How Stripe, One Of The Biggest Payment Platforms Stopped Anime Motivation From Selling Products And Merchandise

You would never think that the very platforms that allow people to sell, promote, and make money off products on the internet would be the ones censoring websites and platforms at large.

After all, to sell products you need a merchant or a payment gateway for your customers to pay you for whatever it is you’re selling.

No different to how you need a bank account to make money, withdraw money, exchange money, and pay for bills.

 

But that’s idealism at its best

anime sweat drop girl - https://theojellis.com/how-stripe-payments-censored-anime-motivation-products-merch/

In the real world it never works that way and not all businesses are treated fairly. Or without logic in the first place when it comes to the reasoning behind censorship and exclusion.

Anime Motivation is a website I own.

On February 22nd 2022, Stripe sent this email after setting up a new account.

It reads:

“Thank you for getting started with Stripe. We’re reviewing the information you submitted to us and will follow up on your account status within a few business days. This means you can’t process payments yet, but you can test charges on your Dashboard as you ramp up for integration.

We might be reaching out for additional information, so please lookout for an email from Stripe Support so that we can resolve your account review as soon as possible. We hope to get animemotivation.com up and running on Stripe soon.

Thanks again,

Stripe”

stripe email animemotivation.com 1 - https://theojellis.com/how-stripe-payments-censored-anime-motivation-products-merch/

In ordinary circumstances, you expect a few days to pass and then voila, your account is good to go and then you start selling shit.

This isn’t a new experience for me which is why I was so surprised at what came next.

 

Accused of selling pornography and adult content

We are unable to accept payments for pornography and adult content, as mentioned on our Restricted Businesses list.

Due to the high risk nature of this violation, we are unable to provide you with a notice period. As a result, we have closed your account and you will no longer be able to accept new payments.

Do you disagree with our decision?

If you’d like to appeal your account closure, please complete the below form to confirm one or more of the following:”

Notice this assumption and accusation, and how they worded it?

The idea was ridiculous given what the website is, the main content there, and the fact that the shop section of the site was selling merchandise and clothing which had nothing to do with anything explicit, pornography related, adult related, or the like.

So that claim got shut down fast.

I even got certain products”deleted” that may be deemed politically incorrect despite that not legitimately being the case (as it happens to be with Western companies these days).

They didn’t care:

stripe followup message animemotivation - https://theojellis.com/how-stripe-payments-censored-anime-motivation-products-merch/

“Hi there,

Thank you for the update.

I’d like to let you know that I’ll be reviewing the information you’ve provided alongside my team and I’ll be back in touch to give you an update about this process shortly or in case we require additional information from your end.

Feel free to get in touch with us in the meantime if there’s anything else we can help with.”

 

Screenshot 2024 05 16 135848 - https://theojellis.com/how-stripe-payments-censored-anime-motivation-products-merch/

“Thank you for your patience while we completed a secondary review of your account.

Per industry guidelines, we are obligated to impose strict limits on the types of businesses we can and can’t support.

We’re unable to work with any business that we believe poses elevated financial risk or violates our own policies. In this case, after a thorough review of your account, we have determined that your business falls within these guidelines.

This decision is final and in order to protect our processes, we are unable to provide further details regarding the reason for your account’s closure.
While we understand this is not the news you were looking for, we want to wish you the best as you work to support your business.”

— The Stripe team

They weren’t having any of it. Just like that, you can be refused from selling merchandise, products, or whatever it is you’re selling that isn’t NSFW all because you have a few pieces of content that talk about Ecchi.

Or whatever the actual reason is that they refuse to elaborate on.

Similar to Patreon and their politics, It can be assumed to be the same with high accuracy.

 

Stripe is known for censorship

first closure email - https://theojellis.com/how-stripe-payments-censored-anime-motivation-products-merch/

 

In one of too many examples online, Stripe banned a service called JustUseApp.com

They claimed the service had payment disputes but this was in fact a FALSE accusation yet again.

They proved it in their article:

stripe banned us - https://theojellis.com/how-stripe-payments-censored-anime-motivation-products-merch/

The only dispute was a dispute they actually WON so in actuality, it still proved Stripe’s claims were absolutely false.

“I raced to our Stripe dashboard to see if there were any new disputes that recently came in. There was non. Throughout our 3 months on Stripe, we have only had one dispute on Stripe for a $10 charge which we won easily after submitting evidence to J.P Morgan (the user’s bank).”

all dispute won - https://theojellis.com/how-stripe-payments-censored-anime-motivation-products-merch/

Despite the article going viral and ending up on Hacker News, and despite Stripe “fixing” the issue AFTER it went viral, they then went back on their word.

It’s mentioned here:

“Stripe reached out to us again that we can no longer make use of Stripe Issuing, alleging that Issuing is for a more Business oriented use-case unlike ours which is targeted towards individuals and consumers.

This is surprising, to say the least because all their Docs and APIs shows that two types of users are supported by Issuing – Individuals and Businesses. Additionally, a majority of our users use us for their business-related spending. We have reached out to them explaining this and we offered to change our entire business model and marketing material to fit their requirements.

They have not replied to us.”

Even a viral article with viral attention wasn’t enough to put Stripe in its place despite highlighting its obvious hypocrisy.

 

ridiculous gif - https://theojellis.com/how-stripe-payments-censored-anime-motivation-products-merch/

In cases like this and the dozens and dozens and even hundreds of Stripe censorship examples, it can only make me wonder how many more are being censored who don’t have a platform and haven’t spoken out.

Those in silence are always higher in number than those who report on an issue or call it out. Fear is the reason, but that’s also why they get away with this kind of bullshit in a gatekeeping fashion.

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