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Coincidence or Not? Google App Engine Blocks PayPal

The Google App Engine, the search giant’s new platform for building and hosting 3rd party web apps, is blocking applications from integrating with PayPal for payments.  Considering that Google has their own payments system – Google Checkout – is this just an honest mistake, or is there something more sinister going on? 

The Washington Post uncovered today that developers making apps that use PayPal for payment handling are encountering a peculiar error.   You see, usually the application sends a request to the PayPal service, and contains paypal.com in the URL. Requests, however, to either of the domains used (paypal.com or sandbox.paypal.com) are returning a generic “download” error with no specific details. 

Some clever developers found a way around it, and not too long after, a Google employee issued a statement, saying that it was merely an accident:

Thanks for the report! This is a bug, and we have located the problem. There was an error in our anti-phishing protections that was blocking some specific URL domains from being fetched using the URLFetch service. This was an oversight on our part, and these specific domain restrictions will be removed in the next few days.

But can we believe them?  As the Post points out, “Google’s anti-phishing blacklist does not, of course, list the paypal.com domain as a phishing site” and there’s been a lot of bad blood between Google and PayPal’s parent company, eBay.

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7 thoughts on “Coincidence or Not? Google App Engine Blocks PayPal

  1. Sure, it may be true but I personally belive it was onest mistake (mixed with practical joke). My best bet is it started as joke in development process: “Lets list Paypal as phishing site.” And as it often happens it was forgotten afterwards …

  2. Google may be a victim of their own success here in that many don’t believe that such a strong company could make such a big mistake on accident. For them to sacrifice usage to hurt paypal seems somewhat short-sighted. I doubt its on purpose.

  3. Google blocking PayPal?

    SO WHAT!!

    Be it by accident or by design, so what if Google Apps block PayPal…

    PayPal thrives by being the exclusive electronic payment method on eBay to the exclusion of other payment methods such as Google Checkout which are prohibited by eBay from being offered on listings.

    If PayPal is being blocked by Google Apps, it is about time they felt the pressure of the exclusion they enjoy on eBay.

    What is good for PayPal on eBay is no different than Google Apps blocking access to PayPal, I guess though that PayPal will scream and cry because now the shoe is on the other foot.

  4. Hardly a conspiracy. Google was probably blacklisting access to paypal so that you could create a site that looked like paypal by using server side includes from app engine.

    If Google really wanted to block Paypal, they could simply say “To use the FREE Google App Engine, you have to use Google checkout and do not have access to other payment services”.