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PayPal Prepping Next-Gen Platform

UPDATED: What's the second-most preferred payment service on the Web? According to a PayPal study, it's PayPal -- second only to Visa.

But if you think that PayPal is competing with Visa, think again. PayPal is competing only with itself as it readies to launch new developer initiatives and entice more innovative payment services in the Web realm. This, in the midst of major growth.

PayPal revenues for the first quarter of 2008 were $582 million, up 32 percent year over year. In terms of Total Payment Volume, PayPal reported that the total value of transactions in Q1 2008 was up by 34 percent year over year to $14 billion.

As PayPal continues to grow at double digit growth rates, raking up billions of dollars, it is PayPal's developer efforts that may well be the catalyst.

"We partner with Visa so I don't know that we're focusing on 'beating Visa' we drive a lot of transactions for Visa," Glen Lim, head of alliances and developer services at PayPal, told InternetNews.com. "I think we just have to really keep our eye on the ball and be in position to accept the growth that we're experiencing and be able to support it."

Lim is responsible for the PayPal Developer program, which was first created in 2001 and currently boasts over 385,000 registered developers. The program has been an instrumental part of PayPal's growth over the years, providing developers with tools and resources to integrate PayPal into their solutions.

This June, even more is changing.

"We're changing a lot of things with the developer program," Lim said. "PayPal is now a $2 billion dollar biz and it's growing incredibly fast. The off-eBay business, that is business not related to eBay, is growing at 60 percent a year. The growth has caused large demand by merchants of all sizes for expertise in the developer community around PayPal."

Lim noted that a key requirement now has become to match the demand with expertise as well as building expertise. To that end, PayPal is gearing up new initiatives that are set to launch in June. Among those is the launch of a new PayPal Developer Central portal, including a new infrastructure and content strategy. The goal is to make more education available for developers.

As part of the June developer initiative, look for new vertical market kits for developers, Lim noted. Currently, PayPal has a vertical market kit for the non-profit charity sector. The vertical market kits offer a pre-packaged set of technology from PayPal that developers can bundle with their exiting application and then take to market. Lim did not expand on which particular market verticals would get the kits in June.

PayPal will also be working on expanding its developer certification efforts to help smooth transactions between developers and merchants.

"There is a tremendous amount of demand and we need to do an even better job of matching that demand," Lim said. "So we'll be launching as part of the new infrastructure a portal for certified developers where they can pitch themselves."

Though PayPal is expanding its developer efforts, that does not imply that their current efforts are lacking.

"We have a pretty complete set of tools today with 16 [application programming interfaces]," Lim said. "We're seeing a lot of innovation on those APIs. But there always things that you can do to expand."

Updates prior version to clarify that PayPal's research shows it is the second-most preferred payment service.