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Managing Digital Downloads


You have comleted writing and editing, your ebook. You have published it into pdf or ebook reader format, and now you are ready to sell your ebook online. How do you manage the digital download.

If you have a full shopping cart program like 1ShoppingCart , this may be easy, as many shopping carts provide options for secure, unique password protected instand download.

But what if you are like most digital publishers, just starting out and haven't yet built up sufficient income to support monthly shopping cart programs. There is a simple work around that may suit you. It's not physically secure, but it works in 99 percent of the downloads. All you need is your website and paypal account.


Basic Digital Product Download Set Up

This basic digital product download system uses elements to give the impression of more security than is actually present.

  1. Set up a directory on your website site. Name this directory using a series of numbers and letters that give the appearance of being randomly generated. An example might be /s874jep462
  2. Protect this directory with a user name and password that is also a series of numbers and letters; such as UserName - apple874T6 and password 84em9j2
  3. Avoid using numbers and letters that appear similar such as 5/S; 1/l for either the directory name, userid or password.
  4. Set up a Paypal 'Website Payments Standard' account. The order and payment instructions include getting the email address from the purchaser.
  5. When the user clicks the "Buy Now" button for each product  you will receive an order confirmation email from Paypal confirming payment has been made.
  6. Email the purchaser and stock pre-prepared e-mail containing the URL of the download along with the usrname and password. Include the request not to pass this information on.

You will find that most of your customers are honest and will not pass this on. Besides - if they really wanted to rip you off they would just pass on the pdf.

Since your customers are only going to use this download link once - you can change both the directory name and the login on a regular basis. Just remember to leave the old one up for a couple of weeks after changing in case any customers have yet to download their product.

This process works for all digital products: software, e-books, photos, music, and videos.

Once your sales pick up sufficient volume to support the purchase of a more secure system - do so. The above is only an interim start up option. It can also be used as a simple back-up to secure download systems.


Commercial Digital Download Systems

There are many very good systems to manage digital downloads. The best systems generate a time limited [a few days] or download attempt limited unique download URL for each purchaser.  Have a look at the following to compare features that also meet your other needs.

  • 1ShoppingCart  - includes an autoresponder, newsletter, ad tracker, affiliate program, digital download, and a shopping cart for a flat monthly rate. You will need a PayPal payment account or a payment gateway and a merchant account to take credit cards.
  • ClickBank - includes both a payment system and a built-in affiliate network. It costs $49.95 set-up and 7.5% plus $1 transaction fee per sale.
  • ShopSite Pro - a full-featured small business shopping cart and catalog building program. It has a very good digital delivery capability. You will need a PayPal or Google Checkout payment account or a payment gateway and a merchant account to take credit cards.
  • PayLoadz - works with PayPal only and charges a flat monthly rate. It includes a moderate-size, built-in affiliate network and optional placement in the PayLoadz store. It is eBay compatible. www.wilsonweb.com/afd/payloadz.htm
  • Paypal Micropayment System - ideal for transactions under $2 USD, suited to99 cent mp3 downlads and low cost documents. Fees are 5% + 5¢ transaction fee. Uses PayLoadz for the digital delivery. Drawback is that you need to set up a separate Paypal account.

....and watch out for Google - they are planning on launching a payment system to rival PayPal.