letter

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5952821/yelp-will-now-warn-you-about-paid-reviews

Yelp Will Now Warn You About Paid Reviews Think the overly generous five-star rating of that god awful burger joint in your neighborhood is a bunch of bull? If Yelp suspects reviews are paid for, it will now post a warning sign.

Going forward, when Yelp discovers these acts of bribery, it will put up a red alert on that business’s page. The scarlet letter of Yelp dirty dealings will stay there for 90 days. You often pull up the site and see these gushing reviews, and they make you suspicious. How often do you pull up a site and see these suspicious, gushing reviews? Turns out, Yelp is wary too. Good looking out, guys. [Yelp via TheNextWeb]

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Thursday, October 18th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5879847/bribing-customers-to-get-five+star-amazon-reviews-is-a-new-marketing-low

We all read reviews and check star ratings on Amazon before we buy stuff. We’ve already seen that companies sometimes write reviews themselves, and they’re easy to spot by the way they’re written. But there’s a new trend among some less trustworthy Amazon sellers: bribing customers to write favorable reviews.

Accorrding to a report by the New York Times a compnay called VIP Deals has been offering its customers a complete refund on their purchase — while still allowing them to keep the item — in return for a review.

The product in question is a Vipertek brand premium slim black leather case for the Kindle Fire — a fairly lucrative market given how many Kindles were sold over the holidays. VIP Deals have been selling the case for under $10 plus shipping (the official list price was $59.99). The New York Times explains what customers experienced:

When the package arrived it included a letter extending an invitation “to write a product review for the Amazon community.”

“In return for writing the review, we will refund your order so you will have received the product for free,” it said.

While the letter did not specifically demand a five-star review, it broadly hinted. “We strive to earn 100 percent perfect ‘FIVE-STAR’ scores from you!” it said.

Apparently VIP deals has no web site and uses a mailbox drop in suburban Los Angeles as a return address, and last week had received 4,945 reviews on Amazon for a nearly perfect 4.9 rating out of five. Since, Amazon has removed the product page.

Speaking to the New York Times, Anne Marie Logan, a Georgia pharmacist, said: “I was like, ‘Is this for real?’ ” she said. “But they credited my account. You think it’s unethical?” Just a bit, Anne. Just a bit. [New York Times; Image: MikeBlogs]

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Friday, January 27th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Target Realizes There Are Only Two Ways To Compete With The Internet (TGT)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/target-realizes-there-are-only-two-ways-to-compete-with-the-internet-2012-1


Target

Target is sick and tired of customers who browse its stores and then go and buy products for cheaper prices from online retailers.

To reduce so-called “showrooming,” Target has asked its vendors to adopt one of two practices, according to the WSJ:

Last week, in an urgent letter to vendors, the Minneapolis-based chain suggested that suppliers create special products that would set it apart from competitors and shield it from the price comparisons that have become so easy for shoppers to perform on their computers and smartphones.

Where special products aren’t possible, Target asked the suppliers to help it match rivals’ prices. It also said it might create a subscription service that would give shoppers a discount on regularly purchased merchandise.

Target’s troubles with showrooming are shared by brick and mortar stores everywhere. Unfortunately small retailers may not have the clout to demand special products (see: Missoni) or help in price matching — and price matching without support from the supplier can be a losing proposition.

Don’t miss: See how big retails stores are spread across America >

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Monday, January 23rd, 2012 news No Comments

This Bakery Had To Make 102,000 Cupcakes Because Of A Groupon Deal And Lost A Ton Of Money

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/london-baker-makes-102000-cupcakes-groupon-deal-2011-11


need a cake bakery

A London bakery recently experienced the worst-case scenario of offering a Groupon for a small business, and it cost the owner thousands (via NBC Chicago).

Need a Cake bakery owner Rachel Brown decided to put up a 75% discount on a dozen cupcakes on the site, which dropped the price down to $10 from $40.

Apparently, people really love getting cupcakes cheap, because she was rushed by throngs of customers in a cupcake frenzy. 8,500 people signed up, and her crew of eight had to make 102,000 cupcakes to meet the orders.

Brown lost $3 per batch because she had to hire 25 extra workers to help, and she ended up losing $20,000 because of it, which a ton for a small biz. It wiped out her profits for the year, reports the Daily Mail.

“Without doubt, it was my worst ever business decision,” she told the BBC. “We had thousands of orders pouring in that really we hadn’t expected to have. A much larger company would have difficulty coping.”

This is just the latest in Groupon small business horror stories. A story popped up in September about a Portland cafe losing $8,000 because of a Groupon, which prompted a personal letter from founder and CEO Andrew Mason.

It brings up the always-present question about the daily deals site: does Groupon suck for small businesses?

Well, it looks like most small businesses think so. An overwhelming majority of 70% hate Groupon, if the latest survey from iContact is to be believed.

As for Brown and her bakery, the experience may have cost her 20 grand, but what about all the exposure she’s getting for her store? Great, right? It doesn’t hurt, but it probably wasn’t worth the cost.

Small businesses like this bakery thrive on relationships with their local customers, not crowds of outsiders coming in to snatch up a free lunch.

Getting new customers is great, but in this case, the bakery rewarded the wrong customers. Those 8,500 people that rushed for the Groupon probably won’t be coming back to pay for the same cupcakes at quadruple the price.

Only those the store has nurtured relationships with for a long time (in Brown’s case, 25 years), should be the ones rewarded. They’re the ones that keep coming back for more.

NOW SEE: The 10 Largest Family Businesses In The US >

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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 news No Comments

Google, Facebook, Twitter and others speak out against the Stop Online Piracy Act

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2011/11/16/google-facebook-twitter-and-others-speak-out-against-the-stop/

Earlier today, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (or SOPA) which, depending on who you ask, is either a means to stop piracy and copyright infringement on so-called “rogue” websites, or the most serious threat of internet censorship that we’ve seen in some time. In the latter camp are some of the biggest internet companies around, including Google, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, eBay, LinkedIn, Mozilla, Zynga and AOL (full disclosure: Engadget’s parent company), who today made their stance clear by taking out a full-page ad in The New York Times.

The ad itself is a letter sent by the nine companies to Congress, which states that while they support the stated goals of the bill and the related Protect IP Act, they believe that, as written, the bills “would expose law-abiding U.S. Internet and technology companies to new uncertain liabilities, private rights of action, and technology mandates that would require monitoring of web sites.” The companies further went on to say that they believe the measures also “pose a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job-creation, as well as to our Nation’s cybersecurity.” While they didn’t all sign onto the letter, those companies also also joined by a host of others who have spoken out against the legislation, including Foursquare and Tumblr. The sole witness against the proposed measures at today’s hearing, however, was Google’s copyright policy counsel, Katherine Oyama — you can find her testimony on Google’s Public Policy Blog linked below.

Google, Facebook, Twitter and others speak out against the Stop Online Piracy Act originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 16 Nov 2011 15:43:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink BoingBoing  |  sourceGoogle! Public Policy Blog, Letter to Congress (PDF)  | Email this | Comments


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Thursday, November 17th, 2011 news No Comments

How to tell who has Google Buzz … and follow them

Lots of people have asked if I have invites for Google Buzz … but I didn’t see a way to invite them … but here’s a trick to give them buzz

1. go into Google Buzz

2. Click the link that says “Following X people”

3. scroll all the way to the bottom of the popup window

4. select contacts link

5. type a letter — e.g. “a” and see the list of others who have Buzz, who you can follow

6. select them and click add, then refresh the screen by clicking “load more” so you see them in the list

google-buzz-followers

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Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 digital No Comments

Source: http://feeds.gawker.com/~r/gizmodo/full/~3/Jp9ZubAuXTE/dude-drops-his-kindle-2-convinces-amazon-to-replace-it-and-pay-him-200-for-his-troubles

Behold, the power of a scary-sounding letter from a lawyer! Paul dropped his Kindle 2 and it broke. Amazon wanted $200 to replace it. Instead, they replaced it and gave him an additional $200. Damn, son!

Seriously, how badass is this letter he sent to Amazon?

Paul Gowder
[Address omitted]

August 12, 2009

Amazon.com Inc.
Legal Department
1200 12th Avenue South
Suite 1200
Seattle, WA 98144-2734

Dear Sir or Madam:

On June 21, 2009, I purchased an Kindle 2 e-book reader from the Amazon.com website. I purchased this device based, in substantial part, on the expectation that it would be reasonably durable. In particular, I expected that it would be approximately as durable as is ordinary in the consumer electronics market.

Amazon.com advertises the Kindle 2 on the basis of its durability. Notably, Amazon.com displays a “drop test” video on the web page for this product. That video displays the device being dropped twice from thirty inches onto what appears to be tile. That video displays a fall with sufficient force that the device visibly bounces, and deliberately creates the impression that the device will function after impacts similar to that sequence of drops.

Despite those representations, the Kindle 2 is far less durable. On July 26, 2009, I dropped a messenger bag containing the device onto the sidewalk, from approximately two feet above the ground. It was dropped only once, and the messenger bag absorbed enough of the shock that nothing else in the bag, including a Macbook laptop, suffered an! y damage whatsoever. (Unlike the drop displayed in Amazon.com’s video, for example, nothing actually bounced.) Moreover, there was no visible damage on the exterior of the Kindle 2. Nonetheless, the Kindle 2 became completely unusable, with over 50% of its screen no longer able to display any text.

I called Amazon.com support and was told that, because of the accidental drop, you would not be willing to supply a replacement device under warranty. You did, however, offer to sell a new device at a discount, for $200.00. I took advantage of that offer under protest, and explicitly reserved my rights to bring a claim against you based on the unreasonable fragility of the device and the misrepresentations in your advertising. It is that claim that forms the subject of this letter.

I am prepared to offer an immediate settlement of my claims against Amazon.com for a payment of $400.00. That sum represents the $200.00 replacement fee I paid plus $200.00 to compensate me for the diminution of utility and value of the device as well as of the e-books I have purchased for that device, in light of the fact that the replacement device, too, can be expected to be far more fragile than advertised and prone to destruction under the slightest stress. This offer expires thirty days from your receipt of this letter. If you do not accept this offer, I intend to bring suit either individually, or, if I decide it is warranted, as representative for a class of similarly situated plaintiffs. At that time, I will seek the amount noted above, plus punitive damages under the California Consumers Legal Remedies Act, Cal. Civil Code §1750 et. seq., costs, fees, and such other monetary damages as provided for by law, including without limitation Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code §17200 et. seq., the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, and other relevant law.

Also, you have demanded the return of the broken device as a condition to the unreasonable discounted replacement offer which I accept! ed under protest. Your agent has informed me that you will charge my credit card for the full price if the broken device is not returned to you. I am considering seeking a protective order placing that device in the custody of the Court pending litigation. However, should I instead return the device, you are hereby notified that it is evidence in the anticipated litigation to which this letter refers. Should you modify, destroy, or resell the broken device, I will ask the Court to treat that as deliberate spoliation of evidence and make adverse inferences as appropriate.

Very truly yours,

Paul Gowder

And here’s Amazon’s response:
Pretty awesome. Just goes to show that if you put your somewhat-unreasonable request in an official-looking form and also threaten to sue, big companies will be happy to toss a token amount of money your way to make you go away. [Consumerist]


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Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 digital No Comments

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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