How to subscribe

I have had email asking how to subscribe, for yourself or for someone else.

To subscribe for yourself, do this:

  1. Sign in to the board as always.
  2. Click on the “Subscribe” hyperlink in the blue band at the top of the page (between “Rules” and “FAQ”).
  3. Follow the prompts. We accept most major credit cards and Paypal.

You can subscribe for up to two years; however, it may take two separate transactions to do so.

If you do not see the “Subscribe” hyperlink you are either not signed in to the board and/or you do not yet have a screen name. Go to the front page of the site, click on the “Registration” hyperlink, and follow those prompts and THEN come back, sign in, and subscribe.

To pay a subscription for someone else, here’s the procedure:

(Thanks to QED, I lifted this from an earlier post)

You don’t need a password to pay up a subscription fee for another user. All you need is their UserID number, which you can get by clicking on their username and mousing over View Public Profile in the dropdown menu, among other methods. The userid will appear at the end of the URL in the Status Bar. To pay the subscription, click Subscribe, then click the Order button on the next page, then click Pay Using Credit Card on the page after that. In the address bar of the next page, you will see a URL which looks like this: 1&userid=xxxxx&amount=14.95&currency_code=USD

You will now have to change the xxxxx (which will be YOUR userid) to the userid number of the person you wish to pay for, then hit Enter or click the Go button. The page should now display their username and account information, and you can continue the payment as normal, using your CC data.

**To pay with PayPal, you have to do it a bit differently. **

When you get to Subscriptions, you’ll see a link to PayPal like this one. You need to copy and paste the URL for this link (right click it and select the appropriate option for your browser) into the address bar. Then you will need to change some information. The rather large URL looks like this:

You will need to change the information in bold. The XXXXX will be their UserID number, UserName is their SDMB username and the price should be the price of their subscription: $7.48 for Charter Members and $14.95 for everyone else. Once you’ve made the necessary changes, hit <Enter> and you will be taken to a PayPal payment screen. You’ll continue the payment process here as normal.

If you use PayPal eCheck to pay for a subscription there will be a lag of 5-10 business days before it takes effect. This is on the PayPal side and we have no control over the situation.

Thanks to all our Dopers who support this site and the community; you’re the greatest!


I have already re-upped for myself, and I am trying to sponsor some other Dopers.

When I click on Subscribe, it tells me I can’t subscribe unless my expiration is in less than twelve months. Where is this Order button? Thanks in advance.


Let me reproduce the coding here; those who wish to sponsor can simply put the coding into a browser and process accordingly.



XXXXX = user id number


Tuba, when I try to cut and paste the above links into my browser and replace the xxxx with any given user ID I get an error about no such user existing and to restart the SDMB. Any idea why this is so? Thanks!

I have no clue why it’s not working for you; it has worked for others.

Is this a browser issue? What browser are you using?

Are you putting in the whole line of code as given above? (I note your example is truncated.)

You have verified the ID ?

Not trying to insult you here, just looking for solutions.

Please send me an email with the ID# in question and I’ll see what happens when I try it.


You say you’re cutting and pasting the link, rather than clicking on it, which I think is the problem. Notice that the forum software doesn’t display the entire URL in the message. It shows this:

While the actual URL it’s going to is this:

Cutting and pasting the shortened address won’t work because it’s incomplete. The software does this because URLs can often be very long and when people post them they can stretch off the side of the screen or wrap and be several lines long. The software only shows part of it to make the posts look tidier.

What happens if we are double charged? I did my own and one other person’s re-up, and have three charges for $7.48 on my credit card. Who do I see about this? Should I just initiate a chargeback, like I would with any other double charge?

well I have not tried twice with the entire link as listed in both tuba’s and santos’ posts, with no success. This is the error message I get when I try

“Unable to retrieve user information. Please restart and use the Straight Dope Message Boards subscriptions page.”

I have tried replacing the xxxxx with three different user ID’s with no success, on two different computers.

I’m running firefox 1.0.7 on both computers. I tried with IE 6 as well with no success.

Please send an email to TubaDiva. She will take care of it for you.


General Questions Moderator

Got your email, Scoob. These resolutions do not happen in five minutes, but they do happen.

I’m sure you don’t want your business in the street; I’ll send you email.


I am having the same problem trying to re-subscribe manx. When y’all get the bugs out, let me know and I’ll try again at that time. I’ll just watch this thread.

Manx, hang tight, honey. I won’t forget.


You’re inserting the user ID into the coding BEFORE you paste the link in the browser, correct?

Here’s the sequence:

Copy link into text editor.
Insert User ID.
Copy altered link into browser.


Okay, sorry. I was forgetting to replace the x’s with the user’s ID.

Manx, you’ve been re-subscribed.

Next? :smiley:


Can you verify that my resub (through a 3rd party) went through. Also that the effective date is April 20th?


You can do that yourself. Just click on “User CP” and then on "Paid Subscriptions (to the left, under “Miscellaneous”). That’ll tell you the start and expiration dates for your subscription.

Thank you, IL! :cool:


So I just renewed for a year, and then I saw this thread that claims you can renew for up to 2 years, but 2 years wasn’t an option for me. Now I get the same message as Shodan (that I cannot subscribe unless my expiration is within 12 months). If I wait until tomorrow, will I be able to add a year?

My understanding is that you can renew for up to two years, but it has to be two separate transactions, a year at a time. The system is not set up for multi-year transactions but rather a year at a clip.


If you check your subscribe status, and your subscription end date is > 12 months you get this message from the software.

Not a complaint or a question. Just Informational. I didn’t experiment with it, so it is possible the message is not even correct.


No, you may well be correct, that any resubscription that takes the user past 24 months is going to bounce.

The “resubscribe for up to 2 years” was in the wake of Charter Membership where the expiration date was on the same day for everybody. Now that we have members scattered through the calendar like autumn leaves, it’s a bit more complicated timewise.

For those of you who are Charter Members and have that April 28 cutoff, if you want to subscribe for an additional year I’d suggest you check back after the April 28 cutoff.

For the rest of you who are not Charter Members, you can resubscribe any time you like within the same limits.