This was not a particularly fun morning…
- PayPal Freezes Tyler’s Account!
- PublisherForums Update
- CookingForums Logos
- PublisherSpot Designer Hired
PayPal Freezes Tyler’s Account!
So my morning starts off like any other as I turn on my computer to do a quick check on my sites and things: do a quick scan of the ‘morning e-mails’ to find anything interesting such as new advertising payments, check a couple affiliate earning stats, and check up on PublisherForums.
When I was checking my e-mail (I get around 60-100 e-mails a day) I saw one e-mail with the subject Notification of Limited Account Access. Oh boy, I thought. Another one of those fake PayPal scam e-mails. I usually get 1-2 of those a day. However, I always do a quick check on them just to make sure they aren’t legit.
It started with:
We appreciate the fact that you chose PayPal to send and receive payments for your transactions.
However, after a recent review of your account, it has been determined thatyou are currently in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy. The Policy prohibits the use of PayPal to send or receive payments for any form of gambling activities, including but not limited to payment for wagers, gambling debts or gambling winnings, whether conducted online, in person or through any other means of communication.
“Uh-oh” I thought. Now I was beginning to think it was legit and real. I scanned further down the e-mail to see:
To appeal the limitation on your account, you will need to:
1. Remove PayPal as a payment option, as well as all references to PayPal,including the PayPal logo and/or shopping cart, from your website(s), http://www.pokerforums.org/advertise/;
Once I saw that URL I was quite sure it was real. I logged into PayPal through a new browser session (just to make sure it wasn’t a false e-mail with a malicious forwarding URL) only to have my fears confirmed; my account was locked.
See, this isn’t good. I’m guessing the average PayPal user has between $0 and $200 in their account at any time. If I were out $200, I wouldn’t care. But you see, I keep a lot of money in PayPal… we’re talking $xx,xxx here. I always have… mainly just to have quick access to money that I can use to buy things at a moment’s notice, such as a domain or site for sale. I usually only withdrew portions to my real bank account when my bank account was getting low. So now you can see why I was a bit scared here.
Apparantly the problem was that I had violated PayPal’s Accepted Use Policy by accepting payments related to gambling as I had set up PayPal payments for advertising on PokerForums.com.
View this for a moment. It is PayPal’s gambling policy. As you can see, it is very loose:
Related Ventures, such as:
Gambling services, such as handicapping, or providing gambling tips or instructions.
Intermediaries facilitating the process of placing bets or securing offshore gambling licenses.
Organized forums that facilitate person-to-person betting.
Basically that means any site that has anything to do with gambling, even if you are simply providing strategies or tips and charge, say, a membership for that information, that uses PayPal, is violating PayPal’s rules.
So, now what?
The next step was to go through PayPal’s Resolution Center. Here they had two steps for me to undertake. First I had to remove all remnants of PayPal on www.pokerforums.org/advertise, and then I had to sign (digitally, thank God) an affidavit re-confirming my agreeance to PayPal’s rules and policies.
It then said I had completed all the necessary steps and that they would review my account which usually took up to 3 business days. I didn’t want to wait this long or perhaps longer, so I phoned them to see if I could expediate the process.
Their tech support guy, who was nice and down to earth, was sure that I had received a fake e-mail. He kept asking me all of these questions to make sure it wasn’t fake – obviously they have a large problem with this. I can only imagine how many people fall for it and PayPal has to deal with and fix. Anyhow, after finally assuring him that it wasn’t false, he responded that saying my account was functioning fine so that it must be.
Long story short, PayPal had already reviewed the issue during the time I had spent looking up their phone number and talked to them! So really, within minutes.
So, my account is back to normal status! My money is there and ready for me to do with as I please. WHEW!
I must admit, I am impressed with PayPal’s process and response. Their resolution system is simple, clear to the point, and tells you step-by-step how to unfreeze your account. After completing that, within minutes my account was reviewed and cleared. Also, their phone support was great too. However, I’ve heard other stories from people who haven’t had as good an experience.
So! What’s to be learned from this? Well, obviously you should ready all the legalities and fine print before using any service. I actually usually do a good job of this – unlike the vast majority of people, I do briefly skim/read the terms of agreements on important things like this. However, the difference is that I just skim or read them quickly. I don’t go over it with a magnifying glass. And with mega-corporations like PayPal/eBay, there is so much to read that it isn’t really feasible for people to read everything their lawyers write up. Then there’s the fact that they modify/append their rules many times over the course of a year and you’re supposed to keep up.
Anyhow, as a result, I’ve obviously had to remove them as a payment option for PokerForums.org. This hurts a bit – PayPal was definitely my primary method of payment. However, I’m not all that worried. Almost all poker companies prefer to send payment via Neteller or bank wire, and usually do; I usually get PayPal for smaller transactions from smaller sites. And almost all poker webmasters/companies usually have Neteller for obvious reasons. However, I will probably lose a small amount of advertising business as a result, from those who can only pay through PayPal.
Again though, it’s not a big worry, as I’m mostly concerned on advertising campaigns from the ‘bigger boys’, and they usually prefer bank wire or Neteller anyway.
As always, you couldn’t expect me to post a new blog post without shamelessly plugging PublisherForums, could you?
PublisherForums has reached it’s 1000 post milestone and over 100 members. It’s Alexa ranking is also dropping fast (Today rank currently at: 29,195).
If you’ve been holding off registering and posting on PublisherForums because of size, now you don’t have an excuse as it’s growing fast
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, I’m looking to advertise on webmaster-related sites. Webmaster blogs too. MSN me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested.
I’ve already bought about 8 slots, but am looking to buy a lot more. Tell your friends!
Advertise page up
PublisherForums’s advertise page is up. It uses the site’s template and SSI. I still have a few more things to add to the page, however.
As I’ve stated in my last blog post, I commissioned 40 banners to be made. CookingForums.net‘s are done now. Below is a sample of a few:
You can view the full list here.
PublisherSpot Designer Hired
As you may know, PublisherSpot’s programming is complete, and is only awaiting a design. I’ve finished writing up a template description and have found a designer. He only creates the PSD/mockup, and doesn’t code it, but my programmer was going to splice and code it to HTML and CSS anyhow.
I’ve hired this designer many times in the past, but only for logos. I’ve seen his portfolio for web design and it looks pretty good. He said he’d have the first mockup done by around Saturday. Here’s hoping I get something nice
Then, once the site is all completed, comes the painful task of actually populating it with content. I’m so amazingly busy already… I may hire some people to write reviews for me. We’ll see.