orange paper clip on black surface

Groupon

BA 207 Intro to E-Commerce

Groupon is an e-commerce marketplace where local businesses offer deals. Retailers offer deals on travel, dining, car care, health services, and more. Some big businesses can afford media advertisements. A small business can leverage its advertisement reach with Groupon. Group on capitalizes on smartphone users, which makes up about 83% of social media users.

Groupon has many modern e-commerce tools. Some of these tools are in their Groupon Merchant application. This application offers a point-of-sale system and a payment processing system. Groupon Merchant has an inventory tracking system. Groupon also offers the ability for customers to have their purchases delivered. If delivery is not available, then the product is at a nearby store.

There are some advantages to using Groupon. Groupon allows users to browse through a local store’s inventory on their smartphones. Offering a delivery service saves businesses from hiring a deliverer. Groupon is well known. Local businesses have an advertisement market not available to larger businesses.

I have used Groupon before. I enjoyed the deals I found on it. I removed the app because my phone was bombarded with alerts. This triggered my FOMO and I had to remove it. I am using it again because I am going on a road trip. Finding local deals will provide an opportunity to explore what city I am in. I did revisit the app. The first deals I found were for local hotels, care car, and tanning package deals. I would like to continue to use Groupon after my trip if I do not get so many alerts.

There are some disadvantages to using Groupon. Customers may not view a local business’s website because what they want is on Groupon. Groupon does take a percentage of the profits. This is difficult because the retailer has already cut the cost of their product. Paying a cut to Groupon will make a product unprofitable.

white and black Amazon Echo dot

Echo and Home

BA 207 Intro to E-Commerce

Amazon was the first to produce a voice-controlled device. This device called Echo is connected to a user’s Amazon account. The Echo was designed as a voice-controlled speaker for the Amazon Fire TV. It has evolved to be a digital personal assistant.

The Echo can do things like answer questions, relay recipes for cooking, and shop on Amazon.com. Echo can broadcast news, weather reports, and songs from popular music sites. It can connect to smart lighting systems to control lighting fixtures. The device can also create lists and add items to calendars.

Echo uses a cloud base voice service called Alexa. Alexa stores voice command history and learn from its user. There are some concerns over privacy with Alexa. Alexa uses the recorded history to recommend products to its user. The voice commands are used to create marketing materials. But, the user has control over the information Alexa stores. Users can delete their voice command history either in bulk or one at a time. This information is also deleted from Amazon’s servers.

Amazon released a developer kit for the Echo. This feature is designed to help Amazon remain ahead of companies like Google or Apple. The developer kit, called Alexa Skills, helps make Echo multi-functional in the future. Echo occupies 70% of the market share in the voice-controlled market. Having that edge over other tech companies is important in a fast-changing market.

Echo Plus is an evolved version of Echo. Echo Plus is a hub that connects to other smart appliances. Appliances are becoming “smart” due to a drive to connect everything. Amazon entered this growing market by creating a device to act as a network hub. Echo Plus can operate all smart devices from one location.

Google has a device called Google Home. Home offers some of the functions that the Echo contains. Home provides answers to questions, controls smart devices, and plays music. Home also reads books, schedules appointments, and manages alarms. Home will also send alerts and directions to a user’s smartphone. Home is not connected to an online store like Echo is connected to Amazon.com.

assorted wood stamps

I like Elementor

I know a lot of WP users prefer Gutenberg. I like Elementor. The drop and drag interface is far more user friendly than Gutenberg. I don’t want to watch a billion You Tube videos to learn how to maximize Gutenberg. I want to get to my page and start designing. I know that using Elementor I sacrifice page speed and resources. But Gutenberg is just not user friendly. More power to WP users who use Gutenberg. If deleting my comment posts defending Elementor makes others feel powerful, then I hope they get their fix. Gutenberg… just sucks.

By the way… I hate how the Gutenberg interface deletes my tags after typing them.

macbook pro displaying facebook page

Pinterest and Lens

BA 207 Intro to E-Commerce

Pinterest has evolved from an image-collecting social network to a visual search tool. As a visual search tool, Pinterest competes with Google. Like Google, users can find images. The images on Pinterest features links to the source of the images, like Google. And like Google, Pinterest will also give related images to the topic the user is searching for. Pinterest is different because businesses can create visual showrooms for their products. Google can only show images and links to where to buy products.

One of Pinterest’s focuses is mobile devices. The company wants to challenge Google in search advertising revenue. To do so, Pinterest invested in Lens, a deep learning-assisted visual search engine. Lens is a tool used to search for clothing, home decor, and recipes. It learns from its users and recommends like-type products. Because of Lens’ effectiveness, Pinterest implemented it for their image browsing site. Pinterest uses Lens as a collaboration tool with other businesses. Through a partnership with Samsung, Pinterest works with retailers like Home Depot and Target. When a customer takes a picture of an object, the phone will find like-type items at nearby stores. This is an option not offered by Google. Users are not able to submit images and receive recommendations.

With users posting and sharing images, Pinterest has opened itself up to Copywrite infringement issues. The Pin It tool lets users find random images and share them, with little regulation. Despite TOS statements and automatic citations, users continue to share stolen images. It is up to the content creators to take the appropriate steps to remove the images. But that is difficult to do because of the amount of legal tape a creator needs to cut through. Few creators have challenged Pinterest. The task is difficult due to the size of Pinterest, which is what the company counts on.

man people woman street

Inauguration

I just watched the inauguration. I admit I helped in the division. I was angry and frustrated with Trump supporters. But, if I am to help do my part I must refrain from vocalizing my frustration. I would like to rise to the challenge with compassion. It does me no good to continue to condemn people.

Perhaps it is better to just disengage. I can’t stop my friends from believe what they want. I can just have empathy and be sad for them.

Second Impeachment

Screenshot of CNN.com

I hope Trump is made an example. I hope the name “Trump” becomes a dirty word.

I am tired of the hate mongering from Trump supporters. I am tired of fear. I am tired of the talk of “defending ourselves from threats.” Cowards hide behind walls. Cowards blame others for their mistakes.

The brave have the courage to face their fears and go forward. The brave are generous in spirit and lift up others. The brave accept things as they are and build. Bravery is not the absence of fear but the courage to face fear and go forward.

white house

Attack on Capital

I understand the desire to reach out to Qanon and Trump supporters. It is natural to want to have everyone understand. After the attack on the Capital building, I am thinking there is no reasoning with these people. They are hell bent on believing what they want for their crummy narrative.

I have made it a point to disengage with Trump followers. There is no point in appealing to their sense of reason.

two NFL players

Too Much Blocking

I had speed issues with my WP installs for a while now. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong until now. I used too many plugins to block brute force attacks.

My default plugins for my WP installs are iThemes Security, Wordfence Security, and Jetpack. I use iThemes to change the WP-config and .htaccess files. iThemes has its own brute force protection. Wordfence is used a firewall and scanner. Jetpack has its own brute force protection. By disabling Jetpack’s brute force option, my sites sped up. I’m already protected with iThemes Security.

Sometimes I forget that a website suffers because of over-protection. When I overprotect my sites with a lot plugins, my sites suffer from performance issues. It is like doubling up on prophylactics… the effectiveness degrades because of friction. It is the same for plugins. Too many security plugins destroy the effectiveness of one security plugin.

Screenshot of a Child Theme CSS.

Biden Won

I am happy that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won. I believe they will return respectability to the Presidency. Trump was a joke.

Some of my red leaning contacts are claiming that Biden is a pedo. There is no proof other than Qanon theories. Trump, on the other hand, has gone on record as peeping underage girls. This is a narcissistic trait… blame others for your own sins.

No one is perfect. Biden will fail on some things. But at least he won’t vomit his random thoughts on Twitter. I can finally stop following politics as closely as I have these past 4 years.