This article today points up one of the things that you need to be careful about when assessing third-party services to integrate into your web solutions. This particular case concerns Google’s Checkout, an e-commerce offering that is Google’s answer to PayPal, and allows the handling of payment processing.
Google’s ability to handle recurring payments, such as monthly subscriptions to a service that are automatically billed once a month, has been impaired since around the middle of August with little notice by the outside world. A customer first reported the issue in a Google Checkout forum in August.
For customers who rely on recurring billing (the model used by any publisher selling subscription access to premium content, for example), this is a real problem. The bigger problem is that Google apparently has taken its typical tack of providing only forum-based support–for a business-critical problem that has lasted almost a month.
It’s very difficult to imagine PayPal, for whom such business is its business, ignoring an issue like this. For Google, it is, unfortunately, quite easy to imagine that it simply does not rate. You can be sure that if AdWords ads weren’t showing, Messrs. Page and Brin would be on it—yesterday.