Paypal froze our assets - newbie super access closed.

Our PayPal account has been frozen - right now we can not receive any donations for a super adgruntship that allows access to the commercial archives. :(

We've emailed and asked PayPal - who as you probably know just got bought by Ebay - what exactly we've done to deserve this.

Apparently, it is "adult content". They have yet to point out where exactly this site carries such content. In regular ads? Well, who would have thunk it? As this story progresses we'll let you know what's going on. I'm really sorry about it - apologies to all adgrunts who wanted an upgrade and can't get one via Paypal now.

Paypal's words on why our account has been frozen: "After reviewing your site, and in accordance with Section 11 of the User Agreement, your account has been closed."


That's it. Naturally, if you know any alternatives that you'd like to suggest we'd be happy, nay thrilled, to look into them. Again, apologies all around.


Update Friday 16 jan 14:58: Not that I can tell you anything new, but it is worth noting that 5 phone calls to PayPal and six emails later - we have still no more information as to why our account was closed, nor what we can do about it.

None of the employees we have reached on the phone thus far have been able to give us any more information. Only the complaint department can tell us why the account is frozen, and they are taking their own sweet time about it. (the first email was sent Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 15:40:25 +0100 (CET) From: adland's hostmaster [xxxx @] To: yesterday that is.)

Their automated reply reads:

To appeal the limited access placed on your account, all references of PayPal as your payment processor will need to be removed from your website(s) and/or auction(s) -OR- remove the items that are in violation of our Mature AUP.


This is their Mature Audiences Guidelines/agreement.

How does PayPal define "adult" or "sexually-orientated" material?

"Adult" or "sexually-orientated" material includes, but is not limited to:

* Any visual representation of human genitals presented in such a manner as to suggest sexual activity

* Any visual representation of any form of sexual intercourse involving humans

* Any materials which require that individuals be eighteen (18) or older (depending on the jurisdiction) to view or purchase those materials

* Any non-textual materials clearly designed to sexually arouse the viewer/reader, including adult phone or audio services

* Any items which, because of their nature or because of the item description, appear to be designed for use in sexual/adult activity

* Escort services * Any items which depict human sexual characteristics in a degrading fashion

* Any item that portrays frontal nudity will normally be treated as "adult" material


We've replaced all references to PP with 'p*ypal' on this site as the automated email does read "references of PayPal as your payment processor will need to be removed". Consider it done.

Well, just call me the pr0n-Queen.



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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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brandonbarr's picture

clayton, you're right on. I visited eBay and it gave me crabs. Shut it down.

BTW, the trackback isn't working. I blogged about this here.

If they don't fix this, a Google Bomb is in order. Fight stupidity smartly.

James Trickery's picture

Right now we have to rely on the widget+adgruntship at our Cafepress shop.

A full year or 30 days (the two top shops, read their descriptions). The Postcards ain't bad. I got some myself.

Oh, and it's Paypal can't read their own user-agreement-wankers. Ha.

AnonymousCoward's picture

I use your site often for reference and need an alternative method of payment badly, I don't want to find a new ad site!! Please advise. Paypal bastards must die!!!

Travis Romine

mikemystery's picture

"The advertising industry takes more than its fair share of knocks, but one particular example has left me rather bemused., a most entertaining and useful advertising web site frequented by a number of us indolent creative types, has had its account frozen by Paypal (recently aquired by online auction company ebay for a whopping $1.3Bn). The reason given was that the site contains "Adult Material" in contravention of the ebay user agreement . The offending Adult Material: The Sophie Dahl Opium advert, previously shown on billboards across the world. To have an ad banned by the ASA is fair enough. But to have an ad banned by a website that makes its money hosting the largest collection of small ads in the world? That really takes the biscuit."

You never know: it might get published!

mikemystery's picture

I don't know if it will help, but i sent an e-mail of complaint to paypay customer services. perhaps if we all did (at least those of us who are paypal users) it might help. Like a sort of Amnesty International direct action letter. The advertising industry comes in for enough stick as it is. Come on copywriters! Get writing! if you can't do a decent lettter of complaint, who can? I feel that this is terribly important and should be protested in the strongest possible way.

andromeda's picture

Okay - who red-flagged AdLand? I find it odd they shut the paypal off, without any warning and perhaps more importantly a legit reason. I'm with you all the way Claymore - this place is the center of ad research and ad gossip and suddenly paypal comes and turns it off right before the superbowl? A little too well timed to discover a four year old ad in the archives..... And whats with all the clear violations of their user agreement on Ebay? They sell vibrators there and accept paypal, do a quick search and you'll see hundreds of them at any given time.

Dab, I feel for you, and hope you can get your account unfrozen fast - I got myself a nice calender at the cafepress shop and an upgrade at the same time. You don't need paypal. But we need our fix of commercials!

caffeinegoddess's picture

They are hypocrites, plain and simple.

AnonymousCoward's picture

Other p*ypal using websites are showing the same picture, why are they picking on adland?
Scroll down to the bottom to see the real offending image (p*ypal's stupid logo).

Dabitch's picture

Your website contains material that violates PayPal's Acceptable Use
Policy. For example: You will either need to
remove the material that violates our policy or remove PayPal from your

IMAGE REMOVED - you can go to the Guardian website if you want to see Sophie Dahl posing for Opium perfume - the ad that ran in American Vogue and large poster sites all across Europe in the year 2000. No frontal Nudity. Not depitcing a sex act. If you think it was clearly designed to sexually arouse the viewer, you might need to buy yourself a life or get access to better pr0n sites.
Yes Bill, spot on, it was Tom Fords's fault. ;)

Note the for example however. If removing that image re-opens our account remains to be seen. I'm of to Hamburg and a concert tomorrow - I'll see you all on Sunday. Just added 1 Gigabyte of RAM to this machine, so everything will be a little bit faster now. :) Cheerios!

James Trickery's picture

It's Tom Fords Fault!!!! Tom Ford and his sexy images of course!

Obviously advertisements for perfume that ran in American Vogue are
too risque for P*YP*L! That must be it! Either that or the Miller Light Cat Fight girls.
But ...... Not even Tom Ford breaks the "Mature Audiences Guidelines/agreement" that you have quoted there.

This is beyond ludicrous!

Holger Wilcks's picture

That's just plain insane. This is a professionel advertising site. It's not a pr0n site. If it is, I demand to see the pictures I paid for! :-)

Seriously: Paypal IS still an internet company, aren't they? Or have they officially moved to demi-god status with the right to issue unquestionable morale judgments?


alex's picture

That's ridiculous. Let me know if there's an alternative and I'll stop using Paypal too.

AnonymousCoward's picture

How dumb. I too would be willing to pay some other way, be it money order if I have to. PayPal sucks (as usual).

adlib's picture

Sad mistake is too kind!
They've singlehandedly shut down a legitimate advertising research site - the only one students can afford mind you - for no apparent reason! Right before the Superbowl as well.
Is this an attack of the moral police? Or the moron police?
If they correct their mistake who would still trust them? I won't trust them as far as I can throw them. Major badwill. Badwill stains never come off.

AnonymousCoward's picture

You need to go to the slanted media. Remember, the best publicity is free publicity. Expose yourself to the rest of the world who have been living under large rocks. HA!

tlevitz's picture

Granted I've experienced some minor irritation with PayPal in the past but by and large have been quite fond of the concept (their money market thing is about as close to investing as I can get).

But this, this... PayPal, you're losing some serious goodwill here.

claymore's picture

So does this mean that if one person accused eBay of being an adult site, PayPal would immediately shut down their parent company?

caffeinegoddess's picture

Are artists who paint/scuplt nude depictions of the human form also banned from using paypal to sell their artwork? It's bogus.
I can't believe that they would send out a notice of breaking rules when they can't even tell you what exactly is the problem. Sounds like a disorganized group of folks.
If the ads have aired on tv or went to press, it's not like nudity (if there is some) is being shown in a crass manner. This is absolutely and totally stupid on their part.
I hope they correct their error sooner rather than later, because it just makes them look bad.

Robblink's picture

I feel somewhat responsible for this mixup...after all, I've been posting up the cheeky commercials lately. Well, if Victoria's Secret is considered x-rated....then consider me a pornographer! Larry Flynt and I will take this case to the Supreme Court.....but I don't want to wind up in a wheelchair......

claymore's picture

PayPal has made a sad mistake in judgment, and I hope they realize that and fix things right quick. Adland is a site of and about advertising. It is visited by an untold number of legitimate advertising professionals every day. Teachers and professors send their students here for research, dang it! And the US Government's Library of Congress has us listed as a friggin' legitimate advertising and commercial resource. What more do they need!?This is egg in PayPal's face, but they did it to themselves. I hope they quickly understand the error of their ways and make things right.

Dabitch's picture

maybe they mean adult content? Ha! I kill me. I'd be happy to find and switch to an alternative, I want to avoid irrational censoring.