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Wed Jan 25 2012 21:57:05

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

By: Ina Steiner

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Some online merchants, including eBay and Etsy sellers, are upset at a change PayPal made to its "Notification of payment received" emails (more details available in EcommerceBytes Newsflash).

PayPal sends the email notices to sellers to let them know the buyer paid for their purchase, and is the sellers' cue to enter into the fulfillment stage of the transaction.

Normally the payment notification emails that come from PayPal have the buyer's email address in the "From" field. As of late Tuesday evening, PayPal began entering the generic email address "service@paypal.com" in the "From" instead.

Some sellers rely on the emails to organize their transactions, relying on the From field as an identifier - as one seller wrote on a discussion board, "I've built an entire fulfillment system around the transaction email, and now it's completely broken."

A merchant explained how complicated the change makes the fulfillment process. "If anyone us using gmail to access emails, just wait until you sell two or more of the exact same item, and get all the payments bundled together as a single "conversation" or "thread" within gmail. It's a hoot! I'm not one to get on a soapbox, and usually roll with Ebay/Paypal's punches, but this one definitely deserves a HUGE: CHANGE IT BACK .... NOW!!!"

Another seller wrote, "the fact that this change was made without any notification and warning so we could adjust to it is inexcusable." The seller wen on to ask, "can you not at least vary the subject line? E.g. instead of every message having the identical subject line "Notification of payment received" can it not say "Payment from John Smith received"? As a previous poster noted, for any of using Google as our email provider, if we got 40 payments in one hour then they all come into the inbox grouped as a single thread. I've got many staff working in the inbox and now no one knows who got what payments."

We're awaiting more information from a PayPal spokesperson who responded to our inquiry this evening and is looking into the issue.




Comments (60) | Permalink

Readers Comments

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jan 25 22:17:49 2012

John Donahoe and the rest of his lemmings will describe this as "disruption' to help sellers succeed.

What we have here is another case of something that was not broken, so eBay found the need to fix it.

eBay management has shown time and again that they do not care about sellers who list on their own site, so why would they care that sellers who list on other sites are negatively impacted by this change.

2011 was largely a benign year with regard to changes impacting sellers, it would seem that JD is determined to make up for that in 2012 with more destructive innovations designed to bring small sellers to their knees.

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: Julie
Web Site

Wed Jan 25 22:41:04 2012

I do a ton of internet sales through PayPal and have a gmail account that I use for my business.  I've got 5 orders strung together already and am having problems identifying new orders as they come in and are added to the already long string of emails from "service@paypal.com".  How long will this string eventually get???  What a lousy idea to change this.  CHANGE IT BACK!

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: Cadia

Wed Jan 25 22:46:03 2012

I can see where this change would make life difficult for those who rely on Paypal e-mails.  But frankly, most of us do not.

Instead, I look at the My eBay page to see the status of orders.  If something shows paid, I go directly to Paypal and view the list of transactions.  The amount paid, the name of the buyer and the item number are all plainly visible.  The transaction details page shows all the information necessary to process an order.

In fact, my correspondence e-mail address is NOT my Paypal e-mail address.  I don't even look at the latter inbox for weeks on end unless there's a question about who paid what.  I think that's happened only once since 2009 -- a buyer's friend paid on behalf of the buyer and I needed to be sure of the mailing address.

So whatever change Paypal has made to their e-mails, it's no big deal to me.  I can do without the e-mails, just as I always have.

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Jan 25 23:01:02 2012

Oh, come on guys, eBay trolls read these blogs/forums; they know that all you sellers have been downloading all the buyer’s email addresses from the PreyPal database so that you can go behind eBay’s back direct to those buyers.

I guess those of you that had not gotten round to downloading those addresses are just going to have to put a slip in with every sale inviting the buyer to send you an email so that you can put it in your address book.

Having said that, what did you expect the gnomes at eBay to do, simply ignore this situation? Did you expect them to give you advance notice of the change so that you would have the opportunity to download? Of course not. The eBafia has to protect itself from all you ungrateful, unscrupulous, cheating, stealing, defrauding, criminal merchants.

The eBafia is clearly in its death throws and will of course ultimately do everything it can to stop you talking directly to buyers and thereby having the opportunity of taking sales away from them, even though they quite clearly don’t want your custom, apparently …

Boy, this is one sick puppy …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Jan 25 23:18:14 2012

Oh, and I forgot to say, you surely didn't think that eBay (and it undoubtedly is eBay that has done this) would have given the slightest thought to any inconvenience this change might cause you, did you? How naïve can you be! Have you leant absolutely nothing in the past five years?

The eBay Marketplace has been dead in the water since 2008. Obviously, eBay is now getting desperate and is throwing wild punches at every thing. Just wait until Visa’s V.me is up and running later in the year and it starts knocking the clunky PreyPal around the ring; then you really will see how unhinged the “Pain from Bain” really is.

I doubt we have seen anything yet …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Jan 26 00:11:08 2012

One more thing....

An administrator named Olivia wrote on the PayPal board that the change was made to repair a problem. "Some receiving mailservers will not handle emails that are sent by one domain on behalf of another. While many of you have been able to successfully receive emails that were sent in this manner, many more people cannot reliably receive these messages."

According to this there must have been a dramatic number of sellers effected by this problem, however, for some strange reason, I have yet to read anywhere of aeven a single seller that had this issue.

I believe PayPal is attempting to pass this change off as a fix even though the alleged problem appears to have impacted so few sellers that no one has heard of the issue.

More likely, PayPal is simply inventing the problem in order to justify their method of making seller to buyer communication more difficult while at the same time attempting to make it more difficult for sellers to harvest email addresses.

This is typical insidious eBay Corp methodology at play.

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jan 26 00:20:25 2012

We all know why Paypal has done it.
Why do they try to put a spin on it?

I don't blame them doing it though.




PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: CretiveArtandSoul
Web Site

Thu Jan 26 00:21:57 2012

I agree, this change has become a really big headache.  I've been replying to my customers through Paypal payment emails for at least 6 years! I have never had one go undelivered as they claim.  This is going to be a hard habit to break and has negatively affected the flow of my business day.  I wrote to Paypal about it this morning.  I hope with the feedback and this blog post that they may reconsider this needless change.

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: Rachel

Thu Jan 26 00:24:55 2012

This change is ridiculous.  Some of you have mentioned Ebay but not everyone is using that so it's not as simple as just checking 'My Ebay'.  I have sales from several different places (none from Ebay) and this is so confusing having all the notifications lumped together as one.

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: ruthie

Thu Jan 26 00:30:50 2012

I sell on Ruby Lane and an antiques co-op, so far I'm still receiving PP emails with the buyer's email addy in the from field. It sounds like that may not last though.

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: TB

Thu Jan 26 00:47:07 2012

I'm just surprised that we're still able to GET the buyer's e-mail address. I would bet every last cent I have that anonymized e-mail (like Amazon does) is coming very soon to E-Bay. In fact I wouldn't be at all surprised that this is in preparation for that change.

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: anonymous

Thu Jan 26 00:57:33 2012

I got one of these last night and was flabbergasted (as usual). I do communicate with my buyers through the paypal email addy. It ended up being in the text of the payment nofitication, which meant I could still communicate, but with a bit more effort.

With that said, it is (in my opinion) a brutal beatdown by ebay and paypal to marginalize the seller and their ability to communicate. We all do realize that communication is a DSR, right?

I wonder if this is happening with the mega sellers off of the GSI platform or from buy.com, etc.?

Sign me in as disgusted but not surprised.

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Thu Jan 26 01:17:27 2012

Always remember Ming's Law: eBay lies, always has, always will.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: DonC
Web Site

Thu Jan 26 01:32:11 2012

Unhappy camper here. I occasionally have to search Hotmail messages by email address.

Apparently another attempt to copy Amazon.

The good news? We no longer sell much on eBay.

 

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: xcergy This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jan 26 01:40:24 2012

Hmmmm Mr. Cohen, Maybe PayPal should get out of the website payments business and stick only to eBay for a revenue stream.  Fact is, 80% of my websales are PayPal generated, so your claim that eBay is 'getting even' for off-site transactions is unfounded.  That said, the PayPal buyer's addy is in the body of the email, so at least it can still be found.  So much for your Tin Foil Hat Theory.

Clearly PayPal should have consulted sellers before this change was made. It IS a disruption in the shipping stream for sellers that use email info for business and communication.  At minimum, PayPal should have given sellers a 30-60 day warning and offered alternatives to minimize the change.
I despise logging onto PayPal. HTTPS protocol disables bandwith speed and takes as long as a minute per page view for dial-up, satellite, and 3G Smartphones.  No thank you.  I would rather process my orders offline. My system is speedy and efficient. Now it is broken.
How sad it is that Big Business Jumps before thinking.

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: xcergy This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jan 26 01:42:21 2012

www.paypal.com/mts (Merchant Technical Support)  login and ask WHY

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: Red Ink Diary This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 26 02:25:19 2012

I have email through a hosted website. When I first got off eBay and diversified onto multiple venues I lived in a state of confusion until I set up an email address for each venue, eg bonanza@mywebsite, etsy@mywebsite etc in the Paypal/payment notification for each venue. All forward to one central mailbox. It worked and maybe it will work for those of you who are using multiple venues.

I realize this does not help those who are still tied to eBay. While I sympathize with those who are now faced with building an entirely new order processing system; it is just one more factor to weigh in your choice to continue to do business there.

I no longer accept PayPal on Bonanza unless a buyer specifically requests it. Just two did last year.

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: Red Ink Diary This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 26 02:32:54 2012

I thought that anonymized email had already come to eBay. I distinctly remember experimenting with the process with an Aussie seller friend. Was that abandoned?

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: LongTimeSeller

Thu Jan 26 02:39:51 2012

Just set your email-client (software) filters a bit differently . If this little thing sets you back, you shouldn't be in business!

PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants   PayPal Email Change Causes Major Headaches for Merchants

by: dan

Thu Jan 26 03:04:28 2012

they are flexing their monopoly power.  Disgrace.

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