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How Alternative Lending Sources Can Help E-Commerce Companies Grow
July 20, 2019
E-commerce companies must surmount a variety of unique challenges to grow. At any given time, companies may encounter a desperate need to spruce up the look and feel of their website and mobile app, boost their digital storage capacity, or optimize the way they process transactions so that customers can make purchases on different online platforms seamlessly.
Facebook Unfazed by $5B FTC Settlement
July 18, 2019
The Federal Trade Commission this week announced its approval of a $5 billion settlement with Facebook, ending a long-running investigation into the company's privacy practices. The commission's 3-2 vote was along party lines. The United States Department of Justice must finalize the settlement before the matter is closed. The DoJ's action will end the investigation that began early last year.
Isn't It Time to Buy Cyber Insurance?
July 15, 2019
Every day we read stories about data breaches and cyberattacks on business and government websites, and the resulting the loss of personally identifiable information. Cybercrime is on the rise, and given the ever-evolving methods of attack, meaningful relief and reliable measures to fend off cybercriminals are unlikely in the foreseeable future. Companies need to insure against cybertheft.
Social Media, Crafters, Gamers and the Online Censorship Debate
July 12, 2019
Ravelry, an online knitting community that has more than 8 million members, last month announced that it would ban forum posts, projects, patterns and even profiles from users who supported President Trump or his administration. "We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy," the administrators of Ravelry posted on the site.
E-Commerce Startup Bolt Snags $68M to Grow Checkout Biz
July 11, 2019
E-commerce checkout platform vendor Bolt has raised $68 million to help it increase its engineering team, invest in additional enterprise functionality, partner with best-in-breed e-commerce platforms, and build and expand advanced features and functionality. Bolt's platform combines checkout, payments and fraud detection to provide a better buying experience and maximize conversions.
Signpost Secures $52M to Expand Its SMB Marketing Reach
July 10, 2019
Cloud marketing company Signpost has raised $52 million in new funding to "increase the scale of our business and invest in our technology," CEO Stuart Wall announced. The company's SaaS platform for SMBs consists of artificial intelligence-based customer relationship management and marketing automation technology powered by automated data collection and cross-channel marketing.
Workers' Prime Day Strike Could Pose a Problem for Amazon
July 9, 2019
Amazon workers at a Minnesota, fulfillment center plan to strike for six hours on July 15, the first day of Amazon's Prime Day sales event. The strike threat reportedly is linked to unsafe working conditions at Amazon's warehouses, caused by low wages and pressure to meet shipping demands. Union officials also want a larger portion of temporary warehouse workers converted to full-time employees.
FBI, ICE Turn Drivers' Licenses Into Facial Recognition Gold
July 9, 2019
State motor vehicle departments have become a rich source of facial recognition data for and FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Researchers at Georgetown Law's Center on Privacy & Technology reportedly used public records requests to gather a cache of documents that show the agencies have turned state DMV databases into the foundation of a vast surveillance infrastructure.
Anticipating the Merger of Apple and Oracle
July 8, 2019
After reading about the departure of Jony Ive, I'm trying to wrap my head around Apple without a design focus. Now this isn't as hard as you might think, given the last truly successful Apple product came out around a decade ago and was called the "iPad." It is also somewhat ironic that Apple just effectively relaunched the iPod, the product that Steve Jobs rode to Apple's massive success.
The Threat of a Deepfake Fiasco
July 5, 2019
An AI technology called "deepfake" may be the next big threat we face as a society. Consider a recent video clip of Facebook CEO Marc Zuckerberg saying some outlandish things. You might think it is real -- but it's a deepfake. It's his image, and it sure sounds like him, but he never actually made that speech. "Can't be," you might think. "That has to be Zuckerberg talking." Wrong.
Can You Hear Me Now? Staying Connected During a Cybersecurity Incident
July 3, 2019
While good communication is pretty much universally beneficial, there are times when it's more so than others. One such time? During a cybersecurity incident. Incident responders know that communication is paramount. Even a few minutes might mean the difference between closing an issue vs. allowing a risky situation to persist longer than it needs to.
5 Effective Ways to Reduce E-Commerce Churn
July 2, 2019
The subscription model forms the backbone of the revenue streams of many SaaS companies. In fact, more than 90 percent of software providers expected to migrate to a subscription-based business model by 2022, according a Gartner report. Despite the higher rates of adoption, companies often struggle with keeping subscription customers, leading to high churn rates and lost revenue.
The Growing Menace of Weaponized Deepfakes
June 27, 2019
The U.S. House Intelligence Committee recently heard expert testimony on the growing threat posed by "deepfakes" -- altered videos and other AI-generated false information -- and what it could mean for the 2020 general elections, as well as the country's national security overall. The technologies collectively known as "deepfakes" can be used to manipulate and falsify images and videos.
NSA Admits Improper Collection of Phone Data, 2nd Time Around
June 27, 2019
The ACLU has released documents showing the NSA improperly collected Americans' call and text logs in November 2017 and in February and October 2018. The unauthorized collections occurred just four months after the agency announced it was deleting more than 620 million call detail records acquired since 2015 under Title V of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Chinese Hackers Linked to Global Attacks on Telcos
June 26, 2019
Chinese hackers likely are responsible for a series of cyberattacks against telecommunications companies around the world, security researchers have reported. The campaign, dubbed "Operation Soft Cell," has been active since 2012, according to Cybereason. There is some evidence suggesting even earlier activity against the telecommunications providers, all of whom were outside North America.
Proposed Law Would Force Big Tech to Reveal Value of Consumer Data
June 25, 2019
A Democrat and a Republican have filed a U.S. Senate bill to require companies to report to financial regulators and to the public what consumer data they collect and how they leverage it for profit. "When a big tech company says its product is free, consumers are the ones being sold," said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. "These 'free' products track everything we do."
Oracle Does OK - Surprised?
June 22, 2019
To all the geniuses who advised selling Oracle shares ahead of this week's earnings call: You might want to recheck your calculations. On your slide rule. The headline on Oracle's statement is all you need to begin the self-recriminations: "Q4 FY19 GAAP EPS UP 36% TO $1.07 and NON-GAAP EPS UP 23% TO $1.16." What were the naysayers thinking? More importantly, what were they thinking with?
Uber Drones to Make Meal Drops This Summer
June 21, 2019
Uber Elevate, the aerial arm of rideshare service Uber, will test a fast food delivery by drone service later this summer in San Diego. Delivery destinations won't be houses or apartment buildings, however, but instead will be "designated safe landing zones." Those landing zones could include the roof of a parked Uber vehicle in one scenario. An Uber courier would hand-deliver it to the consumer.
Plot Thickens With Dish's Interest in Sprint, T-Mobile Wireless
June 20, 2019
The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint has been dragging on for quite a long time, but it finally may be in the home stretch. To get the deal approved, Sprint and T-Mobile might have to sell off some of their wireless assets to competitors. Many were surprised to see Dish Network's interest. What would this mean for the merger and for the wireless industry as a whole?
In Zuck We Trust: Facebook to Launch Own Cryptocurrency
June 19, 2019
Facebook's plans to mint its own digital coin will test the company's consumer credibility. After being savaged for months for its cavalier attitude toward users' privacy, the social network will be asking those same users to trust its new cryptocurrency. The currency, called "Libra," will be stashed in a digital wallet, the first product of new Facebook financial services subsidiary Calibra.
Facebook's Libra Cryptocurrency May Revolutionize E-Commerce
June 19, 2019
Facebook has released details about Libra, its long-rumored cryptocurrency. The company outlined plans "for a new decentralized blockchain, a low-volatility cryptocurrency, and a smart contract platform that together aim to create a new opportunity for responsible financial services innovation." The aim is to help people worldwide gain access to a cheaper, more connected global financial system.
Walmart Ups the Ante in Grocery Delivery Competition
June 18, 2019
Walmart has a new weapon in the grocery delivery wars. Online shoppers can subscribe to a $98-per-year "Delivery Unlimited" plan that aims to siphon customers from Amazon's Whole Foods and Target's home delivery programs. Online grocery shopping is growing steadily as a key revenue generator and customer draw. The food division was critical in boosting Walmart's e-commerce performance in Q1.
Cisco's Take on Making the World a Better Place
June 17, 2019
I attended Cisco Live last week, and one of the things that impressed me was how many amazing things the company has been doing that have nothing to do with products, services or revenue. Most companies have a philanthropic budget and donate, but they don't really seem to care if the money makes a difference. For most, philanthropy is more about uplifting their image than making a difference.
Internet's Crowds Stunting Its Growth: Trends Report
June 13, 2019
More than half the world's population -- 3.8 billion people -- have access to the Internet and that may not be a good thing for business, according to digital savant Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2019 report. Global Internet user growth has slowed to 6 percent year over year, down from 7 percent, noted the Bond Capital general partner. The Asia-Pacific region leads in both users and potential.
China-US Trade Tension Is Causing Irreparable Damage to High-Tech
June 12, 2019
While trade disputes between countries are nothing new and seldom are remembered, the ongoing one between China and the United States may change the course of the electronics industry going forward. In the beginning of the dispute proposed tariffs excluded electronics for the most part. The U.S. even modified some initial proposals to avoid impacting Apple and other U.S. tech companies.
Salesforce and Tableau in Merger
June 10, 2019
Salesforce has announced an all-stock deal to acquire analytics powerhouse Tableau Software. Salesforce will pay 1.103 of its shares for one Tableau share. The deal is expected to finalize by the end of October, about a month before Dreamforce. A number of questions arise from this deal. For instance, why do it at all? Why keep the companies separate, and what will their relationship be like?
When Retail Customers Take It on the Chin, Investors Win
June 6, 2019
I am a reluctant Costco shopper. My wife is one of the many who really love the chain. Me... not so much. Seriously -- someone should knock Costco's top officials on the head and wake them up to the need to focus on their customers. After all, it's the customers who make Costco successful. When my family owned lots of retail stores, I learned many important lessons that Costco needs to learn.
New Antitrust Probe Tightens Screws on Big Tech
June 5, 2019
The U.S. House of Representatives Antitrust Subcommittee has opened an investigation into competition in digital markets, increasing the pressure on big tech companies over antitrust issues. The subcommittee is part of the House Judiciary Committee. The bipartisan investigation will include a series of hearings on antitrust, commercial and administrative law about the rise of market power online.
Trailhead, Salesforce's Not-So-Secret Weapon
June 4, 2019
Salesforce has used its Trailhead learning system to teach developers how to program on its Lightning platform for more than five years. The company last week completed its fourth highly successful TrailheaDX conference, which attracted 14,000 people to the Moscone Center in San Francisco. There are plenty of good reasons for Salesforce to be in the software-coding-education game.
The Importance of Strong Domain Security to Brand Value
June 3, 2019
Building and sustaining a brand has gotten more challenging. The global marketplace, empowered by the Internet, has delivered a raft of opportunities to businesses, but it also has opened the door for challenges. These challenges include increased competition as the result of a wider market, and increased possibilities for brand abuse. Added to that mix is the ever-present cyberthreat.
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