6 min read

Finding eCommerce In The Strangest Places

Finding eCommerce In The Strangest Places

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Amazon has somewhat famously struggled to manage the scale of its marketplace, especially in governing its third-party sellers. With another damning study released this week (see below), when will ‘curation as a service’ come to retail? When will a store begin to offer products solely based on their value, customer satisfaction, or quality?

What if you could shop a store that vets - like Wirecutter or Consumer Reports vets - everything it sells and only offers its customers the best?

And I’m not talking outsourcing or crowdsourcing the definition of best. That is already being done. But given the internet’s issues with falsified reviews, there is an obvious disconnect.

Instead, I am talking about a store that is expertly curated by humans. I can’t help but think that is the next iteration of retail.


🔎 Search

It’s time to review the use of nofollow on your site, as Google will soon stop respecting it.

Google Crawl and Indexing Update March 1, 2020 - Search Engine Journal

The change will affect the crawling and indexing of nofollow links. Google previously treated nofollow links as a directive. Google obeyed the nofollow link attribute and didn’t crawl or index them.

This changes on March 1st, 2020. Beginning on March 1st Google will treat nofollow links as a hint for the purposes of crawling and indexing.

🗣 Social

Teens are hacking Instagram into a modern-day eBay

Carly Shipman, who hails from the suburbs of Chicago, lives the typical life of a high schooler. She goes to class every day, then to track practice in the afternoon. In between, there’s homework, watching movies, and browsing TikTok. And like millions of Gen Z kids, she spends a lot of time on Instagram.

But unlike other teenagers, opening the Instagram app is like clocking into work for Shipman. Before she goes to school, she takes outfit pictures when there’s good natural light in her room. During her free period, she replies to customers and updates them on orders. After school, she packages products and prints shipping labels, or goes to Goodwill to buy merchandise she thinks her customers will like.

These “customers” are the 24,000 Instagram followers Shipman and her friend, Merrigan Allen, both 16, have on their shared account @funkyythrifts. Each post is a clothing item for sale, with sizing, brand, and condition information, along with BIN (buy it now) price and a starting bid amount. During the open window for bids, comments roll in below their posts — $5, $28, $40 — as hopeful buyers keep track of the going price.

Facebook prototypes tabbed News Feed with Most Recent & Seen – TechCrunch

The tabbed feed is currently unlaunched, but if Facebook officially rolls it out, it could make the social network feel more dynamic and alive as it’d be easier to access Most Recent to view what’s happening in real time. It also could help users track down an important post they lost that they might want to learn from or comment on. The tabbed interface would be the biggest change to News Feed since 2013 when Facebook announced but later scrapped the launch of a multi-feed with side bar options for just exploring Music, Photos, Close Friends and more.

Since the last major newsfeed change in 2013, Facebook has long yielded real-time social media to Twitter. Perhaps they can find an interesting balance between real-time and their current engagement-sucking algorithm.


Twitter adds a button so you can thread your shower thoughts

The feature lets you pull down as you’re composing a tweet to add to your previous tweet by creating a thread or seeing a ‘continue thread’ option.

Tapping on a three-dots menu brings up an interface of older tweets which you can link the new tweet to — to continue (or kick off) a thread.

Directly from Twitter:

I’m very curious to see how brands leverage this new feature. If nothing else, customer support through Twitter may be taking a huge step forward.


📦 Distribution

In India, mom-and-pop stores are proving to be the holy grail for tech startups

The network of over 15 million mom-and-pop stores, locally known as kirana stores, is the backbone of India’s everyday grocery supply. It will not be an exaggeration to say that in almost every single lane in the world’s second-most populous country, one can find at least one such store that sells household products like soaps, shampoos, dairy products, fruits, and vegetables, including rice and pulses.

“The level of intimacy with customers is unparalleled. This is why so many tech companies are trying to find out ways to work with them and leverage their network,” Jhina said.

According to Kharbanda, kirana shops form a fairly large distribution system utilized by every Indian. Hence if a company wants to target the mass market, apart from online means, this channel has the potential to reach every Indian. “That’s why lots of people are going after them in ways and forms,” he added.

A fascinating read, allowing us to see, in live time, something that largely happened in America a couple of generations ago - but this time with the scale of modern technology.

It’s almost like the evolution of commerce is getting a do-over in one of the world’s largest economies.


🔒 Security

Wordpress Security Hole - Always Evolving SEO

There is an issue with WordPress it allows you to see the data of all users within the WordPress environment.

Just one simple URL will let you know if you have an issue Replace https://www.YOURDomain.com with your domain and it will show you in a Json file the information of all users

https://wwwYOURDomain.com/wp-json/wp/v2/users

I have already found several examples of this hole in the wild. If you have a Wordpress property, it’s worth a quick check.


🤷🏻‍♂️ Just For Fun

We bought dozens of products from AliExpress, Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Wish. Over half were suspected fakes

To test how prevalent counterfeits are online, Marketplace purchased dozens of well-known products — ranging from electronics to sportswear to cosmetics — from five popular online retailers: AliExpress, Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Wish.

Each product listing seemed legitimate, with some prices that compared to retail stores and official-looking advertisements.

More than half of the products Marketplace received were suspected or confirmed counterfeits, with knockoffs found on every platform.

The drunken HQ Trivia finale before it shut down was insane – TechCrunch

“Not gonna lie. This f*cking sucks. This is the last HQ ever!” yelled host Matt Richards . And it just got crazier from there.The farewell game of HQ Trivia before it shut down last night was a beautiful disaster. The hosts cursed, sprayed champagne, threatened to defecate on the homes of trolls in the chat window, and begged for new jobs. Imagine Jeopardy but Trebek is hyped-up and blacked-out.

🛠 Tips & Tools

Some interesting Shopify news closed out the week. Shopify announced Friday they were joining the besmirched Libra Association.

Shopify joins Libra Association

As online commerce becomes increasingly borderless, it’s easy to forget that payments and the value exchange of goods are not a solved problem everywhere. Much of the world’s financial infrastructure was not built to handle the scale and needs of internet commerce.

Our mission is to make commerce better for everyone and to do that, we spend a lot of our time thinking about how to make commerce better in parts of the world where money and banking could be far better. That’s why we decided to become a member of the Libra Association. This is one step, but not the only step we’ll be taking to be a part of the solution to this global problem.

As a member of the Libra Association, we will work collectively to build a payment network that makes money easier to access and supports merchants and consumers everywhere.

Lately, the only news we’ve heard about Libra is from the groves of big name members who have left, such as Visa, Mastercard, & Stripe. It is certainly a curious time to be jumping in, especially given the increased scrutiny coming from government regulators.

Some spot-on snark coming from The Verge’s Casey Newton:

Also curiously…in the mentions of the announcement Tweet, Shopify CEO, Tobi Lutke, fielded a few questions. When asked about Shopify accepting a wider variety of crypto payment options, Lutke responded:

As someone who is very bearish on the role of crypto - this make my point exactly. It’s the one currency no one uses the buy things.

But more so, I wonder what Shopify sees in Libra that is different than all of others. If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound? And if a crypto currency is designed to help commerce in developing countries and no one uses it, did it facilitate commerce at all?


End of the affair? Inside Americans’ relationship with email

Our survey of over 1,000 Americans aged 35 to 54 shows that the majority are caught in a fraught and unrewarding relationship with email. Nearly half of us spend at least two hours a day battling through messages.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans don’t bother reading their emails beyond the subject line.

👋 Holla!

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