Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Why Plimus is Really Changing its Name to BlueSnap

E-commerce companies are all alike, right?

Well maybe not! One of the first e-commerce companies to hit it big in the Software space was Plimus, founded back in 2001. For years Plimus was a developer favorite, with a control panel that, at the time, was ahead of it's time, and solid customer service. Things were all good, ISVs were selling software, and money was being made. What could go wrong?

Plimus was even fending off the big Digital River as DR slowly started acquiring, RegNow, SWReg, ShareIT, and then, finally, unthinkably, eSellerate sold to Digital River in 2006. Plimus was the last holdout, the underdog but the developer's favorite - David taking on Goliath... and winning!

What really set Plimus apart was it's affiliate network, which allowed bloggers and website owners to sell software on the Plimus network. At the time only RegNow had an affiliate network and as Google had yet to crack down on affiliates there was a lot of money to be made quickly and easily.

Affiliates would put up page after page of content featuring products on the Plimus network, which had now expanded to sell not just software but e-books and any electronic merchandise.

Needless to say the affiliates loved the system, loved the products, and unfortunately some of them took advantage of it. Affiliates started selling products themselves, and some of the affiliate websites started using excessive marketing tactics to make the sale.

In August of 2011 Plimus finally did sell to Great Hill Partners for a whopping $115 million, but the honeymoon didn't last too long.
Now Plimus, like most e-commerce systems, accepts PayPal as a means of checkout. All of a sudden vendors started to receive emails like this from Plimus.

Dear Vendor, 
As we continue our efforts to improve and upgrade the Plimus service, we must unfortunately advise you that PayPal will be temporarily unavailable for purchases made through your account, effective immediately. Your customers will, of course, be able to make purchases using any of our other payment methods. PayPal availability will return, better than before, in the coming months. More information on our PayPal strategy will be made available in the very near future. 
We are taking this step based on our evaluation of your products as being higher-risk than the majority of our clients’ offerings. Examples of products that fit into this category include: 
· Forex Signals / Advice
· Cell Tracking
· Unlocks
· Media (e.g. Music, / Movie downloads)
· Bids / Auctions
· VPN / Proxy Services 
If you believe your product type was incorrectly included in this high-risk category, please contact us with your product description(s) and link(s). 
We appreciate your continued business, and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. 
The Plimus Team
- November 14, 2011

We can only speculate at the exact reason here, but after reading the posts on the web, and yes there are plenty, the consensus seems to be that PayPal probably got unhappy at the large amount of chargebacks coming from Plimus and something had to be done.

Chargebacks, if you don't know, are when disgruntled customers refund their payment through the payment provider directly, instead of through the merchant, as they're unhappy with the service. This usually entails some fees, and someone is always left holding the bag.

Plimus then took the step of disallowing affiliate sales through PayPal to curb these chargebacks, and has kept these limitations in place to date.

Then from bad, to worse.

In January of 2012 Plimus got hit with a class action law suit. The lawsuit claimed that:

“Defendants, in conjunction with third parties, actively promote and profit from an array of websites that purport to offer unlimited access to downloadable digital goods, such as eBooks, movies, TV shows, and video games, all for a low one-time fee,” the Plimus class action lawsuit states. “For this one-time fee, Plimus represents that consumers will receive lifetime access to thousands of digital goods, including bestselling books, newly released movies, current TV shows, and brand new video in games. In reality, these websites do not, in any manner, offer products in the manner advertised.”

Now that's a pretty tough case to have leveled, and all this bad press out there on the web adds up. It adds up so much that when you Google "Plimus" you now get these suggestions:

So it it really a surprise that we started to see a new little tagline under the Plimus logo... introducing BlueSnap.

Now don't get us wrong, we personally know a lot of great people over at Plimus/BlueSnap, and we know a lot of great software that is still sold on the Plimus system, as yes we still sell it too!

So as of today Plimus's website no longer mentions the Plimus name and redirects over to BlueSnap. Gone are the odd cyan colors and questionably pronounceable brand in favor of something more palatable.

It's sad to see it go, but it just goes to show how too much bad press can really hurt a brand name. We hope that BlueSnap will continue with all the great software vendors that we know and love for years to come!

1 comment:

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