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PayPal Offers $150,000 In Developer Challenge 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-recommend-the-box-of-rocks-app dept.
blackbearnh writes "As previously reported on Slashdot, PayPal recently released a series of new APIs that allow developers to embed PayPal into their web sites and applications without requiring the user to go to the PayPal web site to complete the transaction. To encourage developers to use these new APIs, PayPal is offering two prizes totaling $150,000 for interesting new applications. The entry deadline to register ideas is December 16th, and O'Reilly has an interview with the director of the PayPal Developer Network that covers the details of the contest. In it, Naveed Anwar talks about why PayPal is throwing money at developers. 'When Facebook opened up their platform, it allowed people to work in that particular environment, in the Facebook environment. When the iPhone opened up their platform, they allowed people to work in their environment which was build the applications on the iPhone. When PayPal was looking at opening up its platform, we are not limited by one particular area. We go into the enterprises. We go into social networking. We go into all the places where payment as a solution is needed. And if we can actually reduce that barrier of entry — because at the end of the day, when anyone is building out a business and anyone is building out an application, they're looking at ways of monetizing it.'"
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PayPal Offers $150,000 In Developer Challenge

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  • This is nothing more than a ploy to significantly underpay for an enormous number of applications.

    Not to mention that their new API just turns paypal into a processing center.

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:53PM (#30433990) Journal

      I wouldn't consider it a ploy at all. Essentially this is what Developers and Producers have wanted from PayPal for a LONG time. There are ways to store your paypal account info in other services (Steam comes to mind) but you always had to go to the paypal site to complete the transaction.

      Paypal has never been anything but a processing center. All it ever did was hold your bank accounts and Credit cards online so that you don't have to enter that number in more than one place on the internet. All it ever did was keep the #'s secure, in a sort of "I'll give paypal my money if paypal pays for the product" - thus you only ever have to trust 1 person online. If you ever thought it was anything different, you were sadly mistaken.

      Anyways, this is good, it's kind of a "Here's what you asked for" and a little kicker to make sure the rest of the world knows, to help it take off quicker.

      • by phantomcircuit (938963) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:00PM (#30434068) Homepage

        Paypal has never been anything but a processing center. All it ever did was hold your bank accounts and Credit cards online so that you don't have to enter that number in more than one place on the internet. All it ever did was keep the #'s secure, in a sort of "I'll give paypal my money if paypal pays for the product" - thus you only ever have to trust 1 person online. If you ever thought it was anything different, you were sadly mistaken.

        This new API completely removes that benefit. this makes it so that any paypal merchant can randomly charge whatever they want to my account. Previously I would have had to explicitly approve the transaction.

        • Right - and you will STILL have that option.

          They are simply making it more convenient for those who do not want to have to explicitly approve each and every transaction. Specifically subscription based items, Like World of Warcraft, Lottery Tickets, online Poker, etc etc.

          • by mweather (1089505)
            I've had a recurring subscription for years using Paypal. I've never had to explicitly approve each and every transaction. I approved it once, and it keeps charging me.
      • Paypal has never been anything but a processing center. All it ever did was hold your bank accounts and Credit cards online so that you don't have to enter that number in more than one place on the internet. All it ever did was keep the #'s secure, in a sort of "I'll give paypal my money if paypal pays for the product" - thus you only ever have to trust 1 person online. If you ever thought it was anything different, you were sadly mistaken.

        I'm waiting for "All it ever did was keep the #'s secure" and "you o

        • by maxume (22995)

          The bad part was that it was Paypal that you had to trust. From where I sit, they didn't have anything to throw away.

          • by argent (18001)

            You win one (1) lol. I'd still rather trust one Paypal than forty Paypals, which is what they want me to do now.

        • >> I'm waiting for "All it ever did was keep the #'s secure" and "you only ever have to trust 1 person online" to seem like a BAD thing. I mean, there has to be a problem with that for them to be throwing that way. Maybe you can explain it to me.

          I'll explain. Imagine using Pandora or Lala or whatever kids use these days to listen to music. You like some very obscure artist, and want to buy the (physical) CD online. To buy the CD you can:

          a) Give your email address (and wait for that confirmation email)

          • by argent (18001)

            a) Give your email address (and wait for that confirmation email), credit card, & password
            b) Click "buy with paypal"

            In the first case I am giving Panlala information that they can use to charge me late fees if I don't ship the mp3 back to them by the end of the week.

            In the second case I'm giving Panlala precisely what I've entered on the Paypal site, no more, no less.

            In the new scheme I'm giving Panlala information that they can use to charge me late fees if I don't ship the mp3 back to them by the end

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by nospam007 (722110) *

        "Paypal has never been anything but a processing center. "

        Actually it's a bank located in Luxembourg since a couple of years.

        http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2007/tc20070614_606853.htm?chan=technology_technology+index+page_top+stories [businessweek.com]

        • "Paypal has never been anything but a processing center. "

          Actually it's a bank located in Luxembourg since a couple of years.

          http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jun2007/tc20070614_606853.htm?chan=technology_technology+index+page_top+stories

          Wrong! Paypal is only a bank for European customers. Here's an exact quote from the article you linked to "PayPal is not regulated as a bank in the U.S."

    • by Abreu (173023) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:17PM (#30434242)

      Nah, the real problem is that, even if you "win the Challenge" you will win a Paypal account with $150,000usd

      ...which will be promptly frozen for an imaginary reason

  • What? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bcmm (768152) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:52PM (#30433978)
    From TFA:

    When the iPhone opened up their platform

    What? Grammar aside, if that's true, it's rather more newsworthy than this somewhat confused story,

  • Wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clone53421 (1310749) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:53PM (#30433988) Journal

    Entering my PayPal login details on some random webpage, without even the convenience of being able to verify the https://www.paypal.com/ [paypal.com] in the address bar?

    Phishing begins in 3... 2... 1...

    • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

      It makes no difference. Either you can trust the site or not. I mean if you go through a transaction with them after logging into to Paypal does it really make a difference? Paypal sends you an email for each purchase, and if it's not right you can respond immediately. You can change your password if you suspect the site of phishing.

      Any site I'll be entering my Paypal Info will have an SSL of its own that I have to login with different details.

      • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:10PM (#30434160) Homepage

        Which is why the current paypal system works better. I dont have to buy a Security certificate for my web store. you order your crap and buy it on my non-secure site, and when it needs to be secure, it drops you to paypal where you verify the amount and click on "yes, send the money"

        I have ZERO interest in using their new system if it will cost me more money by having to buy a cert I really do not need.

        • by nametaken (610866) *

          Certs are cheap. You'll more than make that money back when people like me don't avoid you anymore. As it stands a PayPal logo says, "GO AWAY!" to a lot of people.

          • I suspect this API's TOS requires a "Powered by PayPal" logo or similar on your site, so I doubt it'll help much.

      • Re:Wait... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by spottedkangaroo (451692) * on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:10PM (#30434172) Homepage
        Wow, is the above wrong... even if the site is "trustworthy" today and they ship the product, they shouldn't be collecting your password. They could then use that to buy some cool shit from walmart.com two years later and you'd have no idea what happened and not even have the simple protections your regular old visa card offers. I suspect the paypal API uses OAuth or some kind of token system or else it'd be totally crazy.
        • I think the point you are missing is that this is not replacing the old system: it is an addition. You can still use paypal EXACTLY how it was before, completely secure and all that.

          This is merely allowing Paypal to do subscription based services without explicitly requiring a user "Yes" every single month. Before now you HAD to enter your credit card to these websites, websites you could deem insecure. Websites that would steal your credit card info as easily as they would steal your paypal username and pa

          • Seriously, anyone who thinks this is a bad news for Paypal doesn't understand the system.

            You're right. It's good news for Paypal. But it's bad news for everyone else...
          • You still don't get it. I would much rather give a shady company my credit card number than my paypal password. With my paypal password they can make authenticated purchases as me and there's nothing I can really do about it and my credit card protections won't really apply. However if they misuse the credit card number, I'm not responsible for any purchases the assholes make and the ccard company will locate the guy and have him arrested -- all while I'm sleeping.

            Again, there's no possible way paypal

      • It makes no difference. Either you can trust the site or not.

        It most definitely does make a difference, and that difference is simple.

        The PayPal site says “ABC is charging you $y. Okay?”, and I can contest the payment if they don’t deliver.

        By contrast, if ABC phished my PayPal e-mail and password I’ll probably have $0.00 in my account next time I log in.

      • by 0xygen (595606)

        Of course it makes a difference. You are potentially allowing the site to take as much as they like from your account, whereas by instead logging into the PayPal page, the merchant never has to even know what method you use to authenticate with PayPal and will only provide the amount of funds shown on the payment confirmation page to the merchant.

        With the second method, there is no requirement to trust the merchant with anything more than the value of the single transaction, your name and your delivery addr

      • by HuckleCom (690630)
        www.paypalc.com
    • Congratulations! Your idea has netted you $150 000. But let's not tell PayPal, okay?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The only reason I use paypal is because I don't trust the website I am on with my credit card. Now I have to log into that site and expose my credentials to that untrusted site. No thank you.

      For paypal this could be great. Customer finds their bank account emptied and paypal will point fingers at the website they logged into. They are just transferring liability with this imo.

    • by felipekk (1007591)

      Actually, the phishing exists because the user HAS to check the address and fails at doing so. If we skip that step, it becomes safer.

      Or do you really believe they would develop something less secure?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arose (644256)

        Or do you really believe they would develop something less secure?

        It's not a matter of belief. Those who are paying attention know this is worse.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hurricane78 (562437)

      Exactly my thoughts when I heard this. I once implemented half a dozen pretty different payment APIs into a web page.
      There are only two ways to make this secure:

      1. Direct the user to PayPal, and then let PayPal direct him back, sending a special encrypted session id and/or data forth and back.
      2. Embedding a Java applet in the page, which has a certificate, and so can communicate directly with PayPal (encrypted) and your server (also encrypted). Then call a Javascript function, to load the next page, where,

      • I prefer the first variant though, because...

        It also lets you verify the address bar. The Java applet, though secure, does not. If a phishing site builds a Java applet to mimic the secure one, you have no way of detecting it short of viewing the source of the page in question.

    • by Dokterdok (961082)
      This would also certainly lower the bank administrative fees that I always have to pay in advance to my Nigerian business partners!
    • by mweather (1089505)
      You do know Paypal's SSL cert has been compromised for some time now, right?
    • by mgblst (80109)

      Yeah, but most people don't even understand what you just said, and those are the big spenders anyway.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:01PM (#30434074) Homepage Journal
    by sticking your cell phone into the strippers ass. Thats pretty much the only useful thing I can think of.
  • I can just see it now.... You will even be able to "twitter" your money away. Well they "twitter" about everything else in life, why not how much you spend or how much you make? Sounds like a really dumb idea, so I wonder how long before someone actually implements it?
  • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:25PM (#30434350) Journal

    Call it a feature that lowers bandwidth costs by reducing overhead incurred by page redirects

    Give it away for free for 6 months, then charge a 0.5% convenience fee on all transactions.

    For fun, in 1 year, start charging a 0.5% legacy implementation fee on all old-style transactions.

    There you go. Where's my $150k?

  • by lanner (107308) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:35PM (#30434468)

    PayPal operates like, and should be regulated like, a bank. The way they have treated their customers, like me, and many, many, many others, should be a warning to all; You can't afford to do business with PayPal. They will seize your money, and when they do, it will be months before you see a resolution. The horror stories are true: I know, I have mine.

    • by Animats (122034) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:41PM (#30434522) Homepage

      Mod parent up. PayPal needs to become a regulated bank. Until then, take your business elsewhere, to sites that accept credit cards. If someone can't qualify for a merchant account, you probably don't want to deal with them anyway.

      • Like Ebay? Since they only accept PayPal now, and no other form of payment.
      • >> PayPal needs to become a regulated bank. Until then, take your business elsewhere, to sites that accept credit cards. If someone can't qualify for a merchant account, you probably don't want to deal with them anyway.

        You are confusing things. PayPal is fine for the buyer, and is usually better that creating another account to buy one time something.

        For the seller, they are terrible^4. This is why Google Checkout is taking over.

        I buy things from Google Products all the time. As a buyer, there is a lo

        • by Zerimar (1124785)
          Google's Checkout is a failure, much like most every other Google product other than search. Now that Google Checkout is the same price (or in some cases, more expensive) than PayPal, yet less feature rich, I assume it will just disappear in time like every other PayPal challenger.
      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Paypal in the EU is a regulated bank, registered as such in Luxembourg: Daily Telegraph article [telegraph.co.uk]

    • by alen (225700)

      i agree that paypal needs to be regulated, but most problems are people not following the instructions. like when you accept payment make sure it's only from verified people and send only to confirmed addresses. and use a tracking #, insurance and signature confirmation for expensive items. the #1 rule is only send to confirmed addresses. i haven't sold on ebay for a long time but my rule was anything over $15 or $25 had to go to a confirmed address. my auction stated that all paypal payments had to be sent

      • by vanyel (28049) *

        I agree: while they should perhaps have some limited regulation, I've been using them for nearly as long as they've been around without any problem, for both personal and business. A really big plus is that I don't have to have the responsibility of dealing with credit card security. I would *never* enter paypal credentials into a random web site, but haven't looked at the new api yet to see if that's really what they're doing. It would be really stupid for them to do that. I'd venture to guess that fra

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tvjunky (838064)

      I don't know about the US, but in Europe PayPal's User Agreement [paypal.com] says that it is "licensed as a Luxembourg credit institution". Also I don't really get where all the hate for PayPal comes from.
      Yes I read a dozen times that they froze the account of SomethingAwful or some loud-mouthed bloggers under dubious circumstances, but for me it always worked just fine. Actually I really like PayPal because it allows me to send a seller money that is instantly credited to his account, without trust issues on either si

      • by Xtravar (725372)

        I got a warning from PayPal saying that I am getting close to my 'send limit'. I've been using it for probably 6 - 8 years now, and now they're telling me I have to 'confirm' my identity in order to continue using their service. Confirmation requires me 1. giving them my bank account number or 2. getting a PayPal credit card.

        Why the fuck would I want to do that? And if it really is for security purposes, why can't I just fax my driver's license?

    • People keep crying "Oh noes! PayPal seezees my monies!" Why the hell do you leave money in there?

      Once a week, transfer everything out of PayPal to your real bank; you know, the one regulated by the FDIC, has potential to earn interest, and you use to pay all your bills.

      So, you take a fee-hit every time you do so. Either suck it up, buttercup and consider it a business expense --OR-- figure out how much you would spend on a real Merchant Account so you can accept credit cards, plus the time, energy, and reso

      • by mweather (1089505)
        At my store, about 1 in 100 use Paypal if given the choice. You're losing out on a lot of business if you don't accept credit cards. Try authorize.net or if you want to stick to Paypal, Payflow. Paypal is fine for a hobby business, but if you're trying to make a living, you need to take plastic.

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