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Topics - WayOutWest

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1
The most secure protocol for sharing information on the web today is Transport Layer Security (TLS) version 1.2. PayPal enabled support for TLS 1.2 for all secure connections and last year began requiring its use. If you haven't already done so, you will need to verify that your environment supports TLS 1.2 and if necessary make appropriate updates. PayPal is updating its services to require TLS v1.2 for all HTTPS connections by June 30th of this year (2017). After that time, all TLS v1.0 and TLS v1.1 API connections will be refused.

These updates are part of an industry-wide initiative to improve security standards. Some of these updates, like the TLS upgrade, are mandated by the PCI Security Council and are required by every website that transmits or processes cardholder data.

Merchants and developers may have to update their applications and integrations in order to be in compliance and ensure that their applications continue to function as expected.

Src: https://devblog.paypal.com/upcoming-security-changes-notice/

For more information please visit:
https://www.paypal-knowledge.com/infocenter/index?page=content&widgetview=true&id=FAQ1914&viewlocale=en_US

The deadline for all merchants to stop using SSL and TLS 1.0, and be fully switched to TLS1.1 (or higher), and still be PCI compliant, is June of 2018 (the original deadline was June of 2016) https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/pdfs/15_12_18_SSL_Webinar_Press_Release_FINAL_(002).pdf

In addition, the PCI Council has stated that web browsers will begin prohibiting SSL connections in the near future.

The other part of this is that there are tons of people out there still using older browsers, many of which can't even use TLS1.1, much less TLS1.2.  For example, IE versions prior to v11 either can't natively use  TLS1.1, or don't have it enabled.  All of the people still using XP and Vista?  Even if they update to IE9, they don't have TLS1.1 capability, much less TLS1.2.  IE in Windows 7 & 8 has access to both, but they're disabled by default unless the user updates to IEv11.   A complete chart of browsers and what versions of TLS they have can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transport_Layer_Security#Web_browsers

To enable TLS1.1 & 1.2 on your browsers, the U.S. State Dept. has easy to follow directions.  The directions are actually for enabling TLS1.0, but it gets you to the right spot for enabling 1.1 and 1.2.   https://travel.state.gov/content/dam/aa/pdfs/directions_for_enabling_tls.pdf

You can also check your browser's TLS capabilities by viewing the page at https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/viewMyClient.html

2
Amazon granted a patent that prevents in-store shoppers from online price checking
Amazon’s long been a go-to for people to online price compare while shopping at brick-and-mortars. Now, a new patent granted to the company could prevent people from doing just that inside Amazon’s own stores.

The patent, titled “Physical Store Online Shopping Control,” details a mechanism where a retailer can intercept network requests like URLs and search terms that happen on its in-store Wi-Fi, then act upon them in various ways.

The document details in great length how a retailer like Amazon would use this information to its benefit. If, for example, the retailer sees you’re trying to access a competitor’s website to price check an item, it could compare the requested content to what’s offered in-store and then send price comparison information or a coupon to your browser instead. Or it could suggest a complementary item, or even block content outright.
. . .
(continue reading at https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/15/15812986/amazon-patent-online-price-checking )


Seems to me that it's not so much about preventing people from price comparing inside an Amazon owned shop (though it does have that aspect to it, which is a huge benefit for Amazon), but more so about preventing other businesses from implementing the same sort of tech in their own shops.
3
* Amazon Central / Alexa app wont load
« on: June 11, 2017, 11:56:17 AM »
Are you experiencing problems getting the Amazon Alexa app to load?  Does the circle just keep spinning around and around?  Are you just getting a blank screen?  If the app just sits there with the loading icon spinning, it's a cookie problem.  The same is true if you can't get the alexa webpage http://alexa.amazon.com to load.

 If you're experiencing this on the Alexa app, open the Amazon shopping app and logout.  If that doesn't fix it, open your other Amazon apps (Amazon Kindle app, Amazon music app, etc) and logout of those. 

If you're experiencing this on the website http://alexa.amazon.com, open the main Amazon webpage at http://www.amazon.com, hover your mouse over your name on the right hand side, wait for the menu to appear, and click the bottom line that says "Not <your name>? Sign out".  Once that's done, try again to get http://alexa.amazon.com to load.

This cookie bug appears to be very pervasive, so if you use the app or the webpage frequently, you'll find yourself needing to pretty much always stay logged out of the main Amazon website and app.

4
* Beyond eBay & Amazon / New Designer Goods Online Consignment Shop
« on: June 07, 2017, 01:11:49 AM »
Just saw a consumer orientated ad for this site on Hulu.  Got to looking at it and it's a consignment shop https://www.therealreal.com

The ad says every item is authenticated by their team of in house experts.  If you look at the site you find that they have restrictions on the goods, such as only certain designers, some designers the item can only be 5yrs old, etc.

Sellers get to keep up to 70% of the selling price.  They'll schedule a pick up or you can ship the goods to them.

General info for individual sellers at https://www.therealreal.com/consign
If you're a luxury goods vendor, the vendor page is at https://www.therealreal.com/business-sellers
5
Just saw this on Clark Howard's website.  If you're on govt assistance, you can get Prime for $6 a month instead of the $99/yr price.  http://clark.com/shopping-retail/amazon-prime-ebt-discount/

Those with a valid Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card are eligible. An EBT card is used to disburse funds for these government assistance programs:

    Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
    Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
    Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC)

According to the article, Amazon hopes this will attract people who primarily shop at WalMart and other discount stores.


6
* Amazon Central / Amazon Add-On Item Hack
« on: May 31, 2017, 05:14:42 PM »
So you want to buy an add-on item, but you don't want to order a bunch of stuff right now and don't want to wait until you are ordering more?  If you have Prime and an Amazon Echo (Alexa) you're in luck!  All you have to do is ask Alexa to order it for you and she will bypass the ordering minimum.  In order to narrow the search down to the add-on item, be sure to give Alexa item specifics from the title, such as the item's model number.

E.g., "Alexa, order a Leviton fourteen zero six" will result in her finding, and offering to order, the Leviton 1406 660 Watt, 125 Volt, Two Outlet With Pull Chain Socket Adapter, Black which is an add-on item that currently is priced at $4.99. 

Note: when Alexa tells you the total, it will include any applicable sales tax, so depending on what state you're in, she might not say (in this example), "$4.99".  If your tax rate is 7%, she'll instead say "$5.34".  And, of course, prices change frequently and items move in and out of add-on status.

This is also welcome news for Amazon 3P sellers whose FBA products have ended up being converted into add-on items.
7
* Amazon Central / Something wonky this way comes
« on: May 24, 2017, 08:02:56 AM »
I'm not sure when it started. I only noticed it this week. Addresses have been messed up when printed by Amazon.

For years, my ship to address for Amazon purchases has been:
(My Name)
(Business Name)
(Street Address)
(City) (State) (ZIP)

Recently I noticed that shipping labels are printing as:
(My Name)
(Business Name) (Street Number)
(Street Name)
(City)(State)(ZIP)

When I look at my address book, it has business name in Address Line 1 and Street Address (number and name) in Address Line 2.  I don't know if it's always been that way (with business name in Addr1) or not. I haven't looked closely at it in years.

When looking at order invoices and other areas of Amazon, it displays my address correctly (with the street number on same line as street name). Likewise, when viewing the address in the address book and other areas, it displays correctly. It seems to only happen when they actually print the shipping label.

I'm not aware of this being an issue before, with the exception of some 3rd party FBM orders.  This has even resulted in one order being flagged by the post office as invalid address, return to sender (I went to post office to intercept).  Maybe this is why I've had so many late deliveries the past few years (so many that I haven't paid for Prime in two years)?  My late delivery rate really isn't outside the norm, though, at around 1.5%.

All of my items for sale are FBA, so I have no clue if my customer addresses are being mangled in a similar manner or not, however I wouldn't be surprised if they are.

Posting so that everyone that is FBM is aware that there is an issue.  I'd recommend being on alert when printing FBM labels.
8
from NY Post
Hallmark sues distributor for selling ‘unauthorized’ cards

Hallmark is suing a Long Island distributor for allegedly selling 8 million “unauthorized” Hallmark cards on the cheap.

The 73 truckloads of cards were supposed to be destroyed, not resold. . .
(continue reading)
9
* Amazon Central / Amazon collecting sales tax in 11 additional states
« on: February 09, 2017, 03:21:06 AM »
On Wednesday, Amazon began collecting sales tax for sales to customers in Mississippi, Missouri, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont. It started last month in Louisiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Utah, and begins in Oklahoma and Wyoming on March 1.

Traditionally, Amazon has fought the collection of sales tax in states that it doesn't have nexus. However, it came to an agreement with the state government of Oklahoma to voluntarily collect sales tax, despite not having nexus. I have not researched the other states listed above, so I don't know the reason(s) for the collection of taxes in those states. Oklahoma's governor is prancing around in the media like a peacock in mating season over this win, but that's because the state current has nearly a billion dollar budget deficit this year and she's been getting some harsh criticism over it.

In addition to the above, lawmakers in Arkansas are advancing a plan to require out-of-state companies with no physical presence in the state to collect the tax if they sell more than $100,000 worth of products or make at least 200 transactions. While the intent is to force large companies to collect sales tax, that 200 transactions limit is an awfully low bar that will adversely affect small mom & pop companies.

Hopefully this will help the 3P sellers as people discover that many items on Amazon.com that aren't sold by Amazon are still without sales tax.

There are many B&Ms that are rejoicing over the so-called leveling of the playing field, but there are some that remain skeptical. I like a consumer comment that I heard on the radio today. He said that he was tired of hearing about the leveling of the playing field and that until the B&Ms start delivering to his door, they're not in competition with Amazon.  :laugh
10
* Amazon Central / Amazon entering auto parts marketplace
« on: February 07, 2017, 08:13:12 PM »
In the past, the auto parts industry was built on the local shop having a very large inventory of products on hand. More recently, the shops have been turning to centralized warehouses with a day or two delay for the customer to get the parts they need.

Amazon is looking to turn the parts industry on its head, by becoming the go to place for automotive parts, with same day delivery available in many markets.

The unknown factor is how the high return rate for auto parts that are mislabeled, or simply don't properly fit, is going to work out.  Many a time I've purchased a part that was supposed to fit, only to find it didn't. Sometimes this was because the part was wrong, other times it was because either the reference book book was wrong or the car was a one-off with a manufacturing deviation. 

On one of those occasions, my car was broken down in the auto parts parking lot, so finding the correct fit became a top concern of the sales people, who ended up coming out and taking measurements, so that they could find a part that did fit (since the part the book said would fit, didn't).  That's certainly the type of service you won't be able to get from Amazon.

Two interesting articles about it:
Yahoo Finance article: A double whammy from Trump and Amazon has short sellers piling into AutoZone

Art of Gears: Amazon Auto Parts A Brilliant Disaster
11
Posting this in case anyone else encounters this and is searching online for the fix. When it happened to me I couldnt find the solution online. I found others with the same issue, but no answers. :(

Problem: LG V10 will not charge battery, and will not turn on unless you remove and reinsert microSD memory card.

The first solution to sort out is being able to turn it back on.  If you are experiencing the same glitch I did, you'll eventually discover that if you remove the battery,  pull the SD card, re-install the memory card and battery, it will then let you turn the phone on.  However, the glitch will remain and this procedure will still have to be done every time you need to turn it on (such as when swapping batteries since it's also not charging the battery).

The complete fix for the glitch - use your external charger to get a partial charge on your battery or a spare battery. Then, remove the battery from phone, remove the SD card, re-install both, then without turning on the phone, plug in the phone. The phone should then start charging. Once it starts charging, turn the phone on, wait for phone to fully finish booting, unplug the phone, turn phone off. It should now turn on without having to remove SD card and should also once again be able to charge the battery.


12
* Amazon Central / Amazon Is Quietly Eliminating List Prices
« on: July 04, 2016, 02:42:34 PM »


Amazon Is Quietly Eliminating List Prices

By DAVID STREITFELDJULY 3, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO — In a major shift for online commerce, Amazon is quietly changing how it entices people to buy.

The retailer built a reputation and hit $100 billion in annual revenue by offering deals. The first thing a potential customer saw was a bargain: how much an item was reduced from its list price.

Now, in many cases, Amazon has dropped any mention of a list price. There is just one price. Take it or leave it.

(continue reading at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/04/business/amazon-is-quietly-eliminating-list-prices.html?_r=0]http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/04/business/amazon-is-quietly-eliminating-list-prices.html?_r=0[/url])
13
Looks like the launch another bot for mass suspensions and evictions is coming soon on Amazon.  In the headlines area of seller central it says
Quote
Important Policy Review Notification
Jul 1, 2016

Important: Please review the following seller policies:
Prohibited seller activities and actions policy

Optimize listings for search and browse

We recommend that you take the time to ensure that your account and any actions related to your account comply with these policies. If you partner with service providers to assist you with your Amazon account, we recommend reviewing their business practices as all sellers are ultimately responsible for ensuring their accounts comply with Amazon policies. Accounts that violate policies are subject to suspension and or removal from Amazon.
When you click on the links above, it takes you to more detailed info which outlines many of the rules for selling on Amazon (including the rules against .com in name, directing sales off-site, keyword stuffing, multiple accounts, manipulating product reviews & feedback, duplicate product pages, and more). 

Those two pages that are linked to are worth a review for every seller.  Also note that the rules against keyword stuffing include rules against using common misspellings of words and against using variants of words (e.g. plural forms of words)





14
* Great Deals / Today Only (6/30/16) - 20% OFF all Monoprice items
« on: June 30, 2016, 04:59:00 AM »
All house brand items at monoprice.com are 20% off, today only! (6/30/16)  Coupon not valid on branded items from other companies (such as Sony, etc) and cannot be used to purchase gift cards.

Use coupon code: crazy

If you're not familiar with monoprice, they are THE place to go to for cables.  Monoprice offers China prices w/o the wait time for shipping from China AND Monoprice actually stands behind their product, unlike many vendors in China.  For example, they have a 15 ft. HDMI cable for as little as $3.19!  They also carry a wide variety of other electronic items.

They also have a variety of other deals going on (such as the deals in their Platinum Chest, their version of Amazon's Gold Box), many of which you can combine the coupon code with.

Monoprice also sells on Amazon, but monoprice's website is easier to navigate, with better category filters available, and prices on their website are (at least in some cases) cheaper than their prices on Amazon.  For example, I'm looking at a cable right now that is 93¢ on monoprice website and $2.68 on Amazon, and on Amazon it's one of those friggin'add-on items.  With shipping (and after crazy coupon) it's $2.73 on monoprice website, which comes out to only 5¢ more than on Amazon and w/o Amazon's add-on minimum purchase thing.

15
UPS has announced rate changes that go into effect on July 11th of this year.  Among the changes, UPS is changing the measurement that determines whether the UPS Additional Handling charge will be applied, reducing it from 60" on the longest side to 48" on the longest side.

In addition, the Remote Area Surcharge (a.k.a. Extended Area Surcharge, a.k.a. Delivery Area Surcharge Extended) will be reduced.

For more information and to view the published retail rates that will be in effect on July 11, visit http://www.rates.ups.com/

The updated 2016 UPS Rate and Service Guide will be available for download on July 11, 2016.
16
Since retail arbitrage is, to some degree or another, a part of the business plan of most online vendors such as ourselves, I though everyone here might find this of interest. 

Walmart has eliminated price matching in 500 of their stores, but won't say which stores -- you have to physically go to the store to find out.  Meanwhile, Target has increased the number of .com sites that it will price match at their brick and mortar locations.

Although Walmart has discontinued price matching at 500 of their stores, they will still price match walmart.com at those stores (something that walmart used to not price match).  In addition, they have their Price Catcher program, which will rebate you the difference, should a local competitor be offering the same item at a lower price. However, Price Catcher only has the advertised prices from the larger shops.  It won't know about the sale flyer from, say, the local family run grocery store down the street. 

Meanwhile, Target is moving in the opposite direction, expanding their price matching program to include a total of 29 retailers (both their website and their B&Ms, if they have physical stores).  That being said, some of the retailers that Target has added carries primarily their own branded goods, which Target won't have, or heavily stocks product variants that are specific to their store.  The list of retailers that Target has added to their price matching program, regardless of whether or not they have a local B&M:
   Amazon
   Babies ‘R’ Us
   Bed Bath & Beyond
   Best Buy
   Barnes & Noble
   Buy Buy Baby
   Costco
   CVS
   Diapers.com
   Dick’s Sporting Goods
   Drugstore.com
   GameStop
   JCPenney
   Kmart
   Kohl’s
   Macy’s
   Newegg
   Office Depot
   Petco
   Petsmart
   Sam’s Club
   Sears
   Sports Authority
   Staples
   Toys ‘R’ Us
   Ulta
   Walgreens
   Walmart
   Wayfair

For more information on Walmart's policy change:
https://consumerist.com/2016/05/25/walmart-ending-price-matching-of-local-competitors-ads-at-500-stores-wont-say-which-500/
For more information on Target's policy change:
https://consumerist.com/2015/09/30/target-will-price-match-29-competitors-websites/
17
As most of ya have seen me write about, it's a violation of U.S. FTC regulations to refer to something as gold, when it's not solid gold of at least 10K.  We see it all the time, though, on eBay, Amazon, and other sites where people market jewelry, watches, belt buckles, etc. as gold, when it's actually only gold-tone or gold-plated. 

I gotta say, it's pretty bad when CHINA gets it right (even though it's a U.S. regulation), meanwhile tons of sellers in the U.S. routinely get it wrong
http://www.gearbest.com/smart-watches/pp_270437.html


18
Walmart (or Wal-Mart for the old-schoolers) has a new payment option for their brick and mortar stores, called Walmart Pay.  Using Walmart's smartphone app, you select Walmart Pay, use your phone's camera to scan the QR Code displayed by the register's payment terminal, pay with the linked payment method of your choice (debit card, credit card, or Walmart gift card), and the e-receipt will be loaded into the app.  You can then push the receipt over to Walmart’s Savings Catcher, which automatically reimburses you for the price difference, should a local competitor be advertising the same item for a lower price (assuming Walmart has loaded the competitor's advertised price into the database).

Walmart Pay is first being introduced in 3 states (Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas) before being launched nationwide.  The nationwide roll-out is expected to occur in June.

It would be faster and easier for the customer to use Android Pay, Apple Pay, Capital One Pay, Samsung Pay, or any of the other digital payment methods that use a phone's NFC antenna, than it would be to deal with using a phone's camera to scan a QR code.  Instead, though, Walmart has opted to use technology that is antiquated, slow, and less secure.  The apparent reasons for the move are to make phone based payments be more widely adopted by Walmart's customers (since only the more expensive phones have NFC ability and thus a large part of Walmart's customer base isn't likely to have a way to use Android Pay, Apple Pay, etc.); because it keeps the customer entirely in Walmart's ecosystem, giving them more access to their data; and perhaps most importantly to Walmart, because the payment is processed entirely by Walmart's system, rather than relying in part on another party's system, Walmart can save a tiny bit on each transaction.

Sources: http://www.newson6.com/story/31946206/oklahoma-among-first-three-states-to-launch-walmart-pay
http://www.businessinsider.com/walmart-pay-debuts-in-two-states-2016-5
http://macdailynews.com/2016/05/17/walmart-pay-continues-to-block-apple-pay-rolls-out-antiquated-qr-code-based-walmart-pay/
http://www.engadget.com/2015/12/10/walmart-pay/
19
Heads up. All Microsoft, Sony, and Nikon products are now restricted on Amazon.  Some where already restricted, but it's been massively expanded.  In the process, they also restricted used and collectible.   They have supposedly fixed that, but be on your toes, for it might not be fully fixed and, as is the way on Amazon, might reappear.

To get approval (even for selling used) they now want either invoices from an approved distributor or a letter from the brand owner (Sony, Microsoft, or Nikon). 

requirements for approval:
3 different purchase invoices for Nikon/Sony products from a manufacturer or distributor
Are dated on or after Feb 14, 2016 (within 90 days)
Include your name and address
Include the name and address of the manufacturer or distributor
Show the purchase of at least 30 units across all invoices
Show the purchase of at least 5 different products of Nikon/Sony across all invoices
Omit pricing information
20
* Amazon Central / info on the Amazon store card
« on: May 15, 2016, 03:19:53 AM »
I have long had an Amazon branded, Chase, Visa card.  So, when I started seeing the Amazon store card advertisements at checkout, I ignored them.  Recently, though, I decided what the heck and applied.  Well, it has 5% cash back! The cash back is automatically applied to your credit balance, rather than being sent to you, which is what I prefer (I often forget to go to the rewards webpage on my other cards).  The other part of it, though, is a crazy high interest rate.  I don't know how much of it was based on my info (my income, my credit score, and my debt to credit ratio) Vs. how common it is for the rate to be super high, but the interest rate I was given is a whopping 26.24%  :o :o   Granted, with the high cash back, they have to make that up somehow, but still. . .

So, the down side is (besides the fact it's not a MC/Visa) the crazy high interest rate; the up side is 5% cashback!  As much shopping on Amazon as I do, I really like that aspect of it. Last month I got $33.48 back  :D!  I was only given a $2200 credit limit, but with that interest rate I don't need it to be higher because I'm not going to carry a balance on it.

Anyway, just thought I would post about it for anyone that's considered getting it. The cashback is a huge plus, but be prepared to pay it off every month because of the high interest rate.

Edit to add - once you get approved for the card, you will find yourself looking and looking for how to access it online, especially since it takes forever for your first bill to be generated and you start getting worried because you don't want any of that obscenely high interest rate being applied.  Well, they don't provide the link until you get the card in the mail (or at least I didn't see it anywhere else).  The link is http://www.amazon.com/storecard
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