PayPal to Zivity: You're Too Naughty!

Silicon Valley fight breaks out over racy photos.

Update: PayPal, sometime after this story was written, has reversed its policy towards Zivity and is allowing it to use its services. The functionality, however, has not been re-added to


It's a Silicon Valley fight, over racy pictures.

In this corner, Zivity, a successful web-based business that brings attractive people together with photographers to create portfolios of -- what else to call it -- beautiful people.  Not all models, to be sure, but it's a high-end glossy way to show off what you've got.

On the other side, PayPal -- you know, the eBay company that lets money change virtual hands.  PayPal has been the main way Zivity transacts business with its members, and it has been for four years.

Now, PayPal is freezing Zivity out, claiming the website "could be considered obscene."

According to Zivity CEO Cyan Banister, this is a huge surprise, because Zivity hasn't changed what it does, and has been doing, with PayPal's support.  The Zivity content, she says, is not obscene, but rather tasteful.  Not sex, but sexy pictures.  The kind people have been willing to pay to see -- through PayPal -- for years.

Banister says she's not going away without a fight, and is trying to work with PayPal to get things back on track.  We've also contacted PayPal, which says it's willing to talk to Zivity. 

Because Silicon Valley is such a small place, there's also this:  Scott Banister, Zivity's co-founder, is also an original board member, and early investor, in (wait for it) PayPal. 

***Update: PayPal responded to my request for comment this way:   

We cannot comment on specifics of's account due to our privacy policy. However, we can confirm that PayPal does not allow our services to be used for the sale of adult-oriented digital materials.  This is clearly stated in PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy.

Scott can be found on Twitter:   @scottbudman

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