Tag Archives: Standards

Money where your site is

The web began as a communication and collaboration tool but soon evolved into much more when someone sorted out how to pay for stuff through it. A secure protocol and security certificates helped make it happen but ultimately it was coders and credit card companies who put payment processes online.

Today the most well known payment process is undeniably PayPal, helped in no small part by the boom of eBay a few years back. I generally had no problem with paypal so long as I kept feeding it money to use for me and people happily paid for my eBay stuff through it. However, problems started when I migrated to Australia from the UK and both eBay and Paypal failed to move with me. Perhaps because Americans think no-one leaves the USA by choice, to move countries permanently, and their view is a world view, that this was not something worth catering for. I have to say it was easier to open a new bank account in my adopted country than to get paypal or eBay to acknowledge my move. I was told that i could change my address, of course, just not to another country.  Neither would accept that I should be able to keep my account open but update it with new address and payment information for another country.

The only answer was to open up a new account in my new country (with a new email address I might add since email is a unique identifier, of course). So goodbye eBay history and PayPay previous payments, and hello newborn newbie accounts. I suffered through the awkward separation and divorce and settled into newly-wedded bliss. Problem was though, my old relationships kept popping out through the cracks like a horror film zombie, to haunt my new babe with my past discretions.

This manifested itself in occasional top level domain redirection (.co.uk from the .com or .com.au I originally typed) or the refusal to buy an item restricted to aus addresses, even though my address and ip address clearly show Aussie-ness.

It would have been OK if the excuse I received made any sense, that it is to avoid international money laundering. That would suggest the system is incapable of managing a decent log of transactions or monitor accounts opening and closing rapidly. But confusingly for me, I don’t understand why it is incapable of understanding a person’s history online is important to them and in many ways, their own property.

Hopefully it’s not an excuse to increase the account count.

So even though it may be off topic, these are the kinds of questions I will be asking at the PayPal Developer Day in Sydney on Monday.

Basically, what is changing in the pay pal interface to make it easier and better for humans to get their tasks done?


I recently completed a submission tendering for the provision of an Intranet to a well-known housing group last week. There were some interesting points they made in their requirements document, like complying with web standards, meeting accessibility guidelines and engaging the users. It got a bit scary when they mentioned the amount of things they wanted in there, how the clients (their 350+ staff) would be expected to tick off reading items, deal with “alerts” and write, blog, post pictures, review local services and businesses like restaurants, wiki, rate other articles and pieces, etc.

They were going to be asked to do quite a bit, for little apparent reward, using a system that sounded very complicated even to me, who lives in the web and creates complex things. But that was OK, as I am accustomed to potential clients who need a hand to understand what can be delivered in a browser, need to be shown how to accommodate user’s expectation, and need expert advice in getting the balances right.

The scary part was the blog.

Or as they called it, the blog-roll. For those of you outside the UK, I just want to remind you, bog-roll means toilet paper and this was the company’s serious attempt at being light-hearted.

The concept is that visitors would come to a page designed to look like a toilet roll on a toilet roll holder, and the sheets would each contain a teaser to the next entry; which people would “tear off to read”, and then place in the “archive” for future reference.


I guess they thought it was a cute idea, blog > bog, tee hee! In other circumstances this might be funny but there is a crucial point they missed. Staff in organisations like theirs are incredibly reluctant to change and any new thing introduced will naturally met with scepticism and derision. Equating something that would be required reading, that you want people to engage with and respect to some degree, or at least enjoy, well… I was speechless!

I had to reply, but I couldn’t tell them it was weird and if implemented would probably be ridiculed and disrespected. Who would want to write for something that was presented on a toilet roll other than novelty toilet roll makers?

How do you comment on ideas such as these and expect your hopefully better ideas to be considered?