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Sunday, 21 March 2010


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I wouldn't be surprised if it was just their super secret protection algorithm that had canceled the subscriptions. You see, in order to protect us, they run a supposedly very intelligent algorithm supposed to help them find out which transactions are too likely to be problematic. How does it work? They won't say. Why does it flag a transaction as a no-go? They won't say either.

Once, their algorithm thought it was too risky to authorise a payment I was trying to make. The amount was on the order of $15... And they always refused to tell me why it was not considered safe. I suspect their algorithm is so secret and intelligent they don't even know themselves why it does what it does.

So yeah, I'm not surprised subscriptions have been canceled...

I checked on my recurring payment - it seems to still be active.

PayPal doesn't exactly make it easy to find though. For anyone else wondering, I found it by going to: My Account, click the Profile subtab (ignore the drop down menu), click Pay List in the Financial Services section.

But I have an identical arrangement with a different blog, and that one shows up under Recurring Payments. Why the difference? Got me.

I consider that my monthly contribution is roughly equivalent to a magazine subscription, only better - with daily additions, interesting links, access both at home and at work (on the road too).

More controversial than a magazine than an advertizer supported magazine could be, and more interesting than most. Keep up the good work. Money well spent.

I'd hate to lose TOP.

Thanks George. Nice to hear.


OK, Mike your guilt trip worked ;-)
I'm one of your fans who had their periodic donation spontaneously cancel itself for no apparent reason. I have been meaning to renew it, so thanks for the reminder. I just went and renewed. Thanks again for all of the great content and discussion that you and TOP have been providing for the past several years!

Mike, my auto subscription is set to go through every six months (Oct and Apr), so I wouldn't have shown up as a True Friend for some time. Perhaps there are others like me and you will see a spike in friendship from time to time.

My monthly donation to TOP was one of those that mysteriously stopped. My credit card had expired - as they all do. The card company sent me a new card well before the expiration date, but in the meantime, PayPal cancelled my recurring debits. It took me a couple of months to realize I was no longer contributing to TOP.
I had to take two steps to Re-up my donation: 1) Updating my PayPal account with the new expiry date and 2) clicking on the Donate link in the TOP Sidebar.

I'm pleased to keep contributing. Thanks Mike for keeping up the crunchy writing!

Recently our PayPal business account decided that it was no longer on good terms with our business bank account. No explanation, no changes to our bank account or to our PayPal account.

A decade with PayPal has shown it to be marvellously convenient and no less capricious. One day, there will be a better way.

Even the most generous TOP subscription, at $6/month, is exceptionally good value. I hope more content of all types moves to a publishing model of this type.

Given our dollar is now better than their (his?)dollar and as I am one to not trust PayPal, sounds like a perfect time for another postal money order to be sent by Canada Post and Storage to the home of Mike J.

Same postal address, Mike?

Is there a reason for using
'didja' instead of 'did you' ?

How can I tell if my recurring donation is still recurring, or not? I can't seem to find any mention of a recurring payment in my paypal account... but that's not surprising, I can't find a damn thing on their site when I want to.

"Didja Get Your Print?"

I finally got it. You betcha.
That was your Sarah Palin
imitation. Either that or she's
your ghost writer.

It's not easy for me to check either, and the last thing I want to do is to have to confirm a bunch of payments (not that I'm ungrateful, it would just take a lot of time), but I checked on your email address and I have a payment from you on Sept. 23 and Dec. 23 2009, which means that, if you're contributing once every three months and your subscription is still active, your next payment should hit...tomorrow.

The PayPal model isn't a very effective way of going about this. I wonder if I could figure something else out. Yet another thing for the to-do list. (Sigh.)


"The PayPal model isn't a very effective way of going about this." I'm finding that's the answer for ever increasing amounts of transactions. I'm not going to go off on my Paypal rant but for a system that supposedly designed for person-to-person, international transactions, they don't much like international, person-to-person transactions.
And don't even get me started on automated "fraud" protection (not just Paypal).
I just wish the Swift system would be adopted everywhere, that's so much easier and better protection on both ends of the transaction.

There seems to be a lot of pitfalls to running an online business: mysteriously disappearing subscriptions, the dark cloud of possible and actual government intervention, and more I'm not aware of I'm sure.

Oh yeah. Lots of stuff behind the scenes, that's for sure. Just recently I had to shut down a site that was stealing all of my content verbatim (although I had a lot of help from a savvy reader--and a responsible ISP).


Dear Mike,

Howcum you aren't getting 'payment failed' notifications from PayPal?

When one of my Contributors' recurring payments fails to complete, I get an email from Paypal to that effect. I drag such emails into their own folder, to make sure I don't forget about them. Then I email the Contributor to alert them to the problem.

Happens about twice a month. Only had one or two cases where we couldn't figure out what was broken.

I don't have a problem with PayPal, per se, but the fact that they're the only game in town for all intents and purposes DOES cause a big problem. If something goes wrong, there are no good alternatives. We badly need more than one major Internet "bank."

pax / Ctein

What I get are notifications saying "So-and-so's subscription to a voluntary recurring contribution has been cancelled."

I should contact people when that happens but so far I haven't been doing so.


Dear Mike,

Oh, OK, that's what you should be getting. It won't tell you why, but rarely is it intentional, and frequently the contributor hasn't noticed.

So yeah, you gotta follow up. Part of the administrative overhead.

pax / Ctein

Hmm… looks as if my payments were cancelled as well. I've added a new subscription however, so we'll see if that sticks.

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