Like Amazon, Uber Adopts Growth-Over-Profits Strategy

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NYPD Detective Goes Ballistic On Uber DriverThe on-demand car service startup Uber Technologies Inc. has been exhibiting some serious growth and has gotten a flattering comparison as a result even if it they’ve gone through rough patches to do so.

Uber’s growth has compelled observers to liken it to Amazon.

Why?

Mainly because Uber’s mission is to expand its operations as rapidly as possible on a global scale and to not concern itself with the short-term promise of immediate profits.

Another facet to that strategy is to not be that concerned with their losses; in an outside report given to potential investors, it’s been stated that Uber has a loss total of $470 million as opposed to gains of $415 million.

Uber representatives view those numbers with skepticism.

Amazon for a stretch of years was deemed a company that wasn’t profitable despite their growing presence.

But after going public in 1997, the company underwent a tough road towards stability that saw them trim their workforce and losses in subsequent years in the early 2000’s.

Uber’s road may see the same bumps but with new ventures into messenger services and food delivery along with increased expansion in other cities, they’re hoping that their losses decline just as fast.

Christopher A. Smith

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Here Are The Two Most Popular Brands According To Social Media Users

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Top Social Media Trends for 2014A recent survey that recorded the opinions of social media users found two brands that were the most popular according to popular vote.

The survey, conducted by SurveyMonkey and the WPP Plc’s [email protected] agency, found that L’Oreal and Nivea were tops among brands that social media users would recommend to others.

The results were gathered from 5,600 people who used Facebook, YouTube and Twitter among other platforms in eleven nations.

The research was presented to audiences at the Cannes Lions advertising gathering held on Wednesday on the French Riviera.

Further information from the report revealed a disparity; while 84 percent of the users polled admitted to “liking” a brand online, just 58 percent were willing to elaborate and share why they did.

Users in the United States ranked highest in terms of brand quality being a factor in their choices that they would recommend, coming in at 93 percent.

The study is important information for an industry that rakes in approximately $544 billion yearly, and Internet-based marketing has become a dominant factor in driving corporate brands and ad agencies to get more insight from social media regarding their products.

Christopher A. Smith

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Alibaba’s Jack Ma Is Coming To The United States Looking To Make Deals

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Before He Found Success, Alibaba's Jack Ma Experienced Lots Of RejectionThe chairman of China’s premier retail giant is back in the United States, and he’s looking to enter into business with a few American companies.

Jack Ma arrived in New York City on Monday, which is the first of two stops on his business itinerary.

He orchestrated a dinner with the heads of select global brands later that evening.

Ma will also partake in lunch with members of the Economic Club on Tuesday.

His goal is to get more revenue from outside of China – currently that comprises four percent of sales for the e-commerce site and Ma’s wish is to raise that number to 50 percent.

The vice president of international corporate affairs for Alibaba, Jennifer Kuperman summed it up: “Alibaba’s international ambition is to help Chinese consumers get the American products they want, and in turn, create jobs and increase exports to China from the United States.”

The company has begun a series of trial programs on their TMall.com site that sold American goods such as Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, which so far have proven successful.

China’s economy is booming, with a cross-border purchase total of $20 billion last year.

Reports expect that number to at least double in the next five years.

Ma will also travel to Chicago, Illinois for a town-hall styled meeting with 300 business owners including the CEO of American Express, Ken Chenault on Wednesday and meet with the city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

Christopher A. Smith

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Facebook Giving Retailers Free Beacons To Enhance Their Place Tips Service

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Facebook Giving Retailers Free Beacons To Enhance Their Place Tips ServiceBusinesses and retailers who were looking forward to the latest service offered up by Facebook to assist them will be getting a little gift.

Facebook began testing out the Place Tips service in January of this year, and on Monday announced that they would be making the service available to all businesses within the United States.

They were being beta-tested with a small group of New York City-based businesses.

As an added incentive, it created an online application for businesses that signed up to obtain a free beacon for every one of their physical stores.

Beacons are tiny devices that are able to emit a signal to someone’s smartphone when they come within a certain proximity to the source.

These beacons can provide deals and information to potential customers if they wish to make a purchase.

They help because while retailers can’t really advertise through the service, the beacons boost their visibility greatly.

Facebook also has these beacons manufactured which would figure into their decision to give them to businesses since all parties benefit from customer traffic increases as a result.

Christopher A. Smith

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Pinterest Introduces Long-Expected Buy Button

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Pinterest Arrives At $11 Billion ValuationIt was only a matter of time before the social media platform known as Pinterest was going to throw its hat into the ring in terms of online retail shopping.

The social service has been building towards adding a key feature, the buy-button since earlier this year.

We first brought you word of their collaboration with Apple, and Pinterest made it official on Tuesday, launching the new feature for their 70 million users.

Visitors to the platform will notice the button, colored blue, next to the usual ‘pin it’ red button for any item available to purchase.

Buyers will then be able to make their purchases using credit card or Apple Pay in a system powered by both the PayPal-owned Braintree and Stripe.

Spokespeople for Pinterest stated that they wouldn’t be getting a cut of sales from either merchants or customers.

They are partnering with Shopify and Demandware to assist small businesses and slightly larger ones to offer their wares through the site.

It is likely that Pinterest would receive money from those merchants by way of paying to advertise using ‘promoted pins’ to stimulate customer interest.

So now all of those pins that users have been accumulating will translate into something very lucrative for Pinterest going forward.

Christopher A. Smith

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Yahoo Email Spying Lawsuit To Move Forward

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social_yahoo_button_lilac (1)The tech company Yahoo now finds itself having to deal with a new lawsuit against them being given the green light to proceed.

On Tuesday afternoon, Judge Lucy Koh of the United States District Court ruled that Yahoo must face a class action lawsuit brought against them that charges that the company actively scrutinized the emails from non-Yahoo users sent to those who use Yahoo mail.

The ruling would allow the suit to move forward to give the ability of those litigants to sue for those privacy violations.

The complaint details that Yahoo searched these emails for keywords and attachments that would aid them in targeted marketing initiatives.

Another claim states that they also scanned these emails for spam. While Yahoo isn’t the first to have litigation of this nature levied against it – Google was the subject of a similar suit last year that was tossed out – it does mark the effectiveness of efforts to limit tech companies prying into communications between citizens for the sake of trying to gain the upper hand in targeted advertising.

Yahoo had no immediate comment regarding the ruling.

Christopher A. Smith 

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Airbnb Boss To Investors: We Don’t Need More Of Your Money

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Cuba Added To List Of Airbnb DestinationsIn an interview with ReCode’s Kara Swisher at their Code Conference on Wednesday, the CEO of Airbnb took pains to assure the public that the online peer-to-peer rental company is doing rather well financially.

In fact, Brian Chesky states that “We are already the largest provider of accommodations on the planet and we’re growing really, really, quickly.”

He felt that they were secure enough in a position of stability to where they didn’t need any more funding from investors.

Airbnb currently has over one million listings available in close to 200 countries with 34,000 cities.

From their inception in 2008, the company has swollen in size due to the growing need for accommodations that would be an alternative to traditional hotels.

And their properties range from having the ability to rent an apartment to now being able to rent more extravagant and offbeat locations like European ski lifts and castles.

Chesky went on to state that in spite of growth that has Airbnb valued at an estimated $10 billion thanks to previous investor funding totalling $794.8 million, there is no rush to go public with an IPO. “Whenever we start working on an IPO, that’s a two-year project.” he said.

Airbnb does have other matters to attend to first; they are currently the subject of fierce debate over their practices which critics claim add to a hefty housing crunch and deny cities tax dollars it would get if Airbnb operated within traditional hospitality rules.

For its part, the company is currently working with various cities on how they can work together in a more fruitful manner.

Christopher A. Smith

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StubHub Adds Personalization Features To Updated Mobile App

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Stubhub Sues TicketmasterThe online ticket retailer StubHub is giving itself a makeover.

On Wednesday, StubHub unveiled a revamping of its mobile app to include features that offer users more of a personalized feel when utilizing it.

The change comes as part of a dedicated strategy to become just more than a portal for those looking to buy tickets for sporting events and concerts from the online marketplace.

Most users already have an idea what events and games they’d be interested in attending once they visit StubHub, which means less sustained traffic.

Facing competition from similar sites and others like Craigslist that can do the same thing, StubHub’s aim according to Parag Vaish, head of their mobile department and director of public management says, “I hope that people look to StubHub for the place to start looking for what to do this weekend.”

The new changes include the chance to listen to song snippets in iTunes, reading articles, and getting game statistics from ESPN, and even getting restaurant and bar suggestions from Yelp.

The new modifications to the StubHub app will be in effect for both Android and iOS users in the U.S., United Kingdom and Canada with the desktop website slated to incorporate them in the next three months.

Christopher A. Smith

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PayPal Fined $25 Million For Bogus Credit Signups

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PayPal Fined $25 Million For Bogus Credit SignupsThe latest credit service offered up by PayPal has placed them in the federal doghouse over illegal methods in obtaining customers.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued an announcement Tuesday that divulged that PayPal illegally signed up customers for their PayPal Credit service without expressed permission.

The service, formerly referred to as BillMeLater, is essentially a line of credit given to users as a form of payment which they can pay back at a later time.

In that span, the debt is subject to interest and late fees. The service has been an option for all customers since 2008 including those making purchases on their parent company, eBay.

Besides signing up customers without consent, PayPal was also found liable for making the service the default method of payment without permission and ignored complaints.

They also were found guilty of losing payments and deceptive advertising.

The CFPB has ordered that PayPal pay customers affected by these issues $15 million, and to pay an additional civil penalty totaling $10 million.

PayPal is also required to make changes to improve their notices regarding the service and to fully detail how PayPal Credit works for customers going forward.

Christopher A. Smith

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Spotify Partners With Starbucks To Deliver In-Store Music

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Spotify Goes Live Today On Sony's PS4 and PS3In a move that’s sure to raise the eyebrows of those associated with the streaming music industry, Spotify has sealed the deal on a new partnership with a retail giant.

Spotify and Starbucks Coffee have announced that they are entering a multi-year partnership that will see the streaming music occupy a prominent place within all Starbucks stores in the United States.

Spotify Premium will be offered to all of their current employees in those stores for free. In turn, the ‘partners’ will be able to provide their own playlists to be heard in stores, although how they will has yet to be disclosed by both companies.

Customers won’t be left out in the dark, though. Those that are Spotify users will have access to the sounds by way of a dedicated section of the Starbucks app.

The joint deal is a double espresso-sized jolt in that Spotify Premium subscription holders will be able to earn ‘Stars’ in Starbucks’ loyalty program, being the first third-party company to be involved with the offering.

In addition, Starbucks will heavily promote Spotify Premium in the 7,000 U.S. locations.

The initiative will begin to be unveiled in the fall, with eyes on expansion to the chain’s locations in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Christopher A. Smith

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