Earlier in May, a story surfaced on the blogosphere about WePay – one of the web’s most popular API payment services and a Launcht partner – shutting down a crowdfunding campaign created by adult-film star Eden Alexander. Alexander had violated WePay’s terms of service by retweeting an offer for nude photos in exchange for campaign contributions and, while the specific reasons for WePay’s ban on adult content remain contested, the story serves as a reminder that the terms of service have much more bearing than users often think.
Crowdfunding creates a far more open marketplace than do more traditional financing models, but WePay’s move to shut down Alexander’s campaign suggests that this openness only goes so far. WePay currently bans a lengthy list of activities; most are illegal in the first place, but a few clash instead with the moral standards that the industry has chosen.
WePay remains the best payment service out there for crowdfunding platforms. But – for better or worse – there are some things that do not mesh with the industry’s values.
For most users, the terms of service seem like a technicality, but oftentimes they are actually worth reading. Check them out. You might be surprised by what you see.