About the Author:

With a career that has spanned advertising, production, technical services, and project management, Michael is able to articulate the wide range skills and professions that make the Internet work. This eclectic understanding and his desire to shine the light on those hiding behind techno babble has brought success to a wide range of projects.

Twitter @bissell

Linked In

Past Postings:

Using Dissent To Enhance Your Social Influence Online

Industry Profile - Author

Industry Profiles Full Time Employees - Professional Writer

Some Thoughts On Freelancing

Building Your Online Brand

Marissa Mayer and the Change in Yahoo's Remote Workforce

LinkedIn for Professional Writers

Fake Republican Twitter Accounts

"Did you mean?" -- Google's chiding nanny of search results

Branded Technology

Sharingspree.com -- Stealing more than GroupOn's Idea

The Internet Isn't Entertaining Enough

It's not your bank... It's Apple's and Amazon's

Violated by Madison Avenue

Google+ Scares Me

"We need to..." Internet Marketing Myths

Facebook's deal with the Devil

My cool new phone is a little too cool.

You are never alone

Promotion vs. Distribution... You'd think they'd know that one...

Publishing Industry Watch

Content for Social Media

Social Media Slot Machine

Anonymous vs Me

News from the Twitter Follow Campaign Trail

The art of Indiscriminate Twitter Following

The Cloudy Meaning of The Cloud

The Demand For The Loss of Creativity

Alien Technology and Government Conspiracies

Time for a New Reality

The Death of Email

Protecting Free Speech... Anonymously (and geekily)

Amazon Shouldn't Have Shut Down WikiLeaks

The Superpowers of the Hive Mind

Time for New Ideas

Comcast, Netflix and the Mystery of the Modem

The Great Technical Disconnect

New for the Sake of New

A Retail Store Built Like the Web

Disposable Personas

When did Google Start Policing the Internet?

Getting back to HTML basics, thanks to Apple

Inspecting my Navel Base

A shoebox vs. an online backup

Is Your "Resume" Website Recruiter-friendly?

iBooks -- Creative Epicenter or Gatekeeper?

The Failure of Success

The Economy is Going to Get Worse, but that's okay

Time lost on Twitter

Client Vendor Relationships

Twitter's back alleys and dark places

Social Media is NOT Advertising

Microsoft Courier

Form (designers) versus Function (geeks)

PDXBOOM -- The power of social media and the portland pipe bomb

China and Apple -- Different organizations, same management

The volume of screens


Google Adds Biking Directions to Maps


That magical little tablet

How your website can be in two places at once

Masterpieces created by sheer volume

Suing over lack of originality

A Primer on Internet Fame -- dancing babies, hamsters, numa numa, and more...

Checking my messages

Rules are made to be broken -- in a reasoned, systematic way

So many accounts, so few passwords

Who really uses Twitter? 60% of Twitter's traffic isn't on Twitter

The Web is a Jerry Rigged Kludge

Twitter: Asleep at the Mouse Wheel

Where regulation is good: Google Voice and Vonage

How Facebook is (unintentionally) forcing programmers to piss off users

The Twit Cleaner

Perfect Secretary's pitch for @Adbroad (and the Youtube API)

The Emotions of Text

The Shorty Awards Scandal -- Manual Spam is still Spam

Google Analytics, the cloud and missing numbers #fail

Helen Klein Ross & Michael Bissell Interview at Adweek's Social Media Strategies Conference

The Internet is the New 60's

Cougars from New Zealand (and I don't mean big cats)

Adding facts together, or why you can't charge your cell phone from wifi

Social Media and the Destruction of the World

Rabid Fans vs Passive Viewers -- The Coco vs Leno saga

How to tell someone to retweet (without using up your 140 characters)

You can't buy social media

A book unopened is but a block of paper

Building the LOST: The Final Season Sweepstakes

Holiday SPAM (or the lack thereof)

Archiving Twitter

Too Many Toolbars

Random Censorship with Google Adwords

Accessibility and Shopping Online

Twisted path to customer service

Flash: Shiny objects blinding your audience

Twollow and other gold rush scripts

GPS in a Laptop computer

Thinking outside the box... There was a box?

Twitter was designed for Text Messaging

It's not the corporations, damnit

Entrepreneur or Dreamer?

Adweek Social Media Twitter for Brands Presentation

Socializing is more than Social Media

Generational Marketing is a Myth (or Who's your Daddy?)

Social Media is Just the Way We Use the Internet

Twitter Followers Don't Matter (ask the porn sites)

The Internet is Gooder than Books

Sometimes you don't want your campaign to go viral

Best Twitter Branding Campaign

Like flies to crap, Spammy Twitter Followers don't really go away

iPhone SMS Security Hole

How Flipmytweet works

Cell Phones as Microscopes

Digg is not the Hijacker -- You Are

Steve Ballmer -- the walking dead?

Twitter as an open mic poetry reading

Automatic Social [un]Awareness

New York, New York

First splash for United Against Malaria

New Media/Old Media and the CLIO Awards

Interview at SXSW: Mad Men Twitter And Tracking

We've got an App for that -- it's called the Web

Understanding Google To Get Your Resume Noticed

Made it to SXSW in Austin

The trouble with Wordpress and other templates

Wayward Words with Baggage

Speaking at SXSW March 17th

The fleeting Memory of the Internet

It's okay to say 'I don't know'

Good Morning America, now Go Fight Traffic

More surreality in Portland

Nike Takes Over Conquent

Facebook owns this title

Excuses, excuses

A little on Social Media

Feeding on Content

Attack of the Bots

Irish Music in Oregon City

Landing on an Aircraft Carrier

Got Curry? And some bizarre art?

Web 1.0

Random Music and Random Life in Portland

To the dump, to the dump, to the dump dump dump

Flight Simulator

Cold night, hot fire, happy cat

Net Neutrality

Walking to work in the snow

A window into Moreland of the Past

Getting clever with data feeds

Big and Little Beirut

The Other Credit Crisis

The Broadband Inauguration

T-Mobile owns Magenta and Other Patent Stories

The Risk-takers, Doers and Makers of Things

The noise of 20,000+ Twitter Followers

Reflections on my DC Trip

Born Again American

30,000 feet, 500 MPH Suburban Strip Mall

Cellphones, toilets and the Inauguration

The wall of pissing

National Treasure/National Archives

My trip to DC so far

Everyone is insane

Getting ready for DC

The End of Days (of song): Microsoft Songsmith Example

The Very Model of a Modern Major General

Browser Bigotry

The Death of your Soul: Microsoft Songsmith

Creative Development or Developing Creatively?

Race to Witch Mountain

The Myth of Wikipedia (or the Wiki-1400)

Online/Offline Sales -- is it really that bad?

Is PayPal Tacky?

Old School Web Design Still Works

Domain Squatting

Christmas Fire

Green Chri$tma$

QA 101

Portland Snow

Get some return on that web traffic

I think they have a backup...

I'd love to have that problem

The [un]importance of statistics

Don't be a tool of viral marketing

CAT Scan!

Follow up to the shoulder injury

Emails, discussions, blogs, wiki and web content

Ironic Injury

On the Santa Monica Pier

You Designed for Print First

You let someone else register your domain name

You figured .biz, .info, .us would work fine

What's after the Integrated Circuit?

Intelligent life is out there (but it's bugger all down here on earth)

Subject Matter Experts Talking Other Subject Matter

The Totalitarian Regime of Apple

Oversimplifying how people work


Creative Services for the New World

Reverse Anthropomorphism

The End of Time

Oil prices and birdsong

Watching Starship Troopers AGAIN!

Better Living Through Twitter

Lessons Learned From Apple

It's the Brand, Baby

Business Architecture vs. Web Construction

On Truth

You can't build life

Accidentally Drunk in Portland

Al Gore the Winner

Intelligent life is out there (but its bugger all down here on earth)

Aussie Rules Football

Trip to Nostalgia Land

I am such an idiot

Long day of travel

Miami -- as far from Portland as you can go in the US

Inverse Peter Principle

Random Knowledge

I'm fascinated with modern plumbing

Leaving Seattle (or why you should keep your ticket close)

On the Rails

The Hive

RSS for this blog
Is PayPal Tacky?
2008-12-31 10:15:59

I posted this question on Linked In yesterday:
I have a client who wants to use PayPal rather than traditional credit card processing on his site. I think it's tacky, am I wrong?
Maybe I'm old school, but I've been online since 1994, and my feeling is that it cheapens the site.
I got a lot of answers, mainly from people who supported the idea of using PayPal. Most folks who responded seemed to lean on the side that PayPal is known, that it's secure and that they offer great customer service. It's apparently more expensive than traditional credit card processing, but it gives a known quantity, where your small company brand may not.

One of the things I find interesting is the assumption that I was talking about a small business, which pretty much underscores my belief that if you use PayPal, your customers will perceive you as a small company. It's also interesting to see that most of the people who really like it are the merchants themselves -- I'm still not sure what the perception of the average consumer is when they see a PayPal logo and get diverted from the site.

I try to filter the grandstanding people like to do while answering LinkedIn questions, but it's difficult to ignore the "I KNOW better than Thou" tone people put into their responses, while not providing a lot of foundation or credibility. For example:
Tacky? This is the 21st century. I've been online since before most people knew what a modem was, and hackers were judged on how well they could whistle at 300 baud. The only form of online payment I take for any transaction is via PayPal. I only make exceptions in rare situations, such as when using a service like Escrow.Com.
Which is great, except his title lists him as "ITIL Evangelist and Professional Cat Herder" and his resume is engineering and instructing at Learning Tree. It's not that the answer isn't valid, but this question is about brand perception, not the functionality of PayPal (or herding cats) and his assertion that the "only form of online payment" he takes is PayPal actually supports my assertion that PayPal is small business because the impression I get from his resume is that he doing small business.

The site in question is www.gmsparts.com, which, honestly, I think is some of the better work Conquent has done over the years. We took a really bad site (I mean REALLY bad: take a peek at the archived original site) and brought these guys into the 21st century. They now run neck and neck with their main competitor, who they used to whollop in traditional space, and now have regained their place with a great online presence.

I think the best answer came from Mark Lowe, who lists himself as a CTO, Strategic Advantage Technology Solutions - Specialists in e-Business and e-Commerce. He summed up his answer with a very basic, common sense suggestion:
The ideal situation is not to accept either or, but both - the first rule of successful ecommerce is to make it as easy as possible for the customer to transact with the merchant. The customer is king and this should override any personal preference of the merchant.
So, what I need to go back to my customer with is the basic, common sense question: why do you want to take PayPal? Is it for the customer, or is it because you like it yourself?

Ultimately I believe that there is a place for PayPal and Google Checkout, but at the end of the day, I think that these services solve problems for a limited audience, and the question is always going to be, is it YOUR audience.

Quick follow-up prompted by the guy I derided for his Cat Herder title.

Apparently most of the major retails DO take PayPal, although they seem to minimize its visibility, anyone using the Amazon store technology (like Barnes and Nobel) will see the PayPal link.

So, the bottom line seems to be do both. Leave options open, and don't bring your own prejudices to the table.

Paul Tutty: Re: Is PayPal Tacky?
2008-12-31 10:58:16

I was one of the people who answered you on LinkedIn and I really do strongly believe in offering as many options as possible for a checkout. It isn&'t tacky, it isn't "small business", it is good business.

Think of it from your own point of view. Starting from the very first time you did an e-commerce transaction, did you really not worry what was happening with your CC details?

I know I did and still do with certain websites that don't seem to be well developed, but do have a certain item I can't find elsewhere.

Now I'm not saying the website in question is ill-developed, but personal taste is personal taste and I'm certain someone, somewhere, will not enjoy the experience. That's just a fact of life. And they will leave without purchasing, as I have done and you probably have done.

But, because humans are brand-oriented, whether they believe it or not, that fact can be used in your favor. Adding a well-known brand to a website, like the visa or mastercard logo, adds credibility. But so does adding PayPal and google checkout. Google and PayPal are near household names in households with internet access, ie. your target market.

So by adding credibility to the site, you infer trust to buy.

The second reason and one which I would prefer to be the main reason people would use them more, is because I strongly believe in having one account that can be re-used on a lot of websites. Like OpenID, google checkout and PayPal allow people to just "sign in and go" with minimal fuss and with minimal time spent filling boring forms.

Darren Azzopardi: Re: Is PayPal Tacky?
2008-12-31 14:24:05

I myself have never made the assumption that paypal equals, "small business" but then again, I can easily see why this opinion has formed.

It's cheaper to setup and when companies on a timescale...it makes sense.

Seeing a Paypal logo for me personally means when it comes to the processing my order, all that is required is my email and possible password for security.

So instantly I feel relaxed. I don't have to go downstairs, look through my jacket, pluck out my card, type out my numbers, hope I haven't entered a wrong digit by mistake or I'll be forced to repeat the process.

Now I'm sure you can see the positives of that.

It will only be ignorance letting you choose not to have it.

I don't know the stats on how many e-commerce sites use Paypal. For the sake of the discussion lets say 35% of all e-commerce sites use this.

Now if you where to give a presentation to your client and in it you advised them not to you use paypal as it cheapens their site.

Your basicly cutting off revenue, and where business is business. If someone said to me I'm not getting my possible share 35% of income because you think its tacky. Then I'll call my PA to book you a taxi home.

Its similar to me saying to a future client I will not build you an IE6 proof site because its CSS rendering is so poor and its just too much effort. IE6 still exists because people do not know better, they stick to what they know.

They're not like you or I, using the web everyday for reading, contacting clients, etc, etc. For them its familiarity, they see something they know...BAMN! They're on it...its plain sailing from then on.

Now why would you take that away from them because you don't like it.....you big meany!

Once could say its up to use to educate the users out there to whats best, making them avoid the bad...to gentley push them in the right direction.

We are not dictators just designers...designing areas where users feel comfortable.

Darren Azzopardi

Michael Bissell: Re: Is PayPal Tacky?
2008-12-31 15:30:52

I have to admit, I didn't expect to change my opinion by asking this question, but, heck, these things happen. We'll keep a hard press on him to keep the existing card processing and when we add PayPal, we'll probably add Google Checkout as well -- no impediments to getting the money from the customer to our client.

Comment on this blog
Your name:

Your email (will not be displayed):



Enter the text above to help us filter spam: