Young Brian Maupin of Kansas City made a hilarious video on YouTube that over a million people viewed (check out the vid here). The only problem is that Brian also works at Best Buy, and Best Buy has no sense of humor. The videos in question poke a little fun at Apple and the iPhone. Best Buy feels the video disparages a product that it sells, as well as the electronics retailer itself. Heaven forbid your employees have opinions about gadgets that they express in their spare time. Brian is now suspended indefinitely and is probably on the way to unemployment.
The most popular video has a customer at "Phone Mart" insisting that the only phone he (or she, the cartoon is indistinct) wants is the iPhone. Even after being told the Evo 4G could print money and grant wishes, the customer still wanted the iPhone because it has "the Wi-Fis". The weird thing here is that the videos say nothing about Best Buy, and Brian does not announce himself as a Best Buy employee. Indeed, the only connection Best Buy has to these videos is the one it has created for itself by perusing this. Maupin is taking the whole thing in stride saying, " I see it all as a blessing in disguise. I’ve wanted to start my career in graphic design/animation for so long, I see this as my kick in the pants to go get it."
Brian suspects Best Buy figured out who he was by digging through his other videos, which he removed at Best Buy's request. He refused to remove the Evo vs iPhone video as it had nothing to do with Best Buy. We wish him the best in his future video endeavors, and shake our collective fist at Best Buy.
Online retail giant Amazon has today announced that they have acquired the Woot family of sites. No specifics on how much Amazon paid for the site were released. Statements from the Woot staff indicate that the site will continue to operate much as it always has and will be an autonomous subsidiary of Amazon.
The arrangement is likely to be similar to that of Audible or Zappos which have changed little since being acquired by Amazon. Woot CEO Matt Rutledge said of the deal, " From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are simply adding one person to the organizational hierarchy, except that one person will just happen to be a billion-dollar company that could buy and sell each and every one of you like you were office furniture." Did we mention we love Woot's sense of humor?
Jeff Bezos is building himself quite the little empire. But rest assured fellow geeks, we have every reason to think you will still be able to try (and fail) to snag a Bag of Crap in the next Woot-Off.
Amazon let it be known a few months ago that they planned to rollout an improved royalty model for Kindle sales. Well, now that new option is available to publishers and authors. The new system has authors and publishers receiving 70% of the revenue from a sale. But Amazon isn't giving away money for no reason. Nope, they want something in return.
Amazon stipulates that to qualify for the program, a book must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99, and that that price must be at least 20% lower than the list price for the dead tree edition. The price must also be at or below the cost of the same work on other platforms. Outside of the pricing, publishers will have to make the book available for purchase in all geographical regions the publisher has rights to do so. Lastly, the book cannot have features, like text to speech, disabled.
We hope that publishers are willing to go along with this program. Amazon is looking to encourage them to keep ebook prices reasonable, and make an overall more appealing product. No one wants to spend more on a digital book than they would on a physical version. Do you think publishers will follow Amazon's lead?
A leaked document seems to indicate that T-Mobile is gearing up for a big promotion on June 19th. On that day, the carrier could be offering all their phones for free with a new two year contract. The document itself is a script for a commercial in which an employee is explaining that all phones are free, even the new MyTouch 3G Slide and Garminfone.
Many consumers are heavily swayed by the price of the phone itself. Despite the fact that the total cost of ownership over the two year contract probably runs into the thousands, many just won't drop $200 on a high-end phone. If this promotion happens, T-Mobile could move a ton of smartphones. It makes sense for the carrier. They make a killing on expensive data plans at $30 per month.
We suggest any of you up for a renewal should wait and see if this truly comes to pass. How much does the initial cost of a phone matter to you?
Before you know it, you'll be able to mosey down to the local Target department store and buy an Amazon Kindle; no internet use needed. The popular ebook reader has been showing up in a few retail locations for the past few months, but now we've got a date for the full-scale rollout. All Target stores will have a supply of the Kindle by June 6th.
Presumably, this will offer consumers the opportunity to try out a Kindle before they buy it. With the online only model, many people never hold a Kindle until they receive it in the mail. Target stores have been selling Sony ebook readers for years, but the Kindle has proven to be attractive to consumers even without a retail presence.
The price is expected to remain the same, at $259. We still feel like the price needs to drop for the device to be truly competitive. Do you know anyone that's more likely to buy one if they can try it first?
Best Buy's latest pricing strategy has come under fire in the tech community, and for good reason. As the Consumerist tells it, the electronics chain has been jacking up the prices of certain laptop models by $20 to $50 over their own regular pricing and then slapping an "As Advertised" sticker on the units in-store. Deceptive? Yeah, just a little. But illegal? Apparently not -- Best Buy isn't marking these as sale items, so it's all good in the hood, even if the company's street cred takes yet another hit.
Citing a dude named Donald, the Consumerist lists out several specific models with inflated price tags, including a Dell laptop (SKU 9693171) now selling for $649.99 instead of $629.99, and an HP notebook (SKU 9705373) advertised for $699.99 instead of $649.99.
So is this a blatant case of Best Buy charging an idiot tax? We're not so sure. A quick glance at Best Buy's online listings for both above mentioned models show the higher price tag, so either Best Buy adjusted its pricing after the media caught wind of what was going on, or the Consumerist is off its rocker. But there's also a third scenario. According to Engadget, Best Buy is bundling 6 months of Ask an Agent and Virus and Spyware Protection into each of the offers. These normally run an extra $20 each, or $40 total, which would explain the higher pricing.
Alright, smart shoppers. Start your engines, grab your plastic cards, and let's get shopping. But not just yet. You'll want to grab this week's Firefox Extension of the Week, The Camelizer, if you want any shot at making informed purchasing decisions. And by that, I mean waiting until the time is just right to pick up whatever it is you're hunting after from one of the major retailers of your choice.
Click the jump and get ready to do some hardcore shopping... Firefox-style!
Target this week announced plans to revamp its electronics and game section with a new open layout designed to enhance the shopping experience. Specifically, the videogame section is being retooled with 30 percent more floor space to make room for new product-accessible fixtures, such as game Learning Centers and Trial Centers.
"Target is committed to creating an intuitive and easy shopping experience for our guests," said Mark Schindele, senior vice president, Target. "The electronics and videogame reinvention was designed with the wants and needs of our guests as our top priority. They've asked for additional product diversity and better access to games and information, and our new layout offers them just that."
Target's timing is spot on. According to the NPD group, videogame hardware, software, and accessories generated $19.66 billion in revenue in 2009, so there are plenty of dollars to go around. One way Target will try to claim a larger share is through the use of its Learning Centers, which will feature a 40-inch high definition touch screen where guests can read reviews, learn about game features, view in-store price and inventory, sort by ESRB ratings, and more.
So when will this happen? In some stores, it already has. Target said the full chain rollout began in April 2010, while the majority of stores will have the new electronics layout completed by June 2010.
If you like to shop online, you really have no reason to not save additional money when purchasing, well, anything. That's a pretty generic statement, so let me break things down for you: A number of online retailers (or brick-and-mortar stores with online presences) have tons of deals, coupons, and promotional codes floating around the Web at any given time. These might be geared toward specific audiences; they might be sent out to locations you don't frequent or email addresses that aren't yours.
So how, then, can you save money and access these coupons or promotions when shopping your Firefox Web browser? Well, I'm glad you asked...
In a time long ago, Amazon was a book seller. They've continued to sell paper books while becoming the leader in ebooks, but they also sell a multitude of other products. In the past, most of Amazon's business was selling media like books, music, and movies. Now those "other" products make up the majority of the online retailer's sales. The news came in Amazon's earnings call today when it was also announced that they smashed projections by rocking a 46% revenue increase over last year.
Overall, Amazon took in $3.43 billion in sales from media, and $3.51 billion from everything else. Many analysts have expected this so-called "inversion point" to occur eventually. Amazon benefits from this in that they have a solid buffer in the face of the changing media landscape. It's no secret that Amazon liked having the eBook business all to themselves, but they'll never have that kind of comfortable perch again.
Certainly people are buying all sorts of things from Amazon. What are getting there? Still just books and DVDs? Or have you started buying your electronics from Amazon as well?