by Mike Masnick
Tue, May 6th 2008 11:42am
Down in Australia, eBay has apparently decided to require sellers to use eBay-owned PayPal for electronic transactions, blocking out a number of other solution providers in the space. Understandably, this has upset a bunch of eBay customers who, for whatever reason, prefer other payment solutions (often because they've had bad experiences with PayPal). eBay's Australian execs, to their credit, decided to hold a "town hall" meeting to discuss the changed proposal -- and it didn't go particularly well, from the sound of it (thanks to an anonymous reader for sending that in). Apparently, the booing and hissing started early (well, late, because the eBay team opened the doors quite late) and things just spiraled downhill from there. But the key point of ridiculousness was when regional VP Simon Smith explained the reasoning as follows: "We're not allowing people to offer unsafe choices, just like in this democracy you can't go out and buy heroin on the streets." Now, you can understand what he was saying... but, clearly, there's a bit of a difference between using a non-PayPal electronic payments solution and dealing heroin. And, of course, if this were really about "protecting" buyers and sellers, then shouldn't eBay at least offer a path for third party providers to become "certified" as being safe?
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