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Social Commerce – Who is Positioned to Own It?

Imagine 500 million people on Facebook doing one or two transactions a year, selling old TVs, furniture, textbooks, velvet Elvis paintings, and baby clothes to their friends on the network. Now imagine facilitating all of these transactions and taking a 5% commission. That, my friends, is the incredible un-tapped potential of social commerce, and it is completely up for grabs. For now. I’d like to use this post to explore some of the existing solutions, their philosophies, and how likely they are to take that coveted position of “being the pipes” of e-commerce on Facebook. Read the rest of this entry »

How Facebook Will Ruin Your Day

More like, how you will ruin your day with Facebook.

Actually, this isn’t about Facebook. It’s really about you and your entire identity online. For most of us, that means Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other “social media” web sites. I think most of us underestimate, if not completely fail to imagine, the real risk of our online blabbering (speaking of… add “Blogs” to that list of social media web sites). The event that ruins your day isn’t going to happen when you update your status message to say, “Just got to Cancun, suckaaaaas!! Looking forward to three weeks on the beach!” Actually, nevermind, maybe you will get robbed as a result of that status update. Face it, your 300 facebook friends aren’t really your friends. In fact, at least a handful have probably become straight-up criminals in this economy. But no, that isn’t what I had in mind. This vulnerability has been around since the beginning of social media. It’s a vulnerability in Facebook, it’s a vulnerability in MySpace, it was a vulnerability in Friendster, and it’ll be a vulnerability in the systems that are being launched tomorrow. Come to think of it, that isn’t quite accurate either. The vulnerability isn’t in any of those systems, it’s in you. The vulnerability that I’m talking about is plain old gullibility, and the exploit is made possible with social engineering, using all of the information you offer up with Facebook and the rest of your social media identity. Read the rest of this entry »

Privacy, Security, and the New Digital Social Contract

With the advancements that came out of Facebook’s ominously named “F8″ conference last month, there is a lot of buzz about privacy and security. What it all revolves around is essentially a new digital social contract between you and the services you use to socialize on.  A lot of people are talking about leaving Facebook right now, but few people I know have actually done it, because fear is mounting around the steps that are being taken to write, and rewrite, that contract.  I’m going to try to sum this up so my Grandma can understand the real-world implications of these changes.  Unfortunately, it won’t be brief.  The two Facebook features I’ll focus on are the “Instant Personalization” feature and the “Like” button. The “Like” button is part of a suite of tools that Facebook calls “social plugins,” but many people see them as the central point in Satan’s pitch fork. Read the rest of this entry »

Android Tops iPhone

…in Market Share

I don’t think this caught anyone by surprise, did it? Watch the gulf widen as Android-powered phones drop below $50 and data plans cost less than $20 per month (*sigh* one fine day, eh?). Read more

Pay or Leave

I want you not to go but you should…

Sorry for the bad Dave Matthews parody. I had a surprise in my inbox this morning -Cartfly is going to start charging for the use of their service in the middle of May, and that song immediately popped into my head. You heard that right. They’re pulling aNING and forcing all of their existing customers to either pay up or go somewhere else. (Full disclosure -I have a personal interest in all of this, as I was a contractor, and eventually the Lead UI Developer, onCartfly andSellit from inception to bankruptcy back in October of ’09.) Their move away from “freemium” to just plain “premium” makes sense, since the bankruptcy of the company and subsequent dismissal of nearly all of the development team left them needing some kind of income to survive in this brave new world of limited venture capital. I just hope they can survive this in a market where products likeECWID (short for e-commerce widget) are still free, backed by the superior catalog management of X-Cart, and work on mobile.

I use Cartfly, should I abandon ship and use ECWID?

Probably not, but you should definitely explore your options, if for no other reason than to find a more stable basket to put your e-commerce eggs in. Cartfly won’t have a free option anymore, but the paid version is only $5.99 a month. In true NPR Fund Drive style, they remind us that it’s only the price of “two cups of coffee.” A tired analogy, but more than true. That’s less than the cost of one of my quad venti mochas from Starbucks. Cartfly is probably still the cart of choice for complete novices, especially considering the added services offered by Sellit (if you can afford the cost of just 9 cups of coffee a month). It’ll be interesting to see if this works for them!

The Plot Thickens

Looks like Adobe went and told Dad!

Apparently section 3.3.1 of the iPhone 4.0 SDK (commentary ) has triggered an anti-trust investigation. Rather, it’s triggered, in true fed style, an investigation into who would conduct an investigation should an investigation need to be conducted. I don’t think this one is going to go away unless Apple backs down. The sad part is, this is probably the only anti-Flash action Apple has taken that might have a positive effect on the universe. Here’s somenews about it. What do you think?

Should You Abandon Flash?

Whether you should be concerned, or completely freaked out, really depends; how many of your customers visit your site or use your web app with an iPad? Amidst all this hubbub, and inquiries from my mother about the future of my development niche, I just couldn’t resist writing a post about Steve Jobs’open letter on Flash. The iPad came out and suddenly everyone has become hyper-aware of the fact that Flash content doesn’t work on any of Apple’s iP* (iPad, iPod, iPhone) devices. The true conflict here is blown entirely out of proportion, but it’s still fascinating because it’s obvious that Steve Jobs is on a crusade to bring about the demise of Flash. Why? Is it a giant corporate conspiracy? I like to think so, but I don’t know. Honestly, I think he just wants the internet to be the best that it can be. I think that the way he sees it, if the Web is a little pink Huffy, Flash is it’s training wheels. While Flash makes it possible for a lot of really cool things to be created quickly and easily, the web would ride much more fast and smooth if it wasn’t bolted on.

This post is intended to satisfy my mother’s fears, but if you’re afraid too, read on.
Read the rest of this entry »

A Toy in Progress:

Flex Balsa Wood Glider Design Tool

This movie requires Flash Player 9

Thanks to a little piece of swag from our auto insurance agent, my daughter and I started flying balsa wood gliders at our house in Tempe last year.  We had a blast for weeks with that thing!  I urge all banks, groceries, realtors, dentists offices, insurance agents, and whoever else might be thinking of giving a balloon away to a child:give away a glider instead!  You will be giving away a rich and rewarding experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

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