Join 3,564 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Paypal yanks whatreallyhappened.com account
March 13, 2003 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Yes to sex, no to dissent? The Register reports that PayPal has suddenly closed the account of the stridently skeptical (some say overly conspiratorial, but let's leave that tired debate aside) WhatReallyHappened.com. Here's WRH's response, along with reader comments and anti-PayPal links. Here's a translated Quebec story. "Can one conclude from it that PayPal has leaning for the sex?"
posted by mediareport (30 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
You know, I've never a day in my life actually heard a GOOD story about PayPal. Why are they apparently the most popular donation/payment system around, and yet everyone hates them? And what's the alternative then?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:21 PM on March 13, 2003


"Can one conclude from it that PayPal has leaning for the sex?"

No, one can conclude from it that PayPal has leaning against the unfounded anti-semitism.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:22 PM on March 13, 2003


Exactly... what is the alternative to PayPal? I personally have no problems with it, so I don't know where all this PayPal anymosity is comin' from.
posted by freakystyley at 1:37 PM on March 13, 2003


Are you really equating WRH with sites like White Aryan Resistance, pardonyou? Or does the way WRH ran with the Israeli spy ring story qualify as "unfounded anti-semitism"?

I'm honestly curious. I see the ADL has noted the way Aryan groups can use PayPal's sign-up bonus, but I never got the feeling WRH was a racist site, even as it sharply criticized right-leaning Israeli government officials. It's been a while since I visited, though, so I'm open to seeing what you consider evidence of WRH's anti-Semitism. Right now, it looks to me like PayPal seriously overstepped on this one.
posted by mediareport at 1:40 PM on March 13, 2003


"Merchant Risk Department" doesn't sound Orwellian. It sounds like the department that closes accounts that have a high level of bad deposits and chargebacks.
posted by smackfu at 1:43 PM on March 13, 2003


I think smackfu has hit it. I'm not a big fan of PayPal, but I'd like to hear how many problems they've had with WRH's donors before I assume PayPal has done something nefarious.
posted by RylandDotNet at 1:46 PM on March 13, 2003


(How about a nice NSFW tagged on after that Quebec link?)
posted by rhapsodie at 1:58 PM on March 13, 2003


It's a fucking business -- it's not the government. It can choose to do business with whomever it wants. Hell, maybe they prefer sex to strange theories that involve Isreal's foreknowledge of 9/11 -- I know I certainly do.
posted by pardonyou? at 1:58 PM on March 13, 2003


C2IT is an excellent alternative to paypal, run by citibank, and your account is FDIC insured to boot.

As far as PayPal problems, I ignored the stories for a long time, until they froze my account without cause, at which point I was forced to believe them. My account is still frozen, with $100 or so in it that I cannot withdrawal, and I cannot return to sender.

Personally, I feel a lot safer dealing with a real bank, who I can trust not to lock my account without cause.
posted by mosch at 2:00 PM on March 13, 2003


Exactly... what is the alternative to PayPal?

How about Yahoo! PayDirect or Western Union BidPay to name a few? More listed here.
posted by valerie at 2:09 PM on March 13, 2003


You know, I've never a day in my life actually heard a GOOD story about PayPal.

*shrug* I've used it hundreds of times, to send and to receive cash, and have had no real problems with it. Wait... I think once it forgot to tell me I had some cash waiting, and the buyer had to remind me to accept it, but that's the worst that's happened. I have been cheated out of money online before, but by sellers, not by Paypal.

This said, a lot of people do get ripped off, so beware. If you don't trust the seller, it's best to use Paypal with a Visa or Mastercard credit card rather than a bank account, so you can at least reverse the charges if Paypal refuses to refund your money in a fraud situation. And they will... Paypal has next to no fraud protection, regardless of what they tell you on their site, and they will cancel your account if you dare to use credit card chargebacks to recover your funds! Also, Paypal is not FDIC insured, which means that you should never leave cash sitting in your account, no matter what. Withdraw or spend it immediately.

As for an alternative to Paypal... for small amounts, I would say money order or check, within one's own country, and well-hidden cash internationally. IMHO Paypal is just as safe as either method, since none of them really provide a good way to get one's money back after being ripped off. For large amounts, escrow, escrow, escrow!

Credit cards or escrow are the best way to ensure that you'll be able to get your money back in a fraud situation. Use any form of quasi-cash, like Paypal, money orders, Bidpay, etc, and you're at the mercy of the quasi-cash provider if things go wrong.
posted by vorfeed at 2:11 PM on March 13, 2003


It's been a while since I visited, though, so I'm open to seeing what you consider evidence of WRH's anti-Semitism.

Go here, use the "Events of 9/11" nav bar, go down to "Isreali connections." Perhaps anti-semitism isn't as accurate as "unfounded anti-Israeli," though one could certainly argue that the latter suggests the former.

Then again, that is "what really happened."
posted by pardonyou? at 2:12 PM on March 13, 2003


pardonyou?: Perhaps anti-semitism isn't as accurate as "unfounded anti-Israeli," though one could certainly argue that the latter suggests the former.

One could argue it, but you know there's no necessary connection there. Look, if you don't *mean* anti-Semitism, then perhaps you should think twice before *accusing* someone of anti-Semitism. And since when is discussing the bizarre and still-unexplained Urban Moving Systems spy episode (that's the premier Jewish newsweekly in the U.S., btw, suggesting UMV was a known front for the Mossad) "unfounded" anti-Israeli-ism? I think folks are right to at least ask for an explanation from PayPal on this one.

RylandDotNet: how many problems they've had with WRH's donors

As I was reading the Register article, I tried thinking of what kind of problems they could have been having and came up empty. Would it be from totally fraudulent bank accounts? Otherwise, the answer here seems to imply that the money is removed immediately before being sent to the donation recipient.

rhapsodie: omigod, I'm really sorry about that. I plead forgiveness on grounds of male homosexuality; I swear to you it didn't even flicker across my consciousness that the nice lady's tits were hanging out.
posted by mediareport at 2:34 PM on March 13, 2003


"I never gave much thought to the authenticity of Holocaust claims, but the echoing anti-Semitism chants, the Holocaust in Space(Jewish Astronaut) stuff, the whole we're such victims has caused me to start looking into it, as the only thing I have in life is my own mind, my own beliefs. Looking into the claims, the shear numbers involved require some sophisticated mathematics - it would take a genius among geniuses to work out the complexities of managing an atrocity on such a scale.

Just as a start. 6 million victims of the Holocaust gassed, cremated, disposed of. Starting in late 1938 and ending in early-mid 1945. Now I assume, for my own ease, a 1-1-1938 starting date and a 12-31-1945 ending date. Which we will call 2920 days (8 years - 365 days a year). Which means 2054.79 Jews gassed, cremated, and disposed of every day for 2920 days. An amazing number, which would cripple an armies battle capabilities when considering the time to capture, transport, execute, and dispose of so many people daily. The cost of poison gas, the cost of gas to cremate. Procuring such amounts needed. The tons of ashes produced. The time it takes to cremate a human body, and the heat required. Bones don't burn in cremation. Add grinding them up. Etc...

Also, odd that, within a 2 month period, Roosevelt dies, Mussolini is murdered, Hitler commits suicide, Himler commits suicide. Guess dead men don't talk.

Odd, also, that the Diary of Ann Frank was found to be written, in part, in ball point pen - not invented until 1950. Taken from display, locked in a vault in Israel, and hasn't been seen since. "- Michael Rivero

Misunderstood, isn't he?
posted by RobbieFal at 2:53 PM on March 13, 2003


One site of links relating to Rivero.

"In the newspapers of the United States, America's astronauts take a back seat to Israel! What about the lady from India, with the PhD in aeronautical sciences? Why is her loss not worthy of equal note?"- Rivero, after the Columbia tragedy

More

Not to mention he constantly uses Ariel Sharon "we control America" quote
posted by RobbieFal at 3:28 PM on March 13, 2003


All the posturing about Paypal and the Jewish tangent aside, what exactly is this guy trying to achieve by juxtaposing "sex" and "dissent"? I don't exactly see anything intrinsically sinister in Paypal's dealings with porn sites.

XQUIZYPHYR: You don't hear good stories about Paypal because you don't hear many good stories about any large corporation: there's nothing exciting about successful money transfers and good banking service.
posted by azazello at 4:11 PM on March 13, 2003


I've been using paypal for nearly three years. No problems. I've had a good experience.

But they make me jumpy anyway, I can tell you that. Especially their latest user agreement, which pretty much reads like a list of legal acrobatics necessary to (1) not fall under banking laws (2) put any mediation/legal proceedings clearly in their favor and (3) never, ever have to pay you anything for problems or disputes.

Funny that the credit card companies have gotten hugely rich without having to resort to this.
posted by namespan at 4:55 PM on March 13, 2003


Brits: Use NoChex.

Or don't. The choice really is yours. I' not sure if it's Yank-compatible yet, though.
posted by armoured-ant at 5:01 PM on March 13, 2003


mediareport: didnt you get the memo? Criticising the right wing government of Israel, Zionism, the Mossad, etc makes you an anti-semite. I know it sounds crazy, but people like pardonyou? will be there to remind us and call us names.

azazello: Just saying paypal has problems isn't much of a story, but accusing paypal of being *ahem* in bed with evil porn mongers is a sensationalist story guaranteed to generate canoe.com pagehits, especially with a little breast showing in the article.

Thanks for the link though, I don't have ads5.canoe.ca on my hosts list yet.
posted by skallas at 5:09 PM on March 13, 2003


mediareport: I swear to you it didn't even flicker across my consciousness that the nice lady's tits were hanging out.

I have a friend who watched two entire seasons of Sex and the City and told me there was no sex/nudity in it. So I can (kind of) understand.
posted by rhapsodie at 5:11 PM on March 13, 2003


Well MeFi itself uses PayPal so it can't be all bad now can it.

Their Instant Payment Notification system (IPN) is great, it allows you to tie your backend systems into PayPals servers (it pings your server with transaction info) It's definitely a key piece of the puzzle that other systems simply don't offer. Not to mention the fact that their rates are very cheap, with merchant status and using the atm card to get cashback it's a mere 0.7% which is very competitive.

Anyway, I don't work for them but do use them (shameless plug for textads.biz) and I feel as though they are the best solution out there at the moment.
posted by zeoslap at 5:20 PM on March 13, 2003


Okey-dokey, PayPal don't like Nazis and we don't like PayPal. That's pretty clear.

Moving on past bigotry to about the only thing I can think of that's more incendiary... we could discuss PayPals views on abortion.
posted by cedar at 5:25 PM on March 13, 2003


From the "Changes Coming" page on the WRH site:

"We reserve the right to refuse any advertisement based on content or product sold, or perceived conflicts of interest with the editorial content of the site."

Interesting how they have no problem stating up front that they reserve the right to flat-out refuse to do business with anyone who's content doesn't suit them - but when they are subject to another business claiming the exact same right, they get all self-righteous.
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:40 PM on March 13, 2003


Thanks to RobbieFal; I wasn't aware of Rivero's Holocaust revision comments and find them disgusting (FWIW, I don't find his comment about the Columbia astronauts to be in itself offensive). I'll explore the other links, but will also repeat that I stopped going to WRH.com a while back, especially since there were other less breathless investigators looking at similar questions. I don't think anyone's called Greg Palast a Nazi sympathizer yet, have they?

I notice that no one's commented on the Jewish Forward link. It's worth pointing out that both Jane's Intelligence Digest (more here) and Salon remarked on the strange silence of the U.S. media in the Urban Moving Systems spy story. And Fox *did* remove from its site the series about the pre-9/11 Israeli spy ring busts - *without* recanting any of the claims or offering any explanation.

I'll just add that I always try to address specific arguments rather than baldly dismiss sources, like RobbieFal's second link does rather summarily. Stopped clocks being right twice a day and all that.

skallas: didnt you get the memo? Criticising the right wing government of Israel, Zionism, the Mossad, etc makes you an anti-semite.

Must have missed that one. Hell, I've gotten used to being an outlier on this issue; people are either too biased or too scared to talk about it honestly. It's really not that hard to separate out criticism of a certain strain of extreme right-wing Zionism (and, yes, that strain's pull on U.S. politicians and evangelical Christians) from criticisms of Judaism as a whole. But good luck trying to tell someone else that. Putzes like Jim "The Jewish community thinks X" Moran and conservative Jews who refuse to acknowledge other Jews' right to be critical of Israeli policy are making it increasingly difficult to have these conversations. But the need for discussion is getting more urgent all the time.
posted by mediareport at 5:40 PM on March 13, 2003


And Fox *did* remove from its site the series about the pre-9/11 Israeli spy ring busts

Brain fart: The story and busts were post-9/11.
posted by mediareport at 6:05 PM on March 13, 2003


I know it sounds crazy, but people like pardonyou? will be there to remind us and call us names.

Whatever, skallas. Did I call you or anyone here a name? I merely said initially that I found WRH to be anti-semitic in light its bizarre fixation on unfounded Israeli 9/11 conspiracy theories. And in an effort to preempt the inevitable (although, imho, somewhat lame) argument that vicious anti-Israeli arguments have nothing, nothing, by God! to do with anti-semitism, I corrected myself.

And honestly, I don't even care about I/P -- I don't like the policies of either side one whit, and think the way they're both currently acting they deserve each other. My point was that PayPal has the right to do whatever the fuck it wants. If it chooses to offer its services only to groups that confirm their belief that aliens have taken over Iceland, more power to them. In other words, stop acting like access to PayPal is a "right."
posted by pardonyou? at 6:43 AM on March 14, 2003


stop acting like access to PayPal is a "right."

Since when is trying to shame or otherwise influence companies to make their practices more transparent the same thing as demanding a "right" to those companies' services?

It's ridiculous to assume that everyone who gets angry enough at a particular private company's behavior to complain about it is somehow unaware that the company has "a right to do whatever the fuck it wants." Where do you get that bizarre notion, pardonyou??
posted by mediareport at 12:26 PM on March 14, 2003


Where do you get that bizarre notion, pardonyou??

Well, mediareport, for starters, I get it from your comment:

Right now, it looks to me like PayPal seriously overstepped on this one.

"Overstepped" what? What line do you attribute to them that they could "overstep" (let alone "seriously overstep")?

Another source for my "bizarre notion" came from the posted article:

PayPal dominates the US online micropayments scene. Which means that it has to behave better than its competitors.

Um, no, that's not what it means (setting aside, of course, the hornet's nest of what "behaving better" even means).
posted by pardonyou? at 2:10 PM on March 14, 2003


"Overstepped" what? What line do you attribute to them that they could "overstep" (let alone "seriously overstep")?

The line comes from my own opinion of how a business like PayPal should operate. Where else? Are you really suggesting that consumers (or sites like the Register) don't themselves have a right to advocate for a "better" way of doing business? Defined by the consumer?

No one's forcing anyone to do anything here. We're simply speaking up about a practice that seems shady, asking PayPal to change and/or alerting others so they can decide if they want to take their business elsewhere. Yet, somehow, to you that us denying PayPal's rights. Yeesh. Seems to me it's the person claiming that consumers have no right to lobby businesses to change their practices is the only one who's stomping on rights here.
posted by mediareport at 5:28 PM on March 14, 2003


Aargh, late for work. Make that last 'graph this:

No one's forcing anyone to do anything here. We're simply speaking up about a practice that seems shady, asking PayPal to change and/or alerting others so they can decide if they want to take their business elsewhere. Yet, somehow, to you that becomes us denying PayPal's rights. Yeesh. Seems to me it's the person claiming that consumers have no right to lobby businesses to change their practices who's stomping on rights here.
posted by mediareport at 5:30 PM on March 14, 2003


« Older "A lot of people may not want to repatriate their ...  |  Weight Watchers Recipe Cards, ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments