Apple Remains Most Valuable Brand, While Facebook Falls & Yahoo Returns To Top 100 [Brandz]

brandz-top-100 Apple is once again listed as the most valuable brand on earth, while Google inched closer to the top spot and Microsoft fell out of the top five in the 2013 Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands. This is the eighth year that Brandz has compiled its list, which comes from research involving two million consumers and more than 10,000 brands, the company says. Apple tops the list again this year, with Google moving up from third place to second. Microsoft was ranked fifth last year, but fell to seventh this time around. IBM, at No. 3, is the fourth technology company in the top 10. [...]


Online Sales Tax: Why E-Commerce Companies Are On Both Sides Of The Debate

tax-money-180px If passed by the House, the Marketplace Fairness Act, which aims to level the playing field between online retailers and brick-and-mortar businesses, could go into effect as soon as this fall. As it stands now, the bill would require remote sellers, including online businesses, with gross receipts over $1 million to collect sales tax in qualifying states -- even in states where a business has no physical presence. There is a high level of industry debate over the bill, with e-tailers on either side of the issue. Will it be the panacea proponents claim, making sales tax collection fa [...]


Amazon Developing Not One But Two Smartphones — WSJ

amazon-icon Adding more fuel to the "Amazon is building a smartphone" rumors, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported today that the company is developing two smartphones and an audio-only music device. Though, the report doesn't say these devices will likely carry the Kindle brand. The WSJ describes one of the two smartphones as a having a 3-D screen: One of the devices is a high-end smartphone featuring a screen that allows for 3-D images without glasses, these people said. Using retina-tracking technology, images on the smartphone would seem to float above the screen like a hologram and appear three [...]


Report: The Online Retailer With Highest Sales Growth In Last 10 Years Is? (Not Amazon)

money-growth-chart-featured Amazon.com is the poster child of e-commerce, having grown from a bookseller to a company that sells just about anything and everything (and even has its own mobile devices). But, according to a new report, Amazon doesn't own the best growth rate among online retailers over the past 10 years. That honor goes to Urban Outfitters. According to the Internet Retailer 2013 Top 500 Guide, Urban Outfitters has experienced a 65.2 percent compound annual growth rate in the last decade -- putting it atop the rankings of online sales growth. Coming in second is the sports gear retailer Fanatics [...]


Report: BlackBerry Z10 Gains, iPad Share Grows To 82%

iPad mini Two reports over the past two days from ad network Chitika shed light on adoption of the much anticipated BlackBerry Z10 touchscreen phone, as well as the current state of tablets in North America. The new iOS and Android competitor is generating 5.3 percent of all BlackBerry traffic, which reflects a "doubling in usage share since the Z10’s US release 20 days prior." That's impressive until those figures are put into context. Chitika also told me that "BlackBerry-based Web traffic as a whole constitutes about 1 percent of all mobile Web traffic on our network." So, in fact, the Z10 is [...]


Retargeting To EBay Shoppers Now Possible

Like Amazon, Facebook and Google, eBay is sitting on a huge trove of proprietary customer data. Unlike those other online giants, eBay had not made that data available for ad targeting by marketers. Until now. AdWeek reports eBay is following Amazon's lead in monetizing customer data. "We're now commercializing that capability for the benefit of other marketers who want to reach shoppers," eBay’s head of digital display in North America, Stephen Howard-Sarin, told attendees at AdExchanger’s Programmatic I/O conference this week. Advertisers will be able to target ads to segments o [...]


Shopping.com Rebrands As eBay Commerce Network: What It Means

ebay-logo-240px Shopping.com, is rebranding as the eBay Commerce Network. The move marks the site's transformation from shopping comparison engine to e-commerce advertising platform, where scale is the goal. In an email notice to current Shopping.com merchants eBay VP, Gautam Thakar wrote, "This new name more accurately reflects who we are today. As an eBay company for the past 8 years, we have evolved from our legacy as a comparison shopping site into a robust commerce network. Our strategy and investments are focused on enhancing and scaling this network." Merchants advertising on the eBay Commerce Ne [...]


Here Comes Another Button: “Send To Kindle”

amazon-icon The new "send to Kindle" button may not be just another button to put on your site or blog. Because of Amazon's brand and Kindle's reach (both hardware and software) it could, if publishers comply, see meaningful adoption by consumers. In Q3 last year Amazon created a Send to Kindle Chrome browser extension. (There's no data on how that performed.) But now Amazon seeks to expand Send to Kindle to Firefox, Android devices, email and the PC or Mac desktop. It also works on any device with Kindle software (i.e., iPhone, iPad): The Send to Kindle Button lets you easily send that content to you [...]


Foes Line Up Against Amazon’s Domain Desires [Report]

amazon-icon Two publishing industry groups and rival bookseller Barnes & Noble have filed objections over Amazon.com's request to own several new, generic, top-level domains (gTLDs), according to a Wall Street Journal report. The paper says the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and Barnes & Noble have all told the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) that Amazon shouldn't be allowed to own domain spaces like .book, .read and .author. "Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive," wrote Scott Turow, Authors Guild president, [...]


Big Data: Amazon Set To Sell Advertisers On Its Trove Of Consumer Buying Data

amazon-featured The world’s largest online retailer is now positioned to expand its advertising services. MIT Technology Review reports that after relying on third-party technology and ad exchanges over the past year, Amazon has developed its own in-house advertising platform. Amazon has an unrivaled bank of data on online consumer purchasing behavior that it can mine from its 152 million customer accounts. The company knows what millions of people actually buy or are intending to buy and it can now give salivating advertisers a way to target ads based on that data. While Amazon has not commented, the MI [...]


‘Amazon Pages’ Let Brands To Express Themselves & Enhance Their Amazon Presence

Amazon-Pages Marketing on Amazon just became a whole lot more appealing for brands. New, customizable, pages are coming for brands that not only allow brand managers to update the look/feel, but also the messaging to customers. The new brand pages will allow brands to feature products,  post messages, and view analytics. Once a brand is registered on Amazon, they can choose from the following templates: All Products Posts with Merchandising Posts Only Each of the template features a large "hero widget" that looks similar to Facebook cover photo or Twitter Header image. The new look is m [...]


Cash-Strapped Euro Governments Look To Online Giants For Additional Tax Revenues

tax-money-180px Google, Facebook, Twitter and even Starbucks are being criticized and investigated for what several European governments consider to be tax avoidance. In the UK and France in particular Google is under scrutiny. And earlier this week a French newspaper (albeit like the satirical Onion) reported that French authorities had served a whopping EUR 1 billion tax bill on Google. Google has denied that it has received such a bill. Google's practice of billing advertisers and running profits through its Irish subsidiary, which is legal, allows the company to minimize taxes. According to a Reuter [...]


iPad Mini A Great 7-Inch Tablet, But Price A Success Barrier

ipad-mini-featured Yesterday at the Apple iPad Mini launch event I had a chance to play with the smaller Apple tablet for about 10 minutes. It initially did look and feel to me, contrary to the statements of Apple SVP Phil Schiller, like a "shrunken iPad." However it was also immediately clear, as has been pointed out several times in other "hands on" reviews, that this is the best small tablet now on the market. Apple may have built the best-quality 7-inch category tablet but the ultimate success of the Mini is far from certain. Why? Its price. I have been harping on this for several months. Yesterday Dan [...]


The Tablet Pricing Spectrum: Kindle Fire To Nexus 7 To iPad Mini

kindle-nexus-ipad-mini-featured As expected, Apple announced its new iPad Mini today. One of the key areas being watched was pricing. For the seriously price conscious, the iPad Mini doesn't look to be a game changer. Comparative prices below, along with technical specs pitting the iPad Mini against its rivals. Much was made during the event about how the experience of using the iPad beats Android tablets. The Nexus 7 was even used as a comparison of this. The Nexus 7 name was never said, but it was shown side-by-side with the iPad Mini. No doubt, many will choose the iPad over the Nexus 7 or other mini-tablets just f [...]


Schmidt’s Choice: He’d Take Apple CEO Spot Over Amazon & Facebook

Eric Schmidt Once CEO of Google, now executive chairman, if Eric Schmidt could become CEO of Apple, Amazon or Facebook, which would he choose? Asked during an on-stage interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher from AllThingsD, Schmidt went for the one with the most cash, Apple. The question came from an audience member at a 92Y event today in New York, where Schmidt was being interviewed. Schmidt responded that he'd been on the board of Apple and would always a special spot in his heart for Apple and plus "they have more cash." He then said each company had different challenges, though he [...]


Kindle Ads: The Amazon Bait & Switch

amazon-trap-money-featured Nowhere in the promotional messaging yesterday for the new "Kindle Family" of tablets did Amazon mention the fact that Amazon "Special Offers" and full-color "Sponsored Screensavers" (read: ads) will show up on the lockscreen. This program was initiated originally to bring down the price of the entry level Kindle eReader, which costs $69 today. Purchasers of those devices were given the opportunity to buy out of the ads by paying the difference in price between the ad-supported and non ad-supported version of the Kindle. However yesterday we learned that all the new Kindle tablets will feat [...]


Upgraded Kindle Fire Now $159, New “HD” Tablets Also Aggressively Priced

Kindle Fire HD The Amazon Kindle event just concluded without a smartphone announcement. But there were a bunch of new tablets introduced. I'm not going to go through all the specs; Danny's live blog presented some of them and Techmeme is loaded with blog posts that detail screen resolution, battery life and so on. However what struck me about the announcements was the pricing. Amazon now maintains that in its new Kindle Fire HD line it has created the "best tablet" in the market at any price. And at the end of the presentation Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos slammed Apple by name, arguing that the better busine [...]


Amazon Introduces “Paperwhite” Kindles & Three Versions Of Kindle Fire HD

amazon-icon Today Amazon announced new "Paperwhite" models of its Kindle ebook reader as well as a new Kindle Fire HD edition of its tablet, a version available in two sizes and one with 4G LTE support. Below is my live coverage of the news. See also our more formal story, Upgraded Kindle Fire Now $159, New “HD” Tablets Also Aggressively Priced Here we go, video of the TV commercial that Amazon aired last night showing: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EQ0e7dYuaI[/youtube] Jeff Bezos comes out. "We love to invent. We love to pioneer. We even love going down alleys that turnout [...]


Yes Virginia, There Will Be An Amazon Kindle Smartphone

According to a Bloomberg report that first appeared last night Amazon is going to release a smartphone, probably this year. There are no details about its operating system but one assumes it would be a customized version of Android, like the Kindle Fire tablet. The Bloomberg story also says that the phone will be made by iPhone maker Foxconn in China. The acquisition by Amazon of 3-D mapping company UpNext last week added fuel to the "Amazon is making a phone" meme. However Amazon smartphone rumors have been circulating since before the release of the Kindle Fire tablet. Danny speculated [...]


Seven-Inch Tablet Category Heats Up With Nexus 7, Coming Kindle Fire 2 And Rumored iPad Mini

Samsung has built a range of Android tablets: the 5-inch Galaxy Note, and the 7, 8+ and 10.1-inch Galaxy Tabs. Almost none of them have succeeded save the 7-inch version, which has sold modestly well mostly in Europe. In the end, however, there will be two tablet sizes: 7-inch and roughly 10-inch versions. Apple owns the larger category and until last week Amazon's Kindle Fire dominated the smaller category. But with the release of the Nexus 7 at the Google developer conference, Mountain View now "owns" the 7-inch category. The NY Times' gadget reviewer in chief David Pogue loves the Ne [...]


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