February 5, 2001 9:33 PM Subscribe
"Please note that Honor System payments are voluntary. Therefore, a payor may refund himself for any reason and with no questions asked up to 30 days after a payment is made. There is no process by which you may contest a payor-initiated refund."
posted by fraying at 10:59 PM on February 5, 2001
posted by gluechunk at 11:05 PM on February 5, 2001
posted by aaron at 11:25 PM on February 5, 2001
posted by gluechunk at 11:29 PM on February 5, 2001
posted by DragonBoy at 11:50 PM on February 5, 2001
If you offer a money-back guarantee on what you sell (and if you're selling content, why wouldn't you?) then giving the buyer the ability to take their money back -- rather than forcing you to take the time to issue a refund -- could actually be considered a feature.
posted by kindall at 12:00 AM on February 6, 2001
It may not be the equal of Paypal, but it may be "good enough" for a lot of people. There are sure to be more entrants in this niche in the future. And this also shows one of the key lessons of last year: don't expect that just because you have a cool technology thing you can do online that people will flock to you. Standalone services are very hard to brand and push to consumers, especially with VC dryup. But the same technology, implemented as an add-on service ...
(When will Amazon repurpose their reader review software for weblogs?)
posted by dhartung at 12:05 AM on February 6, 2001
But PayPal is far more than a method of soliciting donations.
I'm discussing this given situation.
posted by aaron at 12:13 AM on February 6, 2001
If anything is capable of accidentally touching off the uprising that kills cookies, this is it. Plus, I'm somewhat amused by the possibility of running an entire blog inside the "site detail" information section on your paypage. The archiving features suck, sure, but I'm sure they'll improve with time.
posted by grimmelm at 12:13 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by aaron at 12:14 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by chaz at 12:46 AM on February 6, 2001
We now return you to the Please Give Matt Some One-Click Lovin' thread, already in progress.
posted by youhas at 1:02 AM on February 6, 2001
Obviously you dont want to use amazon to exchange payment for auction goods at ebay, but if you're truly just asking for donations, why be so worried about it? Are you concerned that people will revoke their payment? What confidence....
In fact, I see the amazon system as twice as good as paypall for one simple reason: amazon already has my information. I dont need to log in and create an account on yet another system if I want to give someone a few bucks.
Further, amazon has more time and money and most other aggregators out there. This means that they can do all sorts of neat data crunching and start establishing collaborative filtering with honor-pay sites the same way they do with all of their other for-sale items.
Unless you're exchanging goods or services that require a definite fee and an arbitrated refund process, I dont see any reason to use paypall over amazon.
posted by bryanboyer at 1:31 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by owillis at 1:38 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by barbelith at 1:53 AM on February 6, 2001
Their signup page claims there are "Two Ways to Earn" -- "Collect Voluntary Payments" or "Sell Digital Content". All fine and dandy. But the site they point to as an example of Selling Digital Content, the Short Story Writers Showcase, is doing no such thing -- they're Collecting Voluntary Payments ....
So does anyone have any idea how you would use this to sell something, like they vaguely claim you can?
posted by webmutant at 2:25 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by endorwitch at 3:52 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by prolific at 4:04 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by bliss322 at 4:37 AM on February 6, 2001
Some comparison on credit card to service transactions. Amazon Honor System charges 15%. So at $1.00 the fee would be $0.15. At $2.00, the fee would be $0.30. At $3.00, the fee would be $0.45.
In comparison to PayPal, they charge a flat fee of $0.30 for anything under $15.00. Anything over $15.00 is charged at 2.2% of the transaction total + $0.30 flat fee.
So for example, on a $20.00 transaction, Amazon HS would charge $3.00. PayPal would charge $0.74.
Plus you don't necessarily need graphics, can use your own, etc.
posted by benjh at 4:59 AM on February 6, 2001
Hey Matt, if ya got a PO Box, us non-cc users might be willing to pitch in a dime or two.
posted by Mick at 5:06 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by mblandi at 6:37 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by quirked at 7:20 AM on February 6, 2001
Since it's such an easy service to set up (being a parasite for payments), I'm sure Yahoo, MSN and AOL will be jumping on the bandwagon.
What's funny is that with Amazon.com's new recent services (this one, zShops, the one that lets authors and musicians sell their CDs through the site), they're exploiting their network of customers for the purpose of collecting a tax-like payment on services. Again, the artist/writer/producer/seller gets screwed by the middleman who owns the marketplace.
If you ask me, 15 percent seems too high for a donation system. There's a lot of padding there. But I notice that a lot of sites have been jumping on the bandwagon.
posted by timothompson at 7:25 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by owillis at 7:42 AM on February 6, 2001
ValueClick and such services seem to have no problem sending cheques over here, anyway.
posted by dagny at 7:48 AM on February 6, 2001
Donations are tax-deductible only if given to registered 501(c)(3) corporations.
Still, you only need receipts for donations over $100, IIRC. Schedule A has a line-item you can use for "all other donations".
Unless you're audited, I guess.
posted by dhartung at 9:18 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by riffola at 9:33 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by owen at 9:51 AM on February 6, 2001
This image appeared when I clicked the button.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:01 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by owillis at 10:05 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by Brilliantcrank at 10:17 AM on February 6, 2001
1) You're right, 15% is ridiculously high. Ouch.
2) The greeting-you-by-name thing is, to me, one of the prime selling factors. They call it adding the "guilt-factor," because it implies "we know who you are." Pretty smart, whether you like the idea or not.
3) I'm interested to hear it didn't work overseas. That's one of the advantages I expected it to have over PayPal.
4) Another advantage over PayPal: Amex.
5) The way you do non-voluntary payments is you make the pay-out page only accept referals from the AHS thank-you page. This can't be done with PayPal because the thank-you page is SSL-encrypted, so it doesn't send a referer.
6) One really cool thing about PayPal is that you send all the data about the purchase (Item, price, etc.) in the query string. This is nice, because you can dynamically generate payment pages for an infinite variety of "products." As far as I can tell, you can't do this with AHS.
8) Send the buyout offers to my lawyers. ;)
posted by evhead at 10:44 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by rcade at 11:17 AM on February 6, 2001
The no international users thing is super annoying (I'm bitter I can't use it after seeing what Metafilter has raked in so far damnit), but probably the credit card companies are stopping that. When Paypal finally took international orders, within a few weeks Mastercard decided to drop out, so now you have to have a VISA to use it, and I'd imagine that's the sort of thing that's stalling Amazon.
posted by beefula at 11:22 AM on February 6, 2001
posted by Neb at 11:28 AM on February 6, 2001
Most ATM cards are either MasterCards or Visas these days. You could just as easily use one of those, and have the money sucked out of your checking account.
posted by aaron at 11:40 AM on February 6, 2001
So one of the rest of you will have to go first...
posted by kindall at 12:22 PM on February 6, 2001
As far as I can see there are two advantages over PayPal.
1) That a huge number of people are registered with Amazon and will be attracted to the pay page because of the "hi so-and-so" cookies function. They will then use their 1-click settings to make a payment just for the fun of it.
2) PayPal takes a while to register. When I registered, I had to make a $1 charge to my credit card and then wait a month for my credit card bill to come through, then type in the number on my bill to match it to my PayPal account.
posted by tobyslater at 12:24 PM on February 6, 2001
posted by frykitty at 12:57 PM on February 6, 2001
posted by Sean Meade at 1:04 PM on February 6, 2001
posted by barbelith at 1:41 PM on February 6, 2001
"So, when you make a donation to Modern Humorist's Honor System pay box, not only will Bezos get his usual cut, but we'll put our share towards a nice gift for him from one of Amazon.com's stores."
posted by timothompson at 2:06 PM on February 6, 2001
I rushed to Amazon to change my settings so it won't pester me by name. And I noticed that they cheerfully and helpfully happened to automagically check for me the boxes for "Send me several different varieties of shitloads of spammy email", which I then had to carefully uncheck before submitting.
If anything I am FAR LESS likely to give to someone who bugs me by name. To me, in so doing, such a person has essentially branded "ASSHOLE" on their own forehead in my mental picture of them.
And besides that - Amazon bad. Yuck. Ew. :(
posted by beth at 2:27 PM on February 6, 2001
You can donate if you live overseas, I just did. What you can't do is sign up for the service for your own website.
That talking-to-me-by-name thing is creepyass, though.
posted by Georgina at 3:05 PM on February 6, 2001
posted by thirteen at 3:25 PM on February 6, 2001
posted by sonofsamiam at 3:26 PM on February 6, 2001
Well if you need to use Amazon's service then at least use it with style.
posted by Brilliantcrank at 4:05 PM on February 6, 2001
I've been pondering that one as well.
Matt, better get down and talk to your accountant about how to structure this.
You wouldn't wan the tax department to suddenly start seeing these donations as part of your annual income.
posted by lagado at 4:34 PM on February 6, 2001
posted by gluechunk at 4:51 PM on February 6, 2001
My, that's quite charitable of MH, since they just laid off most of their staff yesterday. If anyone needs AHS, it's them.
posted by aaron at 5:29 PM on February 6, 2001
posted by lia at 8:47 PM on February 6, 2001
posted by dhartung at 9:22 PM on February 6, 2001
posted by owillis at 11:38 PM on February 6, 2001
posted by barbelith at 5:45 AM on February 7, 2001
posted by owillis at 7:35 AM on February 7, 2001
But not at J. Random User's site, okay?
My assumption of an anonymous (or relatively anonymous) browsing experience is totally destroyed, and that pisses me off. It may not be a *typical* reaction, mind you, but I don't care how many other people share my opinion. I do care that I have to jump through several hoops to make the damn thing stop!
Who are all you people who don't mind any random site acting as though it knows your name? I don't understand how you give away your privacy so easily...
posted by beth at 10:21 AM on February 7, 2001
posted by beefula at 10:50 AM on February 7, 2001
beefula is right, there are much more insidious privacy concerns on the web than Amazon cookies (TM), especially banner ads/spyware by companies like Aureate. I hate being weirded out by seeing my name unexpectedly, but I'm guessing it's a calculated risk on Amazon's part. After all, with the rapid growth of the net, there are more and more "customize my experience" people every day who actually like this stuff (and who might have a blind spot to their own privacy), and there are a lot more of them out there than there is of me.
posted by DaShiv at 6:27 PM on February 7, 2001
I'm a person who understands that marketers already have my name and a thousand other details about my purchases in their databases, and probably in some shared databases as well. The publishers of Honor System sites do not know my name because of that graphic -- Amazon is not sharing customer data with other sites.
Why would I be alarmed when an Amazon graphic embedded on a Metafilter page knows my name, when I already expect Amazon to know my name when I visit the company's site?
posted by rcade at 12:42 PM on February 8, 2001
I've been struggling to figure out what the danger here is, and I think I finally figured it out. (Dan Gillmor can always be counted on for a predictable rant, but also predictable is his maddening vagueness. Never does he really give examples or scenarios of what he's so mad about. Drives me nuts.)
It's not that Amazon knows your name, it's that it knows where you've been. So, you visit Metafilter and then on your next visit to Amazon, you get recommendations for water filters. No big deal.
But what if your favorite porn site goes on the Honor System? Is that really any of Amazon's business? What if Grandma borrows my computer and Amazon recommends her the latest issue of "Jugs"?
posted by luke at 1:06 PM on February 8, 2001
posted by thirteen at 1:54 PM on February 8, 2001
I just checked, and Matt's managed to snag $500+ from the Amazon link ... and he's legally responsible to pay income tax on that, unless he's a non-profit organization.
posted by crunchland at 2:05 PM on February 8, 2001
The fact that they are willing to put so much energy into collecting information about me and my web-habits is all the proof I need that I very much do not want them to have it. I don't know what they're going to do with the information, but I do know that my interests do not parallel theirs.
This all comes down to a matter of trust. I don't trust Amazon. I don't see any reason I should cooperate with their moneymaking schemes, especially when said schemes involve allowing them to look over my shoulder as I wander around the web.
-Mars, rapidly becoming a web-hermit
posted by Mars Saxman at 3:08 PM on February 8, 2001
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 3:48 PM on February 8, 2001
"Does the Amazon Honor System record the sites that I visit?
No. Even though the Amazon Honor System generates personalized payboxes, we do not save copies of those payboxes. Most Web server computers automatically create logs of information transmitted over the Internet. The Amazon Honor System uses special software that removes your name and similar information from the system's records before they are stored in our server logs. We do not maintain records on any of our internal computers that track the Web sites you visit or would permit us to construct a record of the Web sites you visit."
posted by gluechunk at 4:17 PM on February 8, 2001
This is a real turn-off to me. All it says is we have so much information on you, we can plaster your name on sites where you least expect it. My reaction first was surprise, then dismay. Canned "personalization" like this makes me sick.
posted by leo at 1:20 AM on February 11, 2001
If webmasters using this system decide that they don't want a personalised box to appear on their pages, there is a workaround: Choose the smallest paybox graphic and choose "Greetings" as the salutation. There's hardly any room left for a name, so one is not displayed.
This doesn't mean that the Amazon cookie doesn't know who your visitor is, of course, just that their name isn't displayed.
posted by normy at 4:37 PM on February 11, 2001
posted by owillis at 9:04 AM on February 23, 2001
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posted by aaron at 10:44 PM on February 5, 2001