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Forums : Feature Discussion > Guildportal Payment Options
Harmond (Guild Admin) 10/5/2004 11:08 AM EST : Guildportal Payment Options
Harmond
Posts: 1607
Zomgawsh Poster

It seems to me that this would help you and me both out, Aaron.

How about a content box for paypal donations?

In the current state of things, you can contribute via paypal, but only if you're willing to pay for the whole thing yourself.

I'd like to see a content box that we can add to our sites when subscription time comes up, so that individual members can donate whatever they feel is appropriate until the subscription fee is paid.

Perhaps the box could have a running total of donations so far and the goal for the six month subscription fee, a la Jerry Lewis Telethon.  If you wanted to get fancy, maybe one of those thermometers that fills up as you get closer to the goal, like you had in Jr. High School for the magazine sale rally.

While I'm sure we'll be renewing our own subscription, it just seems unfair to make one person pay for it all.  Yeah, I suppose I could do something myself, but then again, I don't know how to do these things!  Hence why I'm here at GP.  I think, if you had a system like this, it would make it easier on us admins, as we wouldn't have to handle anybody else's money, and make it better for you, as retention for renewing subscriptions would probably increase.

Edit:  Found link here.


 
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Aaron Lewis (Blue Collar) 10/5/2004 5:46 PM EST : RE: Guildportal Payment Options
GuildPortal Dev
Aaron Lewis
Posts: 1979
Zomgawsh Poster

Hiya!

Actually this kind of thing is something we really can't do while we're using PayPal.  Getting our own merchant account would make it possible, and in fact would make a lot of things easier, but it would also increase costs and force us to deal with things like credit card fraud.

There's another service a lot like ours out there that does exactly that, but doesn't put a cap on the amount that can be donated.  I heard of this one site that generated $240 in donations from the members and then didn't get any support at all (database-level errors displayed on the page for weeks).  They decided to move here and couldn't retrieve any of the money their members had put in to the “community chest.”

But you mentioned putting a cap on the amount, which should do the job if it's OK to only allow up to 6 months to be paid in advance, or maybe a year so if something happens it won't be too dramatic.  I can imagine 30 people paying for a site, the guild leader granting the wrong type SuperAdmin rights, the rogue member whacking forums and everything, and then finally needing to refund each of those 30 members the dollar they each put in.  I'm not sure how much, if any, of that could be automated.

Sorry, you probably didn't want that much of an explanation, but it's something we've thought about doing.  The trick is to not dramatically increase the amount of time we need to spend on billing and fraud, and also to avoid leaving people feeling like they've been ripped off.  For example, we get at least 1 complaint every two days where someone tells us they didn't authorize a re-occuring charge, when it says in at least two places before the transaction is allowed that that's what's going to happen.  Threats of reporting us to the FBI, to the Better Business Bureau.  We even had one person who said they were in the Army threaten to report us to JAG...  All of this we deal with regularly, and that's with the majority of it taken care of by PayPal.  Eep!
Aaron Lewis, GuildPortal.com
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Harmond (Guild Admin) 10/6/2004 5:26 AM EST : RE: Guildportal Payment Options
Harmond
Posts: 1607
Zomgawsh Poster

Actually this kind of thing is something we really can't do while we're using PayPal.  Getting our own merchant account would make it possible, and in fact would make a lot of things easier, but it would also increase costs and force us to deal with things like credit card fraud.


Well, I'd be ok with an extra $5 every six months for something like this, which takes dealing with money completely out of my hands.  Maybe this could be an optional payment plan that's just a little more expensive in order to cover your extra cost!  That way, you could have your merchant account, and the things that would be easier with it, whatever they are....

As far as credit card fraud goes, I feel your pain, but if I have to do this myself, then I have to deal with credit card fraud.  This is not something that a guildmaster should have to do.  I don't mean to sound harsh.  You know I love it here, but we're a guild, not a collection service!

But you mentioned putting a cap on the amount, which should do the job if it's OK to only allow up to 6 months to be paid in advance, or maybe a year so if something happens it won't be too dramatic.  I can imagine 30 people paying for a site, the guild leader granting the wrong type SuperAdmin rights, the rogue member whacking forums and everything, and then finally needing to refund each of those 30 members the dollar they each put in.  I'm not sure how much, if any, of that could be automated.


Perhaps if you found a price point that you were comfortable with to limit the number of donators?  Say, like $5 minimum, and $30/45 maximum.  Maybe limit the ability to donate to increments of $5, with the cap being the amount left to fill the subscription.  So for example, if there has been 3 people who donated $5 on the $30 subscription plan, then the max donation should be $15.  Then, like the “sponsor“ hotlink in the top nav bar works now, it disappears when the subscription is filled.

As far as rogue super-admins, just put in some sort of disclaimer that informs the donator that their donation is non-refundable.  (Read:  Don't take legal advice from me, talk to your lawyers!)

We even had one person who said they were in the Army threaten to report us to JAG... 


You should have told them that if Catherine Bell could be your JAG defense lawyer, then report me twice!  P. S.  If this person really was in the Army, he or she would have to know that JAG is a Navy/Marine Corps thing!

Summary - I'm for anything you can come up with that takes away the responsibility of me handling your money!  I don't think it's fair to ask one person to bear this burden, even if he or she is collecting money from others.  As you clearly point out, collecting money is a pain, a pain that I don't want, especially if I'm not collecting it for me.


 
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