December, 2009

Amazon Going Brick and Mortar?

December 6th, 2009

The Sunday Times  is reporting that Amazon is secretly looking for store locations in Britain. Amazon is denying the rumors. But one wonders if there is fire behind that smoke. It may be an attempt to go after the “click and collect” market — where consumers buy online and pick up in-store.

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Switched: How to Spot an Email Scam

December 2nd, 2009

Switched has a great list of “10 Ways to Spot an Email Scam.” Scammers — hell, let’s call them what they are, crooks — use certain techniques over and over again, hoping in your busy day, clicking through emails, you will let your guard down and click something you shouldn’t. One of us had this happen to him: he received a scam email pretending to be from Paypal, asking to verify his password. He knows better, but in that instant, he clicked and typed in his password — too late — the crooks now had his password. This scam is the first on Switched’s list.

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New FTC Guidelines for Bloggers, Others

December 1st, 2009

Today — December 1 —  new Federal Trade Commission guidelines for endorsements and testimonials went into effect — guidelines that apply to bloggers and others who endorse products and get paid for it, ie through affiliate links.  The guidelines are broad but it’s basically all about disclosure and being honest. While officially you should seek your own counsel, here is a link that lists a variety of reactions and opinions to the guidelines. Our opinion — and it’s just an non-legal opinion of course — is that if you practice disclosure and you’re honest about why you are recommending a product, you won’t be a target.  See our Disclosure Statement in our “About” Page.

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Musicnotes.com Hits $1 Million Sales Per Month (Update)

December 1st, 2009

As reported in Internet Retailer, www.musicnotes.com  has hit sales of $1 million for the month of Nov, a 25% increase over last Nov; with annual sales of $11 million. Musicnotes sells licensed sheet music of nearly 110,000 songs that can be downloaded — no shipping or handling necessary. This is the kind of business we like — finding a niche  and designing an automated architecture, with repeatable sales. The company was founded in 1999 and is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Is privately-held, and currently has about 40 employees. The site now reaches about 120,000 visitors per day and 20% of its sales are international.

UPDATE: A reader just advised us of a possible scam related to musicnotes.com. We do not know if it’s true.

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The Fight For Control of the Internet — It Could Change Everything

December 1st, 2009

Net neutrality. If you don’t know what it is, you should, because some corporations are trying that take it away from you. The Internet is an open platform right now — whether you are AT&T or a one-person internet store operating out of a bedroom, you have equal access to the world wide web. As Justine Bateman explains rather well, corporations HATE this. They — AT&T, Comcast, Time/Warner Cable, Verizon — hate it so much that they have 500 lobbyists in Washington (there’s only 535 members of Congress, so that’s about one lobbyist per member) and they have spent so far over $75 million “to convince lawmakers to restrict your unfettered Internet access.” As Bateman writes:

“They don’t like that they can’t tell you what to watch.

They don’t like that they can’t control the information you are accessing.

They don’t like that with just a couple of bucks, you can build a website or a platform or a web-series that can garner the size of audience that only they used to command.

They don’t like that they can’t get a cut of all of it.”

They want to remove free and equal enterprise from the internet. Not only would it affect your business — or business aspirations — it will change everything, just as the internet itself has changed everything. Call your representative; “save the internet.”

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