ReadWriteWeb DeathWatch: Groupon

first_imgWhy Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Related Posts 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market The financial turmoil of the earnings restatement forced Groupon to bring in some financial heavyweights, including David Henry, CFO of American Express. With any luck, Henry and company can help guide Mason’s passion into productive expansion.The PrognosisGroupon has cash on hand, though a large chunk of it is earmarked for vendor payouts. The ongoing economic slowdown will affect the entire market, but Groupon will have to fight hard to maintain differentiation. Ultimately, it’s likely to become the biggest fish in a much less important pond. It could easily end up as no more than an obscure division of some much larger, more diversified company.Can this Company Be Saved?Groupon has access to a ton of customer data, including payment information. It also has some powerful applications, like Groupon Scheduler, that could be used for broader purposes. If Mason can find new ways to leverage these assets across other products and services (for example, cross-selling full-priced flights or shore excursions at the point of purchase for a discounted cruise), it could build out a convenience-based commerce system and open up new partnership opportunities and compensation structures. If it sticks to online couponing, though, right now is probably as good as things will ever get.The Deathwatch So FarResearch In Motion: Things are hurtling downhill even faster than expected. Massive losses – more than 11 times worse than expected – and new delays in its Hail Mary BlackBerry 10 operating system update have made the company’s dire situation even harder to ignore. And over the weekend, a federal jury found RIM liable for $147 million in patent damages to Mformation Technologies.HP: No change in statusNokia: No change in status38 Studios: No change in statusBarnes & Noble: No change in statusSony: No change in status. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Tags:#Deathwatch#e-commerce#web cormac foster When you finally turn a profit and investors simultaneously dump your stock to an all-time low, you have a problem. Groupon is the king of local couponing, but is its deal already as sweet as it can get?The BasicsGroupon wasn’t the first local deal site, but it took the model to the masses. Buyers prepay for a discounted product or service, and when those purchases hit a threshold, Groupon splits the revenue with the merchant and the deal is on. Local businesses acquire customers, customers get a deal and Groupon gets paid.Despite quarter after quarter of losses, Groupon passed on a rumored Google buyout and worked that model into a $12.7 billion IPO only 18 months into its existence.But life since the IPO has been rough. Competitors such as LivingSocial moved in on Groupon’s turf, quarterly losses kept coming, and some dodgy accounting was revealed. And though Groupon finally turned a profit this year, the resulting rally was short-lived when its stock hit an all-time low last week on news of weakness in the European market.The ProblemBut Groupon’s problems go much deep than the Eurozone, all the way to the heart of its business model, for two main reasons:1. It’s a Bad Deal for Vendors Using Groupon costs nothing upfront, but can turn out to be very expensive for vendors. Groupon takes a 50% cut of sales that typically already discount 50%. Some businesses (see GrouponWorks.com) absorb the hit just fine by selling high-margin add-ons and sparking return visits. For others, a 75% revenue hit is awfully rich, even for a loss leader – and especially if the discounts go to existing customers or folks “just passing through.” Meanwhile, Groupon doesn’t share any customer information with vendors – not even email addresses. And many merchants worry about projecting weakness and cheapening their brand.2. The Pie is Shrinking The barriers to entry in daily deals is terrifyingly low. That’s why the competitors keep multiplying, from Living Social to Amazon Local and even the local newspaper. Consumers have a finite amount of disposable income, and they’re loyal to the deal, not the brand. Many vendors rotate identical deals on multiple sites for maximum exposure. The PlayersWith co-founder Eric Lefkosky stepping away from management responsibilities, Andrew Mason, Groupon’s co-founder and CEO, is firmly in charge.While dedicated to the business, he’s also kind of a wildcard. He admitted to drinking too much beer during a meeting in which he said Groupon needed to “grow up.” He’s the public face of a public company, but he posts videos of himself doing yoga in his underwear:last_img read more

The Key to Smart Home Success: Safety and Security

first_imgRelated Posts The smart home is the way of the future, but it comes with its own set of risks and potential downsides. If you’re going to install some of the latest connected devices into your home, make sure you prioritize safety and security at every point along the way.The Rise of the Smart HomeThe smart home isn’t some newfangled idea or sudden inspiration. It’s been discussed and anticipated for many years. In fact, we’ve seen a variety of smart home technologies hit the market over the decades, though most have failed.In 1967, the ECHO IV was heralded as the first smart device of its kind – supposedly able to handle shopping lists, automatically control a home’s temperature, and turn appliances on and off. It was never sold commercially, but set an early standard for the type of technology that would be expected in years to come.It really wasn’t until the late-1990s and early-2000s that useful consumer technologies hit the market – including gadgets like programmable thermostats. And it’s just within the last two or three years that practical innovations have reached a reasonable price point. Combined with lots of marketing and consumer education, we’re finally seeing progress.According to an IDC research report published earlier this year, the global market for smart home devices is expected to grow by 26.9 percent year over year in 2019. The growth will be sustained, with an anticipated compound annual growth rate of 16.9 percent from 2019 through 2023. The report splits smart home devices into six major categories. Here they are, ranked by 2019’s forecasted market share:Video entertainment (43 percent)Smart speakers (17.3 percent)Home monitoring/security (16.8 percent)Others (13.7 percent)Lighting (6.8 percent)Thermostat (2.3 percent)Trends show that 2018 was all about getting products into the hands of consumers. Both Google and Amazon did an excellent job of this by really pushing their low-cost smart speakers. Now that the foundation has been laid, the focus will shift to tying devices together and creating more cohesive experiences. The trick now is to fuse together fragmented devices and services for a more friendly user experience.The data shows that people want smart home technology – they just don’t know what to do with it yet. And those who do know what to do with it are concerned about security.The Challenge of SecuritySecurity is one of the chief concerns in the smart home industry – and rightly so. In theory, the idea of integrating smart home devices into the home sounds great. But when you consider that every camera, microphone, and data-aggregating device is another possible entry point for a hacker or cybercriminal, it’s easy to understand why people are skittish.Nobody wants the feeling of being watched or listened to. We’ve heard stories of people hacking cameras and spying on homeowners; smart speakers “inadvertently” recording intimate conversations; and companies selling personal data about its customers. And even if these cases are few and far between, they’re enough to make us think twice.Today, more than ever, we feel the pressure of balancing access with privacy. We want the latest, greatest technology, but we don’t want to open ourselves up to undue risk. With so many of our devices and accounts carefully linked together, there’s a domino effect in play whenever something happens. In today’s interconnected landscape, security issues are rarely isolated. One compromised system can lead to a complex web of problems in every area of a homeowner’s life.7 Tips for Securing Your Smart HomeIf you’re going to join the smart home fray – and you’ll almost certainly have to within the next five to seven years – you need to to ensure you’re minimizing risk across the board. Here are some tips, suggestions, and strategies to consider:1. Only Purchase Reliable ProductsEverything starts and ends with the products you purchase. If you put the right products into your home, you face a much lower risk of being compromised than if you invest in the wrong products. It’s a simple rule of thumb – but one that most people miss on.In pursuit of reliable smart home products, nothing beats research. In addition to crowdsourcing information via social media and online message boards, use dedicated review sites. House Method – which provides homeowners with reviews, guides, and advice on everything from DIY home projects to finding the right contractors to perform certain jobs – is one of the best.2. Stick With Protected Devices OnlyEvery device manufacturer and application developer relies on their own set of security features. Some place a greater emphasis on security than others. And in most cases, you get exactly what you pay for.As a consumer and homeowner, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with security and safety standards. Some of the industry standards include ZigBee, Z-Wave, and S2. You’ll find that most of the established brands from recognizable companies follow one of these secure transmission protocols. The cheaper, off-brand devices may cut corners to save money. As a result, they don’t always have the right security frameworks in place.3. Never Access Smart Home Network on Public WiFiOne of the useful aspects of the connected smart home is the ability to control the various systems of your home – like the thermostat, lighting, or even your kitchen oven – remotely. But if you aren’t careful, this could quickly become problematic. Never, under and circumstances, should you access your smart home network from a public WiFi connection.When you connect to your home network via a public connection, you expose yourself to the possibility of a man in the middle attack (where hackers set up fake networks to intercept transmissions). If you fall into this trap, you could be compromised and never know it. It’s best to use a VPN or private connection whenever possible.4. Establish Multiple NetworksSpeaking of networks, be smart about how you structure your own. Most internet routers on today’s market allow you to set up two or three different networks in your home. Use this to your advantage by purposefully separating your devices.For example, try putting all smart devices on their own network – separate from the home computer (which may have confidential information, credit cards, etc.). Furthermore, establish a guest network that you give to people when they’re visiting. It’s simple little steps like this that make a huge difference.5. Strengthen PasswordsBelieve it or not, most successful hacks are the result of compromised login details – not complex schemes where hackers backdoor their way into a system. Thankfully, all you have to do is strengthen your passwords to enhance your security and lower your susceptibility to an attack.Strong passwords use random strings of characters – including numbers, letters, and symbols – rather than predictable words. It’s also helpful to use a combination of upper and lower case characters, which makes passcodes significantly more challenging to crack. Finally, regularly changing your passcodes – as in every few weeks – lowers your risk of being hacked.(Side note: Stop using the same password for every account and device. If one account is hacked, you’re basically giving the hacker the freedom to access any other account on your network.)6. Utilize Multi-Factor AuthenticationIn addition to strengthening your passwords, it’s recommended that you utilize multi-factor authentication for all of your smart home devices, accounts, and networks.The most common form of multi-factor authentication is two-factor authentication (2FA). This is basically an extra layer of security that requires a username/password combo plus a second piece of information. This could be something you know (an additional pin code or security question), something you have (like a smartphone device or email account), or even something you are (like a fingerprint or iris scan).With 2FA, it’s much harder for someone to hack into your smart home without being physically present in the home. And when you consider that the vast majority of hacks take place remotely, you can see that multi-factor authentication is a pretty powerful security mechanism.7. Always Install Latest UpdatesNobody likes those annoying update requests, but they exist for a reason. Software updates typically address loopholes, concerns, and problems that emerge with the current version. A failure to update to the new and improved version will expose you to these risks.The best way to handle updates is automatically. This takes the decision-making process out of the equation and ensures you’re always up to date. It’s really a no-brainer.Be a Proactive Smart Home OwnerThe smart home sector will only go as far as the security side of the industry takes it. If security innovation doesn’t keep up, this space will dry up and homeowners will move in another direction. It’s up to each of us – as homeowners and consumers – to hold tech companies accountable. This starts with utilizing the security technology we’ve been given and putting pressure on these respective organizations to keep up. We all have a part to play. The Rise of the Smart Home, Apartment or Condom… How Much of Your Home Life Will Be Automated in… Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. center_img Use This Crowdfunding Hack to Fund Your Automat… Frank Landman Rachio 3: A Smart Yard Sprinkler Controlling Wa…last_img read more

MoDot begins work on bridge bond projects

first_imgGovernor Parson was scheduled to talk on Wednesday in Rocheport about why Missouri is one of the busiest builders in the nation right now.Work has started on bridge repairs, thanks to the $350 million in bonds lawmakers approved this year.MoDot’s Patrick McKenna tells Missourinet that it’s a good start, but more cash is needed.“It really does require us to be very careful in what we select and how we go about it,” McKenna said. “I think we’re doing that reasonably, but it’s not addressing all the needs.”McKenna says more than 45 bridges will be under contract before the year is done, awarding about $50 million of the work funded through the bond plan.After the state announced its bridge bond plan, the federal government announced a grant toward a replacement I-70 bridge at Rocheport. That will take a couple years.last_img read more

How many freelancers are there in America? 53 million

first_imgHave you heard the news? There are 53 million Americans working as freelancers!That was the big finding in our new study on freelancing in America, but it points to a much larger shift happening in the economy as a whole. Namely, freelancers are everywhere — and a lot of them probably don’t even think of themselves in those terms.Why? Because it’s not just some fringe movement anymore — it’s the face of the new workforce.Here’s a quick breakdown of our findings:53 million freelancers is 34% of the workforce, or 1 in 3 American workers (tweet this):It’s more than the combined populations of 25 states (tweet this):It means that if we all stood on each other’s shoulders, we’d be really, really tall (tweet this):And it means that we’re contributing a lot to the economy! In fact, if all 53 million freelancers combined their income, they’d have a combined total of $715 billion! That’s more than the combined value of Facebook, Walmart, Amazon, Starbucks, and McDonalds (tweet this):So are you one of the 53 million? There’s a 1 in 3 chance that you are — and we’ve made it easy for you to find out. Check this flowchart and see for yourself! (Tweet this)So are you a freelancer? Send a tweet and let the world know that you’re one of the #53millionbosses shaping the future of work!last_img read more