Sep 17, 2013 at 00:47 o\clock

Facebook kills physical gifts, opening a door for merchants | PCWorld

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The switch makes sense. That sounds like a huge opportunity for an enterprising business (or businesses) that wants to turn the rampant social network into a giant gift shop.
Facebook has abandoned its nascent strategy to sell physical goods via its Facebook Gifts service. Someone serious about becoming Facebook’s #1 purveyor of gifts could easily dominate this space—and probably build a nice app to complement the storefront, too.
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Christopher Null is a veteran technology and business journalist.
Teams of expert overclockers use liquid nitrogen to push gaming rigs to the limit, setting all-new benchmark records. So now’s the time for someone to fix all of the above. The company will be focusing on gift cards as the service moves forward. A single card can carry funds for multiple merchants, but it’s up to the cardholder to remember what’s on it (and God help you if you have multiple cards in your wallet). Or rather, money. Facebook’s gift cards—aka the Facebook Card—still leave a lot to be desired. The good news: You can still check your various card balances online—through Facebook, of course. While the card can be used with a variety of merchants, the card must be loaded with funds specific to that merchant.
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Facebook kills physical gifts, opening a door for merchants | PCWorld
Sep 11, 2013 3:39 PM
More by Christopher Null
It’s unclear why the Facebook Gifts program (tangible or card-based) hasn’t taken off.
All of this sounds like a hassle, and to be sure, Facebook Gifts have historically composed just a few million dollars of the company’s $1.81 billion in annual revenues. Anyone who’s seen pictures of the insides of Amazon’s warehouses know the kind of massive investment in infrastructure that’s required to get a major fulfillment center up and running. Facebook’s gift cards are still physical products, but one has to imagine dealing with shipping little slivers of plastic to Facebook users is far simpler than keeping Gund teddy bears and cases of wine on hand (and more cost-effective than dealing with a fulfillment house). He contributes regularly to PC World and Wired, and is a technology columnist for Executive Travel magazine.
Even if your business has more modest goals, it might make sense to look at your advertising keywords and see if adding a few terms that include the words “gifts” or “presents” makes sense. Perhaps it was the selection, perhaps the complexity, or perhaps the fact that it was buried deep in the bowels of Facebook’s famously convoluted (and ever-changing) UI.
Search Facebook for “gifts” and you’ll find a pathetic collection of barely-trafficked apps and stores. Facebook did not make an official announcement of the change, but reports have noted that 80 percent of the sales on Facebook Gifts were already in the form of gift cards as buyers have all but ignored the tangible stuff. Holiday gifts alone are an estimated $580 billion business each year, and Facebook has never managed to tap into any of it (although Techcrunch breathlessly projected just nine months ago that it could earn up to $1 billion a year on the program). Facebook is increasingly becoming a platform where ecommerce can be readily transacted (though this is often an exercise in waiting and buggy frustration), so why not turn Facebook’s abandonment of gifts into cash?

Sep 16, 2013 at 13:20 o\clock

In Biden's Iowa visit, 2016 in the spotlight

In addition to his unsuccessful bid in 2008, he ran for president in 1988.
"All I can say, folks, is the clown car is filling up pretty rapidly, early in the season," he joked.
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Biden gave the keynote address at Sen. He said his grandmother didn't get to finish school and had to work in the fields.
The vice president has not said whether he'll make a third run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Ted Cruz, with "Governor 'Oops' Perry on his way."

– CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report. He was again unapologetic about speaking out for same-sex marriage last year ahead of the president, saying he "could not remain silent anymore."
A taste of what's to come?
"I can die a happy man never having been president of the United States of America.

"Having known Joe for so many years, it's just hard not to call him Joe. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.
"The measure of the success of our administration will be whether or not the middle class is growing," he said. So, Mr. And I look forward to the moment when Brit Hume on Fox News turns to Bret Baier and says 'Bret, we're calling Iowa's electoral votes for the next president of the United States, the Democratic nominee for president."
In his speech, Castro talked about believing in the "blueprint" laid out by Obama and Biden, especially on health care, and emphasized the importance of education. The longtime senator announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election in 2014, creating an open Senate race in Iowa for the first time in decades.
In Biden’s Iowa visit, 2016 in the spotlight – CNN Political Ticker - CNN.com Blogs
CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Bruce Braley of Iowa, the only announced Democratic candidate for next year's Senate race. "He spent so much time in Iowa, he has friends all over this state," Harkin said. Biden finished a distant fifth in the 2008 Iowa caucuses.

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Vice President Joe Biden greets attendees at the 36th Annual Harkin Steak Fry on September 15, 2013 in Indianola, Iowa. "I'm sure he's an Iowan at heart."
The vice president lauded Harkin, who was holding his annual event for the 36th time. Sen. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)
Biden frequently tied himself closely to the president in his remarks Sunday and emphasized the administration's work, including the health care law, an increase in student Pell grants, and the end of the war in Iraq. He was also scheduled to host a fund-raiser for New Hampshire Gov. Tom Harkin's annual steak fry in Indianola for the first time since he appeared on the same stage in 2007 as a presidential candidate. Braley also has strong support from Harkin.

Saying this was his first real trip to Iowa, Castro said he looked out the window on the plane and took note of the "all of the fields, the green space."
Before Biden took the podium, Harkin pointed to Biden's previous two bids for president and his numerous trips to the Hawkeye State.
Speaking with Iowa reporters on Thursday, Harkin said its way "too early to speculate" about Biden's prospects, but he added "Joe Biden's always had good support among Iowa Democrats."
On Sunday, Harkin said the state has "endured" visits by a crop of potential Republican presidential candidates, including former Sen. But it doesn't mean I won't run," Biden said in a July interview with GQ magazine.
Knowing his trip to Iowa - the first voting state in the presidential primary process - would spark a flurry of 2016 speculation, Biden opened up his remarks with a wink to the press.
"And I thought how proud she would have been that she had been picking crops and her grandson would be here where you guys pick a president of the United States," he said.
Asked about Biden and Clinton, President Barack Obama said it was too early to talk about the next White House race.
According to local reports, Harkin also said Biden "has a long history of working with Iowa Democrats, so I think that he would find - how should I phrase it? - fertile ground in Iowa if he should choose to run."
A contrast in generations
(CNN) - In his closely-watched visit to Iowa, Vice President Joe Biden delivered a campaign-style speech highlighting the Obama administration's accomplishments and painting himself with a fresh coat of the "Middle Class Joe" tint he so enthusiastically embraced in last year's presidential race.
"We are tremendously lucky to have an incredible former secretary of state who couldn't have served me better, and an incredible vice president who couldn't be serving me better," Obama told ABC News in an interview that aired Sunday. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. I don't know why the hell that is," Biden joked. "And I suspect if you asked both of 'em, they'd say, 'It's way premature to start talkin' about 2016'."
Biden in return praised Harkin for his work creating the Americans with Disabilities Act and changing "America's soul" on the issue.
He encouraged Iowans to get out the vote for Rep. Biden worked the rope line, meeting voters and taking photos, for nearly 40 minutes after his speech.
"I look forward to Election Night November 2016, I'll be in San Antonio, I'll probably have the TV on," he said. "You've attracted the entire national press corps here."
Also on the stage Sunday was rising Democratic star Julian Castro, mayor of San Antonio and, like Biden, a potential presidential candidate.
But Biden continues to fan the flames of 2016 speculation when he travels Monday to South Carolina, which holds the first presidential primary in the South. Harkin's Democratic fundraiser is one of the largest in Iowa each year. Rick Santorum, Sen. Rand Paul and Sen. "I look forward to watching CNN and CBS and MSNBC and ABC. Maggie Hassan last month, but had to cancel when his son, Beau, needed to get medically evaluated in a hospital.
If former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decides to run for the White House again, polls indicate she would be considered the Democratic front-runner,with Biden a distant second.
The senator went to great lengths to describe Biden as someone who's "unpretentious" and "approachable," and who understands - down to the "marrow of his bones"– what it means to be middle class.
'In Iowa, you're our friend, Joe'
Harkin said Castro and Biden represented the "new and the seasoned" that are needed in the Democratic Party.
Read more: Joe Biden courts presidential speculation with Iowa trip. Vice President, no disrespect, but to everyone here, to all of here in Iowa, you're our friend, Joe."
But, he said, the president's two terms will most be judged by the health of the middle class.
"It's amazing when you come to speak at the steak fry, a whole lot of people seem to take notice

Sep 15, 2013 at 03:23 o\clock

Obama to mark 5-year anniversary of U.S. financial crisis

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The Democratic president will focus on the positive, discussing progress made and highlighting his prescriptions for boosting job creation amid budget battles expected with Republicans in Congress in the weeks ahead.
The official account of Yahoo! News. financial crisis on Monday in an effort to move back to his domestic agenda after weeks of dealing with Syria.
When Wall Street came to a near collapse in 2008, the resulting economic crisis helped propel then-Democratic presidential nominee Obama to the White House.
He is also expected to urge his Republican opponents in Congress not to threaten to shut down the government over the budget and to support raising the debt limit. government agencies would have to close their doors on October 1 in a replay of politically painful shutdowns during the mid-1990s.

Obama to mark 5-year anniversary of U.S. REUTERS/Jason Reed
A White House official said Obama will deliver remarks in the White House Rose Garden on Monday to mark the fifth anniversary of the financial crisis, which was accelerated on September 15, 2008 when the Lehman Brothers firm filed for bankruptcy protection.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama will mark the five-year anniversary of the U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a cabinet meeting in the West Wing of the White House in Washington, September 12, 2013. 100% feed-free tweets by news fans for news fans! … More »
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Reuters/Reuters - U.S. Without new spending authority, most U.S. financial crisis - Yahoo News
But the economy's slow recovery from the recession has been a difficult challenge for Obama, who in recent weeks has been focused largely on foreign policy in trying to mount an international response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Doina Chiacu)