eBay bans use of Google Checkout for auction payments

BoingBoing reader Catspaw says,

A week after it was released, eBay has added Google Checkout to its list of online payment methods not permitted on eBay. A Google spokesperson says: "Google Checkout is not a beta product. Google has a long history in billing and payments for AdWords for premium services, such as Google Video".


Previously on BoingBoing:
Google launches "predatory" Paypal rival Checkout, much is prohibited

Reader comment:

Roger says, "Here is the feedback I sent to eBay, and I wholeheartedly encourage other eBay patrons and sellers to do the same!"

"To the Support or Service Rep who receives my email – DO NOT REPLY WITH A SCRIPTED FORM LETTER. Please escalate this to your supervisor, manager, team lead, or what have you. This needs to be moved up the chain.

I am extremely disappointed to learn of your banning the use of Google Checkout to accept auction payments. I have been buying and selling on eBay since 1998, and currently accept PayPal for many auctions. If I want to accept payment, and make payment, usingGoogle Checkout (which I have now set up and used successfully), I should be able to do this.

Your acceptable payments policy is helpful for blocking questionable payment methods, but blocking Google Checkout is CLEARLY an attempt to block competition to Paypal. This move is completely transparent, completely wrong, and I intend to make a big deal about it and encourage other people to do the same."

Kees says,

I suggest you read this link to see the very solid reasoning that is behind Ebay's decision to ban Google Checkout. It is not up to standard. Why Google Checkout is bad.

Anonymous says,

The "Why Google Checkout is Bad" post is not particularly convincing. Firstly the poster argues that Google is bad at fighting click fraud and isn't that motivated to do so, so it's going to be bad at fighting financial fraud. Clearly Google's motivation for preventing payment fraud will differ – and it will be more like its motivation for fighting link fraud where it has some expertise and success.

The poster says that all of the internet payment systems that were early peers of Paypal died due to massive hacker fraud. This is clearly not true – I worked for Digicash which worked with major banks who would have been very concerned about fraud. Digicash was not hacked (but it did run out of cash due to business strategy shortcomings). This doesn't build the poster's credibility in my eyes.

The "Google is now distracted" argument is bogus. It basically assumes there are a small number of people who are mission-critical to both payments and search, and Google innovation will be slowed down because they can only concentrate on one or the other. The sorts of people who are mission-critical to one project or other are likely to be largely disjoint, and Google can hire plenty of people with the right skill sets of each branch of its business.

Then he argues that Google is bad at customer service. Pleeeeeease! Paypal was the original king of poor customer service. (Google for it – IIRC "Paypal Sucks" should get you started.) Hopefully they've improved lately (I don't use Paypal much these days), but there was clearly a business model that works that starts out with hard-to-contact and somewhat automated customer service. It may or may not work for Google, but it's by no means a product killer.

Out of the entire post, there are only two inferred points that seem important. Firstly Google will need to do effective payments anti-fraud (and they may or may not be able to do so, but that conclusion can't be drawn from the evidence at hand). Secondly, there's the network effect argument about payment systems adoption amongst potential users, and that's probably where the real crux of the matter lies.

Disclaimer: I have no relationship to Google other than using its products, and I don't have a Google Checkout account.