Updates from October, 2017 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Geebo 10:47 am on October 31, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Are Amazon pharmacy rumors changing the healthcare landscape? 

    Are Amazon pharmacy rumors changing the healthcare landscape?

    Previously, we’ve posted about rumors of Amazon getting into the Pharmacy Benefit Management business. Those rumors became more substantial recently as the St. Louis Dispatch reported that Amazon has received approval for wholesale pharmacy licenses in at least 12 states.

    While Amazon has refused to comment on these license approvals or whether or not they’re getting into the wholesale pharmacy game, that hasn’t stopped some businesses from reacting. Pharmacy chain and industry leading benefit manager CVS has put a bid of $66 million to try to purchase health insurer Aetna. If the purchase goes through, this would put CVS on par with UnitedHealthcare who has their own healthcare and pharmacy benefits. This would streamline pharmaceutical procedural operations for the potentially new CVS/Aetna and has the potential to save consumers money with their healthcare and pharmacy benefits being under one roof.

    However, the Amazon effect on this story should not be ignored. Billions of dollars have been put into action just on the rumor that Amazon is getting into the pharmaceutical market. When one solitary company has historically wielded that much power it ends up being targeted by the Federal Trade Commission. Maybe not during this administration, but in the future could we see Amazon being broken up like Bell Telephone was in the 1980s? If history is any indicator than the answer leans toward yes.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on October 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Houston Astros, , , world series   

    Family tricked into buying fake World Series tickets from craigslist 

    Family tricked into buying fake World Series tickets

    How about that World Series huh? A lot of people have been calling one of the best World Series in a long time. Wouldn’t it have been great to see the thrilling nail biter game 5 live in Houston? Or how about the possible Astros victory during game 6 in Los Angeles tomorrow night. You might be thinking about running out to try to get tickets, but remember there are a ton of fakes out there.

    For example, a family in Texas bought a number of tickets from a man on craigslist. The man even met them at Minute Maid park in Houston. The family even tried to have the ticket booth review them for authenticity. They were told that the tickets seemed to be legitimate. However when they tried to enter game 3 they were turned away at the gate with the tickets turning out to be fraudulent.

    Usually how scammers get their hands on authentic looking but fraudulent tickets is that they use stolen credit cards to buy the tickets. The purchase is usually then cancelled by the actual credit card holder and the tickets are voided but the scammer still has the paper tickets. When buying tickets to a major event like a world series you should only deal with reputable dealers and resellers. Otherwise, you may just find yourself in the parking lot of a historic game you can’t attend having lost a great deal of money with noting to show for it.

     
  • Geebo 8:26 am on October 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Crowds on Demand, paid protesters,   

    Is craigslist a breeding ground for political agitation? 

    Is craigslist a breeding ground for political agitation?

    Not too long ago, Facebook made headlines when it was revealed they had accepted ad revenue from Russian interests who were allegedly trying to disrupt the 2016 Presidential Election. Facebook was even called before Congress and provided the government with the information they had about the Russian group. It was nothing less than a public shaming for Facebook, yet there’s a website that has long been used for political chicanery in this country by its own citizens and no official ever bats an eye at it. Of course we’re talking about craigslist.

    Both major political parties in this country have accused the other of using paid protesters or paid supporters at many rallies and events. Many of these ads are posted in the jobs sections which means craigslist is accepting ad revenue for these ads. While there have been hoax ads and ads for paid political activism such as canvassing there is still evidence to show that craigslist is being used by political groups to undermine the truth.

    For example, take this ad that was posted on craigslist in Charlotte, North Carolina, offering $25 for actors and photographers.

    While the company who posted the ad, Crowds on Demand, did not specifically ask for protesters they did mention that they are in the business of hiring people to take place in protests. Even their website has a section for protests and rallies where they pride themselves in organizing a paid crowd to show up for almost any kind of protest. The internet being what it is, I thought Crowds on Demand could be an elaborate prank, but according to NPR they are in fact a real business entity.

    Even the hoax ads that call for protesters can be disruptive as they often make the local news of where they’ve been posted. With politics being at a divisive high in our country right now, this usually leads to both sides of the political spectrum accusing each other of trying to fool the public.

    While all of this is happening, craigslist just continues to accept the revenue for these ads, be they hoax or not, without doing so much as a basic check to see if these employment offers are legitimate, and they’re never investigated for fostering such inflammatory material for money. Again, craigslist will try to tell you they’re a socially conscious company when in reality they’re anything but.

     
  • Geebo 8:41 am on October 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Amazon wants you to pay for the privilege of receiving your order 

    Amazon wants you to pay for the privilege of receiving your order

    Not too long ago we talked about how Amazon was working on a system that would allow your deliveries to be left inside your home. Now, Amazon has made that system official as they have announced their Amazon Key service.

    That sounds all well and good, however, Amazon seems to really want you to have to pay for the privilege of allowing strangers into your home. First you need to be an Amazon Prime member which costs $99 a year. Then you’ll have to pay $250 for the Amazon Key package which includes a security camera and smart lock which can be unlocked by delivery people with an app. This sounds like it’s designed for people with disposable income who probably already live in decent neighborhoods who don’t experience that much package theft.

    Then there’s the point of allowing strangers into your home while you’re not there. Camera or not, that’s still inviting a host of problems from theft of all sorts to stalking, to who knows what. One executive connected to the program said that people will come to trust these deliveries like they’ve come to trust Uber and Lyft. The only problem with that argument is rideshare drivers are letting you into their car, while Amazon Key let’s strangers into your home while you’re not there.

     
  • Geebo 9:04 am on October 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Are big retailers trying to squeeze out Whole Foods? 

    Are big retailers trying to squeeze out Whole Foods?

    According to a report from Reuters, Amazon is facing an uphill battle when it comes to not only opening new Whole Foods locations, but also what they can provide in existing locations. Many big box retailers such as Target and Best Buy have leasing agreements with their stores’ property owners that can limit what other stores can do.

    For example, Many Target stores have a clause in their leasing agreements that prevents nearby stores from providing lockers where they can pick up online orders. That was one of the main reasons as to why Amazon bought Whole Foods in the first place. Some Best Buys have clauses that prohibit electronics from being sold on less than 250 square feet of floor space. This could inhibit Whole Foods from selling Amazon’s Echoes and Kindles. Bed Bath and Beyond also has a clause that prevents some nearby stores from selling linens and other housewares. Many of the stores’ spokespeople say this is a common business practice when it comes to multi-store properties.

    However, Amazon should never be counted out. Considering they took a simple book selling website and it turned it into the world’s largest online retailer they’ve face hurdles like this before and have always come out on top.

     
  • Geebo 10:00 am on October 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    Target to put the brakes on Christmas 

    Target to put the brakes on Christmas

    It happens every year around this time. It’s not even Halloween yet and Christmas commercials are already starting to invade the airwaves. A number of retailers tend to bypass Thanksgiving altogether and go straight for Christmas as soon as the leaves change color. Then we hear consumers say en masse that it’s too soon for Christmas marketing. Well, one retailer has said it’s listening to its customers and is cutting back on Christmas.

    Target has announced that they are actually going to focus on Thanksgiving in their stores and delay the Christmas rush. The retail chain says they’ll be focusing on Thanksgiving meal preparation and entertaining during the Thanksgiving season. That’s not to say that Target is throwing in the towel when it comes to Christmas as they plan on increasing their marketing budget as Christmas approaches.

    It’s refreshing to see a retail chain listening to its customers. This has the potential to sway some customers away from Walmart. While it probably won’t make that much of a dent in Walmart’s customer base it’s nice to have the option to shop in a store in October and November and not be assaulted prematurely by the juggernaut of Christmas marketing.

     
  • Geebo 9:16 am on October 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BBC, ,   

    BBC: Craigslist complicit in crime 

    It’s no secret in America that craigslist is the home of a number of illegal activities on its website every day. The problem is that craigslist doesn’t do anything about it and it’s almost deemed as just a part of doing business on craigslist. Outside of when craigslist still had its adult services section, rarely has a media outlet taken craigslist to task for allowing criminal activity to continually occur. However, in the UK, the vaunted BBC has decided to bring this particular problem to light.

    In a BBC expose that is set to air soon, one of their reporters took it upon himself to show just how widespread criminal activity is on craigslist in the British Isles. The reporter found everything from high-end cocaine, to stolen passports, to people who were willing to let criminals launder money in their bank account. The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said that legislation should be put in place to prevent these activities from taking place on craigslit, while a UK cybersecurity expert said that craigslist could easily implement measures to prevent crimes like this.

    Now if crime is so widespread on craigslist in the UK, it’s more than likely occurring one hundred fold in the US. Instead of just a few voices shouting into the wind about the dangers of craigslist, we need the major news outlets to continue investigating craigslist instead of just patting themselves on the back because the adult services section closed.

     
  • Geebo 9:34 am on October 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Lord & Taylor,   

    Walmart said to be making move to create online mall 

    Walmart said to be making move to create online mall

    It seems that a week can’t go by without Amazon and Walmart taking steps to encroach on each other’s territory. Yesterday we posted about how Amazon was now partnering with Kohl’s to accept amazon returns. Now, it’s been reported by the Wall Street Journal that Walmart is in talks with high-end department store Lord & Taylor to sell their products on Walmart’s website.

    According to most reports, this partnership has the potential to be beneficial to all parties involved. While Lord & Taylor has seen a decline in foot traffic to their stores an online presence with America;s largest retailer could really help them out. Conversely, this adds some prestige to Walmart’s online offerings as it has somewhat of a stigma for being only for lower-income customers.

    This latest partnership is said to being contemplated by Walmart in order to develop an online mall where many different types of retailers are represented, much like Amazon.com. Yet while the two retail giants war, consumers are the victims left in its wake as we inch ever so closer to a retail duopoly in this country. Fewer choices are never a good thing.

     
  • Geebo 8:59 am on October 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Kohl's,   

    Kohl’s to start accepting Amazon returns 

    Kohl's to start accepting Amazon returns

    We’re not saying Amazon is The Borg, but assimilation is not out of the question.

    Have you ever purchased something from Amazon and it turned out not to be exactly what you wanted. Maybe it’s the wrong size or the wrong color or something else entirely. In order to return the merchandise, you have to print out a mailing label, wrap it back up and then send it back to Amazon and hope it doesn’t get lost in transit. Now, you may not have to deal with that hassle as retail outlet Kohl’s is now accepting Amazon returns in certain locations.

    As of yesterday, Kohl’s stores in Chicago and Los Angeles started accepting Amazon returns. This goes along with a display of Amazon products for sale such as the ubiquitous Amazon Echo. Kohl’s is hoping that the traffic from Amazon return customers will translate into additional sales for Kohl’s.

    Let’s be real though. This appears a lot like Amazon reaching its many arms into another area of the brick and mortar retail space much along the lines of their purchase of Whole Foods. While Kohl’s may see this as an opportunity to increase sales, Amazon probably sees this as another domino falling in their quest to retail domination.

     
  • Geebo 9:28 am on October 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Clark County, , ,   

    Nevada county trying to crack down on puppy mills 

    Nevada county trying to crack down on puppy mills

    Previously, we’ve discussed many times in the why Geebo does not accept listings for pet. Geebo CEO Greg Collier has gone on record to state that he didn’t want Geebo to be an avenue for puppy mills. The ASPCA defines a puppy mill as “a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.” Now, a county in Nevada is trying to put a stop to these cruel operations.

    Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, is trying to introduce legislation designed to curtail illegal breeders and puppy mills within their county. You would think that this would be met with universal approval, but nothing is ever that simple. You’d be surprised how many people want a certain breed of no dog no matter how that dog was bred and pet stores claim that this will limit them on where they can purchase their animals from. Opponents to the legislation also derided shelters and rescue groups claiming those animals can’t be trusted.

    Shelter and rescue pets get an unfair stigma because a number of people think that they all have behavior problems. In reality a puppy mill dog is more likely to have behavior problems as they’re often inbred to the point where it can cause mental and physical defects that often result in behavioral issues.

    Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani also had a word of advice for people looking to buy a puppy online.

    “There are some other things that we need to work on,” Giunchigliani said. “What we want is to educate people to never buy animals off of Craigslist. They are almost always coming from a puppy mill in another state.”

    If you’re really looking to buy a purebred dog, always make sure that the breeder is licensed and check out the facilities to make sure they’re not abusing their animals. Also please consider adopting a dog from a rescue group or shelter and possibly even adopt an older dog as they often have a hard time finding new homes.

     
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