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Google Checkout

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ensor
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Joined: 08/23/2008

There's a new Google site I found today that looks relevant to small-scale self-publishers: http://checkout.google.com

It's a competitor to PayPal as a way to charge a credit card and take orders from a website, and they say it has slightly less fees and no start-up cost. I was going to set up a PayPal merchant account this month to start selling Gene Pool, but this Google Checkout looks better at first glance. Has anyone else poked around with it yet, especially someone currently using PayPal?

Also in general, what are people's experiences with PayPal? Are there better ways you'd recommend to sell games at a very low volume on the web?

Thanks,

Mark

soulbeach
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Google Checkout

Hi Mark!

I'm looking forward to get a copy of gene pool, i really enjoyed the playtests at Protospiel 2005. The google tool seems good, it just seems a bit more expensive at 2%: paypal is lclose to half less if i remember correctly.

Ben, from Montreal :)

FastLearner
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Google Checkout

No, for sales under $100,000 total per month, Google is always cheaper.

PayPal: 2.2%-2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction (note that it's 2.9% up to $3,000 per month and doesn't hit that 2.2% until you reach $10,000 per month).

Google: 2.0% plus 20 cents per transaction.

The only way PayPal can be cheaper is if you do over $100,000 per month in transactions (where it goes to 1.9%) AND the extra 10 cents per is less than .1% of the total price (with lots of inexpensive things sold, Google is always cheaper).

The only downside I see to Google's system is that you can't accept PayPal with it. :)

-- Matthew

clearclaw
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Joined: 07/21/2008
Google Checkout

Look at Google's terms and conditions. In short they own your customers, not you.

FastLearner
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Google Checkout

How does that compare to PayPal's terms?

Yogurt
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Google Checkout

Clearclaw, what does it mean to own a customer? Are you saying Google Checkout merchants cannot track information about their customers, like purchasing habits or country, etc? No, that can't be it. Could you elaborate?

clearclaw
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Google Checkout

yogurt wrote:
Clearclaw, what does it mean to own a customer? Are you saying Google Checkout merchants cannot track information about their customers, like purchasing habits or country, etc? No, that can't be it. Could you elaborate?

Their terms are amazingly ugly or perhaps arrogant. See http://checkout.google.com/seller/policies.html

Merchants
- cannot ask for any buyer information before sending them to Google
- cannot create store accounts with info from Google
- cannot send their own order confirmation e-mails
- must ship the product before charging the customer
- have only 72 hours of honor period from order placement (weekend counts?)
- must place Google button before store login
- cannot show Google button again if the customers initiates store checkout
- must land the customer on Google page within 1 second after button is clicked with no intermediate page
- must make Google checkout available at least 95% of the time
- if shipping and tax are calculated dynamically, must provide backup rates and stick to them (no settlement tolerance)

Bottom line, customers belong to Google, not merchants.

clearclaw
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FastLearner wrote:
How does that compare to PayPal's terms?

I have a gaming event to run to and so don't have time to dig out PayPal's T&C and AUP, however asides from restricting certain fields of commerce such as porn (which Google does as well), my recollection is that PayPal has a bunch of requirements about how their mark/logo must be shown but otherwise doesn't notably restrict usage.

Here's hoping that as PayPal finishes digesting Verisign's payment gateway that their interchange fees will drop enough to bring their rates down.

larienna
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Google Checkout

I have not tried any of them yet, but I trust more paypal than google when it comes to money management. Googles might also try to take advertisement opportunities in order to have lower fees. From the fees you have listed, the difference is minimal. I would not mind paying 50 cent or even 1 $ higher per game sold just to make sure it's paypal that does the job.

Yogurt
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Google Checkout

Interesting. Now, a few of those points you listed are actually guidelines, not requirements, like order confirmation and backup shipping costs.

But Google Checkout would make it possible to buy something from a store without being a member there, and I can see how that loss of control would bother some merchants.

As a customer, though, there's nothing in those terms that would bother me.

ensor
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Joined: 08/23/2008
Google Checkout

Hmm, since I'm not really setting up a store, just one game right now, the Google Terms don't sounds too bad, thanks for the clarifications FastLearner and ClearClaw. I'll probably try to set up both for user convienence and just to see what happens.

Glad you enjoyed and remembered Gene Pool, Ben, are you going to be at Protospiel again this year?

Mark

soulbeach
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Google Checkout

Hummm, as a business, it does seem essential to keep a customer database: they become your 1st target when you advertise for other products or if you simply need to inform them a FAQ is now available for downloading...

For feedback, to do a market study, to send them promotions, to offer blind play tests (which can be a great privilege offered to fans of your products)...ESSENTIAL.

Unless you're not really serious about your business, all depends on what you focus on.

If anyone plans on building a strong business, this aspect cannot be overlooked, returning clients can represent a substential amount of profits.

MARK: as much as i would love to, i don't think i'll be able to make it :(

clearclaw
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yogurt wrote:
Interesting. Now, a few of those points you listed are actually guidelines, not requirements, like order confirmation and backup shipping costs.

In fact those are the only two such. To quote from a post I just made to the BoardGameDesign forum:

BoardGameDesign wrote:
>> - cannot ask for any buyer information before sending them to Google

1,e. Do not create additional buyer accounts using Google Checkout
information

You may not use any Google Checkout purchase or account information to
create additional accounts for buyers. This includes additional
accounts directly associated with your store or with any other entity.

>> - cannot create store accounts with info from Google

1.e Do not create additional buyer accounts using Google Checkout
information

You may not use any Google Checkout purchase or account information to
create additional accounts for buyers. This includes additional
accounts directly associated with your store or with any other entity.

>> - cannot send their own order confirmation e-mails

This is one of the two items in the list which is optional:

1.g. Do not send order confirmation emails

To provide a consistent shopping experience, Google will send order
confirmation emails to buyers making purchases with Google
Checkout. We strongly recommend that you reduce the number of
redundant emails your buyers receive by not sending your own order
confirmation emails.

>> - must ship the product before charging the customer

2.b. Ship orders before charging the buyer's credit card

You may not attempt to charge the buyer's credit card until you have
shipped the order.

>> - have only 72 hours of honor period from order placement (weekend
>> counts?)

2.a. Charge credit cards within 72 hours

When a buyer confirms an order, Google authorizes the buyer\u2019s
credit card for the full amount of the purchase. You must charge the
buyer\u2019s card within 72 hours of the authorization to guarantee
the funds. Funds not captured after 72 hours (including the remainder
of partial fund captures), are no longer guaranteed.

>> - must place Google button before store login

4.c. Place Google Checkout buttons before your login pages

Buyers should only have to provide their purchasing information
once. If you require users to register or sign in to your site, you
must ensure Google Checkout checkout buttons are visible before the
login process. (You may still track visits and personalize pages using
cookies.)

>> - cannot show Google button again if the customers initiates store
>> checkout

4.b. ... You must also separate the Google Checkout checkout process
from your existing checkout process. If buyers initiate your existing
checkout process, they must not see a Google Checkout button.

>> - must land the customer on Google page within 1 second after button
>> is clicked with no intermediate page

4.d. Direct buyers quickly to Google

To avoid shopping cart abandonment, you must ensure that buyers who
click the Google Checkout button on your site see the Google Checkout
confirmation page within one second, and without seeing any
intermediate pages.

>> - must make Google checkout available at least 95% of the time

4.g. Google Checkout must be available as a checkout option at least
95% of the time

Google Checkout may be unsupported no more than 5% of the time, in
which case you are required to display the \u2018not available\u2019
button as described in 4f. At least 95% of the time, Google Checkout
must be offered as a checkout option, with the standard Google
Checkout button prominently displayed.

>> - if shipping and tax are calculated dynamically, must provide backup
>> rates and stick to them (no settlement tolerance)

This is the second optional item:

2.e. Provide reasonable backup shipping and tax rates

When a Merchant Calculation request from Google times out, Google
Checkout defaults to displaying backup tax and shipping rates that you
specify in the shopping cart XML. We strongly recommend that you
specify backup rates that are reasonable and approximate your average
shipping and tax charges.

In summary, the only two items I listed which aren't explicit
requirements are:

- cannot send their own order confirmation e-mails
- if shipping and tax are calculated dynamically, must provide backup
rates and stick to them (no settlement tolerance)

That's not much of a delta.

The following quote is out of order:

> Also, there is no comparison of PayPal and Google here, just an
> inference that Google's terms are worse. Until someone actually
> compares the T&Cs this inference is meaningless at best and
> intentionally biased at worst.

I have little interest, obligation or reason to be fair. My expectation
is that others more interested than me in the PayPal side will vouch for
and support that side. In PayPal's case the comparison is also a little
more difficult in that PayPal is a payments provider rather than a
commerce provider. I'm also lazy. PayPal doesn't currently seem to
make such a comparison easy.

The competing product appears to be "Websites Payment Standard":

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_wp-standard-overview-outside
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_profile-comparison
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_wp-standard-feature-list-outside

Fairly obviously a richer solution set than Google's but that's by the
by (recurring payments, subscriptions, shipping, additional funding
sources, reporting, emailed bills, non-US currencies etc). The
effective use contracts that seem to govern it are:

http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/gen/ua/policy_biz-outside
http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/gen/ua/policy_shops-outside
http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/gen/ua/use/index_frame-outside
http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/gen/ua/policy_payments-outside

So far I've found almost nothing to compare to the above list off
Google's T&C. I'm sure there's also a document somewhere controlling
use and display of the PayPal mark, but I'm not found it yet. I do note
that PayPal explicitly dates all their contracts whereas Google provides
no indication of version or change date.

Quote:
But Google Checkout would make it possible to buy something from a store without being a member there, and I can see how that loss of control would bother some merchants.

Yep. In fact PayPal originally tried similar restrictions and was soundly refused by the merchants.

Quote:
As a customer, though, there's nothing in those terms that would bother me.

As a buyer I might prefer Google's weaker chargeback protections for merchants, but only if I intended to screw merchants out of money. As a buyer I also like the ability to fund transactions directly from my bank account via ACH transfers and stored balance. Google doesn't do that, PayaPal does.

Yogurt
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Google Checkout

You know, I only just remembered that you work for PayPal as an engineer, no? I think that may explain some of your passion for this issue.

I use PayPal and will continue to use it for my eBay auctions.

I also think Google Checkout's attempt to simplify transactions for customers is a good idea. Most of the concerns you raise relate to this goal, I think. I do have some security eggs-in-a-basket concerns.

The two services will likely live side by side, and where they compete, all the better. It's a field that could use some competition.

clearclaw
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Google Checkout

yogurt wrote:
You know, I only just remembered that you work for PayPal as an engineer, no? I think that may explain some of your passion for this issue.

That was last year. I've been playing manager since then, tho in a field that has nothing to do with Google's offering or PayPal's reaction. As my resume shows, I'm also a startup baby -- PayPal is a convenient waystop before the next startup for me.

What passion I have for the area mostly derives from the fact that I think Google is offering a deceptively lousy product for SMB merchants (very easy integration and extremely limited CRM), when those merchants are also the ones most desperate for cost containment. It is a damned if you do damned if you don't relationship, and that hardly jibes with Google's slogan.

Quote:
I use PayPal and will continue to use it for my eBay auctions.

My main use for PayPal is game orders from European stores (Adam Spielt etc), and that's but a few times a year. I gave up on EBay when they changed their privacy/security policies about 5 years back.

Quote:
I also think Google Checkout's attempt to simplify transactions for customers is a good idea.

Yep, I can't fault their web design. Their API design is also rather nice.

Quote:
Most of the concerns you raise relate to this goal, I think. I do have some security eggs-in-a-basket concerns.

My concerns are above. I currently look at Google Checkout as an unwelcome tax on smaller entrepreneurs.

Rick-Holzgrafe
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Joined: 07/22/2008
Google Checkout

I offer no opinions on the relative merits of Google or PayPal, but I will point out a third option. I sell software over the Internet, and I use the Kagi online store. Their fees are reasonable, there's no charge for signing with them and no exclusivity, and they may offer some services that Google and PayPal do not.

Some of those services may be of no interest to people with physical goods to sell: for example, Kagi can supply my customers with registration keys for my software products, using an algorithm that I designed and supplied. Although most products sold through Kagi are software, they can also handle online sales of physical goods. Warehousing and shipping of physical goods are up to you.

I've used Kagi happily for many years. They have several thousand clients like me. The founder is a friend of mine, but only because I started using his service and got to know him. I get no kickbacks for recommending new customers. You can read about Kagi at http://www.kagi.com

clearclaw
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Google Checkout

Rick-Holzgrafe wrote:
http://www.kagi.com

This is what is known as a "hosted shopping cart", with a number of nice value added services to differentiate their product (not all hosted shopping carts do this) and in this particular case to target them at the small end of the market. I don't mention this in any way to detract from Kagi (I've heard other good reports on them), but rather to provide what may be a useful search term for someone looking to research the area for vendors fitting their needs.

wwphx
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Joined: 12/31/1969
I just started using PayPal for my store

As far as I can see, and I need to research it further, Google Checkout does not offer a postage/shipping label system. With PayPal, I get instant payment (to my PP acct, I have to xfer it to my bank account), and I can print a shipping label with pre-paid postage. Trim it, glue it to the envelope, and drop it into the Stamped Mail box.

From what I have read of Checkout's restrictions, I don't like it. I think if we give it a year, they'll probably make changes to be more competative with PP.

Price isn't everything. I am charged $0.84 by PP on a $15 purchase to do my transaction, that does not significantly affect my margin. I have to pay an add'l buck and a half through PP and Pitney-Bowes for postage, but I don't have to have an account with P-B or USPS to get said postage. For me, that is an extremely good selling point for me to stay with PP.

I also get a USPS electronic tracking confirmation provided, I can exchange certificates and encrypt my buttons to prevent people from buying my games for $0.01. And I have a choice of methodologies: my hosting service (Scottsdale Hosting.com) provides three free shopping carts, two of them are approved by PP for front-end interfaces, I'm personally using their HTML button generator right now. Maybe when I get more products being sold I'll switch to a cart. I think Checkout has a ways to come yet.

My game is Zombie Cafe, my web site is Spare Brains Games.

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