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Selling my software on a 'pay-per-use' basis over the web

Posted on 2011-03-18
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Hi, I've written a stock analysis software and instead of selling individual copies outright (as most people do), I would like to have it 'pay-per-use' over a website. It's a Windows program written in Delphi, that basically runs one big 'batch job' on the data of 3500 stocks and spits out selections. Ideally I'd like to have my software sitting on a server somewhere, the customer comes to my website, makes a small payment of a few dollars to Paypal (or whatever), then gets access to my software over the web so he can run his one-time batch job analysis. Then when he's done, he logs out (or his allotted time expires and he gets logged out). And that's it.

Can this be done? Are there payment processing companies or e-commerce companies that have a turnkey solution to such a thing?

Thanks!
    Shawn
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Question by:shawn226
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by:coreybryant
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Yes, it can be done.  It would probably be easier / better for you to consider allowing the customer to also purchase bulk rates and implement this yourself (if you can).  The reason I state this, is because you can change to another provider if you want.

I came across one website that did something similar, it stored my credit card number and then when I wanted to run a query, it asked me to click on the CC number that was stored, and then asked me to enter the CCV2 value to complete the purchase.  This was all done on their secure website.

You might check out amember pro to see what they support.  Something else to consider, you might consider getting a written / signed confirmation first.  This will help you fight chargebacks.  Quantum Gateway offes a lot of security features - VBV/MSC, DialVerify, GeoIP from MaxMind with no extra charges.  
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by:shawn226
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Thanks Corey, but your reply left me asking a lot more questions:

(1) How would I ever "implement this myself" ?
(2) Do you remember the website you went to that did something similar?
(3) What's "amember pro"?
(4) You think I should get written/signed confirmation for a $3 or $4 purchase? That hassle will turn off most customers.

Thanks
   Shawn
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coreybryant earned 50 total points
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1.  Well that would be more of a coding issue.  Unfortunately, something that I don't do.  (I used to have a team of developers, but had to sell that company for health reasons.)  Depending though on your knowledge, it would be probably pretty simple.  Create a page for users to sign up, and pay.

If the user is going to be using this system a few times a day, it would probably get very tedious for them to keep entering their credit card number.  The Quantum Gateway will store the credit card numbers for you, helping you with that feature.  

Then in the code, you have something set up that says how many times they can access this system and each time it is accessed, that number is decreased.  

2.  It was the LA County Superior Court (https://www.lasuperiorcourt.org/onlineServices/civilIndex/)

3.  http://www.amember.com/p/ - there are a lot of membership based scripts out there, but it seems like your knowledge of programming is pretty good, that's why I recommend implementing something yourself.  This way, you are not tied to one program, or have to worry about updates, etc.  

4.  There will be a lot of pros / cons relating to this.  If you implement some security features - the more the better, you might not need to.  However, there are many things that you can add to this form (not the CVV2 though) - that the user agrees to your terms, especially if they do not like the service.  This way, you have a better chance to win the chargeback.  

You can always consider adding this feature even while the customer uses the system.  Maybe give them a few times before asking them to sign / fax the terms back.

Another con - since the transaction is not expensive, a lot of hackers look for sites like yours to "test" credit card numbers.   If the transaction is approved, the hacker can go on to possibly buy other products.  Even just having this stated somewhere could possibly make them think twice before using your system.  When one of my credit cards was breached, there was a couple of small transactions, less than $5.00, and then they attempted to purchase goods over $1,000 - fortunately the issuing bank had noticed this and called me to verify the transactions.  
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by:shawn226
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Whoa this is gonna be more complicated that I thought. I can program in a Windows environment using Delphi, but I know zip about web programming. I'm really looking for some turnkey solution that hopefully exists.
   I could probably dove-tail in any number of payment processors, but what I really need to know is how to make a Windows program like mine runnable from a website (just as if the user is running my program locally right on his computer). Maybe I asked my question in the wrong category and I should try one of the Programming sections?

Regards
   Shawn
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Shawn,

I think you are probably in the correct Zone.

When doing  E-Commerce or on line payments you generally will be using a web site or a web service.

Turnkey solutions tend to be very expensive for micro payment (small $ amount) transitions unless you have a large volume (1000+ transactions) per month.

I would recommend that you look for a turnkey solution that is design for micro payments.
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by:coreybryant
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Well the question is a bit two-fold.  You have a programming issue and a e-commerce issue.

I don't think micropayments is really an issue - on a $5 transaction, you will probably be charged around 30 - 35 cents.  On a $1 transaction, you would be charged about 22 - 27 cents.  

Right now, is your program running on the users computer or a website?  
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by:shawn226
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So I guess there is no "turnkey" payment processor that can handle something like this right out of the box?

Thanks
    Shawn
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by:coreybryant
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Well Paypal has micropayments as I suggested and then you can use Payloadz to help manage that.  

Share-it has one pricing model as well if your product is $2.00.  
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by:shawn226
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Not really the kind of answer I expected. Still leaves me to do a lot of legwork on my own to find a solution.
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