For convenience, you can’t beat the concept of IMing money to someone. And it’s an easy way for Revolution Money to differentiate themselves from PayPal — which, since its $1.5 billion purchase by eBay in 2002, hasn’t had much serious competition, especially recently.
But there’s a few hurdles for the new MoneyExchange plug-in:
- Most important: You have to download and install a plug-in. It’s possible this is very easy to do, but we can’t try it out because…
- It only works on Windows — no Mac support. And even if you’re happily using Windows, is the person who owes you money?
- The AOL Instant Messenger app isn’t the only thing people use to chat on AIM these days. There’s iChat, Trillian, Adium, Meebo, mobile clients, AIM Express, etc. The MoneyExchange AIM plug-in won’t work with these platforms.
These aren’t necessarily deal breakers — there’s still millions of people who use AIM on Windows PCs, who might want to send and receive money from other Windows AIM users. So the big question is whether enough people will take the first step — download and install the plugin — and then find MoneyExchange convenient enough to bypass PayPal for.