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New PayPal Logo: A Case Study in Trust Issues

Did management just jump the shark?


Bjorn Iceland

8:30 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

When a payment service changes its logo, for no real reason whatsoever, causing much trouble for its merchants and reducing trust, it's clear to me at least, that PayPal's management have jumped the shark.

When you have established a brand, with a logo that is very well known, and used on thousands of merchant websites, perhaps you should think twice, and three times before flushing that brand identification down the toilet.

Further, if that site is used as an online payments gateway, you are stupid, and reckless to make a change like this so quickly as PayPal has done, without a long changeover period.

If they were changing their name because of a merger, for example to CitiBank PayPal perhaps it would be acceptable, but still, changing your corporate identity for an online business is fraught with risk.

Clearly customers will be confused as for a long time as they will be finding that the logo on the online seller's site doesn't match the one on PayPal's. No doubt causing an even higher abandonment rate for PayPal purchases from those merchants.

If this is somehow an attempt to counter phishers, you can bet the 'Rock Phish' gang and other phishers will change their emails faster than legitimate online merchants will change their logos on websites.

PayPal management are clearly out of touch with all except their larger online merchants. Was the old logo really that bad, and worth all the coming pain?

P.S. You can buy the old logo. Sort of.

As a wag at another unnamed website for PayPal PowerSellers put it:
"Too bad its local pickup only. I would like to take a collection to win the auction and then we can post a video of people who have been screwed by paypal smashing it."


8:40 pm on Sep 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

What exactly changed "in a major way"?


I seriously doubt this will have any negative impact on PayPal.

Did I miss something? Is there another Logo that I'm not aware of that is not shown at the page above?


1:54 pm on Sep 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I don't really follow the poster's logic. I doubt that "clearly customers will be confused". I was tardy in updating the PayPal images on our web site, and there was no drop PayPal sales, and no phone calls from confused customers.

No real news here.

Bjorn Iceland

6:06 am on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


That's my point. They made a minor change to the logo, no doubt because their market research said that the larger retailers didn't like the image, and so botched the rollout of the new logo by rushing it.

I'm not saying the new logo sucks, I am saying that 30,000+ PayPal merchants are going to take an age to change the logo on their sites, as many simply uploaded the old logos as an image, or have incorporated the pay by logos in a custom way.

PayPal is well known for the phishing attacks against it, so end-user trust is fairly low to begin with. As most of the public don't have PayPal accounts (150 million accounts is small fry compared to the number of Visa cards issued for example), this difference in the logos is going to cause many to think twice about signing up for a PayPal account; further they don't help themselves by the way they have their VeriSign seal for an apparently unrelated site1.

So, by thinking that a logo change will make them seem "more professional" and that it is the most important thing, they have botched the rollout of the new logo. Why in the gods' name are the old and the new logo not next to each other on the website for at least 6 months from the start of the changeover to the new logo?

Sure, the new logo might be nicer for printing, and more professional, etc, but that's not what matters here.

1 See [paypal.com...]
which goes to [seal.verisign.com...]

But, I'm on PayPal.com not SCGI.EBAY.COM. Um, is this a phishing scam?

Really PayPal are not in the mindset of the customer who wants to buy something from one of the merchants that has PayPal up on their site. These potential customers without PayPal accounts probably know of PayPal mainly because of all the "spam" phishing emails he or she has received. The differing logos and the VeriSign site seal issue do not increase trust at all, just at the time the customer needs to feel comfortable to signup for an account, which is after all in the way of what they want to do, buy something they want using their credit card.


6:29 am on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

...it's clear to me at least, that PayPal's management have jumped the shark...

After seeing the new logo I would disagree. I would equate this to when, not too long ago, UPS 'changed" their logo from 'flat' look to '3D look' - I wasn't confused, didn't loose trust in the brand, etc

[edited by: Tastatura at 6:30 am (utc) on Sep. 10, 2007]

Bjorn Iceland

6:31 am on Sep 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member


A slight side tangent for you. Do you only take PayPal on you site?

If you do perhaps you won't have noticed any change, but I bet that if you took credit cards directly as well and didn't change your pages to the new logo, you would have begun to notice a spike in more people choosing direct credit card instead of PayPal since the logo changeover.

In general, those who only take PayPal may be surprised to learn that they can increase their sales (by 30-40% or more) by taking credit cards the normal way in addition to PayPal.

PayPal know this and that's why they bought VeriSign's payment gateway arm and now offer Payments Pro to US merchants. They *know* the PayPal model gets in the way of the mainstream customer buying experience for the majority.

For the casual customer, it just gets in the way of what they want to do. Unverified accounts continue to exist because only 150 million of consumers have got PayPal accounts.

PayPal is great for eBay payments, but for online merchants it's a nightmare. It has uncontrollable chargeback risks, without the control of screening clients yourself you have with online credit cards. There's a reason PayPal doesn't insist on Verified accounts only. If they did their growth in new accounts would stop almost dead overnight.

While it's true that adding PayPal to a site that already accepts credit cards directly can increase your sales, you are most definately losing sales if you accept PayPal only.


12:57 am on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

A few additional notes in support of the original post.

First: The new logo may or may not be "better" or "more professional", this is subjective. However, objectively, the new logos do not reflect the theme of paypal's site as the old logos did. If paypal had reworked their site with inclusion of these new colors and gradients, it would make sense to change the logos to match, but they didn't. The old logos match the site, the new logos don't. There is no consistency.

Second: The new logos are not all the same size as the old logos they replace. How idiotic is that? Paypal encourages you to use their code for logo links, rather than download the images and host them locally, than they change the size of the logos! I just discovered my site formatting is all out of whack on browsers with css formatting difficulties (like any pre-7 IE) because paypal increased the width of one of their logos by 62px.

The new logos don't fit in with their site, or mine. I don't care what they say, I'm downloading the old logos and sticking with those.


8:08 pm on Sep 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Did VISA sales drop when they changed their logo? Was there talk of customer confusion then?

I don't see it as a big deal. A bit frustrating, as I had recently updated a couple web sites with the now-old logo. But, not a big deal otherwise.

Bjorn Iceland

1:27 am on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Another thread on this matter...

joined:Aug 21, 2004
10:40 pm on Sep. 13, 2007 (utc 0)

I'm not sure if this is a coincidence, but on Aug 31st, I received an email from PayPal about their new buttons and logos. The 31st was the date of the last order I've received. I have not received an order since. Are customers leery of the new look that it might be fraudulent as they are used to PayPal's old look?

Any input would be appreciated.


5:18 am on Sep 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Any input would be appreciated.

I haven't noticed any dropoff.


1:32 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I did notice the "verified paypal logo" changed slightly, but the frustrating thing is, the old logo was cropped down to just the logo, so it looked good on a colored background. I have some silver in my background, and the new logo is now in a white box. Why couldn't they just crop it down like the old one! Thats just my two cents.

I am interested in the "30-40% increase in sales" with a standard credit card processing module. I currently only have paypal, and I am getting good traffic, but low conversions. Do you have any suggestions for a cc module? I think i want to add one.

Thanks for the info.


10:57 am on Sep 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I've noticed my Paypal sales have jumped quite a bit lately, no evil eye. I still have the old logo up because I downloaded it. I didn't even realize the logo had changed.

I haven't had big chargeback issues with Paypal. I've had one chargeback with them in 7 years. Maybe the dispute process is what was referred to? I've had plenty of those. But I don't see that as being on the same level as a chargeback, since there is no "fine."


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