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Archive Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Benefits of Blogging – (press release) (press release)

The Benefits of Blogging (press release)
There are many advantages to blogging, such as growing your brand, business and online community, so there isn't a question on whether you should be doing it. The real challenge is creating a blog that offers interesting, original content that is both

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Why so much coverage of Amazon Prime Day? The incentives, of course

By signing up to the retail giants affiliate network, Amazon Associates, publishers can earn commissions from linking to products on

In July 2015, Amazon declared its own annual holiday: Amazon Prime Day. The retail giant promised deals on a wide range of products for customers signed up to its membership program, Amazon Prime.

This is the second Amazon Prime Day, and its pretty hard to miss. At the time of writing, the #PrimeDay hashtag was one of Twitters top 10 worldwide trends. Media outlets including the Daily Mail, USA Today, the Telegraph, PC World and CNet are publishing numerous stories about the discounts on offer, and urging readers to sign up for an Amazon Prime trial.

What many of those readers wont realise is that publishers are financially incentivised by Amazon to write about Prime Day. By signing up to the retail giants affiliate programme, Amazon Associates, publishers can earn commissions from linking to products on

Media partners are given access to a tool that lets them generate unique hyperlinks to products that they can put in their news articles that way Amazon can tell which publisher sent a given customer to its website. If the customer buys a product from Amazon, the publisher is rewarded with a kickback of between 1% and 8.5% of the items value (higher if a publisher has negotiated a bespoke partnership), along with anything else they buy from the site at the same time.

Publishers also get paid $3 each time someone signs up for the 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime.

Affiliate marketing is nothing new and it can be a legitimate way for publishers to make money and for retailers to drive sales. News organisations commonly write about products and can choose to link to sites where readers can buy them, including Amazon.

However, with Amazon Prime Day publishers are strongly motivated to base their editorial agenda on how they can generate commissions rather than whats in the best interest of the reader.

If a media company is an Amazon Associate, its in their best interest to hype up Amazon Prime Day as much as possible, says Tricia Meyer, an affiliate marketing consultant based in Indianapolis. The deals arent necessarily the best deals of the year, but bloggers and media companies are writing about them as a way to make a bit of extra money.

Lewie Procter is the founder of SavyGamer, a website that flags daily deals on video games. The majority of the websites revenue comes from affiliate deals. He is part of Amazons Associates programme, but he hasnt linked to any Prime Day deals this year.

I never put anything on my site unless Im confident its the best deal even if that means linking to a retailer I dont get commission from. Its worth more to me to have my users implicitly trust that Im getting the best deal for them rather than pushing a place with a better margin, says Procter.

In the US, Federal Trade Commission guidelines state that publishers who use affiliate links are supposed to disclose the commercial arrangement. If you disclose your relationship to the retailer clearly and conspicuously on your site, readers can decide how much weight to give your endorsement, says the FTC. Putting disclosures in obscure places for example, buried on an about us or general info page, behind a poorly labeled hyperlink or in a terms of service agreement isnt good enough.

For David Weinberger, a researcher at Harvards Berkman Klein Center, transparency about affiliate relationships may not be enough.

Transparency is good but not sufficient because the transparency is revealing that the news medium is in fact taking money from the subject of its journalism, he says. And perhaps most perniciously it gives large stores with the most generous affiliate relationships an advantage in the market.

Last years Prime Day, which marked Amazons 20th birthday, was a major success for Amazon. July is typically a slow month for retailers and the hype around the first event in 2015 meant that Amazon sold more units than it did on Black Friday, the sales extravaganza that takes place on the day after Thanksgiving, the year before.

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WINZ advocate blasts the benefits system as dehumanising –

WINZ advocate blasts the benefits system as dehumanising
"He needs emergency food, money for petrol and electricity, and money to pay a bill for a long list of medicines. The medicines include two drugs which are not subsidised. One costs nearly $150, the other $70. "The caseworker says they are too

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Cozy is building a personal cloud service that respects your privacy

Meet Cozy, a French startup that wants to completely rethink how cloud services work. The startup first launched a Dropbox-like competitor to store, synchronize and share all your files. Now, the company wants to go one step further and create an ecosystem of open-source services that respect your privacy.

When I met with Cozy co-founder and CEO Benjamin André earlier this week, he was fed up with the long-lasting opposition between privacy and convenience. Many people believe that you have to make a choice — you can either give up on your online privacy to access convenient services, or you have to accept that you won’t be as productive because you don’t want to share data with big online tech companies.

And yet, chances are that nearly everyone around you has a Google account, or a Facebook account, or an Amazon account, or all of those. Those companies have now built countless services to address all your digital needs. They can even create synergies between those services — you can import your Facebook contacts to Instagram, you can save a photo from Gmail to your Google Drive, you can order a book from your Amazon Echo.

Big tech companies have increased their stickiness and turned the convenience knob to eleven. As Cozy Chief Product Officer Tristan Nitot told me, they have created vacuum cleaners for personal data. They can then target you much more easily with ads, influence public opinion and collaborate with surveillance agencies.

Instead of creating yet another ecosystem of hosted services financed by ads, Cozy wants to change the balance and create a platform where the user is in charge. As you can read in the terms of service, you remain the owner of your data and your data won’t be shared with anyone unless you give your consent.

And for the most privacy-concerned users, you can also install a Cozy instance on your own server. The main GitHub repositories have been updated today.

The company just unveiled the first services of this new platform today. First, it starts with a good old file-syncing service. With Cozy Drive, you can install an app on all your computers, synchronize files with Cozy’s servers and find them everywhere — on your other computer, on your phone or on the web.

Second, Cozy Photos lets you backup your photos. This works like Google Photos, Microsoft OneDrive’s Camera Upload and similar features. Your photos are stored in your Cozy Drive and you can browse them in a nice web interface.

  1. Cozy Drive Home

  2. Cozy Drive Share by link

  3. Cozy Photos Upload

  4. Cozy Photos Albums

Beyond files

But Cozy doesn’t want to stop at files. There are a ton of other data points out there that deserve to be collected in your personal cloud. That’s why Cozy Collect lets you connect all your customer accounts to download and store all your bills in your Cozy Drive.

So if you want to check your electricity bill or phone bill, you can browse your Cozy Drive and find them in Cozy’s familiar interface. The startup is partnering with Linxo for those connectors, but the open-source community will be able to build more connectors.

With those fundamental bricks, you can then imagine a ton of additional services. For instance, the startup is currently beta-testing Cozy Banks, a banking aggregator that lets you click on common expenses to open the PDF bill instantly. Soon, with Cozy Health you’ll be able to track health expenses and see if you’ve been reimbursed by your health insurance.

At heart, Cozy remains a platform. You can install apps on your personal cloud and add more services. The Cozy Store isn’t open yet, but third-party developers will be able to add new services. Cozy doesn’t want to become a walled garden.

  1. Cozy Collect Connect Succeed Trainline

  2. Cozy Collect Providers All

Creating apps

Big French companies have also partnered with Cozy to develop Cozy apps. Companies have to comply with GDPR before May 2018, and Cozy wants to play a role in that. Many institutions have to create APIs and open up access to user data.

While big tech companies are probably going to take advantage of those APIs to grab even more personal data, Cozy is thinking that big French companies should also provide Cozy integrations to compete with tech giants.

They can work with Cozy to make their online services GDPR-compliant and create Cozy apps. For instance, there will be an EDF app to see your energy consumption, your plan and more. This app doesn’t let EDF access your Cozy data.

In addition to working with big French companies, Cozy is also going to make money from its premium plans. By default, you get 5GB of free storage and access to all Cozy integrations. You can also pay $3.71 per month (€2.99) for 50GB or $12.40 per month (€9.99) for 1,000GB.

Cozy has been around for a few years, but this feels like a brand new start for the company. The startup has an ambitious vision and strong values. It’s going to be interesting to see how the service evolves in the coming months.

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