[thelist] To have an SSL Certificate or Not?

David Kaufman david at gigawatt.com
Tue Dec 1 11:41:27 CST 2009

Hi Bob,

Bob Meetin wrote:
>> Does everyone think that the old stigma of "Paypal sucks--I must
>> create an account so I'm not even going to deal with this, good bye."
>> is mostly over today?
>> I know that once upon a time, many were hesitant to use it.

Your customers no longer need to register with PayPal to buy things from 
(or donate to) your website.

For a few years now, you can use either the simple PayPal "buy now" (we 
use "Donate now" on evolt.org) buttons, or their more advanced API's and 
your customers do need to have, and do not need to create, a PayPal 
account to complete the sale, and so they also don't have to do the 
"associate the credit card" or "link the checking account" steps that 
used to put people off so badly.  Buyers can just do regular 
"drive-by-payments" with their credit cards just like on any other 
shopping cart or merchant account.

There may still be some stigma, but mostly I think it's just from us 
graybeards who remember the bad old days (when it was true that 
www.paypalsucks.com :-))  But now PayPal, Authorize.net and Google 
Checkout (far cooler interface IMO, btw) are, in that order, the most 
popular, and so de facto standard online payment solutions for small and 
medium sized websites.  Larger operations use CyberSource (which bought 
Authorize.net recently) or their regional bank's proprietary gateways 
and clearing systems because they need massive levels of support and 
custom-tailored fraud detection/response strategies and -- the real 
reason -- to get better discount rates than we small-timers can.

That's not to say that PayPal *doesn't* suck, or that people don't get 
burned -- they surely do!  It's just that, these days, Paypal's cranking 
out so many *successful* transactions per second, routinely and properly 
handling fraud and other failures 24/7 for so many *satisfied* small and 
medium sized merchants, that the alarmists can now be safely dismissed 
as disgruntled cranks who are really statistically insignificant anyway.

And I'm sure sometimes Google Checkout and Authorize.net suck too!  But 
I recommend Authorize.net to my clients (who can either do their own, or 
afford to pay me to do the, server-side shopping cart setup or custom 
API development) for just one reason:  Authorize.net has real, live 
human customer service reps who answer their phones, speak my language, 
and solve my problems.  PayPal and Google?  Not so much.



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