The new Aurora, Colo.-based third-party processor is fighting back claims that it has direct ties to the defunct Deerfield, Fla., company with the same name that left scores of online adult companies unpaid and hundreds of legal claims unresolved.
Jonas C. Brown, who holds the title of executive vice president of security for the new firm, told XBIZ that company investors knew coming into the third-party processing game that it might be rough dealing with the never-forgetting adult webmaster community that so far has mostly blasted the company on message-board postings.
“There’s still a lot of bad taste in the air,” Brown said. “Originally iBill did well with the adult companies, but when it was sold that’s when everything started to crumble.”
The defunct processor's tangled mess dates back to its notification by First Data Merchant Services that it was dropping the original iBill from its merchant account. The original iBill tried to secure another merchant account holder and, according to some, failed to tell clients.
Years ago, the original iBill was one of the top third-party processors; today, investors of the new firm, incorporated as a Nevada company but based in Colorado, are making strides — slowly — into the adult processing biz.
“It’s going to take months of rebuilding the name and image, but we think it’s worth it,” Brown said. “None of the management or executive team with the original company have anything to do with this one. In fact, I wouldn’t know where to reach any of the former execs.”
He noted, however, that he worked at the defunct iBill for five years in the early parts of the decade before it was hit with scandal. So did one of the new company’s programmers.
The new iBill, which was planned much of last year, opened shop for mainstream accounts in February and officially marketed to adult companies in April.
Brown said that investors scooped up iBill’s trademark after the defunct company let the name expire and then completed an acquisition for the iBill.net domain for $14,500 from an employee of the original processor (the old iBill used iBill.com as its URL).
The company currently services about 20 adult websites and more than 40 mainstream customers, using two accounts with a European payment processing company Brown wouldn’t disclose with the exception that it is near London. Oddly, that European processor has only one exclusion: any reference to “teens” in websites.
The new iBill offers a five percent per transaction fee with a five percent six-month reserve for a period of six months. It processes MasterCard and Visa, and is in negotiations to add Discover and JCB.
Brown said that it is finding some immediate success with taking backlinks with the old iBill name and redirecting them, if the site owner approves.
But Brown said he’s only interested in “the long-term” and is hopeful that he can educate the online adult community about the new company’s offerings.
“Look, there’s a history to the name and a lot of people remember the name,” he said. “Out of every 20 people I talk to about our services, only one will give me a hard time over what transpired with the old iBill.
“At one point, there was so much hate mail, but over time I’ve noticed a huge tone-down. It’s getting a lot less negative.”
On promoting the new iBill, Brown said the company hasn’t really done any advertising, with the exception of message-board promotions, but he’s open to meeting with webmasters at the adult trade shows — with one caveat.
“If we get a booth, I might have to bring a bulletproof vest,” he said.