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PayPal Withholding Indie Game Dev's €600,000 Account

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the money-for-nothin' dept.

Businesses 775

epee1221 writes "Markus Persson, a.k.a. Notch, the developer of Minecraft, posted on his development blog today that PayPal limited his account with unspecified cause on August 25th. Since then, payments for the alpha version of Minecraft have continued accumulating while Notch has been unable to withdraw them, and the account now contains over €600,000. PayPal recently told him it may take up to two more weeks for things to get sorted out and that if they conclude that there is funny business involved, they will keep the money." This unfortunate news followed an announcement a few days ago that he and a friend would be starting a studio of their own to continue development on Minecraft and start working on a new project.

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When is a bank not a bank (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536024)

when it's paypal

Those guys are a law unto themselves, and their dispute resolution system adds new meaning to the word opaque.

I've had money removed from my account several years back (about £80) and spent 3 months on the phone trying to get it back, granted 2 of those months were talking to my bank (natwest) after being stonewalled by paypal, natwest decided at the end of 3 months to tell me they had no record of me ever making a complaint and that I would need to go to the police.

I swore off ever using paypal again But here I am, 3 years or so later with a paypal account I use regularly. Not having one is just far too much of a hindrance when it comes to things like using ebay, and paying for minecraft.

Re:When is a bank not a bank (4, Interesting)

mark99 (459508) | about 4 years ago | (#33536176)

They blocked my account for reasons that were not clear to me, but had to do with being an American living in Germany using a German bank. There was a way to get it unblocked, but it was complicated and not worth my time. I only ever used it for eBay, so I just stopped using eBay.
They are just stupid.

Re:When is a bank not a bank (1)

Medgur (172679) | about 4 years ago | (#33536188)

I use it as a Credit Card broker only.

Each interaction with Paypal goes straight to my mastercard, after which I immediately delete my credit card information from Paypal.

Re:When is a bank not a bank (1)

Applekid (993327) | about 4 years ago | (#33536208)

The odds that Paypal is actually doing hard deletes of your credit card data is probably pretty slim.

Re:When is a bank not a bank (3, Informative)

WillDraven (760005) | about 4 years ago | (#33536450)

But at least he is clearly de-authorizing them from using said card and if they do he can contest the charges and/or sue them for credit card fraud.

It is debatable whether this will do any good in the end but at least it makes it a bit more difficult for them to claim they had his permission.

Re:When is a bank not a bank (5, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 4 years ago | (#33536494)

Just use temporary credit card numbers.

Citi Cards has one, so does Discover.

1 time use numbers. Discovers expire the same month as your normal card.

Citi Card's expire the next calendar month and you can even set a limit. I couldn't imagine using anything else.

Re:When is a bank not a bank (1)

phantomlord (38815) | about 4 years ago | (#33536470)

I go one step further, using my card's website to generate a unique number for every paypal transaction I've made. I'll never give them my real card number nor access to my banking accounts. Paypal is a method of last resort and, like the GP, I only use it as a card broker.

I've read a few too many horror stories involving Paypal and, even with my method above, somehow, I still ended up with a temporary freeze on my primary credit card (through a generated number) when I went to buy the Penumbra bundle for Linux last year.

Re:When is a bank not a bank (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33536544)

>>>I use it as a Credit Card broker only.

I would do the same but I sell on games/dvds on ebay and PayPal is the only practical option. I always make sure to withdraw the money within a week of when the customers deposit it. Then if there's a dispute the money comes from Paypal's pocket not mine.

As for Paypal, I guess they never learn. They were sued by several American States earlier this decade, which resulted in Paypal having to give money back to its used (I got ~$70, the second class of victims got ~$250, and the third class of victims were handled on a case-by-case basis). Now it sounds they are repeating the same mistakes. They are not allowed to just arbitrarily suspend accounts and keep the money.

Re:When is a bank not a bank (4, Informative)

TamCaP (900777) | about 4 years ago | (#33536232)

PayPal power results from 2 factors. Terrible bank bank transfer opportunities for individuals domestically, and even more expensive ones internationally. In many European countries nobody uses Paypal for transactions. It's either direct bank transfer (many banks offer no-fee transfers to other banks), bank-based payment system or credit cards. Yet in the US (a HUGE consumer market) those options are limited to credit cards, and check / ACH system and PayPal fills that niche just perfectly. It's changing, i.e. SunTrust recently introduced cheap on-line wire-transfers for only $3 / transfer - a big upgrade, as it used to be $25. Yet for some reason, the interbanking system in the US is still far behind what Europe has to offer (except for credit cards - there are definitely more developed here!)

Re:When is a bank not a bank (3, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 4 years ago | (#33536278)

I'm on my 10th-ish PayPal account. I NEVER accept money through it. I send a GoogleCheckout invoice. Even for eBay.

But on Car forums, certain websites, etc, it seems all they accept is PayPal. So I'll use it with a temporary credit card until they figure out I'm the same person as my other locked accounts and lock another one.

It all started when I sold something on eBay. Turns out it was with a stolen credit card. So they reversed the payment leaving me with a -$600 balance. Which they said was my fault somehow. Then the second account I sold a laptop and has $400 sitting in it 'locked up' until I pay them the $600 in the first account.

I'm not a violent man, but I could honestly go vigilante on some middle managers at PayPal with a crow bar.

Re:When is a bank not a bank (2, Informative)

amorsen (7485) | about 4 years ago | (#33536394)

Turns out it was with a stolen credit card. So they reversed the payment leaving me with a -$600 balance.

I'm not saying that it's right, but the real banks do exactly the same thing. As a merchant, all the risk is yours. The agreements you have to sign with banks (or other credit card transaction handlers) are truly horrendous, but you can't take your business elsewhere, because they're all pretty much the same.

Re:When is a bank not a bank (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 4 years ago | (#33536462)

With Google, if they say they've verified the information. I'm safe.

Re:When is a bank not a bank (2, Insightful)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#33536510)

It all started when I sold something on eBay. Turns out it was with a stolen credit card. So they reversed the payment leaving me with a -$600 balance. Which they said was my fault somehow.

That was their problem. PayPal was the one taking the credit card and acting as the (very well compensated) intermediary between buyer and seller. PayPal does the actual processing and therefore from the credit card's company's point of view, is the merchant.

If PayPal is going to charge all those fees for processing (talk about nickle and diming!), I would argue that they should take the risk of fraud. Otherwise, there really is no point in using them, is there.

This is why... (3, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | about 4 years ago | (#33536032)

...it's best to avoid PayPal. Shady business practices, horrible support, and it's regulated even less than an American bank.

competition? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536048)

PayPal are goons and apparently have a long history of such shenanigans. Why no other more reputable service has challenged them in the e-payment space is beyond me.

Re:competition? (2, Insightful)

VGPowerlord (621254) | about 4 years ago | (#33536100)

As I recall, Google has tried.

However, eBay has made it so all payments there are required to go through PayPal. Which would seem to me to be a major misuse of monopoly powers...

Re:competition? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536400)

FALSE FALSE FALSE! That would be collusion and illegal. They have been beaten down about this in the past, in other jurisdictions. Please see :

http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2008/06/australia-calls-shenanigans-on-ebay-paypal-only-policy.ars

http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2010/02/26/ebay-paypal-tie-up-draws-complaints-in-germany

Re:competition? (1)

lwsimon (724555) | about 4 years ago | (#33536476)

They require you to offer PayPal - I believe you can use your own generic merchant service, but of course, no one will want to use it because *everyone* accepts PayPal. I hate them, but am forced to use them if I want to sell product online.

Re:competition? (1)

pilgrim23 (716938) | about 4 years ago | (#33536420)

does ANYONE know of another service ANY service like Paypal but run reputably? I am sure I am not alone in my own personal dislike with these people. I sympathize with Notch.

Re:competition? (2, Insightful)

Dialecticus (1433989) | about 4 years ago | (#33536440)

Why no other more reputable service has challenged them in the e-payment space is beyond me.

Both Amazon Payments and Google Checkout are competing with PayPal, but PayPal has a considerable lead to overcome.

Never trust paypal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536050)

Never trust paypal with large sums of money. Period. I keep everything linked to my credit card so I can reverse charges at any time, and I do not transfer large sums of money using Paypal ever.

Sigh (1, Informative)

blai (1380673) | about 4 years ago | (#33536068)

PayPal is not a bank.

Re:Sigh (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#33536128)

So? There not even as regulated as western union for crying out loud.

Re:Sigh (4, Interesting)

Dracos (107777) | about 4 years ago | (#33536254)

I worked for Western Union for over 6 years, they are subject to many, many banking regulations. Since PayPal is a money transfer service, it should fall under the same regulations.

It's too bad WU management is deathly afraid of the Internet (well, technology in general), otherwise they could have prevented PayPal from ever existing.

Re:Sigh (1)

toastar (573882) | about 4 years ago | (#33536364)

I worked for Western Union for over 6 years, they are subject to many, many banking regulations. Since PayPal is a money transfer service, it should fall under the same regulations.

It's too bad WU management is deathly afraid of the Internet (well, technology in general), otherwise they could have prevented PayPal from ever existing.

Funny WU is probably the only company that could still put them out of business, Something even google couldn't do.

Re:Sigh (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 4 years ago | (#33536236)

Therefore they get to steal your money?

I don't follow...

Re:Sigh (1)

ktappe (747125) | about 4 years ago | (#33536414)

PayPal is not a bank.

Let's see, you open accounts with them using personal information including social security #, address, checking account, and credit card #. Legal U.S. funds are deposited and withdrawn from your account. Hmmm....sounds like a bank to me.

We've all heard stories over the years of Paypal suspending accounts for no explained reason but this time the amount is significant. They may finally be going too far and if they keep this amount they may well be committing several laws. It will not be hard for the account holder to get a lawyer on contingency for that amount and to go after Paypal HARD. They need to tread carefully.

Return the money (5, Insightful)

He who knows (1376995) | about 4 years ago | (#33536070)

If paypal decides that there has been some "funny buisness" involved shouldnt they return the money to the origional accounts.

Re:Return the money (2, Funny)

hypergreatthing (254983) | about 4 years ago | (#33536152)

Obviously they'll decide that the funny business is indeed happening. From Paypal's side. And they'll keep the money.

Re:Return the money (1)

durrr (1316311) | about 4 years ago | (#33536300)

It's a game, if the devs are any good then of course it's funny business.

Why was he still using paypal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536072)

They're well known for pulling stunts like this. Guess there's one born every minute.

Don't use Paypal! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536082)

It is simple, do not use Paypal.

This is why (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | about 4 years ago | (#33536092)

companies that handle payment transaction needs regulation. At the very least, the people who sent money via paypal would be reimbursement.

Re:This is why (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | about 4 years ago | (#33536242)

Meh, just don't use paypal. Also, how the hell did he manage to collect EUR600k for an alpha version of an indie game in 17 days? Maybe there is some funny business going on there after all.

Re:This is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536326)

It was mentioned on /v/, on the Valve TF2 blog, by some popular youtuber, etc.

Even though it is 'alpha' it still has plenty of cool features and is pretty unique. Play it and you will almost certainly get addicted...

Re:This is why (2, Interesting)

TheCRAIGGERS (909877) | about 4 years ago | (#33536358)

Because the game is lots of fun to play with friends and because this 'alpha' is more stable than some games that are sold in stores?

Re:This is why (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536386)

Not just ANY indie game. One that has been widely featured in edia and has hundreds of thousands of subscribers. I see people playing it nearly every day (Granted, I study software engineering so the people I interact with don't represent society as a whole... But that indie game is BIG). linky [wikipedia.org]

Still, a very big sum so there might actually be something shady going on... But it is feasible that he just earns that much.

Re:This is why (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 4 years ago | (#33536256)

Especially since they all have either a PayPal account or a credit card.

There is no legitimate reason for PayPal to keep the money, at all.

It will be theft, pure and simple.

Re:This is why (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | about 4 years ago | (#33536524)

A small part of that 600k Euros was from me, so I am pissed that the money hasn't gotten to where I intended it to go. I don't want my money back, I want it to get to Notch, and I want the development of Minecraft to continue.

Payments continued? (1)

tokul (682258) | about 4 years ago | (#33536098)

If he had problems with PayPal, why he hasn't stopped or redirected payments.

Re:Payments continued? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536324)

A better question is if Paypal suspects "funny business" and they knowingly allow payments to continue, aren't they "aiding and abetting" whatever crime they suspect is going on? Shouldn't an account be frozen from payments as well, instead of only freezing withdrawals?

Re:Payments continued? (2, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 years ago | (#33536402)

Why hasn't he called them directly, told them to elevate as high as it can go, preferably (to their own advantage) to someone with a lawyer standing next to him; told the guy to turn on his speaker phone; and handed his phone to HIS lawyer?

Thank you Slashdot (3, Insightful)

locallyunscene (1000523) | about 4 years ago | (#33536106)

Every time I start thinking about creating a PayPal account because it would be nice to give money to some of the web places that I frequent, but only accept PayPal some story comes along about how willing they are to screw you over. Hopefully this publicity forces them to do the right thing here soon.

Re:Thank you Slashdot (0)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 4 years ago | (#33536336)

Every time I start thinking about creating a PayPal account because it would be nice to give money to some of the web places that I frequent, but only accept PayPal some story comes along about how willing they are to screw you over.

But somehow you never seem to think about the other 99.999999% of the transactions and accounts - the ones that never have any problems.

Re:Thank you Slashdot (2, Interesting)

lwsimon (724555) | about 4 years ago | (#33536542)

I don't think they exist - seriously.

Ask *anyone* who sells frequently on eBay, and you'll hear a story about how they've been screwed by PayPal. It is a cost of doing business, like paying protection money to the mob. If you complain about it too loudly, they lock your account and take it all.

Re:Thank you Slashdot (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536486)

Keep it that way. Their support is useless. Payment transactions often fail due to their badly designed "security" mechanisms. They lock accounts without givin reasons and steal money.

After getting locked out of my account for the third time (once because an update broke the login, twice for unspecified reasons), I'm fed up with Paypal. Sure, while it worked it was great to buy indie games and music but it's just not worth the trouble Paypal puts you through. Lost 10€ in the locked account but they intentionally make it hard to reopen it.

Don't use Paypal. They are either crooks or incompetent. Neither is a quality of somebody you should entrust with your money.

I always feel odd when I hear things like this (1)

Pojut (1027544) | about 4 years ago | (#33536110)

I've heard so many horror stories from people using paypal, both from a purchasing and a selling point of view...but ::knock on wood:: I've never had a problem with them, whether buying or selling.

Is this stuff entirely random, or is there something that people do to piss them off?

Re:I always feel odd when I hear things like this (1)

XnavxeMiyyep (782119) | about 4 years ago | (#33536264)

It's generally not worth pissing off their regular customers (although they did triple charge one of my friends for a $900 purchase and it took her a month to get the extra $1800 back), but when they stand to steal 600 thousand Euros, of course they'll take this opportunity!

Re:I always feel odd when I hear things like this (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 4 years ago | (#33536284)

I think when there is a lot of money involved, they start to look for excuses to take the money.

See the $30k Katrina charity freeze posted just after your post.

Paypal are notorious for this (4, Informative)

mewsenews (251487) | about 4 years ago | (#33536114)

Almost exactly five years ago, Paypal froze $30k in Hurricane Katrina charity money raised by SomethingAwful, the story is here [somethingawful.com] . They're still crooks now.

Re:Paypal are notorious for this (2, Funny)

zero_out (1705074) | about 4 years ago | (#33536218)

I wonder why my employer's WebSense filter blocked it as being "tasteless." Any ideas?

Re:Paypal are notorious for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536286)

the entire somethingawful website is blocked by most filters due to internet humor not being allowed in the work place.

the katrina story is true tho

Re:Paypal are notorious for this (1)

rantomaniac (1876228) | about 4 years ago | (#33536314)

I wonder why my employer's WebSense filter blocked it as being "tasteless." Any ideas?

I'm not sure how "tasteless" is grounds for blocking at all.

Re:Paypal are notorious for this (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536482)

For the better part of 5 years now, SomethingAwful has been about as funny as the holocaust and thus anyone with any taste in humor would do well to avoid it.

Paypall thanks you for the interest free loan (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#33536118)

The CEOs were bouncing around in their piles of money so exuberantly that one got sick in his. The amount of money in your account fits our CEO frolicking needs perfectly. Thank you for the interest free loan, and don't ask about the funny smell on your money when you do receive it.

600,000 euro? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536120)

if you make 600,000 euros on an alpha version of the game, can't you afford to support payment options other than paypal?

Maybe we have our answer? (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#33536168)

Okay, so yeah. That seems like a LOT of money to be traveling through the accounts of an alpha indie game. Maybe Paypal had real reasons to suspect something fishy was going on.

Re:Maybe we have our answer? (4, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 4 years ago | (#33536312)

So being successful is now funny business?

That's utter bullshit. And they should know by now that it is not funny business, it's a popular game developed by one or two people. It can happen you know.

Re:Maybe we have our answer? (2, Insightful)

spun (1352) | about 4 years ago | (#33536464)

Straw man. I never said it was because he was successful, but picture this: a small indie game making a few hundred bucks a week suddenly gets a 600,000 euro deposit. What does that look like to you? Paypal has a legal duty to prevent money laundering.

Re:Maybe we have our answer? (2, Insightful)

ktappe (747125) | about 4 years ago | (#33536478)

Okay, so yeah. That seems like a LOT of money to be traveling through the accounts of an alpha indie game. Maybe Paypal had real reasons to suspect something fishy was going on.

It's none of their darned business to unilaterally claim something fishy is going on unless there is a complainant. It doesn't sound as if there is one in this case so they should keep their paws off until there is a cause to freeze the account.

Two Words (4, Informative)

killmenow (184444) | about 4 years ago | (#33536130)

Google Checkout

Re:Two Words (3, Interesting)

gandhi_2 (1108023) | about 4 years ago | (#33536230)

To be fair, if you generally have problems with anything Google, you'll be lucky to ever make contact with a human to fix it.

Re:Two Words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536352)

Google Checkout

Google checkout is only available for US and UK merchants, and has been for years :(

Re:Two Words (5, Informative)

gaspyy (514539) | about 4 years ago | (#33536460)

A few more words about Google Checkout: works only in US.

I am using Paypal to sell a game. The demographics are USA 39%, UK 11%, Italy 8% and so on. Overall the 20-80 rule is observed.
By using Google Checkout instead of PayPal, I would have prevented 61% of my sales - you know, long tail and all. It's true that only 0.05% of the sales are from e.g. Maldives, but all these sales add up.

If Google Checkout gets global, I'll be the first to jump. Until then, Paypal is a simple method trusted by the buyers. I just make sure I don't keep my money there.

Re:Two Words (2, Interesting)

future assassin (639396) | about 4 years ago | (#33536484)

IF you are in the UK and US but forget Canada. I tried signing a few months back and there nowhere did it say as a Canadian I couldn't use checkout until I filled out my info, including my cell number and after submission I got a nice notice of I can't use it because I'm in Canada. So these fucks just got my personal business info and then one they got it they tell me I can't use the service.

Typical PayPal behavior :( (1)

mackinaw_apx (1444371) | about 4 years ago | (#33536138)

Sadly, this is quite typical PayPal behavior. The best thing you can do is AVOID PAYPAL AT ALL CO$T$... unless you like being nickle and dime'd and hassled around. And they wonder why so many of their users talk sh!t.

paypal bad business practices (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536156)

My boss and I started a small company 8 years ago or so .. One of our first transactions was 4 high end Sun processors for about 10K.
Paypal held our money for close to a month.

The excuses they came up with were crap every one ..
We were going to drive to Omaha ( or somewhere in Nebraska ) to work this out ..

what a load of crap

have not used paypal in 3 or 4 years (1, Interesting)

Dan667 (564390) | about 4 years ago | (#33536180)

anyone doing any kind of business that generates real money should get setup with credit card processing or some type of real bank. On top of randomly screwing people, paypal also nickle and dime people to death. Never will use paypal again.

Re:have not used paypal in 3 or 4 years (2, Insightful)

pz (113803) | about 4 years ago | (#33536280)

anyone doing any kind of business that generates real money should get setup with credit card processing or some type of real bank. On top of randomly screwing people, paypal also nickle and dime people to death. Never will use paypal again.

Absolutely true. I run a conference where we allow registrations by credit card (actually, we strongly encourage registration by CC, because all other forms of payment except cash are a massive pain). We looked long and hard at different options and while PayPal's merchant processing was one possibility, we went with a standard merchant account through FirstData / Citibank. Never been happier. Excellent service. Clear-as-a-bell charges, although somewhat intricate, and good code support for those who either want to roll their own payment, or integrate with standard shopping carts. The cost was less than PayPal, and the terms better. And that was for our event that processes under USD 50,000 per year.

Why, at the commercial level, anyone would use PayPal, even their so-called professional level service, is beyond me.

Re:have not used paypal in 3 or 4 years (1, Insightful)

savanik (1090193) | about 4 years ago | (#33536388)

Same situation here - running a conference, needed to allow registrations by credit card. Our primary method of payment is Google Checkout. Main difference: A large percentage of our attendees insisted we support PayPal - so we have a PayPal account that we keep at a zero-dollar balance. When people send us money via PayPal, we immediately transfer it out of that account and to our bank. All of our actual money is held at our real, stable, brick-and-mortar bank.

For fear of precisely this reason. If I had enough support in our fanbase, I'd drop PayPal like a dead cat.

Re:have not used paypal in 3 or 4 years (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | about 4 years ago | (#33536424)

That can be extremely expensive, though, particularly if your individual sales tend to be small. Visa, for example, takes a 5-10% cut and has a minimum fee for each transaction. When you're selling something for $1-$2 that can mean 25%-50% of the entire sale just for credit card processing. I believe there are also annual fees and setup costs. It basically doubles a small operation's cost to do business just to be able to take credit cards.

I don't know what Markus is charging for his game, but since it's an Alpha version I imagine it's not more than a couple bucks.

PayPal has done this forever (4, Informative)

rotide (1015173) | about 4 years ago | (#33536186)

PayPal is infamous for this.

Years ago, when I pulled my account information from them it was "common" knowledge in the eBay scene that if you were a seller and a buyer claimed it was a fraudulent sale, PayPal would pull the refund directly from your PayPal account without notice. If the funds were not in your PayPal account, they would pull it from your linked checking account, again, without notice.

The common strategy was to setup a second "dummy" checking account and link PayPal to that one. Whenever you had money in your PayPal account above a certain amount, pull it into your "dummy" account and then transfer the full balance _out_ of that account into one that isn't linked to PayPal.

Why someone would trust PayPal, who isn't a bank, with well over half a million dollars is beyond me.

For some interesting stories, paypalsucks.com

Has anyone asked.... (4, Insightful)

pastafazou (648001) | about 4 years ago | (#33536228)

....how the hell the guy made €600,000 from Minecraft?

Re:Has anyone asked.... (1)

He who knows (1376995) | about 4 years ago | (#33536512)

considering the front page says "Minecraft is a game about placing blocks while running from skeletons. Or something like that.. Here, watch this video of me testing rollercoasters in the game instead:" I cant figure out what the game is about let alone how an indie developer made €600,000 from an alpha version of their game.

Why? (1)

rhadamanthus (200665) | about 4 years ago | (#33536234)

With the ridiculous number of stories and reports that have continually made it obvious that paypal screws people, I'm at a loss why anyone would use them for something this serious.

I mean, I feel bad for him and all, but at the same time - what a ridiculously stupid thing to do.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536536)

You have no business sense. If you run a business and most of your customers are demanding Paypal "for their convenience" then what you do is you take the risk and offer Paypal. To do otherwise is turning away sales.

amigabounty.net has similar problem (1)

amigabill (146897) | about 4 years ago | (#33536238)

The people running this site have been trying to contact Paypal but get no response in trying to get things sorted out. amigans.net thread about this [amigans.net]

Typical (1)

sv_libertarian (1317837) | about 4 years ago | (#33536260)

Also, they are notoriously anti gun. I use gpal instead On the rare times I force myself to buy something on ebay, I try to pay without using paypal

Explain it to me.... (5, Insightful)

Qubit (100461) | about 4 years ago | (#33536262)

Why does electronic fund transfer have to be so complicated?

With my bank I can hop online and pay anyone in the world any amount of money. Well, they seem to limit it to how much I currently have in my account, and if the person I wish to pay does not have a real address (No "221B Baker Street + 2i" allowed), I'll have to hand deliver it instead of getting them to post it for free, but there's little limitation there.

Oh, and did I mention that the whole thing doesn't cost me a cent?

Heck, the only thing it's missing is a few features like:
- The ability to transfer money anonymously (all the recipient would get would be a confirmation crypto hash or something, maybe something that I could reveal later in a court, but that they couldn't* pin on me)
- The ability to make a storefront so all of the fund transfer went through "Qubit's Quantum Quickymart"
- Better account management, and a way to group or tag business and bills vs. friends vs. impulse game purchases (The way GMail handles email is a good first shot at a UI)

The bank isn't making money when I transfer funds, but they don't care -- they're already making money on the stuff I have sitting in their coffers.

So why are we stuck with PayPal, which is pretty much a
- Shady
- Costly
- Annoying
- Duplicate service

??

Hopefully some bank (or series of banks) will make this happen for us. Moving money around shouldn't be anywhere near this complicated!

* Says the power of NP.

At 600k, it's time to move up (3, Insightful)

derrickh (157646) | about 4 years ago | (#33536268)

When it comes to smaller amounts(under 5k), it's a toss up on using Google Checkout or Paypal. But anything over that, and you're just asking for trouble. These guys were way past to point of needing a real credit card processor. With that kind of money, it makes a lot more sense to just get a merchant account. Look at Paypal like a piggy bank. It's fine for loose change, but you wouldn't stick your retirement money in there.

 

At 600k, it's time to sue the bastards (1)

Late Adopter (1492849) | about 4 years ago | (#33536416)

I agree with your post in entirety, but having already made the mistake this needs to be seriously escalated. 600k is way too much money to take chances on.

Friends don't let friends use PayPal (1)

tool462 (677306) | about 4 years ago | (#33536272)

Several years ago I had a similar experience (though not on nearly so large a scale) where I had sold an item online and had a couple hundred in my Paypal account as a result. I could not transfer the money out without becoming a verified account, and for some reason Paypal would not let me verify it. After frequent calls to their tech support and trying everything I could think of, the simplest solution was just to close my account because then they just send a check for the balance and I haven't been back since.

What the hell *is* Minecraft? (3, Interesting)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | about 4 years ago | (#33536274)

I go to the game's homepage, and I see a video about rollercoasters, and not gameplay.

I browse around the site, nothing. The only, ONLY description of the game is, I quote, "Minecraft is a game about placing blocks while running from skeletons. Or something like that..", followed by the rollercoaster video, and then "The game is a lot like that, but also has enemies and cave exploring and mining and farming and flowing water and dynamic lighting and a huge (huge) randomly generated world map."

Yeah, thanks. I've never heard of Minecraft before, and I'd guess that few people have. So what is it - a rollercoaster game with zombies and farming?!

Anyway...

The pre-purchase page says "If you pre-purchase now during alpha, you pay just 9.95!"

If we round it to 10 EUR, 600k is sixty thousand people paying for something that is basically entirely unknown and isn't even described on the website.

And PayPal freezes the money? Gee, what a surprise.

Re:What the hell *is* Minecraft? (-1, Troll)

A Friendly Troll (1017492) | about 4 years ago | (#33536354)

Unfortunately, I have to reply to myself.

From the developer's blog at http://notch.tumblr.com/ [tumblr.com] :

On the 25th, they limited my account for unspecified reasons (a suspicious withdrawal or deposit! ......... [edit:] Just to clear things up: I withdraw everything from paypal every week. They limited my account just as sales started spiking, so this money has accumulated since they limited the account.

SIXTY THOUSAND PEOPLE BOUGHT AN UNKNOWN GAME, WHICH IS IN *ALPHA*, IN JUST TWO WEEKS?????

I call serious bullshit on this whole thing.

Re:What the hell *is* Minecraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536444)

Maybe you should do a bit more googling on this instead of jumping to conclusions good sir.

http://minecraftwiki.net/wiki/Main_Page
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=minecraft&aq=f

It's an awesome indie game that is definitely not "unknown"

Re:What the hell *is* Minecraft? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536454)

I personally know 20+ people that have bought it in the last week. Now, I know I'm not a significant data point -- but neither are you, and the fact that you haven't heard of it has no bearing on its popularity. If you had heard of it, you'd know that it's not "in alpha," but rather "Alpha" is the name of the new version of the game, which has been around for over a year in other forms.

Fortunately, we have objective measurements that support me more than you: http://www.google.com/trends?q=minecraft&ctab=0&geo=all&date=2010&sort=0

Re:What the hell *is* Minecraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536514)

Or you could just hit the play classic version link on the main page at minecraft.net. Jeez, look a little further than your nose is long!

Re:What the hell *is* Minecraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536392)

Minecraft is a pretty popular indie game (as far as indie games go) that has been in development for quite a while. Right there on the homepage is a link to play the older FREE version online.

Re:What the hell *is* Minecraft? (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#33536518)

I've seen minecraft around for a while. I have not played it personally but there are people who have on the bay12games (dwarf fortress) forums.

http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?board=4.0, search on the forum for minecraft and you will find several threads.

Re:What the hell *is* Minecraft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536534)

Seriously, how hard would it be to find out what the hell it is? Let me spell it out for you.

1. Install Java (free)
2. Create account on minecraft.net (free)
3. log into a multiplayer server http://www.minecraft.net/servers.jsp (free)
4. ????
5. Profit!*

*unless paypal freezes your account

Not Even Uncommon (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 4 years ago | (#33536296)

This event is not uncommon with Paypal, although most amounts aren't this large. Keep a news feed on Paypal and you'll read stories about this weekly.

Paypal needs to be brought down hard and made to end this foolishness once and forever. Our government, who seek to regulate banks and Wall Street to death, are curiously hands-off when it comes to Paypal. Is The Fix in?

If the government won't fix Paypal, then we need a good, honest, alternative to embrace. An equivalent to the Android antidote to iPhone/AT&T. There's a market opportunity there for a proper competetor once the anti-trust authorities break down the manditatory eBay+Paypal linkage.

Oh, wait! That's the very same government who does nothing against Paypal now.

I guess we get the government we deserve by voting these latest clowns into office.

Just plain stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536320)

Who would leave 600k eur on a paypal account? it's ridiculous and plain stupid. Everybody knows fuckups happen with paypal, why keep money in the account at all?

same thing happened to me... (4, Interesting)

Kristopeit, M. D. (1892582) | about 4 years ago | (#33536330)

back in 1997 i ran a similar internet video game... edrugtrader.com... it's still running, but i no longer accept payments to play. paypal froze my account and seized all of the money from the then 100,000+ users. the game is based on drug dealing, and they claimed i was breaking the law because drug dealing is illegal... however there was no actual drug dealing... it's just a market simulation game.

paypal is evil... don't do business with them.

I'm in the wrong line of work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536332)

So let me get this straight- this guy made 600,000 pounds in 2 weeks with a buggy version of a game that looks like someone overlaid wolfenstein textures on a bunch of 3-D cubes that you run around and hit things with a club in?!?!?

What the heck am I doing at a regular 9-5?!?!

Paypay AND eBay (1)

Mr. Esterhouse (849759) | about 4 years ago | (#33536348)

are terrible. I sold a laptop on there this past weekend for $1500. eBay charges me $70 for the sale, mind you that I didn't pay for extra pictures or bold print. Then PayPal takes out $40 for the money transfer. eBay made $110 off of the auction which is ridiculous. I canceled my accounts.

Par for the course.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536378)

This is how PayPal makes their money.
I just canceled my account with this story as a reason, join in on the fun people!

Class Action Suit already underway (1)

GPLDAN (732269) | about 4 years ago | (#33536436)

Guys, Paypal has history in a large class action over frozen assets.

Forbes in 2002:

http://www.forbes.com/2002/03/08/0308paypal.html [forbes.com]

It's funny, in that article circa 2002, Forbes thought Citibank's C2it would crush Paypal. Didn't happen.

Now, the British who know something about World Banking, might take it with MoneyBookers.
https://www.moneybookers.com/app/?rid=3809503 [moneybookers.com]
Either way, Meg Whitman knew the Ebay ship had sailed, she got out why the getting was good.

law ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536452)

In Holland by local law every transaction bigger than 10000 has to be reported; as well as accounts quickly increasing.
I can Imagine paypal also being subject to laws like this ?

You FAIL it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33536538)

available to R1sk looking even

Coincidence? Or Paypal ramping up their spin dept (1)

log0n (18224) | about 4 years ago | (#33536540)

Just got this email 45ish minutes ago for both of my [separate] PayPal accounts:

PayPal Annual Privacy Policy and Error Resolution Notice

Goes into the usual yadayada about cookies/tracking/IPaddresses and such, but also explains in much detail about the steps WE are required to take in order to recover funds in situations similar to the topic. It's not their responsibility, nor do we have much time to initiate the process.

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