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Massive Disruption of PayPal Subscription Service

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the just-fix-it-guys dept.

Bug 95

hausmasta writes "Since August 30, there are massive problems with PayPal subscriptions. The automatic renewal of subscriptions stopped that day, causing headaches for lots of web site owners that rely on this kind of revenue. The problem is global, as this thread in the PayPal Developer Community shows. PayPal is aware of the problem but hasn't indicated any progress yet; some posters are wondering whether they have stopped working on it over the long (US) holiday weekend."

cancel ×

95 comments

Porn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437771)

I just came in here to say that.

Re:Porn (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437809)

Oh, come on, now, that is not off topic, every paypal subscription I've ever seen either hawks porn or ways of getting porn, like usenet providers.

Even fark has foobies.

Bad mod, bad.

Re:Porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20465853)

My antivirus, http://free-avg.org/ [free-avg.org] catches a lot of Paypal phishing emails. I didn't realize their security was that vulnerable.

Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437785)

My TotalFark subscription still works, and it's renewed monthly via PayPal.

Well.... (3, Insightful)

JimXugle (921609) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437799)

Everyone needs a day off, and those who died in military service need to be honored, but if Paypal wants to posture itself as an international company, things need to keep working... even when the USA isn't.

(Posted by an American)

Re:Well.... (4, Interesting)

whmac33 (524094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437829)

That would make sense for say Veteran's Day. But for Labor Day we honor ourselves, the workers. In any event, when a 24/7 company is down, you bet they're working on it. It doesn't just cost their clients money, it costs PayPal money.

Re:Well.... (2, Informative)

whmac33 (524094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437849)

So I messed up my correction as my sibling points out.... I feel kinda dumb...

Re:Well.... (2, Informative)

yada21 (1042762) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438961)

It never costs PayPal money. It's in the terms of service.

Re:Well.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437831)

Hey chitbag, it's Labor Day, not Memorial Day, you fscking retard.

Re:Well.... (1)

Mysteerie (972719) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437845)

I agree, especially since they are online. Anyways, I noticed the subscription problem today as well, hopefully everything will be back to normal soon.

This is a symptom of management... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437887)

...attitude towards IT. Many corporations like Ebay (IMac, too) consider IT to be an expense and not a source of revenue. Consequently, IT gets underfunded. This results in lower quality of workforce and less time spent on debugging augmentations of their infrastructure. The fact that it is taking this long to find the problem shows that IT is underfunded. Corporations need to put as much emphasis on the departments that maintain the quality of service / good as departments that bring immediate revenue. Upper management that tries to increase immediate profits at the expense of costly disruptions of service being more likely / frequent are not being selfless and are in fact hurting long term shareholders (investors). I want to see more corporations (sole proprietorships and LLCs too) emphasizing quality as much as features. Even if it increases the price, consumers should demand services and goods that are not low in price but of higher quality for the price. This disruption of service is going to hurt PayPal in immediate profits (right now), long term profits (fewer businesses relying on their service), and of course the value of the stock on Monday. Upper management needs to think about not just immediate profit but sustainable profit.

Anonymous Coward Sig 2.0:
--
Madonna is the only artist with any talent! Madonna is like the C programming language.

Re:This is a symptom of management... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20438247)

What is ironic is that most companies treat their IT department like utter crap, considering them just another cost center to be controlled as much as possible.

However, IT is just as important, if not more, than the expenses for guards, building security, and locks on the doors. Companies will buy high security Medeco and Abloy locks for their doors, then not hire anyone capable of managing more than a playground home network.

Companies get what they pay for. I don't think this is the case with PayPal, as they seem to be more proactive in general, but in a lot of companies, they buy the absolute cheapest people they can... then wonder why their main server with accounting info has been totally compromised, and is spewing spam over the globe, as well as sporting the latest and greatest keyloggers.

I wish management in most companies would understand that IT is just as important as physical security, or physical access and building space, however that's a pipe dream these days.

Re:This is a symptom of management... (1)

mindwhip (894744) | more than 6 years ago | (#20446347)

This is often the IT departments fault. The company I work for has two major cost centres which bill back to the various business units, IT and document printing. Together these two make up the bulk of the business costs.

IT bills the business units in a way that makes it unclear what they are actually paying for, just presenting the internal customers with 'this is what we had to spend and this is your chunk of it' with very little detail and no indications on why it cost so much.

Document printing present the internal customers with detailed breakdowns of exactly what they spent money on, why it cost what it did, what they did to keep costs to a minimum and what could be improved on to reduce costs more.

As a result the business areas are willing to spend additional money on new printers and document finishing machines (automailers and mailsort machines to cut postage costs) to increase capacity and provide additional services but are insisting that IT either detail exactly what the money goes on or cut back on spending.

Management will spend money if they see a benefit but often IT departments fail in explaining exactly what those benefits are...

Re:Well.... (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437895)

It couldn't have happened to a 'nicer' company. Skype also had a week of serious downtime in the last month (some rumoured it was a spyware installation from the US Government).

Re:Well.... (3, Insightful)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20439867)

***It couldn't have happened to a 'nicer' company.***

I agree 113.763%. PayPal gives me the creeps. How any sane person can be comfortable dealing with an unregulated bank eludes me. Personally, I simply won't deal with PayPal unless and until they submit themselves to effective external regulation.

That said, It seems to me like this particular problem is something that could affect any on-line 'bank' -- even a reputable one. It's sort of analagous to having your brick and motar bank shut down by flood, fire, earthquake, riots, power failure.

Re:Well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20440177)

I think his point was to suggest that the American government may have asked PayPal to take itself offline for the weekend to insert some mechanism for tracking transactions and reporting them to DHS, as some suggest happened to Skype. The internet provides various groups with the means to conduct long-range communications and money transfers, and the government would like to monitor suspicious activity. Whether or not the government is behind recent outages of communications and "banking" services is purely a matter of speculation, as no one is going to admit to such surveillance, but given recently passed legislation, the government's history of forming relationships with communications (AT&T) and banking (Chase) corporations, and the companies experiencing recent outages, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the government has formed new relationships in the past two weeks.

Re:Well.... (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 6 years ago | (#20442293)

I hadn't thought that, but since you mention it, it's within the realm of possibility.

Re:Well.... (1)

Kent Recal (714863) | more than 6 years ago | (#20445789)

That said, It seems to me like this particular problem is something that could affect any on-line 'bank' -- even a reputable one. It's sort of analagous to having your brick and motar bank shut down by flood, fire, earthquake, riots, power failure.


I wonder why you undermine your own argument with these last two sentences.
As a matter of fact, the regulations for brick and mortar banks involve disaster resilience (normally through redundancy over at least two independent datacenters)
and multiple levels of insurance.

I have no idea if paypal is held to these standards by law but the sheer mass of customer horror stories is enough
to have me avoid paypal at all costs (pun intended).

Re:Well.... (1)

nobaloney (1012719) | more than 6 years ago | (#20479345)

There are some libertarians who would rather not have anything to do with a bank that is submitting to effective external regulation.

Re:Well.... (1)

rnd() (118781) | more than 6 years ago | (#20481989)

In case you missed it, Wells Fargo was unable to process check card transactions on business accounts for over 48 hours a few weeks ago. Nobody there knew what was going on, and it cost a lot of small companies a LOT of money.

Re:Well.... (-1, Offtopic)

paxmark1 (636441) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437917)

The United States cannot celebrate the worldwide 8 hour day movement with it's most crucial moment in time becasue of the the hanging of 8 innocent men by the State of Illinois. The US government has taken the worlwide celebration of the Chicago May 1 Haymarket demonstration and made May 1 Law Enforcement Day - a cruel mockery.

That being the case - hey we have to come up with a holiday for the people who actually produce things. And thus Labor (or Labour) Day came to be. This would be from the people who brought you the Palmer Raids.

This US citizen is very very happy to be in Canada and working on living there the rest of my life. This makes year 6.

BTW - I sheltered homeless war veterans for 6 years in the 1980's. I sold the shelter I was legal owner of to Cath Social Services for $1 and it is still sheltering homeless families 16 years later. My friends in the homeless business say the Iraq war veterans are getting totally hosed by the military and VA.

Re:Well.... (1)

prezkennedy.org (786501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438127)

Good for you.

Fight the power. Take down the man! And all that good stuff...

But unfortunately it has nothing to do with anything here.

Plus it just sounds like you're tooting your own horn. Truly generous people don't need to bask in their own glory. And they certainly aren't desperate enough to do it on a site like Slashdot.

Re:Well.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20440035)

But unfortunately it has nothing to do with anything here.

If you re-read the GGP, you'll notice him mistaking Labour day and war veterans, both topics the GP covers. I'm not sure why you don't celebrate May the 1st with the rest of the working world, but that's your call.

Re:Well.... (2, Insightful)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438211)

This US citizen is very very happy to be in Canada and working on living there the rest of my life.
Well, this US citizen is very happy you're in Canada, too, and sincerely hopes you stay there.

Re:Well.... (1)

Phillup (317168) | more than 6 years ago | (#20441135)

This US citizen is very very happy to be in Canada and working on living there the rest of my life.


Well, this US citizen is very happy you're in Canada, too, and sincerely hopes you stay there.
Now if we could just get all the religious people to go where they are supposed to go... this would be a pretty nice place!

;-)

Re:Well.... (1)

shadowbearer (554144) | more than 6 years ago | (#20446805)


  That's a reply guaranteed to drive people to moving to Canada, methinks ;)

SB

Interfaces Break With the Weakest Link (2, Interesting)

yintercept (517362) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438195)

The problems may involve interfaces with the American Banking System. Organizations that deal with large quantities of money are usually not keen on making major changes after hours. When you have a large number of third parties involved in an interface (like you would for money transfers), the timeframe for repairs could well be dictated by third parties.

I would not rush to blame any company for having a hard time responding to an outage on a national holiday, as they may dependent on infrastructure outside their control.

Bank interfaces? (1)

kybred (795293) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438261)

The problems may involve interfaces with the American Banking System.

My bank (credit union, actually) is doing a major system upgrade over the long weekend. Maybe something like that is causing PP problems?

Re:Interfaces Break With the Weakest Link (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20443147)

You've clearly never worked in the banking industry. *Every* major change is done after hours. Anything and everything is done to avoid making any kind of risky change during regular banking hours. Now if the system is unavailable during banking hours...that's another story...

Re:Interfaces Break With the Weakest Link (1)

yintercept (517362) | more than 6 years ago | (#20452907)

I've worked in several industries where the changes were made after hours, but the decisions were made during working hours. Of course, when something goes wrong with a decision, the system would be broken for a 24 hour period.

Re:Interfaces Break With the Weakest Link (1)

rnd() (118781) | more than 6 years ago | (#20481581)

Wells Fargo just had an outage lasting over 48 hours that impacted a huge number of customers.

Re:Interfaces Break With the Weakest Link (1)

nobaloney (1012719) | more than 6 years ago | (#20479423)

The American Banking System has nothing to do with the PayPal subscription system, which is entirely internal to PayPal.

Service Changes? (1)

Sammy Loo (996666) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438469)

Perhaps its the changes they're doing on the site internal stuff. I noticed on aug 30th that their logo changed on my "donate" button =D or perhaps its the fact that they did internal stuff that caused problems. that annoyed me a little because I liked the old one, but thats offtopic so I wont elaborate :D

Um, it's Labor Day were celebrating, not Memorial. (1)

koelpien (639319) | more than 6 years ago | (#20439595)

Um, it's Labor Day were celebrating, not Memorial Day. Although I'm sure our soldiers in the middle east will also be laboring, while most of us (other than retail and restaurant workers) will be resting.

Re:Um, it's Labor Day were celebrating, not Memori (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20444631)

According the owner of my local liquor store, who sells tens of thousands of dollars a day during these holidays ... we're not home resting, we're home drinking. Which just makes your point: he's working and we're not.

Which reminds me ... I need another beer.

I, for one, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437803)

Welcome our money-grubbing overlords who aren't a bank.

PS - If you have to have a PayPal account for some reason, give them a *savings* account number that they can't suck money from.

Re:I, for one, (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438569)

You don't need to give them permission to withdraw anything, you can manually transfer money to them.

lol (0)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437817)

Someone needs to follow these steps:
  1. Update Resume`
  2. Leave Town

Probably getting bit by lack of technical talent (2, Interesting)

btarval (874919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438359)

Good luck with that approach. Personally, if I saw someone with paypal on their Resume, it would be a serious negative. It would tell me that they have no morals.

How anyone could work at paypal knowing how they deliberately screw over people, without any concern [paypalsucks.com] is beyond me.

I know Paypal is having trouble recruiting good people. About a year ago, they picked up my C.V. and tried to get me to apply for a job. I wrote back saying I'd never work at a place with such an awful reputation. Normally that would be the end of it, but the H.R. person kicked it up to his manager, who tried to lay on the sugar about how it was such a great place to work.

Yeah right. I guess having a decent live potential candidate on the line has to be a rarity there. I can't think of a time when my initial contact has gotten kicked up to an H.R. manager. Usually the internal recruiter tries really hard to handle it, lest they look bad and/or get reduced credit.

Anyway, so I asked the manager that, if what she said was indeed true, how would she respond to some of the recent complaints on paypalsucks.com? I never heard back from her again.

Top technical talent is hard to find these days in Silicon Valley. Serious outages like this shouldn't happen in the first place. But they will when you have less-than-stellar people involved. What this, and my own experience, tells me is that Paypal is having trouble getting good talent. And their reputation isn't helping any.

I wouldn't be surprised to see further problems down the road.

Re:Probably getting bit by lack of technical talen (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20438507)

Hello Captain. [ytmnd.com]

Sorry to disagree with you, but I used to work at Paypal. It was great, and instead of a check, they sent my earnings directly through Paypal immediately (they only took off 2.9% as well, what a bargain!)

As you can tell, you are wrong about Paypal. They taught me about Fiscal responsibility and with that, I was able to save over 300K in cash. They doubly reinforced that lesson afterward, after I left, by freezing my account.

It turned out to be my pals back at the office! What pranksters! Though, I still wish I had my cash back. It's been over a year and I am beginning to have my doubts.

Re:Probably getting bit by lack of technical talen (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20438975)

Well paypalsucks.com aside, I've used Paypal for my website for the last 2 years, and they have treated me with the utmost respect. I've had only 7 disputes out of 4800 transactions in that time (6 of them from 1 person trying to get all his past transactions refunded), and overall there has never been a problem. My dividends are paid immediately and they respond fairly quickly when I need them to.

I used to be on your side of the fence until I manned up and started using them because it was the most widely-used system. Everyone bitched to me before I started using them that their fee's would destroy me, but 2.44% average is hardly anything to care about. I don't use eBay, so I don't get doubly-raped by both.

Believe me, 2% to 3% fees and 5% interest on liquid money is not bad. They have had their lag issues, but I've had a very positive experience with them. And no, I have never worked for them.

Re:Probably getting bit by lack of technical talen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20445843)

Don't worry they have a ton of Indian outsourcing consultants, just like EBAY does. Both onsite and offshore.
They are cheaper than US workers and think of all the money they save the company!
Oh wait, that is probably used to pay the accenture consultants.

Re:Probably getting bit by lack of technical talen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20446601)

The thing is, Paypal doesn't do anything that regular brick-and-mortar banks don't do.

They're all in control of your money, and will do whatever they want with/to it.

And we have no control.

I really don't see anything on the paypalsucks.com site that hasn't happened with a regular bank in the past.

Current Status (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437851)

== Paypal wants to notify merchants that subscriptions are experiencing some delays and that will be back to normal around September 5, 2007 (Wednesday) or September 6, 2007 (Thursday). Please be assured that no subscriptions will be missed, just that the payout will be delayed. We apologize for any impact caused by this incident. Sincerely, PayPal Merchant Technical Support Team Contacting PayPal ==

No problem, they'll have it fixed this week (5, Informative)

stox (131684) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437853)

https://www.paypaldeveloper.com/blog/article?blog. id=mts_updates&message.id=128 [paypaldeveloper.com]

Paypal wants to notify merchants that subscriptions are experiencing some delays and that will be back to normal around September 5, 2007 (Wednesday) or September 6, 2007 (Thursday). Please be assured that no subscriptions will be missed, just that the payout will be delayed.

We apologize for any impact caused by this incident.

Sincerely,
PayPal Merchant Technical Support Team

Re:No problem, they'll have it fixed this week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20437983)

Paypal wants to notify merchants that subscriptions are experiencing some delays and that will be back to normal around September 5, 2007 (Wednesday) or September 6, 2007 (Thursday). Please be assured that no subscriptions will be missed, just that the payout will be delayed.

Yea so they can collect 4-5 more days worth of interest on YOUR money.
Paypal is milking the users much the same way a bank will. Hmmm wonder why they're not required to obey the same rules as a bank does?

Huh (1)

JavaRob (28971) | more than 6 years ago | (#20439661)

You know, it's usually better to err on the side of cynical when dealing with companies like this, and PayPal does have some questionable incidents in its past.

But seriously -- you think they'd intentionally break a part of the system for a weekend, just to collect a bit of interest? Think about how many clients they're losing entirely and potential clients they're scaring off because of the downtime (and there are more and more viable options to PayPal popping up now, not least among them Google Checkout) and play with the math yourself.

If that was their goal, they could just as easily delay ALL subscription payouts by an extra hour, for a few months... probably no one would even know, and the payoff would be much higher.

Re:No problem, they'll have it fixed this week (1)

vtcodger (957785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20440041)

***Yea so they can collect 4-5 more days worth of interest on YOUR money. Paypal is milking the users much the same way a bank will. Hmmm wonder why they're not required to obey the same rules as a bank does?***

Shutting down Accounts Payable is the sort of thing that companies that are in serious financial difficulties sometimes do in their final days as they try to hold their house of cards together. I have trouble believing that PayPal could be in that sort of diffuculty. But these ARE troubled times financially and it's unclear who is holding vast amounts of dubious paper backed by shakey US housing loans.

You don't suppose ....

Naw, surely it's just a software glitch.

Re:No problem, they'll have it fixed this week (1)

maxinuruguay (1149501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437989)

: George Orwell was an optimist.

Damn you America! Where are my freebee orgies? Wasnt that part of the deal?

Not just delayed... (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20456639)

Mine got outright canceled.

I'm betting that the merchant saw the payment not happening, and canceled it from their end, probably fairly automatically. However, it's the second time this particular subscription has been canceled, and it bothers me, especially because there are perks to it lasting longer.

Take it from somebody who has done IT (5, Funny)

coryking (104614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437865)

This is just more proof that servers know when it is a holiday. They just sit around all year long smile when you walk by them. Their cute little blue LED's blink at you with affection. But leave for a three day weekend and BAM!!! They stab you in the back!

Make no mistake my fine Slashdot friends. Servers are evil little bastards. They know. Oh yes. They know.

NO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20438179)

Stop! You're making them angry!

Re:NO! (3, Insightful)

coryking (104614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438251)

I knocked on genuine 100% cedar wood* the entire time I typed that message. My servers know too, you know.

* And yes, your mom helped. Just figured I'd add that to keep out any obvious your mom jokes that may or may not come my way after typing such an obvious attack vector.

Re:Take it from somebody who has done IT (3, Funny)

davester666 (731373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438619)

This is just more proof that servers know when it is a holiday. They just sit around all year long smile when you walk by them. Their cute little blue LED's blink at you with affection. But leave for a three day weekend and BAM!!! They stab you in the back!

Make no mistake my fine Slashdot friends. Servers are evil little bastards. They know. Oh yes. They know.

That's why I set the date on my server's so they think it's Saturday when it's really Tuesday. And, I also set the time so it's 12 hours out, because they also like going down at night...

Re:Take it from somebody who has done IT (1)

k31bang (672440) | more than 6 years ago | (#20444219)

Make no mistake my fine Slashdot friends. Servers are evil little bastards. They know. Oh yes. They know.


Dave? Is that you?

Possible cause (1)

no-body (127863) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437921)

may be that PP has recently upgraded/changed not only their outer web site appearance but also the backend to ?? degree.

Guess this comes with the territory of fast growth, IT and possibly employee fluctuation with global development spread (India, China...).

YES! (1)

maxinuruguay (1149501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437953)

oh dear lord. Where is the "yes" tag?

Well, dang! (2, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#20437967)

That's why my million dollar donation to Slashdot keeps bouncing. ;-)

Re:Well, dang! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20438355)

You have inspired me to leave $12 million to CowboyNeal's pet goat in my will.

Not good for Paypal, but geez (4, Informative)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438029)

Is it just me or is it the end of the world on the forum thread linked in the article. I know small businesses run on slim margins, but when the very first posts are "OMG, payments are over 12 hours behind! It's the end!", I have to think that maybe it's time to build in some robustness into your business model. More likely the people in that thread are being a little melodramatic, as people seem to be wont to do when Paypal is involved. Even this thread on Slashdot seems to just be a way to try to increase pressure on Paypal (which I can agree with to a point).

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20438047)

The delay in getting the money into the merchants account isn't the issue, the delay is causing the notification scripts not to fire. Imagine you have a website where users are granted access to your service provided their account has "credit", and you use PayPal subscriptions to fund that "credit". The subscription renews on Aug 31, but your site never gets the notification and locks out the user. User complains to you wondering why you disabled their account, raises hell because they are losing sales, etc, etc.

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438185)

People don't put grace periods in their systems? I can understand being upset about not getting the info from Paypal, but the best solution would seem to be to suspend account terminations until after the Paypal issue is sorted out. This shouldn't cause their business to collapse.

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (4, Funny)

coryking (104614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438057)

If you ever want to see amusing, look at the idiots who post on the Second Life blog whenever their stuff goes down [secondlife.com] . You think "OMG My payments are 12 hours behind" is bad, try "OMG, I make a living selling virtual dildos and I cannot sell my product. It is the end!!!"

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1)

Oktober Sunset (838224) | more than 6 years ago | (#20439647)

Hey, virtual dildo makers gotta pay the rent too.

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20439981)

Hey man. Virtual dildos are no laughing matter!

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1)

Phoobarnvaz (1030274) | more than 6 years ago | (#20443449)

...look at the idiots who post on the Second Life blog whenever their stuff goes down. You think "OMG My payments are 12 hours behind" is bad, try "OMG, I make a living selling virtual dildos and I cannot sell my product. It is the end!!!"

I can see that...I really can!!! Heaven knows if I don't get that hourly dildo fix from 2nd Life...my life has no meaning.

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20438067)

The only way little companies can survive is to be smarter;
part of the way to be smarter is to be as automated as possible;
this PayPal failure penalizes the highly-automated little company.
PayPal purports to provide bank-like services; it's about time
they provided bank-like reliability.

Also, it's not that payments are 12 hours behind, it's that the
whole month's payments are delayed. And a week's delay is a bit
more than 12 hours.

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1)

shird (566377) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438419)

Paypal idiocy has cost me in the past. They decided to suspend my account until I gave emailed them photo id etc. They offered no explanation other than 'suspicious activity'. Fair enough if they are trying to protect my account, but they also suspended automatic debits which have been paid many times in the past. This suspension caused a bill to not be paid, which caused my web site to be suspended, which cause me to lose quite a bit - more than I even had in the account. Thanks paypal.

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1)

jasquigl (950500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20439359)

I notice from your email address that you don't actually live in the real world. Try running a business for a few years then come back and tell us all about your superior practices.

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1)

djdavetrouble (442175) | more than 6 years ago | (#20440209)

i bought a virtual dildo but it turned out to be counterfeit....

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#20444853)

Did you know that Virginia Tech keeps the email accounts of their students open until they stop using them? It's a very convenient feature that they don't advertise.

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#20439655)

You miss one fundamental point...

Small businesses most often are successful based on quality of service. It is therefore perfectly understandable that small business owners should be concerned when a service provider completely fails in their core business task causing them inconvenience and confusion.

Paypal is clearly not interested in quality of service -- they never have been -- although they are much worse since the eBay purchase. It's milk the cash cow all the way. If they were concerned with service they'd:

1. explain what was going on and when they expected to fix it. (before confusion sets it)
2. offer compensation for the inconvenience.

These are steps that a small business would take if there was a problem. It is absolutely reasonable and fair for small business owners and the Slashdot community to put pressure on a very wealthy company to attempt to get them to provide basic quality services. This is NOT an overreaction.

Personally I don't really understand why Paypal continues to have the success it does; considering it's cavalier attitude to its customers.

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1)

Spand (980339) | more than 6 years ago | (#20440673)

Personally I don't really understand why Paypal continues to have the success it does; considering it's cavalier attitude to its customers.
Point me to one other company providing the same service as Paypal. And no.. not just another CC gateway, but one with the same features that Paypal has like Subscriptions, Recurring billing, etc. Not even Google checkout can match their features.

Paypal vs Google Checkout vs Amazon Payments (1)

alphafoo (319930) | more than 6 years ago | (#20448779)

You are right. A few weeks ago I had to choose between PayPal, Google Checkout, and Amazon's new checkout system for a new subscription-based language learning service I rolled out.

Most of my users are college students and tend to use gmail, so I really wanted to use GC. And they are not charging any TX fees for the rest of 2007, so that made them even more attractive. But they are "optimized" to sell physical goods, not subscriptions, so my users would be forced to receive weird emails about shipping costs in the same way that I received emails with shipping information when I signed my business up for Google Apps, which of course uses GC. That nobody was tasked to address this over the summer amazes me, since these are the same folks who made it possible for us to browse the planet Mars.

Then I looked into Amazon's new checkout service which is now in Beta. This sounded familiar, so I hunted around and found a press release from July 2003 that began: "We are almost ready to kick off the beta for our payment system." After nearly fifty months of beta testing, I'll admit it looks promising. But I am using Ruby 1.8.6, while they are still on Ruby 1.8.5. In this case, it matters, so I need to wait for them to support the version of Ruby that came out nearly six months ago.

So that left PayPal, whose subscription-based payment system is a well-documented first-class offering versus an afterthought bolted on to a system meant for physical goods. It required no hoop-jumping to get integrated. The only absolutely maddening part about the whole development cycle is that even in the sandbox, you are forced to re-authenticate pretty much anytime you pause to look at your code, look away from the web page, or entertain a non-PayPal thought. You have one login for the sandbox itself, one for the sample buyer account, one for the seller account, and one for your own site most likely. You need to have separate browsers open (not tabs) otherwise you're clobbering one login session with another. A simple cycle of "Let's purchase a subscription and see if it tracked properly for the buyer, the seller, and on my own site" sets off a flurry of honey-slow logins and redirects. By the time the last one is done, the first session has probably timed out on you and you need to go at it again.

The upshot, at least from my perspective, is that all three systems weren't ideal for processing my subscriptions, but PayPal was usable.

Re:Not good for Paypal, but geez (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 6 years ago | (#20445239)

several reasons

1: network effects, afiact once you move beyond the most basic account level it costs to move money in and out of paypal and even if it doesn't cost money it does cost time (banking systems are slow) so if you get payed using paypal you will want to pay others using paypal.
2: EBAY, the worlds largest online auction site and they strongly encourage use of paypal
3: international transactions, for small transactions paypals fees are way lower than my banks fees for using my card with an american merchant and thier fees are charged to the seller.

Thin margins or not... (4, Interesting)

swokm (1140623) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438309)

One week can be a long time to wait for payment for small business.

I think there definitely needs to be more serious competition in this area, just to provide a little healthier competition.

I'm sure we all remember other problems with PayPal:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Something_Awful#Hurri cane_Katrina-PayPal_conflict [wikipedia.org]

Re:Thin margins or not... (1)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438633)

Amazon's FPS [amazon.com] can do recurring subscriptions (with multi-use tokens) as well - it's a bit more complex, of course, they give you the low-level stuff and leave it to you to build an application on top of it. The advantage here is you're the one triggering the billing each month - you don't have to rely on them to re-submit it for you. Of course, this is also a disadvantage, as your app needs to keep track of such things, and handle triggering the transaction at the proper times.

Easy solution (0, Offtopic)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438383)

Just blame the disruption on Windows Updates or something.

It worked for Skype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20442537)

You were modded offtopic, but I laughed when I read it. I guess the mods don't remember recent stories [slashdot.org] ...

PayPal does suck, but what choices are there? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 6 years ago | (#20438757)

For subscriptions Google Checkout might be an option now, but for a lot of purposes (especially eBay) there is no other option than to use PayPal. Amazon, perhaps? Not for eBay though.

Google Checkout can't do subscriptions (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 6 years ago | (#20440993)

See above. Sad, too, as it would really help a project I am working on.

Re:PayPal does suck, but what choices are there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20442563)

Google checkout can't do recurring subscriptions yet. But maybe they'll step it up in their todo list? This is definitely a missed opportunity for Google, who could be scoring disgruntled PayPal customers in droves this weekend if their subscription ability was ready.

But don't worry! (1)

Fyz (581804) | more than 6 years ago | (#20439051)

Dear Paypal User A solution has been found to the problem of subscription service. Unfortunately, we will have to renew your account. Please enter your login and password at the following website: http://67.125.40.22./ [125.40.22] Sincerely yours, The Paypal Subscription Team paypal452123@yahoo.com

funny, the same day my paypal account is hacked? (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#20439073)

My paypal account was hacked on that day and there were fraudulent charges placed.

any connection?

Re:funny, the same day my paypal account is hacked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20440557)

no, don't be stupid

Re:funny, the same day my paypal account is hacked (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#20445073)

YOU BORKED PAYPAL!

I hope you can live with yourself.

Re:funny, the same day my paypal account is hacked (1)

astrlvapor (1151327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20451199)

Yea that is funnny.. I believed I was the only one, but I guess not. I had my account hacked and fraudulent charges also placed. To the tune of 5000+ dollars. Personally I think they are covering up a massive account exposure or server hack.

Well... (1)

8ball629 (963244) | more than 6 years ago | (#20439385)

Just another reason why we always urge our ecommerce customers to stay away from using PayPal. Not that we need another reason.

PayPal is working the problem (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 6 years ago | (#20441873)

I just received e-mail from PayPal informing me of the problem and requesting that I follow the attached link and verify my account information.


Hey! There's another e-mail. And another.....

Day off (1)

trondotcom (1148541) | more than 6 years ago | (#20442037)

Everyone needs a day off, but if PayPal wishes to become a reliable payment processor, they will have to think in contingency plans for this kind of disasters.

Some Shopping Cart Features Broken Too. (1)

XHIIHIIHX (918333) | more than 6 years ago | (#20442239)

The paypal shopping cart has a feature to allow you to specify shipping on a per-item basis. This feature was also broken on the same day. The very example on their website

https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_pdn_ cart_overrides_outside [paypal.com]

Does not work, and adds the item with the default shipping.

I called to complain and got the typical run around, they send me to the example on that page, I'm like that's the example I'm using, oh can you please hold. What am I going to hold for. Well I need to check your website. What is the address of my website? Long pause. Can you please give your website address. Well why were you about to put me on hold if you didn't know my website name. Sir, if you would please just give me your website address then I can assist you further. Yeah right, you suck. Sir if you are going to use that type of language I am going to have to put you on... discontinue the call. Wait did you just almost say that you were going to put me hold if I used abusive language? Is that your company policy.



obligatory sucks link

http://www.paypalsucks.com/ [paypalsucks.com]

The tag says it all ... (1)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 6 years ago | (#20444151)

paypalsucks.

Alternatives? (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#20453621)

Ok, enough with the "paypalsucks.com" links.

What are the alternatives? And I mean something that's not USA-only and as easy to setup as PayPal?

Pay Pal (1)

Nobby21 (1023511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20455859)

I love Pay Pal, best thing to happen to the www since conception. Every connection I have had with them worked out perfect, I have their credit card which is excellent, nothing it seems is too much trouble. All you complainers need to look in the mirror and analyze yourselves.
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