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PayPal Extends Dev Competition for a Better Showing

02.25.2010
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In its first developer challenge since open sourcing the PayPal X platform there's a bit of controversy surrounding the race for $50,000.  One developer team is angry with the company for extending deadlines and making numerous concessions for developers with glitches and late submissions.  The company has even been giving help to certain developers who are having trouble completing their apps.  Voting on the apps has finally begun, but more entrants continue to be added even after numerous deadlines.  

PayPal first announced the open sourcing of their APIs back in November at the Web 2.0 Summit.  That was when some developers received early access to the APIs and the company announced an inaugural competition to use these APIs in an app-building contest.  In an effort to innovate the ways in which applications are monetized and win the substantial prize money, developers started working on their apps.  

However, PayPal might not have been pleased with the turnout.  Even after extended deadlines, there are currently 54 entrants, which might seem low given the big payoff for a winning app.   Funky Android, the development shop that blogged about the rule breaches, was rightfully concerned about the extensions and special help with $50,000 on the line:

"We were getting pretty frustrated and annoyed that PayPal seemed to be simply ignoring their own rules and giving other developers extra time and tips. The only reason for this we could think of was that PayPal wanted to increase the number of entrants, and the only way they could do this was to help developers who would have been excluded from the competition if they had enforced the rules." --Al Suttons, Funky Android

According to the blog, the original deadline was January 17, but as the deadline got closer PayPal pushed it back to January 31, confirming that Funky Android's long sessions and weekends of overtime were unnecessary.  The deadline for the next step was February 14th, and no major bugs or glitches were allowed after this point.  Again, PayPal made concessions and emailed entrants saying that they might contact certain developers and help them fix glitches.  Suttons says that their team met all the initial deadlines with no glitches.  

The voting has finally begun and believe it or not, new entries are still coming in to the website.  In PayPal's defense, this is their first developer competition and some bending or breaking of the rules to facilitate more quality entries is understandable.  With only 54 entrants so far in a $50,000 competition, the odds are probably better than most developers thought going in to this contest.  Even with $50,000 up for grabs, it seems that a lot of people didn't have all their ducks in a row.

You can check out all the apps and their video introductions here.  Voting closes on March 5 (unless they push back another deadline).