eBay gets Boozy with Wine Site

[UNVERIFIED CONTENT] Ebay sign on the Hamilton Avenue Campbell, CA campus. red, blue, yellow and green primary colors on black background.
Provided by CNET
When people think of wine, they might imagine California’s Napa Valley or Italy’s farmland, but almost certainly not eBay’s website.

The giant marketplace, which includes 900 million listings of various items at any given time, wants to shift that vision. The company is seeking to become an online destination for your next purchase of pinot noir or chardonnay, along with the place to find eBay staples like handbags, smartphones and Beanie Babies.

On Wednesday, eBay unveiled a new US-based site called eBay Wine and a partnership with startup Drync to bring a broader selection of reds, whites and rosés to eBay’s new online store.

“It’s a great opportunity for eBay to harness the power of the marketplace to offer customers more selection and listings,” Alyssa Steele, an eBay executive leading the wine effort, said in an interview.

The new site and section in eBay’s mobile app will start with over 10,000 wines from around the world, with inventory expected to double in the first three months. That could help eBay provide a wider selection than Amazon’s online wine store, which already includes thousands of listings. All wine sellers are vetted by eBay, and customers need to check each listing to see whether a particular seller can ship to their state.

eBay has actually been selling thousands of wines on its site for years. However, company executives would be the first to admit that eBay has done a poor job helping customers sift through its massive selection to find what they’re looking for. That’s where eBay Wine will come in, providing a layout, instead of a mess of listing pages, to help people search for regional favorites, specialty bundles or even specific wine glasses.

eBay is trying to become a more-structured storefront, like its rival Amazon, and less like a bazaar. As a result, eBay Wine may be the first of several new curated destination sites within eBay. CEO Devin Wenig hinted at this possibility during an earnings call Tuesday, saying people should “expect several exciting new category launches soon.”

Amid heavy competition from Amazon, Walmart and a slew of e-commerce startups, eBay hopes sites like eBay Wine and its already-popular eBay Motors can goose revenue from its main marketplace business, which has been on a slow decline for the past year.

eBay’s new wine push comes as online sales of beer, wine and liquor have been showing strong growth. The category has been slow to come to Internet shopping due to state regulations for shipping alcohol. Market researcher IbisWorld reported that online alcohol sales in the US reached $743 million last year, up 11 percent. Yet online alcohol sales remain a tiny niche of overall sales in the industry.

Drync CEO Brad Rosen sees the eBay deal, which will bring Drync’s partnering retailers to eBay’s new site, as an opportunity to change that situation.

“This launch of wine on eBay…is the pivotal moment when we’ll see the mainstream e-commerce of wine,” he said. “And I think that’s huge, because it’s one of the holdout industries to take advantage of the Internet.”

Written by Ben Fox Rubin of CNET

(Source: CNET)

Here’s How Much Google Paid a Guy to Get Google.com Back

Philippe Huguen/AFP

Last September, an ex-Google employee managed to buy Google.com for $12. This week, Google finally revealed the details of how it reclaimed the rights to its own website.

It all started when the search giant accidentally put its own home page up for sale on its own web address marketplace, Google Domains. Sanmay Ved, a former Google ad sales specialist who is now an MBA student at Babson College, was perusing available website domain names late one night when he noticed Google.com was available at a price of $12 per year. Curious to see what would happen, Ved purchased it, and received confirmation that he was Google’s new webmaster, according to Ved’s LinkedIn post describing the episode.

Alas, within “a minute or so,” Google canceled the transaction, apparently realizing its error. But a few days later, Ved received an email from someone at Google, offering him a consolation prize (“in a very Googley way,” Ved wrote): A check of $6,006.13, Google disclosed in a post on the company blog Thursday. The company (which recently renamed itself Alphabet) chose that amount because it “spelled-out Google, numerically (squint a little and you’ll see it!),” according to the blog.

Ved, however, refused to accept Google’s initial reward, requesting that they donate the money to a certain charity, the Art of Living Foundation‘s center in India. Naturally, Google paid the organization double the sum. That’s a total reward of $12,012.26–though it’s unclear what that spells in Google’s numerical, uh, alphabet.

Written by Jen Wieczner of Fortune 

(Source: Fortune)

It’s Not Just in Your Head, the Web is Slowing Down

© iStockphoto
© iStockphoto

It’s not your imagination, and it’s not because AT&T – and possibly others — is purposefully cutting speeds to unlimited data plan users. The real reason: Websites are growing in size, causing slower load times.

The average website is now 2.1 MB in size, compared to 1.5 MB two years ago, according to HTTP Archive, an Internet data measurement company. Multiple reasons can explain this increase in size.

Sites have been adding more content in an effort to drum up traffic, such as videos, engaging images, interactive plug-ins (comments and feeds) and other code and script-heavy features. Websites are becoming more and more technically advanced, and other sites have to keep adding features to stay competitive.

To keep up with the rapidly increasing number of users accessing sites on various platforms, developers are offering more versions of websites as well as apps to accommodate all devices, including smartphones, watches, tablets, and other gadgets. All of these versions require additional code, ultimately adding to the weight of a given website.

Then there are the advertisers who want to get the user’s attention by creating dramatic displays for their products that consume even more bandwidth.

Websites also want to know who is visiting their pages, both welcome and unwelcome visitors. New tools that track and analyze visitors have increased in popularity, as well as stronger encryption technology to add more security. These security measures and trackers require more code, again slowing load times.

Unfortunately for websites trying to keep up with the times, Google has just introduced a new ‘Slow to Load’ warning sign in mobile search results. Since mobile searches account for more than half of the total Google searches in 10 countries, Google wants to enhance user experience for those on their mobile platform.

Although the weight of a website isn’t all that contributes to slow loading, it’s a major factor. Other reasons include users overusing data, a poor connection, or a high level of traffic in the mobile network.

Google also changed its algorithm in April, so now ‘mobile friendly’ sites are ranked higher on search results, while those that fail to meet its criteria are ranked lower.

Although the internet is only slowing by a matter of seconds, it’s still slowing down. All the more reason for a user to become frustrated with a page that’s taking a couple extra seconds to load and go to a competitor’s site.

Written by Millie Dent of Fiscal Times

(Source: The Fiscal Times)

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