From Yelp to GoPro: Seeking Products, Not Features

22 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Facebook Takes on Yelp, But Doesn’t Get a Thumbs Up Yet.

The new site is simply laid out with a search box for the category of business you want to research. Facebook Inc has quietly debuted a feature on its social networking site that helps users find local businesses based on customer reviews, bringing it in direct competition with similar services from Yelp Inc and Angie’s List Inc.SAN FRANCISCO — Yelp Inc. slipped the most in more than four months Tuesday after Facebook Inc. started testing a new part of its site for searching and rating local businesses. The webpage for the new feature, which reads “Find local businesses with the best Facebook reviews and ratings”, can be accessed through the URL, http://www.facebook.com/services. With this new feature, Facebook is also competing with both Amazon and Google’s recent moves to connect customers with local service providers in an effort to unseat industry giants like Angie’s List and Yelp.

— BLOOMBERG NEWS HOUSTON — Halliburton Co. and Baker Hughes Inc. will extend the time period to April 30 for closing their pending $26 billion merger as they work to satisfy Justice Department concerns. The Justice Department told the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 oil service companies that officials aren’t satisfied with Halliburton’s proposals for clearing its purchase of Baker Hughes, but acknowledged that regulators would assess further proposals and look forward to continued cooperation from the parties in their continuing investigation, the companies said in a statement Tuesday.

It’s ambitious, to say the least; 84 distinct categories of service providers where I live, ranging from animal shelters to wedding planning, with no shortage of DJs and food consultants in between. The listings also aren’t limited to those listed on the professional services landing page; the search box will return results for restaurants, bars, golf courses, and any other business category you can think of. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday slipped to 61 this month, down one point from a reading of 62 in November.

Facebook’s timing may also prove to be auspicious; Angie’s List has been under intense shareholder pressure to sell, while Yelp appears to riding an endless gerbil wheel of lawsuits. — Michigan and General Motors agreed Tuesday to cap the state’s liability for lucrative tax credits but did not specify the amount, as the automaker committed to make $1 billion worth of capital investments in its home state by 2030. The agreement approved by Michigan’s economic development board is the latest designed to help Governor Rick Snyder and future administrations better budget for billions in tax incentives authorized when the state was hemorrhaging jobs.

Chang’s shows up as one of the best Asian restaurants in my city,” says Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, when asked her initial impressions of the service. The settlements announced Tuesday follow July letters to the retailers from across the United States that were selling the imitation weapons through an Amazon.com platform for third-party retailers. Similarly, a local search for best child care returned a top result that focused on autism spectrum disorders, followed by several traditional day care centers that received between 4.2 and 5.0 stars, in an inscrutable order, including one location that had zero stars and zero ratings.

— ASSOCIATED PRESS WASHINGTON — Police in the United Kingdom arrested a 21-year-old man on Tuesday as part of the investigation into a massive hack against Hong Kong-based toymaker VTech. The November breach of several company databases exposed information about roughly 5 million adults and more than 6 million children around the world, including names, genders, and birthdates. Tech site Motherboard reported that some pictures, chat logs between parents and their kids, and even audio recordings were also leaked, but the company has said it ‘‘cannot confirm’’ that data was reached by the hacker. The incident raised new questions about the digital security of toys at a time when big corporations are increasingly marketing dolls and other devices that connect to the Internet and collect data about children.

It’s not clear how Facebook prioritizes its rankings, or whether they’re personalized based on friend reviews, or geographical proximity, or… anything, really. Wilson, who spent months crusading against Lumber Liquidators, said he received information that leads him to believe senior management was probably unaware of the formaldehyde problems. You might “Like” a business’s Facebook page, particularly if you have some sort of emotional attachment to it, but how many have you ranked on a five-star scale? Lumber Liquidators has been in turmoil since “60 Minutes” reported in March that the company sold Chinese-made laminate flooring with unsafe levels of formaldehyde. And with over a billion active users, you won’t find a bigger crowd. “I think this is consistent with Facebook’s commerce vision over the years—to give people solid recommendations for anything they are looking to buy or consume,” says Mulpuru-Kodali. “The problem with asking your friends was that there was a scarcity of data problem, and aggregating reviews does solve that because you are pulling info from a much bigger pool of local people.” Until Facebook gets where it needs to go, you may be better off just querying News Feed.

Timothy Livingston, 30, of Boca Raton, Fla., operated a business known as A Whole Lot of Nothing that sent spam e-mails on behalf of clients including insurance companies and online pharmacies, charging $5 to $9 for each spam e-mail that resulted in a completed transaction, according to authorities. In addition to Livingston, the indictment charged Tomasz Chmielarz, 32, of Rutherford, N.J.; and Devin McArthur, 27, of Ellicott City, Md., with conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity in connection with computers and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Fogle pleaded guilty last month to one count each of distributing and receiving child porn and traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a child.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt sentenced Fogle to more than 15 years in prison, though, giving him grounds to appeal because it exceeded the maximum term prosecutors agreed to pursue.

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