By Tom Campbell
Payment Protect by the reliably excellent John S. Rhodes and Jay Boyer addresses one of the worst nightmares of a successful online marketer: success, because on occasion PayPal will shut down your account and seize your money without warning. I gotta defend PayPal here, by the way. I’d slap you too. What, you ask? Explain again why PayPal should be able to stop me from making money for them? Hold your horses. Take a look at it from their point of view. Let’s try some thought experiments.
Would you fire you if you were PayPal?
Imagine PayPal doesn’t exist and you decide to invent an online payment site called ICanHazPay.com that lets people sell products or services online, and to transfer money between accounts with just an email. All they have to do is give you a little personal information and online access to a checking account. Awesome! Revolutionary! Convenient! It was worth your begging the banks, credit card companies, federal government, and nervous state legislatures to allow you to operate something that looks like a bank, walks like a bank, and quacks like a bank, but isn’t a bank. Now people start using your amazing service to sell ebooks online. Splendid! Let’s look at a few scenarios. In Scenario 1, most customers love the ebooks for sale and there aren’t too many refund requests. No prob. In Scenario 2, an ebook is fabulously unbelievably spectacularly good, so someone steals it, sells it, sells 500 copies at $apiece, then immediately withdraws the $25,000 and is never heard from again. The original author contacts you, but ICanHazPay.com is out the $25,000. The credit card companies you’re dealing with expect you to pay them back if you want to maintain your merchant account. Or how about Scenario 3. Some loser promises the moon in his ebook, sells a boatload of them, and doesn’t deliver it. Or delivers it, and it sucks. Refunds go through the roof. Or Scenario 4: said loser comes out with a good book that delivers, but follows it up with a lame-ass book out of pure greed. Customers are up in arms.
How does PayPal manage its own Payment Protection?
How do you good people at ICanHazPay.com police any of these situations? The businesses involved are all virtual. They don’t have an address where marshalls can go knock down doors and retrieve sacks of unspent cash moldering in vast Scrooge McDuck safes. Marshalls don’t really have a good grasp of fraudulent ebook cases anyway even in the event that your bad guys have been kind enough to stuff pillowcases of ill-gotten money in those safes, have admitted to screwing you, and have even published the address and room location of your money. Short-term digital fraud is impossible to police, so PayPal doesn’t bother. It is much better for them simply to shut down an account, freeze its assets (you agreed to this possibility when you signed up) and put the seller on the defensive. You have to prove your innocence. Jay Boyer is by all appearances a good guy. I have bought many of his products. They are all very good. Yet even his PayPal account was shut down recently. Suddenly a monthly $20,000 gross was shut off just like that. Jay did something many in his position have been unable to do: he fought back, restored his reputation with PayPal, and even went public with this very painful experience. He used a combination of legal, diplomatic, and personal techniques to make this happen. His story is detailed in Payment Protect. Hang on, though. There’s one more scenario we haven’t covered in our mythical ICanHazPay story.
What about planning your Payment Protection ahead and avoiding the situation to begin with
How about Scenario 6: PayPal knows you. They see you follow certain longstanding business practices reputable firms adhere too. You come out with a hot-selling info product, there’s a flood of cash into your PayPal account, so they immediately… Leave you alone, because you’ve proven to them you know how to run a business and you’ve prepared PayPal for the event. They trust you, because you know how to operate in a trustworthy fashion. One thing I like about Payment Protection is that they give actionable, detailed steps on how to avoid this whole mess to begin with. I have used PayPal for over $11 million in payments over the last 12 years with never a shutdown, and it turns out I instinctively followed many of the same principle Jay Boyer details in this excellent product. So it rewards not just the unprepared, but the careful as well.
How do they deliver the goods?
Payment Protection consists of:
- The letter Jay Boyer’s attorney wrote to reverse the situation, using some surprising and clever legal thinking, and the exact email addresses it was sent to
- Boyer’s very effective letter used information unique to Wisconsin. So there are 50 letters included, customized for each state–write down to the exact name addresses to which you would send your complaint letters. Amazing.
- A downloadable 81MB video which, sadly, does not have a transcript
- The PowerPoint slide deck that video is based on (I opened it successfully in the totally free LibreOffice Impress). I don’t know why they don’t have it in PDF form too.
- An amazingly detailed book on PayPal and the law by Boyer’s father, Neil Boyer, the attorney who helped Jay out of his mess to begin with. I have only skimmed it and do not know how much practical use it has, but it’s the kind of legal treatise that would normally be prohibitively expensive to have written fro you
Then there are bonuses (all of this for $7, mind you). They are ebooks covering
- 15 Things to Do if Your Account is Limited
- 18 Rules to Keeping Your Accounts Safe
- PayPal Acceptable Use Policy
- How to Set Up Your Paypal Account
- How to Create a “Buy Now” Button
- How to Create and Manage Invoices
- How to Create Reports
I’m not sure the “How to Create Reports” one rises beyond filler. Reports are pretty easy to do in PayPal. The rest are all solid. Things like “How to create a Buy Now Button” are nice to have as clear, standalone reports, because PayPal buries them in its massive library of documentation.
Along with the books are additional bonuses (boni?):
- 2 WordPress plugins for generating PayPal buttons
Oh, and the nuclear option?
None of this guarantees you can restore a PayPal account. I sincerely believe it is by far the most complete training available for that possibility, and thought it was worth way more than the measly $7 I paid for it. There are other fish in the C, and they have a Plan Bproduct showing alternative payment processors. Haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but there you go. I have Bank of America as my alternate payment processor,so it’s not an urgent matter for me yet. Plus, I only got Payment Protect an hour and a half ago!
How can you use PayPal’s protection techniques to your advantage?
What I like about Payment Protectis that Jay Boyer lays out
- Reasons PayPal can shut you down
- What to do in the event that they do, right down to template letters and exact phone numbers (ever try to get a PayPal phone number to someone responsible?)
- How to prevent this disaster through very, very simple-to-implement actions that will make it far more likely that PayPal brings you into their circle of trust
If your account is shut down, you have what looks to be a brilliantly written letter that hits PayPal in its most vulnerable areas. It’s not just an empty threat. Not only that, you have a letter for your own state if you live in the USA. That rocks.
What I liked about Payment Protect
This is a category-beater in the increasingly crowded protect-your-PayPal account info product market.
- You get the full copy-and-paste text of a letter you can use as is and exact email addresses at PayPal to send it to
- They also cover prevention
- All bonus products are relevant and of at least decent, often excellent, quality
- Price is miniscule
This product way exceeded my expectations. It was hard to come up with a convincing list of shortcomings; at $7 for a product of this magnitude and quality, they are trivial at best
- The slide deck should be distributed in PDF form
- The PayPal Terms of Service and How to Create a Report ebooks don’t add a heap o’ value
- No transcript of the video
Payment Protection is ridiculously inexpensive. It is nowhere near the cost of most business books, yet it deals with a very real problem with clear, actionable steps in a way that could literally save your online reputation, your income stream, and your business.