Some States Say Amazon Is Liable for Third-Party Products

When Angela Bolger’s laptop caught fire due to a replacement battery she bought on Amazon, she suffered third-degree burns and filed a lawsuit against the popular e-commerce site. Amazon responded by providing a refund for the battery. Until recently, Amazon has successfully fought off such liability suits. The stakes are high since almost 60 percent of all physical goods on its site now come from third-party sellers. The courts have traditionally sided with Amazon, but recent cases from a few states are changing that trend. Continue reading Some States Say Amazon Is Liable for Third-Party Products

Facebook Targets E-Commerce with Updated Instagram Shop

Facebook debuted a major redesign of its Instagram Shop platform, which had already been accessible from a button in the Explore tab but now offers more functionality. The new version of Instagram Shop will first be available in the U.S., with a global rollout “in the coming weeks” said the company. In Shop, consumers will find special collections, a “Suggested for You” section and curated offerings from Instagram’s @Shop account. A double arrow symbol means the user can buy the product without leaving the app. The move is seen as Facebook’s stronger push into e-commerce. Continue reading Facebook Targets E-Commerce with Updated Instagram Shop

Amazon Takes Aim at Market Share Ceded Due to COVID-19

As online shopping skyrocketed during the COVID-19 shutdown, Amazon was overwhelmed with orders and its rivals saw an opportunity to grab market share. In the last quarter, Target’s online sales increased 141 percent, Etsy’s went up nearly 80 percent and Walmart’s rose 74 percent. Amazon, however, is regaining its footing by removing limitations of the products in its warehouses, offering promotions and, again, shipping more products in one-to-two days. It also plans to increase its Prime Air fleet to about 200 planes. Continue reading Amazon Takes Aim at Market Share Ceded Due to COVID-19

Federal Appeals Court Offers Mixed Ruling on Net Neutrality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday upheld the federal government’s repeal of net neutrality in the latest ruling that impacts how companies connect people to the Internet. However, the appeals court also ruled that the FCC had overstepped in its decision to prevent state and local governments from establishing their own related rules. The mixed ruling will likely lead to continued debate over net neutrality regulation, especially on the state level. It is also seen as a victory for the Trump administration, which has supported deregulation, and FCC chair Ajit Pai, who believes the repeal is good for the economy and fosters innovation. Continue reading Federal Appeals Court Offers Mixed Ruling on Net Neutrality

Apple Sells Products via Amazon, Tightens Resale Market

Amazon Marketplace, a third-party seller network worth about $250 billion, has long been the go-to platform for online entrepreneurs who refurbish and sell old Apple computers. But the Mac resale sector has gone up in smoke since Apple and Amazon struck an agreement to limit sales of Apple products only to “the largest companies” and authorized providers. Amazon Marketplace is “the preeminent place” to sell products, offering logistics and shipping unlike competitors eBay and Walmart, as well as Overstock and Etsy. Continue reading Apple Sells Products via Amazon, Tightens Resale Market

Etsy Turns to Google Cloud to Improve Search, Boost Sales

Etsy, the online crafts marketplace, boasts more than 60 million unique items and is using Google’s machine learning technology to help boost sales. Because more than 80 percent of its search-based purchases come from the first page of results, it is crucial to provide relevant items on that page. With that in mind, Etsy started a move to Google Cloud in 2017, motivated by the platform’s artificial intelligence capabilities. About three-fourths done with the migration, it’s already seen $260 million in incremental gross sales.

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Supreme Court Lets States Collect Sales Tax From E-Tailers

The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote that states have the authority to collect sales taxes from online retailers, even if they don’t have a physical presence in the state. In doing so, the justices closed a loophole that helped Internet sales to grow and also overturned 50 years of its own precedents that banned states from collecting sales tax from companies without such physical presence. The decision did not follow typical ideological decisions, with liberal justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joining conservative justices. Continue reading Supreme Court Lets States Collect Sales Tax From E-Tailers

Highlights From Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report

Noted venture capitalist and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker recently released her annual Internet Trends report at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Among the 294 slides, Meeker explained that smartphone shipments did not grow in 2017, and Internet user growth slowed to 7 percent (more than half the world is already online). However, people are spending more time online. Of the 5.9 hours per day that U.S. adults spent on digital media last year, 3.3 were spent on mobile, which is leading the charge in digital media consumption. Continue reading Highlights From Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report

FCC Expected to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules in a Few Weeks

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai has proposed to end net neutrality, which was put in place by the Obama administration. With the repeal of net neutrality, Internet service providers would be able to block access, slow down or speed up access to websites as well as charge more for high quality streaming. Pai’s intent to repeal net neutrality is seen as a victory for telecom giants such as AT&T and Verizon and a loss for Internet titans such as Amazon and Google. The FCC also aims to prevent states from imposing their own net neutrality laws. Continue reading FCC Expected to Repeal Net Neutrality Rules in a Few Weeks

Most Americans Support Net Neutrality, Online Protest Slated

Amazon, Etsy, Kickstarter, Mozilla, Reddit and Y Combinator are planning a “day of action” to oppose the FCC’s plan to undo net neutrality. On July 12, the companies plan to change their websites in various ways to raise awareness of the current efforts to repeal net neutrality, which prohibits ISPs from blocking or slowing websites or charging fees to display content. A recent poll showed that a large percentage of Americans, across all political affiliations, support net neutrality and question the government’s ability to protect Internet access. Continue reading Most Americans Support Net Neutrality, Online Protest Slated

Pinterest Launches Video Ads with Kate Spade, bareMinerals

Pinterest just began selling video advertising, with the first ads from Kate Spade and bareMinerals in the coming weeks. The GIF-like ads will be silent until the user clicks the images, or pins, of the featured products next to the videos, which could allow the user to buy the product within the Pinterest website. By adding video ads, Pinterest joins the ranks of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and large publishers similarly seeking the premium revenues of the kind of marketing once reserved for TV. Continue reading Pinterest Launches Video Ads with Kate Spade, bareMinerals

Tech Industry Presses Government to Address Patent Reform

A number of top technology executives representing the Internet Association submitted a letter this week to leaders of the House of Representatives calling for quick passage of the Innovation Act of 2015. CEOs of Etsy, Gilt, Google, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Rackspace, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Yahoo and Yelp are among those urging politicians to pass the patent-reform bill this summer. The letter explains that these execs have “direct experience of the negative consequences of the patent troll business model on our economy.” Continue reading Tech Industry Presses Government to Address Patent Reform

Battle for the Net: Internet Slowdown Generates Big Numbers

Public interest groups and tech companies participated in an Internet “slowdown” yesterday to raise awareness of the potential impact to net neutrality and an open Internet if slow lanes were to result from proposed FCC rules. It was not an actual throttling of Internet speeds, but a campaign in which sites featured messages about the issue and symbolic “loading” icons. Thousands of websites urged their users to take action. As a result, the FCC received a record 1,477,301 public comments. Continue reading Battle for the Net: Internet Slowdown Generates Big Numbers

Makr Produces, Ships, and Sells Custom Design Merchandise

The Makr app turns iPhone users into t-shirt and tote bag designers. Anyone can upload a design, which can be printed on t-shirts, bags, even temporary tattoos. The iPad version also allows users to design paper goods like wedding invitations and business cards. These items are sold through Makr’s online store and the designer gets $2 per sale without having to worry about production, shipping or payments. The tool could help YouTube celebrities and other online stars sell merchandise to fans. Continue reading Makr Produces, Ships, and Sells Custom Design Merchandise

Tech Companies Argue the Internet Should Be a Public Utility

Tech companies of all sizes are urging the Federal Communications Commission to enforce net neutrality by reclassifying the Internet as Title II. This reclassification would mean that Internet providers would have to abide by the same laws as public utilities and there would be no Internet “fast lanes.” Representatives from Kickstarter, Spotify, Vimeo and others met with the FCC to discuss the issue last week. Netflix also submitted a filing to the FCC about the proposed net neutrality laws. Continue reading Tech Companies Argue the Internet Should Be a Public Utility

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