Another Mid-Week Business Update

Business Rusch On Writing

A couple of weeks ago, I got excoriated by writers who didn’t agree with me about the whole PayPal thing being a business issue and not a censorship issue. In that post, I told writers to learn business and to fight something they disagree with on a business level. In last week’s surprise mid-week business update, I pointed out that Mark Coker of Smashwords–an excellent businessman–was doing just that: he was fighting business to business with PayPal to stop their new practice against certain types of erotica. Well, because Mark Coker knew what he was doing, because he fought this from a business perspective, he won. Here’s the link from a news article (in a paper that didn’t normally cover Smashwords before. More good work. This all got noticed).

He got a boost a few days ago, when the credit card companies, whom PayPal initially blamed for the policy, said that PayPal misrepresented them. The credit card companies were not to blame for PayPal’s business decision, leaving PayPal out there on its own, with bad press, a serious ding on their reputation, and large potential loss of customers. (This crisis has also shown other folks that PayPal has gotten too big, and now we need another business or two or five that serve as an alternative.)

Rather than shouting on various blogs, Mark Coker and others took action. And they won. This is how it’s done, folks. It’s a textbook example of fighting a bad business decision with a strong business-oriented response.

Good work, Mark. Congrats on the victory.


I have now shut off comments to this post because I’m getting spammed again by those who believe their opinions are important but don’t bother to read mine or see the point I made in my original post two weeks ago. I trashed this post, then changed my mind. I’m not going to let self-righteous people who can’t read shut down my blog.

4 thoughts on “Another Mid-Week Business Update

  1. I was practically clapping for him. He did a great job with this. And I was thinking the same thing, that paypal needs a competitor, and there needs to be an easier way to take payments directly without them. An author who is part of KDP Select sold me his trilogy in epub for my nook directly. I got the books and the cover art (god I wish I knew how to do it!) and it was a great and smooth transaction, but through paypal. There needs to be an alternative to keep them humble.

  2. I don’t understand why all those writers felt like they had to blast their opinions at you. It’d be far better for them to just write some more stories!

  3. I love your blog, but in this instance, you’re misrepresenting the facts a bit. Mark Coker did indeed go to bat on the issue, but the letters from the credit-card companies were not addressed to him. They were sent in reply to letters sent from the Banned Writers group.

    His business was not the only one caught in Paypal’s economic censorship net, and his business wasn’t the only one that spoke out or did anything about it.

    The erotic authors of Banned Writers blogged, wrote letters, started and signed petitions. They were quoted in Forbes and partnered with the ACLU and EFF.

    So while it was indeed a victory for our businesses, we spoke also from our belief in ethical business practices.

    1. Thanks for the correction, Ms T. I know he wasn’t alone here–note that I mentioned Mark Coker and others in my post above– but I didn’t take the time to research the others involved because of my decision to post this little comment today. Mark has sent out a letter, thanking everyone involved. I’m sure the text of the letter will appear on the Smashwords site soon. You’ll find it here when he feels he can make it public.

      I do want to ask why, when I tell writers to act like business people, most folks–including you in this comment–assume that means I’m telling you to act in an unethical manner? Businesses can and should had ethics, and can and should act on them.

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