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E-Commerce Times
E-Commerce Times: the E-Business and Technology Super Site

Black Friday May Be Losing Its Mojo
Some $13.1 billion in sales are anticipated this Thanksgiving weekend across all manner of channels, from mammoth shopping centers to online retailers to local shops and pop-up stores. Consumers are eager to score the best bargains, of course, while retailers want nothing more than to attract shoppers to their venues and keep them there for as long as possible this weekend.

Amazon Goes Into the Handyman Business
Amazon on Tuesday began rolling out Amazon Local Services, which lets customers purchase professional assistance for setup, installation and repair work. Service providers will be covered by Amazon's guarantee. They will be licensed and insured, and they will have to pass a background check. The idea initially is to tie Amazon purchases to recommended service providers.

Salesforce Adds App Hub to Centralize Customer Service on Desk.com
Salesforce.com on Monday launched App Hub, an upgrade to its Desk.com customer service platform. App Hub features more than 50 apps for a wide range of functions including e-commerce, email marketing, telephony and text messaging. Partner apps available with Desk.com include Harvest, JIRA, MailChimp, Olark, Shopify, Twilio, Five9, NewVoiceMedia, OneReach, RingCentral and TalkDesk.

FCC's Spectrum Cash Cow Produces Rich Milk
Bidding for wireless spectrum in the United States Federal Communications Commission's latest auction has gone through the roof, raising more than $36 billion as of Tuesday morning. A total of 70 qualified bidders are seeking 1,614 licenses in the 1695-1710 Mhz, 1755-1780 Mhz and 2155-2180 MHz bands. The auction almost certainly will raise even more money over the next few weeks.

Musk Hints at Tesla, BMW Tie-Up
Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk reportedly has engaged in talks with BMW to partner on the production of electric batteries, as well as other technologies for electric vehicles. Musk reportedly said that the companies might collaborate to develop advanced batteries and lightweight components including carbon fiber body parts in an interview published Sunday.

Hear, Hear: The Rise of Social Listening
Evian ran a promotion to give away bottled water during August in New York. People had only to tweet using the hashtag #evianBottleService to get free water delivered to them on the streets. To pull it off, Evian coordinated its social listening efforts and its marketing strategy -- a valuable combination for brands that want to make use of what they hear online.

Apple's 'Get' Puts Paid to Free-App Sham
Apple has removed the word "free" from download buttons in its iOS and OS X app stores, replacing it with "get." European regulators recommended the action to Apple and Google earlier this year. In July, Google removed the "free" label from games that could be downloaded without cost -- but required in-app purchases to access a full set of features.

Amazon Free Video Could Hook Non-Prime Audience
Amazon reportedly plans to introduce a new ad-supported streaming video service early next year. The new service will be separate from Amazon's Prime membership offering, which already includes a video-streaming component. That Amazon already has a presence in the streaming video market is almost beside the point. The growth projections for this type of service are very high.

Nintendo Launches Super Smash Bros Charm Offensive
Nintendo on Friday released what is expected to be its biggest title for the upcoming holiday season, and it also made a play in the collectible toy market with a line of interactive figurines. Since the release of its Wii U console, the company has found itself in much the same position as its signature characters -- an underdog fighting for survival against much bigger rivals.

The Intangibles: 5 Things That Aren't on the CRM Data Sheets
CRM has been around for a long time now -- more than 25 years. Amazingly, many businesses, including large businesses with revenue in excess of US$100 million, still operate without it. That's amazing, because to many business leaders, CRM has become table stakes when it comes to creating a software infrastructure. Within CRM, many of the features have become table stakes, too.

Google Dips a Toe in Ad-Free Waters
Google on Friday unveiled Contributor, an experimental service that lets users make a donation to support the websites they visit instead of viewing ads. Currently available only by invitation, Contributor begins by asking users to set a monthly contribution amount between $1 and $3. Then, when they visit a participating website, part of their contribution goes to the creators of that site.

Firefox Sheds Google for Yahoo
Mozilla on Wednesday announced that Yahoo would replace Google as its global default search option, in a move that has set the tech media abuzz. Pointing out that Google has been the Firefox global search default since 2004, Mozilla painted the move as seizing the opportunity to review its competitive strategy and explore its options when the agreement came up for renewal this year.

Is Your Mobile Campaign Working?
More and more marketers are eager to engage with consumers on the devices they use for just about everything these days -- from connecting with friends and colleagues to consuming and creating content, playing games and, of course, shopping. But are the billions of dollars now being invested in mobile advertising paying off? Brands need to understand which marketing approaches work best.


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