This is a Plus Edition article written by and copyright by Dick Eastman.
Genealogy societies, companies, and individuals often have reasons to create web sites with protected content. In many cases, material may need to be available only to society members or to those who have paid for access to restricted material. Selling information online is an excellent method of providing online “books” or transcriptions of genealogy-related information, such as family genealogy books, tax lists, local census information, and more. Genealogy societies have long sold such books in printed form; now it is easy to do the same online. Buyers can purchase electronic copies of the material and receive instant access.
Luckily, all of this can be done without much difficulty, using today’s technology.
In Part #1 of this article at http://eogn.com/wp/?p=14168, I described one method of restricting access to documents, images, sound files, or even video files to those who pay for such access. Best of all, the access is granted immediately when the new customer or member makes a payment. This week, in Part #2, I thought I would explain the most common methods of instantly accepting payments safely and securely on a web site. The funds paid can automatically be deposited into a bank account of choice or held in a separate fund that you or your society can use as you wish.
Almost all buyers of your site’s information will want to pay by credit card. Indeed, such technology is now pervasive on the web; thousands of sites accept credit card payments in a safe and secure manner. For the few who wish to pay by check or cash, you can also manually accept payments.
I will first describe the traditional manner of accepting credit card payments: obtaining what is called a “merchant account.” I will then describe a simpler method. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method.
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