EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1311 - June 28, 2006     1 of 6

eBay Could Ban Google's GBuy as Payment Method

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Last October, eBay introduced a new "Safe Payments Policy" that prohibits sellers from requesting payment through online-payment services not specifically approved by eBay. With Google expected to launch its long-awaited payment service GBuy today (Wednesday), it seems unlikely eBay will allow merchants to advertise the service in listings, at least in the short term.


eBay Could Send GBuy Packing

eBay spokesperson Hani Durzy said the Safe Payments Policy allows eBay to evaluate new payment services to determine if they are appropriate for the eBay marketplace. Until eBay has evaluated and approved a new payment service, it wouldn't be allowed. He indicated that eBay has been evaluating payment services in recent months, but could not comment on which, if any, new services eBay was planning to add to its list of acceptable payment services.

According to the policy, eBay considers "whether the payment service has a substantial historical track record of providing safe and reliable financial and/or banking related services (new services without such a track record generally cannot be promoted on eBay)" (http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/safe-payments-policy.htm).

When asked about that provision of the policy, Durzy said, "you're reading the policy accurately, it's one parameter we look at." Of Google's rumored payment service, Durzy said, "We don't know what it will look like, we haven't seen it. If it is introduced as a beta test, it probably doesn't meet our definition of having a historical track record."

Some certified developers use eBay's Checkout Redirect system to create checkout systems for individual merchants, allowing sellers to customize and automate the checkout process. When asked if merchants could accept a service not on eBay's approved list on their checkout system, Durzy said no. Vendor applications must adhere to eBay policies, it would be against the vendors' agreements with eBay to allow a non-approved payment service on the checkout system.

Durzy added, "PayPal has 105 million users, and has 8 years of tremendous experience building up relationships and gaining regulatory experience as well as building fraud and Trust & Safety mechanisms, which is required when you are dealing with people's money. We're not too concerned."

According to eBay's announcement when it introduced the Safe Payments Policy, it was designed to reduce risk to buyers and was prompted by "Trust & Safety" concerns. But even then, eBay sellers wondered whether the new policy was a preemptive way for eBay to ban sellers from accepting any forthcoming Google payment service (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y05/m10/i19/s00).


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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