Here’s what Paypal is going to look like. The feature-based lead ("send money", "request money") is replaced by a focus on audiences that gives a prominent place to eBay sellers. Fraud is acknowledged as an issue, both from the seller and buyer perspectives, which makes sense considering all the email phishing going on. It’s good that Paypal chooses to address this upfront; some companies would display a smiling child holding blue and yellow balloons while trying to sweep the whole thing under the carpet.
I have to ask though, was the smiling guy with a double chin tested with actual people, or is this the result of a creative brief supposed to convey trust for "people just like you" but gone a little astray in its execution?
Anyway, this new home page is clear and readable and its visual structure helps do more than the current barebone page which doesn’t use white space very effectively. Notice the top navbar remains the same so that millions of people don’t have to relearn how to use the site. What’s surprising though is that, despite the preview, Paypal doesn’t really ask for feedback, so it doesn’t seem they intend to tweak it further before launch.
09/12/04 update: apparently they’re aware Fatso Guy doesn’t work well for Europe, so they have a different guy for the French and British sites (and the side pitches reflect different concerns for less mature markets), while apparently German focus groups prefer seniors to black people as far as minorities go. Of course I have no idea whether this is actually someone pampering to cultural differences or national prejudices (depending on how you look at it) or just the result of random stock art choices. See screenshot below for prosperity.