How can I offer instant document download - for a fee?
July 22, 2010 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Sell documents on line for instant download - how can I do this?

I offer generic technical documents / templates on my two websites on a very rudimentary basis, via PayPal. This means people click through to PayPal, enter payment information; PayPal notifies me by email, I email the documents to the customer. All well and good. And, it seems to me, primitive. Far better to be able to allow the user to get _instant_ download (for a fee, of course). I've been to sites that have "e-stores" that offer this - is there some kind of application or system or software I can acquire that will allow me to do this on my admittedly much more modest site? I have asked my ISP and they offer nothing helpful. Thanks!
posted by charris5005 to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
how much do you know about setting up dynamic sites? I know openCart allows you to sell downloads.
posted by pyro979 at 12:12 PM on July 22, 2010

If you have a dynamic site...

1) PayPal can send an instant payment notification to a specified script/page on your site which you can then program to send the document/email automatically.

2) You can get PayPal to redirect to a page on your site once it processes a valid payment and put the download link on that page. It gets a bit complicated if you're not a web dev, but you'd want to peg a unique id to that page and mark it as "used" once it's been visited so that people can't pass the link around. You'd also want to do #1 in conjunction with this because if the page is mark as "used" once it's been visited and the user accidentally closes the tab, they're SOL.
posted by juv3nal at 12:20 PM on July 22, 2010 will do what you want, I think. I've used it to buy guitar tablature before.
posted by BurntHombre at 12:21 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

BitBuffet is another turn-key solution. If you know someone that's handy with PHP or another scripting language, it would be really simple to implement your own system with PayPal, as you have none of the usual credit card processing hell to worry about, you just interface with PayPal's API and once you get notification of payment you present a unique URL for the file that's either time-limited or IP-address-limited or some combination.
posted by Rhomboid at 12:31 PM on July 22, 2010

I'm with BurntHombre, I do this through Works great!
posted by ErikaB at 4:17 PM on July 22, 2010

I use for managing physical sales, but I think they specialize in processing downloads. I find their account interface to be pretty good, and the code you need to use on your own site is simple and easy to set up...
posted by departure lounge at 8:00 PM on July 22, 2010

If you use Shopify and install the Fetch application, you can do it. Shopify also allows you to use your own domain or subdomain as the address for your shop, so you can keep the rest of your site as is. I don't know which Paypal service you have now, but they let you use Paypal's Website Payments Standard, Website Payments Pro, or Payflow Pro.
posted by scarnato at 9:21 PM on July 22, 2010

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