How Diaspora* Found Its Tiger Stripe in the Midst of a Paypal Fiasco
We want to update you on the whole PayPal fiasco. We have good news and bad news, but after the day we’ve all had, why don’t we start with the good news?
So the good news is… actually, the GREAT news is that Silicon Valley startup Stripe has come to the rescue to enable Diaspora* donations on its service instead of PayPal. So we’re back, baby!
When PayPal mysteriously and arbitrarily decided to freeze everyone’s donations, we reached out to various payment services. Stripe responded right away to our call for help and swung into action, helping us get our online donations capability back up and running in just a few hours. Think about it. In just a few hours, we got a whole new payment service installed. We ran two credit cards through the system, so it should be OK. You can check out their amazing new service at the Diaspora* Foundation’s donation page. Stripe is really cool and simple and works great. As you can imagine, we got the opportunity to spend a lot of time with them today, and like us, they are inspired by a social mission: to make it as easy as possible for, say, a Honduran and an Indonesian, not only to chat together, but also to have meaningful economic exchanges on the web. So we’re very excited to have the opportunity to work together.
Now, for the bad news… We had raised $45,000 in just a few days, and then PayPal froze our account. Even though we’ve complied with every PayPal request, including providing them with our certificate of incorporation, they still won’t give us an explanation for any of their moves. And it wasn’t buyer’s remorse: From the thousands of donations we received, we had only one complaint and refunded that person’s money immediately. PayPal just sent us an email saying “appeal denied,” where they announced that they would lock up the Diaspora* community’s donations for 180 days. Yes, you heard that right. PayPal gets to earn interest on all of our donations for 6 months, while we have to wait for PayPal to come up with a reason to justify their decision. And it seems that this is common practice for PayPal, as the case of Shelley Michaels, Steve Hudgell, independent developers, and so many others show. Obviously, PayPal’s behavior is unacceptable, which is why we have asked our lawyer to get involved.
Since we announced the news earlier today, hundreds of you have tweeted and emailed PayPal urging that they release the funds. To all of you, we say THANK YOU. Unfortunately, the fight continues. Please keep up the pressure! If we keep pressing PayPal and draw media attention to their decision, they will have to relent.