note: see an update from Bandcamp below
PayPal has recently stepped into some deep shit with their poor handling of Regretsy’s toys-for-kids campaign, but this certainly isn’t the only issue that’s come up. In fact, just yesterday there was a big story about my friends at Zivity losing their account… then there’s George RR Martin, Wikileaks, PirateBay, and many others.
Rather than a straight up boycott (or signing another useless petition), I’ve decided to try to affect change on a more immediate level by writing sites that I love to use, but only accept PayPal payments. After all, it’s hard to boycott PayPal when so few popular sites offer any alternatives. Below is a copy of my recent email to the awesome folks at Bandcamp.
I’ve been a longtime fan of BandCamp, and have nothing but good things to say when describing it to other musicians. The only problem I sometimes have is that Bandcamp only takes Paypal for payments. I’ve long wanted additional payment options, especially since PayPal started shutting down accounts of Wikileaks, Regretsy, Zivity, and even a few close friends of mine.
I know that PayPal is just too big for me to influence directly, but I’m hoping in writing this letter that Bandcamp would consider adding PayPal alternatives, such as WePay. Though I certainly plan on continued use of your site, I am currently shutting off the payment options for all of my albums on Bandcamp (http://docpop.bandcamp.com/) and keeping my fingers crossed that you’ll soon offer different payment alternatives. To be clear, I’m not trying to get you guys to remove PayPal, I’m simply asking that you consider offering alternative payment methods. I’d hate to think of the number of sales that you and I could both be missing due to only accepting PayPal.
Mobile Phone Musician and Photographer
update: I received this email from Ryan at Bandcamp
Thanks for the message and the love. We’re exploring alternate payment systems for the future, but there isn’t a set timeframe yet. Please watch the blog (blog.bandcamp.com) for updates.
FWIW, after the earthquake in Japan, charity compilations on Bandcamp raised over $75K for the survivors. Another album recently raised several thousand dollars for the families of FDNY firefighters killed in 9/11, and dozens of other charity releases have raised funds to support PTSD therapy, cancer treatment, and the building of schools, among many other causes. All of these transactions were processed by Paypal.
Regarding the Regretsy situation, PayPal has been in top form. Please check this out and balm your mind: https://www.thepaypalblog.com/2011/12/regretsy-issue-resolution/
Rather than bore you with my full response, I’ll just summarize by saying that I 1) thanked him for his quick response, 2) stressed that this issue is not specifically related to Regretsy, but more about offering alternatives for whenever a company like PayPal starts to piss people off, & 3) mentioned that PayPal may have done the right thing in light of public reaction, but other services that get poor treatment may not be so lucky. The last part was maybe unnecessary, but I think I felt somewhat defensive about the charity paragraph.