey(bio, NULL, NULL, NULL)) == NULL) {
printf("Fatal Error: Unable to read RSA key (%s).\n", keyPath);
goto end;
}
BIO_free(bio);
' Create an EVP_PKEY instance from the private key you just loaded:
EVP_PKEY *pkey = EVP_PKEY_new( );
if (EVP_PKEY_set1_RSA(pkey, rsa) == 0) {
printf("Fatal Error: Unable to create EVP_KEY from RSA key\n");
goto end;
}
' create the PKCS7 instance so you can create the PKCS7 Blob:
PKCS7 *p7 = PKCS7_new( );
PKCS7_set_type(p7, NID_pkcs7_signedAndEnveloped);
PKCS7_SIGNER_INFO* si = PKCS7_add_signature(p7, x509, pkey, EVP_sha1( ));
if (si) {
if (PKCS7_add_signed_attribute(si, NID_pkcs9_contentType, V_ASN1_OBJECT,
OBJ_nid2obj(NID_pkcs7_data)) <= 0) {
printf("OpenSSL Error: %s\n", ERR_error_string(ERR_get_error( ), NULL));
goto end;
}
} else {
printf("Fatal Error: Failed to sign PKCS7\n");
goto end;
}
//Encryption
if (PKCS7_set_cipher(p7, EVP_des_ede3_cbc( )) <= 0) {
printf("OpenSSL Error: %s\n", ERR_error_string(ERR_get_error( ), NULL));
goto end;
}
if (PKCS7_add_recipient(p7, gPPx509) <= 0) {
printf("OpenSSL Error: %s\n", ERR_error_string(ERR_get_error( ), NULL));
goto end;
}
if (PKCS7_add_certificate(p7, x509) <= 0) {
printf("OpenSSL Error: %s\n", ERR_error_string(ERR_get_error( ), NULL));
goto end;
}
BIO *p7bio = PKCS7_dataInit(p7, NULL);
if (!p7bio) {
printf("OpenSSL Error: %s\n", ERR_error_string(ERR_get_error( ), NULL));
goto end;
}
//Pump data to special PKCS7 BIO. This encrypts and signs it.
BIO_write(p7bio, data, strlen(data));
BIO_flush(p7bio);
PKCS7_dataFinal(p7, p7bio);
//Write PEM encoded PKCS7
BIO *bio = BIO_new(BIO_s_mem( ));
if (!bio || (PEM_write_bio_PKCS7(bio, p7) == 0)) {
printf("Fatal Error: Failed to create PKCS7 PEM\n");
}
BIO_flush(bio);
char *str;
int len = BIO_get_mem_data(bio, &str);
char *ret = new char [len + 1];
memcpy(ret, str, len);
ret[len] = 0;
' free the resources:
PKCS7_free(p7);
BIO_free_all(bio);
BIO_free_all(p7bio);
The last step to enable button encryption is to change the value of thecmd form tag to _s-xclick and
add the PKCS7 blob as a form value of encrypted ..
When you're done, you'll end up with something like this:
<form method="post" action="https://www.sandbox.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif"
name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_s-xclick">
<input type="hidden" id="encrypted" name="encrypted" value="-----BEGIN PKCS7----MIIEvQYJKoZIhvcNAQcEoIIErjCCBKoCAQExggE0MIIBMAIBADCBmDCBkjELMAkG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-----END PKCS7----">
</form>
Obviously, this code is nearly impossible to decipher or tamper with, makingit sufficiently obfuscated.
- Michael Blanton
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 38 Include Payment Buttons in Email Messages
Use the PayPal Payment Request Wizard to send Pay Now buttons from Microsoft Outlook.
Sending invoices via email with PayPal's Request Money feature [Hack #17] is a quick and effective
way to ask someone to pay you. The Pay Now buttons PayPal includes in the resulting email make it
easy for your customers to pay you; after two clicks and a login, customers with PayPal accounts can
send you money in less than a minute.
But the Request Money feature has its limitations. While the email appears to come from you, it's
actually sent from PayPal, which means that you won't be able to customize it fully. If you need to
include pictures, files, hyperlinks, custom HTML, or multiple purchase buttons, you'll have to send the
email yourself.
4.12.1 Creating PayPal Payment Hyperlinks
Adding a PayPal payment hyperlink to your own email involves nothing more than typing a simple
URL [Hack #18] . The required parameters to create a basic hyperlink are email address, payment
amount, and item name.
However, there are many optional parameters you can include in the hyperlink to help you provide a
more complete payment record, such as the currency, item number, quantity, shipping, and request
for shipping address. For example:
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_xclick&business=
email%40paypalhacks%2Ecom&amount=10%2E00&currency_code=USD&item_name=
jersey&item_number=1001&quantity=1&shipping=3%2E00&no_shipping=0
As you can see, the hyperlink begins to become unwieldy. Hyperlinks this long or longer cause
problems because email programs chop them up into smaller pieces when they wrap the text. More
than likely, only the first piece will be hyperlinked and a customer will not think twice about clicking it
and attempting to complete the transaction with incomplete information.
The simplest solution is to run the address through TinyURL[1] (http://tinyurl.com), which will convert
it to something that looks like this:
[1]
SnipURL (http://snipurl.com) also works and takes it a bit further with tracking features. For a similar, yet far
less useful URL-processing tool, try HugeURL (http://hugeurl.com).
http://tinyurl.com/2tqz8
The resulting link is always short enough to be spared the aforementioned word wrap. Unfortunately,
the https://www.paypal.com/ prefix will be lost, and your more diligent customers might avoid it.
See [Hack #39] for another, more official way to get shortened payment
URLs, and protect your email from spammers in the process.
4.12.2 Using the PayPal Payment Wizard
Want something more professional-looking than a bare URL in your emails? Nearly all modern email
programs support HTML (much to the bane of the minimalists among us), which means that you can
replace ordinary URLs with hyperlinked, graphical buttons right in your email messages.
Simply use your email software's formatting tools to insert an image and then link it to a payment
URL you construct. In fact, URLs in hyperlinks can be as long as 1024 bytes (characters), which is
plenty for PayPal's payment URLs. Of course, there's a cost: these payment buttons can be timeconsuming to create...until now.
Enter the PayPal Payment Wizard, a free add-in toolbar for Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Outlook
Express that allows you to painlessly insert payment buttons into your emails.
You can create five different types of PayPal payment buttons, each with six different button designs:
Payment Button (Basic)
This type of button is easiest to use, because it requires only your email address and payment
amount, but it offers the fewest options.
Product Button
This type allows you to enter product details and request a shipping address[Hack #28] .
Service Button
This type allows you to enter a service description [Hack #30] .
Auction Payment Button
Use this to request payment for an auction item [Hack #31] .
Donate Button
Use this to allow the donor to specify the donation amount [Hack #40] .
To use the Payment Wizard toolbar, start by downloading it from http://www.paypal.com/outlook
and installing it on your computer. You might be asked to close Microsoft Outlook if it's open.
The PayPal Payment Wizard currently supports only Microsoft Outlook and
Outlook Express on Windows. If you're using Eudora or some other email
software, or if you are using a Mac or Linux, you'll have to create payment
buttons manually.
To insert a button with the Payment Wizard, follow these steps:
1. Open Outlook or Outlook Express.
2. Click the Payment Request Wizard icon on the toolbar (shown in Figure 4-7).
Figure 4-7. Payment Wizard toolbar in Microsoft Outlook Express
3. When you see the first page of the wizard, click Next.
4. On the Payment Button Type screen, choose one of the five aforementioned payment button
types. For this example, select the second option, Product Button, and click Next.
5. The Product Button requires only the email address to which payment should be sent, and the
payment amount, as shown in Figure 4-8.
Figure 4-8. Creating a Product Button
There are several optional fields. You can specify the subject of the payment email you'll receive
if the recipient pays. The First Name and Last Name fields are not currently used, so you can
leave them blank. You can leave the Buyer's Email, Subject, First Name, and Last Name empty,
because they are not required.
6. If your product requires shipping, turn on the Solicit Shipping Address option. PayPal will ask the
buyer to specify a shipping address.
7. In the Product Details area, enter the name of the product and its ID number, if you have it.
8. In the Sale Details area, enter the price of the product. If you are selling multiple identical
products, change the quantity to the reflect the quantity you are going to sell. If you are selling
two toy trucks for the same price of $15 each, enter $15 and change the quantity to 2. You will
see the Total Payment update to $30.
The Payment Wizard does not support multiple products. If you are
collecting payment for more than one product, you will have to summarize
the products in the Name field and enter a quantity of 1. See the next
section of this hack for another solution.
9. In the S&H field, enter the amount to charge for shipping and handling. If you change this field,
you will see the Total Payment update to reflect the new amount.
10. Select the currency, confirm that the Total Payment is correct, and click Next when you're done.
11. On the Button screen, select the button you would like to put into your email. The wizard
provides six payment button images, all hosted on the PayPal web site (they might not appear if
you or your recipient are not connected to the Internet).
12. If you would like to use another image for your button, select the URL option and enter the URL
12.
of your image file (presumably hosted on your own site). The button must be on a web server
that can be accessed by anyone via the Internet. You can also choose the Text option to put the
PayPal payment URL behind a text link instead of an image.
13. Click Next to view the You're Almost Done screen, where you'll see a summary of the values
selected for your Payment Button. Verify that the information is correct and press the Test
button to see the button in action.
14. If you are planning on sending many similar buttons, check the Save settings box. The wizard
will save your settings for the next time.
15. Click Insert, and the fully configured button will be inserted into a blank email. (You won't be
able to click on the button, because you're in edit mode.)
16. At this point, complete the email. Type one or more email addresses into the To field, enter a
subject, and include a note or instructions to accompany the button, as illustrated inFigure 4-9.
Figure 4-9. Payment Button ready to send from your own email
17. Click Send when you're finished.
17.
When your customer opens the email, he will be able to click the button and pay you after logging
into his PayPal account. To test this experience firsthand, send the email to your own email address.
4.12.3 Including More than One Button in an Email
Since the PayPal Payment Wizard creates a new email message with each button, there is no way to
use it to insert more than one button into a single email message. However, overcoming this
limitation is easy enough:
1. Insert a payment button with the Payment Wizard, as described in the previous section.
2. Using your mouse, select the area around the new button, making sure to include the lines
above and below the new button, as shown in Figure 4-10.
Figure 4-10. Selected Payment Button including line above and below
the button
If you select only the button and not the lines above and below, you'll get
only the image without the hyperlink.
3. Copy the selection to the clipboard by pressing Ctrl-C or by selecting Copy from Outlook's Edit
menu.
4.
3.
4. Click to place the insertion point (text cursor) where you'd like the new button to appear, and
paste the button into the existing email by pressing Ctrl-V or by selecting Paste from Outlook's
Edit menu. You can paste the button into any email, including one that already contains a
payment button.
Repeat the process for each additional payment button you would like to insert. To verify that the
image and corresponding hyperlink have been pasted correctly, as well as to make any changes to
the URL, right-click the button and select Properties.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 39 Hide Your Email Address from Spammers
Use your PayPal referral ID to prevent your email address from being harvested by
spammers.
Spam (unsolicited bulk email) is a growing problem for Internet users, especially for those who have
web sites that can be spidered by spambots looking for email addresses. The HTML generated by the
PayPal Button Factory contains the email address listed in your PayPal account, making it available to
address harvesters. Prevent this potential misuse by replacing your email address with yourreferral
ID (also known as the affiliate ID).
This hack does not work with the HTML code generated for the PayPal
Shopping Cart [Hack #45] . It also doesn't support encrypted buttons [Hack
#37], although buttons protected by encryption are already well-protected
from spammers.
To implement this fix, you need to obtain your referral ID from the PayPal web site and then edit
your HTML button code, substituting the referral ID for your email address.
To obtain your referral ID from PayPal, click the Referrals link at the bottom of any PayPal page. You
will see a text box with a URL in it, which will look something like
https://www.paypal.com/mrb/pal=ABC1DEF2GHIJK. Your referral ID is the part of the URL after
pal=; in this case, the referral ID is ABC1DEF2GHIJK.
To put the referral ID in place of your email address, open the web page that contains the button in a
text or HTML editor and find the all sections of code that look like this:
<input type="hidden" name="business" value=" [email protected]">
Replace your email address with your referral ID, like this:
<input type="hidden" name="business" value=" ABC1DEF2GHIJK">
You will need to do this for each button on your site. Your buttons will operate normally, and your
customers won't know the difference.
Keep in mind that this hack does not provide anonymity. Buyers will still see
your email address in the process of making a payment.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 40 Accept Donations
Accept PayPal donations to fill your nonprofit's coffers, and tweak the Donate Now button
to suit your needs .
The Internet has long been a tool for bringing together like-minded activists in a common cause. After
Howard Dean's campaign for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, however, fundraisers
working in the mainstream learned that the power of the Net could not only get out the word, but bring
in the green as well.
PayPal has long understood the value of making donations quick and easy. The Make a Donation
button lets you start accepting contributions immediately. To create abutton follow these steps:
1. Log into your PayPal account.
2. Click the Merchant Tools tab, and then click Donations (under Website Payments).
3. Fill in a name and ID number, if you wish. A Donate Now button's name and ID number, like the
Item Name/Service and Item ID/Number in a Buy Now button, let you and your contributors
identify payments. By using different numbers and descriptions, you can place a number of
buttons on your site, each soliciting donations to different programs.
4. Enter an amount or leave blank if you want your donors to enter an amount themselves. Either
way, you'll need to select a currency in which donations will be made.
5. Choose from the selection of PayPal donation buttons, or specify the URL of your own button
image.
6. Choose the encrypted or unencrypted version of the button. If you're not sure which one to use,
choose the unencrypted version; you can replace it later with an encrypted one once your button
is functioning. Unencrypted buttons are plain HTML forms-easy to read, understand, and modify.
An encrypted button, on the other hand, is inscrutable to anyone but the PayPal system and
impossible to modify or customize. While unencrypted buttons can be created with any software
tool, encrypted buttons can, at the time of this writing, be created only with the PayPal system's
Merchant Tools. Encrypted buttons can be useful in some situations, such as to protect your email
address from spammers. Openness, however, is usually best. See[Hack #36] to learn more
about button encryption.
The encryption of buttons is a relatively new feature to the PayPal system.
The unencrypted button, open to be read and understood by all, might have
its roots in PayPal's corporate culture, which holds "open and honest
communication" as a core value.
7.
7. Click Create Button Now when you're done.
The HTML code generated for your button is found in a textarea box on the next page. Just select its
contents, press Ctrl-C to copy the text to the clipboard, and then paste the text into your web page.
4.14.1 Establishing Suggested Giving Levels
Your donors might be more comfortable giving at one of several suggested donationlevels than having
to fill in a blank box with a dollar amount.
Include a catchy name for each donation level. For instance, the California State
Railroad Museum Foundation (http://www.csrmf.org ) offers six suggested
donation levels: become a Brakeman for $25, a Fireman for $35, a Conductor for
$50, an Engineer for $100, a Trainmaster for $250, or a Silver Spike/Railroad
Patron for $1,000.
Provide a drop-down list (shown here) or a radio button group to allow your donors to easily choose an
amount:
<blockquote>
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<p>Please contribute to XHTML Promotion Society, "Diamond" Dave Burchell,
DocBook Outreach Officer.</p>
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick"/>
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]"/>
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="General Fund Contribution"/>
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="GF-1"/>
<!-- <input type="hidden" name="amount" value="3.00"/> -->
<p>Contribution amount:
<select name="amount">
<option value="200"/>$200
<option selected value="100"/>$100
<option value="75"/>$75
<option value="50"/>$50
<option value="25"/>$25
</select>
</p>
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1"/>
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD"/>
<input type="hidden" name="tax" value="0"/>
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but21.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast,
free and secure!"/>
</form>
</blockquote>
Among other things, a page like the one shown in Figure 4-11will give your donors some idea how
much others might be donating.
Figure 4-11. Suggesting a range of donation levels to encourage your
contributors to donate fistfuls of cash
You'll collect more money by setting the default donation level (marked with the
selected parameter in the code)one notch higher than the amount most donors
actually give. This will encourage your more generous supporters to stretch just
a bit, while raising the bar for those who might otherwise choose the lowest
level.
4.14.2 Requiring Information from Your Donors
In some situations, such as the collecting of contributions to a political campaign, you'll require
information about your donors. For example, your local election laws might require you to record the
occupation and employer of each contributor.
You could simply ask contributors to include this information in the note field (answer Yes to the Collect
Additional Information From Your Customers question on the Add More Options page), but when was
the last time you saw a customer ever follow directions? Instead, include a littleJavaScript to virtually
insure that your donors provide the information you need:
<script language="javascript">
<!-function noEntry( ) {
if (document.contribution_form.os0.value.length<1) {
alert("Please fill in your Employer.");
return false; }
else if (document.contribution_form.os1.value.length<1) {
alert("Please fill in your Occupation.");
return false; }
if (document.contribution_form.amount.value.length<1) {
alert("Please fill in the amount to donate.");
return false; }
else if (document.contribution_form.amount.value<1) {
alert("No pennies please.");
return false; }
else if ((document.contribution_form.q1.checked==false) ||
(document.contribution_form.q2.checked==false) ||
(document.contribution_form.q3.checked==false) ||
(document.contribution_form.q4.checked==false)) {
alert("You must agree to all four certifications.");
return false; }
else { return true; }
}
// -->
</script>
<blockquote>
<h4 align="center">Please show your support for "Diamond" Dave Burchell's
run for the position of city dogcatcher with a generous donation.</h4>
<form name="contribution_form" onsubmit="return noEntry( )" action=
"https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post" target="_blank">
<input type="hidden" value="Occupation" name="on1"/>
<input type="hidden" value="Employer" name="on0"/>
<input type="hidden" value="Dogcatcher Campaign Contribution" name=
"item_name"/>
<input type="hidden" value="PayPalTech" name="bn"/>
<!-- enter the email address on your PayPal account below -->
<input type="hidden" value="[email protected]" name="business"/>
<input type="hidden" value="_xclick" name="redirect_cmd"/>
<input type="hidden" value="_ext-enter" name="cmd"/>
<center>
<table border="0" width="100%">
<tbody>
<tr>
<td width="37%" align="right">First Name: </td>
<td width="63%"><input name="first_name" size="15"/> </td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td width="37%" align="right">Last Name: </td>
<td width="63%"><input name="last_name" size="15"/> </td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td width="37%" align="right">Employer:</td>
<td width="63%"><input name="os0"/> (required)</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td width="37%" align="right">Occupation: </td>
<td width="63%"><input name="os1"/> (required)</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td width="37%" align="right">Phone Number: </td>
<td width="63%"><input name="item_number" size="12"/> </td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td width="37%" align="right">Amount: </td>
<td width="63%">$ <input name="amount" size="7"/> (limit
$1000)</td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>
<table border="0" width="90%">
<tbody>
<tr>
<td width="305"><br/>
You must check each of the boxes below to meet federal contribution
requirements:<br/>
<br/>
<input type="checkbox" value="1" name="q1"/>This
contribution is made from my own funds, and not from those of another.<br/>
<br/>
<input type="checkbox" value="1" name="q2"/>
This contribution is not made from general treasury fund of a
corporation, labor organization, or national bank.<br/>
<br/>
<input type="checkbox" value="1" name="q3"/>
I am not a Federal Government Contractor, nor am I a Foreign National
who lacks permanent resident status in the United States.<br/>
<br/>
<input type="checkbox" value="1" name="q4"/>
This contribution is made on a personal credit card or debit card for
which I have a legal obligation to pay, and is made neither on a
corporate or business entity card nor on the card of another.
</td>
</tr>
</tbody>
</table>
<p align="center"><input type="submit" value="Contribute" name="button"/></p>
</center>
</form>
Here, the noEntry() JavaScript routine, executed when the contributor submits the form, displays an
error if the Employer or Occupation fields are blank, or if the donor enters a donation that's too low,
as shown in Figure 4-12 .
Figure 4-12. A little JavaScript prevents donors from sending you
donations you can't use
This client-side validation script will fail if the contributor's JavaScript option is
disabled in the browser settings. You should always supplement this script with
server-side validation to ensure that improper submissions aren't let through.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 41 PayPal-Enable Your Flash
Add PayPal Buy Now or Subscription functionality to your Flash-powered online store using
the WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Snap-ins .
Increasingly, Flash has been putting the sizzle in the online shopping experience by adding cool
interactivity and fancy special effects to otherwise bland web pages. Over the last couple years,
Macromedia has added several full-fledged software architectures to support Flash-based transactions.
Flash forms take advantage of the enhanced interactive capabilities of the vector-based client and
allow all manner of special effects, including visual sorting and drag-and-drop shopping options. The
latest versions of Flash also provide standard components for commonly used form elements, such as
text fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, and lists, which means that you can accept PayPal payments
from within Flash elements on your web site.
4.15.1 Snap in the PayPal Connection
So, what does it take to make the Flash connection to PayPal? In truth, the back-end ActionScript
required to make the necessary PayPal connection is extremely complex. The good news, however, is
that a Flash extension, developed by PayPal and WebAssist, provides the core functionality while
leaving a great deal of room for programmatic customization.
Get the extension-known as the WA PayPal eCommerce Snap-ins for Flash MX-from
http://webassist.com/Products/ProductDetails.asp?PID=24 . The extension is free; you just need to
register with WebAssist. Install the extension into Flash MX by double-clicking the downloaded file, or
into Flash MX 2004 via Macromedia's Extension Manager. If you have Flash open, you'll need to quit
and relaunch the program for the snap-in to appear.
Once the extension is installed, you can straightforwardly handle the basics for adding a Buy Now or
Subscription button to your page. If the item you're selling has no options or other complications, you
don't even have to touch the ActionScript.
Start by building your basic product page. Make sure there is at least one clickable element (such as a
button) on the Flash stage, and give it a name in the Property inspector.
Typically, Flash buttons are used for such an interactive event. If you're designchallenged, the installed extension includes a number of Buy Now or Subscription
buttons, located in the PayPal Buttons folder of the Common Libraries window.
You can drag these to any location on the stage.
Open the Components panel and look in the WA PayPal eCommerce category. Drag either the Buy Now
or Subscription object (these are the actual snap-ins) anywhere onto the stage.
Although the snap-in appears as a visual element at design-time, you won't see
it when the movie is published. All of its power is behind the scenes.
To complete the simple Flash PayPal configuration, you'll need to establish the details to be sent. While
you can set these values in ActionScript, as explained later in this hack, you can also use the snap-in's
Component inspector. Select the snap-in and, in the Property inspector, click the LaunchComponent
Inspector button.
In the Parameters tab of the Component Inspector panel, you'll see a custom dialog box for the snapins, as shown in Figure 4-13 . Each of the snap-in parameter dialogs is a specialized multitabbed affair.
Figure 4-13. Setting the properties of the PayPal extension in
Macromedia's Component Inspector
Take a look at the Component Inspector for the Buy Now snap-in, in which the following parameters
are separated into three tabs (General, Item Details, and Shipping):
General tab
PayPal Account
The PayPal recipient's email address (required)
Company Logo
The web address (URL) of your logo graphic (such as a .jpg file), which will be incorporated
into the PayPal page
Success URL
A fully formed URL to the web page you want your customers to see after a successful
PayPal transaction
Cancel URL
The web address of the page to which customers who cancel are sent
Item Details tab
Item Name/Service
The name of the item being sold
Item ID Number
The product SKU or other ID number passed through to you (not seen by the customer)
Price
The base price of the item
Currency
The type of currency to be used (choices are U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, euros, British
pounds and Japanese yen)
Multiple Units Option
A checkbox that controls whether customers can order a quantity of more than one
Shipping tab
Base Shipping
The shipping cost for a single item
Extra Shipping
Shipping charges added, per additional item, if more than one unit is ordered
Handling
The handling charge, over and above the aforementioned shipping charges, applied to the
entire order
Shipping Information Option
A checkbox that determines whether PayPal will request the customer's shipping
information
Note Option
An option that allows customers to add a note with their PayPal order
The Subscription Component Inspector parameter dialog is similar to the one for
the Buy Now snap-in, but it offers special fields for specifying one-time or
recurring billing, as well as trial offers.
For items with properties that are completely covered by the options in the Component Inspector
panel, no additional ActionScript is required to complete the PayPal order. All you need do is publish
the .swf file and put it in an HTML page on the Web; the rest is automatic. But, of course, you want
more, don't you?
4.15.2 Hacking the Hack
So, what's underneath the hood of the WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Snap-ins for Flash MX? Quite a
bit, as it turns out. There are 31 different methods embedded in the Buy Now snap-in and 38 in the
Subscribe snap-in. Of these, about half are used to set values, and the other half are used to pass
those values to PayPal. The setting methods are of prime interest to the Flash/PayPal hacker.
Take a look at a typical example that ties additional options (and their related prices) to a PayPal item.
Imagine a fictional online T-shirt emporium that offers a fancy-dancy item available in five different
colors and four different sizes. There's no difference in price for the various colors available. However,
Flash can represent the different colors quite easily, thus adding a nice visual flair to our product page.
T-shirt size, on the other hand, goes up with price: $10.99 for small, $13.99 for medium, $15.99 for
large, and $18.99 for extra large.
Again, representing this in the .swf is trivial for Flash MX or Flash MX 2004. The values in the dropdown size list are displayed in a dynamic text variable as the current price. But how do you send the
correct item cost and order details to PayPal? Short answer: use the set methods. Here's the longer,
code-oriented answer-just place this ActionScript code into your project:
function setPrice( )
{
// Get the price (based on size list)
var newPrice = sizeList.getValue( );
1.
BN.setAmount(newPrice);
2.
BN.setItemName(sizeList.getSelectedItem( ).label+" "+colorList.getSelectedItem( ).
label+" WebAssist.com T-Shirt");
3.
BN.setItemNumber(String(sizeList.getSelectedIndex( )) + String
(colorList.getSelectedIndex( )));
}
The function setPrice() is called when the page is first loaded and each time any option changes.
Both options (color and size) are selected from drop-down lists,colorList and sizeList ,
respectively. The first line of the code picks up the price from thesizeList . The user sees the labels
in the list (Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large), but the values are set to prices of10.99 , 13.99 ,
15.99 , and 18.99 . The current item price is established as amount to send to PayPal on line 1.
The Buy Now snap-in instance placed on the stage is named BN, and any methods that relate to that
instance are named with the BN prefix. Two more functions are used to set the item name (which is
what the customer sees on the Payment For line of the PayPal page) and the item number (a SKU
number that is sent to the online store owner for order processing) on lines 2 and 3, respectively.
Any value that you can set in the Component Parameter dialog can be set programmatically in
ActionScript. Table 4-1 shows all Buy Now methods that set values.
Table 4-1. Buy Now Button methods that set values
Buy Now method
Argument
Description
setAllowNote( " allow ")
Boolean; true
or false
Sets whether the buyer can include a note with the
payment. If set to false , your customer will not be
prompted to include a note.
setAmount( " amount ")
String
Sets the base amount of the item.
String
Specifies the PayPal ID, or email address, where
payments will be sent. This email address must be
confirmed and linked to your verified Business or
Premier account.
String; fully
formed URL
Sets the URL of the page viewed when the Cancel
button is clicked. This item is optional; if omitted,
users will be taken to the PayPal site.
String; valid
values are USD ,
GBP , EUR , CAD
, or JPY
Sets the currency to be used for payment. For
example, to use the euro instead of the U.S. dollar,
change the currency from USD to EUR . Other
available currencies include pounds sterling (GBP ),
the Canadian dollar (CAD ), and Japanese yen (JPY ).
String
Sets the extra shipping cost per item after the first
item. If this optional value is omitted, and your
Profile-based shipping is enabled, your customer will
be charged the amount or percentage defined in your
Profile.
String
Sets the handling charge. This is not quantityspecific. The same handling will be charged regardless
of the number of items purchased.
String
Specifies the name or description of the item
(maximum 127 characters).
String
Sets the item number, SKU, or unique key; this is the
pass-through variable with which you can track
payments. It will not be displayed to your customer
but will get passed back to you at the completion of
payment (maximum 127 characters).
setLogoURL( " url ")
String; fully
formed URL
Sets the URL to your company logo, an image up to
150 by 50 pixels. This is optional; if omitted, your
customer will see your business name (if you have a
Business account) or email address (if you have a
Premier account).
setNoShipping( "
bNoShipping ")
Boolean; true
or false
Sets whether shipping information is necessary for
checkout. If set to true , your customer will not be
asked for a shipping address.
setBusinessID( "
business ")
setCancelURL( " url ")
setCurrency( " currency
")
setExtraShipping( "
amount ")
setHandling( " amount ")
setItemName( " name ")
setItemNumber( "
itemNumber ")
setShipping( " amount ")
String
Sets the shipping charge. If shipping is used and
shipping_extra is not defined, this flat amount will
be charged regardless of the quantity of items
purchased. If you are using item-based shipping,
Buy Now method
setReturnURL( " url ")
setTarget( " window ")
Argument
Description
purchased. If you are
using item-based shipping,
make sure the Override checkbox is checked in your
Profile.
String; fully
formed URL
Sets the URL of the page to which the customer is
sent when the order is complete. This item is
optional, if omitted, customers will be taken to the
PayPal site.
String; default
value is _self
Sets the target window where the payment
processing information will be displayed. The constant
_self can be used for the current window, _blank
will always open a new window, and _parent will
replace the parent frameset. You can also specify
another frame in your frameset, such as content .
setUpdateableQuantity ( Boolean; true
" updateable ")
or false
Sets whether the buyer can change the quantity on
the PayPal site. If set to true , the customer will be
able to edit the quantity. If this optional value is
omitted or set to false , the quantity will default to
1.
The Subscription methods are, for the most part, the same as the methods that set values; all
methods listed in Table 4-1 , with the exception of setAmount , setExtraShipping , setHandling ,
setShipping , and setUpdateableQuery , can also be used with an instance of a Subscription snap-in.
Table 4-2 lists the additional Subscription set methods available.
Table 4-2. Subscription Button methods that set values
Subscription method
Argument
Description
setBillContinuous( "
billContinuously ")
Boolean;
true or
false
Specifies whether this is a recurring payment. If set to
true , the payment will recur unless your customer
cancels the subscription before the end of the billing cycle.
If omitted, the subscription payment will not recur at the
end of the billing cycle.
setBillingAmount( "
amount ")
String
Sets the price of the purchase at the standard rate.
setBillingPeriod( "
period ")
String
Specifies the length of the billing cycle. The number is
modified by the regular billing cycle units, set by
setBillingTime("timeUnit") .
setBillingTime( "
timeUnit "
String; valid
values are D
, W , M or Y
Sets the unit of time that the billing period is measured in
(D =days, W =weeks, M =months, Y =years).
Sets whether to reattempt billing if the payment is
Subscription method
Boolean;
either true
or false
Description
Sets whether to reattempt
billing if the payment is
declined. If set to true and the payment fails, the
payment will be reattempted two more times. After the
third failure, the subscription will be canceled. If omitted
and the payment fails, payment will not be reattempted
and the subscription will be immediately canceled.
setStopAfterBilling( "
number ")
String
Specifies the number of payments to occur at the regular
rate. If omitted, payment will recur at the regular rate
until the subscription is cancelled.
setTrialAmount( "
amount ")
String
Sets the trial price. For a free trial, use a value of 0 .
getTrialPeriod( "
period ")
String
Sets the length of the trial period. This number is modified
by the trial period units, set by
setTrialTime("timeUnit") .
getTrialTime( "
timeUnit ")
String: valid
values are D
, W , M or Y
Sets the unit of time in which the trial is measured (D
=days, W =weeks, M =months, Y =years).
setReattempt( "
reattempt ")
Argument
Combine Flash's interactive flair with the ActionScript methods to put your customers in the driver's
seat and still get all the information you need to process your PayPal order correctly.
- Joe Lowery
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 42 Get More Out of Dreamweaver and PayPal
Use the WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Toolkit to enable fast, easy, and flexible PayPal
transactions with Dreamweaver.
If you use Macromedia Dreamweaver to design and produce web pages, you can use the WebAssist
PayPal eCommerce Toolkit (an extension to Dreamweaver) to integrate PayPal with your web site.
Naturally, you can use Dreamweaver's code editor to insert any PayPal transaction you want, but
why hand-code when you can point and click? The results are the same as hand-coding; it's just
quicker, less error prone, and requires almost no technical savvy: what's not to love?
4.16.1 Drag and Drop eCommerce
With WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Toolkit (available for free at http://www.webassist.com), you can
insert Add to Cart, View Cart, Subscription, and Buy Now buttons. Insert any of these objects and a
multistep wizard walks you through the particulars of the process. Each wizard offers a nice library of
button designs to choose from, so you don't have to create any artwork from scratch. However, if
you do have your own button, you can enter the URL of its web-based location and that button will be
used.
Other available options depend on which button type is being inserted. The Buy Now button, for
example, lets you specify the base shipping, any extra shipping to be added for each additional item
ordered, and overall handling charges. If you enter these additional values, they override your
general account settings on a per-item basis. Adding a Subscription button, on the other hand, gives
you the ability to establish periodic billing values (i.e., how much for how long) and trial-offer
settings, such as the length of the trial offer. You can even determine a setup fee for a subscription.
4.16.2 Hacking the Hack
By itself, the WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Toolkit is great for items with nooptions or variations.
However, by doing a little work on the form that contains the PayPal buttons, you can greatly extend
the toolkit's functionality. Most of the following techniques center on two concepts: naming form
elements properly and using hidden form fields. These concepts work together to pass the correct
information to PayPal when the transaction is initiated.
Say your your item is available in several sizes or configurations at varying prices. You can pass the
right price to PayPal in two ways: using drop-down lists or radio buttons. To offer multiple prices with
a list, follow these steps:
1.
2.
1. Insert a list/menu form element from Dreamweaver's Insert bar, found in the Forms category.
2. Select the list element and, in the Property inspector, enter amount in the (ironically unlabeled)
name field on the top left.
3. Choose List Values to open the List Values dialog box.
4. In the dialog, enter the first item you want the user to see in the Label column.
5. Press Tab and, in the Value column, enter the corresponding amount you want passed to PayPal
when this item is chosen. Enter just the raw number without dollar signs. For the first item, it's
common to use a directive like "Choose From This List" rather than an item. If you use basic
text like this, be sure to leave the corresponding Value empty.
6. Press Tab again to enter another Label/Value pair.
7. When you're done, click OK.
When the user makes a selection from the list, the related value is assigned as the amount and sent
to PayPal at transaction time. If you'd prefer to display all options on-screen rather than contain
them in a list, use radio buttons to vary the price. Here's how:
1. Insert a radio button from the Insert bar, in the Forms category.
2. In the Property inspector, enter amount in the name field.
3. In the Checked Value field, enter the number value you want to send to PayPal when this option
is selected.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 for each additional option and price point you'd like.
Keep the name of each button in the radio group the same (amount) and vary the Checked Value
numbers. You can use as many radio buttons as needed.
What about other types of options? PayPal allows two additional options per item. Using the following
technique, you can pass two pairs of name and associated information to be included in the order
sent to the store owner for fulfillment. If this technique is used to pass color choices, for example, the
string passed to PayPal (and on to the owner) might be color="Cream".
Let's say that you have a list of colors for the customer to choose from in your product page. Set up
the color list with name/value pairs as described in the previous steps for establishing the amount.
This time, however, name the list/menu form object os0 , which stands for Object String 0, the first
of the two PayPal option values allowed.
Of course, you can't send a value without identifying it. To tell PayPal and, eventually, the fulfillment
folks, what this value is for, insert a hidden form field from Dreamweaver's Insert bar, in the Forms
category. With the hidden form field selected, enter its name in the Property inspector:on0 (short for
Object Name 0). Complete the operation by entering color in the Value field of the Property
inspector. Your first option is ready to go. You can enter another option (perhaps setting the item's
size) by following same procedure and substituting os1 and on1 for the new option's value and name,
respectively.
- Joe Lowery
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 43 Provide Options with ASP.NET Web Controls
Create custom web controls in ASP.NET to allow customers to specify product options with
their orders .
As described in [Hack #28] , you can send option information to PayPal so that it appears as part of the
transaction along with other item details, such as quantity and price. This information is vital to order
fulfillment and also allows customers to review fully what they are buying.
Sending this information to PayPal is simple. You can do it in one of two ways:
Send the information through the URL as parameters.
Send the information through form submission using HTTP POST .
PayPal looks for four parameters when information is passed to it by its payment controls: option name
one, option value one, option name two, and option value two. Geeks came up with the naming here, and
to us geeks (you might be one and find comfort in this), traditional base-10 numeric series start with the
number 0 and end with the number 9.[2] So, the first option is called option 0 and the second is called
option 1, and when you pass this information to PayPal, it looks something like this:
[2]
Actually, there are many numeric patterns that start at zero, such as the way we track the minutes in an hour.
on0="Size"
os0="Large"
on1="Color"
os1="Blue"
This information can be passed to PayPal through a URL, like this:
http://please.include.a/complete/url?on0=Size&os0=Large
or through an HTTP form POST :
<input type=hidden name="on0" value="Size">
<input type=hidden name="os0" value="Large">
PayPal will include this information in the description section of the item, so your user can view it at the
time of the sale.
4.17.1 Using the .NET Payment Controls
Collecting order details is fairly straightforward with traditional scripting languages (e.g., ASP or PERL).
Simply display the information for each product, with relevant options, in a single form for each product
(this example uses Active Server Pages with VBScript):
<% while not rs.eof%>
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method=POST>
<!-- The product name and description go here -->
<input type=hidden name="on0" value="Size">
<select name=os0>
<option value="Large">Large</option>
<option value="Medium"> Medium </option>
<option value="Small">Small </option>
</select>
<input type=hidden name="on1" value="Color">
<select name=os1>
<option value="Yellow"> Yellow </option>
<option value="Blue"> Blue </option>
<option value="Gold"> Gold </option>
</select>
<input type=submit value="Add To Basket">
<form>
<%
rs.movenext
wend
%>
This code provides purchase options with drop-down listboxes [Hack #32] to
restrict the inputs on the form.
Using product options with the .NET payment controls, however, offers a bit of a challenge, given that an
ASP.NET page only lets you have one <form> tag per ASP.NET web page, thus allowing it to maintain
page state properly.
To get around the single-form limitation, you can use theClick event of the Payment Controls to add the
option controls at runtime. The first thing you must do is set the control to use thepostback routine
(UseFormGet=false ) and disallow the pop-up command (UsePopUp=false ), so that PayPal can glean
the options from the postback.
This is a delicate process, especially when using the .NET-native data controls (e.g., DataList, Repeater,
or DataGrid). You need to understand which events fire and in what order, because this can affect how
your option controls are populated. You will be dealing with theClick event of the PayPal control, not
one of the events of the data controls, which can get a little confusing. Thus, it's best to skip ahead to the
good part: how to do it!
4.17.2 Creating Your Own PayPal Control
If you are a serious geek, you've probably already created your own Custom Server Control to handle the
intricacies of gathering option information from the ViewState. Or, at the very least, you have something
mapped out in your head. However, there might be something simpler in the following approach, and I
appeal to you to quell your ADD for another five minutes. Custom Server Controls can be useful, but they
can also (and often do) add a layer of complication (a.k.a. lots of code) to an otherwise simple task.
This approach starts with a user control and then populates its options from the product information you
pass to it. User controls allow you to encapsulate functionality for individual UI components, which this is,
so you don't need to write the same code twice or create spaghetti code in order to find the control you
want hidden within your page.
This example uses PayPal's Shopping Cart and the Add to Cart Button, and it is
written in C# using ASP.NET.
Create a user control called AddToCartOptions.ascx , and add the PayPal AddToCart server control, along
with a RadioButtonList called radColors and a DropDownList called ddSize :
<table>
<tr>
<td><asp:dropdownlist id="ddSize" runat="server">
<asp:ListItem Value="Small" Selected="True">Small</asp:ListItem>
<asp:ListItem Value="Medium">Medium</asp:ListItem>
<asp:ListItem Value="Large">Large</asp:ListItem>
</asp:dropdownlist>
</td>
<td width="290">
<asp:radiobuttonlist id="radColors"
runat="server" RepeatDirection="Horizontal" Width="280px"
Height="24px">
<asp:ListItem Value="Black">Black</asp:ListItem>
<asp:ListItem Value="Blue">Blue</asp:ListItem>
<asp:ListItem Value="Paisley">Paisley</asp:ListItem>
<asp:ListItem Value="Polka Dots">Polka Dots</asp:ListItem>
</asp:radiobuttonlist>
</td>
<td>
<cc1:addtocartbutton id="AddToCartButton1" runat="server"
BusinessEmail="mybusinessemail" ItemNumber="xxxx" ItemName="Small Army Men"
Amount="1.02" ReturnUrl="http://myserver/myhandler.aspx"
CancelPurchaseUrl="http://myserver/mycancelhandler.aspx"
Shipping=".01" Tax=".01" UsePopup="false" UseFormGet="false"
</cc1:addtocartbutton>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
Make sure to set the UseFormGet and UsePopup values to false , which will force a postback to the
server. Next, in the code behind the page, add the properties or fields that will be set by the calling page:
public string ItemName;
public string ItemNumber;
public string Amount;
In the Page_Load event of the ASP.NET page, populate these values, as well as those of your options (in
case you need to populate the option controls from the database):
//expose the properties as needed
AddToCartButton1.ItemName=ItemName;
AddToCartButton1.ItemNumber=ItemNumber;
try{
AddToCartButton1.Amount=Convert.ToDouble(Amount);
}catch{
throw new Exception("Invalid value for a double: "
+Amount.ToString( ));
}
Add the event handler for the button Click event in the InitializeComponent() method:
this.AddToCartButton1.Click+=new System.EventHandler(this.AddClicked);
Finally, add the method to handle the PayPal button Click event, which reads the values of the controls
and populates the AddToCartButton1 options accordingly:
private void AddClicked(object sender, System.EventArgs e) {
AddToCartButton1.Option1FieldName="Size";
AddToCartButton1.Option1Values=ddSize.SelectedValue;
AddToCartButton1.Option2FieldName="Color";
AddToCartButton1.Option2Values=radColors.SelectedValue;
}
This method populates the control just before the output is rendered to the browser, which redirects the
user to PayPal for the purchase.
It should be noted at this point that the geeks who created this control appear not
to be the same geeks who created the aforementioned naming convention at
PayPal: the geeks who created this control are not Zeroians but nonbelievers in the
primary status of the Almighty Zero. Thus, Option1FieldName represents option
number 1 , which, in turn, corresponds to on0 .
To reward those of you who are patient enough to have made it this far, here is a final piece of wisdom:
.NET is notoriously tricky when it comes to marrying the concept of events to a stateless medium such as
a web page. There is a mess of events that goes into every request and every object; adding more
objects to a page only complicates matters, especially when those objects have event sets of their own.
If you have ever tried to run logic using the events in a user control-which is, itself, part of a DataList or
Repeater-you have undoubtedly run into the Event Freak Show TM , wherein you cannot get your events
to work properly or fire in the correct order, despite using all thePage.Postback tests in existence. If not
done properly, the options selected by your customer will be overwritten by the initialization routine of
the page, and the same meaningless information will be passed to PayPal.
The solution to this problem lies in setting the DataSource property, not the DataBind( ) method, of
your Repeater or DataList. Consider that the user control, discussed earlier in this hack, is in a Repeater
called MyRepeater :
<asp:Repeater id=MyRepeater Runat="server">
<ItemTemplate>
<uc1:_AddToCartOptions'
id=_AddToCartOptions1
runat="server"
ItemName='<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem, "ModelName")%>'
ItemNumber='<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem,
'<%#DataBinder.Eval(Container.DataItem, "UnitCost")%>'
"ModelNumber")%>'
>
</uc1:_AddToCartOptions>
</ItemTemplate>
</asp:Repeater>
To preserve the ViewState of the user control, be sure to DataBind the Repeater:
Amount=
MyRepeater.DataSource = MyDataSource;
if(!Page.IsPostBack){
MyRepeater.DataBind( );
}
The DataBind() method overwrites whatever state the user control was in when submitted by the
customer, so you need to handle the population of this control and test for the postback. Setting the
DataSource at runtime apparently helps the control remember the ViewState of its child controls.
Thus, your Repeater (or DataList) and all of its controls will maintain their ViewState, and your
customer's option selections will be passed properly.
- Rob Conery
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 44 Try Accepting Payments in a Bogus Currency
Weird out your pals and amuse your customers with PayPal's devilishly clever error message .
PayPal allows you to send and receive payments in five currencies: U.S. dollars (U SD ), Canadian dollars
(CAD ), pounds sterling (GBP ), euros (EUR ), and Japanese yen (JPY ). If you are creating your own PayPal
buttons, you'll need to indicate one of these five currencies in the button's markup. If you make a mistake
here, your prospective buyers will be greeted with a confusing error message.
However, you might want to turn this error on its ear by working it into the storyline of your web site. If
you offer products to Harry Potter fans, for example, you might want to put up a button like this:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="The Monster Book of Monsters">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="MboM">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="49.00">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code"
value="sickles">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif" border="0"
name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast, free and secure!">
</form>
Your customers will see this message:
This recipient does not accept payments denominated in sickles. Please contact the seller and ask
him to update his payment receiving preferences to accept this currency.
The useful lesson: if your customers contact you asking you to change your payment preferences to accept
CAN , CND , or YEN (none of which are valid), check your button code.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Chapter 5. Storefronts and Shopping Carts
Introduction: Hacks #45-50
Hack 45. Hack Shopping Cart Buttons
Hack 46. Create Shopping Cart Links
Hack 47. Specify the Size of the Shopping Cart Window
Hack 48. Deal with Design and Layout Issues
Hack 49. Put Both Cart Buttons in One Form
Hack 50. Integrate a Third-Party Shopping Cart with PayPal
Hack 51. Customize Checkout Pages
Hack 52. Display the Merchant Transaction ID on Your Return Page
Hack 53. Remember Your Customers
Hack 54. Create a Dynamic Storefront
Hack 55. Add Dynamic Storefront Details
Hack 56. Insert Dynamic Images
Hack 57. Build an Order-Tracking Page
Hack 58. Offer Discount Coupons
Hack 59. Increase Search Engine Exposure
Hack 60. Sell Digital Goods with PayLoadz
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Introduction: Hacks #45-50
Payment buttons are the means by which you can connect PayPal to your site and start collecting
payments for your products in minutes. If you expect customers to come along and purchase only
single products from your site, single payment buttons (discussed inChapter 4) are perfectly
adequate.
As your online business grows, however, your product offering will begin to increase and diversify and
you'll have to start thinking about ways to increase sales. A good place to start is with some sort of
system to allow customers to purchase more than one product at a time, a system commonly known
as a shopping cart.
PayPal provides a complete Shopping Cart system, built with the same PayPal buttons you've come to
know and love. All you need to do to get started is place Add to Cart and View Cart buttons on your
product pages [Hack #45], and PayPal does the rest.
The hacks in this chapter help you manage your online inventory, fulfill orders, customize your
customers' experience, promote your online store, and sell more products with the PayPal Shopping
Cart system.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 45 Hack Shopping Cart Buttons
Change code from the PayPal Button Factory to provide flexibility for your Shopping Cart.
PayPal's Shopping Cart allows merchants to provide the ability for customers to purchase a basket of
goods rather than buy one item at a time with Buy Now buttons. The Shopping Cart system is ideal
for stores with many items, but it doesn't make sense to use the PayPal Button Factory to create
each and every button for your store. Instead, you can create a single generic Shopping Cart button
and then use the HTML code as a template for all your items.
To generate the code for a simple Shopping Cart button, follow these steps:
1. Go to http://www.paypal.com, log into your account, and click the Merchant Tools tab.
2. Click on the Shopping Cart link under the Website Payments section to open the PayPal
Shopping Cart Button Factory, as shown in Figure 5-1.
Figure 5-1. Using the PayPal Button Factory to create Shopping Cart
buttons
3. Create a basic Shopping Cart button by entering any information for the item name and item
number.
4. When you're done, click Create Button Now to generate the code.
The resulting code for the Add to Cart button should look like this:
<form target="paypal" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's
fast, free and secure!">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_cart">
1.
<input type="hidden" name="business" value=" [email protected]">
2.
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value=" Widget">
3.
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value=" Wid-001">
4.
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value=" 1.00">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
</form>
Lines 2-4 contain the three variables that define the details of the individual product, such as the
product name, item number, and price. All the other variables remain the same for all of your
products. Make sure to specify the email address for the account you want to use on line 1, although
any button you create with the PayPal Button Factory includes your email address by default.
The Button Factory also provides code for a View Cart button:
<form target="paypal" action=
"https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_cart">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value=" [email protected]">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/view_cart_02.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's
fast, free and secure!">
<input type="hidden" name="display" value="1">
</form>
Place this second block of code, as is, on all the pages of your web store to allow your customers to
display the items they have added to their cart, as well as initiate the checkout process when they
have finished shopping. The only variable you'll need to customize in this example isbusiness, in
which you specify your email address. Figure 5-2 shows the resulting page.
Figure 5-2. The Add to Cart and View Cart buttons: all you need to
implement PayPal's Shopping Cart interface on your web site
5.2.1 Hacking the Hack
The PayPal Shopping Cart allows extensive customization using the additional variables supported by
regular Buy Now buttons [Hack #28] . For example, the handling_cart variable allows you to
define a cart-wide handling charge to be applied to the entire order, regardless of any individual
handling charges you might have specified:
<input type="hidden" name="handling_cart" value="4.00">
The handling_cart charge takes effect when the first item is added to the cart.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 46 Create Shopping Cart Links
Convert Shopping Cart button code to single-line URLs that can be emailed or linked to
images.
Although you can create Shopping Cart buttons [Hack #45] at the PayPal web site, you can also
create buttons off-site. This gives web page designers more flexibility and gives programmers the
ability to create buttons dynamically with programming code. One of the simplest and most flexible
approaches involves creating URLs instead of HTML forms.
5.3.1 The Code
The HTML code for a simple Add to Cart button looks like this:
<form method="post" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
target="paypal">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_cart">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="PayPal Hacks">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="24.95">
<input type="submit" name="add" value="Add to Cart">
</form>
The equivalent button in the form of an Add to Cart hyperlink looks like this:
<a href=https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_cart&add=1&business=
[email protected]&item_name=PayPal+Hacks&amount=24.95
target="paypal">Add to Cart</a>
This link opens a window and displays the PayPal Shopping Cart with one item in it:PayPal Hacks for
$24.95.
In both examples, note the presence of the important target="paypal" attribute, which causes the
Shopping Cart to open in a new browser window. Without it, the cart will not display aContinue
Shopping button. Always include this attribute in your Add to Cart buttons and also make sure
paypal is all in lowercase.
5.3.2 Shortening the Link
Many PayPal URLs can be shortened, which can be useful (and sometimes necessary) when sending
links in emails, because it prevents them from getting cut at the end of a line. The short link for the
Shopping Cart begins with https://www.paypal.com/cart/. Just append all the fields you want to use
to the end, as in this payment link:
https://www.paypal.com/cart/add=1&[email protected]&amount=20
This works for displaying the Shopping Cart as well:
https://www.paypal.com/cart/display=1&[email protected]
- Patrick Breitenbach
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 47 Specify the Size of the Shopping Cart Window
Control the size and other aspects of PayPal Shopping Cart pop-up window.
PayPal's Button Factory generates Buy Now and Shopping Cart button code based on form inputs. In
the case of the Shopping Cart, the target for the form defaults to a new window namedpaypal.
Because this is submitted by a form, the size of the window defaults to the customer's browser's
default. This default size can be too large and take up the customer's entire screen, obscuring your
store's pages. Or, even worse, the window can be too small, forcing your customer to scroll around to
see all the information for his cart.
With some simple HTML and JavaScript, you can specify the size of the Shopping Cart window PayPal
opens.
5.4.1 The Code
Here's the code for form buttons:
<form method="post" action=
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr target="paypal">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_cart">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="PayPal Hacks">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="19.95">
<input type="submit" name="add" value="Add to Cart" onClick=
"window.open('','paypal','width=780,height=500,scrollbars=yes,
resizable=yes,status=yes')">
</form>
And here's the equivalent as a hyperlink [Hack #46] :
<a href=# onClick="window.open('https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=
_cart&add=1&[email protected]&item_name=PayPal+Hacks&
amount=19.95','paypal','width=780,height=500,scrollbars=yes,
resizable=yes,status=yes')">Add to Cart</a>
5.4.2 Hacking the Hack
While you can experiment with the height and width to get the window size that works best for you,
780x500 is a good size, because it accommodates the size of PayPal's web pages fairly well and
works with most customers' screens. Note some of the other attributes in this code:
resizable
No preset window size will be right for all your customers, so you'll most likely want to allow
them to resize the window. Set the resizable attribute to no only if you want the window to
be a static size. This option can be useful if the window is to accompany a static-sized web site
or if it will be used with some sort of kiosk system.
scrollbars
Set this attribute to yes if you want scrollbars to be displayed in the window (when
appropriate), or set it to no to disable scrolling and really frustrate your customers. Be careful
not to disable scrollbars if the window is not resizable.
status
Use this setting to turn on or off the window's status bar. Turn it off for a more tidy look, or
enable it if you want your customers to see the little yellow padlock that tells them the site is
secure.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 48 Deal with Design and Layout Issues
Embed the Button Factory code in a table to maintain the appearance of your web page's
layout.
Browsers interpret HTML forms in different ways that can affect the appearance of your web page.
Most browsers create unwanted spacing where HTML forms are inserted, similar to the effect of a line
break tag (<br>). If your web page's design and layout is very precise, it can be negatively affected
by PayPal's code, throwing your layout off by a few pixels. Avoid this effect by embedding the button
code in an otherwise empty table.
Make a backup of your original file before trying this hack. It is easier to start
from the original if you make a mistake.
Here is the familiar button code, generated at the PayPal site, surrounded by the table markup. The
width, border, cellspacing, and cellpadding variables are all set to zero:
<table width="0" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0">
<tr>
<td>
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<!-- Other input elements here -->
</form>
</td>
</tr>
</table>
However, this code will still cause shifting in the design. Avoid this shift by moving the opening and
closing form tags outside of the opening and closing table data tags:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<table width="0" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0">
<tr>
1.
<td>
2.
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
3.
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
4.
<!-- Other input elements here -->
5.
</td>
</tr>
</table>
</form>
Now, when the page is viewed in a browser, no shifting appears where the form has been inserted,
as shown in Figure 5-3.
Figure 5-3. Cleaning up alignment problems
To perfect your table spacing, make sure to eliminate any extraneous spaces or line breaks between
the <td> and </td> tags. For instance, if you put lines 1 through 5 all on one line, removing all
spaces between the tags, you'll remove the last of the unsightly gaps from your tables.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 49 Put Both Cart Buttons in One Form
Overcome the limitations of some web development tools by combining the Add to Cart
and View Cart buttons into a single HTML form.
If you're using a web page editor that prefers or allows pages to contain only one form (such as some
versions of Dreamweaver), or if you're a Microsoft .NET programmer, you might need to combine
both Shopping Cart buttons into a single web form.
Fortunately, PayPal relies on the names of the buttons, not on the post URL or other details of the
HTML form, to correctly interpret the buttons.
5.6.1 The Code
To implement this single-form design, simply include two submit buttons in the PayPal cart form.
Name one button add and the other button display, like this:
<form method="post" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
target="paypal">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_cart">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Teddy Bear">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="19.95">
<input type="submit" name="add" value="Add to Cart">
<input type="submit" name="display" value="Display Cart">
</form>
Naturally, this form accepts the additional fields and other customization afforded by the other hacks
in this chapter.
5.6.2 The Right Tools for the Right Job
If you use an HTML editor such as Microsoft FrontPage or Macromedia Dreamweaver to create your
web pages, you should consider trying out one of the PayPal plug-ins available for those tools. These
plug-ins integrate right into the tool and can be called up while you're editing your pages. They step
you through creating the button and then automatically insert the HTML into your web page.
Here are some links to plug-ins for popular page editors. Most of them are offered by third parties
who have worked closely with PayPal to make sure they work properly:
Macromedia Dreamweaver
http://www.webassist.com/Products/ProductDetails.asp?PID=18
Microsoft FrontPage
http://www.auctionmessenger.net/paypal
Adobe GoLive
http://www.transmitmedia.com/golive/paypal
NetObjects Fusion 7.0 and higher (with built-in PayPal module)
http://www.netobjects.com
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 50 Integrate a Third-Party Shopping Cart with
PayPal
Pass the contents of a non-PayPal shopping cart to PayPal using the Aggregate Cart and
Upload Complete Cart features.
Shopping carts have proven to be effective online selling tools and have become a standard on many
eCommerce web sites. PayPal makes it extremely easy to add a shopping cart to your web site,
because PayPal hosts all the functionality. All you need to do is add the Add to Cart button code to
your pages [Hack #45] .
In many cases, however, the PayPal Shopping Cart is insufficient for merchants who might need a
more customized design, more sophisticated tax and shipping calculations, or other features that the
PayPal Shopping Cart system doesn't offer. Fortunately, using a non-PayPal shopping cart system
doesn't mean that you can't still accept PayPal as a payment option.
PayPal offers two ways to integrate your shopping cart: Aggregate Cart and Upload Complete Cart.
5.7.1 Aggregating Your Cart
Of the two systems, PayPal's Aggregate Cart has the advantage of being easier to integrate. Although
your shopping cart system might save your customers' cart contents into a database, you don't need
to send all this information to PayPal. All you need to do is send PayPal the order ID associated with
your customer's shopping cart, along with the total dollar amount for your customer to pay in the
amount field.
Since there is no dedicated order_ID parameter, pass the order ID to PayPal in the item_name field
for the purpose of Aggregate Cart payments.
You can also add shipping, handling, and tax parameters. Here is the most basic code to do all this:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post"
name="form1"> <input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
1.
<input type="hidden" name="business" value=" [email protected]">
2.
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Order# 21874">
3.
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value=" 151.80">
<input type="image" src="http://images.paypal.com/images/x-click- but01.gif"
name="submit" alt="Pay Now with PayPal">
</form>
Specify the email address to which the payment should be sent on line 1, a reference to your order
on line 2, and the total amount of the items in the customer's cart on line 3.
There are plenty of optional parameters you can include here, all of which are documented in[Hack
#28] . Here are some of the most useful:
<input type="hidden" name="shipping" value=" 9.00">
<input type="hidden" name="handling" value=" 3.00">
<input type="hidden" name="tax" value=" 21.92">
<input type="hidden" name="invoice" value=" 442">
<input type="hidden" name="custom" value=" paypalhacks">
PayPal hides the invoice and custom fields from the buyer, so make sure not to use them to pass
your order ID or any other information you want your customers to see during the checkout process.
Instead, use item_name for this purpose. Also, don't use any parameters normally used to specify
quantity with Aggregate Cart, because there will likely be multiple items in the cart and the quantity
parameter would apply to only one of them.
You might have noticed that these parameters are the same as those used in a regular Buy Now
button. The Aggregate Cart feature is essentially a glorified Buy Now button that processes the data
for your entire Shopping Cart. It's not terribly sophisticated, but if that's all the functionality you
need, this is all the code you need.
5.7.2 Uploading Shopping Cart Details to PayPal
Although Aggregate Cart is easy to implement, it sends only a total dollar amount to PayPal. By
contrast, the Upload Complete Cart feature has the distinct ability to send a listing of all the items in
the customer's shopping cart to PayPal. This means that PayPal will display a summary of the cart
contents on the PayPal site (as shown in Figure 5-4) and record those details within the customer's
payment history and in your seller history logs and notifications.
Figure 5-4. Displaying the contents of your customer's shopping cart
during the checkout process
To create an Upload Complete Cart button, start with the same HTML code used earlier in this hack
with the Aggregate Cart button. Then, for the cmd input value, replace _xclick with _cart, and add
a new hidden field called upload and set its value to 1. (You can remove the item_name and amount
fields, because they aren't needed for Update Complete Cart.) You'll then end up with something like
this:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post"
name="form1">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_cart">
<input type="hidden" name="upload" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="image" src="http://images.paypal.com/images/x-click-but01.gif"
name="submit" alt="Pay Now with PayPal">
</form>
Next, insert the details of the contents of the shopping cart. To add the first item, insert the following
code somewhere inside the <form></form> structure:
1.
<input type="hidden" name="item_name_1" value="PayPal Hacks Book">
2.
<input type="hidden" name="item_number_1" value="Item# PPHKS">
3.
<input type="hidden" name="quantity_1" value=" 1">
4.
<input type="hidden" name="amount_1" value="24.95">
5.
<input type="hidden" name="shipping_1" value=" 3.00">
6.
<input type="hidden" name="shipping2_1" value="2.00">
7.
<input type="hidden" name="handling_1" value="1.00">
The _1 suffix after each variable name gives every tag an item reference. So, these parameters
describe the first item as a single copy of the PayPal Hacks book (line 1) with a product code set to
PPHKS (line 2) and a per-item price of $24.95 (line 4).
The cost of shipping, $3.00, is specified on line 5. This is a per-quantity charge: if the quantity (line
3) is more than one, the same $3.00 shipping charge will be applied to each copy of the book
ordered. The exception to this rule is when you specify ashipping2 amount (as line 6 does in this
example), this shipping amount will be used only for the first item and theshipping2 amount will be
charged for each additional book ordered (e.g., three books would cost $3.00 + $2.00 + $2.00, or
$7.00, to ship).
The handling cost, $1.00, is specified on line 7 and is applied only once, regardless of the number of
items ordered.
Notice that the form method is POST (as opposed to GET). This allows you to post your data to PayPal
without the size limit imposed by the fact that GET places all the form data in the URL.
5.7.3 Adding Additional Items
For every additional item you have in your shopping cart, add another set of parameters. For each
parameter, append _n to the variable name, where n is the item number, starting with 1. Here's a
second book thrown into the shopping cart:
<input type="hidden" name="item_name_2" value="eBay Hacks Book">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number_2" value="Item# EBHKS">
<input type="hidden" name="quantity_2" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="amount_2" value="24.95">
<input type="hidden" name="shipping_2" value="3.00">
<input type="hidden" name="shipping2_2" value="2.00">
<input type="hidden" name="handling_2" value="1.00">
You should always verify that the amount paid matches the order total. You can automate this
verification by using IPN [Hack #73] and by using the item_name and amount fields to verify that
the amount paid to your PayPal account was the same as the total order amount.
5.7.4 Hacking the Hack
Presumably, you'll need to store the contents of a customer's shopping cart in your database before
sending the data (and the customer) to PayPal. This means that the Add to Cart buttons on your site
will need to submit data to your own server, and then, at checkout, your server will generate the
HTML code for the Upload Complete Cart feature. Unfortunately, this means that you have to include
an intermediate page, on which your customer will have to click another button to submit the cart to
PayPal.
The solution is to add a little JavaScript to the <body> tag, so that the customer's browser submits
the form automatically when the form loads:
<body onload="document.form1.submit( );">
Here is a complete example of the code:
<html>
<body onload="document.form1.submit( );">
<form name="form1" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_cart">
<input type="hidden" name="upload" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name_1" value="PayPal Hacks Book">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number_1" value="Item#PPHKS">
<input type="hidden" name="quantity_1" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="amount_1" value="24.95">
<input type="hidden" name="shipping_1" value="3.00">
<input type="hidden" name="shipping2_1" value="2.00">
<input type="hidden" name="handling_1" value="1.00">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name_2" value="eBay Hacks Book">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number_2" value="Item#EBHKS">
<input type="hidden" name="quantity_2" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="amount_2" value="24.95">
<input type="hidden" name="shipping_2" value="3.00">
<input type="hidden" name="shipping2_2" value="2.00">
<input type="hidden" name="handling_2" value="1.00">
<input type="image" src="http://images.paypal.com/images/x-click-but01.gif"
name="submit" alt="Pay Now with PayPal">
</form>
</body>
</html>
Depending on the speed of your customer's Internet connection and the traffic at the PayPal server,
the page might redirect almost instantly or it might display momentarily for a second or two before
the next page is displayed. For this reason, you might want to include some kind of "Please wait..."
message on the page so that your customers don't interrupt the process out of confusion. Plus, you
still need to include a real Submit button and a sentence of instruction just in case your customer has
disabled the browser's support for JavaScript.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 51 Customize Checkout Pages
Give your customers a smooth buying experience by changing the look and feel of PayPal
payment pages to match your web site.
When you sell online using PayPal, you are selling to PayPal veterans and newbies alike. While PayPal
represents online transaction safety to tens of millions of satisfied users, some less experienced
buyers might find being sent off to another site to pay for their purchases rather jarring. And since
you have gone to the trouble of creating your beautiful web site, why send people away from it when
they are ready to buy?
Well, you send customers to PayPal so that Paypal can run the secure transaction and you don't have
to. But your customers don't have to feel like they are being sent off to a foreign country when they
go to the PayPal payment flow. By customizing the PayPal pages so they function more like your own
web site, you can make all your customers happy.
PayPal's Custom Payment Pages feature lets you control key parts of the user experience on PayPal's
web site. You can place a 750x90-pixel banner at the top of PayPal's pages and carry your site's color
scheme through the payment process. Did you know PayPal could look likeFigure 5-5?
Figure 5-5. A customized checkout page
Here's how to get started:
1. Log into your PayPal account.
2. Click the Profile link and select Custom Payment Pages from the right column.
3. Click on the Add button to add a page style. Give the style a name (you can store up to five
named styles), add the URL to your banner, and select appropriate colors for the page
background and the header, as shown in Figure 5-6.
Figure 5-6. Creating a custom page style
4. Press the Preview button to see what PayPal's pages will look like for your buyers. When you
like the result, save the style.
5. Press the Make Primary button, and all your customers will be treated to this new style.
Presto! You're done.
5.8.1 Using Multiple Custom Page Styles
Setting a primary style makes that style the default for all the existing payment buttons on your web
site. However, you can save up to five different custom page styles on your PayPal account and apply
any of those page styles to a particular payment flow. This is particularly helpful if you have more
than one web site or if you use visual cues to distinguish particular areas of your web site.
Simply name your styles appropriately (e.g., electronics or marys_crafts) and then select which
page style to associate with each button on your site by including the style's name in the button
HTML, like this:
<input type=hidden name="page_style" value="marys_crafts">
Specifying a page style in a GET link is easier; add &page_style=marys_crafts to the end of the
PayPal URL.
5.8.2 Getting the Most from Custom Page Style Banners
Header banners allow you to continue your site's look and feel through the payment process, so
PayPal has ceded you a 750x90-pixel area at the top of all their payment pages. That's great for
brand awareness and all, but what else could you do with 67,500 pixels?
How about presenting your site's message of the day? Or advertising your best-selling accessories?
No problem. Create a custom page style and point the image URL to a location on your site (e.g.,
https://www.mysite.com/motd.jpg). Then, you can put any image (as long as it fits in the banner
space; PayPal clips oversized images) in that location. In today's banner, you can push overstocked
product: "scratching posts-Frisky loves them!" When the posts are sold out, you can fire up
Photoshop and replace the banner with an advertisement for catnip mice.
Change as often as you like without logging into PayPal at all. If you want to get fancy, you can write
a script that rotates through a set of banners so that customers always see a fresh message.
PayPal Etiquette
PayPal has the ability to review the contents of custom page styles and can remove
styles that violate the company's guidelines. Repeated violations might bring other
sanctions too. Sorry, no nekkid ladies or gents on your banners. You can't sell alreadydetonated airbags either.
For a full list of the company's guidelines for appropriate content (not to mention some
good laughs), see http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?
cmd=p/gen/ua/use/index_frame-outside.
Here are a few more tips to remember when you are customizing your payment pages:
Host your banner image on a secure (https) site so that your customers will not see warnings
about mixing secure and insecure context.
Before PayPal offered Custom Payment Pages, it offered more limited functionality in the form
of two optional button variables: image_url and cs. The old and new features are not
compatible, so if you are using Custom Payment Pages, do not use the image_url or cs
variables in your buttons.
PayPal selects white or black foreground text based on your background color. On light
backgrounds such as #FFFFFF (pure white) PayPal uses black text. If you select a dark
background such as #000033 (dark blue), PayPal uses white foreground text. This ensures that
your payment pages have sufficient contrast to be legible, regardless of which background color
you select.
There are a few colors that PayPal does not allow you to select as background colors because
they are too similar to the bright red (FF0000) that PayPal uses to alert users to errors. If you
run into this restriction, try a similar or complementary color. You might also be able to stay in
the desired color family by selecting a color that has a different total brightness.
- Glenn Ellingson
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 52 Display the Merchant Transaction ID on Your Return
Page
Because the transaction numbers issued to merchants and buyers are different, you need to provide
the merchant ID to customers .
As a merchant on PayPal, you will undoubtedly have occasional post-sale questions from your customers. If your
customers give you the transaction IDs they see in their PayPal account history, you will quickly realize they don
match the transaction IDs you see. This is because PayPal generates two unique transaction IDs: one for the
merchant and one for the customer. This makes it difficult to track orders for your customers because they do no
have the transaction ID you are using. Some simple scripting can head off this problem by giving your transactio
ID to your customer.
5.9.1 The PayPal Button Code
To enable this hack, you'll need to employ the return variable in your purchase buttons. This variable specifies th
URL of the page to which customers should be sent when they complete payment. Insert it into the standard
PayPal-generated button code between the opening and closing <form> tags. Set the variable to the URL of the
return page on your web site:
<form target="paypal" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Wid-001">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="return" value=
"http://yoursite.com/returnpage.asp">
</form>
Your customer sees a Continue button on the Payment Sent confirmation page after making the payment. Clickin
the button takes the buyer to the return page.
5.9.2 Creating Your Return Page
The return page is where you display the merchant's transaction ID to the customer. You want to displayyour ID;
if your customer needs to contact you, he can give you this ID, and you can use it to look up the transaction in
your transaction history. This is the easiest way to know for certain which order the customer is talking about.
Your transaction ID is passed as the txn_id variable. Access it in the same way you access the values passed to
any CGI. You can do this with whatever method works best with your server's operating system and scripting
languages. Here is the ASP way:
<body>
Here is your transaction Id. Keep it for all future order questions: <%=Request.Form("txn_id")%
</body>
And here's the PHP way:
<body>
Here is your transaction Id. Keep it for all future order questions:
<?php
echo $_GET['txn_id'];
?>
</body>
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 53 Remember Your Customers
Track your site visitors, regardless of whether they made a purchase with PayPal.
As your eCommerce site becomes more advanced, you might want to begin tracking visitors as they
move through your site. For example, you could create a membership system, encouraging users to
register and then log in during each subsequent visit. Once acknowledged, your users might have
access to special insider deals or premium content. Or, you could address your customers by name
on your site's pages.
However, there's a downside. Designing, building, and maintaining a membership database for
customers can be a lot of work, and some customers might balk at being asked for a username and
password each time they visit. Using the techniques in this hack, you can identify your users by name
and offer buyers-only content in minutes-no login required.
5.10.1 Tracking Buyers with Cookies
A popular way to remember your visitors is by using cookies. Cookies are small chunks of information
that a user's browser remembers on behalf of your web site. They are handed back to your web site
(if it asks) on a subsequent visit. By setting, then reading back, personal information for a visitor,
your web site can remember your customers.
This hack sets a cookie when your buyer has returned to your site after making a payment to you
with PayPal. Your site will look for this information whenever someone visits and, if found, use it to
personalize the site by using the buyer's name and granting access to customer-only content.
You can implement this hack with any web scripting technology; the example code uses ASP with
VBScript.
5.10.2 The Return Page
The return page is a page on your site that is activated after a payment has been made, when the
buyer clicks the "Click here to continue" link on the You Made A Payment page. Set thereturn
variable in your Buy Now button to the URL you want to use.
Use the return page to create cookies that record the user's name and the fact that the user is a
buyer. You should also set the cookies' expiration times; if you don't set the cookies to expire in a set
amount of time (such as about an hour, as in the following code), the settings will be lost at the end
of the session (such as when your customer closes the browser).
Here's a simple ASP implementation of this:
<%
'Set cookie expiration
'If this is a completed payment, set "paid" to "yes"
If Request.Form("payment_status") = "Completed" Then
Response.Cookies("paid") = "Yes"
'Set the expiration time of the cookie
Response.Cookies("paid").Expires = Now( ) + 0.042 'About 1 hour
End
Response.Cookies("user") = Request.Form("first_name")
'Set the expiration time of the cookie
Response.Cookies("user").Expires = Now( ) + 0.042 'About 1 hour
%>
The user is identified by the first name provided by PayPal via thefirst_name variable. The paid
cookie remembers that this user is a paying customer; user stores the buyer's name.
In addition to the cookie-handling code in this example, you'll want to have links to other portions of
your site, such as your home page.
5.10.3 Cookies at Work
You can use the cookies you created on the other pages of your site. For example, you can greet
your customer by name:
Welcome<br><%= Request.Cookies("user")%><br>
Or you can reward your loyal customers with inside information:
<%
If Request.Cookies("paid") = "Yes" Then
'They have paid, show secret text
%>
We'll be having a <b>big sale</b> on all our exclusive monkey toys this
Thursday! (Preferred customers only.)
<%
End If
%>
This code shows the secret text only to people who have completed a purchase using PayPal.
5.10.4 Hacking the Hack
PayPal provides more information to your return page than just the payment status and the buyer's
name. For example, you can also get the name of the item purchased. Try this addition to your
return page to record the item name:
<%
'Set cookie expiration
'If this is a completed payment, set "paid" to "yes"
If Request.Form("payment_status") = "Completed" Then
Response.Cookies("paid") = "Yes"
'Set the expiration time of the cookie
Response.Cookies("paid").Expires = Now( ) + 0.042 'About 1 hour
Response.Cookies("item_name") = Request.Form("item_name")
Response.Cookies("item_name").Expires = Now( ) + 0.042 'About 1 hour
End
Response.Cookies("user") = Request.Form("first_name")
'Set the expiration time of the cookie
Response.Cookies("user").Expires = Now( ) + 0.042 'About 1 hour
%>
Then, use the item name in your content pages:
Welcome<br><%= Request.Cookies("user")%><br>
<%
If Request.Cookies("paid") = "Yes" Then
%>
Thank you for your recent purchase of
<%= Request.Cookies("item_name")%>.
<%
End If
%>
You will need to modify this code for shopping cart applications, because there
will likely be more than one item name.
Also, remembering your customer for an hour might not be as long as you would like. Try setting the
value to a year:
Response.Cookies("paid").Expires = Now( ) + 365 'About a year
5.10.5 See Also
The "HTML and Hyperlink Variables" section in the PayPal Buy Now Buttons Manual offers important
information about using the return and rm parameters.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 54 Create a Dynamic Storefront
Produce a powerful storefront with a simple database and dynamic server scripting.
PayPal's Button Factory makes managing a small web store easy, provided that you have a small
number of products. But if your store has hundreds or thousands of products, generating the
necessary HTML code through the Button Factory (not to mention later changing that code) would be
a daunting task. Therefore, you'll need a method to quickly generate generic shopping cart HTML
button code for all your store's products.
This hack provides an ideal situation for a database-driven page that can use a single page as a
template for an arbitrary number of products contained in a database. The example illustrates the
techniques using Microsoft Active Server Pages written in VBScript with an Access database, though
the principles described here can be applied to any server platform/database combination.
5.11.1 Creating the Storefront Database
The first step in building your dynamic site is to create a database table that holds your PayPal button
values for all your products. You'll need one column for each unique aspect of the button for each
product: item_name, item_number, item_price, and Id. Both item_name and item_number should
be text fields, while item_price should be a money (or currency) field. Finally, include theId field as
the primary key and set it to increment automatically.
Save this new database table as tblProducts, as shown in Figure 5-7. Your table can have more
rows, including shipping information, return URLs, or tax data, depending on the variables you are
using for your buttons.
Figure 5-7. The database table containing your product information
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for
database considerations.
Once the table is built and saved, populate it with your product data. You can enter the information
into the table like a spreadsheet or import the data from another source. After the data is entered,
your database is ready for use in your dynamic page.
5.11.2 Building the Template
The second step in creating your storefront is to generate generic HTML Button Factory code[Hack
#28] to serve as your template for your database-driven store. Your button code should look
something like this:
<form target="paypal" action=
"https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Wid-001">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src=
"https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif" border="0"
name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
</form>
The storefront page displays all the items for sale by taking the information in yourtblProducts
database table and dynamically inserting it into the generic PayPal Button Factory code you just
created. To get started, use a SQL query to retrieve the product information. Depending on the
server platform, languages supported, and database technology used, the syntax to connect to the
database and return the data will vary. The SQL query to create your recordset should look like this:
SELECT item_name, item_number, item_price, Id FROM tblProducts
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
Your database then returns all of the products in the table, which you'll need to place into a recordset
called rsProducts.
Next, take the generic button code from the previous step and replace the field values with
references to fields in your database. For instance, change this line:
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget">
to this (assuming you're using VBScript for ASP, as discussed in the Preface):
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="<%=rsProducts("item_name")%>">
Your final code should look something like this:
<form target="paypal" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="<%=rsProducts("item_name")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="<%=rsProducts
("item_number")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="<%=rsProducts("item_price")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
</form>
When this page is loaded into a web browser, your server executes the SQL query before it is
presented to the customer. The code then pulls the first item from the recordset and generates the
button code for the corresponding product dynamically. The next step is to generate a whole page of
buttons, one for each item in your database:
'While recordset still has products, loop code
While NOT rsProducts.EOF
<form target="paypal" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="<%=rsProducts("item_name")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number"
value="<%=rsProducts("item_number")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="<%=rsProducts("item_price")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
</form>
'Move to next record
rsProducts.MoveNext( )
Wend
Figure 5-8 shows the finished product listing, complete with multiple dynamically generated payment
buttons.
Figure 5-8. The finished web page, loaded into a browser
5.11.3 Including Product Details
Not only can you use the values returned from the database to populate your button code, you can
also display the item name and price (and perhaps a photo) of the product alongside each button.
Add a little spacing to the buttons to keep the site organized:
'While recordset still has products, loop code
While NOT rsProducts.EOF
Product: <%=rsProduct("item_name"%><br>
Price: <%=rsProduct("item_price"%><br>
Click the button below to Buy<br>
<form target="paypal" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="<%=rsProducts("item_name")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number"
value="<%=rsProducts("item_number")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="<%=rsProducts("item_price")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
</form>
<br><br>
'Move to next record
rsProducts.MoveNext( )
Yound
This simple technique can serve as the foundation for a powerful eCommerce web site. Simply by
managing this one template page and a database table, you can build a site that supports an
arbitrary number of products, without needing to manually create and edit individualproduct pages.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 55 Add Dynamic Storefront Details
Extend a dynamic storefront by creating a product details page for each product you sell .
The product details page allows you to provide detailed information on a specific product, such as a
description, weight, availability, or other tidbits to educate customers and increase sales.
Start with the code from [Hack #54] , which loops through all the products you have in your database
table and displays them on your web page. For each product, the code displays the product name, price,
and a corresponding purchase button.
First, add a line to display a link to another web page on which detailed product information for the item
is displayed. In the link, pass the unique identifying field for that product to the details page in theid
query string parameter, like this:
<a href="detail.asp?id=<%=rsProducts("Id")%>>Product details, click here</a>
The finished code looks like this:
'While recordset still has products, loop code
While NOT rsProducts.EOF
Product: <%=rsProduct("item_name"%><br>
Price: <%=rsProduct("item_price"%><br>
<a href="detail.asp?id=<%=rsProducts("Id")%>>Product details, click here</a><br>
Click the button below to Buy<br>
<form target="paypal" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="<%=rsProducts("item_name")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number"
value="<%=rsProducts("item_number")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="<%=rsProducts("item_price")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
</form>
<br><br>
'Move to next record
rsProducts.MoveNext( )
Wend
5.12.1 Adding More Product Information to Your Table
In order to provide more information on your product, you have to add at least one more field to your
database table. You can have as many fields as you like, including a weight field for shipping purposes, or
even an item color field. Open the tblProducts database table and add a new column named
description . Set the data type of this field to long text, ntext, or memo, depending on your database
platform. Save the change to the database, and then open the table and begin entering product
descriptions for each of your products. Descriptions should educate the customer on specific information
related to this particular product and contain any information they should know before making a
purchase.
5.12.2 Product Details Page
The product details page makes a call to your tblProducts database table for one specific record,
determined by the id QueryString parameter passed from the storefront page:
'Create and populate id variable for product
Dim Id
Id = Request.QueryString("id")
Next, ask the database for the specific record for that item, based on the product'sId field, with an SQL
query like this:
"SELECT item_name, item_number, item_price, Id, description FROM tblProducts WHERE Id =
" & Id
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and the
other hacks in this book.
That query returns one record from your database table. Pull the returned record into a recordset named
rsProducts . Keep the same recordset name you used on the storefront page, even though you are
pulling in only one record. This provides consistency across your pages, so you can copy and paste code
back and forth between pages. This means that since the recordsets share the same name, you can
reuse the same code on both pages that reference recordset variables.
Giving your recordsets different names can be confusing and does not allow the two pages to share their
code with one another. For instance, if you take the product name reference tag found in the storefront
page (<%=rsProduct("item_name")%> ) and paste it directly into the product detail page, it works
properly without any editing.
You can now begin populating your page with the dynamic data used with the storefront page, as shown
in Figure 5-9 .
Figure 5-9. Adding details to a dynamic product page to present a more
complete storefront
Take the code from your storefront and remove the While loop, because you have only one item to
display. Then add the description field value for that item just below the button:
Product: <%=rsProduct("item_name")%><br>
Price: <%=rsProduct("item_price")%><br>
<a href="detail.asp?id=<%=rsProducts("Id")%>>Product details, click here</a><br>
Click the button below to Buy<br>
<form target="paypal" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="<%=rsProducts("item_name")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number"
value="<%=rsProducts("item_number")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="<%=rsProducts("item_price")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif"
order="0" name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
</form>
<br>
<%=rsProducts("description")%>
5.12.3 Hacking the Hack
This hack shows how to add a product description. However, the concept can be applied to any productspecific functionality you add to the page. For instance, you can add a function that allows the site visitor
to send a link directly to the product details page to an email address. This is commonly referred to as a
Send to Friend feature.
To implement this feature, you need to do two things. The first is to add a simple form that contains a
text box in which to enter an email address of where to send the link to in the product details page. The
second is to add a piece of code that actually performs the sending of the email and is located in a
separate file named sendtofriend.asp . This example uses VBScript written for ASP pages. Here is the
code to insert into the product details page:
<form action="sendtofriend.asp" method="post">
Send this page to a friend. Enter the recipient's email address below:
Recipient: <input type="text" name="email" value="">
<input type="hidden" name="Id" value = "<%=Request.QueryString("Id")%>">
<input name="" type="submit">
</form>
And here's the sendtofriend.asp page code:
<%
Set objCDO = Server.CreateObject("CDONTS.NewMail")
objCDO.From = "[email protected]"
objCDO.To = Request.Form("email")
objCDO.Subject = "Link from web site"
objCDO.Body ="Click the link to visit the web page
http://yoursite.com/details.asp?Id=" & Request.Form("Id")
objCDO.Send( )
%>
<html>
The link has been sent.
</html>
The first block of code allows the site visitor to enter the email address she wants to send the link to. It
also places the product's unique identifier value into a hidden variable. The form posts itself to the second
block of code found on another web page. This page simply sends a link to the specified recipient and
includes a link to the product details page based on the productId passed. The recipient can then click on
the link in her email message to go directly to this product's details page.
Using this type of procedure, you add product-specific functionality to your product details page that can
help you increase sales and provide customized information.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 56 Insert Dynamic Images
Include product images with your dynamic storefront and use it to activate the PayPal
payment process.
Once you've added dynamic storefront details [Hack #55] to your site, you can include a product
image that can be used as a PayPal button, as shown in Figure 5-10. The idea is that customers
typically look for the most obvious object to click when they're interested in a product, and turning
the product image into a PayPal button is an effective way to get more customers to complete
purchases.
Figure 5-10. Displaying an image with your product information
5.13.1 Inserting the Image
Start by adding another database table column, image_file, to the tblProducts table created in
[Hack #54] and populating it with the location (filename) of the image file to be displayed. So, for
your widget, you might enter widget.jpg.
Next, take the code from [Hack #55] and add the image_file column to your SQL query:
"SELECT item_name, item_number, item_price, Id, description, image_file
FROM tblProducts WHERE Id = " & Id
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
Then add your image file reference code to display the image on your product details page using the
following line:
<img src="images/products/<%=rsProducts("image_field")%>">
In this example, the product images are stored in /images/products. Insert this code in your page to
include the dynamic image, just above the item name:
<img src="images/products/<%=rsProducts("image_field")%>">
Product: <%=rsProduct("item_name")%><br>
Price: <%=rsProduct("item_price")%><br>
<a href="detail.asp?id=<%=rsProducts("Id")%>>Product details, click here</a><br>
Click the button below to Buy<br>
<form target="paypal" action=
"https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="<%=rsProducts("item_name")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number"
value="<%=rsProducts("item_number")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="<%=rsProducts("item_price")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
</form>
<br>
<%=rsProducts("description")%>
5.13.2 Link the Image to PayPal
To use the product image as a PayPal payment button, duplicate the purchase button code and
replace the Buy Now image with the location of your product image[Hack #29] . The resulting code
should look something like this:
<form target="paypal" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="<%=rsProducts("item_name")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number"
value="<%=rsProducts("item_number")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="<%=rsProducts("item_price")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="images/products/<%=rsProducts("image_field")%>""
border="0" name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
</form>
Product: <%=rsProduct("item_name"%><br>
Price: <%=rsProduct("item_price"%><br>
<a href="detail.asp?id=<%=rsProducts("Id")%>>Product details, click here</a><br>
Click the button below to Buy<br>
<form target="paypal" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="<%=rsProducts("item_name")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number"
value="<%=rsProducts("item_number")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="<%=rsProducts("item_price")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
</form>
<br>
<%=rsProducts("description")%>
Of course, you might want to link the product image to a larger version of the image, a list of other
products by the same manufacturer, or a page containing further details of the product. However, be
careful not to discount the power of a big fat payment button on every product page: the easier it is
for your customers to pay, the more likely they'll give you theirbusiness.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 57 Build an Order-Tracking Page
Keep your customers informed of order status using an automated system.
The Internet sped up everything, including your customers' expectations. Once you have the code in
place to display the merchant transaction ID on your return page [Hack #52] and insert payment
details into a database [Hack #82], it's easy to create a page that enables customers to check on
the status of an order. You need to place two new pages on your system: a query page that allows
your customers to ask the question and a results page that gives them the answer.Figure 5-11
shows a completed results page.
Figure 5-11. A completed order-tracking page
An order-tracking page like this one is easy to implement and goes a long way in placating
customers.
5.14.1 Asking the Question
The query page can be quite simple. All you need is a form that allows your customer to enter the
transaction ID you previously provided. Once the customer clicks Submit, the results page takes
over.
<html><body>
Enter the transaction ID corresponding to the order you wish to look up:
<form action="order_tracking.asp" method="post">
<input type="text" name="txn_id">
<input type="button" value="submit" name="submit">
</form>
</body></html>
The form is only the beginning. Obviously, the preferred method is to display a list of all relevant
transaction IDs, from which the customer can select one to view the transaction details. See[Hack
#22] for more information, as well as [Hack #94] for a way to get this information using the PayPal
API.
5.14.2 Getting the Answer
This example (especially the tblOrders table) assumes a database structure similar to the structure
used in [Hack #82] . Any web scripting language will work for this task. This example uses ASP:
<%
'Read back customers input
Dim txn_id
Txn_id = Request ("txn_id")
'Connect to database and create recordset
connStore = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};DBQ=
"C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
set rsOrder = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsOrder.ActiveConnection = connStore
rsOrder.Source = SELECT payer_email, payer_id, payment_status, txn_id,
mc_gross, mc_fee, payment_date FROM tblOrders WHERE txn_id = '" &
txn_id &"'"
rsOrder.Open( )
%>
<!--
Check to see if the order information can be found; if so, display it.-->
<% If NOT rsOrder.EOF OR NOT rsOrder.BOF Then %>
Here are the details of your order:
<p>
Customer Email: <%=rsOrder("payer_email")%>
<br>Customer ID: <%=rsOrder("payer_id") %>
<br>Payment Status:
<%=rsOrder("payment_status") %>
<br>Transaction ID:
<%=rsOrder("txn_id") %>
<br>Payment Gross: <%=rsOrder("mc_gross") %>
<br>Payment Date: <%=rsOrder("payment_date") %>
<% Else %>
No matching Record Found. Please search again.
<% End If %>
5.14.3 Hacking the Hack
Here are a few ways you can extend this hack:
Place another copy of the query form on the results page. This way, if your customers need to
query for more than one transaction ID, they won't have to use their browser's Back button to
enter another.
Change the query page to accept a list of transaction IDs in atextarea box. Then modify the
results page to display the results of searching for each.
Use Instant Payment Notifications (IPN) to send an email with a tracking link[Hack #67] .
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 58 Offer Discount Coupons
Reward good customers and entice new buyers with electronic coupons.
Everyone loves a sale. Customers like them because they get a bargain, and merchants like them
because they increase sales. For instance, Amazon.com uses their Share the Love system to entice
customers to advertise the products they've just purchased, in exchange for 10% off future
purchases.
PayPal doesn't offer a built-in mechanism to process discounts, but you can set up electronic coupons
for your customers with your own code. This hack provides two ways to pull it off: at the browser
(a.k.a. client-side) with JavaScript, and at the server using Microsoft's Active Server Pages.
5.15.1 Accepting Coupons on the Client Side
While traditional coupons consist of slips of paper presented at the checkout counter of your local
grocery store, electronic coupons are nothing more than distinct strings of numbers and letters.
This JavaScript-powered example allows a customer to specify a coupon code and then purchase an
item at a discounted price:
<html>
<head>
<!-- -->
<script language = "JavaScript">
function on1Verify( )
{
1.
var orderTotal=7.95;
var on1Value=window.document.form1.on1.value;
window.document.form1.on1.value="";
2.
if((on1Value < 990) && (on1Value > 988))
{
var newTotal=orderTotal-2;
if(newTotal < 2)newTotal = 0;
3.
window.document.form1.on1.value="$2.00";
window.document.form1.amount.value="$" + newTotal;
}
4.
if((on1Value) < 989 || (on1Value > 989))
{
window.document.WEB_ORDER_FORM.on1.value=" -";
}
}
</script>
</head>
<body>
<b>
<form name="form1" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
method="post" target="paypal">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_cart">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
<input type="hidden" value="[email protected]" name="business">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Coupon Code 1">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="001">
<input type="hidden" value="Selected" name="on0">Select<BR>
<select name="os0">
<option value="Option 1" selected>Option 1
<option value="Option 2">Option 2
<option value="Option 3">Option 3
</option>
</select><BR>
Enter Coupon number:<BR>
<input type="text" name="on1" size="10" onChange="on1Verify( )">
<br><input type="hidden" value="DISCOUNT" name="os1">
Total amount due:<BR>
5.
<input type="text" name="amount" value="7.95" size="10">
<input type="hidden" value="http://www.example-domain.com" name="return">
<input type="hidden" value="http://www.example-domain.com"
name="cancel_return">
<BR>Shipping:<BR> <SELECT name="shipping">
<OPTION value="5.00" >Standard
<OPTION value="10.00" >Next Day
<OPTION value="15.00" >Over Night
</SELECT>
<input type="hidden" select_name="shipping" value="">
<input type="hidden" name="shipping2" value="5.00"> <BR>
Handling:<BR>
<input type="text" name="handling" value="2.00" size="10">
<p><input type="submit" value="Submit" name="B1">
</form></b>
</body>
</html>
Anyone who views the source of this page will be able to discover the code
needed to obtain the discount. To avoid this problem, you might wantto
obfuscate your code [Hack #36] or use server-side coupon verification, as
described later in this hack.
The normal price of the item is $7.95, as specified on lines 1 and 5. The customer enters a valid
coupon code (here, the code 989 is tested on lines 2 and 4, the purchase price drops by $2.00 (line
3). Figure 5-12 shows what the form looks like.
Figure 5-12. Processing coupons with a simple HTML form and some
client-side JavaScript
5.15.2 Hacking the Hack
The code in the previous section is designed to accommodate a specific range of coupon codes. As
shown, the range only allows 989, but you can increase this by changing line 2 to:
if((on1Value > 5381)&&(on1Value < 5478))
and line 4 to:
if((on1Value < 5382) || (on1Value > 5477))
Doing so instructs the script to accept any coupon code between 5382 and 5473, inclusive.
5.15.3 Verifying Coupons on the Server Side
The previous solution shows how to use the browser for simple coupon processing, but for better
security and more flexibility, you'll want to enable the discount at the server.
This example uses a special (presumably secret) URL to enable the discount. The URL itself serves as
the coupon, and once your customer has visited this page, a discount of your choice will apply. From
your customer's perspective, getting the discount price is simple:
1.
1. The customer receives a promotional email from you that contains the coupon.
Never send unsolicited email messages (also known as spam) to your
customers. Let customers who want to hear about your specials opt in by
adding their email addresses to your mailing list.
2. The customer clicks the coupon link, and the resulting page shows a "Thank You" or some other
confirmation, followed by links to your shopping pages.
3. All applicable prices on your site subsequently reflect the discount for this customer.
Behind the scenes, the coupon page contains a script that sets a session variable for the customer's
visit. Session variables are available with many scripting languages and are easy to implement with
ASP, as in this example.
First, create the coupon page, the page shown to customers when they click your coupon links. This
is also where the session variable is set:
<%
'Set the session variable
Session("discount") = "true"
%>
<h1 align="center">Thanks for using your coupon</h1>
<p>Your discount has been enabled.</p>
<%
'Redirect to storefront
Response.Redirect("http://www.wwjcd.biz/shopping/")
%>
Give the script a particularly obscure URL to prevent customers from accidentally discovering it, such
as:
http://www.wwjcd.biz/discount/farcvuznutz/discount.asp
Next, modify your PayPal buttons to check for the discount session variable:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Jackie Chan Bobble Head">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="BH-JC1">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast,
free and secure!">
<% If Session("discount") = "true" Then %>
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value=".90">
<% Else %>
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">
<% End If %>
</form>
Although you can see the code that checks for the discount setting (and the setting that is being
checked), your buyers will never see it. Everything between the code markers (<% and %>) is
processed and subsequently removed by your web server by the time your customers viewthe page.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 59 Increase Search Engine Exposure
Modify the PayPal button code on your selling pages to make search engines spider them
more effectively .
The most difficult part of selling your products on the Web is getting people to find them. If enough
people visit your web page, sooner or later you will make a sale, regardless of what you are selling. It
is just a matter of how many people need to see it before someone buys.
One of the most popular ways people find their ways to web sites is through search engines such as
Yahoo!, Google, and MSN. These search engines create indexes that categorize andrank web pages
based on their content. Most web page developers focus on the web page's text and metadata (such
as its description and keywords).
However, there is one powerful, though often overlooked, tool that search engines weigh heavily: the
web page's alt tags. Alt tags are used by nongraphical browsers and browsers for the visually
impaired to help navigate through web pages easily. They can be used for a variety of HTML objects,
but they are most commonly used in place of an image. This hack shows you how to use the alt tag
in your PayPal buttons to increase search engine exposure.
5.16.1 Modifying the PayPal Button Factory Code
By default, the PayPal Button Factory creates the button code with the image's alt tag information
populated with PayPal's own message: "Make payments with PayPal-it's fast, free and secure!" That
could be useful in search engine ranking if a buyer is searching for sites that sell your item through
PayPal. However, you can refine this text to increase the effectiveness of the tag. You can change
many aspects of the PayPal form code [Hack #28] and still have the button function properly.
The item in this example is a widget that you are selling for one dollar. Combining that information
with a few keywords increases the chances of having your web page spidered correctly. A better use
for the alt content might be: "Buy a Thompson's widget here using PayPal for just $1." Here's an
example in which the standard PayPal "Make payments..." message has been replaced with your own
advertising:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Wid-001">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Buy a Thompson's widget here
using PayPal for just $1">
</form>
Applying the modified form code to your page increases the likelihood that when a person uses a
search engine to look for a widget using a search engine, she is presented with your web page.
5.16.2 Hacking the Hack
You should also try to include keywords and description tags in your web page head that use the
same keywords as you use in the alt attribute. This will give you a higher chance of being ranked for
that text. You can also create duplicate form buttons, or even duplicate web pages, that use different
sets of keywords in the document data and for the image alt tag values.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 60 Sell Digital Goods with PayLoadz
Deliver your digital goods automatically and securely without having to write your own
application that relies on Instant Payment Notifications (IPN).
Using PayPal to sell goods from your web site allows your customers to make purchases without
having to type all their financial information. Selling digital goods (documents, music, video, pictures,
programs, etc.) affords the additional convenience of delivering your products over the Internet,
rather than having to ship them, and comes as close to an ideal eCommerce scenario as you're going
to get.
To sell digital goods online effectively with PayPal, you'll have to think about security and prompt
fulfillment, both of which can be achieved with PayPal's Instant Payment Notification (IPN) system
[Hack #73] . The problem is that IPN requires not only an ability to write code, but full access to a
dedicated web server on which to run that code. This is where a third-party digital delivery provider
such as PayLoadz (http://www.payloadz.com) comes in.
PayLoadz is a web-based service that allows you to sell digital goods securely, without user
intervention, and-most importantly-without having to develop your own IPN system. Much like the
way PayPal provides the back end for a pretty slick shopping cart system, PayLoadz provides the
back end for IPN.
Before you get started with PayLoadz, you'll need a PayPal Business or
Premiere account, as described in the introduction to Chapter 3.
Set up your free PayLoadz account by going to http://payloadz.com and clicking Sign Up. When the
Edit Profile page appears, enter your business name and your PayPal email address (you won't need
to provide your PayPal password). Specify URLs for your logo and for your cancel page, and
customize the purchase email text.
With the Enable Price Checking feature, PayLoadz can check the amounts your customers pay to
make sure they match the prices listed for your products. This works for mixed carts with your
tangible goods [Hack #73] as well.
Turn on the IPN feature [Hack #65] in your PayPal account and insert the Payloadz IPN script URL
(provided for you when you sign up).
Then set up your digital goods on the PayLoadz web site so that it can handle fulfillment and track
your sales, as shown in Figure 5-13.
Figure 5-13. Setting up your digital goods at the PayLoadz web site
The PayLoadz system generates PayPal-compliant code that you add to your web pages, just like the
code from the PayPal Button Factory [Hack #28] .
While you can use your existing purchase buttons as generated by PayPal, the ones created by the
PayLoadz system contain a customized return variable that allows your customers to download your
products immediately after paying, which adds another level of redundancy to ensure proper
delivery.
Finally, your customers click your special Pay Now buttons and are sent directly to PayPal to complete
their transactions, as shown in Figure 5-14.
Figure 5-14. An email directing the customer to the download
PayPal then contacts PayLoadz using IPN, and PayLoadz delivers your digital goods to your paying
customers automatically, as shown in Figure 5-15).
Figure 5-15. Downloading files immediately after purchase
Basic PayLoadz accounts are free, but for a monthly subscription fee (paid via PayPal, of course), you
can store your files on the PayLoadz servers. This provides an enhanced level of security and means
that you don't need to serve downloads from your own site. You can upgrade to the more robust paid
version at any time.
5.17.1 See Also
To sell and deliver digital products on your own site, using your own code exclusively,see [Hack
#65] .
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Chapter 6. Managing Subscriptions
Introduction: Hacks #61-64
Hack 61. Sell Subscriptions to Your Online Content
Hack 62. Offer Tiered Subscriptions
Hack 63. Time Your Subscriptions to End on Specific Dates
Hack 64. Manage Subscription Passwords the Easy Way
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Introduction: Hacks #61-64
Being paid once is a fine thing, but being paid repeatedly is fabulous. With a PayPal subscription
button, you can offer your customers the chance to pay you again and again without any further
human intervention. Subscription buttons allow you to collect automatically recurring payments easily
for such things as club membership dues and monthly access to online content.
As mentioned in the introduction to Chapter 4, PayPal provides a tool to create subscription buttons
for your site. Like ordinary Buy Now buttons, these are nothing more than HTML forms that can be
placed on your pages. A customer clicks a Subscribe Now button to go to the PayPal site to confirm
the new subscription, and the recurring payments begin.
For complete information about subscriptions and subscription buttons, see PayPal'sSubscriptions
and Recurring Payments Manual, available from within your PayPal account under the Merchant Tools
tab. For now, keep a few facts in mind as you read this chapter:
PayPal offers no facility for storing your content or for digital rights management (DRM) of your
electronic resources. PayPal simply triggers regular payments from your buyers to you.
Subscriptions can be canceled at any time by either you or your buyer. Use this as a selling
point when asking customers to sign up. They will not require your cooperation if they decide to
end the recurring payment.
If you turn on Instant Payment Notification (IPN) [Hack #65], notice of any
changes to your active subscriptions, such as cancellations, payments, or new
subscriptions, will be sent to the IPN script you specify, and your server can
take immediate action as necessary.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 61 Sell Subscriptions to Your Online Content
Combine a database, PayPal subscriptions, and the IPN system to manage subscriber
accounts .
If your web site offers something special that people are willing to pay for, such as access to a
technical information database or specialized business-to-business commerce site, you might want to
offer subscriptions. PayPal makes it easy. Using IPN, your web server, and your online database, you
can easily create an entirely automated system.
Many adult sites on the Internet are available on a subscription basis. Don't offer
subscriptions to these sorts of sites with PayPal. Your site's content must be
allowed under PayPal's Acceptable Use Policy; otherwise, you might find that
your account has been limited [Hack #5] .
For the purposes of this example, let's say you offer access to a Rhesus monkey marketing database
for the low, low price of $30 per month. This opt-in database contains the monkey name, monkey age,
caregiver name, and mailing address of over 10,000 monkeys across North America. You offer your
subscribers, typically Rhesus monkey supply vendors, access to this information for marketing
purposes.
You'll need four things to implement your subscription business model:
A Subscribe button on your web site
An online database that includes a subscribers table
An IPN script to keep tabs on new, renewed, and expired subscriptions
Dynamic pages that check a visitor's status before allowing access
6.2.1 Creating a Subscribe Button
The Subscribe button for your site can come straight from PayPal's button generator on the Merchant
Tools page (log into PayPal and click the Merchant Tools tab). This example (created without
encryption) should look familiar if you have created any unencrypted Buy Now or Donate Now buttons.
The variables a3 , p3 , and t3 set the amount, period, and time unit of the subscription, respectively:
<html>
<head><title>Monkey Market Database</title></head>
<body>
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but20.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast,
free and secure!">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Monkey Market">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="mm-1">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="hidden" name="a3" value="30.00">
<input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">
<input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">
</form>
</body>
</html>
6.2.2 Setting Up Your Database
Your access control database can be simple. A single table, shown in Table 6-1, containing the email
address and the password of your subscriber is all you need. For this example, the tablesubscribers
contains two alphanumeric fields: email and password . You could issue customer usernames to your
subscribers, but you might be better served if you follow PayPal's example and use email addresses to
identify users. Passwords can be stored as plain text.
Table 6-1. A database to keep track of your subscribers
ID
email
password
4005
[email protected]
sR3Du4#m77ca
4006
[email protected]
[email protected]
4007
[email protected]
fae0v32c&ewf2
6.2.3 Processing Subscriber Notifications
You need to handle two kinds of notifications from PayPal: the addition of new subscribers to your
database when they sign up and removal of subscribers whose subscriptions lapse or are cancelled.
Here's a snippet of ASP that does this (see the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the
Preface for database considerations):
<!-- Standard IPN processing here -->
<%
if Request.Form("txn_type") == "subscr_signup" then
' Add this subscriber to the database
' Use SQL like this:
set cInsSubscr = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
cInsSubscr.ActiveConnection = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver
(*.mdb)};DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
cInsSubscr.CommandText = "INSERT INTO subscriber (email, password) VALUES
( '" & Request.Form("payer_email") & "', 'drowssap')"
cInsSubscr.CommandType = 1
cInsSubscr.CommandTimeout = 0
cInsSubscr.Prepared = true
cInsSubscr.Execute( )
' Email the password to the new subscriber
elsif
Request.form("txn_type") == "subscr_cancel" then
' Remove a subscriber from the database
' Use SQL like this:
set cDelSubscr = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
cDelSubscr.ActiveConnection = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver
(*.mdb)};DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
cDelSubscr.CommandText = "DELETE * FROM subscriber WHERE email =
'" & Request.Form("payer_email") & "'"
cDelSubscr.CommandType = 1
cDelSubscr.CommandTimeout = 0
cDelSubscr.Prepared = true
cDelSubscr.Execute( )
end
%>
Don't really give every one of your subscribers the same password (drowssap in
this example). Instead, use an algorithm for generating a password or let them
choose a password for themselves in the subscription process.
Don't forget to turn on IPN in your PayPal account and point it at your IPN processing script[Hack
#65] .
6.2.4 Controlling Access to Your Valued Content
Now you have a list of valid subscribers that is automatically updated by PayPal and your IPN script.
Next, you'll need to make use of this information by ensuring that visitors to your site are on the
current subscriber list. In this example, all the members-only pages are dynamic ASP pages. The first
thing the code does is check that the user is properly logged in. If not, the premium content is not
displayed and the user is redirected to a Sign In page. You know the user is signed in if the magic
cookie has been set.
<%
'content.asp
'Check for the magic cookie.
'If not found, redirect
if Response.Cookies("MagicMonkey) != "swordfish" then
Response.Print("Please log in before accessing this page.")
Response.Redirect("login.asp")
end
%>
<!-- Put your content here -->
The Sign In page simply asks for the user's email address and password. If this information shows the
visitor is a valid subscriber, a cookie is set on the user's browser. The cookie contains the magic word
that allows your subscribers access. Without this cookie, set to the proper magic word, no one can
access subscriber-only content.
<%
'Sign in page: sign_in.asp
'Database connection code goes here
'Connect to database and create recordset
connStore = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};
DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
set rsCookies = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsCookies.ActiveConnection = connStore
rsCookies.Source = "SELECT * from subscribers WHERE email =
'" & Request.Form("email") & "' AND password =
'" & Request.Form("password") & "'"
rsCookies.Open( )
'IF the query turns up a match, execute this code:
'Set new cookie session in MagicMonkey
' "swordfish" happens to be today's magic cookie word
Response.Cookies("MagicMonkey") = "swordfish"
'Set cookie expiration
Response.Cookies("MagicMonkey").Expires = Now( ) + 1 'one day
Response.Print("Thank you for logging in. <a href="content.asp">Click
here</a> to start selling stuff to a bunch of monkey lovers.")
'ELSE do this:
Response.Redirect("login.asp")
%>
Your page, login.asp , should contain an HTML form that asks for each customer's email address and
password. Its data is posted to sign_in.asp .
6.2.5 Hacking the Hack
This example is purposefully simplistic. If the cookie is always the same, all a nonsubscriber needs to
do to gain access is manually set the browser's cookies to include your magic word. In practice, you
will want to change your magic cookie daily. Users will need to visit the Sign In screen each day and
provide their email address and password to get that day's magic cookie. Better yet, use a one-way
encryption algorithm to create a unique cookie each day for each subscriber.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 62 Offer Tiered Subscriptions
Enhance simple subscription management to accommodate different levels of users .
Offering something of value for a small amount of money, and then selling your customer an upgrade to somethi
even greater value for a larger amount of money, is a great marketing plan. PayPal does this itself in a way; you
some nice features for a low price (free) with a Personal account, and when you want more features you can upg
Premier or Business account.
This hack shows you how to add tiers (or service levels ) to your subscribers' accounts. You can create Subscribe
for each of your subscription levels, add a field to your database to indicate the subscriber's tier, check the tier o
subscribers when users access pages, and give your customers an easy upgrade option.
6.3.1 Creating a Premium Subscription Button
Who knew the opportunities in marketing to lower primates? Thanks to a new partnership, you now own exclusiv
American distribution rights to the customer data of Rhesus Research International, a leading monkey marketing
Europe and Asia (this example was introduced in [Hack #61] ). You want to keep offering access to your North A
data at the usual low price, but you want to add an option for buyers of your data who want to market to the res
world as well. Solve this problem by adding another subscription option at a higher price.
The following code includes the Subscribe button from [Hack #61] along with a new addition. Differences betwee
buttons are highlighted in bold:
<html>
<head><title>Monkey Market Database</title></head>
<body>
North American data only:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but20.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast,
free and secure!">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value=" Monkey Market">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value=" mm-1">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="hidden" name="a3" value=" 30.00">
<input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">
<input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">
</form>
<br>
International option; includes Asia and Europe
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but20.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast,
free and secure!">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value=" Monkey Market with
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value=" mm-2">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="hidden" name="a3" value=" 60.00">
<input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">
International o
<input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">
</form>
</body>
</html>
When subscriptions roll in, you (and your IPN script [Hack #65] ) will be able to tell if they are standard or Inter
by looking at the item_number .
6.3.2 Adding a Tier Field to Your Database
Modify your database (as shown in Table 6-2 ) to include a column called tier . This, along with the previously di
[Hack #61] email and password , allows your system to keep track of the tier level for which your subscribers h
paid.
Table 6-2. Adding a tier field to your database to keep track of subscriber leve
ID
email
password
tier
4005
[email protected]
sR3Du4#m77ca
0
4006
[email protected]
[email protected]
1
4007
[email protected]
fae0v32c&ewf2
2
6.3.3 Inserting Tier Information with Each New Subscription
Recall the approach to recording subscriptions [Hack #61] and modify the code to insert a value in the tier field
on the item_number reported:
<!-- Standard IPN processing here -->
<%
if Request.Form("txn_type") == "subscr_signup" then
' Add this subscriber to the database
' Is it an mm-1 or an mm-2 subscriber?
If Request.Form("item_number") == "mm-1" then
' Use SQL like this:
set cInsSubscr = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
cInsSubscr.ActiveConnection = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};
DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
cInsSubscr.CommandText = "INSERT INTO subscriber (email, password, tier)
VALUES ( '" & Request.Form("payer_email") & "', 'drowssap', 1)"
cInsSubscr.CommandType = 1
cInsSubscr.CommandTimeout = 0
cInsSubscr.Prepared = true
cInsSubscr.Execute( )
elsif Request.Form("item_number") == "mm-2" then
set cInsSubscr = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
cInsSubscr.ActiveConnection = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};
DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
cInsSubscr.CommandText = "INSERT INTO subscriber (email, password, tier)
VALUES ( '" & Request.Form("payer_email") & "', 'drowssap', 2)"
cInsSubscr.CommandType = 1
cInsSubscr.CommandTimeout = 0
cInsSubscr.Prepared = true
cInsSubscr.Execute( )
end
' Email the password to the new subscriber
elsif
Request.form("txn_type") == "subscr_cancel" then
' Remove a subscriber from the database
' Use SQL like this:
set cInsPayment = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
cInsPayment.ActiveConnection = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};
DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
cInsPayment.CommandText = "DELETE * FROM subscriber WHERE email =
'" & Request.Form("payer_email") & "'"
cInsPayment.CommandType = 1
cInsPayment.CommandTimeout = 0
cInsPayment.Prepared = true
cInsPayment.Execute( )
end
%>
6.3.4 Restricting Access Based on Tier
You will want to check for the magic cookie [Hack #61] before giving access to pages. You will also want to set a
with its own secret word for the tier. This page contains International content:
<%
'content_intl.asp
'Check for the magic cookie.
'If not found, redirect
if Response.Cookies("MagicMonkey") != "swordfish"
or Response.Cookies("MagicMonkeyTier") != "lowtide" then
Response.Print("Please log in before accessing this page.")
Response.Redirect("login.asp")
end
%>
<!-- Put your content here -->
Don't forget to set the tier magic cookie word when subscribers log in:
<%
'Sign in page: sign_in.asp
'Connect to database and create recordset
connStore = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};
DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
set rsTier = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsTier.ActiveConnection = connStore
rsTier.Source = "SELECT tier FROM subscribers WHERE email =
'" & Request.Form("email") & "' AND password =
'" & Request.Form("password") & "'"
rsTier.Open( )
'Assign the result to tier
Dim tier
Tier = rsTier("tier")
'IF the query turns up a match, execute this code:
'Set new cookie session in MagicMonkey
'"swordfish" happens to be today's magic cookie word
Response.Cookies("MagicMonkey") = "swordfish"
'Set cookie expiration
Response.Cookies("MagicMonkey").Expires = Now( ) + 1 'one day
If tier > 1 then
'Set International magic cookie
Response.Cookies("MagicMonkeyTier") = "lowtide"
'Set cookie expiration
Response.Cookies("MagicMonkeyTier").Expires = Now( ) + 1 'one day
end
Response.Print("Thank you for logging in. <a href="content.asp">Click
here</a> to start selling stuff to an International bunch of monkey
lovers.")
'ELSE do this:
Response.Redirect("login.asp")
%>
6.3.5 Encouraging Subscribers to Upgrade
You can allow your current subscribers to upgrade to a better subscription by giving them a Modify Subscriptionb
Take the HTML code for your top-tier subscription and add a modify line. For example, the following code lets you
subscribers get on board with the new International offering:
Upgrade now to the new International option; includes Asia and Europe
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but20.gif"
border="0" name="submit" alt="Make payments with PayPal - it's fast,
free and secure!">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Monkey Market with International option">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="mm-2">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="hidden" name="a3" value="60.00">
<input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">
<input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="modify" value="2" >
</form>
This can be a better solution than asking your customers to cancel one subscription and add another. Your record
also be simpler as a result, because PayPal will continue to use the same subscription ID in your records.
In your IPN script, add checking for a txn_type of subscr_modify . If you see that value, you need to change yo
database to reflect the new service tier. For example, your SQL might look likethis:
"UPDATE subscriber SET tier =
2 WHERE email = '" & Resquest.Form("email") & "'"
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 63 Time Your Subscriptions to End on Specific
Dates
Use some simple JavaScript and PayPal's trial period to calculate the lengths of new
subscriptions, assuring they all expire at the same time.
Imagine you own a diaper service for Rhesus monkeys. Your customers subscribe by the month, and
every month some customers allow their subscriptions to lapse. You need to get these customers
back on board so you get some help from your brother-in-law Leon, a guy with a knack for bringing
monkey owners around. Market research suggests lapsed subscribers are best contacted seven to
nine days after dropping the service, just when the smell has started to get the attention of local law
enforcement. But Leon doesn't want to call two or three people a day. He'd rather make 60 or 90
calls all at once.
PayPal doesn't offer a feature to set the date a subscription will expire; the subscription expires at a
time that corresponds to the date the customer signed up. For example, a monthly subscription
started on the 12th will run until the 12th of the next month. But you can use this hack to ensure that
every new subscription will be billed on the first of the month, keeping Leon as happy as a Rhesus
monkey in a fresh nappy.[1]
[1]
No simians were harmed in the writing of this hack, with the possible exception of the author.
6.4.1 Hacking the Trial Period
One handy feature of PayPal's subscriptions is the trial period. It allows you to set an introductory
price for new subscribers that changes to the standard rate when the trial period expires. For
example, you might offer access to your online information service for $1 during a three-day trial
period, after which the price jumps to $100 a month.
To time your subscriptions to expire on the same day, bend the terms of the trial period so that each
customer is charged a prorated amount for the balance of the month, after which the standard
monthly rate kicks in. The JavaScript code makes this easy by completing these tasks:
1. Calculate how many days are left in the current month.
2. Find the prorated price by dividing the monthly subscription fee by the number of days in a
month (31 days in this example) and multiplying by the number of days left.
3. Stuff the calculated values into the subscription button when the buyer clicks Subscribe.
Just use this for your subscription sign-up page:
3.
<html>
<head>
<title>Prorated Subscription</title>
</head>
<body>
<script language="JavaScript">
function CalcDate( ) {
var subend
//Set the start day to today
today=new Date( )
//Set the end date
//If it is December now, then the ending date needs to be January 1 of
next year
if (today.getMonth == 12) {
subend=new Date(today.getFullYear( )+1, 1, 1)
} else {
subend=new Date(today.getFullYear( ), today.getMonth( )+1, 1)
}
//Set 1 day in milliseconds
var one_day=1000*60*60*24
//Calculate the difference between the two dates, convert to days, and put
it in the day_count variable
var day_count = (Math.ceil((subend.getTime( )-today.getTime( ))/(one_day)))
//Set the subscription fee, then calculate the prorated value
var sub_fee = 10
var prorated_fee = Math.floor(((sub_fee/31)*day_count)*100)/100
//Write the values to the form on click
document.fmSubscribe.p1.value = day_count
document.fmSubscribe.a1.value = prorated_fee
}
</script>
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr"
method="post" name="fmSubscribe">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but20.gif"
onClick="CalcDate( )" border="0" name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick-subscriptions">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Monkey Nappy Service">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Sub-001">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="hidden" name="a3" value="10.00">
<input type="hidden" name="p3" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="t3" value="M">
<input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="sra" value="1">
<!-- Values for the "trial period" -->
<input type="hidden" name="a1" value="">
<input type="hidden" name="p1" value="">
<input type="hidden" name="t1" value="D">
</form>
</body>
</html>
6.4.2 Hacking the Hack
PayPal allows you to have two subscription trial periods. If you'd like to offer new subscribers a
special rate and also have them all expire on the same schedule, use the first trial period for the
discount (or even free) trial and the second trial period to prorate the balance of the month. Set the
second trial period to the number of days left in the month after accounting for the days in the first
trial.
For a three-day free trial, for instance, the trial period section of the button mightlook like this:
<!-- Values for the "trial period" -->
<input type="hidden" name="a1" value="0">
<input type="hidden" name="p1" value="3">
<input type="hidden" name="t1" value="D">
<input type="hidden" name="a2" value="">
<input type="hidden" name="p2" value="">
<input type="hidden" name="t2" value="D">
Don't forget to modify the JavaScript code to figure the end date of the second
(prorated) trial period, which may fall at the end of next month.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 64 Manage Subscription Passwords the Easy Way
Use PayPal's Password Management feature and a PayPal-provided Perl script to get a
subscription service up and running quickly.
PayPal offers a subscription service [Hack #61] that enables you to set up your customers to pay
you on a recurring basis. But if you offer access to an online resource, it can be a pain to manage all
the subscribers manually. You'll have to monitor your PayPal account or email notifications, activate
service each time you get a new subscriber, email customers their usernames and passwords, and
deactivate the accounts of canceled subscribers precisely at each subscription's end of term. It goes
on and on. That ain't any kind of fun.
If you are an experienced programmer, you can take advantage of Instant Payment Notifications
(IPN) [Hack #65] to update subscriber lists and send out passwords automatically, but that requires
a fair amount of knowledge, expertise, and patience. To help online merchants, PayPal offers a
Password Management feature, including a complementary Perl script, that makes things much
easier.
The Password Management feature takes PayPal's standard subscriptions service one step further by
automatically generating usernames and passwords for your subscribers. PayPal displays the newly
created username and password to each new subscriber upon signup. Subscribers should probably
write them down, because they aren't memorable. For example, a username might bepp-cookankle
with the password saga!glint. Occasionally, you'll get even stranger combinations!
Shortcut to the Subscription Page
Subscribers can always find their usernames and passwords in the subscription details
page at the PayPal web site. You can provide your customers with a shortcut to this page
with this link (where merchant_email is the email address of the merchant-in this case,
you):
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_subscr-find&alias=merchant_email
The link takes each subscriber to his own History page at PayPal and shows a list of any
and all subscriptions purchased from you. Merchants can also pull down a list of
subscribers, including usernames and passwords, in a downloadable log.
6.5.1 .htpasswd and .htaccess
To use Password Management, you must run your own Apache web server on Unix or Linux (or use a
hosting provider that offers it; the vast majority of hosts do). Password Management works with the
.htpasswd and .htaccess files used by Linux/Unix and Apache, as described at
http://httpd.apache.org/docs/howto/auth.html. Apache consults these password files before it allows
(or denies) access to your premium content directories.
The Perl script in this hack works in conjunction with the Password Management option on the PayPal
system, IPN, and your web server to automatically add and remove users from your .htpasswd and
.htaccess files and thus provide immediate password-protected access to new subscribers.
PerlDiver is a useful tool when deploying Perl scripts. It tells you the path to
your home directory, the path to your sendmail program, and which Perl
modules are installed on your server. All three are pertinent to Password
Management installation. PerlDiver is available for free at
http://www.scriptsolutions.com/programs/free/perldiver/.
6.5.2 Getting the Code
Even though Perl is a programming language, you don't need to know how to program in order to
install this script successfully. Familiarity with Perl is, of course, helpful, as is some experience in
creating and editing files and directories on Unix or Linux systems.
It's usually possible to perform a complete installation using File Transfer Protocol (FTP)-a method of
transferring files between computers-to upload the file to your server. If not, you might need to
connect to your server with Telnet or SSH (or with some other server access program provided by
your hosting provider). In any event, use the method with which you are most comfortable.
First, obtain the PayPal Perl script from the PayPal web site:
1. Log into PayPal and click the Merchant Tools tab.
2. Click Subscriptions and Recurring Payments.
While you're here, make note of the Subscriptions Password Management
checkbox. To use Password Management for a subscription, you'll need to
enable this feature.
3. Click the "IPN and server modifications" link.
4. Click the "Download Perl script" link and save the Manual and Script to your hard drive.
The script is packed into a gzipped TAR file. Windows users can use WinZip
(http://www.winzip.com) to decompress this file. Unix and Mac OS X users
should go to the command line and type gunzip paypal.tar.gz and then tar
xvf paypal.tar to extract the script and README file.
The complete installation instructions are too lengthy to discuss here, but the manual provided by
PayPal does a decent job. Among other things, the manual covers the setup of basic authentication
with Apache, installation and configuration of the script, and updates you'll need to make your PayPal
account configure IPN.
The PayPal manual sometimes refers to the password file as .htpassword (as
opposed to the more standard .htpasswd). This is okay; the file can be named
anything you choose, so long as it is referenced properly in your Perl script and
Apache configuration files.
For your reference, Figure 6-1 shows a typical directory structure for a web site. Unfortunately, every
hosting provider seems to have a different naming convention and organizational structure, so this
hierarchy will probably be slightly different from what you find on your web server.
Figure 6-1. A typical hierarchy of directories and files that make up a web
server
If you encounter any problems, make sure your files are installed to the correct
locations, that you've set the file privileges with chmod, and that the file
location of your .htaccess file is specified in your paypal.pl Perl script.
Once you have everything set up, you should give it a thorough testing and then roll it out to your
customers. The script will handle incoming Instant Payment Notifications and make updates to your
password files automatically.
6.5.3 Adding Users Manually
In order to manage users on your web site manually, open your .htpasswd file for editing (any plaintext editor will do). You'll notice that it is made up of a long list of text strings that look like this:ppoaktunnel:8fusre9fhs. The first part is the PayPal-generated username, the second part is a
scrambled version of the password, and the two are separated by a colon (:). The PayPal Perl script
automatically inserts and deletes lines in this file.
To remove a user, simply delete the corresponding line from the file. Or, to temporarily disable a
subscriber's access without deleting the line altogether, just add the wordOFF in front of the user's
password. You can reinstate access by removing the OFF prefix at any time.
When you are just getting started with a Password Management installation,
you'll probably want to set up some temporary user accounts for testing
purposes. Adding a few test accounts here means that you don't have to set up
secondary PayPal accounts and purchase subscriptions from yourself just to
test the system.
Adding users is a little more complicated, because the passwords are scrambled with the Unix
crypt() function. The easiest way to generate an encrypted password is to use a web-based tool
such as the one at http://www.earthlink.net/cgi-bin/pwgenerator.pl. Next, insert the
username:password combo just as you would edit any other file on your web server. If you add a
username:password combination to the end of the list, make sure to press Return or Enter so that
your cursor moves to the next line before you save the file.
If you want to add a user from the Unix command line (and without having to edit the.htpasswd file
manually), use the htpasswd utility that comes with Apache, like this:
htpasswd -b -d /usr/web/mysite.com/.htpasswd newuser newpass
In this command, /usr/web/mysite.com is the full path of your .htpasswd file, and newuser and
newpass are the username and password of the new user, respectively.
6.5.4 Hacking the Hack
There are some commonly requested enhancements to the paypal.pl Perl script that are reasonably
easy and safe to perform:
Multiple currencies
The paypal.pl Perl script supports subscriptions funded by U.S. dollars (USD) only, but you can
modify it to support the other currencies that PayPal uses (GBP, CAD, JPY, and EUR).
Multiple subscription terms
PayPal's Perl script handles only one set of subscription terms. However, you can add support
for a more complicated pricing structure, such as discounts for longer-term commitments.
Consider the following hypothetical subscription. You'd like to charge your customers 10 euros per
month, or 100 euros annually for subscribers who sign on for a full year (the annual rate provides a
savings of 20 euros).
The PayPal signup button for 10 euros per month would then look like this:
<form method="post" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclik-subscriptions">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="a3" value="10.00">
<input type="hidden" name="p3" value="M">
<input type="hidden" name="t3" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="EUR">
<input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">
<input type="submit" value="10.00 Euros per Month">
</form>
And the button for 100 euros per year would look like this:
<form method="post" action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclik-subscriptions">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="a3" value="100.00">
<input type="hidden" name="p3" value="Y">
<input type="hidden" name="t3" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="EUR">
<input type="hidden" name="src" value="1">
<input type="submit" value="100.00 Euros per Year">
</form>
To enable both of these scenarios, make the following edits to thepaypal.pl script. First, replace
these lines from the paypal.pl script:
# If you have an initial trial period set it here. For example one
# month would be '1 M'
my $PERIOD1 = '';
# If you have a second trial period set it here. For example one
# month would be '1 M'
my $PERIOD2 = '';
# Set this to your recurring or normal period. For example one
# month would be '1 M'
my $PERIOD3 = '1 M';
# Set this to the dollar amount for your initial trial period. For
# example a free trial would be '0.00'
my $AMOUNT1 = '';
# Set this to the dollar amount for your second trial period. For
# example a $1.00 trial would be '1.00'
my $AMOUNT2 = '';
# Set this to the dollar amount for your recurring or normal period.
# For example $1.00 would be '1.00'
my $AMOUNT3 = '10.00';
with this code:
# Join button a
my $PERIOD1a = '';
my $AMOUNT1a = '';
my $PERIOD3a = '1 M';
my $AMOUNT3a = '10.00';
# Join button b
my $PERIOD1b = '';
my $AMOUNT1b = '';
my $PERIOD3b = '1 Y';
my $AMOUNT3b = '100.00';
# Join button c
my $PERIOD1c = '';
my $AMOUNT1c = '';
my $PERIOD3c = '';
my $AMOUNT3c = '';
my $CURRENCY = 'EUR';
This example allows you to configure up to three subscription tiers; just fill in the details of your
subscriptions here.
This modification doesn't support the middle subscription period,PERIOD2,
which is seldom used.
Next, replace these lines:
sub validate_signup {
# validate the terms and amounts
if ((param("period1") ne $PERIOD1)
|| (param("period2") ne $PERIOD2)
|| (param("period3") ne $PERIOD3)
|| (param("amount1") ne $AMOUNT1)
|| (param("amount2") ne $AMOUNT2)
|| (param("amount3") ne $AMOUNT3)) {
error_notify("This customer did not sign-up according to your payment
terms. Although payment was accepted the account was not activated.",
"validate subscription terms", 0, 1);
return undef;
}
}
with this code:
sub match_terms {
# validate the terms and amounts
my $p1 = shift;
my $a1 = shift;
my $p3 = shift;
my $a3 = shift;
if (($p1 eq param("period1") && $a1 eq param("mc_amount1")) &&
($PERIOD2 eq param("period2") && $AMOUNT2 eq param("mc_amount2"))&&
($p3 eq param("period3") && $a3 eq param("mc_amount3")) &&
($CURRENCY eq param("$mc_currency"))) {
return 1;
} else {
return undef;
}
}
sub validate_signup {
# validate the terms and amounts
if (match_terms($PERIOD1a, $AMOUNT1a, $PERIOD3a, $AMOUNT3a) ||
match_terms($PERIOD1b, $AMOUNT1b, $PERIOD3b, $AMOUNT3b) ||
match_terms($PERIOD1c, $AMOUNT1c, $PERIOD3c, $AMOUNT3c)) {
} else {
error_notify("Although payment was accepted the account
was not activated.",
"validate subscription terms", 0, 1);
return undef;
}
6.5.5 See Also
For information on Apache's password protection for directories and tools to modify the .htpasswd
file, see Apache: The Definitive Guide by Ben Laurie and Peter Laurie (O'Reilly).
- Patrick Breitenbach and Dave Burchell
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Chapter 7. IPN and PDT
Introduction: Hacks #65-86
What IPN and PDT Are
How IPN Works
Advantages of PDT
Hack 65. Receive Instant Payment Notifications
Hack 66. Troubleshoot Instant Payment Notifications
Hack 67. Send a Purchase Confirmation Email with IPN
Hack 68. Process Shopping Carts with IPN
Hack 69. Use IPN with eBay Listings
Hack 70. Track Your eBay Products with IPN
Hack 71. Deliver Digital Goods with IPN
Hack 72. Deliver Digital Goods with a Return Page
Hack 73. Implement Price Checking with IPN
Hack 74. Provide an Order Summary with IPN
Hack 75. Upsell Your Customers
Hack 76. Enable Multiple IPN Pages
Hack 77. Use Mass Pay to Create an Affiliate System
Hack 78. Manage Your Inventory with IPN
Hack 79. Display Donation Goals on Your Web Site
Hack 80. Display a Recent Donor List
Hack 81. Capture Customer Information with IPN
Hack 82. Insert Payment Details into a Database with IPN
Hack 83. Insert Cart Details into a Database
Hack 84. Track Google Referrals
Hack 85. Process Payments like a Credit Card with PDT
Hack 86. Synchronizing PDT and IPN
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Introduction: Hacks #65-86
One of the questions asked most often by merchants considering PayPal as a payment processor is,
"How will I know when the customer pays?" If a merchant is employing any sort of automation or
digital fulfillment, the question becomes, "How will my site know when the customer pays?"
Obviously, since customers must leave your site to complete payment at the PayPal web site, your
site (or its database) won't know when your customer has paid until it has been notified by PayPal.
To that end, PayPal has developed two technologies for developers: Instant Payment Notification
(IPN) and Payment Data Transfer (PDT). These technologies notify the merchant's web server when
payment has been attempted, whether or not it was successful, and details about the sale.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
What IPN and PDT Are
Instant Payment Notification (IPN) is a means by which PayPal contacts your server directly every
time a transaction completes; in other words, IPN is a call-back routine and part of an asynchronous
process (in that the notification can happen any time after the transaction). This design has its
benefits, such as accommodating eChecks that can take three to four days to process.
Payment Data Transfer (PDT), on the other hand, is fueled directly by your customer's actions. First,
you enable PayPal's Auto Return feature, such that when a payment is completed, the customer is
immediately returned to your site, along with some transaction information. Restricting the
navigation options in this way drives the payment process in a linear (and thus synchronous) fashion,
making the PayPal transaction virtually seamless to your customer. The site is notified of the
payment immediately, and your more impatient customers might not head for the complaint box so
quickly.
The big advantage of IPN over PDT is that the PayPal server keeps trying until
it successfully notifies your server of a transaction (if the customer closes the
browser window or clicks the browser's Stop button, a PDT will be interrupted).
The big advantage of PDT, on the other hand, is that the customer doesn't
have to wait for the asynchronous IPN transaction to take place (IPN usually
happens within a few seconds, but it can take up to four days in extreme
cases).
IPN and PDT aren't necessarily mutually exclusive; in fact, there are times when you'd want to use
both technologies. For instance, say you're selling downloadable software (known in the trade as
digital fulfillment). You might choose to employ PDT so that a customer could pay and be
immediately sent to a download page, without having to wait for a confirmation email. But you might
also employ IPN so that you could be certain that any and all transactions were recorded
automatically by your server and that your customer could return to your site days later and still
retrieve your product.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
How IPN Works
Simply put, IPN is the means by which PayPal can inform your server of a payment, a change in
payment status, or other, possibly more urgent information. IPN differs from nearly every other way
merchants use PayPal, because the IPN transaction is initiated by PayPal. Except for IPN (and PDT),
all parts of the PayPal system are user initiated: nothing happens unless you, as the account holder,
take action. IPN, on the other hand, can be triggered at any time (even when you are not at your
computer), hours or even days after the last payment was made to your account.
IPN carries out this communication using HTTP, the same protocol used when you access the PayPal
system with your web browser. In the case of IPN, however, roles are reversed: PayPal acts as an
automated browser, making a request of your web site, which acts as the web server. This swapping
of traditional positions can be confusing, but once you know that IPN posts originate at PayPal and
request the IPN script on your site just like any other web browser on the Internet might, IPN
becomes much easier to grok.[1]
[1]
To make full use of IPN, it's helpful to profoundly understand the process. To grok the concepts involved (as
opposed to merely grasping them), helps elevate you to the status of Geek. (The term grok was coined by
Robert A. Heinlein in his novel Stranger in a Strange Land.)
To get started with IPN, see [Hack #65] .
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Advantages of PDT
The advantage of using PDT over IPN is that it enables you to track orders more efficiently. The best
way to think about PDT is to consider where it fits in the three steps of a customer purchase:
1. Your customer selects what he wants to buy on your web site, and during the checkout process,
all the order items are handed to PayPal.
2. PayPal processes the payment and confirms the sale to the user on the PayPal web site and via
email.
3. Your site receives the order information via PDT, records the sale in your site's database (if you
so choose), and shows the user a nice receipt, tailored to the order.
This is a much cleaner transaction experience for your customers than the process afforded by IPN,
because they can see their order results immediately on your site. It also allows you to track only
those orders that have been completed.
To get started with PDT, see [Hack #85] .
- Rob Conery and Dave Burchell
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 65 Receive Instant Payment Notifications
Set up the IPN system to have PayPal automatically send transaction details to your
server to process immediately after receiving a payment.
PayPal makes it easy for merchants to accept payments by placing payment buttons on their web
sites. While this system can be sufficient to initiate transactions, it does nothing to help process
payments once they're made. IPN fills this gap.
PayPal's IPN feature sends a behind-the-scenes server-to-server post to a page of your choice,
almost instantly after a customer clicks the Pay button and completes the transaction at the PayPal
web site.
To begin using IPN, log into PayPal, click Profile, and then click Instant Payment Notification
Preferences to see the screen shown in Figure 7-1. Turn on the feature by checking the box, and then
specify the URL of the script on your server that you would like to receive the transaction details.
Figure 7-1. Using the Instant Payment Notification Preferences page to
enable IPN and specify the location of your transaction-processing script
The address you specify will never be seen by your customers and should
contain only Common Gateway Interface (CGI) code or dynamic server
technology, such as PHP, JSP, Perl, or ASP (explained later in this hack).
7.5.1 The Code
Here is the sample IPN code, which is available from the PayPal web site. It's written inVBScript for
Active Server Pages (ASP), which means you need a server capable of handling Microsoft Active
Server Pages. If you'd rather develop your IPN script in Perl, PHP, or JSP, you can get the
corresponding sample code at http://www.paypal.com, but the concepts discussed here will be the
same, regardless of the platform you're using (see the "Database Coding and Platform Choices"
section of the Preface for further information).
<[email protected]="VBScript"%>
<%
Dim Item_name, Item_number, Payment_status, Payment_amount
Dim Txn_id, Receiver_email, Payer_email
Dim objHttp, str
' read post from PayPal system and add 'cmd'
str = Request.Form & "&cmd=_notify-validate"
' post back to PayPal system to validate
set objHttp = Server.CreateObject("Msxml2.ServerXMLHTTP")
objHttp.open "POST", "https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr", false
objHttp.setRequestHeader "Content-type", "application/x-www-form-urlencoded"
objHttp.Send str
' assign posted variables to local variables1.
1. Item_name = Request.Form("item_name")
Item_number = Request.Form("item_number")
Payment_status = Request.Form("payment_status")
Payment_amount = Request.Form("mc_gross")
Payment_currency = Request.Form("mc_currency")
Txn_id = Request.Form("txn_id")
Receiver_email = Request.Form("receiver_email")
2.
Payer_email = Request.Form("payer_email")
' Check notification validation
if (objHttp.status <> 200 ) then
' HTTP error handling
elseif (objHttp.responseText = "VERIFIED") then
3.
if Payment_status = "Completed" Then
4.
' check that Txn_id has not been previously processed
' check that Receiver_email is your Primary PayPal email
5.
if Receiver_email = "[email protected]" Then 'Email is correct
' check that Payment_amount/Payment_currency are correct
6.
' process payment
end If
7.
end If
elseif (objHttp.responseText = "INVALID") then
' log for manual investigation
else
' error
end if
set objHttp = nothing
%>
7.5.2 Running the Code
The first section of code with which to be concerned, from line 1 to line 2, retrieves the values passed
to you by PayPal and assigns them to variables. Field formats and descriptions for the 50 supported
variables can be found in the Integration Guide, available at https://www.paypal.com/ipn.
The next section, from line 3 to 7, contains code to check the transaction and process the order.
Simply replace the commented lines of pseudocode with your own code.
Now, you'll need to complete several steps to process a transaction. The firstIf/Then statement (line
3) checks to see if the Payment_status variable has a value of Completed.
Next, you'll need to check that the transaction ID has not been previously processed (line 4). One
way to accomplish this is to record the txn_id value into a database [Hack #54] . Then, query the
table, pull the results into a recordset named rsCheck, and then check to see whether the record
exists:
' check that Txn_id has not been previously processed:
connStore = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};
DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
set rsCheck = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsCheck.ActiveConnection = connStore
rsCheck.Source = "SELECT txn_id FROM tblOrders WHERE txn_id =
'" & txn_id & "'"
rsCheck.Open( )
If rsCheck.EOF And rsCheck.BOF Then 'Not a duplicate, continue processing
' check that Receiver_email is your Primary PayPal email
' check that Payment_amount/Payment_currency are correct
' process payment
End If
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
You might want to process pending payments (typically from eChecks) so that you can automatically
notify customers that there will be a delay in fulfilling the order. If thepayment_status value is
Pending, you can record the pending payment into your database table, but you will also need to
adjust your duplicate transaction query to ignore the pending transactions you would otherwise be
recording. Pending payments ultimately post two notifications to your IPN script: one when the
purchase is made (with a status of Pending) and a second when the payment has cleared (with a
status of Completed).
Finally, the check on line 5 compares the recipient's email address with your address to ensure that
the IPN was not spoofed. You also want to make sure that the price has not been tampered with
[Hack #73] When all is said and done, replace line 6 with your own server logic to processthe
order.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 66 Troubleshoot Instant Payment Notifications
Effectively diagnose processing problems and overcome some of IPN's stumbling blocks.
The IPN system is one of the most powerful features of the PayPal system. Deploying it requires a
certain level of programming skill, but even with perfect programming, there can be issues that arise
in deploying any new system for the first time. In the case of implementing IPN, there are several
things you can do to help diagnose any issues that arise.
The first step in testing your IPN system is to make a live purchase on the system so that the script
gets called by PayPal [Hack #65] .
7.6.1 Adding Email to IPN
A good way to help diagnose problems is to have your IPN processing page send you all the variables
and their values as they were posted to the PayPal site. You can do this by inserting a server mail
component function that emails you the complete form post from PayPal when your IPN page is
called. You can add the code to send an email and also to include a switch to turn this function on
and off with the following code, written in VBScript for Active Server Pages:
Dim vTesting
vTesting = 1 'Uncomment for test mode on
'vTesting = 0 'Uncomment for test mode off
If vTesting = 1 Then 'Send test email
Dim TestCDO
Set TestCDO = Server.CreateObject("CDONTS.NewMail")
TestCDO.From = "[email protected]"
TestCDO.To = "[email protected]"
TestCDO.Subject = "IPN Variables"
TestCDO.Body = Request.Form( )
TestCDO.Send( )
Set TestCDO = Nothing
End If
With this code added to the basic IPN processing code [Hack #65], the IPN page sends you an email
with all the transaction data as posted by PayPal. This can help you determine whether the problems
are with the data being passed back.
7.6.2 Using a Return URL
The next way to test your IPN script is to check to see if your IPN page is throwing any errors. You
can do this easily by redirecting to your IPN page after payment (using thereturn variable) and
having the IPN information sent when you hit the page. This provides the same functionality that
normally occurs behind the scenes, except you are able to see it firsthand. You need to add the
following code to your test purchase button to accomplish this:
<input type="hidden" name="rm" value="2">
<input type="hidden" name="return" value="http://yoursite.com/ipn.asp">
When this code is added to your purchase button, PayPal redirects you back to your IPN script after
payment and a form post is sent that allows you to see if the page has an error on it.
If you're using Internet Explorer, you should also configure your browser to
show descriptive server errors by disabling the "Show friendly HTTP error
messages" option, found in Tools
Internet Options
Advanced. Now, when
a page with an error is loaded, you'll get a descriptive message regarding the
error and the line on which it occurred.
7.6.3 Capturing Errors
One way to find out if your IPN script is causing an error is to insert error-capturing code within your
IPN page. When a page error occurs, you can get an email letting you know that an error has
occurred and what the error was. This example uses ASP written in VBScript. First, you have to add
the following piece of code to the top of your IPN page:
<% On Error Resume Next %>
That line makes sure that the page continues to process if an error is detected. Then, at the bottom
of your IPN page, insert the following:
<%
ErrorCheck( )
Function ErrorCheck( )
If Err.Number <> 0 then
'if there is an error then the html table will be
written out
Dim ErrorCDO
Set ErrorCDO = Server.CreateObject("CDONTS.NewMail")
ErrorCDO.From = "[email protected]"
ErrorCDO.To = "[email protected]"
ErrorCDO.Subject = "IPN Error"
ErrorCDO.Body = "Error: " & Err.Number & " " & VbCrLf & "Description: " &
Err.Description & ""
ErrorCDO.Send( )
Set ErrorCDO = Nothing
End If
End Function
%>
Once you add this code to your IPN script, you'll be notified via email when an error has occurred.
Since the page uses an On Error Resume Next statement, it assumes that the
post worked properly and does not send an error back to the PayPal system or
try again. Without this statement, PayPal would continue to repost the
information back to your IPN script until it was successful. Therefore, you
should use this technique only during testing phases and not in a live
implementation.
7.6.4 Using a Third-Party Testing Script
Another easy way to test your IPN page is to use a third-party testing script that simulates a PayPal
purchase to your IPN script without having to make an actual purchase. The best third-party testing
script is located at http://www.eliteweaver.co.uk/testing/ipntest.php. Test your script by simply
entering your IPN page's web address. You also have to change the following line in your IPN page
(the postback line) so your script does not try to send the posted data back to PayPal as it causes an
Invalid response from their system:
objHttp.open "POST", "https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr", false
Change it like so:
objHttp.open "POST", "http://www.eliteweaver.co.uk/cgi-bin/webscr", false
Then, you can fill in the script form with any information you like and submit it to simulate the post to
your IPN script. You can find a list of all available testing scriptsat http://www.paypal.com/cgibin/webscr?cmd=p/pdn/3p-solutions-ipntools-outside.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 67 Send a Purchase Confirmation Email with IPN
Automate communication with customers by sending simple order-confirmation emails.
In this hack, your web server uses IPN to learn about purchases a customer makes and sends the
customer an email confirming her purchase. To use this hack, you need to have an environment that
allows you to execute server-side scripts that can send email. This example uses Microsoft's Active
Server Pages (ASP), but the concepts apply to any scripting language you choose.
Before using this example, set up and test the basic IPN script described in[Hack #65] . You'll add
the code presented here to that basic script, giving your system the ability to send email messages to
customers after each purchase.
All popular web scripting environments provide a tool for sending electronic mail. Microsoft Windows
server environments, for example, have a Common Data Objects (CDO) mail component preinstalled.
Regardless of the platform, the email messages require a subject, a message body, the recipient's
address, and the sender's address. You can find the recipient's address and other information about
the sale in the IPN posting, such as the payer_email variable:
Payer_email = Request.Form("payer_email")
7.7.1 The Code
Place this code in your IPN script after the IPN information has been verified. In PayPal's sample
scripts, the following code should appear at the 'process payment comment:
'Get the customer's email address
Dim payer_email
Payer_email = Request.Form("payer_email")
'Get information about the purchase the customer made
Dim item_name, item_number
Item_name = Request.Form("item_name")
Item_number = Request.Form("item_number")
'Create the body of the email
Dim mail_body
Mail_body = "Thank you for your order. Below are the details." & VbCrLf
& "Item Name: " & item_name & VbCrLf & "Item Number: "
& item_number & ""
'Create an email object and send the message
Dim MailCDO
Set MailCDO = Server.CreateObject("CDONTS.NewMail")
MailCDO.From = "[email protected]"
MailCDO.To = payer_email
MailCDO.Subject = "Order Information"
MailCDO.Body = mail_body
MailCDO.Send( )
Set MailCDO = Nothing
When your site makes a sale, the code is executed and an email is sent to the customer verifying her
order information. Keeping your customer informed in this way is a good practice, because it assures
the customer that she made the purchase she intended to, and builds your reputation as a
responsive merchant.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
"
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 69 Use IPN with eBay Listings
Include additional variables with auction payments to help fortify the connection between
eBay and your PayPal transaction history.
When the IPN system is activated for auction payments, your IPN script receives a form post with the
transaction information. If you have your IPN profile preferences set to On, your processing script
always gets hit when a payment is made, even for auction payments.
In order to process posts for auctions, your IPN script needs to be able to recognize that the payment
is being made for an auction and adjust accordingly. In some cases, you might want to process only
certain sections of code for auctions, or you might want to omit certain sections of your IPN page in
the case of auction payments. There are five additional variables you need to watch for while dealing
with IPN pages that can potentially receive posts for auction payments: item_number,
auction_buyer_id, auction_closing_date, and auction_multi_item, and for_auction.
The item_number variable, which is normally populated with your user-defined unique ID-tracking
value, is sent populated with the auction number. If these new variables are not accounted for, or
you do not have a way of dealing with the item_number value as passed back by auctions, you might
have a problem with your entire system.
7.9.1 The Code
This hack shows you how to set up your IPN script to look for an auction payment, process one block
of code for an auction payment, and process another section of code for nonauction payments. This
example illustrates how to insert the auction buyer ID, the auction number, the auction closing date,
and the multi-item counter variable for the auction into the separate database tabletblAuctions.
'Process payment
If Request.Form(for_auction) = "true" then 'Auction payment received
'Insert into tblAuctions table
'Create and populate auction variables
Dim auction_id, auction_buyer_id, auction_closing_date, auction_multi_item
auction_id = Request.Form("item_number")
auction_buyer_id = Request.Form("auction_buyer_id")
auction_closing_date = Request.Form("auction_closing_date")
auction_multi_item = Request.Form("auction_multi_item")
'Database connection info here
set cInsAuction = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
cInsAuction.ActiveConnection = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};
DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
cInsAuction.CommandText = "INSERT INTO tblAuctions (auction_id,
auction_buyer_id, auction_closing_date, auction_multi_item) VALUES
('" & auction_id & "', '" & auction_buyer_id & "', '" &
auction_closing_date & "', '" & auction_multi_item & "')"
cInsAuction.CommandType = 1
cInsAuction.CommandTimeout = 0
cInsAuction.Prepared = true
cInsAuction.Execute( )
End If
If for_auction <> "true" Then 'Normal payment
'Create and populate normal variables
Dim item_number
Item_number = Request.Form("item_number")
'Normal payment code here
End If
7.9.2 The Results
When you place the code in your IPN processing page, it enables your script to handle payment calls
for both auctions and normal Web Accept payments. If you did not build this type of functionality into
your script, your system might not function properly, because the item_number variable is populated
with different information in the case of an auction.
The first section uses an If/Then statement to determine whether the post is being made for an
auction. The for_auction variable lets your page determine whether this is the case. If the variable
has a value of 1, the payment is for an auction, and the code uses the aforementioned additional
variables (including the modified item_number variable) to make a database insertion into a table
created to track auction payments. If the payment is not for an auction, the for_auction variable
has a value of 0 and the section of code is not activated.
The second block of code does the exact opposite of the first section. It checks to see if the
for_auction variable has a value other than 1 (true). If it has a value other than 1, the code block
that handles the processing of your normal payments is activated. You should place all of your
normal transaction processing code in this section.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 70 Track Your eBay Products with IPN
Easily process eBay sales easily by automatically storing completed transactions in a
database.
The eBay and PayPal combination is hard to beat. It gives anyone who wants to sell unique items the
ability to market goods and accept payment for that item without any programming expertise or an
expensive merchant account. Since eBay purchased PayPal, their efforts to integrate the two have
made the process of doing business on eBay with PayPal almost seamless. This improvement includes
PayPal's IPN system. When an auction is completed and it has been paid for through PayPal, an IPN
call is made to your IPN script (listed in your PayPal account's Profile settings, if you have enabled
IPN). This POST contains a lot of the same information as the IPN generated by a normal web
purchases. However, because of the nature of an auction, the notification lacks some values we
normally rely upon. Fortunately, this hack provides a workaround.
The main issue is that the item_number value supplied by IPN after payment for an auction item is
actually the auction number generated by eBay, not the unique identifier you assigned to the product
for internal use. This means that when an item is purchased through eBay, you have no way of
determining (with your IPN script) which item that is. The workaround is to tack your internal
identifier for the item to the end of the auction title, allowing ourdatabase and IPN script to process
the order normally.
7.10.1 Preparing Your Database
This example pulls up product details from your database after receiving an IPN that tells you your
item sold and has been paid for with PayPal. This could be useful if you like to send an automated
confirmation email to your buyers with complete details about the product. To store this information,
your database requires the item_number, item_name, and description fields, as shown in Table 71.
You might also want a count_inventory field for keeping track of how many of
an item have been sold.
Table 7-1. A database table to track the stuff you sell on eBay
item_number
item_name
description
6001
Vitamins
Some children may develop a rapid...
6002
Sulfuric Acid
As seen on boxcar advertisements...
6004
Calculator
Now with a 7 and an 8!
7001
Imitation Gruel
Favored by camp counselors
7.10.2 Listing the Item Number on eBay
Have the item's unique internal identifier on hand as you list it on eBay. The length of the item
numbers you use must be consistent for all the items you are selling on eBay. For instance, suppose
the item we are selling is a Widget with an item number of WID-01 stored in our database. The item
number is six characters long. If you list another item called Gidget on eBay, you can choose GID-02
(which is also six characters long) as its item number.
The eBay auction title field accepts 55 characters. However, since you will be using your item number
in the auction title (with a space), you have only 48 characters left for your auction title. Type up to
48 characters for the auction's title, and then enter a space and the item number. For example, when
you list your Widget for sale on eBay, the auction title will look like this:Widget WID-01. It might
look a bit strange at first, but it should not throw your customers off too much. When a payment for
this item is made through PayPal at the auction's end, the IPN page will have the item's unique
internal identifier passed back to it in the auction title.
When listing items, be sure not to add any trailing spaces after the item
number as you type the auction title. You rely on the last six characters of the
auction title to identify the item properly, so a trailing space will throw off your
processing.
7.10.3 The Code
In your IPN script, pull out the appended item number from the auction title. The auction title is
passed back in the item_name field as with normal web payment IPNs. So, for the example auction in
the previous section, you would receive a value of Widget WID-01 in the item_name field. Copy that
value to a variable and then assign its last six characters to a variable for the item number:
Dim Auction_title
Dim Item_number
Auction_title = Request.Form("auction_title")
Item_number = Right(auction_title, 6)
Your IPN script can now query your database using that item number. For instance, here's a SQL
query to get this product's information:
SELECT * FROM tblProducts WHERE Item_number = '" & item_number & "'"
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
That query pulls from the database the description of the item you just sold. You could modify it to
update the inventory count or perform other functions usually associated with web site payments,
such as automatically delivering digital goods. As it stands, the query gives you all the information
you need to email your customers your full description of the item theyjust purchased.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 71 Deliver Digital Goods with IPN
Use IPN to have your server automatically send digital goods to customers as soon as
they purchase them from your web site.
The Internet revolution allows instant gratification when purchasing an item. You can purchase digital
goods-eBooks, digital music, video files, software, and anything else that can be delivered via the
Internet-from the comfort of your customer's home and use them almost instantly.
This hack shows you how to leverage PayPal's ease of use, security, and brand name to sell digital
goods with large margins and low overhead. PayPal's IPN system [Hack #65] lets you deliver those
goods without any interaction as a seller.
7.11.1 The Code
The code in this hack uses Microsoft VBScript, but the same process can be implemented with any
web scripting language.
Since this solution employs IPN to deliver a product without any action on your
part, you should take steps to ensure that the payment is legitimate (e.g., no
price tampering has taken place) [Hack #73] .
This script, when used in conjunction with the IPN script from[Hack #73], sends your customer an
email with your digital product as an attachment:
'Declare and populate email address for delivery
Dim payer_email
Payer_email = Request.Form("payer_email")
'Create file variable and set path to file
Dim file_location
1.
file_location = "C:\InetPub\wwwroot\yoursite\filestore\file.zip"
'Send an email to customer and attach file
Dim objCDO
Set objCDO = Server.CreateObject("CDOSYS.NewMail")
2.
objCDO.From = "[email protected]"
'Add customer email address
objCDO.To = payer_email
'Add file attachement
objCDO.AttachFile(file_location)
3.
objCDO.Subject = "PayPal Hacks Software Exo"
4.
objCDO.Body = "Thank you for your order. Your file is attached to this email."
objCDO.Send( )
Set objCDO = Nothing
Place your digital product in a file (presumably zipped up) on your server, and specify the full path
and filename in the file_location variable (line 1). Include your email address as the return
address (line 2); in most cases, this should be the same as the email address used for your PayPal
account. Finally, you'll want to customize the subject and message body text (lines 3 and 4,
respectively) to suit your needs.
When delivering files via email, be sure to keep the file size relatively small
(less than 500 KB). Otherwise, you run the risk of overfilling your customer's
email inbox or having the message rejected by the customer's ISP.
7.11.2 See Also
This hack shows the most simplistic way to implement digital goods sales for your site. For an
improved method, see [Hack #72] .
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 72 Deliver Digital Goods with a Return Page
Instead of forcing customers to wait for an email, present an instant download link to
customers as soon as they complete the checkout process.
Although you can deliver digital goods with IPN [Hack #71], there might be times you want to allow
customers instant access to their purchases with a return page (via PDT). Email messages can be
lost, might bounce, or might not be desired at the same address used in the buyer's PayPal account.
PayPal provides a way to redirect your customers back to your web page after they have completed a
purchase with PayPal. This return page can be used as another means to provide a data file to your
customers and can be quicker than waiting for the email to arrive.
However, if you simply have the digital goods waiting for the customers once they reach the return
page, they could avoid the payment step altogether. For example, a quick inspection of the Buy Now
button code shows exactly where the return URL is. Someone who wants the product but doesn't
want to pay for it could just type that URL into a browser.
You can prevent this by recording verified transactions with IPN, then checking against the list with a
dynamic return page. To implement this hack, add form variables to your purchase buttons, create a
database table, add a database update to the IPN page, and create a return page that checks the
database for an appropriate transaction status before providing the file for download.
7.12.1 Augmenting the PayPal Button Code
You need to add two new variables, return and rm, to your button code. The first variable, return,
defines the page to which your customers should be returned when they click Continue after making
a payment. The second variable, rm, tells the PayPal system to send transaction data to that page
using the POST method. Your return page uses that information to consult your database and
determine whether to make the download available.
Add the return and rm variables between the button's opening and closing <form> tags. The new
button should look like this:
<form target="paypal" action=
"https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Wid-001">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="1.00">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but22.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
<input type="hidden" name="add" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="return" value="http://yoursite.com/return.asp">
<input type="hidden" name="rm" value ="2">
</form>
PayPal prompts the customer to return to your return.asp page after making the payment.
7.12.2 Creating an IPN Page
Use the IPN page created in [Hack #71], which introduced the concept of selling digital goods and
delivering the file via email. Modify it to insert information about the purchase into the database when
a purchase transaction has been completed. Insert the new code just below the code that sends the
email to the customer.
We first need a way to uniquely identify the order. PayPal gives us a uniquetransaction ID with each
order.
The merchant and customer each get a different unique transaction ID. Neither
party can see the other's transaction ID. See [Hack #52] for details.
In this simple system, the transaction ID is the only identifying piece of information that is required.
A simple SQL call to the database stores the transaction ID in a list of completed orders. Create a
new variable and populate it with this value:
'Create and populate transaction id variable
Dim txn_id
txn_id = Request.Form("txn_id")
Insert the transaction ID into the database with a SQL statement, like this:
INSERT INTO tblOrders (txn_id) VALUES ('" & txn_id &'")
Finally, create a table in your database called tblOrders with just one field, txn_id, of a text type.
7.12.3 Building the Return Page
The final component in this system is the return page, the page the customers will see after they
finish making payment and click Continue. Because the rm variable in the Buy Now button is set to 2,
this page will receive a POST from PayPal that contains all of the transaction details. The return page
looks up the transaction ID (txn_id) received in the tblOrders table of the database. If the
transaction is there, you know the customer has paid and you can give access to the data file.
The IPN script is called when the buyer clicks the Pay button at PayPal, so a matching transaction ID
should be present in the system by this time. However, the transaction ID might not be in your
system yet, because the IPN script might not have finished processing the order. If you don't have
the transaction ID yet, the return page displays a message that lets the buyer know he will get the
file via email.
Some customers will not click on the Continue link that returns them to your
page, but will instead either close their browser or remain on the PayPal web
site. In such a case, the return system will not be activated and we must rely
on the file delivery via email.
Here's the code for the return page:
<[email protected]="VBSCRIPT"%>
<%
'Process information
'Create and populate transaction id variable
Dim txn_id
txn_id = Request.Form("txn_id")
'Query the database for the txn_id
'Connect to database and create recordset
connStore = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};
DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
set rsOrderCheck = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsOrderCheck.ActiveConnection = connStore
rsOrderCheck.Source = "SELECT txn_id FROM tblOrders WHERE
txn_id = '" & txn_id & "'"
rsOrderCheck.Open( )
%>
<html>
<body>
<%
If Not rsOrderCheck.EOF Or Not rsOrderCheck.BOF Then
'Order is valid, display download link
%>
<a href="/filestore/file.zip">Click here to downlaod your file</a>
<%
Else
'Order is invalid or not yet complete; display message
%>
Your order is being processed. Please check your email for the
file delivery.
<%
End If
%>
</body>
</html>
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
When this page is loaded after payment is made, it will provide the download for the customer. It will
also guard against people who might fraudulently try to get a free download by going directly to your
return page without paying.
Providing a direct link to the file can be dangerous because the customer can
copy the link loca tion (/filestore/file.zip in this example) and pass it
along to others.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 73 Implement Price Checking with IPN
Prevent fraudulent transactions by comparing the value of the goods purchased with the
amount received.
PayPal has taken many steps to ensure that their system is secured against fraudulent transactions.
However, just like any online eCommerce system, there are always ways for an unscrupulous person
to attempt to cheat you. The PayPal Buy Now and Shopping Cart buttons, for example, are normally
displayed as plain text in your web page's source code, which means that anyone can view your
HTML code or-more importantly-copy and modify the code, and then submit a spoof payment
(presumably with a lower price) to PayPal. And since PayPal doesn't maintain an active database of
all the current prices of your products, it's up to you to engage in some proactive price checking.
See [Hack #36] for ways to hide your payment button code from customers
and reduce the possibility of spoofed payments.
Obviously, the primary concern is the price, given how easily it can be changed from, say, $18.00 to
$.18. While a merchant who is able to view each and every transaction will likely notice when a $100
item was purchased for $.01, but it can, of course, be easy to miss this kind of thing, especially for
high-volume merchants. And if you have a fully automated fulfillment system, such as for digital
goods [Hack #71], you'll need to employ some sort of price checking.
The following solution employs the trusty IPN system to check whether a customer has paid the
correct amount.
7.13.1 Simple Price Checking with Single Item Purchases
The PayPal IPN system posts the variables as they were originally submitted to PayPal, so a spoofed
price will be reflected in our IPN postback from PayPal. Because PayPal does not store any of your
product information on their servers, you have to query your product information to ensure it
matches the price the customer paid.
To use a price-checking system on your site, you need to be able to run a dynamic server page
technology (e.g., ASP, as is used in this example) and a simple database (e.g., Microsoft Access). The
table in this example, tblProducts, has only two columns: item_number, containing a list of all of
the unique product numbers, and item_price, in which the corresponding prices are stored.
Naturally, your product database will be more sophisticated, but it will likely have analogous fields.
Here is some skeleton code, written in ASP, that does rudimentary price checking for items
purchased with Buy Now buttons:
'Declare and populate our price checking variables
Dim item_number, item_amount
item_number = Request.Form("item_number")
item_amount = "Request.Form("mc_gross")
'Connect to database and create recordset
connStore = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};DBQ=
"C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
set rsPriceCheck = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsPriceCheck.ActiveConnection = connStore
rsPriceCheck.Source = "SELECT item_price FROM tblProducts
WHERE item_number = 'item_number'"
rsPriceCheck.Open( )
'Compare the values to see if amount paid is equal to or
greater than required
If rsPriceCheck("item_amount") >= item_amount Then
'Price paid is at least as much as required, process order
'Order processing code here
Else
'Price paid is less than required, stop order processing
'Send alert to purchaser and merchant
End If
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
This code relies on the mc_gross variable, which is equal to the purchase price plus any shipping,
handling, or tax charges applied to the order (note that mc_gross does not include the deduction of
any applicable PayPal fees).
This code merely checks to see if the price paid is equal to or higher than the
price in your database. You'll want to account for shipping and sales tax,
because these values can also be spoofed by customers.
7.13.2 Price Checking for Shopping Cart Purchases
PayPal does not pass back individual item prices in Shopping Cart transactions. If a customer buys
three items worth $1.00, $2.00, and $5.00, respectively (and agrees to pay $3.50 for shipping), you
don't get any of those individual values in the IPN data. Rather, themc_gross variable will have a
value of the total amount paid (in this case, $11.50). Thankfully, PayPal does pass back the individual
item_number fields, which means that you can still look up the individual prices in your database.
In the long run, however, it might be easier to keep a running total on file for
each customer's Shopping Cart so that you can easily cross-check this value
with the amount paid.
As described in [Hack #45] and [Hack #50], the PayPal Shopping Cart system returns an item
number for each item in the cart. The variables are in the form item_numbern, where n is the cart
number for that item, starting with 1. PayPal also provides the num_cart_items variable to indicate
the number of items in the cart. To verify the order, add the values of each item as listed in your
database and compare the total to the gross amount paid:
Dim item_number, mc_gross, I, num_cart_items, price_check
mc_gross = Request.Form("mc_gross")
num_cart_items = Request.Form("num_cart_items")
price_check = 0
For i=1 to num_cart_items
'Populate variable with value
item_number = Request.Form("item_number" & i)
'Execute SQL query on database with item_number value
'Connect to database and create recordset
connStore = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};
DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
set rsPriceCheck = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsPriceCheck.ActiveConnection = connStore
rsPriceCheck.Source = "SELECT item_price FROM tblProducts
WHERE item_number = 'item_number'"
rsPriceCheck.Open( )
'Add value from database to our running count
price_check = price_check + rsPriceCheck("item_price")
Next
If price_check = mc_gross OR price_check > mc_gross Then
'Price paid is at least as much as required, process order
'Order processing code here
Else
'Price paid is less than required, stop order processing
'Send alert to purchaser and merchant
End If
This ASP code assumes a quantity of 1 for each cart item. If you offer multiple
quantities of items, you will need to take the item_quantity value into account
by multiplying the database price value by the price of the item.
7.13.3 Sending a Price Check Alert
Once you see a problem with an order, it's up to you to send an alert. Use any simple mail
component available to you and your server technology. In ASP, you can use the Common Data
Objects (CDO) mail component with the following code:
Dim PriceErrorCDO
Set PriceErrorCDO = Server.CreateObject("CDOSYS.NewMail")
PriceErrorCDO.From = Request.Form("receiver_email")
PriceErrorCDO.To = Request.Form("receiver_email")
PriceErrorCDO.CC = Request.Form("payer_email")
PriceErrorCDO.Subject = "IPN Price Checking Error"
PriceErrorCDO.Body = "There has been a price-checking error
on the following transaction: " & Request.Form("txn_id") & ""
PriceErrorCDO.Send( )
Set PriceErrorCDO = Nothing
This email alert code sends an email to the recipient of the payment (you), but you might also want
to send an automatic email to the customer to indicate that there will be a delay inprocessing the
order.
If you want a truly automated system, you can simply refund any irregular
payments using the PayPal API [Hack #91] .
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 74 Provide an Order Summary with IPN
Present order-specific information on the return page after the customer makes payment.
The return URL and the IPN processing script are two pages on your site that can receive posts
containing details of a purchase. Used separately, these two pages can enable you to create a more
robust eCommerce system by providing order-specific customization.
Using the return page, for instance, you can display the order number[Hack #52] to the customer
for later use. Using the IPN system, on the other hand, you can send a customized email to the
customer [Hack #71], giving her that same order number for tracking purposes. When these two
features are used together, they can be even more powerful in terms of their ability to present your
customer with valuable information.
This hack uses the return page to show the buyer whether the order has been processed successfully
by the IPN system. By itself, this feature might not be worth much, but the functionality is called on
for more advanced functions, such as delivering digital goods[Hack #72] .
When a customer reviews the payment information at PayPal and clicks the Pay button, PayPal sends
a POST to your IPN page with the purchase information. The customer is directed to a PayPal page
that shows them the payment confirmation message. There, the buyer sees a Continue button that,
when pressed, returns the user back to the return page at your site. Order-specific information is
also sent to this page.
In almost all cases, the IPN page will already have been hit and have processed the information, so
you have the transaction information in your local system. With that information, you can customize
the return page to give your customer order-specific information.
Exactly when your IPN page is hit by the PayPal system-and, therefore, the
exact time the customer's order information is made available to your
system-is not defined by PayPal. While it usually occurs quite quickly (the I in
IPN stands for Instant), the possibility exists for IPN postings to be queued up
at PayPal and delayed for minutes or longer. For best results, build your
software to be tolerant of this possibility.
In this example, you simply display a message that notifies the customer of whether the order has
been completed in your system. While this hack only displays a message, you can include other
things as well. You might also want to display any error information, such as a price-checking error
[Hack #73] .
This hack relies on an IPN page that inserts payment details into your database[Hack #82] which
checks the database table to determine whether the order has been processed.
7.14.1 The Code
The return page receives purchase details from PayPal through a form POST (if enabled; see "Using a
Return URL" in [Hack #66] for more information). Included in the purchase details is the order
transaction ID, passed as txn_id. Compare this unique variable to your database to see if the order
has been inserted into the table, which indicates whether it has been processed by your system.
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
First, you need to pass the value as presented by PayPal into a local variable using the following
code:
<%
'Create local transaction id variable and populate
Dim txn_id
Txn_id = Request.Form("txn_id")
%>
'Query the database table and find the record (if it is there yet).
connStore = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};
DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
set rsOrder = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsOrder.ActiveConnection = connStore
rsOrder.Source = "SELECT payment_status FROM tblOrders
WHERE txn_id = '" & txn_id & "'"
rsOrder.Open( )
%>
<% If Not rsOrder.EOF Or Not rsOrder.BOF Then 'order exists %>
Your order has been processed successfully. The payment status for
this order is: <%=rsOrder("payment_status")%>
<% End If %>
<!-- Tell the customer if the order information has not yet been processed -->
<% If rsOrder.EOF Or rsOrder.BOF Then 'order does not exist %>
Your order is still being processed.
<% End If %>
As this hack illustrates, the return page and the IPN page are more powerful when used in
conjunction with one another.
Ideally, you don't want to use your return page to process any of the payment
information. You want to use the return page only to read the values from
PayPal or read the information created by your IPN page. The return page is
not completely reliable, because customers might close their browsers when
they see the payment confirmation screen at PayPal, rather than follow the
Continue link.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 75 Upsell Your Customers
Use the return variable to provide a list of items in which a customer might also be
interested .
Although you can use IPN to provide an order summary [Hack #74] , you're missing a sales
opportunity if you don't use this page to advertise your other products, a technique known as
upselling . For instance, say you're selling bicycle parts and someone comes along and buys a bottom
bracket from your web site. Using this technique, your web site would then present this customer with
a small ad listing some of the cranksets, pedals, and derailleurs you sell. It's easy to do, and it works
better than you might expect.
7.15.1 The Return Page's Job
The return page is the page you show your customers once they are done paying for an item. To help
you upsell your customers, this page has several jobs to do:
Retrieve information about the products purchased . In order to use this hack, you also
need to insert cart details into a database [Hack #83] (or something like it) to keep a running
record of purchases your customers have made.
Consult your sales database to find out what other buyers of this item have
purchased . The heavy lifting in this hack comes from a single database query that is used to
search the contents of the database table [Hack #74] to find a list of products that have been
purchased by other customers.
Display a link and brief description for each . [Hack #55] shows how to link directly to the
other product's details page so that customers can continue shopping if they choose.
7.15.2 The Code
Here's the ASP code that does it all:
<% 'Find the number of the item just purchased
Dim item_number
Item_number = Request.Form("item_number") %>
'Find products purchased by other buyers
connStore = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};DBQ=
"C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
set rsProducts = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsProducts.ActiveConnection = connStore
rsProducts.Source = "SELECT DISTINCT item_number FROM tblOrderDetails
WHERE (payer_email IN (SELECT payer_email FROM tblOrderDetails WHERE
(txtItemNumber = 'item_number')))"
rsProducts.Open( )
%>
<% If Not rsProducts.EOF Or Not rsProducts.BOF Then 'it exists %>
<%
'While recordset still has products, loop code
While NOT rsProducts.EOF
%>
<a href="http://yoursite.com/product_detail.asp?item_number=<%=rsProducts
("item_number)%">Link Text Here</a><br>
<%
'Move to next record
rsProducts.MoveNext( )
Wend
%>
<% End If %>
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
7.15.3 Running the Code
Simply save this file in a public folder on your web server, and then set your return page to the URL
of the page [Hack #85] . When a customer pays, this code looks up the product that was just
purchased and uses a SQL statement to look up past purchases of this product to see what other
products those customers purchased along with it.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 76 Enable Multiple IPN Pages
Use a multiplexer script inspired by PayPal's code samples to duplicate the IPN posting to
multiple scripts.
PayPal's IPN facility enables you to process your orders in real time. By specifying a script on your
site, you can automatically update your database, add a name to your subscriber list, or email a
custom order confirmation. PayPal's system is capable of making a call to only one IPN page per
transaction, but with some code and tweaking, we can call more than one script.
7.16.1 The IPN Multiplexer
Any IPN script [Hack #65] accepts data from PayPal, verifies it, then goes about its business. The
following multiplexer script is no different, but its mission is simply to pass the information on to your
secondary scripts.
' read post from PayPal system and add 'cmd'
str = Request.Form & "&cmd=_notify-validate"
' post back to PayPal system to validate
set objHttp = Server.CreateObject("Msxml2.ServerXMLHTTP")
objHttp.open "POST", "https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr", false
objHttp.setRequestHeader "Content-type", "application/x-www-form-urlencoded"
objHttp.Send str
' assign posted variables to local variables
' Check notification validation
if (objHttp.status <> 200 ) then
' HTTP error handling
elseif (objHttp.responseText = "VERIFIED") then
' PayPal says the posting is good; post the data to the secondary scripts.
objHttp.open "POST", "http://othersite1.com/ipnpage.asp", false
objHttp.setRequestHeader "Content-type", "application/x-www-form-urlencoded"
objHttp.Send str
objHttp.open "POST", "http://othersite2.com/ipnpage.asp", false
objHttp.setRequestHeader "Content-type", "application/x-www-form-urlencoded"
objHttp.Send str
objHttp.open "POST", "http://othersite3.com/ipnpage.asp", false
objHttp.setRequestHeader "Content-type", "application/x-www-form-urlencoded"
objHttp.Send str
When this IPN script is called, it performs the PayPal verification process to ensure the transaction is
a real one. It then posts the information to your secondary IPN scripts. Each script you use should
follow the form of a typical IPN processor script [Hack #65] .
7.16.2 Turning off Secondary Verification to Eliminate Extra Postings
The multiplexer in the previous section does the job of assuring the posting data is genuinely from
PayPal [Hack #65] Once its authenticity is verified, the data is passed along to the secondary
scripts.
If your secondary IPN scripts do what they're supposed to do, they will each reverify this information
for themselves. There is nothing wrong with this, but if you would like to cut down on the bandwidth
your site uses, you might want to remove any redundant verification by eliminating the lines in the
subordinate scripts that post data back to PayPal.
If you decide to turn off IPN validation in the secondary scripts and their
location is known to spoofers, you potentially open up your system to falsified
data. Ensure that security is adequate before taking this step.
7.16.3 Hacking the Hack
Here are a couple tips for working with this hack:
Embrace code multiculturalism. Because the scripts communicate with each other-and with
the PayPal system-using the standard, documented HTTP protocol, you need not stay with one
programming language for the multiplexer and the secondary scripts it serves. You can use the
multiplexer in ASP/VBScript, while deploying a secondary one in Perl, and another in Python.
Test off-site. Who says your IPN script's data needs to originate with PayPal? Build a system
tester that simply posts data to your IPN script. You can see exactly what will happen when
your customer tries to buy an odd item from your site or how your system will handle a
payment from a hacked button. Be sure to comment out the verification step before testing and
reenable it before putting your system back into production. See [Hack #99] for other testing
methods.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 77 Use Mass Pay to Create an Affiliate System
Automate payout incentives to affiliates and resellers with PayPal's Mass Pay feature.
A great way to increase your sales is to provide incentives for other people to promote your products
and services. This is typically done with an affiliate program, in which you reward those who send
traffic to your site by paying them a small fee, usually either a fixed amount per sale or a percentage
of the items sold as a result of the affiliate's efforts.
Managing an affiliate system involves tracking all the successful sales from referrals by your affiliates
and then paying the affiliates their due on a regular basis. This hack uses IPN[Hack #65] to track
affiliate referrals and PayPal's Mass Pay feature to pay all your affiliates at once.
When you use Mass Pay, you (the sender) pay the PayPal fees [Hack #14] .
7.17.1 Creating Your Business Model
The following code employs a simple business model, in which each affiliate gets one dollar for each
sale you receive as a result of their referral, regardless of the amount of the sale.
Here's how it works:
1. Create a sign-up system on your web site, in which prospective affiliates enter their email
addresses. Instruct each affiliate to open a PayPal account with that email address.
2. Generate a custom button [Hack #28] for each affiliate, as described in the next section.
3. Instruct the affiliate to place the button on his site. If you want to be creative, supply some
custom payment button images [Hack #29] to spruce up the button appearance and help
attract attention.
4. Visitors to your affiliate's site see your product advertisement, crave it instantly, and click the
Buy Now button. The payment is sent to you and you deliver the product.
5. Use IPN to record the affiliate's email address (and any other relevant information) into a
database.
6. Use Mass Pay to send a buck per sale to the affiliate responsible.
6.
7.17.2 Building a Button for Your Affiliate
Each affiliate's button should be like any other Buy Now button[Hack #28], with two important
exceptions.
First, include the email address of your affiliate in thecustom variable of the button (make sure the
payment still goes to you, however). Second, specify the location of your IPN script for handling
affiliate program payments in the notify_URL variable:
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Widget">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Item-123">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="10">
<input type="image" name="Submit" value="Submit" src="buynow.gif">
<input type="hidden" name="notify_url"
value="http://yoursite/affiliate_ipn.asp ">
<input type="hidden" name="custom"
value="[email protected]">
</form>
Save this button code into a text file and email it to each affiliate. Better yet, create a script on your
server that does this automatically, and take yourself out of the loop entirely.
7.17.3 Recording Referred Purchases
The IPN script specified in the notify_url variable receives a post of the transaction details from
PayPal when a sale is made from the affiliate's site. The script writes the affiliate tracking information
to a tab-delimited text file, along with the amount of the reseller incentive. This example is written in
Microsoft VBScript and uses a Windows File System Object to manipulate the file.
Use the following VBScript code in conjunction with a standard IPN validation script, such as the one
in [Hack #65] :
Const fsoForWriting = 2
Dim objFSO
Dim objTextStream
Set objFSO = Server.CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
'Open the text file
1.
vFilePath = "C:\InetPub\yoursite\affiliates\output\MassPay.txt"
Set objTextStream = objFSO.OpenTextFile(vFilePath, fsoForWriting, True)
'Write the new line to the file
2.
objTextStream.WriteLine custom & "
" &
(rsAffiliateFees.Fields.Item("AffiliateFee").Value)
'Close the file and clean up
objTextStream.Close
Set objTextStream = Nothing
Set objFSO = Nothing
Replace the example filename on line 1 with the full path of the file in which to save your affiliate
data. Make sure you have the proper permissions to write to the file on your server. When using IIS
on Windows, for example, you'll probably need to set IUSER (Internet guest) write permissions.
The long space in quotation marks, used to separate the custom variable (here,
the affiliate's email address) from the dollar amount paid to the affiliate, is
really a tab (ASCII code 9). See http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?
cmd=p/ema/batch_format-outside for the latest updates to the specification.
7.17.4 Notifying Your Affiliates
You might want to let your affiliates know whenever you've received a payment as a result of an
affiliate referral. They'll be more likely to stay enthusiastic about your affiliate program if they can
see it working. Add the following code to your IPN script, after the main IPN processing code[Hack
#65] :
Dim InvCDO
Set InvCDO = Server.CreateObject("CDONTS.NewMail")
InvCDO.From = receiver_email
InvCDO.To = custom
InvCDO.Subject = "Affiliate Sale"
InvCDO.Body = "You have an affiliate sale. Your affiliate account has
been credited and will be paid according to the schedule
in the affiliate program aggreement."
InvCDO.Send( )
Set InvCDO = Nothing
7.17.5 Paying Your Affiliates en Mass
Making a Mass Payment is easy, especially since the file in which you've recorded your affiliate sales,
MassPay.txt, already contains the information in the proper format.
Because sales sometimes fall through (due to customer returns, problems with
payments, etc.), you might prefer to wait a good period of time (e.g., 30 days)
after the sale before paying your affiliates. And for bookkeeping purposes, you
might want to schedule affiliate payments to occur quarterly.
To make the affiliate payments, upload your data file, and PayPal does the rest:
1. Download the MassPay.txt file from your server and save it on your local hard disk.
2. Log into your PayPal account, and click the Mass Pay link near the bottom of the page.
3. On the Mass Payment Overview page, click Make a Mass Payment.
4. Click Browse to locate the MassPay.txt file, or type the full path of the file in the box, and then
click Continue when you're done.
5. Review the details of the transaction and the first few lines of theMassPay.txt file you just
uploaded, and then send your payment. You and your affiliates will be notified by PayPal that
the payments have been made.
7.17.6 Hacking the Hack
You can further enhance this system with the following:
Create a statistics page on the fly so that affiliates can see their sales figures and possibly finetune their earnings (and thus boost your sales).
Use a task scheduler (or a Unix cron job) on your server to mail the MassPay.txt file to yourself
each week.
This hack is only the beginning; you can use Mass Pay for customer rebates, pay-to-surf
rewards, employee benefits, survey incentives, and more.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 78 Manage Your Inventory with IPN
Indicate whether the products on your web site are in stock using up-to-date inventory
data maintained by some add-ons to your IPN processing script.
Merchants who sell tangible goods typically don't have an unlimited supply of any item. When you sell
out of something, you might no longer want it to appear on your web site: you can't sell what you
don't have. Managing inventory counts for each order and updating your web pages accordingly can
be a time-consuming and tedious process, but it can be mostly automated with PayPal's IPN system.
This hack consists of a database table, tblProducts, that holds our inventory count, an IPN
processing page that manages the count, a web page that displays an out-of-stock message when
appropriate, and an email notification to alert you when the inventory count for a particular item is
running low (or has been depleted).
7.18.1 Updating the Inventory Count
Create a database table, tblProducts, that contains fields for the product's unique item number,
item_number, and the initial inventory count, count_inventory, as shown in Table 7-2.
Table 7-2. A database table to manage your store inventory
item_number
item_name
count_inventory
6001
Vitamins
6
6002
Sulfuric Acid
5612
6004
Calculator
0
7001
Imitation Gruel
77
When a payment is made, PayPal will post the transaction details to your IPN processing page.
Included in these details is the unique item number, for which you'll need to query your database for
the in-stock inventory. Finally, decrement the value by the number of products purchased:
Dim item_number
Dim count_inventory_new
item_number = Request.Form("item_number")
quantity = Request.Form("quantity")
'Retrieve the current inventory count from the database
'Connect to database and create recordset
connStore = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver (*.mdb)};
DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
set rsInventoryCount = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsInventoryCount.ActiveConnection = connStore
rsInventoryCount.Source = "SELECT count_inventory FROM tblProducts
WHERE item_number = " & item_number
rsInventoryCount.Open( )
count_inventory_new = rsInventoryCount("count_inventory") - quantity
'Store the reduced inventory count in the database
set cInsPayment = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
cInsPayment.ActiveConnection = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver
(*.mdb)};DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
cInsPayment.CommandText = "UPDATE tblProducts SET count_inventory =
" & count_inventory_new & " WHERE item_number = " & item_number & ""
cInsPayment.CommandType = 1
cInsPayment.CommandTimeout = 0
cInsPayment.Prepared = true
cInsPayment.Execute( )
This code only handles the inventory count; see [Hack #65] for the complete code necessary to
implement IPN.
7.18.2 Creating the Selling Page
An inventory count will not do much good if the web store allows people to purchase items that are
no longer available. You can remove the Buy Now button for an out-of-stock item with a simple
conditional statement on a dynamic page.
Start by placing the current inventory count into the rsInventoryCount variable, using a SQL
statement something like this:
SELECT count_inventory FROM tblProducts WHERE item_number = 'Wid-001'
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
Next, compare that value to zero, and display the button only if the item is available:
<%
If rsInventoryCount("count_inventory") > 0 Then
'We have it in stock, display PayPal purchase button
%>
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="<%=rsProduct("item_name")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="<%=rsProduct("item_number")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="amount" value="<%=rsProduct("item_price")%>">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="image" src="https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but23.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
</form>
<% Else
'We do not have any left, show OoS message %>
%>
We're sorry, this item is out of stock.
<% End If %>
You might not want to use a value of zero as your threshold, especially if it is a
high-volume item. Real-world values might be different than the electronic
inventory count, due to defective merchandise from your supplier or offline
transactions. Try setting the number to, say, three instead. Or, display a
message to your customers that inventories are low and they should contact
you directly to assure quick fulfillment.
7.18.3 Alerting Yourself if Inventory Is Low
Finally, set up a script to email yourself or let your staff know when inventory is low or has become
depleted. Insert this code into your IPN processing script:
If count_inventory_new < 5 Then
'Low count, send email
Dim InvCDO
Set InvCDO = Server.CreateObject("CDONTS.NewMail")
InvCDO.From = "[email protected]"
InvCDO.To ="[email protected]"
InvCDO.Subject = "Order More Inventory"
InvCDO.Body = "We need to order more of item # " & item_number
InvCDO.Send( )
Set InvCDO = Nothing
End If
If, immediately after a purchase, you have fewer than five of the item left in your inventory, you'll
get an email that contains a warning, along with the product'sitem_number.
There will be some lag time between the instant your customer hits the Buy
Now or Checkout button and the time that that transaction is complete. Since
this means it might be possible for two customers to be in the process of
purchasing a single remaining item, you'll want to keep the threshold
sufficiently high (five, in this case) sufficiently high so that this doesn'thappen.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 79 Display Donation Goals on Your Web Site
Use donation buttons and IPN to display actively updated donation goals.
As a web site owner, you might want to provide information or entertainment to your visitors without
charging for the service or cluttering up your site with advertising. However, you might also need
funds to pay site expenses or to support a worthy cause. The PayPal Donate Now button enables
webmasters to collect payments from willing donors.
Donation buttons on web sites do not give visitors much information apart from the cause to which
they are donating. Contributors have no idea how many other people have donated or how much has
been raised already. Visitors might be more inclined to donate once they know others have, or if they
believe their donation will make a difference in achieving a goal for a fund drive. Providing donation
goals and a tally of the amount collected to date can induce potential donors to contribute-and
contribute in larger amounts.
Another way to entice donors is to offer several suggested donation levels
[Hack #40] .
This hack illustrates how to use your donation button to display a donation goal and the current
amount collected. To implement this hack, you need to set up your site to receive Instant Payment
Notifications [Hack #65] and connect the notifications to a local database using dynamic server
page technology. This example uses VBScript for ASP, but it could as easily be done with PHP, Perl,
Python, or Java.
7.19.1 Recording Donations
To keep a record of donations as they are made, first install a script to process PayPal's IPN feature
and add a record to your database for each transaction [Hack #82] .
Next, use a SQL query such as this one to get the sum of all donations in your database:
SELECT SUM(mc_gross) AS TotalDonated FROM tblOrders
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
For instance, if you have a table that looks like Table 7-3, the SUM(mc_gross) function returns the
sum of the mc_gross column ($323.10 in this case).
Table 7-3. A database table to track the donations
ShowName
mc_gross
date
Monty
$0.05
12/7/1943
Barney
$300.00
5/6/2004
Seymour
$23.05
7/10/2004
Put the result into the rsDonationGoal("TotalDonated") variable. If you've received three
donations for $3, $5, and $7, respectively, the value forrsDonationGoal("TotalDonated") will be
$15.
Naturally, if you're accepting donations for more than one cause, you'll need to
narrow the SQL query so that it returns only donations that relate to the
donation goal at hand.
7.19.2 Building the Donation Page
The donation page consists of three items: your donation goal (in dollars) as static text, the total
amount collected thus far (drawn from your database), and the PayPal donation button (displayed
somewhere prominently, of course):
<p>Please help us achieve our donation goal of $10,000.</p>
Total Amount collected so far: <%=rsDonationGoal("TotalDonated")%>
<br>
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value=" [email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value=" Donation">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value=" Donation-001">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value=" USD">
<input type="hidden" name="tax" value="0">
<input type="image" src=
"https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but21.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
</form>
7.19.3 Hacking the Hack
You might also want to display the number of donations you have already received. Start by adding
another SQL query to calculate the count of donations table:
SELECT COUNT(Id) AS CountDonated FROM tblOrders
Then, use this new CountDonated variable in your ASP page:
Total number of donations collected so far: <%=rsDonationGoal("CountDonated")%>
Or, calculate the average donation with this bit of SQL:
SELECT AVG(mc_gross) AS AverageDonated FROM tblOrders
and display it on your ASP page:
Average Donation Amount: <%=rsDonationGoal("AverageDonated")%>
All this extra information makes your cause appear more credible and helps donors pony up the
dough. If you really want to make it fancy, you can display a recent donor list[Hack #80] on the
same page.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 80 Display a Recent Donor List
Extend your donation system by allowing users to be recognized for their contributions .
[Hack #79] shows how to display donation goals for your web site with the intention of encouraging
more and larger contributions. This hack shows how to recognize your donors for their contributions
by displaying a list of the five most recent donors, the amount they donated, and a small note if the
donor chooses.
7.20.1 The Donation Button
The donation button needs to be modified to present donors with two fields. The first asks whether
the donor would like to have her name displayed on the web page. The second allows her to enter a
short note if she wishes. As with a Buy Now button, the optional button variableson0 , os0 , on1 ,
and os1 are used to pass the donor's answers along to PayPal.
As explained in PayPal's Integration Guide
(https://www.paypal.com/en_US/pdf/integration_guide.pdf ), the optional fields
on0 , os0 , on1 , and os1 work for donations in the same way they do for the
Buy Now button. (You also won't see these options in the donation button
generator under PayPal's Merchant Tools tab.)
This donation button collects the information we need. (Note the similarity to the button code in
[Hack #79] .)
<form action="https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr" method="post">
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
<input type="hidden" name="business" value="[email protected]">
<input type="hidden" name="item_name" value="Donation">
<input type="hidden" name="item_number" value="Donation-001">
<input type="hidden" name="no_note" value="1">
<input type="hidden" name="currency_code" value="USD">
<input type="hidden" name="tax" value="0">
<input type="hidden" name="on0" value="Display name on donors page">
Do you want your name displayed on the "recent donors" page?
<select name="os0">
<option value="Yes" selected>Yes</option>
<option value="No">No</option>
</select>
<br>
<input type="hidden" name="on1" value="Public note for donors' page">
Note for "recent donors" page (optional):
<input type="text" name="os1" maxlength="255">
<input type="image" src=
"https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/x-click-but21.gif"
border="0" name="submit">
</form>
When this form is submitted to PayPal by your donor, it passes the values for the optional fields along
to PayPal, where the choices are displayed on the Confirm Your Payment page. This gives your donors
a chance to reread the choices and use the Cancel button if they made a mistake.
7.20.2 The Database Table
The database schema for this hack is based on [Hack #82] and [Hack #83] . Those hacks cover
recording the payment information and the payment detail information.
To store the donors' recognition choices, you need to add two fields to your database. You could
create a new table for this information, but for simplicity, this example assumes you have added two
fields-named ShowName and DonorNote , of types integer and text, respectively-to the tblPayments
table, as shown in Table 7-4 .
Table 7-4. A database table to track the donations you receive
ShowName mc_gross
1
$0.05
DonorNote
Give 'til it hurts
ShowName mc_gross
DonorNote
0
$300.00
Why not?
1
$23.05
This is our entire annual budget
To make the Confirm Your Payment page look friendly and readable to your
donors, set os0 to either Yes or No . When reading option_selection1 (the
value sent by the donor's browser as os0 ), remember to look for a Yes or a No
and populate your database table with a value of 1 or 0 , respectively. (By the
way, why does PayPal accept a variable called os0 and send you back its value
in a variable called option_selection1 ? Why indeed....)
7.20.3 The IPN Page
Your IPN page functions much like the IPN page described in [Hack #82] . However, you need to
insert two new field values, one that indicates the donor's choice whether to display her name and
one to hold the donor's note:
'Create new variables and populate them
Dim ShowName
Dim DonorNote
If Request.Form("os0") = "Yes" Then
ShowName = 1
Else
ShowName = 0
End
DonorNote = Request.Form("os1")
Include these values in the SQL statement to insert the values into the database.
INSERT INTO tblPayments (payer_email, payer_id, payment_status, txn_id,
mc_gross, mc_fee, payment_date, first_name, last_name) VALUES ('"
& payer_email & "', "' & payer_id & "', '" & payment_status & "', '"
& txn_id & "', " & mc_gross & ", " & mc_fee & ", '" & payment_date
& "', '" & first_name & "', '" & last_name & "', " & ShowName
& ", '" & DonorNote & "')
7.20.4 The Donation Page
Now that you have the donation data flowing into your database, you can use it on your Donations
page. Query the database table for the five most recent entries:
SELECT TOP 5 first_name, last_name, mc_gross, ShowName, DonorNote
FROM tblPaymnets ORDER BY Id DESC
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
Once the query has been made, iterate over the five records and display each one, substituting
Anonymous for any donors who choose not to be acknowledged publicly:
<%
While NOT rsDonation.EOF
%>
<br>
Donor:
<% If rsDonation("ShowName") = 1 Then 'Show the name %>
<%=rsDonation("first_name")%> <%=rsDOnation("last_name")%>
<% Else 'Do not show the name %>
Anonymous
<% End If %>
Amount: <%=rsDonation("mc_gross")%>
<% If rsDonation("DonorNote") <> "" Then 'Note is not empty, show note %>
Note: <% rsDonation("DonorNoate")%>
<% End If %>
<br>
<%
rsDonation.MoveNext( )
End
%>
7.20.5 Hacking the Hack
You can encourage more donations-and donations of higher values-by displaying lists of the most
generous and the most recent donors.
Query the database for the top five donations by amount, sorted with the largest donation first:
SELECT TOP 5 first_name, last_name, mc_gross, ShowName, DonorNote
FROM tblPaymnets ORDER BY mc_gross DESC
The code to display this information is identical to the code used in the previous section ofthis hack.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 81 Capture Customer Information with IPN
Use the data passed back from PayPal to keep a record of your customers and their
information .
One of the key benefits of using PayPal is that customers do not have to enter information repeatedly
whenever they buy something. As a merchant, you sometimes need to obtain the information on file
at PayPal so that you can fulfill orders without having to contact your customers directly. You can
capture the customer's information as it is stored at PayPal by using the IPN system whenever he
makes a purchase from you; that way, you have it on hand in your local system for later use.
One such set of values that PayPal manages is the customer's shipping information. You can take the
information passed back to you by PayPal and populate your local database so that you'll have that
customer's information on file for later use. For instance, you might want to send a promotional
mailing to all your customers' shipping addresses. You can also use the information to fulfill orders by
printing shipping labels from your database or integrating with a shipping service such as UPS.
There are many other reasons why you would want to have a local copy of the customer's
information, such as for site personalization, customer profile maintenance, and sales performance
evaluations. This hack allows you to insert into a local database all the available information for a
customer that PayPal passes back to you.
The following script is highly valuable when you are building an online eCommerce system. It helps
with customer support issues, shipping information, and marketing and sales evaluation. It also
serves as the procedural basis on which to insert other sets of data passed back to you by PayPal
[Hack #83] .
7.21.1 The Database Table
Create a new database table named tblCustomers to store your customers' information. This table
contains all of the available fields: first_name , last_name , payer_business_name , address_name
, address_street , address_city , address_state , address_zip , address_country ,
address_status , payer_id , and payer_email . Each of the fields should be entered into your
database defined as text values.
Next, add a field named Id and set it as the table's primary key with an auto increment of one and no
duplicates allowed. This additional field enables you to work with unique records in your advanced
store functionality [Hack #54] . Once the table is ready, simply save it, and you can begin creating
your script that populates the table with data.
7.21.2 The IPN Page
Your IPN page is passed your customer's information as soon as the transaction completes. This hack
uses VBScript for Microsoft Active Server Pages (ASP) and SQL queries to interact with the database.
First, retrieve the values that are posted from PayPal and place them in temporary variables so you
can work with them inside your VBScript code:
Dim first_name, last_name, payer_business_name, address_name,
address_street,
address_city, address_state, address_zip, address_country,
address_status, payer_id, payer_email
first_name = Request.Form("first_name")
last_name = Request.Form("last_name")
payer_business_name = Request.Form("payer_business_name")
address_name = Request.Form("address_name")
address_street = Request.Form("address_street")
address_city = Request.Form("address_city")
address_state = Request.Form("address_state")
address_zip = Request.Form("address_zip")
address_country = Request.Form("address_country")
address_status = Request.Form("address_status")
payer_id = Request.Form("payer_id")
payer_email = Request.Form("payer_email")
Once you have the variables populated with values, you are ready to insert them into your database
table. The following SQL query adds the items to the database:
INSERT INTO tblCustomers (first_name, last_name, payer_business_name,
address_name, address_street, &_address_city, address_state,
address_zip, address_country, address_status, &_ payer_id,
payer_email) VALUES ('" & first_name & "', "' & last_name & "', '" &
payer_business_name & "', '" & address_name & "', '" & address_street
& "', '" & address_city & "', '" & address_state & "', '" & & "', '"
& address_zip & "', '" & address_country & "', '" & address_status
& "', '" & payer_id & "', '" & payer_email & "')
See the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for the
additional information needed to put this SQL statement to work with this and
the other hacks in this book.
Each time a new record is added to the table, a unique ID number is automatically generated for that
record in the Id column. Uploading this page to your server and setting your IPN preferences to use
this page as your IPN script causes the code to execute whenever a transaction is made in your
account. When the page is called in the server-side post by PayPal, the transaction details are passed
to this page, including the variable values. They are then recorded into your local database, creating a
record on your own system.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 82 Insert Payment Details into a Database with IPN
Record the data from IPN into a database to facilitate simple bookkeeping.
Capturing transaction-specific information is a vital part of expanding an online store, because it
provides a platform of information on which to build value-added services and upselling techniques.
For example, [Hack #75] provides a list of similar products purchased by other customers.
This functionality is required for complete security against spoofing in some
vending applications. It allows you to check whether a transaction has already
been processed.
7.22.1 The Database Table
Create a new database table, tblOrders, in which to store your order information. This table
contains information about your customers' orders, but not any information related to the products
your customers actually ordered.
Your database table should consist of the fields and data types shown inTable 7-5.
Table 7-5. A table to store order information retrieved with IPN
Variable
Id
Payer_email
Payer_id
Payment_status
Txn_id
Data type
An autonumber type, set as the primary key
Text field
Text field
Text field
Text field
Variable
Mc_gross
Mc_fee
Data type
Money, or a floating point type with 2 places of precision
Money
7.22.2 The IPN Page
Once the table has been created, install your IPN script to populate it with information posted by
PayPal's IPN facility. Start by creating new local variables and capturing the posted values into your
IPN page:
Dim payer_email, payer_id, payment_status, txn_id, mc_gross, mc_fee,
payment_date
payer_email = Request.Form("payer_email")
payer_id = Request.Form("payer_id")
payment_status = Request.Form("payment_status")
txn_id = Request.Form("txn_id")
mc_gross = Request.Form("mc_gross")
mc_fee = Request.Form("mc_fee")
payment_date = Request.Form("payment_date")
Now that you have the values temporarily placed in your page, you can perform the database insert
using the following SQL query:
INSERT INTO tblOrders (payer_email, payer_id, payment_status, txn_id,
mc_gross, mc_fee, payment_date) VALUES ('" & payer_email & "', "' &
payer_id & "', '" & payment_status & "', '" & txn_id & "', " &
mc_gross & ", " & mc_fee & ", '" & payment_date & "')
When the values are inserted into the tblOrders database table, a unique ID number will be
generated by the database for the Id field. Note that the mc_gross and mc_fee variables are not
surrounded by single quotes; they are inserted into your database as numeric values.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 83 Insert Cart Details into a Database
Record the contents of customers' Shopping Carts into a database to build a complete
order-tracking subsystem.
This hack records a list of products a customer has purchased, in addition to the corresponding
payment and customer information. There are two situations in which you'll record purchase
information: purchases of a single item (with the Buy Now button) and Shopping Cart transactions.
The first is fairly straightforward and serves as a primer for the more complex Shopping Cart
insertion into your database. This hack is necessary for many merchants, because the PayPal history
does not keep track of the individual items purchased in Shopping Cart transactions. For Shopping
Cart purchases, the history provides only transaction information without any product detail.
However, the PayPal IPN system does POST the individual cart values back to us in real time, so we
can use that information to create our own payment history with full details.
7.23.1 The Database Table
Create a new database table to hold only the product detail information, as shown inTable 7-6.
Table 7-6. A database table that stores a customer's purchases
item_number
item_name
txn_id
6001
Vitamins
349857340958734958
6002
Sulfuric Acid
459384579348754343
6004
Calculator
345312023123246896
7001
Imitation Gruel
234982134201309323
This table will be used later with the transaction table to give a complete view of any specific
transaction.
You will not record any of the payment information in this table, because you
have already captured it in [Hack #82] .
You can join the tables using the transaction ID as the key; it will be the same in both tables for any
one transaction. The minimal information you'll capture for each product purchased will be the
product's name and item number, so create two fields named item_name and item_number with text
data types.
The PayPal system does not provide individual product price information via
IPN. To overcome this limitation, you must query an item's price from another
table [Hack #73] and calculate the price for the item based on the
item_number passed by the IPN system.
Name the new table tblOrderDetails and save the database. It is now ready to have information
inserted into it by your IPN script.
7.23.2 Single-Item Purchases IPN Page
Because you're looking for the item_name and item_number variables, you need to create two new
temporary variables to hold these values. Also, you need to capture thetransaction ID so that you
can query your database later for the information regarding a specific transaction. Create and
populate the variables with the following code:
Dim item_name, item_number, txn_id
Item_name = Request.Form("item_name")
Item_Number = Request.Form("item_number")
Txn_id = Request.Form("txn_id")
Next, execute this SQL statement to insert these values into the database:
INSERT INTO tblOrderDetails (item_name, item_number, txn_id) VALUES
('" & item_name & "', '" & item_number & "', '" & txn_id & "')
Once the script is activated, the values passed back for any transaction are inserted into your
tblOrderDetails database table.
7.23.3 A Shopping Cart IPN
Since Shopping Carts pass one or more products for any single transaction, you need to check the
IPN data for the item name and number of each product. First, use the num_cart_items variable to
find out how many items the customer purchased. Create a local variable to hold the number of cart
items and populate it with the following code:
'Get number of cart items purchased
Dim num_cart_items
Num_car_items = Request.Form("num_cart_items")
For Shopping Cart transactions, the item_name and item_number variables are appended with their
corresponding cart item count. To get the value of the first item in the cart, examineitem_name1;
the name of the third item in the cart (if it exists) is stored in item_name3. Using the item_namei or
item_numberi format, where the i is the cart item count, you can get the values for all the items in
the cart.
Use a For loop in your IPN script to iterate through all the products your customer purchased,
inserting the information about each into your database as you go.
'Get number of cart items purchased
Dim num_cart_items
Num_car_items = Request.Form("num_cart_items")
'Create new count variable
Dim i
For i=1 to num_cart_items
set cInsDetails = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Command")
cInsDetails.ActiveConnection = "DRIVER={Microsoft Access Driver
(*.mdb)};DBQ="C:/InetPub/wwwroot/database/dbPayPal.mdb")
cInsDetails.CommandText = "INSERT INTO tblOrderDetails (item_name,
item_number, txn_id) VALUES ('" & Request.Form(item_name & i) &
"', '" & Request.Form(item_number & i) & "', '" & txn_id & "')"
cInsDetails.CommandType = 1
cInsDetails.CommandTimeout = 0
cInsDetails.Prepared = true
cInsDetails.Execute( )
Next
Note that the transaction ID variable remains the same, regardless of what cart item you are on,
because all the items were purchased as part of the same transaction.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 84 Track Google Referrals
Use Google's AdWord Conversion Tracking system and PayPal's IPN system to track sales
made from Google advertising .
Google has emerged from the search engine wars as the clear winner to date. Its fast, accurate search
results are presented in a way that enables users to get search results quickly without the tool getting in
the way, unlike many other search engine portals. It is the most widely used search engine on the
Internet, and its builders continue to innovate.
Among those innovations is a self-service advertising system that enables small merchants to get wide
exposure in a cost-effective, pay-per-click arrangement. When a web surfer looking for an item-a
widget, say-goes to Google and types the name of the product into the search box, not only are the
search results from the Google Page Ranking system displayed, but so are small, text-based ads related
to widgets. As a widget vendor, you can target your AdWords ads to be displayed when a surfer enters
certain widget-centric combinations of keywords. However, Google charges you only when a person
actually clicks on your ad.
In the field of marketing, the effectiveness of an advertising effort is measured by itsconversion rate .
The conversion rate can be measured in a variety of ways, but generally it is the sales generated by
advertising, divided by the number of impressions (times a consumer sees the ad). For AdWords, Google
defines a conversion as "when a click on your ad leads directly to user behavior you deem valuable, such
as a purchase, signup, page view, or lead." This corresponds to the marketing industry'sresponse to
purchase conversion rate: the number of purchases divided by the number of clicks-through.
Understanding the conversion rate of a given ad can help you refine your AdWords ad copy and decide if
the campaign is bringing the return on investment you expect.
Google provides a mechanism to help you tally purchases that come from customers clicking AdWords
ads. This mechanism is triggered by a small piece of code you place in your transaction processing
system. This hack shows how to enable a Google AdWords ad in your PayPal eCommerce system and
track sales from that ad's referrals. The system consists of three parts:
A tracking-enabled Google AdWords placement
A PayPal-enabled selling page
An IPN page with the Conversion Tracking Code
7.24.1 Modifying Your Google AdWord Placement
You need to have one or more Google AdWord placements that refer people to your PayPal selling page.
You can have as many ad placements as you like.
Log into the Google AdWord system (http://adwords.google.com ), go to your campaign summary, and
click the Conversion Tracking tab to display the screen in Figure 7-2.
Figure 7-2. Obtaining the AdWord code from Google's Conversion Tracking
page
You will see an option to select Basic Tracking or Customized Tracking; select the Customized Tracking
option. Select the Purchase/Sale option from the tracking options, which brings you to a page that has a
generated a snippet of tracking code. Copy and paste the code into a text editor. It should look
something like this:
<!-- Google Conversion Code -->
<script language="JavaScript">
<!-google_conversion_id = 1234567890;
google_conversion_language = "en_US";
if (1) {
google_conversion_value = 1;
}
google_conversion_label = "Purchase";
-->
</script>
<script language="JavaScript" src=
"https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion.js">
</script>
<noscript>
<a href="https://services.google.com/sitestats/en_US.html" target=_blank>
<img height=27 width=135 src=
"https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion/1234567890/?value=1&
label=Purchase&hl=en">
</a>
</noscript>
You'll place this code in your IPN processing page. But first, copy the Google conversion ID from this code
(on the fourth line, in this example) for use in your AdWord placement. Use the Edit function from the Ad
Group detail page to change the Destination URL. This URL is not displayed to the visitor, but when the ad
is clicked, this is the URL to which visitors are sent. Visitors are directed to the PayPal-enabled sales page
named widget.asp , and the URL includes a parameter, convid , set to the value of your Google
conversion ID:
http://www.yoursite.com/widget.asp?convid=1234567890
7.24.2 Setting up Your Selling Page
To enable the selling page widget.asp to track ad referrals, it needs to include a PayPal button that
passes the conversion ID provided by Google to the PayPal system. Do this by putting a standard Buy
Now button on the widget.asp page, then adding the PayPal-defined custom variable to the button code.
This tag should be added between the opening and closing <form> tags. The custom variable will be
hidden from the site visitor and will be populated with theconvid variable that was passed as a
querystring . Populating the custom variable with this value can be done in a variety of ways, including
with JavaScript, but since this example uses ASP for the IPN processing anyway, put it to use here as
well:
<input type="hidden" name="custom" value="<%=Request.QueryString("convid")%>">
Now, the PayPal button is able to pass on the Google conversion ID to PayPal. When the transaction is
processed, PayPal sends the conversion ID on to your IPN processing page.
7.24.3 Creating Your IPN Processing Page
The IPN page finishes the job of tracking conversions. Take the code you copied from Google in the
preceding section and paste it into your IPN page after the standard IPN processing chores (the section
that begins with process payment in PayPal's example scripts). Since the code is meant for client-side
interpretation, you need to temporarily interrupt the server-side code processing by escaping the
processor and adding your script. In ASP, stop the server-side processing with a%> tag and start it again
with a <% tag:
'process payment
'stop server-side processing scripts and add conv code
%>
<!-- Google Conversion Code -->
<script language="JavaScript">
<!-google_conversion_id = <%=Request.Form("custom")%>;
google_conversion_language = "en_US";
if (1) {
google_conversion_value = 1;
}
google_conversion_label = "Purchase";
-->
</script>
<script language="JavaScript" src=
"https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion.js">
</script>
<noscript>
<a href="https://services.google.com/sitestats/en_US.html" target=_blank>
<img height=27 width=135 src=
"https://www.googleadservices.com/pagead/conversion/<%=
Request.Form("custom")%>/?value=1&label=Purchase&hl=en">
</a>
</noscript>
<%
'continue processing server-side processing scripts
When an order is placed at your web site from a Google AdWord referral, the Google Conversion tracking
system is activated. You can log into your Google AdWords account and evaluate your campaign's
effectiveness in Google's conversion tracking system, as shown in Figure 7-3.
Figure 7-3. Measuring your campaign's effectiveness with Google's
conversion tracking system
7.24.4 See Also
For practical ways to calculate and use conversion rates in your marketing campaigns, see Strategic
Database Marketing : The Master Plan for Starting and Managing a Profitable, Customer-Based
Marketing Program by Arthur M. Hughes (McGraw-Hill).
For the nitty-gritty details on AdWords and conversion tracking, see Chapter 9, "Making Money with
Google," of Google: The Missing Manual by Sarah Milstein and Rael Dornfest (O'Reilly).
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 85 Process Payments like a Credit Card with PDT
Use PDT to transact payments synchronously and deliver your product or confirmation
screen immediately-and without waiting for the IPN postback .
As explained in the introduction to this chapter, PDT is one of two technologies (along with IPN) that
are used to send transaction information back to your server. PDT has the distinct advantage of
allowing you to provide a seamless transition from payment to delivery of goods.
To use PDT with your web site, you must first configure some options in your PayPal Profile:
1. Log into PayPal and click the My Account tab.
2. Click Profile and then click the Website Payment Preferences link.
3. Change the Auto Return option to On.
It's vital that you turn on the Auto Return option. Without it, PDT won't
work at all.
4. Enter a return URL: the address of a page (or more specifically, a script) on your site that can
process the information sent back to it from PayPal and display an order summary to each
customer. Details of this page follow.
5. Change the Payment Data Transfer option to On.
Your site is now configured for use with PDT.
When you save your PDT preferences, an identity token is generated and
appears with a message at the top of the Website Payment Preferences page.
In future visits, your identity token appears in the Payment Data Transfer
section, below the On and Off options. Eventually, you will need to pass this
identity token, along with the transaction token, to PayPal in order to confirm
that a payment is complete.
When a transaction has completed, PayPal redirects the customer to the URL you specify, with the
following transaction parameters (among others) appended to the URL:
Transaction number (tx)
The most important of the parameters sent back by PayPal. Use this in the next section to get
the full set of transaction information.
Status (st)
The status of the transaction, normally set to Completed.
Amount of sale (amt)
The dollar (or whatever currency used) amount of the sale.
Currency (cc)
The three-digit currency code indicating the currency used for the sale.
Once PayPal has sent this information to your site (e.g., the URL supplied in the return URL
parameter), the rest is up to you and your web site in terms of how to record the transaction and
fulfill the order. In the next section, you'll see how this is done.
7.25.1 PDT in Action
At this point, all that's left is to make sure you have a PDThandling page for the return trip. This
example is written in C# for Microsoft ASP.NET.
The first order of business for the handling page (PDTHandler.aspx) is to grab the transaction number
from the URL:
String strTransactionID=Request.QueryString["tx"].ToString( );
This is where the identity token comes into play. You'll need toPOST a form request and send the
identity token and the transaction ID back to PayPal, as well as set a command parameter (cmd) to
notify-synch. The result of this exchange will be the full PDT suite of information. To do this
programmatically using C#, open a request against PayPal's server, and then place the response into
a string variable:
string sOut = "";
string MyIDToken = "MyIdentityToken";
string transactionID = Request.QueryString["tx"].ToString( );
string sCmd = "_notify-synch";
string serverURL = "https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr";
try{
string strFormValues = Request.Form.ToString( );
string strPassValue;
string strResponse;
// Create the request back
HttpWebRequest req = (HttpWebRequest) WebRequest.Create(serverURL);
// Set values for the request back
req.Method = "POST";
req.ContentType = "application/x-www-form-urlencoded";
//Append the transaction ID, ID Token, and command
//to the form
strPassValue = strFormValues +
"&cmd = _notify-synch&at = "+MyIDToken+"&tx = "+transactionID;
req.ContentLength = strPassValue.Length;
// Write the request back IPN strings
StreamWriter stOut = new StreamWriter (req.GetRequestStream( ),
System.Text.Encoding.ASCII);
stOut.Write(strPassValue);
stOut.Close( );
// Do the request to PayPal and get the response
StreamReader stIn = new StreamReader(req.GetResponse( ).GetResponseStream( ));
strResponse = stIn.ReadToEnd( );
stIn.Close( );
sOut= Server.UrlDecode(strResponse);
} catch(Exception x){
//if there is an error with the PDT response,
//you will need to handle it here, making sure you trap
//the raw PDT (if received) as well as the transactionID
//etc so you can query PayPal again should anything go
//wrong
}
You can only query PayPal for the PDT response a limited number of times per
transaction. After five unsuccessful responses from PayPal, you will no longer
be able to query for the transaction details. This limit has been imposed for
PayPal performance and security reasons. For more mission-critical
applications, or if your server's connection to the Internet is flaky, you might
want to employ IPN as well.
The data you receive in the PDT response is a grouping ofname=value pairs, with the first parameter
set to either SUCCESS or FAILURE.
To see the full output of the PDT, refer to the Payment Data Transfer Manual,
available at https://www.paypal.com/pdt.
Once the PDT response is placed into a string variable, loop through the string and pull out the data
you need to record the order:
string GetPDTValue(string key){
1.
String [] PDTbits=PDT.Split('\n');
string theField="";
string theValue="";
string thisLine="";
string sOut="";
2.
for(int i=0;i< PDTbits.Length;i++){
thisLine=PDTbits[i].ToString( );
3.
if(thisLine.IndexOf("=")>-1){
theField=thisLine.Substring(0,thisLine.IndexOf("="));
theValue=thisLine.Remove(0,thisLine.IndexOf("=")+1);
4.
if(theField==key){
sOut = theValue;
}
}
}
return sOut;
}
The PDT data is sent back in a single string using a linefeed as the record delimiter. On line 1, the
split routine is used to assemble an array from these records. Then, the script loops (line 2) through
the array, looking for the key=value pairs (line 3). When the specified key is found (line 4), the
return variable, sOut, is set with the key name.
Using this GetPDTValue function, you can pull out any individual values you need to record the order
into your database and prepare a nice receipt page for the customer (one of the tasks you must
perform when you use PDT). For the full list of PDT parameters, refer to the Payment Data Transfer
Manual.
7.25.2 Tracking Your Users: Before and After
If you decide to personalize the shopping experience for each customer, it is important to know who
is buying what from your site. If you have any kind of customer login, you need to pass this
information to PayPal so that you'll know who your customers are when they return to your site.
A great way to track your user before and after the PayPal transaction is to send along the user's
identifier in the custom parameter [Hack #28] . To do so, use the following code, where user_ID is
some identifying number or string assigned to the particular customer (usually an integer key from a
database):
<input type=hidden name="custom" value=" user_ID">
When this value is returned to you in the PDT response, you can retrieve it using theGetPDTValue
from the previous section:
string strCustomerID=GetPDTValue("custom");
You could also use HTTP cookies to do this, but the custom field is more reliable, because it won't
break if the customer has configured her browser to reject cookies.
7.25.3 Retrieving the Order
PayPal sends the items purchased in a simple numbered sequence. For asingle-item purchase,
PayPal returns a simple parameter called item_number:
item_number=HTHTKEPO
When a customer purchases more than one item, PayPal adds an integer value to the end of each
parameter to identify the item number, like this:
item_number1=HTHTKEPO
item_number2=DREGFEF
item_number3=ERTRTDFD
The values to the right of the equals signs correspond to the product IDs you send PayPal,
presumably taken from your database (these could be SKU codes, product names, or whatever). See
[Hack #45] to use PDT with PayPal's Shopping Cart, or check out [Hack #50] if you're using your
own shopping cart system.
The following code retrieves the details of an order:
string productNumber=GetPDTValue("item_number");
1.
if(productNumber!=""){
//only one item purchased
2.
//process order here
}else{
string itemTag="item_number";
string thisItem="";
3. for(int i =0; i < 1000; i++){
thisItem = itemTag + i.ToString( );
productNumber = GetPDTValue(thisItem);
if(productNumber!=""){
4. //process shopping cart item here
}else{
//no more items found; exit the loop
break;
}
}
}
Since the item_number field is present if only a single item was ordered, the first check (line 1)
redirects the code if the field exists. Otherwise, the code proceeds to the next section, which begins a
loop (line 3) to look for multiple items in the Shopping Cart. Either way, you must add code (on lines
2 and 4 to retrieve the quantity and other details from the PDT data string using the same
GetPDTValue function.
- Rob Conery
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 86 Synchronizing PDT and IPN
Ensure that your product is delivered, even when PDT fails and the return page never
shows, by introducing redundancy with IPN.
PayPal's PDT system [Hack #85] automatically redirects your customers back to your web page
after they pay and sends the transaction information along with them. While this is an effective way
to deliver products and services to your customers without forcing them to wait for IPN to contact
your server, it's certainly not infallible. If you care about record keeping, you'll want to use IPN to
record payment details into a database [Hack #82] so that you don't miss any payments.
This hack shows how to coordinate PDT with IPN to ensure that every transaction is processed by
your server. The potential problem here is that when using PDT, or even thereturn variable feature,
your customer can be redirected back to your web site before the IPN system has finished
processing. You can address this issue by checking your local database to see whether or not the
transaction details have been inserted yet; this refreshes the return page until the order has been
processed and the IPN data has been received.
The reason you still need to use the IPN system is that the PDT is intended to
be used only for a one-time query when the transaction takes place. If that
query fails, the data for that transaction is lost forever. The IPN system has a
high level of redundancy; it continues to call your IPN processing script for up
to four days until it processes successfully.
7.26.1 The Code
The following ASP code simply reads the transaction data passed from PDT and then checks your
local database to see if the IPN has finished processing the transaction. If not, it repeatedly refreshes
the page (every five seconds) until it finds the corresponding transaction in the database. Use this as
your PDT return page:
<%
1. Response.AddHeader "Pragma","no-cache"
Response.Expires = 0
Response.buffer = true
Response.clear
2.
'Create transaction id variable
Dim txn_id
txn_id = Request("txn_id")
3.
'Check if IPN has been processed with database query and recordset
Dim rsOrderCheck
Set rsOrderCheck = Server.CreateObject("ADODB.Recordset")
rsOrderCheck.ActiveConnection = MM_connPayloadz_STRING
rsOrderCheck.Source = "SELECT tblOrderDetails.* FROM tblOrderDetails
WHERE tblOrderDetails.txn_id = '" & txn_id & "'"
rsOrderCheck.Open( )
4.
'Count how many times you refresh the browser
Dim vRCount
If Request("rcount") = "" Then
vRCount = 1
Else
vRCount = cInt(Request("rcount")) + 1
End If
%>
<html>
<head>
<% If rsOrderCheck.EOF And rsOrderCheck.BOF Then 'ipn not processed yet %>
5.
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="5;URL=
http://paypalhacks.com/pdtpage.asp?txn_id=<%=Request("txn_id")%
&rcount=<%=vRCount%>">
<% End If %>
</head>
<body>
<% If rsOrderCheck.EOF And rsOrderCheck.BOF Then 'ipn not processed yet %>
6.
Please wait while we locate your order.
This may take up to 30 seconds.
<% Else 'ipn has been processed %>
7.
IPN has been processed, insert content here.
<% End If %>
</body>
</html>
Line 1 tells the browser and server not to cache the page content, but rather to expire it
immediately; this makes sure that new content appears when it is available. Then, line 2 initializes
the transaction ID, and line 3 checks it against the database. Line 5 contains themeta refresh tag,
which refreshes the page automatically if the recordset is empty (e.g., if IPN has not processed the
order yet).
Place your own messages on lines 6 and 7 to inform the customer that the order is still being
processed and that the order is ready, respectively.
This example illustrates synchronizing the PDT and IPN system, but you can
also use the same technique presented here for your return page if you are not
using the PDT system. For information on using the return page for order
processing, see [Hack #85] .
7.26.2 Hacking the Hack
Normally, the IPN system contacts your server and completes the process in a matter of seconds
after the customer pays. However, there are times when the IPN system can take longer (up to
several minutes or even hours). This can be caused by load on the PayPal system, on your site, or
any number of other possibilities. In the event of such a delay, the repeated refreshing of the page is
likely to induce seizure in your customer or, at the very least, try his patience.
To address this issue, you might want to limit the number of times the browser is refreshed and
display a message to the customer if that limit is reached (something to the effect that his order is
still being processed and he should contact you or get a cup of coffee or something). Simply add the
following snippet of code before the opening<html> tag:
<%
'Redirect customer to order search timeout page
If vRCount => 5 Then
Response.Redirect("ordertimeout.asp")
End If
%>
This code simply checks the number of times the browser has been refreshed (vRCount, set in the
original code) and interrupts the process after five unsuccessful tries (this means that at least 30
seconds have passed since the customer was first sent to your PDT page).
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Chapter 8. The PayPal Web Services API
Introduction: Hacks #87-100
Section 8.2. Create a Developer Account
Hack 87. Set up the Sandbox
Hack 88. Make Your First API Call
Hack 89. Create a Wrapper Class for Your API Calls
Hack 90. Use the PayPal API Wrapper Class
Hack 91. Refund Payments with the API
Hack 92. Handle Transaction Errors within the API Wrapper
Hack 93. Retrieve Transaction Details with the API
Hack 94. Search for PayPal Transactions
Hack 95. Hack the API Wrapper
Hack 96. Issue Payments en Masse with the Mass Pay API
Hack 97. Pay Affiliates and Suppliers on a Schedule
Hack 98. Search eBay for Listings that Accept PayPal
Hack 99. Test IPN and PDT in the Sandbox
Hack 100. Go Live
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Introduction: Hacks #87-100
PayPal's Web Services application programming interface (API) is the means by which you can
interface directly with the PayPal platform to build applications and web sites that leverage features
on the PayPal web site. Essentially, this means that you can integrate your order-processing and
customer-service systems with the payment information stored on the PayPal web site.
No longer are you bound by the patchwork services afforded by services like Instant Payment
Notification (IPN) [Hack #65] and Payment Data Transfer (PDT) [Hack #85] . Instead, the API
provides a more seamless link between your application and the PayPal engine, allowing you to write
slick, robust order-processing applications to help grow your business.
Currently, you cannot use PayPal's API to process credit card payments directly
from your site. Your customers must still visit the PayPal web site to send
payments to you, but you can subsequently use the API to retrieve the details
about such payments, including those funded by credit cards.
The geek-impaired might not immediately see the benefit of writing more code to essentially
duplicate the functionality that exists on the PayPal web site, but here are some specific benefits to
consider:
Individual merchants can automate administrative tasks they do repeatedly.
Large merchants who conduct thousands of transactions a day no longer have to log into PayPal
to review their transactions, view specific transaction details, or perform refunds[Hack #91] .
This allows customer care representatives to work more efficiently.
Third parties can provide solutions to small or large businesses. Some solutions require
customers to pay via the PayPal web site, but you can provide some services in which PayPal is
never seen by the user. Therefore, you can make it appear as if you are providing the payment
service (e.g., Mass Pay [Hack #96] . In addition, most of the administrative PayPal
functionality can remain on your site.
You might be wondering at this point exactly how API, IPN, and PDT differ. In
simplest terms, IPN and PDT are notifications initiated by PayPal (in the form of
web requests) that let your server know when a transaction has completed.
The API, on the other hand, is initiated by you and allows you to execute core
PayPal functions from your application, whenever and however you like. These
technologies can be used together for further automation.
Due to security concerns, the API is limited to a subset of the things you can do on the PayPal site.
Specifically, you can do the following things:
Search for a transaction with the date, name, email, and other parameters [Hack #94] .
Retrieve the details of a single transaction [Hack #93], given the PayPal transaction ID.
Refund a payment [Hack #91] (in full, or partially).
Make payments from your account to other accounts using PayPal's Mass Pay service [Hack
#96] .
A little programming experience will be extremely helpful in making use of the
hacks in this chapter, most of which were written for Visual Studio .NET. See
the "Database Coding and Platform Choices" section of the Preface for more
details.
Most of the API functionality is usable by merchants as is, but there are ways to extend the basic
functionality to do wonderful things that will make people mumble your name as you walk valiantly
by-which is the point of this book anyway, isn't it?
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
8.2 Create a Developer Account
The first thing you need to do to access the PayPal API is set up a developer account at PayPal
Developer Central. It's simple, and best of all, it's free. There is a wealth of information on the
Developer Central site, including:
Sample code provided by PayPal that demonstrates most of the API
A moderated forum where you can ask (and receive answers to) common or obscure APIrelated questions
The PayPal Sandbox [Hack #87], a test area in which you can run merchant transactions
without using actual funds
PayPal Developer Central is located at https://developer.paypal.com. To create a developer account,
click the registration link and enter basic information about yourself, such as your name, company,
email address, as well as some optional profile questions.
After completing the sign-up form, an email will be sent only once to the email
account you specify. Click the email link to activate your account. Make sure
you don't lose this email, because if you do, you will not be able to register
again with the same email address.
When you're finished, you will be registered as a developer, at which point you'll be able to log into
PayPal Developer Central, as shown in Figure 8-1.
Figure 8-1. PayPal Developer Central
Developer Central is divided into five areas:
The Sandbox
Create test user accounts and test your code [Hack #87] .
Test Certificates
Create and keep track of your SSL certificates [Hack #87] .
Email
Manage pseudo-email messages sent from the Sandbox.
Forums
Ask questions and discuss the API with other developers in a user-to-user forum moderated by
PayPal developers.
Help Center
How-tos, sample code, and links to other forums (e.g., eBay and PayPal general forums).
Now that your developer account is set up, it's time to have some fun in the Sandbox.
- Rob Conery and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 87 Set up the Sandbox
Create phony accounts and use phony money to test your API code, all without spending a
dime.
Go to http://paypalhacks.com for downloadable code and API updates.
PayPal Developer Central includes an environment called the PayPal Sandbox, in which you can test
your PayPal Web Services applications, as well as IPN and PDT features (discussed inChapter 7). The
Sandbox looks and behaves like the PayPal web site, with one important exception: no real money is
transacted. You can create and access multiple test accounts in the Sandbox, which means that you
can create both a business and a buyer account without the hassle of setting up real email, credit
card, and bank accounts.
Before PayPal created its Sandbox, you would have had to create two real PayPal accounts and use
real money to test your code. There was no way to get around this, but you could send test
payments in pennies-$0.01 for a widget or $0.02 for a gumball-and then refund the transactions
immediately thereafter. As you can imagine, this process quickly became burdensome. Although
some companies (such as Eliteweaver) offered good IPN-testing solutions, ultimately nothing was
able to replace the comfort of knowing that your code worked against the real thing.
8.3.1 Creating a Sandbox Account
Creating a Sandbox PayPal account is similar to creating a live PayPal account. The web pages look
and behave almost identically. Here's how to do it:
1. Log into Developer Central with your new developer account and click the Sandbox tab.
2. Click the Create Account link, at which point a familiar page appears: the PayPal sign-up page.
It might be a little jarring to see the PayPal account sign-up page, but if
you look to the top-left corner, you'll see a PayPal Sandbox logo, verifying
that you did swallow the blue pill and are indeed working within a
simulated PayPal environment.
3.
4.
3. To create a business account, select the Business Account option. Select your country and click
the Continue button.
4. On the next page, enter any existing address and phone number. This information never leaves
the Sandbox, so the information you enter here makes little difference. Click the Continue
button when you're done.
5. On the Enter Your Information page, type an email address and password. To make it easy on
yourself, use a simple email address such as [email protected] and an easy-to-remember
password such as qwertyui. You don't have to use a real email account, because the Sandbox
emails never leave the Sandbox.
Real currency is not involved when using the Sandbox, so there isn't much
of a security issue. You might choose to use the same password for every
Sandbox account you create. Having to manage multiple passwords is
pointless and can slow down your development team.
6. You also need to provide answers to two security questions. Again, this information never
leaves the Sandbox. Enter something obvious, such as your own last name, for Mother's Maiden
Name and the city you work in for City of Birth. Finally, enter the Security Measure characters
and click the Sign-up button.
7. Next, you will be asked to confirm your email address. But before you do, repeat steps 1
through 6 to create a second Sandbox account, from which you can send test payments. To
create a buyer account, select Personal Account (instead of Business Account) in step 3. You'll
be asked fewer questions this time.
You might want to create both types of personal accounts (Standard and
Premier) to mimic the different types of PayPal users who will be buying
things from your site. To create a Premier account, answer Yes when
asked "Would you like this to be a Premier Account?"
8. Once both your Business and Personal accounts are set up, they will appear under the Sandbox
tab, as shown in Figure 8-2. For each account you create, you will see the email address, the
account type, the country in which the account is registered, the account balance and currency,
and whether the account is confirmed and verified.
Figure 8-2. Buyer and Seller accounts in the Sandbox
8.3.2 Confirming Your Sandbox Email Addresses
Just as you would on the live PayPal site, you must confirm your newly created PayPal Sandbox
accounts before you use them. Normally, PayPal would send a real email to a newly added email
address for confirmation, but email sent on behalf of pseudo-accounts would be confusing, to the say
the least. So, for security and other reasons, PayPal's Developer Central web site includes a selfcontained pseudo-email-messaging system to catch and display emails generated by the PayPal
Sandbox.
To view these emails, log into the Developer Central web site and click the Email tab. A list of emails
from PayPal to your various accounts will be displayed here. Click the subject link of any email to
open the email message, as shown in Figure 8-3.
Figure 8-3. The PayPal Sandbox account verification process
To confirm your Sandbox account:
1. Copy the URL from the Activate Your PayPal Account email.
2. Open a new browser window, paste the URL into your browser's address bar, and press Enter.
3. Enter the password for your account and click Submit.
You will need to follow this process for every new Sandbox account you've created.
8.3.3 Verifying Bank Accounts in the Sandbox
PayPal uses bank accounts to verify [Hack #2] that their members are who they say they are.
Bank accounts are also used to add and withdraw funds [Hack #20] .
Adding a bank account to a Sandbox account is relatively straightforward and has the added bonus of
instantly making you rich-at least in the world of the PayPal Sandbox.
To add a bank account to your PayPal Sandbox account:
1. Log into the Sandbox with your business account and click Add Bank Account on the My
Account/Overview page.
2. The Add Bank Account page will be conveniently pre-populated with a fake bank account
number. Add a name for the account and click Add Account. Be sure to make note of the
account numbers used for the bank account, because you will need them in the future to add
multiple users or enable other features.
At the time of this writing, the Sandbox displays this account number only
once: at the moment of its creation. So, write it down somewhere,
because you won't see it again. One way to remind yourself of this bank
account information is to use the routing number and bank account as
part of the account name (e.g., BofA325272157_10448249836185934481). If you do forget the account
numbers, you might want to abandon this Sandbox account and open
another.
3. At this point, PayPal would normally make two small deposits into your pseudo-account and
then ask you to confirm the amounts that were deposited. However, since the account numbers
and the corresponding accounts are fake, you won't be able to visit your bank's web site to get
the information [Hack #2]. Instead, PayPal provides an easy way to accomplish this step right
on the site. Click the Get Verified link on the My Account/Overview page to view the Get Verified
page.
4. On the Get Verified page, click "Add and confirm a checking account" to be taken to the Confirm
Bank Account page. Select the bank account you would like to confirm and click Submit. Click
Continue when you see "Your U.S. Bank Account Has Been Confirmed."
Repeat this process for your buyer account.
8.3.4 Adding Funds (and Getting Rich Quick)
When you've verified all your accounts, the last step is to put somemoney in your Personal (buyer)
account.
You do not have to add funds to your account before making a payment,
because PayPal will let you fund payments from your fake bank account or fake
credit card, just as in real life.
To add funds, log into the Sandbox with your Sandbox buyer account, and from the My Account tab,
click Add Funds. Click the Transfer Funds from a Bank Account link and follow the instructions. You
need to put some money into your Personal account only, since that's the account from which you'll
be making your pseudopayments.
The transaction will be held as Pending until you actually view the details of the
transaction and click Clear Transaction or Fail Transaction. For the purposes of
this hack, select Clear Transaction here.
This might be the most fun of all the things mentioned in this book, because you can, on a whim,
transfer any amount of money into your account and become a pseudomillionaire in seconds! (And
you thought this was going to be about the coding!)
--Rob Conery and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 88 Make Your First API Call
Make your first API call by issuing a refund from the command line.
As a programmer, you know that web services are the "next big thing." They're supposed to make it
easy for two computers to exchange information. PayPal Web Services, however, handle money and
therefore require an extra level of security. The extra layers are quite easy to implement, but you'll
need to take the following configuration steps prior to executing your first call:
1. Set up an SSL certificate issued by PayPal.
2. Install Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) libraries or set up a web reference to SOAP-enable
your application
8.4.1 Setting Up the SSL Certificate
Your web site might already have an SSL certificate that it uses for secure communication, but at the
time of this writing, PayPal does not support using certificates from other certificate authorities (CAs).
This means that you'll need to generate an SSL certificate from the PayPal Sandbox[Hack #87],
and then later, the PayPal live site when your application goes live[Hack #100] . Here's how to
request an API certificate:
1. Log into your PayPal Sandbox Business account and click the Profile tab.
2. Click the API Access link and then click the API Certificate Request link.
3. In the Certificate Profile section, enter your merchant information (First Name, Last Name,
Company, Volume, and Expected Use are required fields). While the Volume and Expected Use
fields are required, they are mainly for PayPal informational purposes only.
4. In the Account Name and Password section, enter a password.
Make sure to write down your account name and password, because there
will be no way to get a reminder later on. This account name and
password, along with a certificate file, will be required when you connect
to the PayPal API. If you do forget your password, you will need to create
a new SSL certificate request.
5. In the Terms of Use section, check Yes and click Continue. Review your Certificate Profile and
5.
click Generate Certificate. Your API Certificate file will be created and made available for you to
download.
6. Once the API certificate file is generated, click Download and save the text file
(cert_key_pem.txt) to your local hard drive.
This API certificate file is a text file, but it is not yet in the format required to connect to the PayPal
API. You'll need to convert it into a PKCS12 (.cer) file using a cryptographic tool such as OpenSSL
(http://www.openssl.org). To avoid having to compile the OpenSSL source code yourself, you can
download a precompiled Windows version, as described inInstalling OpenSSL for Windows.
Installing OpenSSL for Windows
Download and install Shining Light Productions' Win32 OpenSSL from
http://www.slproweb.com (at the time of this writing, v0.9.7d is the recommended
version).
To convert the text certificate file into SSL (PKCS12) format using OpenSSL, open the
Windows command prompt (cmd.exe in Windows XP/2000, or command.com in Windows
9x/Me). Start OpenSSL by typing c:\openssl\bin\openssl at the prompt (the
pathname may be different on your system). At the OpenSSL prompt, type the following
command, where c:\cert_key_pem.txt is the location of your text certificate file and
c:\mycert.p12 is the location of your new SSL (PKCS12) file to create:
pkcs12 -export -in c:\cert_key_pem.txt -out c:\mycert.p12
The next step involves installing the certification and is dependent upon the type of
application you're creating (e.g., a desktop application or a web application) and the
development tool you're using to create it. This hack connects to the PayPal API from a
desktop application created from within the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET development
environment. If, however, you are using another development environment such as
Java, or if you are developing a web application under Apache, you'll need to see the
developer tool documentation at http://www.paypalhacks.com/resources.
Installing Certificates into IE
To access PayPal's API using Visual Studio .NET, you need to import the.p12 certificate
file you created into Internet Explorer to register the certificate in the computer's
registry.
Before you access the secure PayPal API with Microsoft development tools, Microsoft
requires that you create a valid security certificate. To do this, import the.p12 certificate
file into Internet Explorer and then export the certificate as a .cer file, all from within
Windows.
To import the .p12 certificate, double-click the .p12 file (e.g., mycert.p12) to open the
Windows Import Certificate Wizard. Follow the prompts and accept the defaults. You will
be required to enter the password you provided when you created the PayPal API
certificate file earlier in this hack. When finished, you will see a confirmation message
that the import was successful. Click OK.
To export the certificate as a .cer file, open the Tools menu in Internet Explorer and
select Internet Options. Choose the Content tab and then click the Certificates button to
display the Certificates screen. The Certificates screen lists the certificates currently
installed on your computer; select the certificate you just imported (it's under the
Personal tab) and click Export. Accept the default options. When prompted to select a
File Format, select "DER encoded binary X.509 (.CER)" and click Next. Enter the filename
and location, click Next, and then click Finish. You'll see a message that the export was
successful. Click OK, then Close, and then OK again to close the Internet Options screen.
Later, you'll refer to this .cer file from your code to access the PayPal API.
8.4.2 SOAP-Enabling Your Application
In order for your application to access PayPal's Web Services, you'll need to install a module or code
library that can call a SOAP-based web service. Some development tools, such as Visual Studio .NET,
are set up to support web services out of the box.
For the sake of simplicity and consistency, the rest of this chapter uses code
written in C# using Visual Studio .NET. If you are using another language, such
as Java, VB, C++, PHP, or Perl, review the PayPal Web Services page
(http://www.paypalhacks.com/resources/).
To access a web service from within a development environment such as Visual Studio .NET, you
need the URL of the Web Service Description Language (WSDL) file that describes the web service
and, possibly, a valid security certificate. Typically, you would set up aweb reference to abstract the
SOAP-specific details of the web service, allowing you to access the web service as you would any
other class or function call. Once you validated a web service using its WSDL file in the Visual Studio
.NET Web Reference Wizard, a web reference would be added to your project and you'd be able to
access its methods just like any other class in your project.
Currently, PayPal does things differently. For security reasons, PayPal requires that you not only
install a security certificate, but also provide your digital certificate account name and password to
access the PayPal API.
To set up a proxy web reference in Visual Studio .NET, open your Visual C# Windows Application. In
your project's Solution Explorer, right-click the References folder and select Add Web Reference. In
the Add Web Reference box, type the URL of the appropriate PayPalSandbox WSDL file:
Sandbox: http://api.sandbox.paypal.com/wsdl/PayPalSvc.wsdl
Sandbox (alternate): http://www.paypalhacks.com/wsdl/PayPalSvc.wsdl
Live PayPal site: http://api.paypal.com/wsdl/PayPalSvc.wsdl
Then click Go. (The wizard does not work well with https, so use http.) If successful, the Web
Reference wizard displays the description of the PayPalAPIInterface and the methods it contains.
As of this writing, the methods are BillAgreementUpdate(), BillUser(),
GetTransactionDetails(), MassPay(), RefundTransaction(), and TransactionSearch().
(BillAgreementUpdate() and BillUser() are not publicly available and are not discussed in this
book.)
Change the Web reference name from com.paypal.sandbox.api to PayPalSvc and then click Add
Reference. Verify that a new folder named Web References has been created and that it contains a
reference named PayPalSvc.
You are now ready to use your PayPalSvc web reference. Using the digital certificate, certificate
account name, and password, you can access the PayPal Web Service's methods viathis PayPalSvc
object.
8.4.3 Getting Started with PayPal's APIClient Tool
PayPal offers immediate gratification for users who can't wait to use the PayPal API. TheAPIClient
application is downloadable from the Help Center tab at Developer Central.
The APIClient was created using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and is written in
C#. The application is a .NET project you'll need to modify and build before you
can use it.
Here's how to set up the APIClient application:
1. Download the .NET Code Samples and unzip the APIClient.zip file into a folder on your hard
drive.
2. Double-click the APIClient.csproj file to open the APIClient project in Visual Studio .NET.
3. Expand the Web References folder, right-click on the PayPalSvc reference, and select Properties,
as shown in Figure 8-4.
Figure 8-4. Specifying the location of the WSDL file in the properties
sheet of the PayPalSvc web reference
4. Point the Web Reference URL to the PayPal Sandbox WSDL file.
5. Right-click the APIClient project name in Visual Studio .NET and select Properties.
6. Select Configuration Properties, and then select Build.
7. In the Properties pane, set the Output Path to C:\ (or whatever drive you are comfortable with;
you are going to run this program from the command line, so using something likeC:\ is easy
on the fingers). Click OK.
8. From the Build menu, select Build APIClient. Visual Studio .NET will build the executable and
save it into your Output path; make sure you place it in the same folder as yourcertificate.cer
file.
The APIClient is ready to go. All you need now is a transaction to play with.
8.4.4 Setting up a Test Transaction
Before you start using the APIClient, send some money from your Sandbox Personal account to your
Sandbox Business account:
1. Log into Developer Central, click the Sandbox tab, click the Launch Sandbox button, and log in
with your Personal Sandbox account.
2. Click Send Money and then send some cash (e.g., $10) to your Business account.
3.
4.
2.
3. Next, log out of your Personal account and log back into your Sandbox Business account.
4. The payment you made from your Personal account will appear on the Overview page. Your
balance will have increased by the amount you sent (minus the simulated transaction fee).
5. Click the Details link to bring up the Transaction Details. Record the Transaction ID number for
use in the next step.
8.4.5 Making Your First Call
That's it for the prep work. Now, it's time to call the Refund Web Service. TheAPIClient is a .NET
console application, so you need to open up a command prompt (cmd.exe in Windows XP/2000, or
command.com in Windows 9x/Me).
Use cd to navigate to the directory where the APIClient.exe executable is located (e.g., cd c:\), and
execute the client program:
APIClient RefundTransaction -t transaction_number -u your_api_username
-p your_api_password -c certificate_file
For a full description of the arguments for the test tool, please see the
APIClient documentation or type APIClient help at the prompt.
If all goes as planned, you will see some output text in your console, as shown inFigure 8-5. Among
other things, Ack will be set to Success to confirm that the transaction has been refunded. Also note
the number of errors reported by the call (which, in this case, happens to be zero.)
Figure 8-5. Using the APIClient to issue refunds
Log into your Sandbox Business account, click History, and look at your transaction log to verify that
the payment was refunded successfully.
The APIClient is a nice introduction to the use of the PayPal API, but it demonstrates only a fraction of
what the PayPal API can do. In addition, the APIClient was written solely for command-line use and
will not scale to other applications. Use the next few hacks to extend the PayPal API into a standalone
.NET assembly that any client can use.
--Rob Conery and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 89 Create a Wrapper Class for Your API Calls
Create a Windows DLL to call the API and eliminate need for the console application .
Using the API from a console application [Hack #88] is nice for testing, but for real-world applications,
you'll want to use an encapsulated module to handle calls to the API. That way, you can reuse the
functionality in multiple applications.
This wrapper class DLL is written in C# and assembled in Visual Studio .NET.
The underlying architecture of the PayPal API is the same for each API method, all of which use four
basic classes to complete a call:
Type
This is a generic term for a class that holds information. You fill out the properties in the type
and add the type to the request object.
Request
This object is responsible for creating and sending the SOAP package to the API. It hands the
type to the API that contains information specific to the call (theTransactionID for example, in
the GetTransactionDetail() method).
Response
This object holds the API's response to the call, including whether the call was successful. It also
returns a type object, with specifics (transaction details, for example, in the
GetTransactionDetail() method).
API service
This object executes the call using the request object as an argument and returns a response
object.
8.5.1 Handling the Basics
The API wrapper class makes it easier for you to access the PayPal API, and you can reuse it in
multiple applications. The wrapper class has four properties (APIPassword , APIPassword ,
CertLocation , and APIUrl ) set by the class constructor method, as well as some additional methods
to simplify security setup and formatting.
1. Open Visual Studio .NET and go to File
New
Project.
2. On the New Project screen, select Visual C# Projects and Class Library.
3. Name your project PayPalAPI and click OK.
4. Add a PayPal web reference [Hack #88] . Name it PayPalSvc and click Add Reference.
5. Add a new class file to the project and name it APIWrapper.cs .
6. Copy the following code into APIWrapper.cs , and save the project when you're done:
using System;
using System.Net;
using System.Security.Cryptography.X509Certificates;
using System.Text;
using PayPalAPI.PayPalSvc;
using System.Data;
using System.Collections;
namespace PayPalAPI
{
/// <summary>
/// Summary description for APIWrapper.
/// </summary>
public class APIWrapper
{
string _APIUserName="";
string _APIPassword="";
string _CertLocation="";
string _APIUrl="";
public string APIUserName
{
get{return _APIUserName;}
}
public string APIPassword
{
get{return _APIPassword;}
}
public string CertLocation
{
get{return _CertLocation;}
}
public string APIUrl
{
get{return _APIUrl;}
}
PayPalAPIInterfaceService service;
public APIWrapper(String APIUserName, string APIPassword,
string CertLocation, string APIUrl)
{
_APIUserName=APIUserName;
_APIPassword=APIPassword;
_CertLocation=CertLocation;
_APIUrl=APIUrl;
// Add the CertificatePolicy so we can post to an untrusted
site
ServicePointManager.CertificatePolicy = new
MyCertificateValidation( );
service = new PayPalAPIInterfaceService( );
service.Url = _APIUrl;
// Add the X509 Cert to the service for authentication
X509Certificate certificate =
X509Certificate.CreateFromCertFile(_CertLocation);
service.ClientCertificates.Add(certificate);
SetHeaderCredentials(service);
}
void SetHeaderCredentials(PayPalAPIInterfaceService service)
{
CustomSecurityHeaderType securityHeader =
new CustomSecurityHeaderType( );
UserIdPasswordType userIdPassword = new UserIdPasswordType( );
userIdPassword.Username = _APIUserName;
userIdPassword.Password = _APIPassword;
//userIdPassword.Subject = subject;
securityHeader.Credentials = userIdPassword;
securityHeader.MustUnderstand = true;
service.RequesterCredentials = securityHeader;
}
string GetAmountValue(BasicAmountType amount)
{
string sOut="";
try
{
sOut="$"+amount.Value.ToString( );
amount.currencyID = CurrencyCodeType.USD;
}
catch
{
sOut="--";
}
return sOut;
}
}
}
8.5.2 Creating Your Own Certificate Handler
If you have trouble accessing the PayPal API, it might be because your .NET code does not trust the
PayPal digital certificate. But you know that you're talking to PayPal, so it's not that important. Adding
the following code to your API wrapper overrides .NET's default certificate policy, which is to challenge
certificates issued by untrusted certificate authorities:
class MyCertificateValidation : ICertificatePolicy {
// Default policy for certificate validation.
public static bool DefaultValidate = false;
public bool CheckValidationResult(ServicePoint sp, X509Certificate cert, WebRequest
request, int problem) {
//implement your custom code here
return true;
}
}
Eventually, you'll need to implement your own code for this class, but for development purposes, you
can simply tell your server to trust every certificate issuer.
--Rob Conery and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 90 Use the PayPal API Wrapper Class
Create a simple transaction-lookup form and make an API call with the API wrapper class .
Now that you've created a wrapper class for your API calls [Hack #89] , it's time to put it to use. This
hack adds one GetTransactionDetail function to your wrapper class. It then creates a user interface for
the wrapper class from which you can look up the corresponding transaction details.
The first thing to do is log into Developer Central, open up your Personal Sandbox account[Hack #87] ,
and send some money to your Sandbox merchant account.
Sending and receiving money works identically in the Sandbox and on the live
PayPal site, except that the money in the Sandbox is not real and you will not
receive any email messages from PayPal.
Once you have sent the money, log out of your Personal account and log into your Sandbox merchant
account. You should see the money you just sent from your Personal account. Click Details next to the
payment and make note of the transaction ID; you will need it later in this hack.
To use the API wrapper class to look up details of a transaction, start by adding thefollowing
GetTransactionDetail code your wrapper class by appending it to the existing code in the class:
public string GetTransactionDetail(string transactionID, string delimiter)
{
string sReturn="";
GetTransactionDetailsRequestType detailRequest=
new GetTransactionDetailsRequestType( );
detailRequest.TransactionID=transactionID;
GetTransactionDetailsReq request=new GetTransactionDetailsReq( );
request.GetTransactionDetailsRequest=detailRequest;
GetTransactionDetailsResponseType
response=service.GetTransactionDetails(request);
sReturn=response.Ack.ToString( )+"\n";
//build out the response
StringBuilder sb=new StringBuilder( );
sb.Append("************** Payment Information ******************"+delimiter);
//payment info
PaymentInfoType payment=response.PaymentTransactionDetails.PaymentInfo;
sb.Append("ReceiptID: "+payment.ReceiptID+delimiter);
sb.Append("TransactionID: "+payment.TransactionID+delimiter);
sb.Append("PaymentDate: "+payment.PaymentDate+delimiter);
sb.Append("GrossAmount: "+GetAmountValue(payment.GrossAmount)+delimiter);
sb.Append("SettleAmount: "+GetAmountValue(payment.SettleAmount)+delimiter);
sb.Append("FeeAmount: "+GetAmountValue(payment.FeeAmount)+delimiter);
sb.Append("TaxAmount: "+GetAmountValue(payment.TaxAmount)+delimiter);
sb.Append("PaymentStatus: "+payment.PaymentStatus+delimiter);
sb.Append("PaymentType: "+payment.PaymentType+delimiter);
sb.Append("TransactionType: "+payment.TransactionType+delimiter);
sb.Append(delimiter);
//sReturn+=response.PaymentTransactionDetails.PaymentInfo.ToString( );
sb.Append("************** Buyer Information ******************"+delimiter);
//receiver info
ReceiverInfoType receiver=response.PaymentTransactionDetails.ReceiverInfo;
sb.Append("Business: "+receiver.Business+delimiter);
sb.Append("Receiver: "+receiver.Receiver+delimiter);
sb.Append("ReceiverID: "+receiver.ReceiverID+delimiter);
//item info
PaymentItemInfoType item=
response.PaymentTransactionDetails.PaymentItemInfo;
//PaymentItemType itm=new PaymentItemType( );
sb.Append(delimiter);
int i=1;
sb.Append("************** Item Information ******************"+delimiter);
sb.Append("Custom: "+item.Custom+delimiter);
sb.Append("InvoiceID: "+item.InvoiceID+delimiter);
sb.Append("Memo: "+item.Memo+delimiter);
sb.Append("SalesTax: "+item.SalesTax+delimiter);
if(item.PaymentItem!=null)
{
foreach(PaymentItemType itm in item.PaymentItem)
{
//itm=(PaymentItemType)PaymentItem[i];
sb.Append(delimiter);
sb.Append("Item "+i.ToString( )+":"+delimiter);
sb.Append("Name: "+itm.Name+delimiter);
sb.Append("Number: "+itm.Number+delimiter);
sb.Append("Options: "+itm.Options+delimiter);
sb.Append("Quantity: "+itm.Quantity+delimiter);
sb.Append("SalesTax: "+itm.SalesTax+delimiter);
sb.Append(delimiter);
i++;
}
}
sReturn=sb.ToString( );
return sReturn;
}
}
Next, create a Windows form in Visual Studio .NET that uses the API wrapper class to call the
GetTransactionDetails API function:
1. With the PayPal API solution opened, right-click the solution and select Add
New Project.
2. Select Visual Studio C#/Windows Application.
3. Name your project PayPalTestApp and click OK.
4. Right-click the References entry in the PayPalTestApp project and select Add Reference.
5. On the Add Reference screen, select the Project tab and select the PayPalAPI project. Click Select,
and then click OK to add a reference to the PayPal API wrapper.
Check out Mastering Visual Studio .NET by Ian Griffiths, Jon Flanders, and Chris
Sells (O'Reilly) for help with creating forms in .NET.
When that's finished, create a .NET form (Form1.cs ) with text boxes and code to look up the details of a
PayPal transaction. The form accepts the API username (txtUserName ), password (txtPassword ), and
transaction ID (txtTransactionID ) as inputs and submits them to PayPal via the click of a button
(cmdDetails ). Add a label control (lblResponse ) to output the results to. Your form should look
something like the one in Figure 8-6 .
Figure 8-6. Finding transaction details quickly at PayPal
Double-click the cmdDetails button and add the following code to its click event:
private void cmdDetails_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e) {
string username=txtUserName.Text;
string password=txtPassword.Text;
string transactionID=txtTransactionID.Text;
string certPath="C:\\certificate.cer";
string url = "https://api.sandbox.paypal.com/2.0/";
lblResponse.Text="Contacting PayPal....";
PayPalAPI.APIWrapper api=new
PayPalAPI.APIWrapper(username,password,certPath,url);
lblResponse.Text=api.GetTransactionDetail(transactionID,"\n");
}
Set PayPalTestApp , fill out the text boxes with your API username and password, as well as the
TransactionID copied from the preceding transaction, and click the Get Details button. The information
supplied on the form will be passed to the wrapper class, which will prepare the request and then call
GetTransactionDetail . Assuming it's successful, the transaction details will appear in the label control,
as shown in Figure 8-7 .
Figure 8-7. The results of your transaction details request
Now that you have a reusable class to access the API, you can easily add code to your projects to process
refunds [Hack #91] , retrieve transaction details [Hack #93] , and search your transaction history
[Hack #94] .
- Rob Conery and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 91 Refund Payments with the API
Use the API wrapper class to call the RefundTransaction API and refund a payment without
logging into the PayPal web site .
Of several things you can do with the API (discussed in the introduction to this chapter), one of the most
useful for PayPal's larger businesses is RefundTransaction , especially for customer service reps who
have to process refunds routinely. Requiring your customer service reps to log into PayPal to process a
refund requires a lot of time and unnecessary access to your account. With PayPal's new Refund API,
however, you can create an application that retrieves payment transaction data and processes refunds
directly from your own custom application. And just like GetTransactionDetails [Hack #90] , you can
use the API wrapper to handle the basics and just add the refund-specific code.
The refund function call involves the use of three objects:
RefundTransactionRequestType
RefundTransactionReq
RefundTransactionResponseType
The two Type objects are holders for information, while the Request object is used by the API service to
send the information to PayPal. Here's an example of the code you need to add to your API wrapper:
public string RefundTransaction(string TransactionID){
//the variable that will hold the return string
string sReturn="";
// Create the Refund Request
RefundTransactionRequestType refundRequest = new RefundTransactionRequestType( );
//set the memo so you know why you are refunding
refundRequest.Memo = "test via API";
1.
//refund a full or partial amount
refundRequest.RefundType = RefundPurposeTypeCodeType.Full;
refundRequest.TransactionID = TransactionID;
refundRequest.Version = "1.0";
RefundTransactionReq request = new RefundTransactionReq( );
request.RefundTransactionRequest = refundRequest;
try{
RefundTransactionResponseType response = service.RefundTransaction(request);
2.
string ErrorCheck=CheckErrors(response);
//See Hack 92 for Transaction Error Handling
if (ErrorCheck!="") {
sReturn=("The transaction was not successful: " + ErrorCheck);
}
else {
sReturn=("Response: " + response.Ack.ToString( )+"\n Correlation ID
"+response.CorrelationID+"\nTimestamp: "+response.Timestamp.ToString( ));
}
}catch(Exception x){
sReturn="SSL Failure, the transaction did not go through. Error: "+
x.Message;
}return sReturn;
}
You have a choice of how much money you would like to refund your customer. The preceding code
refunds the full amount, but if you want to issue only a partial refund, specify the amount using PayPal's
BasicAmountType by replacing line 1 with this code:
refundRequest.RefundType = RefundPurposeTypeCodeType.Partial;
BasicAmountType amount=new BasicAmountType( );
amount.Value=10.00;
refundRequest.amount=amount;
8.7.1 Running the Hack
To use the API wrapper [Hack #89] to process a refund, you must first create a transaction by using your
Personal Sandbox account to send money to your Business Sandbox account. First, retrieve the
transaction number from your Business Sandbox account [Hack #88] .
Next, add the RefundTransaction code to your API wrapper class in the same way that
GetTransactionDetail is added to the API wrapper class in [Hack #90] . Then, create a button called
cmdRefund on your form and add the following code to its OnClick event:
private void cmdRefund_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
{
string username = txtUserName.Text;
string password = txtPassword.Text;
string transactionID = txtTransactionID.Text;
string certPath = "C:\\certificate.cer";
string url = "https://api.sandbox.paypal.com/2.0/";
lblResponse.Text="Contacting PayPal...";
PayPalAPI.APIWrapper api = new
PayPalAPI.APIWrapper(username,password,certPath,url);
lblResponse.Text = api.RefundTransaction(transactionID);
}
The form should look something like the one in [Hack #90] .
Finally, to run the hack, run your PayPalTestApp application, enter the transaction number into the
transaction ID field and press the GetDetails button. When you've successfully retrieved the details,
press the Refund button to complete the refund.
Confirm that your transaction has been refunded by logging into your Sandbox
Personal account.
8.7.2 The Results
The only response you really need from PayPal once you've executed the refund is one that tells you
whether it was successful. The Ack property (which indicates acknowledgement , not a shriek of pain)
contains the status of the refund and is set to Success if all went well. If the refund did not go through,
you likely violated a PayPal rule, such as issuing a partial refund greater than the purchase price or trying
to refund a payment more than 30 days after the payment.
The CheckErrors() function on line 2 handles this task (see [Hack #92] for details). For rules governing
PayPal refunds, open your Sandbox Business account and search the online help forrefunds . See [Hack
#9] for more information on using PayPal's help system.
--Rob Conery, Michael Blanton, and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 92 Handle Transaction Errors within the API
Wrapper
Write one function to handle all transaction errors and simplify your API code .
If you were to take a close look at the objects created by your web reference in Visual Studio .NET
(double-click the PayPal API web reference in your project and navigate to the web reference
classes), you'd notice that the ResponseType classes ( RefundTransactionResponseType ,
TransactionSearchResponseType , and GetTransactionDetailsResponseType ) extend the same
AbstractResponseType class. This unified error-handling approach provides you the same response
object, regardless of which transactional class was called. This means you can write one errorchecking routine that displays the correct message if an error occurs in any of these API transactions.
These errors are not application exceptions that you should handle as you
normally would. Rather, they are PayPal processing errors that deal with invalid
attempts to perform a transaction (such as refunding a payment that's already
been refunded).
Just add this code to any of your transaction API calls:
string CheckErrors(AbstractResponseType abstractResponse) {
bool errorsExist = false;
string errorList="";
// First, check the Obvious.
Make sure Ack is not Success
if (!abstractResponse.Ack.Equals(AckCodeType.Success)) {
errorsExist = true;
}
// Check to make sure there is nothing in the Errors Collection
if (abstractResponse.Errors.Length > 0) {
errorsExist = true;
// Do something with the errors
foreach(ErrorType error in abstractResponse.Errors) {
errorList+=("ERROR: "
+ error.LongMessage
+ " ("
+ error.ErrorCode
+ ")"
);
}
}
return errorList;
}
This method lets you (or your users) know if anything gets in the way of a successful transaction,
even if the code otherwise completes successfully. That way, if something does go wrong, you can
pass on information that is needed to enable your user to rectify the problem.
8.8.1 Using the Error Handler
To use the error handler, you must add code in two places. First, add a routine to yourPayPalTestApp
project that checks for errors and handles them appropriately. Second, add the following code to your
API wrapper:
try{
RefundTransactionResponseType response = service.RefundTransaction(request);
string ErrorCheck=CheckErrors(response);
if (ErrorCheck!="") {
sReturn=("PayPal Says: The transaction was not successful:
" + ErrorCheck);
}
else {
sReturn=("PayPal Says: Response: " + response.Ack.ToString( ));
}
}catch(Exception x){
sReturn="SSL Failure, the transaction did not go through. Error: "+x.Message;
}
For instance, try updating the code from [Hack #91] with this error handler and running the code
again. Since you've already run a refund against this transaction [Hack #91] , an error is returned,
letting the user know that the type of transaction cannot be refunded, as shown in Figure 8-8.
Figure 8-8. An error message generated by the generic error handler
Naturally, you'll want to supplement this error handler with your own messages and additional error
traps, but this should help you build more fault-tolerantAPI applications.
- Rob Conery and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 93 Retrieve Transaction Details with the API
Given only a transaction ID, use the GetTransactionDetail API call with the API wrapper DLL to
retrieve the details of the transaction .
The GetTransactionDetail API call is a more detailed in terms of the data it returns than the
RefundTransaction call [Hack #91] . The initiating call is made in the same fashion, but the response
object holds many types that you need to access to get the transaction details. These types are designed
to hold information pertaining to the myriad of PayPal transaction types, so if you use PayPal only to
process sales from your Shopping Cart (as opposed to eBay auctions or digital subscriptions), you might
not need all the information it returns.
But since retrieving information is so important (not to mention loads of fun), this example puts the call
through its paces and retrieves all the available transaction details. The response object has a fewType
objects that are of interest, because they hold the details of the entire transaction:
PaymentInfoType
Information about the payment, including gross payment amount, fee amount, date of payment,
and so on.
ReceiverInfoType
Information about the person or entity who sent the payment.
PaymentItemInfoType
If you sold items, their details are captured in the PaymentItemInfoType .
AuctionInfoType
Returns information about the auction (if the payment came from an auction).
SubscriptionInfoType
Subscription information, including interval, start date, and so on.
The PayPal API uses its BasicAmountType object to store monetary values (e.g., dollar amounts), such as
any property of a Type object with the word amount in it. If there is no amount, the property will be null,
which can trip up your routines. To return safe values from these fields, the following code makes use of
the GetAmountValue() function [Hack #89] to return a string value.
8.9.1 The Code
Here's the GetTransactionDetail() method that retrieves the transaction details for a given PayPal
transaction ID:
public string GetTransactionDetail(string transactionID, string delimiter){
string sOut="";
//Create the request type, which holds information about the transaction you //want more
information about
GetTransactionDetailsRequestType detailRequest=new GetTransactionDetailsRequestType( );
detailRequest.TransactionID=transactionID;
//Set the request type of the request object
GetTransactionDetailsReq request=new GetTransactionDetailsReq( );
request.GetTransactionDetailsRequest=detailRequest;
//send the request to PayPal
GetTransactionDetailsResponseType
response=service.GetTransactionDetails(request);
//make sure there is a response
if(response!=null){
//use a StringBuilder as this return uses a lot of resources if you just
//just append a regular string value
1.
StringBuilder sb=new StringBuilder( );
sb.Append("************ Payment Information "+ **************"+delimiter);
//access each response type, gathering the information
//payment info
PaymentInfoType payment=response.PaymentTransactionDetails.PaymentInfo;
sb.Append("ReceiptID: "+payment.ReceiptID+delimiter);
sb.Append("TransactionID: "+payment.TransactionID+delimiter);
sb.Append("PaymentDate: "+payment.PaymentDate+delimiter);
sb.Append("GrossAmount: "+GetAmountValue(payment.GrossAmount)+delimiter);
sb.Append("SettleAmount: " +
GetAmountValue(payment.SettleAmount)+delimiter);
sb.Append("FeeAmount: "+GetAmountValue(payment.FeeAmount)+delimiter);
sb.Append("TaxAmount: "+GetAmountValue(payment.TaxAmount)+delimiter);
sb.Append("PaymentStatus: "+payment.PaymentStatus+delimiter);
sb.Append("PaymentType: "+payment.PaymentType+delimiter);
sb.Append("TransactionType: "+payment.TransactionType+delimiter);
2.
//item info
PaymentItemInfoType item=response.PaymentTransactionDetails.PaymentItemInfo;
int i=1;
sb.Append("************** Item Information ******************"+delimiter);
sb.Append("Custom: "+item.Custom+delimiter);
sb.Append("InvoiceID: "+item.InvoiceID+delimiter);
sb.Append("Memo: "+item.Memo+delimiter);
sb.Append("SalesTax: "+item.SalesTax+delimiter);
//The items are returned in an array of PaymentItemType
//loop through the items array, accessing item information
foreach(PaymentItemType itm in item.PaymentItem){
sb.Append(delimiter);
sb.Append("Item "+i.ToString( )+":"+delimiter);
sb.Append("Name: "+itm.Name+delimiter);
sb.Append("Number: "+itm.Number+delimiter);
sb.Append("Options: "+itm.Options+delimiter);
sb.Append("Quantity: "+itm.Quantity+delimiter);
sb.Append("SalesTax: "+itm.SalesTax+delimiter);
sb.Append(delimiter);
i++;
}
//if you are dealing in auctions, the information about
//the auction will be in the AuctionInfoType
sb.Append("************ Auction Information *************"+delimiter);
AuctionInfoType auction=new AuctionInfoType( );
sb.Append("BuyerID: "+auction.BuyerID+delimiter);
sb.Append("ClosingDate: "+auction.ClosingDate+delimiter);
sb.Append("ClosingDateSpecified: "+auction.ClosingDateSpecified+delimiter);
sb.Append("multiItem: "+auction.multiItem+delimiter);
//Same with Subscriptions
sb.Append("********** Subscription Information ***********"+delimiter);
SubscriptionInfoType sub=new SubscriptionInfoType( );
sb.Append("EffectiveDate: "+sub.EffectiveDate+delimiter);
sb.Append("EffectiveDateSpecified: "+sub.EffectiveDateSpecified+delimiter);
sb.Append("Password: "+sub.Password+delimiter);
sb.Append("reattempt: "+sub.reattempt+delimiter);
sb.Append("Recurrences: "+sub.Recurrences+delimiter);
sb.Append("recurring: "+sub.recurring+delimiter);
sb.Append("RetryTime: "+sub.RetryTime+delimiter);
sb.Append("RetryTimeSpecified: "+sub.RetryTimeSpecified+delimiter);
sb.Append("SubscriptionDate: "+sub.SubscriptionDate+delimiter);
sb.Append("SubscriptionDateSpecified: "+sub.SubscriptionDateSpecified+delimiter);
sb.Append("SubscriptionID: "+sub.SubscriptionID+delimiter);
sb.Append("Terms: "+sub.Terms+delimiter);
sb.Append("Username: "+sub.Username+delimiter);
sReturn=sb.ToString( );
}
return sReturn;
PayPal does not know the type of the transaction for which you are requesting details, so the web service
returns every possible bit of information it can. In this example, all this information is appended to a single
string so that it can be displayed easily. Since the string can be long, you'll need aStringBuilder object
(line 1). A more practical approach might be to add tables to a DataSet object (if you are using .NET) or
perhaps to create your own class to handle this information.
If you are developing a typical commerce site, in which items are sold using PayPal as the payment
processor, the section beginning on line 2 will interest you the most. Each item sold is handed back to you
in the PaymentTransactionDetails.PaymentItemInfo.PaymentItem array. Each item in the transaction
is represented by a PaymentItemType that has pertinent information, such as item number (a.k.a. SKU),
price, quantity, and so on.
8.9.2 Running the Hack
To use the API wrapper class to look up details of a transaction, you need to add the Auction and
Subscription code to the GetTransactionDetail() method in your API wrapper class and run your
PayPalTestApp application. See [Hack #90] for further details.
--Rob Conery and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 94 Search for PayPal Transactions
Use the TransactionSearch API call to find a transaction based on several different
criteria.
The ability to search for transactions is another powerful PayPal API function. You can find
transactions by using several different criteria:
Start and end dates
The bounding time frame of the search, down to the second.
Amount
The payment amount (e.g., 54.00).
Currency type
The three-letter currency code (e.g., USD).
Item number
The item number of a sale item. This item number is the same as the product code you might
have specified for your product when it was sold (a SKU, for example).
Payer email, last name, first name, salutation
The name and email address of the person or entity who sent the payment.
Receipt ID
PayPal issues a receipt ID for each transaction, much like the transaction ID. If a customer has
a question or an issue about her order, she might offer this number to you.
Payment status
This can be pending, completed, failed, denied, refunded, or canceled_reversal. For
instance, specify completed here to show only completed transactions.
Payment type
This can be payment, bill, refund, and so on (see the PayPal API Developer's Guide, available
at PayPal Developer Central, for the full list). Using the payment type as a search parameter,
you can show only those payments that were refunds, or perhaps those received by billing.
The search is an inclusive search: the more parameters you specify, the more limited your result set
will be. At the time of this writing, partial values, Boolean, wild card, and regular expression terms
are not supported, although PayPal might add support for these types of searches in the future.
Figure 8-9 shows an example of the output.
Figure 8-9. The results of the TransactionSearch API call
8.10.1 The Code
The following code sets up a separate class for holding search parameters to be passed. The results
of the search are put into an array object, through which you can loop to view the return
information:
1.
public class TransactionSearchParam
{
public DateTime EndDate=DateTime.Now;
public string TransactionID="";
public string Amount="";
public string Currency="";
public string ItemNumber="";
public string PayerEmail="";
public string LastName="";
public string FirstName="";
public string Receiver="";
public string ReceiptID="";
public string PaymentStatus="";
public string PaymentType="";
}
//the search wrapper method; the StartDate is required so pass
//it in as an argument
public DataTable RunTransactionSearch(DateTime StartDate,
TransactionSearchParam param, string delimiter){
//setup the return string object
string sReturn="";
//create the Type object, which will hold the search parameters
TransactionSearchRequestType transSearch=new TransactionSearchRequestType( );
// Set up the TransactionSearch
TransactionSearchReq request=new TransactionSearchReq( );
transSearch.StartDate=StartDate;
//set the params
transSearch.StartDate=StartDate;
transSearch.EndDate = param.EndDate;
//count the number of arguments to be passed in
//you may want to have some mininum logic involved
int args=0;
if(param.TransactionID!=""){
transSearch.TransactionID = param.TransactionID;
args++;
}
2.
if(param.Amount!=""){
transSearch.Amount = new BasicAmountType( );
transSearch.Amount.Value = param.Amount;
args++;
}
if(param.PayerEmail!=""){
transSearch.Payer = param.PayerEmail;
args++;
}
if(param.Currency!=""){
transSearch.CurrencyCodeSpecified = true;
args++;
}
if(param.ItemNumber!=""){
transSearch.AuctionItemNumber = param.ItemNumber;
args++;
}
if(param.LastName!=""){
transSearch.PayerName = new PersonNameType( );
transSearch.PayerName.LastName = param.LastName;
args++;
}
if(param.FirstName!=""){
transSearch.PayerName = new PersonNameType( );
transSearch.PayerName.FirstName = param.FirstName;
args++;
}
if(param.PaymentStatus!=""){
transSearch.StatusSpecified = true;
args++;
}
if(param.PaymentType!=""){
transSearch.TransactionClassSpecified = true;
args++;
3.
}
//set the request type object with the one
//filled out with params
request.TransactionSearchRequest=transSearch;
//run the transactioon
TransactionSearchResponseType response = service.TransactionSearch(request);
//make sure the response was created
if(response!=null){
StringBuilder sb=new StringBuilder( );
sb.Append("Status: "+response.Ack.ToString( )+delimiter);
sb.Append("*********** Results ***************"+delimiter);
4.
sb.Append( "Ack"+response.Ack +delimiter);
5
.
if(response.PaymentTransactions!=null){
// Loop through and return the values
foreach(PaymentTransactionSearchResultType trans in
response.PaymentTransactions){
sb.Append("TransactionID: "+ trans.TransactionID+delimiter);
sb.Append("FeeAmount: "+ GetAmountValue(trans. FeeAmount)+ delimiter);
sb.Append("GrossAmount: "+ GetAmountValue(trans.GrossAmount)
+ delimiter);
sb.Append("NetAmount: "+ GetAmountValue(trans.NetAmount)+ delimiter);
sb.Append("Payer: "+ trans.Payer+delimiter);
sb.Append("PayerDisplayName: "+ trans.PayerDisplayName+delimiter);
sb.Append("Status: "+ trans.Status+delimiter);
sb.Append("Timestamp: "+ trans.Timestamp.ToLongDateString( )+ delimiter);
sb.Append("Type: "+ trans.Type.ToString( )+delimiter);
sb.Append("--"+delimiter+delimiter);
}
}
sReturn=sb.ToString( );
}else{
sOut=sb.ToString( )+delimiter+"No Results!";
}
Passing search parameters with a dedicated class, TransactionSearchParam (on line 1) eliminates
the extra coding involved when passing parameters as arguments. If the parameters ever change,
there is little work to do to bring your code up to date. But the best part is that your method
signature doesn't change and break all your code. The section of if statements from line 2 to line 3
fills out the TransactionSearchRequestType object that the PayPal API needs to run the search. If
your search returns any values, Ack is set to Success on line 4. Then, provided that the result set is
not empty (line 5), the code starts looping through the collections to retrieve the information. This
example is pretty straightforward, and it holds all the transaction information for each returned
transaction.
8.10.2 Running the Hack
Add the RunTransactionSearch code to your API wrapper class [Hack #93] .
Next, add three text boxes (txtStartDate, txtEndDate, and txtEmail) and a button (cmdSearch)
to From1. Then, add the following code to the button's Click event:
private void cmdSearch_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
{
string username=txtUserName.Text;
string password=txtPassword.Text;
string transactionID=txtTransactionID.Text;
string certPath="C:\\certificate.cer";
string url = "https://api.sandbox.paypal.com/2.0/";
PayPalAPI.APIWrapper api=new
DateTime StartDate = DateTime.Parse (txtStartDate.Text);
DateTime EndDate = DateTime.Parse(txtEndDate.Text);
string Email = txtEmail.Text
lblResponse.Text = "Contacting Paypal...";
PayPalAPI.APIWrapper api = new PayPalAPI.APIWrapper(username, password,
certPath, url);
PayPalAPI.API.APIWrapper.TransactionSearchParam param =
new PayPalAPI.APIWrapper.TransactionSearchParam( );
param.EndDate = EndDate;
param.PayerEmail=Email;
lblResponse.Text = api.RunTransactionSearch(StartDate, param, "\n");
}
Run the form, fill out the text boxes with your date range and email address, and click the Search
button. The information supplied on the form will be passed to the wrapper class, which will prepare
the request and then call the RunTransactionSearch API. When successful, the list of transactions
will appear in the label control.
- Rob Conery and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 95 Hack the API Wrapper
Create a master-detail report with information collected directly from PayPal .
Looking up order information for your buyers can be hard work, especially if you process many orders a
day. Here's an order-searching form in Visual Studio .NET that allows you to search the PayPal history
by date range (which you can expand later to include other parameters). The results are displayed in a
master-detail report , which consists of a list of transactions in a DataGrid and a transaction detail form
for any given transaction, all with information obtained directly from PayPal!
Add two new forms to your test application, and change the code a little bit for the
RunTransactionSearch() method to return a DataTable instead of a string:
1. Add a new form to your test application, call it frmSearch , and make it your startup form.
2. Add two DateTimePicker controls, and name them dtStart and dtEnd , respectively, and give
each descriptive labels (e.g., Search , Start ).
3. Add a DataGrid control and name it dg .
4. Add a button to the frmSearch and name it btnSearch .
5. Add a label and name it lblStatus . This label tells the user what's going on while he waits for the
request to be returned from PayPal.
Figure 8-10 shows an example of the complete form.
Figure 8-10. The new transaction search form
8.11.1 The Code
Update the RunTransactionSearch() method to return a DataTable instead of a string:
public DataTable RunTransactionSearch(DateTime StartDate,TransactionSearchParam param){
DataTable table=new DataTable("results");
TransactionSearchRequestType transSearch=new TransactionSearchRequestType( );
// Set up the TransactionSearch
TransactionSearchReq request=new TransactionSearchReq( );
transSearch.StartDate=StartDate;
request.TransactionSearchRequest = new TransactionSearchRequestType( );
transSearch.Version = "1.0";
transSearch.CurrencyCodeSpecified = false;
transSearch.EndDateSpecified = false;
transSearch.StatusSpecified = false;
//set the params
transSearch.StartDate=StartDate;
transSearch.EndDate = param.EndDate;
#region args list
int args=1;
if(param.TransactionID!=""){
transSearch.TransactionID = param.TransactionID;
args++;
}
if(param.Amount!=""){
transSearch.Amount = new BasicAmountType( );
transSearch.Amount.Value = param.Amount;
args++;
}
if(param.PayerEmail!=""){
transSearch.Payer = param.PayerEmail;
args++;
}
if(param.Currency!=""){
transSearch.CurrencyCodeSpecified = true;
args++;
}
if(param.ItemNumber!=""){
transSearch.AuctionItemNumber = param.ItemNumber;
args++;
}
if(param.LastName!=""){
transSearch.PayerName = new PersonNameType( );
transSearch.PayerName.LastName = param.LastName;
args++;
}
if(param.FirstName!=""){
transSearch.PayerName = new PersonNameType( );
transSearch.PayerName.FirstName = param.FirstName;
args++;
}
if(param.PaymentStatus!=""){
transSearch.StatusSpecified = true;
args++;
}
if(param.PaymentType!=""){
transSearch.TransactionClassSpecified = true;
args++;
}
#endregion
request.TransactionSearchRequest=transSearch;
//if there are more than 0 args set, run the transaction
if(args>0){
//run the transactioon
TransactionSearchResponseType response =
service.TransactionSearch(request);
1.
if(response!=null){
if(response.PaymentTransactions!=null){
//build the columns out
DataColumn cTransactionID=new DataColumn("TransactionID");
DataColumn cFeeAmount=new DataColumn("FeeAmount");
DataColumn cGrossAmount=new DataColumn("GrossAmount");
DataColumn cNetAmount=new DataColumn("NetAmount");
DataColumn cPayer=new DataColumn("Payer");
DataColumn cPayerDisplayName=new DataColumn("PayerDisplayName");
DataColumn cStatus=new DataColumn("Status");
DataColumn cTimestamp=new DataColumn("Timestamp");
DataColumn cType=new DataColumn("Type");
table.Columns.Add(cTransactionID);
table.Columns.Add(cFeeAmount);
table.Columns.Add(cGrossAmount);
table.Columns.Add(cNetAmount);
table.Columns.Add(cPayer);
table.Columns.Add(cPayerDisplayName);
table.Columns.Add(cStatus);
table.Columns.Add(cTimestamp);
table.Columns.Add(cType);
DataRow dr;
foreach(PaymentTransactionSearchResultType trans in
response.PaymentTransactions){
dr=table.NewRow( );
dr["TransactionID"]=trans.TransactionID;
dr["FeeAmount"]=GetAmountValue(trans.FeeAmount);
dr["GrossAmount"]=GetAmountValue(trans.GrossAmount);
dr["NetAmount"]=GetAmountValue(trans.NetAmount);
dr["Payer"]=trans.Payer;
dr["PayerDisplayName"]=trans.PayerDisplayName;
dr["Status"]=trans.Status;
dr["Timestamp"]=trans.Timestamp.ToLongDateString( );
dr["Type"]=trans.Type.ToString( );
table.Rows.Add(dr);
}
}
}
}else{
throw new Exception("You must specify at least one search parameter");
}
return table;
}
Line 1 begins the main change to the code and is responsible for building out the DataTable. Its
execution is pretty straightforward and follows the same principal as appending the return values to a
string: just loop through the results, adding a row for each array element.
8.11.2 Running the Hack
Add this code to the btnSearch Click event to call the API wrapper and set the DataGrid.DataSource
property:
private void btnSearch_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e) {
string username = "MyAPIUserName";
string password = "MyAPIPAssword";
string certPath = "MyCertPath";
string url = "https://api.sandbox.paypal.com/2.0/";
DateTime dStart = dtStart.Value;
DateTime dEnd = dtEnd.Value;
//let the user know what's going on
lblStatus.Text = "Contacting Paypal";
PayPalAPI.APIWrapper api =
new PayPalAPI.APIWrapper(username,password,certPath,url);
PayPalAPI.APIWrapper.TransactionSearchParam param =
new PayPalAPI.TransactionSearchParam( );
param.EndDate = dEnd;
System.Data.DataTable table = api.RunTransactionSearch(dStart,param);
dg.DataSource = table;
lblStatus.Text = "Finished";
}
This code, activated when the Search button is clicked, performs the search and displays the results in
the DataGrid, as shown in Figure 8-11 .
Figure 8-11. Nicely formatted search results
Finally, create a detail form that calls the GetTransactionDetails() method of the API wrapper, and
output the results to a label control:
1. Add a form named frmDetail .
2. Add a label named lblTransactionID .
3. Add a label named lblResponse .
4. Add three public string fields named UserName , Password , and TransactionID .
5. Add an event handler for the form's load event and call itForm_Load .
4.
5.
Add an event handler for the double-click event of the DataGrid, and insert code to grab the selected
transaction ID:
private void dg_DoubleClick(object sender, EventArgs e) {
DataGridCell cell=dg.CurrentCell;
//the transaction ID is in the first column
string transactionID = dg[cell.RowNumber,0].ToString( );
frmDetail detail=new frmDetail( );
//set the form values
detail.TransactionID=transactionID;
detail.Show( );
}
Finally, add code to the Load event of the detail form, which calls the API wrapper
GetTransactionDetail( ) method:
private void frmDetail_Load(object sender, System.EventArgs e) {
string username = "MyAPIUserName";
string password = "MyAPIPassword";
string certPath = "c:\\mycertificate.cer";
string url = "https://api.sandbox.paypal.com/2.0/";
//let the user know what's going on
lblResponse.Text="Contacting Paypal....";
PayPalAPI.APIWrapper api=new PayPalAPI.APIWrapper(UserName,Password,certPath,url);
lblResponse.Text=api.GetTransactionDetail(TransactionID,"\n");
lblTransactionID.Text=TransactionID;
}
When you perform a search, the results will look something like Figure 8-12.
Figure 8-12. Just the transaction you were looking for
With the master-detail report generated by this project, you'll be effectively duplicating the History tab
from the PayPal web site, albeit in your own application, fully customized and supplemented with your
own feature set. See the next section for an example of how this approach can be especially useful.
8.11.3 Importing into Quicken and QuickBooks
If you're a Quicken or QuickBooks user, you've probably discovered that PayPal's "Download My History"
feature (found in the History tab) provides nothing more than rudimentary support for converting
transaction data into a form that Quicken or QuickBooks can understand. Fortunately, the PayPal API
provides the perfect opportunity to build your own customized-and, most importantly,
automated-means of importing your PayPal transactions into your accounting software.
Regardless of the type of accounting software you're using, you need to start by assembling a table of
transaction data from your PayPal history using the RunTransactionSearch method described earlier in
this hack. The tricky part is to make sure you don't import the same transaction twice, and there are a
few ways to accomplish this. The easiest way is probably to confine the table to a fixed date range using
the StartDate and EndDate parameters. So, if you run your importer project once a week, restrict your
search results to those transactions between 12:00:01 a.m. Monday morning and 12:00:00 midnight
the following Sunday.
The next step is to get your data into Quicken or QuickBooks. The easiest approach is probably to have
your application create an Open Financial Exchange (OFX) file and then manually import the file into
Quicken or QuickBooks. For details on the OFX format, go to http://www.ofx.net.
Previously, you would have had to create a Quicken Interchange Format (QIF) file
for Quicken or an Import Interchange Format (IIF) for QuickBooks. However, both
of these formats appear to be deprecated in favor of the more universal OFX
schema.
If you really want to make the connection between PayPal and QuickBooks as slick as possible, you'll
want to dispense with the task of manually importing your data. Instead, you can connect your
application to QuickBooks via Intuit's QBXML Request Processor API and send your transaction data to
QuickBooks seamlessly (and automatically). For documentation and an SDK, visit
http://developer.intuit.com/ .
- Rob Conery, Dave Nielsen, and David A. Karp
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 96 Issue Payments en Masse with the Mass Pay API
Send out a large number of payments all at once with the Mass Pay feature through the
API.
As described in [Hack #77], PayPal allows you to send many payments at once through the PayPal
web site. Using the Mass Pay API and some slight modifications to the code in[Hack #88], you can
also do this from your own applications.
You can pay up to 250 payees at once using Mass Pay. To make more than 250
payments, you'll need to call Mass Pay repeatedly.
8.12.1 Setting up the Request
The first thing to do is set up a simple tab-delimited text file that contains all the information about
your payees, as shown in Figure 8-13.
Figure 8-13. Using a simple tab-delimited text file to store the
information about the recipients of your payments
List the recipients' email addresses in the first column and the corresponding payment amounts in
the second column. Include an optional third column to list a unique identifier for each recipient for
tracking and reconciliation purposes. The optional fourth column lets you include a customized note
to be sent to each of your recipients.
8.12.2 The Code
This code uses the MassPayReq , MassPayRequestType, MassPayRequestItemType, and
MassPayResponseType objects generated by the web reference in order to process the Mass Pay
request.
This code requires the SSL certificate generated in [Hack #88] .
// Load the Certificate
X509Certificate certificate = X509Certificate.CreateFromCertFile(certPath);
// Create the API Service
PayPalAPIInterfaceService service = new PayPalAPIInterfaceService( );
service.Url = url;
// Add the X509 Cert to the service for authentication
service.ClientCertificates.Add(certificate);
// Create the MassPay Request Item
1.
MassPayRequestItemType masspayRequestItem = new MassPayRequestItemType( );
// create the Amount
BasicAmountType amount = new BasicAmountType( );
amount.currencyID = CurrencyCodeType.USD;
amount.Value = "0.67";
masspayRequestItem.Amount = amount;
// create the recipient email
masspayRequestItem.ReceiverEmail = "[email protected]";
// create the optional unique id (for your own benefit)
masspayRequestItem.UniqueID = "some unique id";
// create the optional Note
masspayRequestItem.Note = "some note";
// Create the MassPay Request
2.
MassPayRequestType masspayRequest = new MassPayRequestType( );
// you can set an email subject if you want to.
// This will be the subject of the email that your payees are going
to receive
masspayRequest.EmailSubject = "some email subject";
masspayRequest.MassPayRequestItemDetails = new MassPayRequestItemType[ 1 ];
// add the previously created MassPayRequestItemType object to this array
masspayRequest.MassPayRequestItemDetails[0] = masspayRequestItem;
MassPayReq request = new MassPayReq( );
request.MassPayRequest = masspayRequest;
// Build the Security Header
CustomSecurityHeaderType securityHeader = new CustomSecurityHeaderType( );
UserIdPasswordType userIdPassword = new UserIdPasswordType( );
userIdPassword.Username = ""; // Insert your API username here
userIdPassword.Password = ""; // Insert your API password here
userIdPassword.Subject = "";
securityHeader.Credentials = userIdPassword;
securityHeader.MustUnderstand = true;
service.RequesterCredentials = securityHeader;
MassPayResponseType response = service.MassPay(request);
Console.WriteLine("Ack: " + response.Ack.ToString( ));
Console.WriteLine("Correlation ID: " + response.CorrelationID);
Console.WriteLine("Timestamp: " + response.Timestamp.ToString( ));
8.12.3 Running the Hack
When you successfully execute the code [Hack #90], the Ack code returned will be Success:
Ack: Success
CorrelationID:
Timestamp: 4/27/2004 10:25:30 AM
Each payee is represented in the code as a MassPayRequestItemType object. Create the initial
MassPayRequestItemType instance (line 1) and a BasicAmountType instance that contains the
amount, and add it to the item request. Also create the recipient's email, unique ID, and note, and
add them to the item request.
Note that this code creates only one MassPayRequestItemType object (line 2). You can repeat the
steps to fill in as many objects as you want and thus overcome the limit of 250 payees. Typically, the
way to do this is to read the individual item details from the tab-delimited file and create the objects
on the fly. That way, you should be able to create a list ofMassPayRequestItemType objects.
When you send a payment with Mass Pay, you pay the seller fees [Hack #14]
that would otherwise be assessed to your recipients.
- Souvik Das, Rob Conery, and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 97 Pay Affiliates and Suppliers on a Schedule
Automate Mass Pay API calls to schedule mass payments at regular intervals.
When you have a lot of people to pay, setting up and executing online payments one at a time can
quickly get tedious. Likewise, repeatedly setting up Mass Pay requests can get tedious if you have to
do it every month or every week. Here is a great real-world example that shows you how to give
away your money faster than you thought possible.
8.13.1 The Code
Start with the code from [Hack #96] and extend it with two new classes: MassPayee and
MassPayeeTable (which supplements the ArrayList object):
//a class which holds the payee info
public class MassPayee{
public string Note="";
public string Email="";
public string EmailSubject="";
public string ReferenceID="";
public double Amount=0;
}
//a class which holds the MassPayees
public class MassPayTable:ArrayList{
public void AddPayee(MassPayee payee){
//the API will only allow 250 payees
if(Payess.Count=250){
throw new Execption("A maximum of 250 payees are allowed");
}else{
Payees.Add(payee);
}
}
public void ClearPayees( ){
Payees.Clear( );
}
public int Count{
get{return Payees.Count;}
}
}
Here's the code for the RunMassPay routine:
public string RunMassPay(MassPayTable PayeeTable){
// Build the Security Header
this.SetHeaderCredentials(service);
// Create the MassPay Request
MassPayRequestType masspayRequest = new MassPayRequestType( );
//allocate the array for the ItemTypes
masspayRequest.MassPayRequestItemDetails = new
MassPayRequestItemType[PayeeTable.Count];
// create the Amount
BasicAmountType amount;
// Create the MassPay Request Item
MassPayRequestItemType masspayRequestItem;;
//our indexer
int counter=0;
//loop through the MassPayee List and add the
//information to the PayPal API objects.
for(int i=0;i<PayeeTable.Count;i++){
masspayRequestItem= new MassPayRequestItemType( );
amount= new BasicAmountType( );
amount.currencyID = CurrencyCodeType.USD;
MassPayee payee=(MassPayee)PayeeTable[i];
amount.Value = payee.Amount.ToString( );
masspayRequestItem.Amount = amount;
masspayRequestItem.ReceiverEmail = payee.Email;
masspayRequestItem.UniqueID = payee.ReferenceID;
masspayRequestItem.Note = payee.Note;
masspayRequest.EmailSubject = payee.EmailSubject;
// add the previously created MassPayRequestItemType object
to this array
masspayRequest.MassPayRequestItemDetails[counter] =
masspayRequestItem;
counter++;
}
MassPayReq request = new MassPayReq( );
request.MassPayRequest = masspayRequest;
MassPayResponseType response = service.MassPay(request);
string sReturn=CheckErrors(response);
if(sReturn==""){
sReturn=response.Ack;
}
return sReturn;
}
To use this routine, gather the payee information from your site database and execute the call:
public string SendMassPay( ){
//get the payees from the database
string sql="MyPayeeSQL";
SqlConnection conn=new SqlConnection("MyConnectionString");
SqlCommand cmd=new SqlCommand(sql,conn);
SqlDataReader rdr=cmd.ExecuteReader(CommandBehavior.CloseConnection);
APIWrapper api=new
APIWrapper("MyUserName","MyPassword","MyCertLocation","APIUrl");
APIWrapper.MassPayeeTable Payees=new APIWrapper.MassPayeeTable( );
APIWrapper.MassPayee payee;
while(rdr.Read( )){
payee=new APIWrapper.MassPayee( );
payee.Note=rdr["Note"].ToString( );
payee.Email=rdr["Email"].ToString( );
payee.EmailSubject=rdr["EmailSubject"].ToString( );
payee.ReferenceID=rdr["ReferenceID"].ToString( );
payee.Amount=(double)rdr["Amount"];
Payees.Add(payee);
}
string result=api.RunMassPay(Payees);
rdr.Close( );
conn.Close( );
return result;
}
8.13.2 Running The Hack
To pay affiliates and suppliers on a schedule, implement the code by following these steps:
1. Create a new project: select Visual C# Projects and then Console Application.
2. Add the MassPayee and MassPayTable classes to the Class1.cs file.
3. Add the RunMassPay routine to the Class1.cs file.
4. Add the SendMassPay routine to the Class1.cs file.
5. Replace the MyPayeeSQL value with the name of a procedure stored in your database that
you've created. The stored procedure should return the following fields:Email, EmailSubject,
Amount, Note, and ReferenceID. Make sure one of the email addresses is your Sandbox
Personal account so that you can confirm you sent the money.
6.
7.
6. Replace the MyConnectionString with your own database connection.
7. Compile and run the console application.
The response from PayPal will either be Success or a list of errors. See [Hack #92] for more
information on errors and return codes.
Confirm that your payments have been sent and received by logging into your SandboxPersonal
account.
- Souvik Das, Rob Conery, and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 98 Search eBay for Listings that Accept PayPal
Use the eBay API to search for PayPal-enabled listings.
eBay and PayPal are a natural fit. eBay buyers love to pay with PayPal because it's quick and easy,
so the vast majority of items listed for sale on eBay accept PayPal. This hack uses the eBay API to
search for listings at http://www.ebay.com that accept PayPal.
Like PayPal API applications, eBay API applications can be written using any
programming language and operating system. This hack uses the eBay
Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows and the C# programming
language. eBay SDKs abstract away some of the implementation details of
programming the API to make it easier to create an application. In addition to
the SDK for .NET, eBay also provides an SDK for Java, as well as XML over
HTTPS POST and SOAP interfaces. See eBay Hacks by David A. Karp (O'Reilly)
for further coverage of the eBay API.
To create a search application with the eBay SDK, you must first perform a few preliminary setup
steps:
1. Sign up for the eBay Developers Program at http://developer.ebay.com. When you complete
the registration process (which is free), you'll receive a set of developer keys you need to begin
developing eBay applications against the eBay test environment, known as the Sandbox
(different than the PayPal Sandbox [Hack #87] ).
2. Download the eBay SDK for Windows and install it on your computer. Remember, even if you're
not using Windows and .NET, you can still write applications using the eBay API. For instance,
much of the API code in eBay Hacks is written in Perl, which can, of course, be used on virtually
any platform and without needing to be supported by an SDK.
3. Create a test user account on the eBay Sandbox. Go to http://sandbox.ebay.com, click Register
at the top of the page, and fill out the form. Although the form looks just like the sign-up form
used by eBay, an eBay Sandbox account is similar to a PayPal Sandbox account, in that it is
merely a pseudo-account used just for testing your software application.
4. Create a security token using the token generator located at
http://developer.ebay.com/tokentool. This page takes the developer keys from step 1, as well
as your sandbox user ID and password, and converts them into a security token that you can
use for testing purposes. You pass the token to the eBay API server each time your application
makes an API call.
8.14.1 The Code
Now that you've done the preparatory work, it's time to write your application. Create a Windows
forms application with a small text box called txtSearch, a button called btnSearch, and a listbox,
lstItem, in which to store the search output.
To call the functions in the SDK, begin by making a reference to the assemblyeBay.SDK.dll from
your project in Visual Studio .NET. Then, insert the appropriate include files at the top of your form's
code window:
using eBay.SDK;
using eBay.SDK.API;
using eBay.SDK.Model;
using eBay.SDK.Model.Item;
Finally, create a Click event handler for the button that performs the search and displays the
results:
private void btnSearch_Click(object sender, System.EventArgs e)
{
IItemFoundCollection items;
GetSearchResultsCall search = new GetSearchResultsCall(CreateSession( ));
search.Query = txtSearch.Text;
search.PayPalItemsOnly = true;
search.MaxResults = 20;
// can be up to 200; more if you use paging
items = search.GetSearchResults( );
foreach(IItem it in items)
{
lstItem.Items.Add(it.Title);
}
}
Because the majority of the communication and data-handling code is wrapped by the classes
provided by the SDK, the code you have to write is fairly straightforward. To do the search, this
procedure simply creates an instance of the GetSearchResultsCall object, assigns values to its
properties, and then calls the object's GetSearchResults method.
Setting the PayPalItemsOnly method to true filters out non-PayPal items.
The return value of GetSearchResults is a typed IItemFoundCollection that is populated with
IItem objects, each of which represents an item listed for sale on eBay. After the function returns the
collection of eBay items, the foreach loop uses it to populate the listbox with their titles.
There's one part of this code that can be a little tricky: creating asession object. The eBay
ApiSession object is required to be passed to the server along with every eBay API call. Our event
handler gets an ApiSession object by calling a function called CreateSession, which looks like this:
private ApiSession CreateSession( )
{
ApiSession sess = new eBay.SDK.API.ApiSession( );
sess.Developer = ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings["DeveloperID"];
sess.Certificate = ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings["Certificate"];
sess.Application = ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings["ApplicationID"];
IApiToken t = new ApiToken( );
t.Token = ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings["Token"];
sess.Token = t;
sess.Url = ConfigurationSettings.AppSettings["ServerUrl"];
return sess;
}
8.14.2 Running the Hack
This code expects to find the configuration information it needs in a .NET XML configuration file, called
Web.config if you're writing a web application or ExeName.config (where ExeName is the name of the
executable) if you're creating a compiled binary application. A typical configuration file of an eBay
application written in any .NET language looks like this:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<configuration>
<appSettings>
<add key="DeveloperID" value="mydevid" />
<add key="ApplicationID" value="myappid" />
<add key="Certificate" value="mycert" />
<add key="ServerUrl" value="https://api.sandbox.ebay.com/ws/api.dll" />
<add key="Token" value="AgAAAA**AQAAAA**aAAAAA**n8yAQA" />
</appSettings>
</configuration>
For this to work, you need to replace the italicized values in theappSettings section (mydevid,
myappid, and mycert) with your developer keys (sent to you from eBay after registering in step 1,
earlier in this hack) and your security token (generated in step 4). Finally, theServerUrl value
provided here is the correct URL for the eBay development Sandbox. (You'll use a different URL to
take the application live.)
Compile your application, and give it a whirl!
8.14.3 Hacking the Hack
There are many more things you can do with the eBay API besides search. One of the most common
operations involves automatically listing items for sale, typically to save time in the selling process or
provide integration between your inventory database and eBay. You can also use the eBay API to
obtain details about listings in progress, download high-bidder information for completed items, and
even create notifications when a bidder with negative feedback bids on one of your auctions! There
are more than 70 calls in the eBay API, and the SDK provides quite a few code examples in a number
of different programming languages.
- Jeffrey McManus
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 99 Test IPN and PDT in the Sandbox
Test Instant Payment Notification (IPN) and Payment Data Transfer (PDT) in the PayPal
Sandbox.
Once you've deposited money into the Personal account in your Sandbox [Hack #87], you'll need to
configure your Sandbox Business account to use either PDT or IPN (both of which are discussed at
length in Chapter 7). This hack shows how to configure PDT.
As with the live PayPal site, to use PDT with the PayPal Sandbox, you must first configure some
options in your Sandbox Business account Profile.
PDT works only when Auto Return is turned on. You must set this before using
PDT in your web site.
To enable Auto Return and the PDT feature, follow these steps:
1. Open the Sandbox, launch the Sandbox Business account, and log in.
2. Click the My Account tab, and then click Profile.
3. Click Website Payment Preferences and turn on the Auto Return option.
4. Finally, turn on the Payment Data Transfer option.
5. Click Save when you're done.
When you save your PDT preferences, an ITidentity token is generated and
appears in a message at the top of the Website Payment Preferences page. In
future visits, your ITidentity token will appear in the Payment Data Transfer
section, below the On and Off options.
See [Hack #85] for additional PDT setup instructions and tips.
Now, when sending order information to PayPal, you can do it through a URL (G ET) or via an HTML
form (POST). Either way, you need to tell PayPal that the payment is going to a Sandbox account.
Just add the parameter test_pdt=1 (or test_ipn=1 if you are using the IPN) to the URL (or include
it as a variable in your HTML form).
When the transaction is complete, the pseudobuyer will be redirected to the URL you supplied in the
ReturnURL parameter, along with several transaction parameters appended to the URL, including:
Transaction number (tx)
You'll use the transaction number to get the full set of transaction information[Hack #93] .
Status (st)
The status of the transaction is normally Completed. See [Hack #65] for explanations of the
other status flags you might see here.
Amount of sale (amt)
The dollar (or whatever currency used) amount of the sale.
Currency (cc)
The currency used for the sale.
Once the Sandbox has sent you this information, you can set up your IPN or PDT logic as you need
without worrying about real orders and real money being transacted. The return information from
PayPal won't specify that it's a Sandbox transaction, though, so if it's important to you to know this,
you can append a flag to your return URL, like this:
http://www.myreturnurl.com?test=1
PayPal appends its transaction information to this URL for both PDT and IPN, preserving yourtest
parameter and thus helping you to distinguish test transactions from real ones.
--Rob Conery and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Hack 100 Go Live
Take the training wheels off your Sandbox application and start working with real money.
Once you've finished developing your application and have completed your testing in the Sandbox
[Hack #87], you'll ultimately want to take your application live. You'll need to do the following:
1. If you haven't done so already, set up a real, verified Business or Premier account on the live
site outside the Sandbox, as described in the introduction to Chapter 3.
2. Obtain a new digital certificate with a new certificate ID and password.
3. Log into your PayPal Business account and click the Profile tab.
4. Click the API Access link and then click the API Certificate Request link.
5. All accounts need to be verified [Hack #2] before requesting a certificate (otherwise, you won't
see a Request link). When you have finished this process, you will receive a link to a new
certificate with a new user ID and password.
Unlike the Sandbox, when you have finished the request process, you will
not automatically be given the option to download a certificate. Some
businesses will even be denied because they do not have an account in
good standing. Others might be denied because they are too new. The
exact reasons for being denied a certificate are not clear, but it if it
happens to you, contact PayPal Customer Service and try to get it
resolved.
6. Change the URL of the PayPal API in your application. If you've built a modular application, it
should reference the URL for the API in one or two locations. Find those locations and change
the URL from:
https://api.sandbox.paypal.com/2.0/
7. to:
https://api.paypal.com/2.0/
If you're using the API wrapper [Hack #89], you'll find the URL inside the
wrapper class.
8.16.1 Performance and Efficiency
Since access to the PayPal API is currently free, you don't have to worry about tracking and limiting
the number of calls your application makes over a given time period. However, since web services
calls hamper the performance of your application, you should be thinking about efficiency as you
develop. For instance, you might want to cache repeatedly accessed information so that your users
don't have to wait while your application retrieves data unnecessarily.
8.16.2 Finishing Up
Once you've made these changes to your application, it's prudent to test your application with real
money on the live site before distributing it or installing into a production environment. When you feel
your application is ready, go ahead and launch, sit back, andenjoy.
- Rob Conery and Dave Nielsen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
Colophon
Our look is the result of reader comments, our own experimentation, and feedback from distribution
channels. Distinctive covers complement our distinctive approach to technical topics, breathing
personality and life into potentially dry subjects.
The tool on the cover of PayPal Hacks is a money changer. The money changer is a container clipped
to one's belt that stores, organizes, and dispenses coins to facilitate making change on the go. It is
typically divided into four barrels, so that pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters can be held
separately. The money changer is extremely useful for people who need to make frequent cash
transactions while in transit, and is often used by train conductors and traveling vendors.
Jamie Peppard was the production editor and proofreader for PayPal Hacks. Brian Sawyer was the
copyeditor. Darren Kelly and Claire Cloutier provided quality control. Judy Hoer wrote the index.
Hanna Dyer designed the cover of this book, based on a series design by Edie Freedman. The cover
image is a photograph from the Stockbyte Work Tools CD. Clay Fernald produced the cover layout
with QuarkXPress 4.1 using Adobe's Helvetica Neue and ITC Garamond fonts.
David Futato designed the interior layout. This book was converted by Julie Hawks to FrameMaker
5.5.6 with a format conversion tool created by Erik Ray, Jason McIntosh, Neil Walls, and Mike Sierra
that uses Perl and XML technologies. The text font is Linotype Birka; the heading font is Adobe
Helvetica Neue Condensed; and the code font is LucasFont's TheSans Mono Condensed. The
illustrations that appear in the book were produced by Robert Romano and Jessamyn Read using
Macromedia FreeHand 9 and Adobe Photoshop 6. This colophon was written by Sanders Kleinfeld.
The online edition of this book was created by the Safari production group (John Chodacki, Becki
Maisch, and Ellie Cutler) using a set of Frame-to-XML conversion and cleanup tools written and
maintained by Erik Ray, Benn Salter, John Chodacki, Ellie Cutler, and Jeff Liggett.
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
AAC (Alternate Address Confirmation) process
ab_ variable
AbstractResponseType class
Acceptable Use Policy, online content must comply with
Access Database Design & Programming
Account Access Limited box
accounts
adding new users to
administrative
appeals process for
chargebacks, protecting yourself from
creating
debit cards, retrieving funds with
developer, creating
hijacked
limited accounts
preventing
restoring
paying from funds in PayPal
phishing, protecting against
retrieving money from
returning unclaimed funds to
Sandbox, creating
types of
verifying 2nd
Ack property
Add To Cart button
creating
creating user controls
inserting, using WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Toolkit
obfuscating button code
putting in one form, with View Cart button
Address Verification System/Service (AVS)
addresses [See email mailing addresses shipping addresses]
administrative accounts, adding
Adobe GoLive, link to
adult Internet sites, not allowed under PayPal
AdWord Conversion Tracking system (Google)
affiliate IDs, using instead of email addresses
affiliate systems
building buttons for
notification of payments received
paying with Mass Payment
scheduling payments with Mass Pay API
Aggregate Cart feature
ai_ variable
alerts about price checks, sending
alt tags on web pages, increasing search engine exposure with
Alternate Address Confirmation (AAC) process
amount of payments, searching for transactions by
amount of sale (amt) transaction parameter 2nd
amt (amount of sale) transaction parameter 2nd
Anything Points program (eBay)
Apache web server, needed for Password Management feature
Apache: The Definitive Guide
API wrapper class, PayPal [See wrapper class for PayPal API]
APIClient tool
issuing refunds with
APIPassword property (API wrapper class)
ApiSession object
APIUrl property (API wrapper class)
APIUserName property (API wrapper class)
appeals process for limited accounts
appropriate content on custom pages, guidelines for
ASP.NET, creating custom web controls in
ASP/VBScript combination
adding email to IPN
capturing customer information
processing shopping carts
sample IPN code
ATM cards [See debit cards]
attachments, sending digital goods as
auction options for PayPal
Auction Payment Button (Payment Wizard)
creating
auction_buyer_id variable
auction_closing_date variable
auction_multi_item variable
AuctionInfoType object
Auto Return and PDT, enabling
Auto-Sweep feature
Automatic Settlement Withdrawal feature
AVS (Address Verification System/Service)
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
Baldwin, Paulam
bank accounts
adding to PayPal accounts
Auto-Sweep feature
confirming new
transferring PayPal funds to
verifying in the Sandbox
banners on custom checkout pages
base64 encoder/decoder utilities
BasicAmountType object
Bassett, Loyal
bidders, winning
Billing Information page
Blanton, Michael
blocking eChecks
BN (Build Notification) tracking
Breitenbach, Patrick
browser scripting
Build Notification (BN) tracking
Burchell, Dave
Business accounts
applying for merchant rates
limitations on downgrading
Sandbox
adding bank accounts to
creating in
sending money from Personal accounts
testing IPN and PDT
Button Factory, PayPal
building templates for dynamic storefronts
creating View Cart button
customizing appearance of Buy Now button
drop-down lists, providing purchase options with
embedding code in tables
modifying code, to increase search engine exposure
buttons
augmenting code for return pages
customizing appearance of
including more than two option fields
modifying code to increase search engine exposure
Buy Now button
adding to Flash-powered online stores
Component Inspector for
creating
customizing appearance of, using Button Factory
encrypting contents with OpenSSL and C/C++
including more than two option fields
inserting, using WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Toolkit
methods that set values
obfuscating button code
removing for out-of-stock items
vs. button for selling intangible goods/services
Buyer Credit (PayPal)
Buyer Protection Policy
disputing merchandise payments
etiquette
filing claims
Buyer Reputation Numbers 2nd
buyers
checking status of 2nd
contacting, to prevent fraud
enticing with discount coupons
merchandise disputes and
preventing merchandise disputes
searching for transactions by
tracking with cookies
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
C/C++, encrypting Buy Now button with
calculating seller fees
cancel_return variable
canceling
subscriptions
unclaimed payments
Card Verification Value (CVV), unavailable with virtual debit card
cash back from PayPal, when using debit card
categorizing web pages, based on content
cc (currency) transaction parameter 2nd
cell phones, paying from
.cer (PKCS12) files
converting text files into
exporting certificates as
cert_key_pem.txt file
certificates
digital
creating your own handler
obtaining before going live
.p12, installing into Internet Explorer
SSL
converting text files into .cer files, using OpenSSL
generating from Sandbox
CertLocation property (API wrapper class)
Chargeback Department at PayPal
chargebacks
with digital goods, avoiding
importance of timing 2nd
protecting yourself from
reducing risks of 2nd
responses to receiving
CheckErrors()
Checkout button
checkout process
customizing 2nd
simplifying, by streamlining purchase buttons
checks from PayPal, limitations on receiving
Chen, May
ChiliSoft ASP
claims, filed by buyers
Click event of Payment Controls, avoiding single-form limitation
client-side JavaScript for processing coupons
client-side scripting
cmdDetails button
cn variable
code tampering, preventing 2nd
with encryption
colors not allowed in custom pages
Component Inspector feature (Macromedia)
Conery, Rob
confirming
purchases to customers by email
Sandbox email addresses
Continue buttons on Payment Sent pages
Continue Shopping button, displaying
contributors to political campaigns, getting required information about
conversion rate, measuring
cookies
magic, used for checking valid subscribers
personal information and
setting for tiers
tracking buyers with
count_inventory variable
CountDonated variable
coupons, discount
CreateSession()
credit cards
accepting payments of
adding to PayPal accounts
chargebacks, protecting yourself from
discouraging customer use of
forgotten passwords and
funding payments with
Personal accounts and
setting identifying strings on statements
stolen, repercussions of using
cross-border payment fees
crypt()
cryptographic keys, encrypting buttons with
cs variable
incompatible with Custom Payment Pages
currency [See also money]
avoiding currency conversions
bogus, accepting payments in
foreign, accepting payments in
searching for transactions by
support for subscriptions funded by multiple currencies
currency (cc) transaction parameter 2nd
currency_code variable
custom checkout page styles
header banners, getting the most from
using multiple
Custom Payment Pages
custom variable 2nd
Aggregate Cart feature
tracking sales using
Customer Service, contacting
customers
capturing information with IPN
getting to know
identifying yourself to
offering discount coupons
paying seller fees when buying 2nd
protection when shipping goods to
returning to web pages, after making purchases
sending purchase confirmation email
tracking
before/after PayPal transactions
site visitors
upselling
CVV (Card Verification Value), unavailable with virtual debit card
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
Das, Souvik
databases
adding product information to
adding tier fields to
building dynamic storefronts
capturing customer information with IPN
delivering digital goods with return pages
donor lists, displaying
inserting cart details into
inserting payment details into, using IPN
keeping track of subscribers
tracking eBay products with IPN
using in PayPal hacks
DataBind()
DataGrid
adding event handlers
displaying results in 2nd
DataSource property, setting
DataTable, returning
Debit Bar feature
debit cards
funding payments with
lowering seller fees by using
retrieving PayPal funds with
virtual, paying with
withdrawing money from ATMs
deposits made by PayPal to confirm accounts
desktop applications, building
details of transactions
retrieving
viewing 2nd
Developer Central
Sandbox environment
setting up an account
diagnosing IPN processing problems
digital certificates
creating your own handler
obtaining before going live
digital fulfillment
digital goods
avoiding chargebacks when selling
delivering with IPN
delivering with return pages
overriding shipping/handling preferences for
selling with PayLoadz
discount coupons, offering
discount rates vs. merchant rates
dispute resolutions, online
disputed payments
handling effectively
protecting yourself from
Donate Button (Payment Wizard)
Donate Now button
accepting donations
displaying donation goals on web sites
Donation button, obfuscating button code for
donations
building page for
creating buttons for
donor lists, displaying
encouraging more
goals, displaying
recording
suggested giving levels
donors
displaying lists of
getting required information about
Dornfest, Rael
downgrading Premier/Business accounts
Download My History feature
Dreamweaver
link to
using WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Toolkit with
drop-down lists
creating user controls
using .NET Payment Controls
providing purchase options
working with Dreamweaver and PayPal
duplicate transactions
Dutch funding sources for PayPal
dynamic storefronts
adding product details to
creating
creating databases for
generating button code for templates
inserting product images in
linking to other web pages
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E ] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
eBay
Anything Points program
creating Auction Payment buttons
Developers Program, signing up for
Gift Certificates
hands-on courses, through eBay University
using IPN and
listing item numbers on
searching for listings that accept PayPal
Security Center
Software Development Kit (SDK)
tracking products with IPN
eBay Hacks 2nd 3rd
eChecks
being careful with
blocking
funding payments with
lowering seller fees with 2nd
ECMAScript
electronic bank accounts [See bank accounts]
electronic discount coupons, offering
Ellingson, Glenn
email
adding payment hyperlinks to
adding to IPN
alerts about price checks
confirming
purchases to customers by
Sandbox addresses
errors in IPN pages, notifying by
hiding addresses from spammers
low inventory, alerting yourself through
managing PayPal email
multiple addresses
adding to PayPal accounts
filtering to
setting up
payment buttons, including in messages
PayPal support via
requesting payments via
sending
digital goods as attachments
payments via
embedding Button Factory code in tables
employees, separate logins for
encrypted passwords, generating
encrypting
Buy Now button
Donate Now buttons
vs. obfuscating
errors
capturing, in IPN pages
testing IPN scripts for
transaction, handling within API wrapper class
event handlers
adding for double-click event
searching eBay for PayPal listings
Expanded Use Enrollment
expiration dates
for subscriptions
for virtual debit cards
Extension Manager (Macromedia)
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
Fatwallet forum
file_location variable
filing appeals
filtering incoming email
first_name variable
Flanagan, David
Flanders, Jon
Flash
snapping in PayPal connection to
WA PayPal eCommerce Snap-ins for
underneath the hood of
for_auction variable
foreign currency, accepting payments in
forgotten passwords
form buttons, code for
fraudulent activity
getting money back after seller fraud
protecting yourself from
buyer fraud
chargebacks
repercussions of
spoofed payments, preventing 2nd
frozen funds
funding payments
choosing sources for
overriding hierarchy of funding sources
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
Gartner Group study
Gennick, Jonathan
German funding sources for PayPal
GetAmountValue( )
GetPDTValue( )
GetSearchResults( )
GetSearchResultsCall object
GetTransactionDetail( ) 2nd 3rd
GetTransactionDetailsResponseType class
getTrialPeriod( )
getTrialTime( )
Gift Certificates (eBay)
giving levels on donations pages
Google
AdWord Conversion Tracking system
modifying button code to increase search engine exposure
Google: The Missing Manual
Griffiths, Ian
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
hack-proofing payment buttons 2nd
with encryption
hacking PayPal
Han, Gina
handling pages, PDT
handling preferences, overriding
handling transaction errors within API wrapper class
handling variable
Aggregate Cart feature
overriding preferences
handling_cart variable
header banners on custom checkout pages
Heinlein, Robert A.
Help, PayPal
hidden form fields, using Dreamweaver and PayPal
hidden form posts, creating
hijacked accounts
.htaccess file
.htpasswd file
.htpassword file
HugeURL tool
Hughes, Arthur M.
Hurwitz, Dan
hyperlinks, adding to email
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
identifying yourself to customers
identity tokens and PDT 2nd
image_url variable
incompatible with Custom Payment Pages
images
customizing Buy Now buttons
of products, inserting in storefronts
InitializeComponent( )
Instant Payment Notification [See IPN]
Instant Transfer payments
accepting
funding payments with
Internet Explorer, installing .p12 certificate files into
introductory prices for new subscribers
inventory, managing with IPN
invoice variable
Aggregate Cart feature
IPN (Instant Payment Notification)
adding email to
advantage of
capturing customer information with
capturing errors
code for
digital goods
delivering with
selling with PayLoadz
donor lists and
eBay listings and
inserting
cart details into databases using
payment details into databases using
managing inventory with
multiple pages, enabling
order summaries, providing with
price checking, implementing with
processing shopping carts with
return variable, using
sending purchase confirmation emails with
setting up
synchronizing PDT and
testing in Sandbox
third-party testing scripts for
tracking
eBay products with
Google conversions
troubleshooting
item numbers, searching for transactions by
item_name variable
Aggregate Cart feature
managing inventory with IPN
storing customer purchases
tracking eBay products with IPN
item_number variable 2nd
managing inventory with IPN
using PDT to process payments
storing customer purchases
tracking eBay products with IPN
Ivaskevicius, Stephen
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
JavaScript
accepting discount coupons on client side
including more than two option fields
integrating third-party shopping carts with PayPal
providing purchase options with drop-down lists
requiring information from donors
timing subscriptions to end on same day
JavaScript: The Definitive Guide
jump.asp, sending purchase information to PayPal
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
Karp, David A. 2nd 3rd 4th
King, Tim
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
Laurie, Ben
Laurie, Peter
Liberty, Jesse
limited accounts
preventing
restoring
linking product images to PayPal payment buttons
links, converting shopping cart button code to
lists, drop-down [See drop-down lists]
Livnat, Sarah
logins, creating multiple
logo (PayPal), automatically inserted into running auctions
Lomax, Paul
low inventory, emailing yourself about
lowering seller fees
Lowery, Joseph
Lundvall, Dave
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
Macromedia Dreamweaver
link to
using WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Toolkit with
Macromedia Extension Manager
magic cookies, used for checking valid subscribers
mailing addresses
confirming
unconfirmed, accepting payments from
Managing & Using MySQL
Mass Pay feature
issuing payments through the API
paying seller fees when buying
scheduling payments to affiliates/suppliers
MassPayee class
MassPayeeTable class
MassPayReq object
MassPayRequestItemType object 2nd
MassPayRequestType object
MassPayResponseType object
master-detail reports, creating
MasterCard debit cards, retrieving PayPal funds using
Mastering Visual Studio .NET
mc_fee variable
mc_gross variable 2nd 3rd
McClure, Dave
McManus, Jeffrey
McPhillips, Evan
member information, accessing
members-only content, controlling access to
merchandise
disputing payments for
handling disputes effectively
nonreceipt of 2nd
preventing disputes about
merchant rates, applying for
Merchant Tools tab
accepting donations
obfuscating button code
types of payment buttons
merchant transaction IDs
displaying on return pages 2nd
order-tracking pages and
Message to Seller field
Microsoft FrontPage, link to
Microsoft Outlook, inserting payment buttons into email with PayPal Payment Wizard
Milstein, Sarah
Modify Subscription button
money [See also donations; currency]
adding to Personal account
asking for payments
using PayPal payment links
using Request Money feature
without PayPal account
getting back, after seller fraud
retrieving from PayPal accounts
sending to anyone
sending without creating PayPal account
Money Market Fund (PayPal), enrolling in
Multi-User Access feature 2nd
multiplexer, IPN
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
.NET Framework
.NET Payment Controls, collecting order details with
NetObjects Fusion 7.0, link to
new users, adding to accounts
Nielsen, Dave
no_note variable 2nd
no_shipping variable 2nd
noEntry( ) JavaScript routine
non-U.S. account holders
accepting payments from
funding sources for
seller fees for
nonreceipt of merchandise 2nd
ÒNot as describedÓ claims 2nd
notification preferences, setting
notify_url variable
num_cart_items variable
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
O'Neal, Patrick
obfuscating button code
for discount coupons
Olliphant, Hugo
On Error Resume Next statements in IPN pages
on0/on1 variables
displaying donor lists
working with Dreamweaver
online package tracking as protection against chargebacks
online support forums for PayPal
onLoad function
OpenSSL
converting text files into .cer files
encrypting Buy Now button with
options
using Dreamweaver and PayPal
including more than two fields
providing purchase options with drop-down lists
providing with ASP.NET web controls
order summaries, providing with IPN
order-tracking pages, building
orders, retrieving details of
os0/os1 variables
displaying donor lists
working with Dreamweaver
out-of-stock items, removing Buy Now buttons
ÒYou've got cashÓ email
payment recipient has no PayPal account
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
.p12 certificate files, installing into Internet Explorer
package tracking (online) as protection against chargebacks
Page_Load event
page_style variable
partial refunds
Password Management feature for subscriptions
passwords
encrypted, generating
forgotten
resetting by email
setting up SSL certificates
of subscribers
adding manually
automatically generating
telephone password recovery process
Pay Anyone subtab, accepting payments from
Pay Now button
including in email messages
inserting into running auctions
notifying winning auction bidders
payer_email variable
PayLoadz, selling digital goods with
Payment Button (Payment Wizard)
payment buttons
for auctions, creating your own
creating, using Payment Wizard
hack-proofing 2nd
with encryption
inserting, using Payment Wizard
linking product images to
obfuscating button code
tracking sales using
Payment Controls (.NET), collecting order details with
Payment Data Transfer [See PDT]
Payment Data Transfer Manual
Payment Details page
payment details, inserting into databases with IPN
payment hyperlinks, adding to email
Payment Receiving Preferences
setting
strings on credit card statements, setting
payment URLs, shortening 2nd
Payment Wizard (PayPal)
PaymentInfoType object
PaymentItemInfoType object
payments
accepting
in bogus currencies
from customers with bank accounts and credit cards
in foreign currency
with Instant Transfer
from non-U.S. account holders
from Pay Anyone subtab
from unconfirmed addresses
asking for
using PayPal payment links
using Request Money feature
without PayPal account
buying from outside USA
chargebacks, protecting yourself from
choosing how to fund
disputed
handling effectively
protecting yourself from
eBay-only methods
via email
from WAP-enabled cell phones
losing money to fraud, protection against
overriding hierarchy of funding sources
pending
receiving preferences, setting
refunding 2nd
requesting with text messages
searching for
by transaction IDs
transactions, by amount
transactions, by status
transactions, by type
of seller fees when buying
sending money
to anyone
without creating PayPal account
unclaimed
PayPal
accounts [See accounts]
API wrapper class [See wrapper class for PayPal API]
APIClient tool
ATM/debit card, lowering seller fees by using
Button Factory [See Button Factory, PayPal]
creating user controls
deleting PayPal cookie
deposits made to confirm accounts
email, managing
getting help from
logo, automatically inserted into running auctions
online support forums
paying from funds in accounts
Payment Wizard
querying for PDT response
snapping in connection to Flash
PayPal Buyer Credit
PayPal Money Market Fund, enrolling in
PayPal Preferred program 2nd
PayPal Shipping Tool
paypal.pl Perl script, enhancements to
paypal_cert.pem file
PayPalDev.org forum
PayPalItemsOnly( )
PDT (Payment Data Transfer)
advantages of 2nd
delivering digital goods with return pages
handling pages
processing payments like credit cards
querying PayPal for response
synchronizing IPN and
testing in Sandbox
PEM format, generating keys in
pending payments, processing
Perl script for enhancing PayPal subscriptions
PerlDiver tool
Personal accounts
lowering seller fees by receiving money into
Sandbox
adding funds to
creating in
sending money to Business accounts
upgrading
Petrusha, Ron
phishing, protecting accounts against
phone support for PayPal
phones (cell), paying from
PHP Cookbook
PKCS12 (.cer) files
converting text files into
exporting certificates as
PKCS7-encrypted blobs
platforms for hosting web sites
pornographic material, repercussions of selling
Post Sale Manager (PayPal)
postback routines
spoofed prices and
third-party testing scripts and
Premier accounts
applying for merchant rates
limitations on downgrading
price checking, implementing with IPN
price spoofing, preventing 2nd
with encryption
private keys, loading
privileges, setting for different users
Product Button (Payment Wizard)
product details pages, linking to dynamic storefronts
product images
linking to PayPal payment buttons
product images, inserting in dynamic storefronts
Profile Summary page
Programming ASP.NET
protecting accounts
proxy web references, setting up
public keys
exchanging with PayPal
loading
purchase buttons
drop-down lists and
for intangible goods/services, creating
overriding shipping/handling preferences
purchase confirmation emails, sending with IPN
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
QBXML Request Processor API (Intuit)
Quasi-Cash, be careful when choosing
query pages for order-tracking systems
QuickBooks, importing data into
Quicken, importing data into
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
radio buttons
creating user controls
working with Dreamweaver and PayPal
ranking web pages, based on content
receipt IDs, searching for transactions by
ReceiverInfoType object
recording donations
recordsets
creating
in dynamic storefront tables
keeping same names for dynamic storefront pages and product details pages
redundancy, synchronizing PDT and IPN
Reese, George
referral IDs, using instead of email addresses
referrals from Google advertising, tracking
referred purchases, recording
refreshing return pages until order is processed
refunds
issuing, with APIClient tool
limits on, per year
made on payments
for not-as-described items 2nd
for payments, using Web Services API
RefundTransaction API 2nd
RefundTransactionReq object
RefundTransactionRequestType object
RefundTransactionResponseType object 2nd
reputations
of buyers, checking 2nd
of sellers, checking 2nd
Request Money - Confirm page
Request Money - Group feature
Request Money feature
limitations of
vs. PayPal payment links
request URLs, creating
resellers, automating payout incentives to, with Mass Pay
resetting passwords by email
resizable attribute
Resolution Center, filing buyer protection claims using
response to purchase conversion rate
restoring limited accounts
results pages for order-tracking systems
retrieving
money from PayPal accounts
transaction details
return pages
cookies that remember customer information
creating 2nd
delivering digital goods with
displaying merchant transaction IDs on 2nd
order-specific information presented on
refreshing, until order is processed
upselling customers using
return variable
delivering digital goods with return pages
displaying merchant transaction IDs on return pages
testing for errors on IPN pages
ReturnURL parameter
rm variable 2nd
Roman, Steven
rsDonationGoal variable
rsInventoryCount variable
rsJump recordset
RunTransactionSearch( ) 2nd
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
Sandbox
adding web references
confirming email addresses
PayPal API wrapper class, using
refunding money using API wrapper class
setting up
SSL certificates, setting up
test transactions, setting up
testing IPN and PDT
verifying bank accounts in
scrollbars attribute
search engine exposure, increasing by modifying button code
searching
for eBay listings that accept PayPal
for PayPal transactions
secondary IPN scripts
security code for PayPal
security questions/answers
security requirements before accessing web services
security tokens, creating
seller fees
calculating
lowering
paid by buyers
received, after refunding payments
using Mass Pay
Seller Protection Policy
chargebacks and 2nd
Seller Reputation Numbers
sellers
checking status of 2nd
merchandise disputes and 2nd
preventing merchandise disputes
Sells, Chris
Send Money tab
accepting payments from Pay Anyone subtab
preventing use of, for auctions
Send to Friend feature
SendMassPay( )
server-side scripting
server-side verification of discount coupons
Service Button (Payment Wizard)
session objects, creating
session variables, setting for customer visits
setAllowNote( )
setAmount( )
setBillContinuous( )
setBillingAmount( )
setBillingPeriod( )
setBillingTime( )
setBusinessID( )
setCancelURL( )
setCurrency( )
setExtraShipping( )
setHandling( )
setItemName( )
setItemNumber( )
setLogoURL( )
setNoShipping( )
setPrice( )
setReattempt( )
setReturnURL( )
setShipping( )
setStopAfterBilling( )
setTarget( )
setTrialAmount( )
setUpdateableQuantity()
Share the Love system (Amazon)
Shining Light Productions Win32 OpenSSL
shipping addresses
capturing with IPN
confirming
unconfirmed, accepting payments from
Shipping Calculations page
Shipping Information page
shipping preferences, overriding
shipping products, protections when
Shipping Tool (PayPal)
shipping variable
Aggregate Cart feature
overriding preferences
shipping2 variable 2nd
shopping carts
Add To Cart button [See Add To Cart button]
adding items to
Aggregate Cart feature
combining buttons into one form
converting button code to links
creating button for
creating user controls
inserting details into databases
integrating third-party shopping carts with PayPal
opening in new browser windows
price checking for purchases
processing with IPN
shortening URLs
specifying window sizes
Upload Complete Cart feature
shortening
payment URLs 2nd
shopping cart URLs
Sign In pages for subscribers
signatures, requiring for delivery
single-item purchases
IPN pages and
PDT (Payment Data Transfer) and
simple price checking with
vs. shopping carts
site_ variable
size of shopping cart windows, specifying
Sklar, David
Smart Logo payments
snapping in PayPal connection to Flash
SnipURL tool
SOAP-enabling your application
Sofield, Shannon
spam
avoid sending to customers
hiding email addresses from spammers
spoofed payments, preventing 2nd
with encryption
SQL (Structured Query Language) queries
SQL Pocket Guide
SSL certificates 2nd
converting text files into .cer files, using OpenSSL
generating from Sandbox
st (status of transaction) parameter
standard rates vs. merchant rates
start/end dates, searching for transactions by
status attribute
status of orders, tracking
status of payments, searching for transactions by
status of transaction (st) parameter
stolen credit cards, repercussions of using
storefronts [See dynamic storefronts]
Stranger in a Strange Land
Strategic Database Marketing: The Master Plan for Starting and Managing a Profitable, Customer-Based
Subscribe button
creating
Modify Subscription button
adding a premium subscription button
subscribers-only content, controlling access to
Subscription button
adding to Flash-powered online stores
Component Inspector for
inserting, using WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Toolkit
methods that set values
obfuscating button code
SubscriptionInfoType object
subscriptions
canceling
multiple currencies supported
multiple terms supported
to online content, selling
Password Management feature
processing subscriber notifications
shortcut to details page
signing in, to access premium online content
tiered
timing to end on same day
trial periods
upgrading
Subscriptions and Recurring Payments Manual
suppliers, scheduling payments with Mass Pay API
support for PayPal
email inquiries
online forums
telephone
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T ] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
tab-delimited text files, setting up for Mass Pay
tables, embedding Button Factory code in
Tanaka, Ray
target="paypal" attribute, including in Add To Cart buttons
tax variable
Aggregate Cart feature
telephone password recovery process
telephone support for PayPal
templates, building for dynamic storefronts
test transactions
setting up
testing scripts for IPN pages
text messages, requesting payments with
Tien, Alan
tiered subscriptions
inserting tier information for new subscriptions
keeping track of levels, for subscribers
restricting access based on level
TinyURL tool
Trachtenberg, Adam
tracking
affiliate referrals
eBay products with IPN
Google conversions with IPN
order status
packages to protect against chargebacks
PayPal application usage
sales from Google advertising
sales using PayPal payment buttons
users before/after PayPal transactions
visitors to web sites
Transaction Disputes page
transaction IDs
capturing
displaying on return pages 2nd
IPN (Instant Payment Notification) code and
order-tracking pages and
retrieving transaction details
searching for payments by
transaction logs on cell phones
transaction number (tx) parameter 2nd
transactions
details of
retrieving
viewing 2nd
duplicate
handling errors within API wrapper class
return URL parameters
searching for, using API
TransactionSearch API
TransactionSearchResponseType class
transferring PayPal funds to bank accounts
trial periods for subscriptions
troubleshooting
Customer Service phone numbers
IPNs
recovering forgotten passwords
tx (transaction number) parameter 2nd
txn_id variable
txn_type variable
type of payments, searching for transactions by
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
unclaimed payments
unconfirmed addresses, accepting payments from
University, eBay
upgrading
to better subscriptions
Personal accounts
Upload Complete Cart feature
upselling customers
URLs
converting shopping cart button code to
payment URLs, shortening 2nd
shopping cart URLs, shortening
User Status, checking
usernames of subscribers
adding manually
automatically generating
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
variables, adding to payment buttons
VB.NET Language in a Nutshell
VBScript for Active Server Pages (ASP)
adding email to IPN
capturing customer information
processing shopping carts
sample IPN code
Vendio Community forum
verifying
accounts before requesting certificates
bank accounts in the Sandbox
discount coupons on server side
PayPal accounts 2nd
PayPal transactions
View Cart button
creating, using Button Factory
inserting, using WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Toolkit
putting in one form, with Add To Cart button
ViewState of user controls, preserving
virtual debit cards, paying with
visitors to web sites
current subscriber lists and
tracking
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), paying from WAP-enabled cell phones
weapons, repercussions of selling
Web Accept button
web controls, creating in ASP.NET
web interface for viewing transaction details
web references, setting up
Web Services API
creating developer accounts
handling transaction errors within API wrapper
making first API call
refunding payments
Sandbox, setting up
searching for PayPal transactions
wrapper class for API calls
Web Services Description Language (WSDL) files
accessing web services
web sites
accepting payments through
increasing search engine exposure
linking to pages with detailed product information
phishing and
platforms for hosting
return pages, sending customers to
using multiple custom checkout page styles
WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Snap-ins for Flash MX
underneath the hood of
WebAssist PayPal eCommerce Toolkit, using Macromedia Dreamweaver with
Website Payment Preferences page 2nd
window size for shopping carts, specifying
winning bidders, notifying
Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), paying from WAP-enabled cell phones
withdrawing money from PayPal accounts
Woo, Katherine
wrapper class for PayPal API
creating
creating master-detail reports
making API calls with
refunding payments using
searching for transactions
WSDL (Web Services Description Language) files
accessing web services
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X] [ Y]
X.com, linking to paypal.com
< Day Day Up >
< Day Day Up >
[ A ] [ B ] [ C ] [ D] [ E] [ F] [ G ] [ H] [ I ] [ J] [ K ] [ L] [ M] [ N] [ O ] [ P ] [ Q ] [ R ] [ S ] [ T] [ U] [ V ] [ W] [ X ] [ Y]
Yarger, Randy Jay
Yeung, Mike
ÒYou've got cashÓ email
< Day Day Up >

Similar documents

×

Report this document