Showing posts from March, 2017

Facebook adds a travel-planning feature called ‘City Guides’

Facebook has been busy with the app updates, as of late. In recent months, it has added new sections for finding nearby Wi-Fi,meeting new peoplechecking the weather, and more. Now, it’s rolling out yet another addition to the “More” menu inside the Facebook app: City Guides. A potential challenger to Foursquare, Facebook’s guides will show you a list of cities and which of your friends visited, along with various recommendations of places to go and things to do. When you click into an individual city, you’ll see a row of rounded profile icons of your friends who have visited there. Tap on each one, and a list of the places they’ve been – like hotels, restaurants, attractions, and other businesses – will appear. This data is presumably being extracted from users’ check-ins and Facebook posts. Facebook has long allowed users to check-in via their status updates, but it hadn’t done much with that data, in terms of offering a consumer-facing feature to rival Foursquare. That’s been fairly…

Snapchat soars again on second day of trading

Snap Inc., the parent of Snapchat, has been off to the races with its debut on the stock market. Yesterday, the stock closed at $24.48, a 44% gain from the IPO price of $17. And today it’s gone up a bit further, surpassing $29 at one point, an almost 20% increase from the close of yesterday. Shares later fell to $27, but it’s still on track for a 10% gain for day two. This is another sign that Snap left money on the table. Even if they sold their shares for $19 or $20, they would have made a good first impression on the stock market and netted themselves hundreds of millions more dollars. But there’s no guarantee that this surge will continue. Often, the initial excitement surrounding IPOs dies off. And there are growing problems for Snap, which faces a competitive landscape. Atish Davda, CEO of EquityZen points out,  the company’s”growth is slowing and still faces tremendous pressure from Facebook and has to prove its long term viability.” Facebook-owned Instagram replicated Snapchat’s “s…

How hackers turned a Cape Cod fishing guide’s site into a host for e-commerce fraud

Eric Stapelfeld, the fishing guide Cape Cod fishing guide Eric Stapelfeld trusted me to look after his website the same way that I trust him to find fish. Until a few weeks ago, I believed I had the easier part of the bargain. After all, what’s hard about maintaining a simple WordPress site with a phone number and lots of striped bass pictures? As it turns out, everything is hard, really hard, when hackers go to work on a vulnerable site — even a simple one. And no fish ever put up a fight like the malware that took over Eric’s site. The story began last fall, when Eric called me in San Francisco to report that  “some guy” had called to complain about fraud on his site. “Yeah, like the guy said somebody is running a business inside the website and ripped him off. Said he knows it’s not my fault but I should know about it.” Eric doesn’t sell anything on his site. It consists of posts about fishing and a phone number to book trips. No hacker would bother with a site like that, right? “Hey fo…

Amazon shuts down its cable store, probably because ISPs are awful

Remember that time when Amazon decided it wanted to sell you internet service and cable TV? Well, that’s done now. Yep, Amazon’s “Cable Store” is no more. As you may recall, around a year ago, the online retailer launched a “cable store” website where it began reselling a variety of Comcast’s services, including its internet, TV and phone bundles. The move seemed a bit odd, but perhaps fit in with Amazon’s goal of being the online site for anything consumers want to buy. That store was later expanded in November 2016, when Amazon added Frontier to the list of service providers you could shop on its site. The site itself offered a way to view and compare the providers’ most popular plans, as well as product detail pages for each of their offerings. However, instead of an “Add to Cart” or 1-click checkout button, the store directed consumers to click a “Proceed to Service Setup” button to begin the ordering process. Users could also review the services on Amazon’s site, like any other produ…