Jeff Barr's Blog

Things I Like..

Featured Feed System, PayPal IPN

I implemented the Syndic8 featured feed system almost a year ago in response to repeated request from feed owners for a way to get some extra attention for their feed. For a small fee, almost any feed can be featured on the front page of Syndic8 for a week or more. We don’t allow feeds which are about drugs, gambling, or porn to be featured. If the feed has an image, the image will be displayed.

Greg Knollenberg of Writers Write has been featuring his feeds on a regular basis, and he’s written about his experiences here. Here’s an excerpt:

Each time we received excellent results. Hundreds of new people looked at our feed each week on with many of these translating into direct clicks over to our blogs and websites. Writers Write is a rich resource for practicing or aspiring writers of all kinds, by the way. There’s also Readers Read, for, uh, readers.

Anyway, the featured feed system has worked out well for our advertisers, and it has been a learning experience for me. I used the PayPal IPN (Instant Payment Notification) API to integrate the payments into Syndic8. When a user makes a payment for a featured feed using PayPal, PayPal performs an HTTP GET on a URL that I have configured in to my PayPal account. Code on my site then calls PayPal to validate the payment, and it sends me an email with a “click to feature” URL inside. I check the feed to make sure that it is within the featured feed guidelines, and then click the URL. I then send a customized automated reply to the requester, and the feed is featured.

IPN works really well, and it was pretty easy to get going. The PayPal sandbox system could use some help, but I’m starting to ramble, so I’ll end it right here.