RudeVC: France’s “Paypal-killer” Paylib forgets to secure its dot-com

Apr 30, 2014
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In the past I’ve written about the importance of owning the dot-com domain extension. Even my grandmother grasped this notion..

Paylib, unfortunately for them, did not heed my grandmother’s advice.

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paylib

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France’s attempt to create a Paypal-killer, the Paylib payment solution created by a consortium of three of France’s largest banks — BNP Paribas, Société Générale, and the Banque Postale — launched with great fanfare about 6 months ago..

The global payments sector represents hundreds of billions of dollars in products and services. It’s no surprise that practically every segment of the value chain is rife with companies gunning for a piece of the action..

The irony of the rapid success of Paypal is that many banks possessed all the ingredients to release a similar service at the time but lacked the vision, agility, and political capital to make it work. It’s a classic lesson in the innovation dilemma faced by incumbents...

While the banks were still dawdling aimlessly, the dawn of the smartphone revolution arrived. This led to the emergence of a new crop of innovators working on the next generation of payment services. Jack Dorsey’s Square became one of the darlings in the U.S., while in Europe a slew of immitators followed suit..

Albeit somewhat late to the party but with the backing of the aforementioned French banking giants, Paylib announced itself with much pomp and circumstance in late 2013. Today, the service claims to have 200,000 registered users and 400 e-commerce retailers..

Setting aside the debate of whether a group of incumbents can successfully compete in a crowded race to innovation, or successfully transcend France’s borders, there is one major oversight that made me burst out laughing at the Paylib announcement: the venture registered the Paylib.fr domain name, but not Paylib.com..

My very first reflex when I heard the Paylib.fr announcement was to check the Paylib.com domain record. The dot-com was also registered. Smart move by Paylib, I thought. But when I checked the Whois record, I noticed that Paylib.com is owned by a guy in Russia.

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paylib_whois.

I couldn’t believe it. How could these French banks, which are global institutions, in their haste to produce their own Paypal killer, not think to acquire the Paylib.com domain name before the announcement? The owner of Paylib.com must be laughing all the way to his own bank.

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