“PayPal for Porn” Booted from UVa

Brian McNeill had an eyebrow-raising story in the Progress a few weeks ago about a Darden startup business that’s basically PayPal for porn. Not only was it surprising that Darden would have actively recruited the startup to join their business incubator, but that its founder would have done so little research into the existing market; there are oodles of PayPal competitors attempting to tap into the market, since the electronic payment company prohibits using their service for pornography or gambling payments. The head of the Darden program was asked if perhaps it wasn’t wise to be launching a company in this line of business, and he responded that “what is and what isn’t controversial is open to some interpretation.”

Now Pmints.com has been pushed out of Darden, the AP reports, a result of anger by alumni that Darden would be backing this business. (Presumably because of its premise on porn and gambling, rather than the fact that it’s a wholly unoriginal business idea.) Pmints.com’s founder says he’ll carry on without Darden, and expects to launch the business later this year.

14 Responses to ““PayPal for Porn” Booted from UVa”


  • Being unoriginal isn’t a crime. If it was, no one would open up another pizza joint, burger joint, etc.

    If he can find a way to process payments cheaper and still turn a profit, good for him — and that’s what determines if the business plan is good or not, not the originality of it.

  • Being unoriginal isn’t a crime. If it was, no one would open up another pizza joint, burger joint, etc.

    Well, no — of course it’s not. But let’s guess how many pizza and burger joints that Darden has funded via its incubator? I’m going to go with zero. That’s because Darden’s incubator exists not to create more businesses that do things that are already being done but, rather, to facilitate the creation of new ideas or fundamental rethinkings of old ideas. Look at what they have now, to pick three at random — Step Ladder, Power Control Solutions and PocketMed.

    Then look at the quote from the founder of PornPal:

    “I started thinking, ‘Wow, this is a pretty big hole,'” said Diaz-Tushman. “I realized that I could start up a new company that would let you do everything that PayPal does, but that would let you work in the adult industry.”

    It was a pretty big hole…ten years ago. It’s long been over-saturated, dominated by iBill (as Forbes explained three years ago — they’ve since imploded), Epoch/PayCom, Jettis and CCBill, with dozens and dozens of other, lesser-used companies beneath them. This is a total failure to complete the due diligence step, especially on the part of Darden.

    This is like starting a competitor to eBay or PayPal. I mean, good luck, but what are you adding to the world? There’s no new business idea there, no originality and, clearly, it’s not real good for Darden.

  • This is like starting a competitor to eBay or PayPal. I mean, good luck, but what are you adding to the world?

    Other than competition? Not much, no. If they can undercut iBill though, they should be able to make a buck.

    Though I wonder if Darden is supposed to only be about new business ideas, why did they back it in the first place? It should’ve been obvious then that it’s not original, though it may be successful.

  • Sorry, I thought you said ‘exploded’ when referring to iBill. Either way, there’s surely a market to be had there.. whether they can undercut people or not and be successful doing it, that’s the question.

    I don’t blame them for trying though, and often while trying to take on rivals, you come up with new ideas along the way. If Google didn’t come around to challenge Microsoft by being ‘unoriginal’ (how original is search?), then where would we be?

  • Though I wonder if Darden is supposed to only be about new business ideas, why did they back it in the first place? It should’ve been obvious then that it’s not original, though it may be successful.

    I have to admit that I’m puzzled about that. Looking over the website, I can’t understand what about this would have interested Darden. It would need to be quite a hook to overcome the clear problems with puritanical opposition to the business’ raison d’etre. Perhaps, since the business hasn’t launched yet, they were deliberately keeping it quiet?

  • I heard about this venture a few weeks ago, and my thoughts were that it was not a novel technical innovation, nor was it an innovative business model, and I could not understand the Darden connection, as there is plenty of west coast porn VC for a business like this. However, if the banks and CC clearing houses don’t cooperate, the business is dead. And if the business does start to succeed, one quick board meeting at eBay/Paypal to amend its current policy will put Pmints out of business in about a week.

  • isn’t the Porn the reason why the internet is so big nowadays anyways.

  • the stepstool dudes definitely need a different descriptor than “collapsible” to modify “stepstool”, especially when the target is “children and the elderly.”

  • And if the business does start to succeed, one quick board meeting at eBay/Paypal to amend its current policy will put Pmints out of business in about a week.

    I would be stunned if they did this. If I recall right, Paypal had pressure from the feds to not accept gambling payments. This isn’t just a “let’s change our policy!” bit.

  • The guys running it are obviously clowns that haven’t done any research at all. Had they done any research, they’d realize that facilitating transfers to gambling sites is very illegal and will get you thrown in federal prison for a very long time.

    The founders of a similar e-wallet, NETeller, were each arrested and faced long, long prison sentences and big fines. And they are Canadians running a Canadian company.

    How could these guys not know how illegal the whole gambling part of this is and then go try to launch a business and ON TOP OF THAT run their mouth about how they are doing it? If they put the business in the Canary Islands or something and didn’t say who they were, ya, ok, but to give an interview right here in the Daily Progress with a picture and their full names? HAHAHAHA. What a bunch of jokers. Here’s some links showing how dumb these guys are:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/07/10/neteller_lawrence_plea/

  • Yeah, pretty much. By doing this they had better plan to never set foot again on US soil.

  • Paypal processes payments for adult products on Ebay and also does gambling internationally, which is what I understand Pmints will be doing. What’s the difference?

    http://www.xbiz.com/news/news_piece.php?id=82362

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