Friday, January 19, 2007

BitPass Shuts Down

I just received this email from BitPass:

Dear Valued Bitpass Buyer,
We want to thank you for your past business, however due to circumstances beyond our control, we are discontinuing our operations.

We have partnered with Digital River to provide operational support during the period prior to shut down. As of today, January 19, 2007, all Bitpass Buyers with US dollar denominated accounts are being notified that they will have seven (7) days to spend any amounts that currently exist in their Bitpass Account.

During this seven day period, US Buyers will not be able to further fund their account. On January 26, all US Bitpass Buyer accounts will be closed and Digital River will begin the process of refunding all unspent monies to the accountholder.

All account records and materials will be retained for 60 days and available upon request. Again we would like to thank you for your business and support.

Matthew Graves
Chief Operating Officer
Bitpass Inc.

Not sure what to think of this one. They were one of the first movers in the "Micropayments" payment solutions. They had a decent product, but one that was fundamentally flawed due to the pre-funding of the account requirement. That was not their fault however, it was just a reality of the payment processors and credit card companies at the time.

They may have been slightly ahead of their time. Even PayPal is realizing the importance of Micropayment transaction fees and Google Checkout could use their large credit card accounts to influence fees as well. They were one of our first competitors, though, they stayed married to the Micropayment concept. They were able to raise over $13 million in venture capital funding. To me, it seemed like a buzzword more than a business foundation. I thought their company could have survived in the standard value transaction processing arena in digital content.

I wish their team luck,


p.s.- Welcome diggrs!