Ribbon lowers its fees to compete with PayPal as it launches in-stream purchasing on Twitter and YouTube

Ribbon lowers its fees to compete with PayPal as it launches in-stream purchasing on Twitter and YouTube ...

Social payment platform Ribbon is lowering its prices today in a move some might see as an effort to compete against PayPal. The news also comes as the company is updating its offering with in-stream purchasing on Twitter and YouTube — something few businesses have been able to do.

Ribbon is a hybrid service like if you combined Bitly with a payment service. Anyone can easily create an account on the site and list whatever they want to sell. The result is a link that can be embedded anywhere on the Web, including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and now YouTube. The interesting part of Ribbon is where the transaction actually takes place. In the beginning, when a user clicked on the link, it would have taken them to a separate page where purchasing can be done. Now, for the most part, it all happens right on the same page.

In-stream payments on Twitter


When it comes to Twitter, the behavior was one that was described above — buyers click on the Ribbon link and will be transported to a new page where they will complete the transaction. Today, that all changes as the company makes it possible for buyers to make their purchase right within Twitter.com. For those that click on these links from desktop and mobile apps like TweetDeck or HootSuite, unfortunately this experience hasn’t been released yet — it will still link to a Ribbon site. However, if you’re using Twitter.com and expand the Tweet, items can be bought quickly and easily.

Interestingly, Ribbon is one of the companies that is utilizing Twitter’s Card feature, although CEO Hany Rashwan tells us it’s not the one that was released, but rather the version from a few months ago.

YouTube annotations

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Another update that Ribbon is making involves YouTube. The company has signed a deal with YouTube to be one of the few partners that enable sellers to embed annotations right into their videos with a link that points out to an external page.

Why is this so fascinating? Because currently, whenever someone adds in an annotation link to a video, it must be to another YouTube video. Ribbon says it’s now making it possible for buyers to share videos and mark specific parts with links to things that they want to sell.

What this means is that if a fashion brand decides to upload a video of their spring collection onto YouTube, using Ribbon, they will be able to add annotations when a certain dress or article of clothing appears. Potential buyers see the link and click on it to process their transaction. This action does not take place within YouTube, but rather on Ribbon’s website.

Lower fees

Ribbon has certainly made a lot of improvements over the past few months and has also gained product traction. Rashwan says that today, his company is lowering its fees to 2.9 percent plus $0.30 per transaction — a move that puts it on par with PayPal. Prior to today, businesses needed to pay 5 percent plus $0.25 per transaction.

Rashwan explains that it kept the price for the past few months comparable to other payment services because he wanted people to buy the product to show that they had something. He says he never wanted to compete on price in the beginning, but rather on quality. Now that Ribbon is in a state where they have a lot of usage and new features, it will be going after PayPal.

The company today has grown since it first launched last fall. It has more than 10,000 customers and its staff has more than doubled in the past two months. Last February, the company announced it raised $1.6 million in seed funding from Draper Associates and others.

Photo credit: Dmott9/Flickr

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