Top Story: Ebay’s New Format
In the increasingly popular landscape of visually-focused user-friendly websites and applications, EBay made its first major design change in 17 years by announcing a blatantly Pinterest-like layout last Wednesday. In an attempt to monopolize on the Pinterst craze of 2012, eBay announced that it will introduce new browsing and shopping experience where users can “Collect” (see “Pin”) products in “Collections” (“Boards”). You can also “Follow” categories and vendors. EBay takes the design a step further than Pinterest by creating a “Feed” of items that an algorithm determines might be of interest to the user a la Amazon.
Design from Pinterest, functionality from Amazon, and, in case you missed it, a new logo pretty similar to another major online player – guess who?
The new layout makes a lot of sense – Pinterest has been shown to be the top social media referral site for ecommerce. And, creating a more elegant, intuitive process for their 105 million active users is good for business: eBay shares were up 1.2% following the announcement.
Under the Radar: Facebook Comments Now Support Emoticons
Smiley face to that? When it comes to emails and texts (hello, emoji), we’re fans of emoticons. They’re fun, quirky, and private. Meaning we can post an entire stream of silly smilies and cutesy animals and our recipients will likely laugh out loud. But do emoticons belong in the public realm that is Facebook? The social media platform just enabled emoticons for commenting and reactions are mixed.
We’ve been able to send emoticons on Facebook for a while now, via the private chat feature. But never have we had them showing up in our news feed And while you still can’t include emoticons in your status updates, you can leave them all you want in comments. Of course, Facebook doesn’t have quite the selection of emoticons like services such as emoji do, but this will still come in handy for turning your 🙂 into actual smilie faces.
While many Facebook users are excited about this new development, we’ve already spotted tutorials on how users can disable the emoticon option. And we understand why. The emoticon feature could become annoying quickly, especially if more options are added. Not to mention, emoticons could certainly take away from the professionalism of a Facebook business page. Let’s just hope they’re not abused too much. And that Facebook waits a decent amount of time before allowing users to update statuses with emoticons.
Are you excited to start commenting with emoticons or do you wish emoticons would remain for private conversations only?
Tool of the Week: New FoodSmart App Helps Keep Dieters on Track
On October 7th, the free iOS and Android app, FoodSmart, was launched as a platform to help consumers make healthy choices without forfeiting flavor. The app combines the “communal wisdom of food ratings” with nutritional advice to help consumers make healthier decisions while grocery shopping or making something to eat at home.
The health-centric app is designed with bar-code scanning technology that allows users to scan a particular food item that takes them to a screen that provides a summary of the item, Yelp-like review, and a nutritional scale rating based on how much healthier the item is compared to other foods. The app also provides users with suggestions on related products and recommendations to pair with your specified food.
You might be wondering how accurate the information is – well, the creators gathered health data from nutritionists, doctors, and the United States Department of Agriculture’s nutritional database to create an algorithm as a basis for their rating system. There are about 20,000 food and drink items included in the app, and are all rated on a scale of zero – 100 with 100 meaning that the food is healthier than 100% of the foods in the app. Zero might just be that snickers bar hidden in your desk, in which you probably wouldn’t be referring to the app anyways!
The creators have additional plans to make the app very interactive allowing users to rate items and see how other consumers rated each item. Additionally, there are plans to use adaptive learning to create personalized nutrition guides for each user over time – including storing special conditions like diabetes, blood pressure, and food intolerances. Now that part is pretty cool!
Will you be downloading FoodSmart and making a commitment to TRY to eat it better?
Around the Hub: iPhone 5 Release Propels Gazelle Over $35M in Revenue
While most people analyze the impact of the iPhone 5 on Apple, Android, Google and other mobile carriers, there is a whole other industry that loves to see new phone releases; used phone buyers like Boston-based Gazelle.
Whenever a new phone comes out, especially with the iPhone, there is a huge group of consumers looking to quickly unload their current phone for cash, which is where Gazelle has built a very successful business already. And over the last few weeks, with the release of the iPhone 5 they have pushed their yearly revenue over $35 million, up from $8 million in 2009.
Israel Ganot, Gazelle’s co-founder and CEO says “It’s a huge inflection point for us,” and “What’s changing is market adoption of re-commerce, and consumer behavior.” While only 3% of US consumers are believed to use re-commerce sites like Gazelle, there is a good chance a large group of those 3% are early adopters that would purchase the iPhone 5.
If you are looking to upgrade your iPhone 4s 32GB (I used my phone as an example) to the iPhone 5, Gazelle will give you $185 right now, more than half what you need for the new iPhone with an upgrade! Check out what your old devices are worth today!