Daily Roundup for 2008-01-25

  • From proof of privacy protection to effective testimonials to constructive follow up, here are 8 tips to make visitors feel more comfortable buying from your site. You know that moment when you’re thinking about buying something, but you’re just not sure if you should pull out your wallet? That’s "purchase anxiety." Most people feel it at some point, especially when they’re buying a big-ticket item. Or when they’re buying something over the internet. Online shoppers tend to suffer from purchase anxiety more than offline shoppers. After all, when you buy something over the internet, it’s often a product you’ve never seen before sold by a person you’ve never met before.
  • EBay Inc. said Chief Executive Meg Whitman will retire in March, capping a decade of running the global electronic-commerce pioneer. John Donahoe, president of eBay’s auction business, will succeed her as the CEO.

  • Meg Whitman confirmed yesterday she will soon step down as chief executive of eBay, the online auction company that went from wobbly start-up to multibillion-dollar household name in her 10-year tenure.
  • Miva Merchant is a pioneering shopping cart. First launched in 1995, it rose, and then fell, with the dot-com boom and bust. Findwhat.com, a publicly traded company, purchased Miva Merchant in 2004. Findwhat.com subsequently renamed itself Miva, only to sell the Miva Merchant shopping cart division to private investors in August 2007. One of these investors, Rick Wilson, is a former Miva Merchant executive who rejoined the company. We asked him about the new Miva Merchant.
  • When Max Levchin started Slide, the popular tool that lets users create slide shows and other bling for social network pages, it wasn’t because he felt passionately that photos needed to be surrounded by animated hearts and glitter. It was because Levchin, who co-founded and later sold PayPal, wanted to prove he could do it again—this time, generating more than the $1.5 billion PayPal fetched from eBay (EBAY) in 2002. As of Jan. 14, Levchin was about one-third of his way to his goal—at least on paper.
  • Grotech Capital Group, one of the longest-established firms in the venture industry, has promoted Charles P. Cullen and Stephen M. Fredrick to General Partner.
  • When eBay Inc. Chief Executive Meg Whitman invited John Donahoe to the company’s San Jose, Calif., offices in early 2005, the Bain & Co. consultant thought she wanted to talk to him about a business project. Instead, Ms. Whitman asked Mr. Donahoe to join the Internet-auction company in a new role that would position him as a contender for her own job.
  • Everyone from Wall Street analysts to former employees to advertising firms seems to know just what struggling Internet pioneer Yahoo! (YHOO) should do to turn itself around. And each "solution" is a doozy: Lay off hundreds or even thousands of employees.
  • People with a Yahoo user name and password will be able to use that ID information to access non-Yahoo Web sites that support the OpenID 2.0 digital identity framework, reducing the amount of different log-in information people need to create, remember and enter online. Already, almost 10,000 Web sites support OpenID, an open framework available for free to end users and Web site operators alike, according to theOpenID Foundation.
  • A backup tape containing credit-card information from hundreds of U.S. retailers is missing, forcing the company responsible for the data to warn customers that they may become the targets of data fraud.
  • Ecommerce has been part of the retail world for more than a decade, and today’s consumers seem to assume that because of this longevity, their transactions are secure. Beyond this, the average online shoppers are convinced their credit card numbers and other sensitive information are out of reach of attackers with a firewall and antivirus program, combined with shopping at brand-name retail sites. However, the average consumers don’t scan the Internet for Web hack news. If they did, they would find a constant stream of stories about malicious hacks affecting the modern consumer.
  • Battered by slow revenue growth and the popularity of social networking Web sites, Yahoo! Inc. is poised to lay off hundreds of workers, according to published reports. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have both reported on the slumping Internet icon’s cost-cutting plans, citing people familiar with the matter.
  • When eBay Inc. Chief Executive Meg Whitman invited John Donahoe to the company’s San Jose, Calif., offices in early 2005, the Bain & Co. consultant thought she wanted to talk to him about a business project. Instead, Ms. Whitman asked Mr. Donahoe to join the Internet-auction company in a new role that would position him as a contender for her own job.
  • Ice.com is taking a hard look at the money it’s spending for paid search advertising on Google. Each year Ice.com, No. 182 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, spends more than $1 million on paid campaigns on Google, says CEO Shmuel Gniwisch.
  • In the past few years, the idea of using the Web for tasks that were once accomplished with software on computers has gone mainstream. Among the early proponents of that shift for businesses: Salesforce.com Inc., the maker of a popular online service that helps salespeople keep track of customers. Salesforce and providers of other "software as a service" applications, work by storing customers’ information on their own computers and letting customers access it by logging on to a Web site — a break from the approach of installing software on their own computers and storing the data themselves.
  • In the past few months, Ms. Whitman, who has led the San Jose, Calif., Internet auctioneer since March 1998, has been delegating more daily responsibilities to her lieutenants and is completing her succession planning, say people familiar with the matter.
  • In spite of only small growth, eBay Inc.’s apparel and beauty sites led among all Apparel & Beauty category web sites in December, according to Nielsen Online. Several of the top 10 apparel and beauty sites, however, experienced remarkably strong growth.
  • More Americans are spending more time on the web, shopping, e-mailing, participating in online communities and just looking around, according to the seventh annual survey of U.S. Internet activity by the Digital Future Project of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California.
  • It’s not too soon for online merchants to start planning for the 2008 holiday season, and web measurement firm Hitwise says the just-completed holiday rush offers some valuable lessons.
  • Mercent Corp., a provider of software and services that connect e-retailers to e-marketplaces and affiliate networks, has received $6.5 million in financing from a group of investors led by TVC Capital.
  • IP addresses, string of numbers that identify computers on the Internet, should generally be regarded as personal information, the head of the European Union’s group of data privacy regulators said Monday.
  • Hackers literally turned out the lights in multiple cities after breaking into electrical utilities and demanding extortion payments before disrupting the power, a senior CIA analyst told utility engineers at a trade conference.
  • Howard Tong has vacated his position as chief operating officer of U.S. Auto Parts Network. U.S. Auto Parts, No. 81 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, isn’t saying why Tong left the company or who is currently filling the position.
  • Technology company Keynetics Inc. has launched a new subsidiary called Kount to offer fraud protection services to online retailers. Boise, ID-based Keynetics owns several technology companies including Clickbank.
  • Bob LaGarde has returned as CEO of the e-commerce software company he founded, LaGarde Inc. LaGarde turned over the CEO role to Joe Whelan, a former executive of Freightquote.com, in June 2006, while remaining as chairman. Whelan left the company.
  • Panasonic signed a deal with e-commerce solution provider Shopatron allowing it to assign Panasonic.com orders to local retailers for shipment and in-store pickup. According to a statement, the move is expected to help Panasonic to provide faster delivery times and improved customer service.
  • Venture capital investments in the region continued to climb in 2007, as companies drew more funding than at any point since the technology bubble exploded. Venture capitalists invested $1.24 billion in area companies last year, the most since 2001.

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