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Walmart-Amazon Rivalry Turns Into Food Fight
March 16, 2018
Walmart said it would expand its Online Grocery Delivery service, currently available in six markets, to more than 100 metro areas across the U.S. Its plans call for covering more than 40 percent of U.S. households by the end of the year. Walmart will use more than 800 of its stores to fulfill orders, and it will add thousands of personal shoppers to the more than 18,000 already employed.
YouTube Aims to Put the Brakes on Online Conspiracies
March 16, 2018
YouTube intends to ramp up its efforts to combat conspiracy mongers, perhaps in response to the rash of conspiracy videos that trended following the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month. Among other things, YouTube will supply links to relevant Wikipedia pages and other credible websites to provide viewers with a counter narrative, according to CEO Susan Wojcicki.
Google to Weed Out Cryptocurrency Ads
March 15, 2018
Google has said it will stop serving ads for cryptocurrencies and related content in June. The ban includes, but is not limited to, initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets and cryptocurrency trading advice. Google also will bar aggregators and affiliates from serving ads for cryptocurrencies and related content. Facebook adopted a similar policy earlier this year.
Amazon Courts Medicaid Recipients With Deep Prime Discount
March 8, 2018
Amazon this week expanded its discounted Prime membership program, already available to EBT card holders, to include Medicaid recipients. Eligible customers can become Prime members for $5.99 a month, less than half the regular $12.99 monthly fee. The move -- another step in Amazon's efforts to reach underserved economic communities -- ratchets up its competition with Walmart.
Pega Enlists AI to Coach Sales Teams
March 8, 2018
Pegasystems has launched Pega Sales Coach, an AI-powered addition to Pega Sales Automation. Pega Sales Automation targets business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies. It can benefit firms with 100 employees as well as Fortune 500 enterprises with revenues of US$500 million and up, according to Chris Benedetto, Pega's director of product marketing for sales automation.
Where Blockchain Tech Offers the Most Promise
March 7, 2018
"Blockchain" is on everyone's lips in the tech industry, with vendors pushing it for everything from banking and finance to retail and apparel. "We're going to continue to see tech vendors trying to push blockchain as the solution to problems that may exist," said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research. However, it may not be "a privacy-effective or cost-effective solution."
Voice Shopping Set to Skyrocket
March 6, 2018
The U.S. voice shopping market will rise from its current $2 billion valuation to $40 billion by 2022, according to a survey by OC&C Strategy Consultants. The trend is being driven by a surge in the number of homes using smart speakers, from the current 13 percent to 55 percent by 2022. It's likely that Amazon will continue to dominate this channel, the survey results suggest.
New AI-Powered Voice Tool Aims to Boost Sales
March 3, 2018
Zoho has unveiled Zia Voice, a conversational artificial intelligence chatbot for sales teams that works with Zoho CRM. Zia Voice lets sales teams analyze their Zoho CRM database for information such as new leads created, average deal revenue, or monthly forecasts. It analyzes interaction patterns and the progress of a lead or deal in the pipeline, and suggests the probability of closure.
Amazon Buys Ring to Make Homes, Deliveries More Secure
March 2, 2018
Amazon has agreed to buy Ring for $1 billion, the companies have disclosed. Ring users already could use the Echo Show to see and hear visitors at the front door. The deal means Ring can further its "mission to reduce crime in neighborhoods by providing effective yet affordable home security tools to our neighbors that make a positive impact on our homes, our communities and the world," Ring said.
Mobile Pay, Smart Speaker Brand Confusion Means No Winners
March 1, 2018
Google Pay launched last week, becoming the latest entry in the world of master-brand confusion. The new Google Pay combines features of Android Pay and Google Wallet, brands that each had different brand relationships with customers. That means the master brand message, which should be simple and clean, and which Google should have been building all along, is shaky at best.
5 Podcast Pluses for E-Commerce SMBs
February 28, 2018
Podcasting is one of the hottest media trends. Almost everyone, it seems, has a podcast these days. Should e-commerce business owners jump on this bandwagon? Can podcasting really boost the bottom line? If you do decide to make a podcast, do your best to make it exceptional. That means having good audio quality, excellent content, a unique voice, and a strong sense of audience and purpose.
AdRoll Creates New Division to Target B2B Marketers
February 28, 2018
AdRoll has announced RollWorks, a new division that will provide business-to-business marketers with highly targeted, personalized marketing at scale across multiple channels and devices. The result of a corporate restructuring, RollWorks will focus specifically on B2B marketing, while the AdRoll business unit will focus on the company's legacy products for e-commerce SMBs.
FutureProof Retail President Di Di Chan: Combine Your Strengths
February 27, 2018
FutureProof Retail aims to redefine the in-store checkout experience. "From the consumer point of view, when you go shopping you have people who help you and service you, and you walk away happy," said President Di Di Chan. "What we're doing is bringing the online offline, to centralize that service. It's not just the top VIP shopper who can enjoy that experience -- everyone can."
5 Effective Ways SMB Etailers Can Battle Fraud
February 26, 2018
Fraud is a major concern for 72 percent of businesses, according to Experian's Global Fraud and Identity Report. More than 5,500 consumers and 500 business executives in 11 markets around the world participated in the survey. The situation has not been improving, as six out of 10 businesses experienced the same losses to fraud as they did a year ago -- or more.
FCC's Final Rule on Net Neutrality Sparks Legal Challenges
February 23, 2018
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday officially published its Net neutrality rollback order in the Federal Register, triggering a flurry of legal actions and Capitol Hill scrambling to stop it before it takes hold. The order, which goes into effect on April 23, reverses an Obama era rule requiring that broadband access be regarded as a utility.
AI's Malicious Potential Front and Center in New Report
February 22, 2018
As beneficial as AI can be, it has its dark side, too. That dark side is the focus of a new 100-page report. AI will be used by threat actors to expand the scale and efficiency of their attacks, it predicts. They will employ it to compromise physical systems and to broaden their privacy invasion and social manipulation capabilities. Novel attacks are to be expected.
Google Pay to Challenge Apple, Amazon
February 21, 2018
Google has launched its long-anticipated Google Pay app, which combines the features of the former Android Pay and Google Wallet into one platform, with new benefits designed to accelerate mobile payment use and retailer participation. The change, first announced last month, represents a bid to expand the use of Google's growing ecosystem to take on both Apple and Amazon in the e-commerce space.
3 Cybersecurity Threats SMB Etailers Should Not Ignore
February 16, 2018
Some small e-commerce website operators may think their relative obscurity offers protection, but the fact is that SMBs are especially vulnerable to cyberattacks and malware. "Very often small businesses don't feel vulnerable to cyberthreats because they assume cybercriminals prefer to launch attacks on large companies," said Stephanie Weagle, VP of Corero.
Google Launches Offensive Against Annoying Ads
February 15, 2018
Google's Chrome Web browser has begun blocking some of the Net's most annoying types of ads. Chrome's built-in ad filter blocks ads based on standards devised by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group whose membership roster includes Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and The Washington Post. The group aims to improve consumer experiences with advertising.
Can Amazon Scale Its Own B2B Shipping Service?
February 13, 2018
Amazon has been plotting its next big move to control its logistics chain, with a new service called "Shipping with Amazon" in the works and reportedly scheduled to launch within weeks. It initially will pick up goods from third-party sellers that already work with Amazon and deliver them to customers. The service eventually will expand to merchants that currently do not work with Amazon.
Account Scoring Tool Helps Companies Home In on Best Targets
February 13, 2018
DataFox has launched Account Scoring, a new product to help businesses and financial firms find and prioritize optimum target clients. DataFox offers clients data on more than two million companies to help them prioritize existing prospect accounts, as well as discover new companies to add to their CRM systems as potential high priorities, said CMO Mike Dorsey.
Intel's Fake 5G Olympic Hail Mary
February 12, 2018
If there ever were a time when perception Trumped reality, this would be it. So much of what we see these days that looks real just isn't. I can connect a lot of this back to Steve Jobs, who was the master at this in the tech world. However, I'm worried that too many people don't realize that there were several times Steve missed jail by the skin of his teeth, largely because he did amazing work under pressure.
Amazon Makes Free Whole Foods Deliveries a Prime Perk
February 9, 2018
Amazon has begun offering same-day delivery of grocery items from Whole Foods Market to Prime members in four select markets. For a minimum order of $35, Prime members get free two-hour delivery between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. One-hour delivery is available for a $7.99 fee. Among the items customers can order for delivery are fresh produce, meat and seafood; flowers; and some alcoholic beverages.
Will 2018 Be the Year of Reckoning for Online Tax Collection?
February 6, 2018
The United States Supreme Court recently decided to revisit Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, which basically allowed states to collect taxes on online sales only from sellers that had a physical presence within their boundaries. Brick-and-mortar retailers for years have argued that the ruling puts them at a competitive disadvantage. At least 35 states have been urging a reconsideration of Quill.
3 Reasons Your E-Commerce Biz Should Have a Blog
February 5, 2018
Blogging might seem a difficult task to many e-commerce retailers, but the effort you put into it likely will pay off. With some forethought and commitment, blogging can become part of your overall strategy for e-commerce success. If you're still on the fence, here are three reasons to consider getting started with a blog. First, it will improve your SEO.
There May Be Gold in Them Thar Podcasts
February 2, 2018
User engagement with podcasts has been steadily increasing, and many listeners actually prefer longer-format content, based on results of Apple's Podcast Analytics reported this week. The service, which Apple launched late last year, gives podcasters a way to track performance metrics including number of listeners, total time listened and time per device.
Facebook Is Gobbling Less of Users' Time
February 1, 2018
The social media industry may have to struggle to rehydrate in light of some surprising and troubling metrics Facebook released on Wednesday. In addition to a pause in user growth, there have been signs that user engagement may have reversed course. The decline may have something to do with Facebook's efforts to recover from accusations that it has provided fertile ground for fake news.
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JP Morgan Aim to Untangle Employee Healthcare Knot
February 1, 2018
Three corporate giants on Tuesday announced they were banding together to provide healthcare for their 1.1 million employees. The companies -- Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan Chase -- plan to form a company "free from profit-making incentives and constraints" in order to improve employee satisfaction with their healthcare coverage as well as reduce costs.
Apple May Be Gearing Up to Crack E-Books
January 31, 2018
Apple reportedly has been working on a redesign of its e-book app for iPhones and iPads, in what could be the biggest upgrade to its e-book service in years. The new app reportedly is undergoing testing and will be released in the next few months. It will have a simpler interface that better highlights books currently being read in a section called "Reading Now."
Alphabet's New Chronicle Promises to Speed Threat Data Analysis
January 30, 2018
Alphabet has launched Chronicle, a new cybersecurity venture, following two years of development at the Alphabet X research lab. Chronicle will include VirusTotal, a Google-owned cybersecurity and intelligence platform and malware intelligence service. The idea behind Chronicle stems from the fact that many companies receive many more security alerts per day than they can handle.
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What should be done about UFOs?
World governments should cooperate to address a potential planetary threat.
The DoD should investigate -- they could signal a hostile nation's tech advances.
The government should reveal what it already knows.
The government probably has good reasons for secrecy and should be trusted on this.
Wealthy corporate space-age visionaries should take the lead.
Nothing. Studying UFOs is a waste of resources.
Keep the stories coming. People love conspiracy theories, and it's fun to speculate.