PayPal: Phishing, Fundraising, And In The Lab

Are you sick and tired of phishing attacks, those fraudulent emails designed to look like trusted corporations but aimed at stealing your personal account information? Today Yahoo (YHOO), together with eBay (EBAY) and its PayPal unit, started to roll out an authentication technology called DomainKeys that supposedly blocks malicious, fake eBay and PayPal messages from being delivered into the inboxes of Yahoo Mail users by allowing Internet Service Providers to automatically decide if messages should be delivered.

Speaking of PayPal, the company has teamed up with News Corp.’s (NWS) MySpace to “virally fundraise” for nonprofits and politicians on the social networking site. PayPal has developed “fundraising badges,” which are basically widgets that are a bit fancier than the typical PayPal “donate” button that could be copied onto any site to inspire philantrophy via the Internet.

The widget, which can be found on over 20 charity and politician profiles on MySpace, makes it easy for site visitors to donate money to their chosen cause. Once users donate funds, their name is added to a scrolling list that includes the names of other supporters of the particular campaign. Since each of these widgets can be copied and pasted into any user profile, web site or blog, the idea is that the badges will spread virally and subsequently increase the amount of funds raised. To encourage the viral effect to take place, the widget also displays a “supporter tree” that tracks the users who have added the tools to their profiles, and how much each person has raised.

The fundraising widget was created in “PayPal Labs,” a new division of the company designed to look for innovative and creative ways to leverage the online payment service. Launched today, the PayPal Labs site (which can be found at x.com) also describes a Facebook app that can be used to send and get money from friends.

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