Posts Tagged ‘ebay’
Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
Just a few short years ago, business gamification was practically unheard of. Before 2010, barely anyone searched for the term on Google, and it’s still not in the dictionary. But that doesn’t mean you should say, “gamifi-what?” and move on with your life. The fact is, business gamification—or the use of gaming elements to drive, measure, and reward high-value behaviors by customers or employees—is becoming a go-to strategy for a rapidly growing number of companies. It’s here to stay, and it can help your organization reach new heights.
“Games have been played for millennia because they’re fun and people enjoy them,” says Kris Duggan, coauthor along with Kate Shoup of Business Gamification For Dummies® (Wiley, February 2013, ISBN: 978-1-1184-6693-3, $26.99). “Today, that love of games is being leveraged by smart businesses to boost customer loyalty, employee performance, sales, growth, and more.”
Specifically, explains Duggan, business gamification uses elements like points, achievements, levels, leaderboards, missions, and contests to drive desired behaviors. All of a sudden, promoting a brand becomes fun for customers, and sharing troubleshooting solutions with fellow consumers is an engaging challenge. Likewise, employees actually enjoy training instead of seeing it as a chore, and they’re motivated to work harder on a day-to-day basis.
Feed the craving
“Like anyone else, your customers and employees crave attention, recognition, approval, and rewards,” comments Duggan. “With gamification, you feed this craving, and in the process convert customers into loyal fans and employees into highly effective collaborators and advocates.”
Here, Duggan shares ten examples of websites and apps that feature smart—and successful—gamification:
eBay (www.ebay.com). eBay has long used a points system that enables users to show their status on the site. The success of this system, which goes so far as to issue badges to the “best” sellers, has effectively demonstrated the importance of reputation as a reward to both buyers and sellers.
“As you probably know if you’re an eBay user yourself, these are key game mechanics,” says Duggan. “In the future, look to eBay to gamify more aspects of its site to make it even more engaging.”
Foursquare (www.foursquare.com). Foursquare is a free mobile app that enables you to “check in” at various places and share your experiences there. As you do, Foursquare rewards you with points and badges. You might even get special deals, such as a discount off your bill at a restaurant or a freebie for bringing your friends.
“You can use Foursquare to get recommendations for what to do next,” shares Duggan. “And if you check in at a given place enough times, you may become its ‘mayor’—which can bring with it its own set of privileges, such as a special parking place.”
GetGlue (www.getglue.com). GetGlue is a little like Foursquare…except that instead of checking in at their favorite restaurants, shops, and such, GetGlue users check in while watching shows, listening to music, reading books, or engaging in other entertainment-related activities.
“In return, users get relevant recommendations, exclusive stickers (like badges), discounts, and other rewards, such as goodies from their favorite shows or movies,” explains Duggan.
Mint (www.mint.com). Mint.com wants to help members get a handle on their finances, and it uses subtle gamification—primarily in the form of progress bars and fun feedback—to make it happen. Members can also post details about their financial goals online to increase their chances that those goals will be met.
“This site is a great example of a less-overt form of gamification,” points out Duggan. “There are no badges or prizes, but the game mechanics in place are effective nonetheless.”
MuchMusic.com (www.muchmusic.com). MuchMusic, Canada’s MTV equivalent, gamified its site with its MuchCloser program. Members of MuchCloser get points for doing all the stuff they normally do on the site—watching videos, reading blogs, leaving comments, sharing content, and so forth.
“As the points pile up, users unlock rewards and trophies and become eligible for prizes and giveaways,” says Duggan. “The most active users are flagged as key members of the MuchMusic community.”
Nike Olympic inspired sneakers.
Nike+ (www.nikeplus.nike.com). Nike+ is a fitness-oriented service that enables you to log your physical activity using a mobile app or other Nike gear. When you do, you earn NikeFuel, which is a super-cool alterna-word for points.
“As you earn more NikeFuel, you unlock awards, trophies, and surprises—not to mention a banging physique,” Duggan points out. “And if you’re in the mood to brag, you can share your accomplishments with your friends and with other Nike+ members.”
Recyclebank (www.recyclebank.com). Recyclebank gives members points for engaging in “everyday green actions” such as using less water, recycling, making greener purchases, using energy more efficiently, or even walking to work instead of driving. For even more points, members can take online quizzes about ecology and share information from the site with friends on Facebook, Twitter, and mobile applications.
“Users can redeem points for goodies such as gifts and flowers, books and magazines, health and beauty items, and music with participating local and national partners,” adds Duggan.
A Samsung Android phone
Samsung (www.samsung.com). Samsung’s social loyalty program, Samsung Nation, makes excellent use of gamification to recognize and empower the company’s most passionate fans. When you join Samsung Nation, you can earn points, level up, unlock badges, and gain entry into various contests and promotions by performing such behaviors as watching videos, commenting on articles, reviewing products, participating in user-generated Q&As, and more.
“Top users appear on the Samsung Nation leaderboard, and an activity stream keeps users up to date on the site’s goings-on,” says Duggan.
sneakpeeq (www.sneakpeeq.com). A retail site, sneakpeeq offers discounted goodies including gourmet foods, home products, accessories, apparel (from big labels like Kate Spade and Puma to smaller brands), and more. The twist? The site is gamified to make shopping more fun.
“The more you buy, share, love (similar to liking an item), and peeq (viewing an item’s price), the more badges and rewards you unlock, and the more incentives and surprises you receive,” explains Duggan. “Leaderboards make the experience more social and competitive, kind of like throwing an elbow at a sample sale.”
Xbox Live (www.xbox.com). First came Shakespeare with his “play within a play.” Now there’s Xbox, with its “game within a game.” That is, Xbox, itself a game platform, uses elements of gamification…within its games. (Is your mind blown yet?)
“Specifically, users can earn achievement points, referred to as gamerscore, by performing specific tasks or actions in a game,” Duggan shares. “This gamerscore is separate from the player’s score in the game itself and is a way of conveying the player’s reputation across the platform, including its social spaces.”
“Smart use of gamification is a big win for everyone,” concludes Duggan.
“Once it’s put into action, it helps customers enjoy interacting with companies. The more they’re recognized and rewarded, the more loyal they’ll be…and the more your organization will grow.
“According to Gartner, Inc., by 2014, more than 70 percent of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application,” Duggan adds. “Some experts even project that the gamification market will grow to $2.8 billion by 2016! So don’t wait—get in on the gamification action now.”
About the Authors:
Kris Duggan is the coauthor of Business Gamification For Dummies®. He is a thought leader of innovative ways to incorporate game mechanics and real-time loyalty programs into web and mobile experiences.
Kate Shoup is the coauthor of Business Gamification For Dummies®. She has written more than 25 books, has cowritten a feature-length screenplay, and worked as the sports editor for NUVO newsweekly.
Friday, April 12th, 2013
Research Triangle, NC-based ChannelAdvisor, which sells software as a service to help retailers manage sales and inventory, has filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to go public.
It is the latest in a surge of IPO prospects hoping to benefit from a bull market.
The company’s planned initial public offering would raise $86.2 million – an amount that could change when ChannelAdvisor prices its offering – on the New York Stock Exchange. It will trade under the symbol ECOM.
ChannelAdvisor has raised $75 million in four rounds of venture funding since 2004 from investors who include eBay, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Advanced Technology Ventures, Kodiak Venture Partners, eBay and Southern Capitol Ventures.
Billions in annual transactions
Led by serial entrepreneur Scot Wingo, ChannelAdvisor customers include Dell, Lenovo, Jockey International, Under Armour, and many others. The company manages billions in ecommerce transactions annually.
The company employs 405 people, up considerably from a slimmed down number coming out of the recession.
Wingo and his partner Aris Buinevicius co- founded an earlier company with much the same mission, AuctionRover.com in 1999. It was their second startup. In 1995 they had founded Stingray Software, which was acquired by Rogue Wave Software (NASDAQ:RWAV), for $21 million in 1999.
Scot Wingo, CEO, ChannelAdvisor
A serial entrepreneur
Wingo, who collects “Star Wars” memorabilia and original comic book art, got the idea for the a company to help retailers with ecommerce while bidding on eBay items. When we first interviewed Wingo in 2000, his border collie Mac greeted us at the door and it was already his pet’s third startup.
A large Star Wars spaceship model hovered over the reception desk and Star Wars robots stood sentry duty.
In nine months, the company launched, raised money, signed an agreement with eBay and sold to GoTo, renamed Overture and now part of Yahoo. The deal created GoTo Auctions.
In July 2001, Overture spun off ChannelAdvisor, investing in the new company. Wingo owns just over 10 percent of the company.
Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
Consumers are increasingly satisfied with their e-commerce transactions.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index’s (ACSI) annual E-Commerce Report, produced in partnership with customer experience analytics firm ForeSee, customer satisfaction with e-commerce websites continues to rise, gaining 1.2% to 81.1 on the ACSI’s 100-point scale.
The improvement in the e-commerce sector, which comprises the online retail, brokerage, and travel categories, is driven in part by the strong performance of the aggregate of smaller e-retailers and e-brokerages.
Disruption always a part of e-commerce
“Just as we have seen in the public sector, consumers enjoy the convenience and power of e-commerce and online transactions. E-commerce is maturing, and even the smaller companies are improving, keeping up with or sometimes surpassing larger, more established companies,” said Claes Fornell , ACSI founder and professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.
“The e-commerce landscape changes faster than more traditional industries, and the rules can be rewritten by new players or new technologies, like mobile. Disruption will always be a part of e-commerce, but innovation will likely keep the sector near the top in customer satisfaction.”
Online retail increases 1.2% to an ACSI score of 82, outperforming the brick-and-mortar retail trade sector (76.6) by a wide margin.
Amazon continues to the lead the industry (and tops all measured e-commerce companies in this month’s Index) despite a 1% drop to 85. The “all others” category, which is an aggregate of e-retailers and other companies not individually measured, jumps 3% to 82. The “all others” category contains many e-retail websites that also have a brick-and-mortar presence.
|Online Retail Aggregate
“Brick-and-mortar retailers are not conceding the Internet to online natives such as Amazon,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “They are investing heavily resources in providing a better experience for their customers, providing more evidence that competition is good for the consumer.”
Netflix improves, but still lowest scoring
After last year’s 14% drop, Netflix gains 1% to 75 but remains the lowest scoring company in e-commerce. “Netflix’s recovery comes amid increased competition and tough negotiations with content providers.
Netflix knows that access to content is key, and creating exclusive content and a franchise that will help it secure a loyal following is a unique approach. But it remains to be seen if this tactic can return the company to the top of the online retail category,” said Freed.
Customer satisfaction with online brokerage increases 2.6% to 86, led by a surge in the “all others” category (+4% to 78), which includes a range of online brokerages from large financial institutions like Wells Fargo and Merrill Lynch to smaller brokerages like Scottrade and Sharebuilder.
Fidelity (-2% to 78) shares the top spot in the category. Charles Schwab (-3% to 77) and TD Ameritrade (-1% to 77) are close behind, while E*TRADE suffers the largest drop of any e-commerce company (-8% to 73) a year after setting a personal best.
|Online Brokerage Aggregate
“All the household names in online brokerage are down, yet the category is up on the strength of the ‘all others’ category, which is made up of both traditional financial institutions and smaller e-brokerages,” added Freed.
“It just goes to show you that industry leaders cannot and should not rest on their laurels just because they are well established. Traditional firms have the resources to invest in improving the customer experience and probably should. At the same time, newer and smaller players are demonstrating that they are nimble enough to keep pace with constantly changing customer expectations.”
The online travel industry continues to be anyone’s game, as only two points separate all measured companies. Customer satisfaction with online travel falls 2.6% to 76, the largest decline of all measured categories.
Expedia (-1%), Orbitz (no change), and the “all others” category (-4%) lead e-travel with a score of 76. Travelocity falls 5% to 75 after leading the Index last year. Although the gap between Priceline and industry leaders is the narrowest since 2002, when the travel category was first included in ACSI, the company remains at the bottom of the group (-3% to 74).
|Online Travel Aggregate
“Mobile is going to reshape e-commerce, but it has the most potential to improve the experience for the traveling consumer. That may be a tall order, though. Hotels and airlines are attempting to assert more control over their relationships with their customers, fragmenting the online experience and doing more harm than good in the short term,” said Freed.
A free report with historical scores for all of the e-commerce companies measured by the ACSI is available atwww.ForeSeeResults.com.
Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
Technology companies claimed half the slots on Ponemon Institute’s annual top 10 list of the most trusted companies for privacy. Hewlett Packard ranked second, Amazon, third, IBM, fourth, eBay ninth and Intuit tenth.
American Express (AMEX) continued to reign as the most trusted company among the 217 orgazations rated.
New tech entries on Ponmon’s top 20 most trusted list included Microsoft at 17, and Mozilla at 20.
In addition to ranking the most trusted companies, the Ponemon study reported that only 41 percent of consumers feel they have control over their personal information, down from 45 last year and an overall drop from 56 percent in 2006.
Identity theft a top concern
The survey also noted that identity theft is a top area of concern among consumers with fifty-nine percent of the respondents indicating that fear of identity theft was a major factor in brand trust diminishment, while 50 percent said notice of a data breach was a factor.
That could give impetus to the changes in U.S. immigration law proposed by a bipartisan group of Senators this week, although it’s identity card idea is already meeting with opposition from some.
The Ponemon rankings were derived from a survey of more than 100,000 adult-aged consumers who were asked to name up to five companies they believe to be the most trusted for protecting the privacy of their personal information.
Consumer responses were gathered over a 15-week period concluding in December 2012 and resulted in a final sample of 6,704 respondents who, on average, provided 5.4 discernible company ratings that represent 25 different industries.
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
What do you do if you have a bad experience with a company? Do you stop doing business with it? Do you complain on Twitter or Facebook?
When consumers have a bad experience with some firms, they will completely stop spending their money with them, while some others get a bit more leeway. So says Temkin’s ”What Happens After A Good or Bad Experience?”
The study, based on a survey of 5,000 U.S. consumers, analyzes feedback and purchase behaviors after good and bad experiences.
A number of tech companies and online retailers have racked up a substantial number of bad experiences or negative social media comments, including Best Buy, eBay, Symantec, Tracphone and ISPs.
The report shows that consumers encounter bad experiences most frequently with TV service providers, retailers, and Internet service providers, but report the fewest bad experiences with grocery chains. Consumers respond differently to bad experiences across the 19 industries in the study.
More than one-third of consumers who had a bad experience with a rental car agency, credit card issuer, computer company, or auto dealer completely stopped spending with the company.
Responding to complaints important
Fortunately for retailers and Internet service providers, their customers are the least likely to abandon them after a bad experience.
The research also examines how consumers respond to a company’s service recovery efforts. When consumers feel that a company responded very poorly after a bad experience, almost three-quarters of them stopped or decreased their spending with the company.
That could be bad news for the many companies that fail to respond to Tweets on their account.
On the other hand, when companies had a very good response, less than one out of five decreased their spending and more than one-third increased their spending.
“Every company delivers some bad experience, but the good ones build loyalty by quickly responding to these issues and learning from their mistakes,” states Bruce Temkin , Customer Experience Transformist & Managing Partner of Temkin Group.
Here are some additional findings in the report:
- ING Direct, Holiday Inn Express, Whole Foods, and Holiday Inn have the fewest occurrences of bad experience, while Best Buy, QVC, Gap, and eBay have the most.
- More consumers give feedback directly to the company after a very bad experience than they do after a very good experience.
Just call me Larry.
The use of Twitter to communicate about a very bad experience has more than doubled over the last year. Consumers who earn at least $100,000 are more than twice as likely to tweet about a bad experience than those making $50,000 or less.
- More than one-third of consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 write about their good and bad experiences on Facebook.
- Cox Communications, Symantec, ING Direct, and TracFone are the most likely to have negatively biased comments on Facebook, while Cablevision, AOL, Kaiser Permanente, and Holiday Inn are the most likely to have positively biased comments.
- Verizon and GE are the most likely to have negatively biased comments on Twitter, while Avis and Edward Jones are most likely to have positively biased tweets.
The report “What Happens After A Good or Bad Experience?” can be downloaded from the Customer Experience Matters blog, at ExperienceMatters.wordpress.com
Tuesday, December 4th, 2012
As research into the Thanksgiving holiday shopping trends emerges, several things are clear: online shopping is rapidly becoming a preferred way to search for gifts and deals and mobile shopping is on the rise.
One of the latest reports, from Mobidia Technology, a provider of mobile analytics, shows that if the consumers who track their data usage with Mobidia’s My Data Manager, 12 percent used a smartphone shopping application on Black Friday.
When applied to the entire U.S. population, this suggests approximately 14 million consumers used their smartphones on Black Friday to shop. That is 30 percent more than the average of 9.5 percent on previous days in 2012, demonstrating the importance of Black Friday for mobile shoppers.
Mobile shoppers spent 16 percent more time using shopping apps than they did anytime during the year previously, using them for more than 10 minutes. Compare that to the 12 to 22 minutes spent on the other most popular apps that day, web browsers, maps, Facebook and Twitter.
Online retailers got the most traffic from mobile apps, with those from Amazon and eBay garnering five times the use of brick and mortar retailers.
“As expected, our Black Friday analysis showed that many consumers shopped on their smartphones on Black Friday, but shoppers appear to be gravitating toward online retailers for their mobile shopping,” saysChris Hill, vice president of marketing at Mobidia.
“This could be attributed to shoppers’ experience with online shopping on desktop computers, unsatisfying experiences with the shopping apps of traditional retailers, or just a general lack of awareness. Whatever the reason, Mobidia’s data highlights this as a big opportunity for traditional retailers to continue innovating their mobile shopping app development and marketing to capture more of the mobile shopping market.”
For more information about Mobidia’s mobile data, please visit Mobidia’s website, where you will find detailed whitepapers, or Mobidia’s Blog for periodic updates on data and analysis of mobile usage.
Tuesday, October 30th, 2012
Job growth in Internet and digital media jobs slowed in New York and Boston over the last six months, including sharp declines in the third quarter. But growth does continue in the sector and some top firms such as Google continued to add headcount in both cities, though at a slower rate.
Amazon, Mashable, LinkedIn, and eBay also all continued to add to staff.
Cook Associates Executive Search, a retained executive search firm, reports in its quarterly East Coast Internet and Digital Media Jobs Index, which tracks job creation at more than 470 companies in New York and Boston, that New York showed 3.6 percent growth for the third quarter, following on the heels of 5.6 percent growth in the past quarter.
Boston, on the other hand, showed lower growth of 1.9 percent after a 3.2 percent increase in jobs in the second quarter.
Growth much stronger in New York
Index creator John Barrett said, “It’s now clear that a slowdown in hiring has been occurring in this sector over the past 6 months. Things began getting soft in Boston by the second quarter.
“There were some signs that it was also getting a little soft in New York, but hiring is now definitely slowing down in New York. Overall, Internet and digital media jobs growth is still much stronger in New York and I expect that trend to continue.”
Barrett added, “Things are even worse than they appear in Boston. All of the net new hiring came from just 10 companies out of the approximately 150 companies being tracked in the city. Without those 10 companies, employment in Boston was flat at best and perhaps declined slightly.”
Overall, New York added about 900 new Internet and digital media jobs while Boston added about 260. Approximately 55% of New York’s job growth came from publicly-traded companies while about 75% of Boston’s job growth was derived from public companies.
“This illustrates the continued strength of private company hiring in New York that’s resulting from high levels of venture investing occurring there,” according to the report.
Where the jobs are
Top 10 companies showing largest headcount gains in New York include: Google, Rent the Runway, Amazon, AppNexus, eBay, Facebook, LinkedIn, Gilt Groupe, Etsy, Warby Parker.
Up-and-coming companies showing large headcount gains in New York included: Foursquae, Fab.com, ZocDoc, Magnetic, Tumblr,Thrillist,BuzzFeed, HowAboutWe.com, Mashable, SignPost, Yext, Moda Operandi and Outbrain.
The top ten firms showing the largest headcount increase in Boston include: Hubspot, Wayfair, Amazon, TripAdvisor, Vistaprint, Rue La La, Google, Constant Contact, Karmaloop, and Jumptap.
Up and coming companies showing large headcount gains in Boston include: Visible Measures, DataXu, Naigans, Care.com, Gemvara, NetProspex, WordStream, Fiksu, and ClickFuel.
Wednesday, July 18th, 2012
As marketing and e-commerce leaders continue to look for effective, cost-efficient ways to spread the word about their products and services, affiliate marketing, a performance-based strategy rewarding organizations and individuals for directing users to retailers’ online and physical storefronts, has surfaced as a viable consumer engagement tool.
According to a survey conducted by EPiServer, an which sells multichannel digital marketing and e-commerce software, 47 percent of respondents selected Amazon as the coolest mobile or social affiliate program they have seen to date followed by eBay at 20 percent, and Shopkick and Wrapp each with five percent.
When it comes to leveraging the partner relationships businesses require to thrive in today’s socially-enabled e-commerce landscape, Amazon surpasses eBay, Shopkick and Wrapp in popularity among industry leaders.
Company web site still the principal platform
Despite the buzz surrounding mobile and social as the next frontiers in e-commerce, when asked in what platform they anticipate making the greatest investment in the next three to five years, 59 percent of respondents chose their website, 35 percent selected a mobile application and 22 percent chose social networks.
“While e-commerce leaders appear to be making a greater investment in mobile and social platforms as a means for engaging with consumers and starting them on their way down the conversion funnel, the survey’s results demonstrate that e-commerce leaders continue to look to their website as a principal platform for completing the sale and achieving ROI,” said Bob Egner, vice president of Product Management and Global Marketing at EPiServer.
“Our survey results show Amazon as the clear choice for mobile commerce and Facebook in social.”
Egner continued, “Consumer confidence plays a critical role in strengthening the social and mobile commerce pipeline, but developing a contextual social and mobile commerce strategy to extend the reach of sales and delivery of services to new customers and retain brand loyalty with existing ones is important as well.”
EPiServer conducted a survey of CEOs, Vice Presidents, Directors and e-commerce Managers at more than 94 organizations including retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers, catalogers, web-only merchants and local retailers.
Thursday, March 29th, 2012
David Marcus has been named President of PayPal
EBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) today announced that executive David Marcus has been named President of PayPal, effective April 2.
PayPal is the leading online payments provider.
A member of PayPal’s executive management team, Marcus, has been leading PayPal’s rapidly growing mobile payments business and has driven important mobile product innovations.
Reporting to eBay Inc. President and CEO John Donahoe, Marcus succeeds Scott Thompson, who left the company in January.
“David is the right leader for PayPal,” Donahoe said. “He is a successful technology entrepreneur with a passion for great products that engage and delight customers. David leads with a founder’s perspective. He will bring start-up energy to PayPal’s unmatched global reach and digital payments capabilities.
As vice president of Mobile for PayPal, Marcus has helped lead strong mobile payments volume growth and innovation, including PayPal Here.
The new global service includes a free app and encrypted thumb-sized card reader, which turns any iPhone, and soon Android smartphone, into a comprehensive mobile payments solution. With PayPal Here, small businesses, service providers and casual sellers can accept debit and credit cards, checks and PayPal, or send invoices using one simple integrated product.
“Shopping is fun, but paying is not,” Marcus said. “PayPal has an incredible opportunity to make the way people pay simple, easy, and safe – everywhere, and at scale. We’re off to a great start in 2012 with breakthrough products that will truly change the way everyone shops and pays. I’m honored and excited to be asked to lead this unique business and help make the digital wallet an amazing experience for merchants and consumers worldwide.”
In 2011, PayPal processed $118 billion in payments from over 100 million users in 190 countries, including $4 billion in mobile payment volume.
PayPal is now extending its online and mobile capabilities offline, creating innovative in store payments solutions for retailers and consumers. Home Depot recently rolled out PayPal to all of its nearly 2,000 stores nationwide, and PayPal is implementing its point of sale innovations with other national retailers this year.
Marcus joined PayPal in August 2011 after the company completed the acquisition of Zong, a leading provider of mobile payments, where he was CEO and founder.
Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
The tech and Internet communities have mounted a campaign to prevent passage of the SOPA bill.
On Wed., Jan. 18th the Internet stood up against two censorship bills pending in Congress. In the largest social declaration in history, millions of people and tens of thousands of websites boycotted or blacked out as a demonstration of U.S. gov’t sanctioned censorship. Today, both SOPA and PIPA are tabled.
Recounting the day in blackouts and tweets, Frugaldad’s new graphic, “The Day the Internet Stood Still” explains how this protest, the largest in history, signals social media as more than a forum to discuss Bieber’s new tattoo—it’s the last best place to mobilize media users.
For their part, sites like Wikipedia and Tumblr enabled emails and calls by blacking out content pages and replacing them with links to contact representatives. No day in Congressional history saw such an onslaught of contact.
Wikipedia’s black banners were viewed 160 million times. Their protest brought three times more curious visitors than normal. With over 3 million emails sent on Wednesday alone, Congressional rep. contact links were down due to traffic. And with over 400,000 phone calls to Congress, each representative received an average of 919 calls.
If passed, SOPA and PIPA would place full copyright burden on websites. This means major content hosts–sites like Wikipedia, Facebook and Twitter–could face infringement charges and government shut down. Internet users owe the unpopularity and tabling of these censorship bills to the very social media platforms they endanger.
Thursday, January 12th, 2012
E-retail giants Apple and Amazon are head and shoulders above the competition in a study of customer satisfaction with top retail mobile sites and apps released today by customer experience analytics firm ForeSee.
ForeSee was able to collect enough data to produce statistically reliable mobile satisfaction scores for 16 of the largest e-retailers inthe United States. Apple and Amazon, which scored 85 and 84, respectively, on the study’s 100-point scale, topped the list by a wide margin.
Shoppers like traditional web sites better than mobile versions
According to the research, shoppers are generally more satisfied with traditional websites than they are with their mobile counterparts. The average mobile satisfaction score for the 16 retailers measured in the report is 76, compared to 79 for the same companies’ websites.
However, a few companies had comparable performance on mobile and web: Apple (a standout with a mobile score two points higher than its web score), Toys “R” Us, Best Buy, Staples, Netflix, Dell, and Blockbuster. Others reveal large gaps between the website and the mobile experience, including Avon (satisfaction 8 points lower on mobile) and Walmart (7 points lower).
Plenty of room for improvement in mobile commerce
“As the adoption of smartphones increases, more consumers are using them to access retailer websites,” said Larry Freed, president and CEO of ForeSee. “More and more, there is expectation that companies will address the mobile environment in ways that are effective and user-friendly. Mobile commerce is still relatively new and there is a lot of room for innovation and improvement.”
In addition, the ForeSee study shows that satisfaction with the mobile experience has a significant cross-channel impact. Mobile shoppers who are highly satisfied with their mobile experience are 54% more likely to consider the company next time they want to make a similar purchase, and twice as likely to buy from the retailer’s mobile channel again.
“Customers use mobile apps to research and make decisions, both in-store and out, and it’s not always in the retailer’s favor,” said Eric Feinberg, mobile industry director at ForeSee. “One proven way for retailers to hold on to customer’s loyalty and increase likelihood to buy is to ensure customers are satisfied across all channels.”
Other findings from the research show the growing role mobile is playing in the retail experience:
- A third of online shoppers (34%) used their mobile phones to research products while 15% made a purchase directly from their phone, up from 11% last year.
- One in five online shoppers (19%) used a mobile phone to compare prices or products while shopping in a retail location.
- 19% of all online shoppers are now using mobile phones to compare prices while shopping inside a store.
“The smartphone is a powerful shopping tool and a double-edged sword. Consumers will use it to research products and check a retailer’s own site while they’re in the store, but they’ll also use it to compare prices and check out the competition,” added Freed.
“The gap between mobile experience and web experience is an opportunity for retailers as much as it is a liability. We know consumer expectations will only continue to grow, and right now Amazon and Apple are setting a very high bar.”
About the Research
Mobile scores are based on more than 3,000 responses from visitors to the mobile sites and apps of the top 40 e-retail websites according to sales revenue as reported by Internet Retailer’s Top 500 Guide.
Data for online shoppers is based on more than 8,500 responses from visitors to the traditional websites of these retailers. Survey responses were collected via FGI Research’s Smart Panel. ForeSee utilizes the methodology of the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) to calculate the scores. The ACSI is the national standard for customer satisfaction, and this measure has been shown to have a direct link with stock prices and other measures of financial performance.
Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
A new study of global retail and auctions sites online from comScore found that Amazon Sites reached the largest global audience with more than 282 million visitors in June, or 20.4 percent of the worldwide Internet population.
Other top brands in the study included eBay, which reached 16.2 percent of global Internet visitors, China’s Alibaba.com Corporation (11.3 percent reach), Apple.com Worldwide Sites (9.7 percent reach) and Japan’s Rakuten Inc. (4.2 percent reach).
“While retail e-commerce has already grown to become a $150+ billion annual industry in the U.S., it still presents enormous upside opportunity across much of the globe,” said Gian Fulgoni, comScore co-founder and chairman.
“Technology has changed the way consumers behave, and increasingly they are opting for the convenience and pricing advantages offered by the online channel. Several global retail brands have already capitalized on this global consumer trend, and many other retailers are sure to pursue their share of the pie.”
Amazon, eBay and Alibaba See Largest Global Audiences
In June 2011, Amazon Sites had the largest global audience among the retail and auction sites analyzed, with more than 282 million visitors, representing 20.4 percent of the worldwide audience age 15 and older accessing the Internet from a home or work location.
eBay was not far behind with 223.5 million visitors (16.2 percent reach), followed by China’s Alibaba.com Corporation, which includes sites such as Taobao, Alibaba.com and Alipay, with 156.8 million visitors (11.3 percent reach). Apple.com Worldwide Sites saw its global audience eclipse 134 million visitors, representing nearly 10 percent of all Internet users, while Japan’s Rakuten Inc. reached nearly 57.8 million visitors in June (4.2 percent reach).
|Select Retail and Auction Sites Ranked by Unique Visitors (000)
Total Worldwide Audience, Visitors Age 15+ – Home/Work Locations
Source: comScore Media Metrix
||Total Unique Visitors (000)
|Total Internet : Total Audience
|Apple.com Worldwide Sites
*Excludes visitation from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.
Geographical Visitation Analysis for Retail and Auction Sites
Analysis of the geographic composition of visitors to these select retail and auction sites revealed a mix of both globally distributed audiences and more regionally concentrated audiences. Amazon Sites and Apple.com Worldwide Sites showed more globally distributed audiences compared to most other brands in the study.
Amazon Sites attracted 35.4 percent of its audience from North America, while Europe contributed 31.8 percent of visitors and Asia Pacific accounted for 24.1 percent. Similarly, Apple.com Worldwide Sites attracted 32.0 percent of its visitors from North America, while Europe contributed 29.6 percent of visitors and Asia Pacific accounted for 24.9 percent.
On the other hand, China’s Alibaba.com Corporation (85.7 percent) and Japan’s Rakuten, Inc. (72.7 percent) reach sourced the vast majority of their traffic from the Asia Pacific region. Of the 10 selected sites, MercadoLibre showed the strongest concentration of visitors from a single region with 93.3 percent of its audience from Latin America, where it ranked as the top retail player in the region.
German retail site Otto Gruppe also had a heavy single region concentration with Europe accounting for 92.3 percent of its audience. Wal-Mart had the highest concentration of North American visitors at 83.4 percent, while 45.1 percent of Hewlett Packard’s audience was North American.
|Regional Audience Composition Analysis of Select Retail and Auction Sites
Total Worldwide Audience, Visitors Age 15+ – Home/Work Locations
Source: comScore Media Metrix
||Percent Composition of Unique Visitors
||Middle East – Africa
|Apple.com Worldwide Sites
*Excludes visitation from public computers such as Internet cafes or access from mobile phones or PDAs.
Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
ATLANTA– Kabbage, Inc., a provider of working capital for online merchants, today announced it has secured $17 million in Series B funding, led by Mohr Davidow Ventures. Existing investors participating in the round include BlueRun Ventures, David Bonderman, founder of TPG Capital, Warren Stephens, CEO of Stephens Inc., and the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund.
Several individuals also participated in the round including Jim McKelvey, co-founder of Square. Kabbage will use this funding to pursue additional marketplaces, distribution relationships, new financial products and international expansion.
“All businesses, but especially those online have an unquenchable thirst for capital to grow,” Kabbage Chairman Marc Gorlin told the TechJournal in an interview. “That thirst is not being quenched by the banks. They don’t understand the data for online businesses, and even if they did, they’re not in a position to provide advances or loans under $100,000 profitably.”
He adds, “Kabbage is doing what banks don’t.”
Thousands of online merchants advanced working capital
“Thousands of online merchants have obtained working capital and grown their businesses since our push into the market in April 2011,” said Rob Frohwein, Kabbage Founder and CEO. “Although small business fuels the majority of growth in the U.S., it is extremely difficult and time consuming for these businesses to apply for and actually receive financing from a traditional bank. Kabbage fills this need by providing money to these businesses in a quick, easy and painless way, helping them to further grow their businesses and boost the economy.”
Kabbage currently supports merchants operating on eBay, Amazon and Yahoo! platforms and over the next six months will add support for merchants operating on or through a variety of other channels including Facebook, Etsy, Shopify and Marketplace at Sears.com.
Gorlin points out that the company has advanced funds to online retailers such as a woman selling refurbished boots and an Atlanta seller of toy trains who does business on eBay and Amazon. “He had a truck coming back from Boston to Atlanta that $15,000 from Kabbage helped him fill for the return trip. “He since doubled his money,” Gorlin says. “Payback to Kabbage has been unbelievably good.”
Kabbage uses automated data sources to analyze the health of an online merchant’s business including transaction history, customer traffic and reviews, and products to deliver working capital within seconds of the merchant’s completed application. With Kabbage’s release of profile building in May, merchants can now proactively add information to their Kabbage account to immediately increase their access to capital.
“Small and medium businesses are the growth engine of the economy and more and more of these businesses are operating online,” said Bryan Stolle, General Partner, Mohr Davidow Ventures. “By using rich, multi-source data and advanced analytics to more fairly and accurately assess business performance, we believe Kabbage’s financial products will enable more businesses to expand inventory, hire new employees, and grow, thereby helping the economy get back on track.”
“There is a rapidly growing delta between small-to-medium businesses’ need for working capital and its availability from traditional sources. The knowledge gained from working with companies like Kabbage helps UPS refine its strategy of enabling global commerce,” said Joe Guerrisi, VP of Corporate Marketing at UPS.
Gorlin said Kabbage wasn’t looking to raise new money, but a number of funds approached the company after seeing what it was doing and the customers and data it was pulling in. “We thought it wise to go ahead and secure the capital now,” he said, “to get into more marketplaces faster.”
He continued, “Not a day goes by when some international company doesn’t contact us.” While Kabbage has yet to fund an international online retailer, the company plans its first several trips abroad in the next six weeks.
In addition to the funding news, the United States Patent & Trademark Office recently granted U.S. Patent No. 7,983,951 to Kabbage, entitled “Apparatus to provide liquid funds in the online auction and marketplace environment.” [Please see today’s announcement “Kabbage Issued U.S. Patent”.]
Friday, May 27th, 2011
Google Inc. has unveiled Google Wallet, a new service that allows users to pay for things via a smartlphone app, and Paypal Inc. promptly sued the company, alleging intellectual property theft.
Google’s Payments Vice President Osama Bedieris a former PayPal employee who was with the eBay owned online payments service for nine years prior to joining Google. PayPal alleges Google hired Bedieris to gain access to PayPal’s IP.
The new Google service lets users tap a credit card on an Android smartphone screen, then tap the phone to a restaurant or store credit card reader to make payments. Google will sell ads and offer coupons along with the service. Google plans to launch the service in San Francisco and New York this summer before going national. Initially, it will only work with certain specific cards.
PayPal says Bedieris put all the latest PayPal information on a computer before leaving the company.
The suit also names former eBay employee Stephanie Tilenius, who went to work for Google in 2009 and worked with Bedieris on Google Wallet.
“Sometimes the behaviors of people and competitors make legal action the only meaningful way for a company to protect one of its most valuable assets — its trade secrets,” PayPal said on a company blog Thursday.
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
By Grace W. Ueng
Special to TechJournal South
Joe Epperson, CEO of Max Point, addressing the NCCBA. Both photos on this page by Tingting Liu.
RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – On March 23rd , The North Carolina Chinese Business Association, which serves as a catalyst in bridging China-North Carolina science and technology business relationships, hosted a standing room only crowd at the RTP Foundation that came to hear Joe Epperson, the visionary co-founder and CEO of MaxPoint.
He held the attention of analytic gurus, MBA faculty and students, and entrepreneurs; many having experience with or an interest in business in China. He shared his contagious passion and inside stories on starting and successfully funding an analytics powerhouse, why he chose to move from the Bay Area – where he was an early eBay employee – to the Triangle, and how China will someday benefit from Maxpoint’s ingenuity.
MaxPoint is a high growth and industry-leading consumer targeting technology company that serves household name brands, including those of my former Fortune 500 consumer packaged goods employer, and retail powerhouses.
They are backed by blue chip funds Trinity Ventures in the Bay Area and Seattle-based Madrona, whose success stories include Starbucks and Amazon.
MaxPoint leverages proprietary data and targeting techniques for online advertising efficiencies to drive in-store sales for the retail, CPG, and pharmaceutical verticals.
In interviewing the audience following Epperson’s talk, one SAS product manager told me what MaxPoint is doing is “really, really cool…more significant than Groupon for major retailers.”
Many were struck by an interesting fact Joe presented: 75 percent of all US consumer spending occurs at retail within 15 miles of one’s home. While people under 45 get more content online than from any other source, digital ad spending is low and mainly drives online, not offline behavior. 80 percent of online advertising is focused on the 10 percent of total consumer spending that occurs online.
Joe said that the way companies currently try to drive in-store sales is ineffective, based on the zip code concept developed decades ago.
What follows is a synthesis of the NCCBA audience’s lasting impressions from Epperson’s presentation:
1. A technology company that happens to use media.
“We are a technology company that happens to use media, rather than media company that happens to use technology,” declared Epperson. Joe presented an online “wow” factor, real-time product visualization; demonstrating the enormous scale of the process whereby tens of thousands of impressions were being analyzed each second using MaxPoint. Thereby, he revealed their secret sauce — a unique targeting technology that allows brand owners and retailers to find the right neighborhoods online to drive in-store sales.
Rather than traditional zip code targeting, Joe’s team has developed a more precise “Digital Zip” strategy, which helps them deliver better results. MaxPoint can do this across the entire country in real time, as he demonstrated. “Hundreds of billions dollars in market value have been generated to bring supply to demand just in time.
But what you see here is a trend that is going to emerge in the next ten years—people have the ability to bring demand to a specific point in just-in time fashion,” Joe stated. He called this new trend “real-time demand generation” and stressed his belief in the full potential of online advertising in driving sales. MaxPoint’s customers typically see a 10-20% lift in retail unit sales within hours of deploying their online campaign; their offering has proven to be faster and more effective than traditional promotional methods.
What stuck with many of the attendees I spoke to later is the massive scale of MaxPoint’s cloud: cluster computing that only a few dozen companies in the world have as part of their core business. Right here in the Triangle, MaxPoint is changing the landscape of online advertising, and how demographics are viewed in the digital age.
2. We try anything.
Joe said that if a potential client asked if MaxPoint could do something, he would say “yes”. He shared a story of how saying yes to a company that everyone in the room had heard of led to catastrophic failure which later became a catalyst for MaxPoint’s success.
Like any start-up story, Maxpoint’s first years did not follow a straight path. “Every great start-up has to have that crucible moment,” Joe said. “When you have those disasters, you can choose to ignore them or embrace and fix all the way.”
Michael Chen, President of NCCBA and CEO of New Mind Education; Grace Ueng, CEO of Savvy Marketing Group, NCCBA Advisor; Joe Epperson, CEO of MaxPoint.
In the year after Maxpoint was founded, the team worked non-stop all through Thanksgiving and Christmas to fix a system problem, which resulted in their “home run” the following year. While embracing crisis, Joe also believes in seeking opportunities.
After saying “sure, yes” to his first client when being asked whether he could do it, the “Digital Zip” concept was born. Under his “try anything” philosophy, Joe grasped potential opportunities, and led his team to make the most out of challenges and crises.
3. Persistence in pitching and serving clients.
The audience wanted advice on how MaxPoint has become successful in having so many customers line up to work with them. Joe pointed out two keys: one is “persistence”, and the other is “networking”.
Joe told an interesting anecdote about how his persistence opened the door to attain their first Fortune 500 global client. After flying in to meet the decision maker, Joe was told that he no longer had time to meet.
Joe continued to walk boldly into his office, was given five minutes, and 45 minutes later they had the agreement to conduct a test with the company. After MaxPoint’s technology proved itself, this individual has turned out to be a huge advocate for MaxPoint, recommending the technology to his entire network.
4. Relentless focus on hiring and inspiring the smartest people.
After Joe and his family decided to move to the East Coast to build MaxPoint, he thought there were two places where he could source top-notch analytics talent, and Boston was just too cold!
Joe focuses on quality of hiring, on securing the smartest folks and fueling their growth. He thinks the greatest thing about smart people is that “they could become intensely smart when you unleash them, when you let them go.” He believes that “the smart people tend to congregate with other smart people.”
Having seen Joe in action leading meetings at MaxPoint, he brings to the Triangle Silicon Valley wisdom. He describes his office as “a Silicon Valley office stuck in Cary” and is proud that “our team is a great team with great energy.” He inspires this energy and draws frequently from his experiences at eBay where he was an instrumental agent of change and worked closely with former CEO, Meg Whitman.
5. I have a competitor. I just haven’t seen him yet.
In spite of being a successful entrepreneur, Joe is well grounded in reality when he says that he is paranoid about staying ahead of potential competitors. With its cluster computing and analytics power, Maxpoint is doing something no one else has the capacity to right now.
Joe always has, however, potential competitors in mind, and he is preparing his team to continue to stay ahead. “I actually have a competitor, but I just haven’t seen him yet,” he continues, “That’s one of the things about technology that you always have to assume there is another person out there.”
This assumption fuels Joe and his team to strive for innovation. “I embrace the world in such a way that whatever I build today will be copied, so we work very hard to constantly innovate.”
6. Global expansion—China: go early, go hard
In working with their global customers that are also large brand owners, Joe shared that 9 out of 10 mention China and emerging markets as where they’d like to see MaxPoint deliver a solution.
“Our biggest expansion would be global,” said Joe. “And we do believe very strongly in international expansion.” From his eBay experiences, he learned the lesson to “go international and go early”. Joe believes that the emerging market such as China is “where the game is still on”.
To build a new standard in China for online advertising is both a huge opportunity and challenge. DoubleClick struggled in China and eBay is not doing well. Timing is an issue. And finding the right local partner to gain know-how and build a cross-cultural relationship is also critical.
Outside counsel on how to work with Chinese law and regulation to gain control over consumer data that is of good quality or restricted data required for their analytics modeling is critical. Consumers are quite price driven so trade promotions can work. The overall market is more fragmented than the US so understanding of the differences in Tier 1, 2, 3 cities is important for large brand owners.
Advisor to the NC Chinese Business Association, Grace Whi-Tze Ueng is founder and chief executive officer of Savvy Marketing Group which advises high potential businesses on how to maximize their chances for success. They recently announced their China practice, helping U.S. companies and investors achieve rapid, sustained success in China.
Tingting Liu and Bryce Roberts contributed to this story.
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
RESEARCH TRIANGLE, NC – ChannelAdvisor, a software and services solution provider that enables online retailers to sell more across e-commerce channels, is bringing a stellar lineup of ecommerce speakers and participants from Google, eBay, Yahoo!, and PayPal, among others, to its annual Catalyst conference networking event April 4-6.
Accelerate Your E-Commerce is thetheme of the conference, which is being held at the Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club in Durham, NC.
We have attended these intimate events and they make it easy for those who attend to connect with top executives from major companies.
“This year’s Catalyst agenda includes our most exciting line-up of keynote speakers and presenters yet,” said Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor.
“We’re thrilled to have Google, eBay, Yahoo!, PayPal, Sears Marketplace and dozens of others on board to anchor this year’s event. Catalyst is an invaluable experience for attendees, bringing together the most contemporary e-commerce visionaries to address the latest technologies and trends. If you’re in online retail today, this event is a must attend.”
Leaders from the following companies are currently slated to participate:
- Forrester Research
- Sears Marketplace
- Lucky Brand Jeans
- Plow & Hearth
- Ingram Micro Logistics
- Cloud Conversion
For more information see: www.channeladvisor.com/catalyst/us/.
Friday, February 4th, 2011
By Allan Maurer
Kabbage, (http://www.kabbage.com/) which just planted $6.65 million led by BlueRun Ventures in the bank, is a company with one of those innovative ideas that could not have happened at a better time. The company makes working capital advances via PayPal to qualified online sellers.
Marc Gorlin, chairman of Kabbage, at the 2010 Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC
“There is no faster way to raise working capital on the planet,” says Chairman Marc Gorlin. Out of Beta for a short time, Kabbage has doubled the number of clients it had previously.
It has been making advances of from $2,000 to $12,000 and is going to move up to advances of $25,000 to $40,000 over time, says Gorlin. “If they can get access to capital, they can truly grow their business.”
The alternative method of raising capital offers online sellers another option in one of the worst climates for obtaining small business credit from banks in history.
Kabbage co-founder and COO Kathryn Petralia on the motorized beer cooler the company won at a PayPal X developer conference
This Internet thing is just a fad
“Take a company like Zappos,” says Gorlin. “They were doing $50 million in revenue before they got their first credit line from a bank. Many local companies doing $5 million or $6 million can’t get credit. A company in Minnesota referred to us was selling hardware and had a run rate of $4 million a year from online sales. They went to a bank for money to expand. The bank told them this whole Internet thing is just a fad – and that was this year.”
While traditional bankers want to walk wooden floors and see actual customers, Gorlin points out that “There is actually a ton more data online.”
Using that data, Kabbage qualifies sellers in a matter of minutes from about 200 data points in PayPal and eBay – how long a store has been online, it’s seller rating (which indicates how well they treat their customers), PayPal charge backs, volume of sales and much more. Kabbage has made advances to companies selling everything from American Indian jewelry to model trains, plus size men’s clothing, odd sized men’s shoes, china, and collectibles. “It’s a diverse list,” says Gorlin.
The companies agree to paying back one-sixth of the advance each month via PayPal and can pre-pay with no penalty. Kabbage makes from 6 percent to 16 percent of the advanced amount in fees depending on the firm’s credit history and volume. Down the road, Gorlin sees the possibility of giving online sellers a “Kabbage score” based on its data and increasingly sophisticated analytics. It can, for instance, tell over time which data points may be most predictive of small business success online.
Robert Frohwein, CEO of Kabbage, has been CEO of LAVA Group Inc., an intellectual property investment bank, a founder and the managing partner of Sentry Law Group, and founder of MediaWheel
Hold it while we check your Kabbage score
Banks may eventually use the Kabbage score to open up their own loan coffers, Gorlin suggests. “We could be the means by which banks get more money to small businesses by automating the process for them,” Gorlin notes.
Data analysis Kabbage has done for its own customers shows that “Margins for online businesses are stout. A lot of them won’t sell things for less than a 100 percent margin, they are not paying rent on a store, they don’t have shelf space to fill or need people to talk to customers. They do have different fees on PayPal and eBay, but by and large, the customers we see are running high margin businesses.”
Founded in late 2008 by Gorlin, CEO Rob Frohwein, and Kathryn Petralia, COO, the company attracted high profile investors who include David Bonderman, founder of TPG Capital, Warren Stephens, CEO of Stephens Inc., and the UPS Strategic Enterprise Fund, in addition to BlueRun. The company says the funding will let it expand its financing service beyond eBay merchants to marketplaces such as Amazon, Etsy, Overstock and so on.
Talking to Gorlin, you can tell he gets a kick out of helping small businesses while building his own. Kabbage itself still has a classic startup culture, says Gorlin, a serial entrepreneur who was a co-founder of Pretty Good Privacy (NYSE:MFE), Vertical One Corp. and the Lanta Technology Group.
Startup culture, he says, “Is something you can’t recreate in a big company. You work the number of hours you do to create something out of nothing and you have to burn off some steam.”
So, there are nerf guns. Oh yes, and there is the motorized beer cooler. Kabbage won it as the audience choice prize at a PayPal X developer conference in San Francisco. “I guess you could put something besides beer in it,” says Gorlin, “but I wouldn’t know why.”
On the heels of its funding, Kabbage has already selected larger new offices in Atlanta and will be hiring. It currently employs eight people and expects to hit 15 or so in the next 60 to 90 days. But if you’re going by, watch out for the nerf guns.
Reprinted from our sister publication, TechViewAtlanta.com