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Farewell to the Donate Button!

For many years now this blog has been non-profit. Apart from the links to my books everything on it has been free of charge.

I intend to keep all the basic blog articles and forums free, though it’s possible I might in the future introduce some sort of premium membership. But what I do intend to do sooner rather than later is to start selling things like ebooks and suchlike. Since I am aiming to earn money from the website it’s no longer non-profit. So I’ve changed the Donate button to a Buy button as Paypal’s Donate button is intended only for non-profits and charities.

However at the moment the only thing for sale is to be one of my supporters! This website doesn’t come free for me, so the money I’ve had in the past from donations has gone some way towards meeting the expenses of running it.

You can still help me in this way by being a Supporter, a Bronze Supporter, a Silver Supporter or a Gold Supporter. I had to invent silly names like these because Paypal’s Buy button requires definite pricing and a description of what you are buying.

At the moment you get nothing but my thanks if you become a supporter, but I expect to be offering regular incentives for each grade soon. If you want to give now rather than wait, I will make the first of these incentives retrospective to anyone who becomes a supporter from today.

If you want to give an amount other than the ones shown and you have a Paypal account, you can send any amount to me through Paypal for

You’ll find the button in the right margin. It looks like this (and this one is “live” if you want to use it!)

Reader Comments (21)

Hi. Somehow the buy button does not work. The error message reports that the fault lies with the sellers website. Good luck with the repair.
February 17, 2016 at 8:27 | Unregistered CommenterKaren
I noticed a little spelling error in the middle of the text, it says "towerds" in stead of towards.
February 17, 2016 at 9:30 | Unregistered CommenterKjell Svensson
Same problem as Karen.
February 17, 2016 at 12:03 | Unregistered CommenterLaby
Karen & Laby

Thanks for reporting this. Does the error message appear immediately you click the button or later? If so, when?
February 17, 2016 at 12:22 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

Is the "Buy Now" button working for anyone? It's working perfectly for me so I can't identify what the problem is for other people. It works on both my desktop and my SmartPhone.

If you're having a problem with the button, you can use the alternative method of sending it through your own Paypal account to
February 17, 2016 at 12:23 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

Thanks for pointing out the typo. I've corrected it.
February 17, 2016 at 12:25 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

I've checked the Buy button with a friend who says it's working fine for him. He is in the UK like myself. Seraphim on the other hand has sent me a screen shot of the error message. I know he is based in the US, but I don't know where Karen and Laby are based so I can't tell if it's a local problem for outside the UK. For instance it might be because the currency is wrong (though that was never a problem with the donate button).

I would appreciate other people trying the button (don't worry, there are plenty of subsequent stages before you actually part with your money!) and letting me know the result - positive or negative - and where you are based. Thanks.

You can put your reply on the comments, or email me at
February 17, 2016 at 12:59 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Seemed to work fine for me (in UK). Didn't go right through to PAY as I donated a couple of weeks ago and regard myself as an Honorary Bronze Member!
February 17, 2016 at 13:11 | Unregistered Commenterskeg
I'm in UK and the process failed with "PayPal cannot process this transaction because of a problem with the seller's website. Please contact the seller directly to resolve this problem."
February 17, 2016 at 13:33 | Registered CommenterWooba

I tried to send you some money, but got the same error. I'm in Germany, so it might be that the button somehow only works in the UK.

I first suspected ad and tracking blockers to be an issue, but I disabled all plugins and it still doesn't work.

As a web developer, I immediately opened the developer tools (F12 in most browsers, Ctrl +Shift + i in Chrome for Windows and Linux, Command + Option + i in Chrome for OS X) and looked into the console. There are about 20 JavaScript errors on your site, 8 not found images and two CSS errors from some injection mechanism by Squarespace, I guess. I'm not sure if that has anything to do with the issue at hand, but it might be a good thing to look into anyways.
February 17, 2016 at 13:38 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Maurer

Found it. It has nothing to do with country (I only saw wooba's comment after writing mine), but with the browser your visitors use. It does not work for me in Chrome, but it does work in Firefox and Safari. I haven't tested Internet Explorer or Edge yet because I'm not on Windows.

So everyone who wants to become a supporter, try switching to another browser. Firefox is available for all operating systems.
February 17, 2016 at 13:43 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Maurer
Huh, apparently I was wrong again, it now works in Chrome as well. But when trying to commit this comment, I got an error (403 forbidden) several times. It seems there is a real issue with your page which might cause the problem with paypal as well. You should probably contact squarespace support about it.

So my updated advice for willing supporters is to keep on trying. Mixing it up with private mode or switching browsers seemed to help for me, but it was probably a coincidence.
February 17, 2016 at 13:57 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Maurer
Oh man, I'm so stupid. My first two tries in Chrome did not work because I choose a higher amount. Then when testing other browsers, I left the default amount and it worked. I came back to Chrome and left the default as well and it worked.

So apparently, only 5 pounds work, if you select 10, 20, or 40, it breaks. No matter the browser.

In summary, the browser/plugin theory was a fluke, the script, image and stylesheet errors are unrelated, as well as the 403 error I encountered.
February 17, 2016 at 14:03 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Maurer
Thanks, Andreas and everyone. I hadn't thought of trying the higher amounts, but they don't work for me either.

I'm going to go back to the Donate button temporarily while I sort this out.

What a menace!
February 17, 2016 at 14:40 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

I have not used the paypal donate button, but after trying lots of digital delivery products, I have successfully used to sell ebooks and music scores. It integrates with paypal and hosts and delivers the files. You can set a price, no price or set a minimum so people can pay more. You get paid instantly and they take 5% which seems reasonable for what they do. It would be a quick way to start selling ebooks or systems. Not affiliated I just think it is a great site.
February 17, 2016 at 17:04 | Registered CommenterGerry

Thanks for that. I'll check it out.
February 17, 2016 at 17:28 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
re 403 errors: I got these for the longest time on Win/Mac systems running either Firefox or Chrome. I found that I had an extension installed in both browsers that forced https on some pages, namely when creating or previewing posts. When I removed that extension and ensured http was in the URL, the 403 errors stopped appearing.
February 17, 2016 at 18:35 | Unregistered CommenterMike Brown
Mike Brown:

Thanks for the information. I'm investigating several ways of getting round this problem.
February 17, 2016 at 18:59 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
Mike Brown:

That could be it, I have "HTTPS Everywhere" installed. It's only weird that it only stops working sometimes. I'll add this site to the list of sites the plugin should ignore, but of course it would be better if HTTPS was supported in the long run. Browser vendors are already thinking about warning users when visiting sites that only support insecure HTTP connections.
February 17, 2016 at 19:33 | Unregistered CommenterAndreas Maurer
You should try a ko-fi button. . I really like the 'buy me a coffee' metephor rather than a simple a paypal donation.
April 15, 2016 at 17:54 | Unregistered Commenterheffer

Thanks for the recommendation. I'll check it out.
April 16, 2016 at 21:45 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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