Let’s open another package from the news chum tree, shall we? How about this one from Amazon…
- Fighting the Marketplace. Increasingly, Amazon is less a seller of goods than a network connecting a buyer and a seller, while pretending that Amazon is doing the selling. I’m sure that you’ve noticed this more and more. But the market isn’t quite so clean as you might think. For sellers, Amazon is a quasi-state. They rely on its infrastructure — its warehouses, shipping network, financial systems, and portal to millions of customers — and pay taxes in the form of fees. They also live in terror of its rules, which often change and are harshly enforced. A cryptic email from Amazon about a purported complaint can send a seller’s business into bankruptcy, with few avenues for appeal. Amazon’s judgment is swifter and less predictable, and now that the company controls nearly half of the online retail market in the US, its rulings can instantly determine the success or failure of your business. Amazon is the judge, the jury, and the executioner.
- Counterfeits and Amazon. Another big problem at Amazon is counterfeits, which often benefit Amazon. Mixed in with Amazon’s inventory of authentic merchandise are crude copycats. Some look like the real thing but didn’t include a real vendor’s name. Others bear the name but aren’t made by the real company. Often, there is no way for even the savviest Amazon shopper to avoid the threat of counterfeits. The goods may look real online, but there is no guarantee of authenticity — whether sold by a brand, a third-party seller or Amazon’s direct-sales arm. And the reviews don’t help, because of review gaming.
Perhaps brick and mortar has a purpose after all?
Here are a few more technology items of interest:
- Rattling the Sabre. We once had a travel agent at work. No, not on the payroll. He was a programmer, but ran a travel agency and would often book flights for co-workers. He’d access Sabre to do so. Here’s an interesting article about Sabre, and how it changed the face of air travel.
- What Happens When You Die? Have you ever wondered what happens to your social media profiles when you die? It’s a big issue. Often they outlast you, and if you are lucky, your relatives make them “in memorium”. The linked article explores some strategies.
- Sound Thinking . Have you ever wondered about the sound of old technology? A website called Conserve the Sound has recordings of the sounds made by old phones, rubber stamps, pinball machines, cameras, typewriters, fans, video game consoles, and other products from 1910 onwards.