All Articles Tagged "amazon"
They were controversial as soon as they hit the market — the Django Unchained action figures caused debate over whether they were racist, inappropriate, and/or exploitive. Now the dolls have been banned from eBay, according to TMZ.
As we reported, many complained that the selling of these slave dolls, which were available on Amazon, is not only racially insensitive but also makes light of slavery. Following massive backlash from African-American advocacy groups, The Weinstein Company (which produced the film) discontinued the promotional figurines.
Ebay said via emails to sellers, “Since the manufacturer of this product has discontinued the item’s sale due to its potentially offensive nature, we are not allowing it to be sold on eBay,” reports TMZ. According to eBay, the dolls were in violation of the company’s “Offensive Materials policy.” The dolls had been fetching as much as $300 apiece. According to Deadline Hollywood, the bidding for a complete set of the dolls had reached $1,000.
But all this controversy could have the opposite effect, making the doll even more collectible and expensive.
Are you opposed to the Django dolls?
We’ve already seen the crazy technologies that CES introduced to the world. But what will we actually see in 2013? Many tech blogs have been speculating about what devices and cool technologies will be available for the masses to purchase this year—and some that are a little more out there.
Here are nine cool technology product launches to expect this year—and ones that you might even be able to afford.
The numbers are in and this year’s Cyber Monday is the all-time online shopping champ.
Sales for the day were up 30.3 percent year-over-year with department stores leading the pack, according to the AP. “Results show Americans are getting more comfortable shopping across all screens — computers, smartphones and tablets — and retailers are capitalizing on this by improving e-commerce offerings and beefing up Cyber Monday-specific deals,” the news outlet reports. Still, online sales only account for 10 percent of total holiday sales. We’ll have to wait for the November and December numbers to get a fuller picture, but The National Retail Federation is expecting an overall increase of 4.1 percent in holiday spending this year.
There had been concerns that Cyber Monday had lost its oomph. In response to yesterday’s numbers, Jay Henderson, IBM Smarter Commerce’s strategy director tells USA Today, “The reports of the death of Cyber Monday are greatly exaggerated.” The “most-searched-for products” were Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Ugg boots. The most-searched retailers were CyberMonday.com, Target, Amazon, and Walmart. The data shows that mobile devices were used by many people to visit a retailer and make purchases and “PayPal had almost 200% more volume in mobile payments,” the paper writes. (Interestingly, Mashable reports that Twitter contributed zero to online sales on Black Friday. Or .34 percent to be exact.)
For the weekend as a whole, Ad Age says the average shopper spent $423, up from $398 last year. The magazine outlines four things that they say the weekend showed about the consumer habits. The one that we found most interesting is, “Consumers could care less about the ‘fiscal cliff.’”
“More Americans this month said the U.S. economy will improve than at any time in the past decade, according to the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index. The share of households saying the economy would get better rose to 37%, the highest since March 2002. A year ago, the measure showed a record number of consumers said it was a bad time to spend,” the magazine continues.
We’re curious about whether this optimism is something that comes with the holidays and a coming new year. The holiday season is a happy time, and New Year’s brings with it lots of hope for the year ahead. And after years of this recession, who doesn’t want to let go a little now that things seem to be slowly turning around? (Though unemployment numbers in the black community still show many still feel a strong level of economic strain.)
But an analyst that spoke with the AP, Brian Sozi, also makes an interesting point: ”Retailers have done a fine job at shifting the pool of holiday buyers to earlier in the season, but have not necessarily created demand outside of the carefully scrutinized shopping list.” So the question is whether the level of optimism and enthusiasm will be sustained for the next month? Or will shopping fever cool as people reach their budget thresholds?
This also ties in with one of the other things that Ad Age said about the holiday shopping weekend: “Retailers are nervous about the economy.”
While consumers waited for the release of the iPad Mini, which was officially announced on October 23, Apple’s hold on the tablet market dropped in the third quarter of 2012.
According to a report from the International Data Corporation, Apple had 14 million shipments of tablets in the third quarter. While this is an increase from the 11.1 million in the third quarter 2011, the company’s market share dropped. In Q3 2012, 50.4 percent of tablet shipments were from Apple, a drop from 59.7 percent from Q3 2011.
The IDC noted that this drop may have been due to some Apple fans waiting for the new iPad Mini. Full year results will show the impact the Mini had on the tablet market, but so far, Apple reported that three million iPad Minis and fourth generation iPads were sold during the opening weekend starting on Friday, November 2.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s market share rose from 6.5 percent to 18.4 percent from Q3 2011 to Q3 2012, as its shipments rose from 1.2 million to 5.1 million.
“Samsung took advantage of an opportunity in the second quarter,” said Ryan Reith, program manager, IDC’s Mobile Device Trackers, in a statement about the data. “The company offers a wide range of tablet offerings across multiple screen sizes and colors, and that clearly resonated with more buyers this quarter. Its growth to 18.4% of worldwide market share during the quarter represents the first time a competitor has attained this level of share since the original launch of the iPad.”
Amazon, which was not tracked in 2011, saw 2.5 million shipments, or nine percent market share, while Asus (8.6 percent market share) and Lenovo (1.4 percent) rounded out the top five tablet vendors.
It seems tablets are everywhere these days, and the numbers back that up. The IDC also found that tablet sales were up 49.5 percent over the past year, with 27.8 million tablets shipped during the third quarter.
Another week, another new development in the tech arena; but I make sure you keep up with the pace. For those who’ve been busy, the latest digital buzz is all about the unveiling of Amazon’s new Tablet. As BlackBerry seems to be packing it in on the Tablet game, Amazon is ramping up interest; and this could prove to be an interesting move for consumers overall. Kindle Fire is a price-sensitive, slimmed down model that just may be some people’s answer to the iPad.
Now, while basically none of the media – including myself – have been able to get a hold of these babies to actually demo them yet; I do have info for you to add to your mental database as you start to ponder purchase possibilities.
Here we go…
First, it’s priced at $199, a whopping $300 less than the iPad for those who might find their pockets a bit light during the economic rollercoaster these days.
But, of course, no one is giving anything away for free. Case in point, the screen size on the Kindle Fire is 7 inches versus the iPad which is 9.7. That having been said, it’s way easier to hold in one’s hand than the iPad; and in that regard it’s similar to the Samsung tablet. But there is no camera and no mic and has only 8GB of memory. So for those looking to capture every moment of their lives and upload, this may not be the product for you. If you don’t need that, you could be good to go; just know that this is another WiFi only product so plan accordingly.
Did you say, “But what’s the app situation like, Lauren?” Well, I’ll tell ya.
Users will have access to more than 250,000 apps in the online Android Market, thanks to this device utilizing a modified version of Android. However, the iPad offers more than 425,000 apps in the Apple Store. But Amazon says it has optimized the Fire for its own content, like streaming movies, e-books and music. Bonus: Kindle Fire also will come with a 30-day free look at Amazon Prime, the company’s premier service that offers free two-day shipping of products from Amazon.com and free streaming from a library of more than 11,000 movies and TV shows.
However, I also decided to ask a few colleagues about their level of interest in the product just to get a better read.
Mark Nyon, a technorati said, ” I am excited about the Kindle Fire because to the Sync browser and the price. It up-ends the whole tablet market for the consumer’s benefit.”
Digital enthusiast Andreas Jackson counters, “Not really excited about this product.. It’s much more of a consumption device than iPad. They are going for a certain market which is good for them.”
Self-proclaimed digital “style goddess, Stacy Gardner adds, “I heard a little about the Kindle Fire coming out, but it hasn’t moved mountains for me. When the iPad came out that was exciting since it appeared to be the first of its kind as far a tablet. Now that there are several versions of it out and other companies creating it, I am less phased but will research different types before I make a decision.”
The big question is, will Apple issue a competitive response with a less expensive option in order to compete with this product or not? Industry chatter is debating this now. If it happens, it could be mega for consumers, but only time will tell. In the meantime, tell me what you think about Kindle Fire, and if you may be checking for this product once it hits shelves on November 15, 2011.
(The Sacramento Bee) — Amazon.com is offering to bring thousands of jobs to California as it tries to back away from a ballot-box confrontation over the state’s new Internet sales tax law. The online retailing giant, in a meeting late Tuesday of legislative staffers and retailing lobbyists, proposed opening six distribution centers that would employ a total of 7,000 Californians, according to sources with knowledge of the offer. In return, Amazon wants a reprieve from the new law until sometime in 2014. It’s a strategy Amazon has used – with some success – in other states as it tries to squash a growing movement toward taxing online commerce. But it was uncertain whether Amazon’s offer would gain much traction in California.
(Wall Street Journal) — Amazon.com Inc., the world’s largest online retailer, hasn’t charged sales tax in most states since its founding in 1994. And it has taken some extreme measures to keep it that way. Among them: Staff traveling around the U.S. have been required to first consult a company map that shades each state red, yellow or green, said three people who have worked for the retailer. These people said they needed permission from managers or company lawyers before entering “red” states because a worker’s actions might trigger laws that force Amazon to collect taxes in those states. Such steps to avoid local levies allow Amazon to undercut in-state retailers by the amount they must add in sales tax, which can exceed 8%.
by Evette Brown
As two of hip-hop’s elite superstars, Jay-Z and Kanye West are used to being heavily criticized for their decisions. The hip-hop heavyweights are both respectively infamous for different reasons, but having come together to create an album and initiate a nationwide tour might be entering them into a battle that neither one is prepared to wage.
After months of anticipation, their collaborative debut Watch the Throne is set to be released to all nationwide retailers on August 12th. Here’s where the conflict begins.
According to Billboard, rather than releasing the album to all retailers on August 12th, the duo and their record label are following in the footsteps of Jay-Z’s superstar wife, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and others by offering iTunes and Best Buy separate preferential windows to sell the album exclusively. From August 8th to August 12th, iTunes will be the only retailer with permission to sell the album. From August 12th until August 24th, Best Buy will be the exclusive retailer with the deluxe edition of the CD.
Even before the official release date, iTunes is sweetening the deal for fans by offering them the opportunity to pre-order the album. With this pre-order comes an exclusive download of “Otis,” Jay-Z and Kanye’s blockbuster single. Other retailers are not admitting defeat in this battle without a fight against the artists, Island Def Jam, and Universal Music Group.
58 independent retailers, including The Music Experience, Newbury Comics, Amoeba Music, Looney Tunes, and Cactus Records penned an open letter to the two superstars, expressing their disappointment for not allowing them to be included in the first week sales of the album and urging them to rectify this tense situation.
According to Forbes, these independent retailers’ response presents a double standard for the MCs. When Beyoncé exclusively released the deluxe edition of 4 to Target, she received zero criticism and the same lack of backlash applied to Lady Gaga and Amazon’s deal which allowed Born This Way to be sold for $0.99 during an exclusive window.
However, the question is, do these independent retailers have valid reasons for protesting against these exclusive windows? Statistics point towards yes.
For superstar artists such as Kanye West and Jay-Z who are guaranteed to sells hundreds of thousands of copies in the first week, the deluxe edition of an album can account from 50 percent to 70 percent of the first two-week sales. Since Best Buy is allowed this two-week window, it guarantees that the retailer will be given an advantage against the competition, including independent record stores.
Based on first-week sales for The Blueprint III and My Dark, Twisted Fantasy, sources are predicting that Watch the Throne will have first-week sales of 400,000 units, with an even split of 200,000 between digital and physical releases. Experts are projecting that the deluxe version will account for 50 percent of digital sales, which indicates that “iTunes and Best Buy will account for 300,000 units. Between the two exclusive windows, 75% of the demand is expected to be satisfied within 10 days.”
Eric Levin, owner of Criminal Records and head of the Alliance of Independent Media Stores, disagrees with Jay-Z and Kanye West’s decision to allow these windows. “A two-week window will be disastrous for music retailers,” he told Forbes.
Carl Mello, Newbury Comics head of purchasing succinctly agrees with Levin. “The main element in all of these exclusives is that label executives forget what is convenient for the customer,” he told Forbes. “Making the album available in certain versions at certain times is not the most friendly thing for the customer, for whom it will feel like a game of hide and seek. At first, due to the iTunes exclusive, when Newbury Comic customers come into our stores looking for the album, we won’t be able to sell it to them. Then, when we have it beginning on August 12, we won’t be able to sell them the deluxe version.”
Some independent retailers are refusing to sell the album after the windows period has expired and are vowing not to carry Jay-Z or Kanye Wests’ albums in the future. Could this decision be disastrous for the artists in the long run?
Trans World Vice President of music and new media, IshCuebas, believes so. “Look at what happened to the Beyonce album ’4,’ when Target got the exclusive version of the album,” he told Billboard. “After the first two weeks, sales collapsed because the rest of retail wouldn’t support the album.”
The winner of this battle will not be determined until the numbers are released on Nielsen Soundscan in two weeks.
(Fast Company) — Since April the first, for every 100 print-and-paper books Amazon has sold, it’s also sold 105 e-books, according to a fresh Amazon announcement. Kindle e-readers arrived, along with a small but fast-growing digital bookstore, in November 2007–by July 2010, Amazon notes, Kindle book sales had surpassed hardcover book sales, and then six months later beat the paperback books sales rate. Now Amazon’s customers are “choosing Kindle books more often than print books. We had high hopes this would happen eventually, but we never imagined it would happen this quickly,” says CEO Jeff Bezos, comparing Amazon’s 15-year heritage of selling physical books to just four years of e-book sales.
By Charlotte Young
Google’s already extensive list of online services just got even more extensive with the launch of its cloud based Music Beta service.
The service, which is expected to be launched today, will allow users to create a personal online storage locker that allows them to upload their music library, as well as stream or download files from devices connected to the Internet.
The Hollywood Reporter says the service isn’t exactly everything Google had hoped for–it has no licensing details, which makes it very similar to Amazon’s cloud-based music service. A few of the differences between the two are Google’s service is limited to U.S. users , but it can host up to 20,000 songs unlike Amazon’s service which can only host 1,200. As of now the beta version is free; Google has not yet released details on any pricing options for future use.
In addition to the new music service, Android users will also enjoy Google’s new music app, which is expected to be unveiled Wednesday. Android music app users won’t be able to access the music on Music Beta, but the music app has several interesting functions. For instance, there’s a very savvy “Instant Mix” feature that can create a playlist based on a single song. Playlists will also be synched across Google devices.
With all the new, exciting technological trends, our favorite jams will never get old.