Yesterday on 5-27-07, I verified with PayPal’s resolution center that Bloggerwave’s account was now safely in good standing. Furthermore, PayPal no longer feels that Bloggerwave’s account was utilized in a fraudulent manner. For more information and clarification on this situation, I’d recommend reading the article I published on the subject yesterday. This update is provided for future readers so that they will be able to view this article in context with a situation and understanding that has evolved over time.
Original Article Here
Bloggerwave launched a company offering to pay bloggers for reviews on their websites. At the time of their launch many bloggers questioned the similarities of Bloggerwave’s policies and web design to that of PayPerPost.
Some bloggers on the PayPerPost forum and other boards outside of PPP even questioned the possibility that the PayPerPost website had literally been copied from a content perspective.
About 2 weeks ago, I received my first payment after completeing a Bloggerwave assignment. The payment was for the amount of $10. Shortly after that PayPal initiated an inquiry into the payment.
They requested information and proof from me that I expected the payment. As the receiver, PayPal, an Ebay company, considers me the seller and Bloggerwave the Buyer. They are used to dealing in transactions in relation to physical goods. This not despite the fact that PayPal originally formed as a way of exchanging money and was later acquired by Ebay.
I provided the information requested and indicated that I had provided a service as a freelance blogger writer. I expected PayPal to confirm the situation and free up the funds.
Over the weekend, PayPal closed their inquiry. They reversed the funds and sent the $10 back to the original account. Note, I did not say sent the $10 back to bloggerwave.
Calling PayPal for more information
I pulled up the history on this situation.
email@example.com had been connected fraudlently to either a credit card number or bank account that had not authorized the payment. Ergo, someone setup a paypal account and linked it to someone else’s bank account or credit card number. Or possibly, someone had hijacked an existing paypal account and added the email address
Eitherway PayPal was sure that fraud was involved.
PayPal Does not Protect Services
PayPal will protect sellers if they are defrauded from buyers if and only if a physical exchange of goods takes place that can be verified with tracking information. (Like a delivery receipt signed by the buyer)
A permalink for a blog article is not something they would count and so services even if they can be tracked in cyberspace do not count. In this regards, I have no recourse to receive my payment from the company that calls itself Bloggerwave. (I did attempt to contact them, but as of this article I have not yet received a response. If I receive a response I will provide a copy in a follow up article.)
What does Bloggerwave gain from this?
From this point on, I can only provide speculation. However, lets suppose that a person, group or company was up to no good. Lets suppose that they gained access to someone’s credit card or bank account.
They could then sell advertising services to paying customers and collect money. They could hire bloggers to write articles to promote those companies.
Instead of paying bloggers with the revenue from the paying customers, they could pay in with the fraudlently controlled bank account, credit card account or paypal account.
The company then pockets the entire revenue from the paying client.
This type of scam has a short shelf life. They can fool a few bloggers for a few weeks and iterations but once they lose their payments they will not work for this firm any longer.
To Continue more Gullible Bloggers Needed
Since you can only fool bloggers once (possibly in a batch at a time of articles) this firm would need to continue recruiting and preying upon new bloggers. That means that in this case, bloggers need to get the word out and warn each other about the potential of this scam.
Additional Perils for Bloggers
Bloggers do not have to worry just about losing a little time and effort on an article.
They have to worry about their own personal information. A company or person that doesn’t mind stealing a credit card number or bank account could use such a service to harvest personal information about bloggers.
They could use this personal information for identity theft.
They could setup a new faux service using the bloggers paypal email address (if they hacn hack thepassword at PayPal).
Bloggerwave did not require a Tax Identification number, but they did request some other softer information. Several bloggers indicated in the forums that they provided inaccurate birthdates andother information when testing Bloggerwave.
Do not provide your personal information to a company that you do not know or do not trust when you sign up for these types of services. They typically need to collect your tax information if they pay you more than $400, but they do not necessarily need that information until you get to that level.
Use different ID’s and passwords. Don’t use the same old tired password and ID that you use for other accounts. If you sign up for one of these services and you are not sure about them, give limited information up front until you can build trust witht he company.
I asked PayPal if there was any way I could verify the buyers credentials up front.
There is a PayPal mechnism that can verify a PayPal buyer but it is not perfect.
I keep a PayPal provided seal on my site at Softduit Partners.
Providing an email address at the end of the code:
enables you to check and see if the person is PayPal verified.
This verification does require a higher level of confirmation of identity. It could be subverted, especially if someone completely stole someone else’s identity or if they successfully gained inappropriate access to a PayPal account that was already verified.
It is possible that if PayPal takes funds back out of your account, that your PayPal account could go negative. Its also possible that this negative balance could result in an automatic ACH debit from your bank account or even from your credit card if your credit card was used for a higher level validation