Category: E-Commerce

Fake USB Flash Drives (eBay)

By , June 19, 2016

There are Bad People out there, who sell USB flash drives designed to show fake capacity values.

Over the past year, I’ve purchased a few dozen USB flash drives, with capacities ranging from 8GB to 256GB.  Some were genuine; most were fakes. Read more »

Doing Business, Profits, and Startups

By , November 6, 2015

The goal of most businesses, I believe, should be to earn a profit from the sale of goods or services.

Over the past 20+ years, we’ve seen a succession of bizarre business models, in which little thought was given to “profit,” but instead to intermediate metrics (our web site needs visitors, eyeballs, clicks, engagement, etc.).  Many dot-com companies succumbed to ‘perverse incentives.’Read more »

Amazon’s Deceptive “Prime Day” Deals

By , August 25, 2015

&$*%*&@ ‪#‎Amazon‬ ‪#‎PrimeDay‬

(Aug 26 & Sept. 7 updates below)

Back on Prime Day, the only worthwhile deal I found was a promised $40 promotional credit if I paid $9.99 per month for a one-year subscription for Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan (Photoshop CC + Lightroom).

Today, I learned that they’ve decided to change the terms of the deal, so I won’t be able to use the credit. Read more »

Channel Conflict 101

By , April 10, 2014

Sixteen years ago, I received a call from someone who worked for a large computer manufacturer, which was planning to add an online direct-sales program.  The caller was creating a business plan for this new division of the company, and wanted to hire me to design an affiliate program.

My first question was, “What about channel conflict?”

Read more »

When Is an Ecommerce Web Site “Unacceptably” Slow?

By , December 26, 2012

While reading Internet Retailer’s December 2012 profile of its chosen “Top 100” ecommerce web sites (, I was confused by its “Speed” ratings for the sites. Each web site was evaluated based on its page-load time, and 33 of the 100 sites were rated “unacceptable.”

The idea that many web sites succeed despite slow load times isn’t a surprise. What confused me was the scale used by Internet Retailer in assigning its speed ratings: Read more »

Usefulness of Product Reviews on Etailer Sites

By , May 13, 2012

Online product reviews are a critical part of my buying process. But how useful, and how legitimate, are the product reviews we see on merchants’ web sites?

Read more »

Weird Characters after cut-and-paste

By , August 22, 2011

A teacher asked about “Weird letter characters appearing when viewing [her] product description online.”

As Expected, Amazon Terminated Its California “Associates” (including me)

By , June 30, 2011

As expected, yesterday terminated its advertising relationship with 25,000 California web publishers, including me, after Gov. Brown signed an “Advertising-Nexus Tax Law,” which would use advertising relationships as a “hook” to try to force Amazon and other out-of-state retailers to collect California Sales Tax.  I’ve posted separately about this on my separate blog for

Read more »

Test, test, and test your web site again!

By , January 9, 2011

Always test, test, test whenever you make any change to your web site. Read more »

Why Is a Privacy Policy Important?

By , November 10, 2010

A reader asked why I pointed out that certain directory sites lacked a privacy policy, in my “Affiliate Program Directories” page.

A privacy policy is one of the most basic requirements for any professional web site. If a web site doesn’t have a conspicuous link to a privacy policy, it simply isn’t very professional, and is less trustworthy. Read more »

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