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PayPal opens Web services

Jun 07, 20042 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsWeb Development

* PayPal opens access to PayPal facilities via Web services

It seems that the business expansion strategy for successful portal-type sites is to open up to developers. We’ve seen this move from Amazon, eBay, and now, from PayPal one of the e-commerce 800-pound gorillas.

PayPal (see links below), now owned by eBay, claims some 45 million users and maintains that it handled more than $4.3 billion in transactions in the first quarter of 2004. But this is a market where, as with sharks, forward motion equates to survival. Thus it is hardly a surprise that the company should open access to PayPal facilities via Web services.

Based on Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and Web Services Description Language (WSDL), PayPal’s recently released beta version provides three Web services called:

* TransactionSearch: Returns a set of matching transaction IDs and basic transaction details based on search criteria such as payment date or customer name.

* GetTransactionDetails: Returns all details associated with a specific transaction, such as customer e-mail address, time of payment, and purchase details.

* RefundTransaction: Reverses a specific transaction and issues a refund or partial refund to the purchaser.

PayPal also plans to offer a fourth call in a few weeks which transfers funds to a single or multiple recipients called MassPay.

Joining the PayPal developer program is free and provides extensive documentation and a “Sandbox” environment for testing Web services.

CORRECTION: A couple of issues ago we discussed the FastMail.FM service. The full account subscription price is $19.95 per year, not per month as shown in the article.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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