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PayPal Block

The PayPal® Button Block lets your visitors purchase products and services through your site.

This module uses published interface features of PayPal's free "Website Payments Standard" merchant account to send payments to PayPal and to be informed as payments are made.

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  • Easy to set up buttons- just fill in a form
  • Uses the Free Paypal "Website Payments Standard" merchant account
  • PayPal "notifications" inform HotDoodle sites when transactions have been completed
  • Upon purchase completion
    • The visitor is added to a group you select and will remain there for N days.
    • Membership in this group might enable access to protected site content
    • Customizable emails are sent to the purchaser. These emails might contain protected site content.
    • The purchase button is replaced with customizable content that can acknowledge the purchase or link to protected content.

Example Uses

A therapist wants to sell recordings she has made:

She sets up one HotDoodle Group per recording. She places the recordings on the site in non-public areas and then makes these areas be accessible to members of the corresponding group.  She then makes a "recordings" page on her site and in here inserts one PayPal button per recording. These buttons are configured to, upon purchase completion, add the visitor to the corresponding group so that the visitor can then down load the recordings. The buttons are also configured to send a customized email with a link to download the recordings and the buy button gets replaced with thank you and a link to download the recordings.

The net effect is that when a visitor completes a purchase they automatically get an email with a link to what they purchased and the site shows them such a link in several places. See this in action.

A small business wants to sell technical articles:

A small business wants to create various helpful articles. Their main motivation is to help but would like some compensation for their efforts and costs they encounters along the way. They configure the site with some free articles and some in a members only area. He then sets up a PayPal button that collects a $5.00 fee and grants access to this area.

A club wants to collect member dues:

A club uses a HotDoodle site as their main means to distribute information related to meetings and club events. They put most of this in non-public areas accessible to the group "Members". A PayPal button is set up which collects payments and gives payers N more days of membership in the "Members" group. A group membership module will show club officers the currently paid members roster.



Important: To use this block, you must first Set Up a Paypal Account

Setting Up Purchase Items

To simply sell something without email confirmation or site actions:

  1. From some page do an "insert block".
  2. Scroll down and select "PayPal Button"
  3. Click Save.

You will be in a button definition form. Supply an item name, quantity, and price. Also fill in the item description. Then click "Save."

There are two item descriptions: One to show before the purchase and one to show after a purchase. An example of an after-the-purchase description might be

Thank you for buying my cool recording. To download, click here.

Advanced fields will let you set other PayPal values.

Test the Button:

From your site, hit the PayPal button. Proceed giving PayPal the information it needs, perhaps pretending that you do not have a PayPal account and giving it credit card information instead. When you are done, you should be returned to your site with a confirmation of the purchase.

Now go back to the button and you will find that it still shows. This is because we did not associate the button with a group and the site does not know to not show the button.

Hit "Report Transactions" and confirm that the transaction matches what PayPal emailed to the buyer and to the seller.

Note: PayPal will collect and keep its comission from this sale. For testing purposes, it may be best to set the product price to $1.00.

Automatic Email or Access Upon Purchase

These capabilities require that a group be set up to match the product. Go the administration screen and click "Group Accounts". Then choose "New Group Account".

  • You can name the group anything, but naming it after the product is generally best.
  • The group description is seen in the "my account" screen of those who are in the group.
  • Set the group to be emailable from group admins only. Check "group may subscribe" if needed. Uncheck everything else.
  • In "Message to send when they join" fill in the contents of the email those joining the group via a purchase will receive. This can include links to private content.
    • Example:

      Hi {$user.firstname} {$user.lastname}, thank you for purchasing Lynn's affection.

  • On the same or a new PayPal button, chose the group for "Group this action manages". Also fill in the "Text to show when Purchased"  

  • If appropriate, go to pages and modules in the site granting permission to members of the new group.

Test by making a purchase as before. This time, however, the user should get a welcome message in their email. Also, when the user navigates back to the product page they should see the "Text to show when Purchased" instead of they buy button.  If this group was associated with site permissions the user should now have access to those site areas.


  • Checkout will not be within your site and the sessions will enter a PayPal dialog. The visitor will return to your site when the purchase is complete.
  • Each item is purchased seperately. This is not a full featured cart where the user browses through multiple page catelogs of items adding and removing them from a cart and then completing checkout. There can be multiple pages of items, but the button for each immediately goes to a purchase completion dialog.
  • No conditional logic - each item is independent. You cannot or example, require that a power cable be selected if a certain other component is selected. You might suggest it in text, but the system does not support the conditional logic needed to enforce the association.
  • There is no fulfillment tracking. The system will keep track of PayPal transactions, but if there is anything you need to do on your side to fulfill the purchase (such as sending a book or CD), then it is up to you to do that and to keep track of what has been done and what still needs to be done.
  • Reversals and disputes are not automatically handled. If we are notified that a transaction has completed we mark it as completed. If for some reason that transaction is later altered or negated we do not neccessarily get notified, we do not reliably track the change in status, and we do not remove the purchasor from groups they may have joined.
  • Downloads are not limited. If a purchase gives access to download protected content then that content may be downloaded an indefinite number of times. You cannot, for example, sell the ability to download it just once

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