Admittedly, we’re more likely to hit up YouTube for its hilarious and bizarre amateur content than to pop in on one of those well-funded Original Channels, but that won’t necessarily be the case going forward. Several of the site’s original programming venues will soon be available through Virgin America’s in-flight entertainment system — “H+ The Digital Series,” “Blue,” “Written by a Kid,” “Crash Course” and “The Key of Awesome” are expected to hit aircraft beginning December 15th, according to Variety.
Sure, you could navigate to YouTube on your own through the carrier’s in-flight WiFi, but you’ll soon be able to enjoy at least a few titles in (presumably) higher quality through the 9-inch panel mounted to the seat in front of you, while freeing up bandwidth for those hardworking business travelers (and a few occasional Engadget editors) in the process. These latest YouTube selections join a variety of other content unique to Virgin, and considering that legacy carriers stock their IFE with “classic” flicks and a dismal selection of dated TV shows (assuming they offer the service at all), the nation’s “fun” alternative airline is starting to look even more appealing.
Via: < a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/skiftnews/status/277138197446795264">Skift (Twitter)
Google has just snapped up BufferBox, a Waterloo, Ontario-based startup that offers temporary lockers for online purchases much like the ones recently deployed by Amazon. Instead of 7-Elevens and RadioShacks however, the relatively young startup has only just started a deal to install parcel kiosks in Canada’s Metrolinx GO Transit stations. The Mountain View company hopes to keep BufferBox alive through the acquisition, with plans for 100 kiosks in Greater Toronto and Hamilton in the next year. Of course, we can’t help but think this could all be part of Google’s master plan for a rumored same-day delivery service that might make Amazon a touch nervous. Hopefully this means future Nexus deliveries will be a just little faster, eh?
The daily deal world is in turmoil.
LivingSocial just announced the firing of 400 employees, which is about 8.9% of its total workforce.
What’s more unnerving is that over the past six months, Groupon reduced its workforce by 648 positions.
More than 1,000 reductions across both businesses is a huge deal. Those reductions aren’t all layoffs; some are through attrition.
To cap it all, Groupon CEO Andrew Mason’s job was in question all week, and he only received his board of directors’ seal of approval late Thursday.
So why isn’t anyone freaking out yet?
Arguably, this is a recession in the daily deal business.
It’s the industry’s first, given that it didn’t exist until about four years ago.
LivingSocial told Business Insider via email about the job cuts. “After two years of hyper-growth from 450 to more than 4500 employees, these moves will align our cost structure against our 2013 plans and will help us set the company on a path for long-term growth and profitability. Specifically, they will allow us to invest more in critical pr! iorities like marketing, mobile, and the hiring of additional technology staff.”
LivingSocial told CNNMoney that it is moving much of its customer service from its headquarters in D.C. to Tuscon, “so some job openings will be available in that area.” Sales and editorial, however, have simply been “streamlined.”
The job losses reflect the shaky economic underpinnings of the daily deal business, which Groupon and LivingSocial have yet to wrestle into control.
LivingSocial posted a net loss of $566 million in Q3 2012. $496 million of LivingSocial’s loss stems from a huge writedown of some of its acquisitions from 2011, the Washington Business Journal reports. LivingSocial’s revenue also fell to $124 million in the three-month period, down from $138 million in the second quarter.
As of market close today, Groupon’s stock price is currently sitting at $4.54, according to Yahoo Finance. The 52-week range is shocking: it reached a high of $25.84. That followed six months’ of shrinking total billings at the company. (Its American business is robust; the international arm less so.)
A Groupon spokesperson tells us that its layoffs were largely due to new technology the company invested in that made those jobs irrelevant. In fact, we’re told, Groupon has 200 job vacancies open across North America right now.
And, of course, the job cuts don’t mean that Groupon and LivingSocial are going to vanish tomorrow. They’re huge businesses after all. But they are cause for concern as they illuminate potential weaknesses in the daily deal ! business model.
The main problem is operational scale.
Both companies are dependent on large salesforces. It is very difficult for them to leverage operation scale: To sell more, they need to employ more people. Groupon historically has prided itself on the long-term relationships its salesforce builds with its merchants. They have struggled to leverage self-serve, turnkey sales the way Facebook has.
In fact, Groupon and LivingSocial aren’t even tech companies. Rather, they’re email companies. Although email is here to stay for a long time, the tidal shift among consumers is away from email to instant messaging, social media messaging, and mobile phone messaging. They need to pivot into alternate methods.
Groupon is trying just that, with Groupon Goods, which so far has been a success. And both companies need to do what Groupon says it is trying to do, which is replace human-to-human selling with tech that can increase each individual worker’s selling power.
Lastly, the downturn ask whether the daily deal business has hit one of its natural ceilings: new merchants. Both companies need a fresh supply of new merchants to offer more deals, or to re-up on repeated deals. It’s an open question that both Groupon and LivingSocial now have to prove: Is there enough new merchants or incremental repeat business from merchants for the sector to continue to grow?
A thousand-plus layoffs suggest that, for now, the question lacks a satisfying answer.
Don’t Miss: Groupon CEO Andrew Mason Keeps His Job!
Bogomil Shopov, a Bulgarian blogger and digital rights activist, bought 1.1 million Facebook names, user IDs and e-mails for the ridiculously low price of 5 dollars. Yes, for a price of a Subway footlong, Shopov was able to get his hands on your personal data from Facebook. What a deal!
Luckily, Shopov isn’t out to spam people or anything. Instead, he wants to use this as an example of how terribly lax Facebook can be with its security. How did those names and e-mail addresses become available in the first place? Facebook apps. Forbes says:
According to the seller of the information, a Gigbucks user with the handle “mertem,” the data was collected from Facebook applications.”The information in this list has been collected through our Facebook apps and consists only of active Facebook users, mostly from the US, Canada, UK and Europe,” reads the Gigbucks post. “Whether you are offering a Facebook, Twitter, social media related or otherwise a general product or service, this list has a great potential for you.”
The personal data of Facebook users isn’t just from people who keep their profile public, Shopov said he found e-mail addresses that were private and hidden too. Facebook is currently looking into the breach of user data but they haven’t yet come to a resolution. We are at their mercy. [Forbes]
The bloom is slightly off the rose for Facebook. After a banner first post-IPO quarter, it’s recording a net loss in its fiscal third quarter of $59 million despite its revenue climbing to $1.26 billion — a big swing that the company is blaming on payroll tax tweaks and income taxes, which becomes clearer when you learn that the company posted a $311 million profit before factoring in standard accounting practices. Facebook hasn’t said exactly what had the biggest impact, although its closing the Instagram deal wouldn’t have helped matters. Still, the company isn’t glum about its prospects: following an earlier mention of the milestone by founder Mark Zuckerberg, the earnings report touts that there are over 1.01 billion active Facebook users who check in at least once a month, over 604 million of which were mobile. Between a reworked iOS app, a freshened Facebook Messenger and new ad-friendly SDKs, the social network is bracing for a potential bonanza ahead.
Facebook posts $59 million net loss in fiscal Q3, touts 1.01 billion active users originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 23 Oct 2012 16:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Last year’s floods in Thailand caused hard drive shortages after wreaking havoc on a number of electronics manufacturers, but new stats from IHS iSuppli indicate that the HDD market for PCs has fully recovered and is poised to hit an all time high. The firm expects 524 million units for internal use in PCs to ship this year, besting the previous record by 4.3 percent. What’s giving the recovery an added boost? According to the analytics group, the extra demand comes courtesy of Windows 8 and Ultrabooks. Unfortunately for deal hounds, the company noted in a report earlier this year that prices aren’t expected to dip below the pre-flood range until 2014. If IHS iSuppli projections hold true, total annual hard driv! e shipme nts could reach 575.1 million by 2016.
Filed under: Storage
Hard drive shipments recover from floods in Thailand, expected to reach record high originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 29 Sep 2012 16:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Aiming to be the Zipcar of electric scooters, Scoot Networks has officially launched in San Francisco after months of beta testing. Ideal for areas with problematic parking, the Chinese-made scooters are 100 percent electric with a 20Ah SLA battery each, and there’s even a dock built into the dash to charge most Android or iPhone models. With a screaming top speed of 30 miles per hour, they’re obviously meant for short trips and not for the highway. It costs $10 to sign up, $5 per month, then $5 per hour. You can also get a $10 per day deal or a $19 per month option that includes three workdays or overnights. Even though you don’t need a motorcycle license to rent one, the company does offer tutorials to get newbies comfortable with the vehicles. If you do have a license, you can opt for the $185 a month plan that lets you get your own personal scooter. A potential issue is that the battery on the electric scooter only lasts around 20 to 30 miles, but San Francisco might have enough EV-friendly parking spots to make that less of a problem. You can watch the company’s promo video after the break.
Filed under: Transportation
Scoot aims to be Zipcar of electric scooters, launches in SF originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 26 Sep 2012! 17:24:0 0 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Dr. Augustine Fou is Digital Consigliere to marketing executives, advising them on digital strategy and Unified Marketing(tm). Dr Fou has over 17 years of in-the-trenches, hands-on experience, which enables him to provide objective, in-depth assessments of their current marketing programs and recommendations for improving business impact and ROI using digital insights.
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