ClearCoin is an escrow-type of service that allows safer payment by securely holding coins in escrow until both buyer and seller are satisfied.
Note - this service is closed to new escrow listings.
Sometimes there is a risk that a buyer will be unhappy with a purchase but no recourse is possible because Bitcoin transactions are not reversible. An escrow allows the buyer to send payment to an intermediary and release the funds only at such time the buyer is satisfied with the seller's level of service.
ClearCoin escrow simply acts as a time lock for a bitcoin person to person transaction. After sending payment to escrow, either the escrow can be released and ClearCoin will forward the escrowed amount to the seller, or the escrowed funds are held until the expiration date (options available are 1 month, 6 months and 1 year escrow expirations) before the payment will be returned to the buyer.
When the buyer refuses to release the escrowed amount, the delay in getting those funds returned may be an incentive to try to work things out with the seller. For the seller, there still is the risk that the buyer will have received the goods or service and then still refuse to release payment. ClearCoin does not mediate disputes.
The web application runs on Google App Engine and the escrowed funds are held on a more secure server hosted with Amazon EC2.