Western Union's site is down, as hackers have accessed their "secure" database. Western Union's only suggestion so far is to tell all customers to cancel their credit card accounts. Is anything really secure on the internet? Do you trust amazon to hold your credit card numbers, Wells Fargo to keep your checking account private, and Kozmo employees not to pilfer your credit card numbers for fun?
(close-up on my face, quickly zooming out to an overhead shot as I yell) Noooooooooo!!!!! TicketWeb, one of the last places you could buy a ticket to a concert that wasn't Ticketmaster, just got bought out by Ticketmaster. TicketWeb's slogan is "The Online Ticketing Alternative." Not anymore....hello, monopoly anyone?
Scientific American has an interesting article on brand loyalty on the web. Researchers at MIT are concluding that people stick with familiar commerce sites. Even though the web is supposed to enable shoppers to choose from any site, they instead stay with their favorite, even paying more for the security and familiarity. The researchers also concluded that $20 off coupons and bargain deals aren't going to bankrupt top sites, because it's a considerable investment (from a user's prospective) to shop at a new commerce site, and the offers offset that cost accordingly.
I buy a lot of stuff online: books, music, stereo stuff, clothes, camping equipment, watches, and computers, but I can never find shoes online. Yeah, I know it's pretty hard to try on shoes over the web, but I have big feet (size 13 or 14 depending on shoe manufacturer) and finding shoes in a store is usually a problem. So I found some skate shoes at Fogdog the night before last, and I noticed the package is going to be here tomorrow. They only charged me $2.99 for shipping, but they sent it 2nd day air. Does Amazon share their records with anyone? Does Fogdog have access to my VISA records? I'm happy to get my stuff quicker and cheaper than I thought, but it seems a bit weird. I keep thinking I'm flagged somewhere in a database as the gullible impluse buying type...
Gomez.com looks like they're doing the same thing that Bizrate is doing: rating the dotcommerce companies. It seems like a lot of companies have been copying the Amazon interface, now I see why. In the 'Ease of Use' category, Amazon is number one in books, toys, and music (they would have swept all their categories but Borders won for Video).
Wow, never pay more than necessary for anything! This is a nutty little app, it automatically queries dozens of ecommerce sites while you surf. The downside is someone might be convinced to buy a book after reading several reviews at Amazon, but their RUSure app would tell them that it's 2 bucks cheaper at Buy.com, so they'd get it there. Before a shopper had to do this deliberately, now it's done automatically. This app could be as big as ICQ, since the founders of both companies are family.