Ebay to ditch PayPal

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/02/01/ebay-to-ditch-paypal.html


Ebay, on the other hand, is the internet capital of technical debt, with the digital equivalent of lead paint peeling through every layer of latex applied atop it.

I’m sure you knew what this was supposed to mean when you wrote it.


A triple mixed metaphor!

Internet capital = geographical (?)
Technical debt = financial
Lead paint = material


I’d have thought PayPal had the equivalent of Undark paint.


Anything that dents the PayPal monopoly on person-to-person payments is OK by me; if this move can lessen their ubiquity, awesome. As a freelancer who quite often gets paid via PayPal (because everyone has it and it’s the default), I’d love to ditch them as well.


I too need a bit more in the way of an explanation.


On the one hand PayPal is kind of shitty. On the other hand I still tend to use it for smaller purchases where I can’t be bothered to enter my card info. That boils down to eBay and random t-shirt purchases.

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I’ll have a go :slight_smile: I love Rob’s metaphors…

Internet capital = the capital of the Internet (given size and centrality) for [what is about to follow]
Technical debt = this is actually an established software engineering term, meaning “we need to revisit this hacky/outdated code”
digital equivalent of lead paint = the reskins and UI upgrades applied over the now 20+ years old eBay architecture, which would (I assume!) be a nightmare to refactor fully.

So in summary, something like “eBay is the net’s most visible major example of a creaking system that’s been veneered over but still shows its original lacquer through the latest layers.” (I prefer Rob’s!)

The only comment I’d add would be, there’s not actually that much “lead paint”, the eBay interface looks woefully/wonderfully dated IMO and in fact I can’t remember the last significant change. Secretly I always admired its stubborn indifference to UX trends…

ETA: summary, type


The selling page recently became a whole lot nicer to look at/use, but has introduced a couple of problems that didn’t exist before the redesign

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(also @Boundegar)

A stab at a translation:

“Ebay is the poster child of internet companies whose software infrastructure is so creaky and old that they can’t innovate anymore because all the outmoded code that barely works encrusts everything they do and weighs them down.”

Whether this is so or not, I don’t know. I do know that long ago when Facebook was just a gleam in Zuckerberg’s eye, Ebay tried to start up its own payment service for a few years before pivoting and buying Paypal. I was really bummed when they bought paypal because it meant my fees went up - paypal charged sellers slightly more than Ebay did. That was back when Ebay’s final value fees were much lower (as in 3% instead of the current 10%). Ebay’s greed knows no bounds these days.


Sometimes a metaphor is just the dank carpet at the bottom of the psyche’s unopened safe.


What is a metaphor, after all, but a dog with a tail growing out of its nose?


Thank you, this is better. I’m still mystified as to why now instead of years ago, but I suspect no solid answer will be gotten for that question.

Technical debt is not a financial term - it refers to short term fixes that build up and create larger problems that cannot or will not be fixed.

It’s common in the tech world, but I don’t think it’s used much outside there.


Yes I learned that years ago from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

excellent news, twice I’ve had them take money back after I’ve shipped an ebay item because the account was fraudulent. That left me wondering what they point of their services was! I was out the item and money.

About a year ago I paid a friend back $10 for some Cuban food here in Miami and put ‘Cuban’ on the note of the PayPal payment. My account was locked and after about 10 emails and 3 phone calls, it’s still locked with no timeline of it ever being available again. Totally inept.


WTH? That’s exactly what I was thinking… “what is that supposed to mean?”

Hmmm…I have been in the tech industry for many years and I had never heard that term. I’m still tweaking my base code for MSAccess to be used in a multi-user environment… so bear with me.

Term and metaphor are not necessarily mutually exclusive. A technical term may well be based on a metaphor, in this case using a word borrowed from finance/accounting.

Obviously you were in cahoots with Florida Man and the Rabbi.