The Amazon Tax

ByCharles Bunn

The Amazon Tax

Recently the web, news channels, blog sphere and just about every other media outlet has been abuzz about proposals and amendments now making their way through the house and senate of the US. In a nutshell congress is proposing to eliminate the so called exemption that has existed through court tests and legislation, that has eliminated sales tax, when purchases are made online unless the company has a physical presence in your state. Most ecommerce sites do not have to collect sales tax from purchases outside the states where they have operations. Just as long as the laws have existed that prevent the websites from collecting sales taxes, many brick and mortar sites have been complaining of the unfair advantage that ecommerce sites enjoy. The advent of mobile devices that can search the web for products based on a photo of a product bar code have increased the advantage even more, as brick and mortar establishments have become the showroom for ecommerce. Smart competitors are fighting back by investing in such companies as ‘Sensewhere’ and ‘Point Inside’ that can provide customers with coupons for items that are near their in store position. Many stores, such as Best Buy and Sears, are using slightly different product models that make comparison shopping difficult, and many other methods are being used to entice customers to buy now. That being said, some establishments are still bankrolling the legislation to, as they call it, level the playing field.

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ByCharles Bunn

The Timing is Odd for the NSA

The recent disclosure of data snooping by Verizon and now several Internet Companies from articles published by the Guardian in the United Kingdom show that there is probably someone or some entity that is leaking highly classified information about the inner workings of the NSA. What is odd is the timing of the three releases; think about it, the releases are happening right at the start of talks with the Chinese about cyber security. Obama is now in a defensive posture going into these high level meetings and has been put in a difficult position. So one has to wonder about the timing, could these disclosures have been leaked by the Chinese government to soften the approach taken by the US? As they say in security circles, true coincidences are rare.

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ByCharles Bunn

Yelp That Hurts

As a small company with limited advertising resources, I try to leverage everything I can to make myself visible on the Internet. One of the most important tools a small business can use besides Blogging is getting positive reviews from major sites. One of the bigger sites with a large influence is Yelp.com. If you are new to a town or just visiting Yelp is a great way to find out if that service you are planning to use is well thought of. Well the Web being what it is, people soon realized the importance of reviews on Yelp, and before long people were gaming the system. So Yelp fought back and came up with algorithms to fight fraudulent reviews, the arms race has begun.

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ByCharles Bunn

Collaboration for Clients

Over the many years I have been running a consulting business (going on 16 years) I have found that I needed to store all kinds of data from clients including, passwords, licenses files, images, etc. Often a client would lose or forget important information, so I started saving information in a secure file in QuickBooks. Over time I have also found that clients loose statements and invoices all the time, so having a place to store such information that a client could access anytime would be a real time saver. A recent project also showed the real need for an easy to use collaboration method that would be a free or low cost for the client to use. I also needed a way for a client to mark up documents, images or whatever I shared with them to communicate changes.

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ByCharles Bunn

Bernanke Must Go

I don’t normally comment on political issues but after seeing several articles in the Washington Post I had to say something. What’s even odder is the Washington Post had two articles that basically said the same thing, that the Feds quantitative easing (Learn what Quantitative Easing is: QE3 Explained) was a good thing for the economy and small business. What’s even more amusing is that after a few dozen comments appeared from small business owners, who overwhelming disagree that lower borrowing cost were important, the Washington Post buried the articles on Bernanke’s quantitative easing. Here are the articles:

Washington Post: Fed action a welcome move for small business?

Washington Post: Small business owner QE3 is a good start but hardly enough.

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