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By Matthew Hicks  |  Posted 2004-10-13 Print this article Print

Consumer David Hawkins, of Key Largo, Fla., said he tried to open a PayPal account both on Saturday and again on Monday to pay for an eBay auction he had won. Even when he could access the site, he eventually ran into error messages as he tried to complete the process. In the end, he e-mailed the eBay seller directly and arranged to pay the old-fashioned way—by mailing a check.
"I will bypass PayPal for this [transaction], and I dont know if I will try it again in the future," Hawkins said.
He was particularly concerned about receiving timeout and other errors on the site while entering sensitive information about bank and checking accounts. How is eBay maintaining uptime? Read eWEEKs interview with senior VP Marty Abbott. PayPal officials, though, offered reassurance that user information is secure despite the service interruptions. "Its not a security breach, and no account information or financial information has been compromised by these issues," Bettencourt said. Ken Godskind, vice president of marketing at, said that the Web monitoring service largely was unable to establish TCP/IP connections to PayPals site for part of Tuesday, pointing to more traffic than the companys infrastructure could handle either because of increased traffic or pulled back resources. The duration of the problems at PayPal also perplexed users and observers, who wondered whether PayPal had properly tested the software update before installing it and why the company had not reverted to its old code to restore access. How important is testing? Find out here. Bettencourt said that while eBay has rolled back updates to fix problems, the process is not as simple for PayPals system. "The technical teams are looking at that as an option, but theyre looking to fix the problems as quickly as possible," she said. Check out eWEEK.coms Developer & Web Services Center for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

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Matthew Hicks As an online reporter for, Matt Hicks covers the fast-changing developments in Internet technologies. His coverage includes the growing field of Web conferencing software and services. With eight years as a business and technology journalist, Matt has gained insight into the market strategies of IT vendors as well as the needs of enterprise IT managers. He joined Ziff Davis in 1999 as a staff writer for the former Strategies section of eWEEK, where he wrote in-depth features about corporate strategies for e-business and enterprise software. In 2002, he moved to the News department at the magazine as a senior writer specializing in coverage of database software and enterprise networking. Later that year Matt started a yearlong fellowship in Washington, DC, after being awarded an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellowship for Journalist. As a fellow, he spent nine months working on policy issues, including technology policy, in for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He rejoined Ziff Davis in August 2003 as a reporter dedicated to online coverage for Along with Web conferencing, he follows search engines, Web browsers, speech technology and the Internet domain-naming system.

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