Back in 2007, PayPal introduced a plugin that was supposed to allow you to use PayPal even on sites that didn’t accept it as a payment method. If a site didn’t accept PayPal, the plugin would generate a temporary number to allow you to check-out through Mastercard.

I thought it was a great idea but, sadly, it never really worked right so I gave up on the plugin a long time ago. But all the while, I really hoped they would keep working on it and make it work right because it was a great idea. What better way to deal with a company you aren’t sure if you should trust than to give them a temporary credit card number just for that one transaction thanks to PayPal? I really liked the idea.

I guess I was the only one. When it came out, it got very little press in the blog-o-sphere which is usually a pretty sure sign that few people were using it. So eBay pulled the plug. (PayPlug?)

The last day to use the plugin will be September 22nd, 2010. So if you never got a chance to use it, you only have a few days left.

If you consult their FAQ, you’ll find this:

Why discontinue Plug-In?

Simply put, we’re shifting our focus and resources to more popular products that provide a better customer experience. We continue to focus on expanding our coverage online with new stores accepting PayPal every month. Check out our extensive directory to find your favorite.

and then a few inches down the page, this:

Why discontinue the PayPal Plug-In?

Customer experience is a top priority at PayPal, and after two years of supporting the Plug-In, we felt it wasn’t providing the best experience for those who used it. See our list of other Products and Services to find new ways to pay online.

I love a good multiple personality FAQ.

So Reason #1 is that no one was using it so it wasn’t popular enough to warrant keeping. Reason #2 was that it didn’t work. I guess it’s a multiple choice kind of thing though I suspect both are true.

While I can’t fault them for pulling the plug on an unpopular feature, considering how low profile it was to begin with, I would have preferred they relaunched or revamped it to at least give it a real try. It was a great idea that they didn’t publicize at all and then didn’t work very well when you did try to use it. If there had been more users, might they have been able to work out the bugs? Who knows. But I feel like they killed it before they gave it a fair try.

But I’m just one person. Did any of you use the plugin? How did you like it?

If this is the first you heard of it (which I suspect is the case for many) would you have liked to see them give it a better try before killing it?