PayPal changed their query format.

Without telling anybody — at least, without telling me — PayPal changed their format for URLs that permit people to send money. Nobody had booked ads on for a couple of days, which I thought was weird. Turns out that the link that people click on to purchase a text ad led people to the front page of PayPal, where they could log on and then…nothing. There was no way to complete the transaction. So, for those of you playing along at home, here’s the fix:

First, the query URL used to start with but now it starts with That must be listed correctly. Second, PayPal no longer accepts standard URL-encoded URLs, such as a URL to return the customer to upon completion of the transaction. Although standard URL encoding would render a “/” as “%2F”, that prevents the transaction from being processed. So URL encoding must omit and modifications to the “/” character.

And then it will work again.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »