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June 30, 2006

Former PayPal Engineer Predicts Google's End

A former PayPal engineer wrote an interesting piece about Google Checkout: 5 Reasons Why Google Checkout Is the Beginning of the End. He thinks that Google shouldn't have launched this kind of service because:

* Google is not able to combat fraud.
* Google launches too many products, so it can't handle payment processing.
* Google is bad at customer service: they mostly use automated emails.
"The sad truth is that customers are not patient or understanding when it comes to money. All but the most enlightened of them are irrational and paranoid."
* Google finally picked the wrong battle.
* This failure will cause their best engineers to leave.

The article's tone is way too catastrophic, but it makes two good points: Google should improve their customer service and they should prepared for online fraud.

Here's an example of bad customer service from Google:

From: "Dave Taylor"
Subject: Ad Problems
Date: Tue, 07 Jun 2005 02:22:24 -0000

I can't tell if I've inserted the code into my RSS feed incorrectly or not, but I have been receiving reports that clicking on the ads in my feeds generates a 'you don't have cookies enabled' error for users, even when they DO have cookies enabled. Reluctantly, I tried clicking on an ad myself (Safari, Mac OS X 10.3.8, no security, cookies for "All sites" enabled) and I also see the same error message. What's wrong with my code? The ads I see in my aggregator from *other* AdSense for feeds sites work just fine.

Thanks for your help!

Three and a half months later...

Hello Dave,

We're sorry that we weren't able to address your email in a timely manner. If you're still experiencing difficulties with your ads please don't hesitate to contact us again.


The Google AdSense Team

Google Checkout launched
Google's mission to be completed in 300 years

In other news:
A PayPal employee wrote a blog post about Google Checkout and the removed it. The post starts with: "I find it amusing how the general media is claiming GBuy will be a significant competitor to Paypal based on GBuy having near zero buyers actually using the service vs over 100MM using Paypal." You can read the recovered text.


  1. At this point, with the current functionality of Google Checkout is just a payment "portal" to speed up the payment process between buyer and seller. As such, I'm betting a majority of complaints will be mostly buyer-to-seller, and have nothing to do with Google themselves.

    Now, if GOOG decides to go into the user-to-user payment market (and kill PayPal once and for all), *then* they'll have some real complaints to process and mediate. Hopefully by then they'll have a more robust customer service arm to cover Checkout.

    Until then, though, I think they can get away with automated email responses telling customers to take it up with the seller and not the card-information-storage layer.

  2. I would take the initiative to say that if Google tries too hard to do the user support thing... they run the risk of losing their edge.

    Programmers don't like fixing errors. This is why google might lose some of it's brain mass, if you start spending more time fixing your screw ups than developing the new fun stuff, you start to lose that creativity that really gives a new app that "shine" or that "coolness"


  3. As far as I remember, PayPal had a notoriously bad user support system - you couldn't even find out who "PayPal" was and what their phone number was. That may be all different now Ebay owns them, but when they were starting up they didn't want to hear about disputes/fraud from anyone.

    Dr Nic

  4. I'm a huge supporter of Google, but I don't think PayPal will ever die until eBay dies (and the chances of that are slim to none).

  5. Hi Guys,

    I have noticed some charges on my credit card from Are they somehow PayPal related? Should I file complaint with Paypal?

    Please let me know


  6. I'm getting spam in my personal e-mail address that is separate from Google, but the thing is google spam is being send. I keep saying remove and they will not listen.

  7. I don't have a thing against paypal, but they need to leave. I do have a account with them, but there are some web sites that only pay through them. That's got to stop.