I had my first run-in with big companies running scared and acting like weasels way back in 1998, when DOMAI suddenly disappeared from the web without a trace and without warning.
Later there has been many instances, for example the excellent email-list company eGroups, which had fine service. Then it was bought by a larger company, and the service worsened considerably. Then it was bought by an even larger company, Yahoo, and service disappeared altogether, and was replaced by a wonderful paranoia regarding their nude-art and sex groups: these are not listed in the directory at all. And they are often deleted without warning and without explanation. I lost a mailing list of 7000 addresses, painstakingly collected over two years.
Yesterday I had another one, with a company that shall remained nameless, I will just refer to it as P*ypal.
I have had a lot of respect for P*ypal. Mostly because they manage to make an instant transfer for almost no money, something the banks tell us takes typically three days and costs many dollars. (This tells us how banks can afford all that prime real estate.)
I have been using P*ypal for a small portion of sales for DOMAI. DOMAI is to my great irritation considered an "adult" web site, even though it has no sexual content. This means that billing companies don't like it. They say that this is no moral judgement, but only risk management. This may be so, but then again we know that powerful lobbiest very badly want to make porn on the web go away .
VISA and Mastercard late last year announced that to continue using their cards for billing for "adult" sites, we have to use a billing company on our own continent (a major hassle in itself), and also pay a yearly fee of $750 to VISA plus $1000 to Mastercard. There went the profit margin of small sites.
In January P*ypal announced that they would have to charge these fees as well. Since it is only a small portion of my billing, it was an irritation, but I decided to stay with them, because it is practical for some members.
Then suddenly yesterday, P*ypal announced that they would not be billing for "adult" sites at all. We would have to stop by May. We can keep using the account for other purposes, but we can't use it to bill for "adult" content after May.
Well, all right, that was one decision less to worry about. Too bad.
Then, just a few hours after that announcement, I got this charming little mail:
Subject: locked account notification