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Comment Re:Sounds like China alright (Score 2) 85

Companies like these know that support is their biggest cost. Their aim is to have their products bought because they are a cheap and readily-available option that promises to do what people want. How well they do this isn't important if they can get customers past a return impetus, and if they can rely on few customers seeing a product review or security alert. They then make it hard to contact and converse with support, like your experience, but also often by not having a website, an English website, or an email address, or even by not listing a manufacturer on their packaging.

There's so much potential for Chinese/Taiwanese companies that can be both reasonably priced and keen on both quality and customer service.

Comment Re: Per Capita Numbers? (Score 1) 164

I didn't say it was a good thing. But the government doesn't study how many people are receiving OTA TV out of the goodness of their hearts. They will sell (sorry license) that spectrum just as soon as the viewer numbers are low enough.

The networks are just as eager to dump OTA and move entirely to technologies that give them more control and more data (less freedom and more spying for the viewers).

Comment Re:PayPal is not as good as other payment methods (Score 1) 141

Direct bank account to bank account transfers are cheaper than cards, and are getting cheaper and quicker.

In Australia these are free, but currently take 12-48 hours (only on business days). Later this year an instant (and still free?) system is coming in.

I don't know whether ACH in the US is developing along the same lines, but it has the potential to kill off debit cards, especially if the card companies can no longer hide their fees from customers by banning vendor surcharges.

Comment Re:PayPal is not as good as other payment methods (Score 1) 141

Are PayPal's fees well beyond your cost of handling checks or cash? Are you seeing an increased demand for card payments? I'd guess that card payments would be a much larger fraction of your business if your customers could just tap their card or phone rather than swipe/insert & enter-PIN/sign.

Comment Re:PayPal is not as good as other payment methods (Score 2) 141

With these new conditions, if you still dissuade your customers from using PayPal, you risk having PayPal cut you off.

In Australia, it's illegal for companies to ban reasonable surcharges, so PayPal can't stop vendors adding a surcharge to recoup the PayPal fees, to prevent PayPal cross-subsidising other payment methods. But elsewhere they can impose this sort of parity clause that Amazon is so famous for, using their muscle to gain immunity from fee hikes, and as a way to make all sellers pay for buyer protection.

Comment Re:This is apalling (Score 1) 168

They could at least zip up the archives and post them to the torrents for posterity.

IMDB could do that, because according to their Boards Terms and Conditions they own all submissions. Not an exclusive or non-exclusive licence — exclusively own:

You agree that any materials, including but not limited to questions, comments, suggestions, ideas, plans, notes, drawings, original or creative materials or other information, provided by you in the form of e-mail or submissions to IMDb are non-confidential and shall become the sole property of IMDb.

Comment Re:Seriously? (Score 1) 244

How do they find out about it? Sites like this? And when some start-up pitches a product like that on this site, what do people say? "Slashvertisement". A product placement or startup interview isn't an "ad" in the traditional sense; but it serves the same purpose.

There's a difference between product information published because of its independently-assessed editorial value, and material pushed to you only because they offered to pay the publishers (the most). It's here the form of advertising called "PR" tries to work its magic.

Comment Re:Once the majority of sites demand whitelisting (Score 1) 244

From whom will you "find out about them eventually"? And as for the product or service whose sales pay the wages that keep a roof over your head and pay for the streaming services to which you subscribe, how do people who bought that product or service "find out about them eventually"?

You're right that we're reliant on advertising to tell us about the market.

Even though advertising is spin, even if a time comes when we think advertising is obsolete because we have independent human or AI advisors researching for us, there will always be an incentive for a vendor to get an advantage through advertising (pushing something less than the whole truth), unless that too becomes widely-considered gauche and counter-productive.

However paid media placements are only one type of advertising — an intrusive type that is well over-used. There are better alternatives.

Comment Re:Common sense, at last! Thank-you! (Score 3, Informative) 284

From the first day the service was announced, a lot of us "long timers" in computers and I.T. were left scratching our heads, wondering what the point was in the entire thing? I mean, Twitter was essentially nothing more than yet *another* IM client of sorts, except with arbitrarily short limits on the length of messages.

Twitter is more than just another IM client. They invented, or at least brought to mainstream popularity, the concepts of the follow and the timeline, which were imitated by Facebook, Instagram, and a number of blogging platforms. Companies and users love the follow, because it realises the ancient mindshare goal of finely-controlled (voluntary) content push, without the clunkiness of channels and email notifications. Once you have permission to push, revenue options open up.

Twitter is not exploiting this power well. They could be earning a cut of the sales made, valuable insights gained, and joy discovered when the information channeled through their platform helps someone choose a product, make a decision, or find something entertaining. I'm not talking about ads and affiliate links.

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