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Netflix wants users to be able to share viewing habits on Facebook, US Senate agrees

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/21/netflix-facebook-law-change/

Netflix wants users to be able to share viewing habits on Facebook, US Senate agrees

We knew Netflix was big, but big enough to change the law? Apparently so, as an amendment to the Video Privacy Protection Act backed by the streaming service has been cleared by the US Senate. If the alteration gets a final sign-off from Obama himself, it’ll allow Netflix users to easily share their streaming activity on Facebook — something already implemented in regions outside the US. The current law, which makes such sharing tricky, was passed in the late 80’s after a judge saw his video rental history leaked to a newspaper. There wasn’t anything embarrassing in this list, but the episode begat the Act which requires a person’s legal consent every time there’s a request to publish such data. Instead, Netflix is proposing a one-off authorization which streamlines the whole process. We imagine the president’s signature is just a formality, in which case you’ll soon know exactly how many times we’ve watched Step Up 2: The Streets.

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Friday, December 21st, 2012 news No Comments

Zulily Joins The Billion-Dollar Club

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/zulily-andreessen-horowitz-2012-11

Levels of Discovery, a Zulily-carried brand

There’s another startup worth a billion dollars.

Zulily, a Seattle-based daily-deals site for moms and kids, just raised $85 million from Andreessen Horowitz, a venture-capital firm that backed Instagram and Skype.

In a blog post, Andreessen Horowitz partner Jeff Jordan, the former CEO of OpenTable and president of eBay’s PayPal division, called Zulily an example of “e-commerce 2.0.”

Specifically, Jordan praised Zulily for finding a niche where it could successfully compete with Amazon.com, by carrying goods from lesser-known designers who lacked broad distribution.

Zulily also broadened from carrying children’s apparel typically bought by moms to offering women’s apparel and housewares of interest to that customer base. It has attracted 10 million shoppers to date.

A year ago, Zulily raised $43 million in a deal that valued the company at $750 million. The company didn’t disclose its valuation in this round, but Fortune’s Dan Primack says his sources tell him the company’s now valued at $1 billion.

Don’t ! miss: 11 Startups Worth A Billion Dollars >

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Thursday, November 15th, 2012 news No Comments

Stephen Colbert Argues That The Chick-Fil-A Controversy Is Really A Brilliant Business Strategy

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/watch-stephen-colbert-chick-fil-a-controversy-business-strategy-2012-8

Stephen Colbert discovered the true take-away from the Chick-Fil-A controversy when company president Dan Cathy “came out of the tolerance closet.” On a segment of The Colbert Report Monday, Colbert argued that it’s a brilliant new business strategy.

“I think Chick-Fil-A has stumbled on a new strategy to help struggling businesses in this down economy,” Colbert said. “Just associate your product with a divisive political position and just wait for the cash to roll in.”

Colbert added: “Hey, La-Z-Boy, why not run ads that say, ‘You know who’s lazy? Mexicans.'”

Watch the entire segment below:

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Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 Uncategorized No Comments

Best Buy Canada Has A Plan To Crush The Online Competition (BBY)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/best-buy-canada-showrooming-online-competition-2012-7

Best Buy

Best Buy’s biggest problem these days is “showrooming.

Showrooming is when a consumer walks into a store, tests out a products, and buys it on the cheap elsewhere online.

Best Buy has been called Amazon.com’s showroom, a nickname that the big-box retailer has been trying to shake.

Well, it seems Best Buy Canada has an obvious plan to address this problem.  The Financial Post’s Hollie Shaw reports:

We always had a price-match guarantee, but now we have extended that to all Canadian online competitors,” [Canada operations president Mike Pratt] said while touring a Best Buy in downtown Toronto. “Showrooming is a completely price-based concept — it’s about the perception of getting a lower price somewhere. When Web pure-play competitors don’t have price, they don’t have any other advantage, quite frankly.”

If you’re in the store and you know they’re giving you the best price, then you’ll probably buy it then and there.

The issue will be profitability.  Online retailers have much lower overhead costs.  They don’t operate store fronts and they require fewer employees.

SEE ALSO: Best Buy Is Laying Off 1,800 Store Employees And 600 Geek Squad Workers >

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Wednesday, July 11th, 2012 news No Comments

7 Incredible Statistics Showing Why Companies Need To Advertise Online In China

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/7-incredible-reasons-why-companies-need-to-advertise-online-in-china-2012-4

China computer

Lau Seng Yee, president of online media business at internet portal Tencent, gave a pretty incredible list of reasons why companies should embrace online media and the digital ecosystem at Ad Age’s Digital Conference, Tuesday.

1. China has 513 million online users right now

2. 164,000 new Chinese join the internet every day

3. Approximately 1.3 billion hours are spent online every day in China.

4. China has more Android and iOS subscriptions than the U.S.

5. There were 1.74 billion RMB ($276 million) in sales of virtual goods in China 2011.

6. People take social media seriously: He cited a negative review of a refrigerator that was retweeted 170 times.

7. About 370,000 people are playing mahjong online at any time (we’re sure someone will find that useful.)

That’s pretty impressive for a country that, according to Lau, offered its first in-home telephone land lines a mere 17 years ago, Lau said.

China has a tradition of Guanxi, which translates to chain of connection. While the word has traditionally referred to the connection that people make in person, “the internet has unleashed the power of guanxi,” Lau said. “It has redefined everything we have known about connections … there are no more strangers in the world.”

It’s also changed social dynamics: “Consumers are now the emperors,” Lau said.

Of course, there is the itty-bitty problem that there isn’t free speech or transparency in China. Earlier this month, the government shut down 16 websites, including two sites that are similar to Twitter that had 250 million-plus users.

According to Dr. John A. Quelch, professor of international management and dean of the China Europe International Business School, however, “We have had such an explosion of internet activity in the last five to 10 years that it is almost impossible for any government agency to put a lid on what goes on.”

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Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 news No Comments

The Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/03/14/the-encyclopaedia-britannica-is-going-out-of-print/

It was probably inevitable, but on Tuesday, it became official: the Encyclopaedia Britannica is finally going out of print. The news was confirmed yesterday by Jorge Cauz, president of Chicago-based Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., who told the New York Times that his company has decided to completely abandon print operations, in favor of its online platform. The announcement marks the end of a remarkable 244-year run for Britannica and its leather-bound tomes, which at one point stood as a hallmark of middle class living rooms and libraries. In fact, it’s been barely two decades since the company reached its high water mark, when it sold some 120,000 sets back in 1990. Once the internet came into full bloom, however, Britannica’s sales soon plummeted. In 2010, the publisher sold just 8,000 sets, leaving an additional 4,000 unsold copies to gather dust in a warehouse.

Tuesday’s announcement may mark the end of an era, but Cauz seems to have come to terms with Britannica’s decision, calling it a “rite of passage.” He’s also eager to devote more time to his company’s website, which will look to chip away at Wikipedia‘s market hegemony. Cauz, however, believes the two platforms can (and must) co-exist, because they fill two different roles. “We cannot deal with every single cartoon character, we cannot deal with every love life of every celebrity,” he explained. “But we need to have an alternative where facts really matter. Britannica won’t be able to be as large, but it! will al ways be factually correct.”

The Encyclopaedia Britannica is going out of print originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 14 Mar 2012 01:58:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wednesday, March 14th, 2012 news No Comments

Samsung spinning off LCD business

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/20/samsung-spinning-off-lcd-business/

When the Korea Exchange asked Sammy about rumors of an impending spin-off of its LCD business, the firm said it was a move it was considering. Well, consider it done — today Samsung announced it would be launching Samsung Display on April 1st, 2012 with $6.6 billion in its coffers. The move is still waiting for shareholder approval, but Donggun Park, executive vice president of Samsung’s LCD business, seems optimistic. “The spin-off will allow us to make quicker business decisions and respond to our clients’ needs more swiftly.” This decision comes just months after Sammy agreed to take Sony’s stake in S-LCD, turning the former display partnership into a fully owned subsidiary. Hit the break for the official (machine translated) press release.

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Samsung spinning off LCD business originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 20 Feb 2012 01:53:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Monday, February 20th, 2012 news No Comments

Even Walmart Is Snapping Up Social Media Companies (WMT)

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/even-walmart-is-snapping-up-social-media-companies-2012-1


Walmart shoppers

Walmart wants to transform itself into a social media retail mega player and it’s backing that desire by investing millions of dollars into its young, little-known development lab, @WalmartLabs.

Born in April with the $300 million purchase of Kosmix, @WalmartLabs today announced  its fourth acquisition, a mobile app company called Small Society known for writing apps for clients like the Democratic National Committee and Starbucks.

@WalmartLabs had previously bought mobile point-of-sale app maker Grapple. It also snapped up location-aware mobile ad company OneRiot.

The co-founders of Kosmix, Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, are the leaders of Walmart Labs. Each has been granted the title of senior vice president of Walmart Global eCommerce and head of @WalmartLabs.

Their goal is to have Walmart create the next great shopping experience by melding physical stores with online search and social media input.

“We are at an inflection point in the development of ecommerce. The first generation of ecommerce was about bringing the store to the web. The next generation will be about building integrated experiences that leverage the store, the web, and mobile, with social identity being the glue that binds the experience,” said Anand Rajaraman in a blog post when @WalmarLabs was launched.

Using what it calls its “Social Genome” applications, it scans Twitter and other social sites to seek out and analyze consumer trends. The team is also writing mobile apps for shoppers. 

What’s interesting is that Walmart would rather build its own than use some of the many social media tools for retailers already on the market, even from big IT companies like Oracle and IBM.

So far the group has launched a classic iPhone and iPad shopping app and one called ShopCat for Facebook users. ShopCat scans Facebook friends’ profiles to recommend gifts for them from Walmart, RedEnvelope, Barnes & Noble, and ThinkGeek.

But the team clearly has bigger plans for changing the way everyday people shop for everyday items. And it looks like @WalmartLabs has only just begun: it’s got a career section 25 jobs long.

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Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 news No Comments

Consumers Won’t Settle For Cheap, Discounted Products

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/consumers-are-not-willing-to-settle-with-discounted-cheap-products-2011-10


sam's club shopping

No matter how thin your wallet is, you’re probably not willing to sacrifice beauty to save. 

Less than one-fifth of 25,000 respondents from 51 countries say they’d buy cheaper health and beauty products for the price, according to a survey by Nielsen, a global information company

Meanwhile, 61% chose “good value” over “low price” for any retail products their families may need, meaning a generic brand of bread may get passed over for a loaf of tastier (and possibly healthier) Pepperidge Farm bread.

“Value is not about price alone,” James Russo, vice president of Nielsen’s Global Consumer Insights, said in a statement. “Retailers and manufacturers who offer good values tailored around benefits of the product beyond price will resonate with consumers who continue to look for ways to stretch their money in a tough economy.”

The study found product preference also depends on where the respondents live, with those in Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and North America preferring good value over lower prices, and those living in Africa and the Middle East choosing price over value.

But just because North Americans prefer value over lower prices doesn’t mean that they’re willing to pay full price. In fact, Americans are among the world’s leading coupon-users, followed closely by China and Hong Kong.

We also buy in bulk more than anyone else in the world. According to Nielsen’s chart below, the main reason Americans visit the grocery store is to stock up, whereas a quick trip to replenish products is more popular in other parts of the world.

consumers Nielsen

Learn why consumer brand loyalty may never recover from the recession>

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Monday, October 17th, 2011 news No Comments

How a Small Studio Pulled Off a Major 3-D Film Using Energy-Saving Technology

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5583881/how-a-small-studio-pulled-off-a-major-3+d-film-using-energy+saving-technology

Despicable MeTraditionally, only the mammoth Hollywood studios could afford to work with 3D—it’s too expensive to build the necessary, air-conditioned 24 hours a day, server farms. The company behind Despicable Me decided to try something new, and cut the AC.

Illumination Entertainment, the company behind Despicable Me, decided to try something new. Instead of using air-conditioned server farms to render images, the company asked IBM to built a customized server farm using the iDataPlex system, a processing system that cuts down on energy use by 40% compared to traditional server farms.

The iDataPlex has two key advantages: a flexible configuration that doubles the amount of systems that can run in a single IBM rack and the ability to run an ambient temperature room (no costly air-conditioning required). The system has been on the market for over a year, but Illumination is the first studio to use it for animated film.

This doesn’t mean that any scrappy studio with a dream can now produce a high-end 3-D animated film. Illumination used a 330-person team of artists, producers, and support staff to produce 142 terabytes of data. And the rendering farm, which processed up to 500,000 frames per week, was built in conjunction with Mac Guff Ligne, a French digital production studio.

But the iDataPlex gives Illumination a leg up in the graphics rendering process. Illumination Entertainment’s server farm, for example, is the size of four parking spots. That’s half the amount of space the company initially allotted to the farm. “Oftentimes a small studio like Illumination really wants to put their energy behind creating as compelling of content as possible,” explains Steve Canepa, Vice President, Media & Entertainment Industry at IBM. “By minimizing the technological issues associated with building and managing the [rendering] environment, we allow studios to reduce the amount of time, energy, and resources necessary to create an underlying technological platform.”

It’s a compelling idea for studios—even major ones—that want to cut costs and look environmentally conscious at the same time. IBM is already working with a number of other studios to implement similar solutions. Canepa concedes that studios could build similar systems by purchasing off-the-shelf racks and processors, but the iDataPlex’s unique configuration of servers packs a lot of processing power into a small space—and that’s not easy to replicate. Don’t expect these rigs to be appearing in suburban garages anytime soon.

How a Small Studio Pulled Off a Major 3-D Film Using Energy-Saving TechnologyFast Company empowers innovators to challenge convention and create the future of business.

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Monday, July 12th, 2010 news No Comments

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