Flame On! PayPal Caves to Wrath of Burning Man

When PayPal Director of Communications Anuj Nayar logged onto his computer Wednesday and checked his Facebook page, he didn’t like what he saw.

The six-time Burning Man veteran saw the beginning of a public relations nightmare, with nasty comments from fellow Burners railing against his company for freezing funds of the Flux Foundation earlier in the week. As the story spread across the blogosphere and through social networks that morning, Nayar decided it was time to “look into it” and began contacting customer support teams to investigate.

He said he was able to grant a “one-time exception” to the Flux Foundation allowing them to drain the account.

A few hours later, the artists group left for Black Rock, NV with trucks loaded to build the $180,000 structure which serves as the centerpiece for the annual fireworks display.

Nayar declined to discuss the criterion for granting the one-time exception, citing company privacy policies.

PayPal, which now represents 37 percent of parent company eBay’s annual revenue, pulled in $2.8 billion last year. That’s up 16 percent from the previous year thanks in part to the robust and ever-growing slate of non-profits using the online payment company to raise funds. According to PayPal, more than 100,000 non-profits now use the service and 250 new non-profits join every day.

When asked whether PayPal made an exception for the Flux Foundation to improve public relations and customer service, Nayar said: “That’s fair to assume.”


[Image: Flickr user mdanys]