Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Bug The Almighty Buck The Internet

Massive Disruption of PayPal Subscription Service 95

Posted by kdawson
from the just-fix-it-guys dept.
hausmasta writes "Since August 30, there are massive problems with PayPal subscriptions. The automatic renewal of subscriptions stopped that day, causing headaches for lots of web site owners that rely on this kind of revenue. The problem is global, as this thread in the PayPal Developer Community shows. PayPal is aware of the problem but hasn't indicated any progress yet; some posters are wondering whether they have stopped working on it over the long (US) holiday weekend."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Massive Disruption of PayPal Subscription Service

Comments Filter:
  • Well.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JimXugle (921609) <Jim@nospam.xugle.com> on Saturday September 01, 2007 @11:33PM (#20437799)
    Everyone needs a day off, and those who died in military service need to be honored, but if Paypal wants to posture itself as an international company, things need to keep working... even when the USA isn't.

    (Posted by an American)
    • Re:Well.... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by whmac33 (524094) <whmac33@ y a h o o . com> on Saturday September 01, 2007 @11:38PM (#20437829)
      That would make sense for say Veteran's Day. But for Labor Day we honor ourselves, the workers. In any event, when a 24/7 company is down, you bet they're working on it. It doesn't just cost their clients money, it costs PayPal money.
    • by Mysteerie (972719)
      I agree, especially since they are online. Anyways, I noticed the subscription problem today as well, hopefully everything will be back to normal soon.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      ...attitude towards IT. Many corporations like Ebay (IMac, too) consider IT to be an expense and not a source of revenue. Consequently, IT gets underfunded. This results in lower quality of workforce and less time spent on debugging augmentations of their infrastructure. The fact that it is taking this long to find the problem shows that IT is underfunded. Corporations need to put as much emphasis on the departments that maintain the quality of service / good as departments that bring immediate revenue. Upp
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        What is ironic is that most companies treat their IT department like utter crap, considering them just another cost center to be controlled as much as possible.

        However, IT is just as important, if not more, than the expenses for guards, building security, and locks on the doors. Companies will buy high security Medeco and Abloy locks for their doors, then not hire anyone capable of managing more than a playground home network.

        Companies get what they pay for. I don't think this is the case with PayPal, as
        • by mindwhip (894744)
          This is often the IT departments fault. The company I work for has two major cost centres which bill back to the various business units, IT and document printing. Together these two make up the bulk of the business costs.

          IT bills the business units in a way that makes it unclear what they are actually paying for, just presenting the internal customers with 'this is what we had to spend and this is your chunk of it' with very little detail and no indications on why it cost so much.

          Document printing present
    • by saskboy (600063)
      It couldn't have happened to a 'nicer' company. Skype also had a week of serious downtime in the last month (some rumoured it was a spyware installation from the US Government).
      • Re:Well.... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by vtcodger (957785) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @08:09AM (#20439867)
        ***It couldn't have happened to a 'nicer' company.***

        I agree 113.763%. PayPal gives me the creeps. How any sane person can be comfortable dealing with an unregulated bank eludes me. Personally, I simply won't deal with PayPal unless and until they submit themselves to effective external regulation.

        That said, It seems to me like this particular problem is something that could affect any on-line 'bank' -- even a reputable one. It's sort of analagous to having your brick and motar bank shut down by flood, fire, earthquake, riots, power failure.

        • That said, It seems to me like this particular problem is something that could affect any on-line 'bank' -- even a reputable one. It's sort of analagous to having your brick and motar bank shut down by flood, fire, earthquake, riots, power failure.

          I wonder why you undermine your own argument with these last two sentences.
          As a matter of fact, the regulations for brick and mortar banks involve disaster resilience (normally through redundancy over at least two independent datacenters)
          and multiple levels of ins

        • There are some libertarians who would rather not have anything to do with a bank that is submitting to effective external regulation.
        • by rnd() (118781)
          In case you missed it, Wells Fargo was unable to process check card transactions on business accounts for over 48 hours a few weeks ago. Nobody there knew what was going on, and it cost a lot of small companies a LOT of money.
    • The problems may involve interfaces with the American Banking System. Organizations that deal with large quantities of money are usually not keen on making major changes after hours. When you have a large number of third parties involved in an interface (like you would for money transfers), the timeframe for repairs could well be dictated by third parties.

      I would not rush to blame any company for having a hard time responding to an outage on a national holiday, as they may dependent on infrastructure outs
      • The problems may involve interfaces with the American Banking System.

        My bank (credit union, actually) is doing a major system upgrade over the long weekend. Maybe something like that is causing PP problems?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You've clearly never worked in the banking industry. *Every* major change is done after hours. Anything and everything is done to avoid making any kind of risky change during regular banking hours. Now if the system is unavailable during banking hours...that's another story...
        • I've worked in several industries where the changes were made after hours, but the decisions were made during working hours. Of course, when something goes wrong with a decision, the system would be broken for a 24 hour period.
        • by rnd() (118781)
          Wells Fargo just had an outage lasting over 48 hours that impacted a huge number of customers.
      • The American Banking System has nothing to do with the PayPal subscription system, which is entirely internal to PayPal.
    • Um, it's Labor Day were celebrating, not Memorial Day. Although I'm sure our soldiers in the middle east will also be laboring, while most of us (other than retail and restaurant workers) will be resting.
  • by stox (131684) on Saturday September 01, 2007 @11:41PM (#20437853) Homepage
    https://www.paypaldeveloper.com/blog/article?blog. id=mts_updates&message.id=128 [paypaldeveloper.com]

    Paypal wants to notify merchants that subscriptions are experiencing some delays and that will be back to normal around September 5, 2007 (Wednesday) or September 6, 2007 (Thursday). Please be assured that no subscriptions will be missed, just that the payout will be delayed.

    We apologize for any impact caused by this incident.

    Sincerely,
    PayPal Merchant Technical Support Team
    • : George Orwell was an optimist.

      Damn you America! Where are my freebee orgies? Wasnt that part of the deal?

    • Mine got outright canceled.

      I'm betting that the merchant saw the payment not happening, and canceled it from their end, probably fairly automatically. However, it's the second time this particular subscription has been canceled, and it bothers me, especially because there are perks to it lasting longer.
  • by coryking (104614) on Saturday September 01, 2007 @11:43PM (#20437865) Homepage Journal
    This is just more proof that servers know when it is a holiday. They just sit around all year long smile when you walk by them. Their cute little blue LED's blink at you with affection. But leave for a three day weekend and BAM!!! They stab you in the back!

    Make no mistake my fine Slashdot friends. Servers are evil little bastards. They know. Oh yes. They know.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by davester666 (731373)

      This is just more proof that servers know when it is a holiday. They just sit around all year long smile when you walk by them. Their cute little blue LED's blink at you with affection. But leave for a three day weekend and BAM!!! They stab you in the back!

      Make no mistake my fine Slashdot friends. Servers are evil little bastards. They know. Oh yes. They know.

      That's why I set the date on my server's so they think it's Saturday when it's really Tuesday. And, I also set the time so it's 12 hours out,

    • by k31bang (672440)

      Make no mistake my fine Slashdot friends. Servers are evil little bastards. They know. Oh yes. They know.


      Dave? Is that you?
  • may be that PP has recently upgraded/changed not only their outer web site appearance but also the backend to ?? degree.

    Guess this comes with the territory of fast growth, IT and possibly employee fluctuation with global development spread (India, China...).
  • oh dear lord. Where is the "yes" tag?
  • Well, dang! (Score:2, Funny)

    by ackthpt (218170)

    That's why my million dollar donation to Slashdot keeps bouncing. ;-)

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Sunday September 02, 2007 @12:20AM (#20438029) Homepage Journal
    Is it just me or is it the end of the world on the forum thread linked in the article. I know small businesses run on slim margins, but when the very first posts are "OMG, payments are over 12 hours behind! It's the end!", I have to think that maybe it's time to build in some robustness into your business model. More likely the people in that thread are being a little melodramatic, as people seem to be wont to do when Paypal is involved. Even this thread on Slashdot seems to just be a way to try to increase pressure on Paypal (which I can agree with to a point).
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The delay in getting the money into the merchants account isn't the issue, the delay is causing the notification scripts not to fire. Imagine you have a website where users are granted access to your service provided their account has "credit", and you use PayPal subscriptions to fund that "credit". The subscription renews on Aug 31, but your site never gets the notification and locks out the user. User complains to you wondering why you disabled their account, raises hell because they are losing sales, etc
      • by jandrese (485)
        People don't put grace periods in their systems? I can understand being upset about not getting the info from Paypal, but the best solution would seem to be to suspend account terminations until after the Paypal issue is sorted out. This shouldn't cause their business to collapse.
    • by coryking (104614) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @12:27AM (#20438057) Homepage Journal
      If you ever want to see amusing, look at the idiots who post on the Second Life blog whenever their stuff goes down [secondlife.com]. You think "OMG My payments are 12 hours behind" is bad, try "OMG, I make a living selling virtual dildos and I cannot sell my product. It is the end!!!"
      • Hey, virtual dildo makers gotta pay the rent too.
      • ...look at the idiots who post on the Second Life blog whenever their stuff goes down. You think "OMG My payments are 12 hours behind" is bad, try "OMG, I make a living selling virtual dildos and I cannot sell my product. It is the end!!!"

        I can see that...I really can!!! Heaven knows if I don't get that hourly dildo fix from 2nd Life...my life has no meaning.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The only way little companies can survive is to be smarter;
      part of the way to be smarter is to be as automated as possible;
      this PayPal failure penalizes the highly-automated little company.
      PayPal purports to provide bank-like services; it's about time
      they provided bank-like reliability.

      Also, it's not that payments are 12 hours behind, it's that the
      whole month's payments are delayed. And a week's delay is a bit
      more than 12 hours.
    • by shird (566377)
      Paypal idiocy has cost me in the past. They decided to suspend my account until I gave emailed them photo id etc. They offered no explanation other than 'suspicious activity'. Fair enough if they are trying to protect my account, but they also suspended automatic debits which have been paid many times in the past. This suspension caused a bill to not be paid, which caused my web site to be suspended, which cause me to lose quite a bit - more than I even had in the account. Thanks paypal.
    • by jasquigl (950500)
      I notice from your email address that you don't actually live in the real world. Try running a business for a few years then come back and tell us all about your superior practices.
      • i bought a virtual dildo but it turned out to be counterfeit....
      • by jandrese (485)
        Did you know that Virginia Tech keeps the email accounts of their students open until they stop using them? It's a very convenient feature that they don't advertise.
    • by owlnation (858981)
      You miss one fundamental point...

      Small businesses most often are successful based on quality of service. It is therefore perfectly understandable that small business owners should be concerned when a service provider completely fails in their core business task causing them inconvenience and confusion.

      Paypal is clearly not interested in quality of service -- they never have been -- although they are much worse since the eBay purchase. It's milk the cash cow all the way. If they were concerned with ser
      • by Spand (980339)

        Personally I don't really understand why Paypal continues to have the success it does; considering it's cavalier attitude to its customers.
        Point me to one other company providing the same service as Paypal. And no.. not just another CC gateway, but one with the same features that Paypal has like Subscriptions, Recurring billing, etc. Not even Google checkout can match their features.
        • You are right. A few weeks ago I had to choose between PayPal, Google Checkout, and Amazon's new checkout system for a new subscription-based language learning service I rolled out.

          Most of my users are college students and tend to use gmail, so I really wanted to use GC. And they are not charging any TX fees for the rest of 2007, so that made them even more attractive. But they are "optimized" to sell physical goods, not subscriptions, so my users would be forced to receive weird emails about shipping costs
      • several reasons

        1: network effects, afiact once you move beyond the most basic account level it costs to move money in and out of paypal and even if it doesn't cost money it does cost time (banking systems are slow) so if you get payed using paypal you will want to pay others using paypal.
        2: EBAY, the worlds largest online auction site and they strongly encourage use of paypal
        3: international transactions, for small transactions paypals fees are way lower than my banks fees for using my card with an american
  • by swokm (1140623) on Sunday September 02, 2007 @01:34AM (#20438309)
    One week can be a long time to wait for payment for small business.

    I think there definitely needs to be more serious competition in this area, just to provide a little healthier competition.

    I'm sure we all remember other problems with PayPal:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Something_Awful#Hurri cane_Katrina-PayPal_conflict [wikipedia.org]
    • Amazon's FPS [amazon.com] can do recurring subscriptions (with multi-use tokens) as well - it's a bit more complex, of course, they give you the low-level stuff and leave it to you to build an application on top of it. The advantage here is you're the one triggering the billing each month - you don't have to rely on them to re-submit it for you. Of course, this is also a disadvantage, as your app needs to keep track of such things, and handle triggering the transaction at the proper times.
  • For subscriptions Google Checkout might be an option now, but for a lot of purposes (especially eBay) there is no other option than to use PayPal. Amazon, perhaps? Not for eBay though.
  • Dear Paypal User A solution has been found to the problem of subscription service. Unfortunately, we will have to renew your account. Please enter your login and password at the following website: http://67.125.40.22./ [125.40.22] Sincerely yours, The Paypal Subscription Team paypal452123@yahoo.com
  • My paypal account was hacked on that day and there were fraudulent charges placed.

    any connection?
  • Just another reason why we always urge our ecommerce customers to stay away from using PayPal. Not that we need another reason.
  • I just received e-mail from PayPal informing me of the problem and requesting that I follow the attached link and verify my account information.


    Hey! There's another e-mail. And another.....

  • The paypal shopping cart has a feature to allow you to specify shipping on a per-item basis. This feature was also broken on the same day. The very example on their website

    https://www.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_pdn_ cart_overrides_outside [paypal.com]

    Does not work, and adds the item with the default shipping.

    I called to complain and got the typical run around, they send me to the example on that page, I'm like that's the example I'm using, oh can you please hold. What am I going to hold for. Well I need
  • Ok, enough with the "paypalsucks.com" links.

    What are the alternatives? And I mean something that's not USA-only and as easy to setup as PayPal?

  • I love Pay Pal, best thing to happen to the www since conception. Every connection I have had with them worked out perfect, I have their credit card which is excellent, nothing it seems is too much trouble. All you complainers need to look in the mirror and analyze yourselves.

Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurence of the improbable. - H. L. Mencken

Working...