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Ads | Engage

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Here’s What Social Networks Know About You


http://mashable.com

A read through most online privacy policies is enough to make your stomach acid curdle. And social media companies have more access to personal data than most.
The infographic below, created for Baynote, explains why your web browsing and online interactions have become much more personalized. Are you comfortable with a highly customized experience, knowing it’s your data that’s making the difference?

Thumbnail image courtesy of Flickr, William Warby / feastoffun.com.

Some collect information you expressly give them, like your credit card and telephone numbers. Others gather data based on how and where you use their services. This might include anything from device and browser information to location intel. And some of it gets really specific — think about your last search query or ad click. It’s probably all “fair” game. Leer más “Here’s What Social Networks Know About You”

Mobile payments | 3wƒactory.com.ar


See on Scoop.ithuman being in – perfección

by 3Wfactory.com.ar.

Editor’s note: Bill Ready is CEO of Braintree, an online and mobile payments provider.

Every day there is a new headline about mobile payments focused on using a mobile phone to pay at retail locations. Paypal, Google and other industry giants are racing to provide new in-store mobile payment solutions. Large merchants, such as Wal-mart and Target have contemplated their own mobile payment solutions. The debate about whether NFC will be the preferred technology to enable mobile payments rages. However, despite all this press and efforts by industry giants, there is stunningly little traction to use a mobile device to pay at retail locations. This is largely because the solutions offered by industry giants thus far don’t solve a meaningful problem in the daily lives of consumers or merchants. Few things in life are easier for consumers than swiping a credit card at checkout and in-store payment systems are as easy and ubiquitous as dial-tone for merchants.

However, There is a massive mobile commerce opportunity that is a severe pain point for both consumers and merchants, but large industry players are failing to meaningfully address it. That opportunity is e-commerce on the mobile device or m-commerce. M-commerce is ramping up, proving that consumers not only like to shop via their mobile device, but also will purchase. However, the numbers also show that there’s significant room for improvement in the mobile device purchasing experience – mainly through optimizing the shopping and payment processes for consumers.

Online holiday shopping in 2011 showed substantial growth in mobile shopping activity, with both traffic and sales on mobile devices more than doubling their volume over the same period a year earlier, according to research from IBM. During the holiday shopping season, 14.6 percent of all online sessions on a retailer’s site were initiated from a mobile device (up from 5.6 percent the year before), and sales from mobile devices reached 11 percent versus 5.5 percent in December 2010. Clearly, more consumers are becoming comfortable shopping and buying from retailer web sites using their smartphones. Leer más “Mobile payments | 3wƒactory.com.ar”

Selling Digital Goods Online: E-Commerce Services Compared | Smashing Magazine

There’s a realization that every freelance designer must go through at some point: client work isn’t enough to ensure your long-term financial security. What if you get sick? What if you can’t find clients? What if you want to take a vacation?

One possible answer to this problem is earning passive income — i.e. selling products or services instead of selling your own time. A common way to do this is to sell digital goods such as eBooks, PSD templates, WordPress themes, icons, and so on. But how exactly should you sell them?

Although there are lots of marketplaces for selling digital goods, they often take a big cut of the profits. What’s more, they don’t let you customize the sales page, or let you use your own brand. This is where digital goods services come in. These services only take care of the payment, file storage, and download, and let you do the rest. This means you can easily sell your products from your own website, or through social networks.


Via Scoop.ithuman being in – perfección

There’s a realization that every freelance designer must go through at some point: client work isn’t enough to ensure your long-term financial security. What if you get sick? What if you can’t find clients? What if you want to take a vacation?

One possible answer to this problem is earning passive income — i.e. selling products or services instead of selling your own time. A common way to do this is to sell digital goods such as eBooks, PSD templates, WordPress themes, icons, and so on. But how exactly should you sell them?

Although there are lots of marketplaces for selling digital goods, they often take a big cut of the profits. What’s more, they don’t let you customize the sales page, or let you use your own brand. This is where digital goods services come in. These services only take care of the payment, file storage, and download, and let you do the rest. This means you can easily sell your products from your own website, or through social networks.

I recently wrote an eBook about UI design and needed to find a way to sell it, so I compared five such services: Quixly, FetchApp, Pulley, E-junkie, and Gumroad. I’ll tell you which one I picked at the end… but in the meantime, here are the results of my research.

[Note: Have you already pre-ordered your copy of our Printed Smashing Book #3? The book is a professional guide on how to redesign websites and it also introduces a whole new mindset for progressive Web design, written by experts for you.] Leer más “Selling Digital Goods Online: E-Commerce Services Compared | Smashing Magazine”

Addicted to Data

Complaining about junk mail is hardly novel. But “Junk Mail Thinking” is not limited to credit card offers. Junk mail thinking is metric-oriented thinking, and it pervades the business world, stemming from an almost religious devotion to measurement. An entire generation of managers has been brought up in the Church of Measurement, whose catechism is: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” It seems like an innocent enough idea. But as uncontroversial as it sounds, a dogmatic devotion to measurement can create problems. Those problems begin with a few simple truths:

Some things are easier to measure than others. It is easy to measure how many people respond to a credit card offer. It is much harder to measure the cumulative frustration that these tactics inspire among the thousands who don’t respond. But, the fact that something is hard to measure doesn’t mean that it isn’t real. Unfortunately, we tend to fall back on things that are easy to measure over taking on an initiative that might bring real value to users. And since nothing is easier to measure than income, it’s no wonder that customers of measurement-centric companies end up feeling “nickel and dimed.” But financial focus isn’t the only flaw in the measurement mindset.


 How an Obsession With Measuring Can Hurt Businesses


Here’s one thing I love about plumbers: whenever I hire one, they stick to the plumbing. Not once has a plumber fixed my kitchen sink, only to follow up with a credit card offer. No teaser rates, no plumber points, no “convenience checks.” Not even a customer satisfaction survey. They simply do their job and collect their fee. It makes me wish dealing with larger companies were that simple.

Take for example the pre-authorized credit card offers that incessantly arrive in the mail. Every weekend, I spend a few minutes opening, shredding, and recycling the week’s accumulated offers. This routine is especially galling because many of the offers come from companies I have a relationship with. As with the plumber, I hire these companies to do a job for me (one that has nothing to do with credit cards). But unlike the plumber, these companies don’t seem to understand their role in my life.

Most of us call these unsolicited offers “junk mail.” The industry prefers the euphemism “direct mail.” Within marketing circles, this kind of tactic is known for being highly measurable. Outside of marketing, it is known for being highly annoying. (I’d suggest that these two attributes are not mutually exclusive.) Leer más “Addicted to Data”

Online Checkout Evolves — Pay by Holding Your Credit Card Up to Your Webcam

“Daniel and the Jumio team understand the challenges facing online merchants when it comes to battling credit card and identity fraud because they’re dyed-in-the-wool entrepreneurs themselves and they have encountered the problems that Jumio aims to solve,” said Scott Weiss, general partner of Andreessen Horowitz and Jumio’s new board member in a statement. “Jumio’s technology is a huge leap forward for online payments with potential to transform even more industries.”

In the real world, identity verification is limited to high-security and age-restricted areas. Most people are willing to flash a driver’s license to have a drink at a bar or to settle their tab, but if a department store tried carding people at the door, that might be a problem. How would this play out on a social media site? Spammers on Facebook are too mild of an inconvenience to warrant showing ID just to set up an account, and no one wants to be caught using their real names on Match. But things might change where money is involved.


http://socialtimes.com
By Devon Glenn | Editorial Gabriel Catalano

The Internet will need to see some ID, please. Online payment company Jumiohas announced the launch of Netverify: an image recognition technology that allows merchants to remotely scan credit cards and IDs with a webcam or phone.

To use Netverify, shoppers hold up a credit card and a driver’s license to their cameras to verify their identification as they’re checking out. This online equivalent of asking a customer to show ID at the checkout stand is designed to help eliminate credit card fraud, and although the application can recognize and verify an image, no data is stored on the computer.

With less hardware than a traditional credit card swiper – and an even more mobile platform than a plug-in device like Square – Netverify can make an online transaction just as personal as a point of sale, but less expensive for the merchants.

A curious case in Latin America


Argentine innovative payment system
e-mango | SmartMoney

It is a complementary product to the ¨ Plastics (cards) ¨, do not compete with them.
Innovate by using QR and mobile (smart or not) using the internet and cloud to transact.

 

What will this mean for the social media industry? While Jumio hasn’t announced any social applications for this technology, the company already has some very social backers, like Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook; and Peng T. Ong, founder of Match.com. The company just raised $25.5 million in a round of Series B funding led by Andreessen Horowitz, another supporter of social media startups. Leer más “Online Checkout Evolves — Pay by Holding Your Credit Card Up to Your Webcam”

40 Checkout Page Strategies to Improve Conversion Rates

To many website owners, shopping cart abandonment and conversion rate drops on a checkout page may seem to be a bitter fact of e-commerce life. But it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, you can increase conversion rates on your checkout page by helping to give your shopper everything they need to make an informed, confident decision. Print out this helpful checklist and use it to optimize your checkout page for higher conversion rates.
Design and Layout

This is where much of the buyer’s decision to buy or not buy will rest – at first. Best shopping cart design practices will factor in here, such as ample use of whitespace, clear delineation of different steps in the order process, and these vital checkout-boosting points:

1. Give users a visual checkout process – while it’s ideal if you can fit everything onto one page, plenty of conversion studies have shown that the less clicks to checkout there are, the higher your conversion rate will be. If you need to spread things out across multiple pages, give the shopper a visual indicator of how far they’ve progressed.


http://blog.kissmetrics.com

To many website owners, shopping cart abandonment and conversion rate drops on a checkout page may seem to be a bitter fact of e-commerce life.  But it doesn’t have to be that way.  In fact, you can increase conversion rates on your checkout page by helping to give your shopper everything they need to make an informed, confident decision.  Print out this helpful checklist and use it to optimize your checkout page for higher conversion rates.

Design and Layout

This is where much of the buyer’s decision to buy or not buy will rest – at first.  Best shopping cart design practices will factor in here, such as ample use of whitespace, clear delineation of different steps in the order process, and these vital checkout-boosting points:

1. Give users a visual checkout process – while it’s ideal if you can fit everything onto one page, plenty of conversion studies have shown that the less clicks to checkout there are, the higher your conversion rate will be.  If you need to spread things out across multiple pages, give the shopper a visual indicator of how far they’ve progressed.

2. Add checkout buttons to the top and bottom of the page – The less time that customers have to spend looking for them, the sooner they’ll take action

3. Include credit card logos and security seals – Let shoppers know your site is a secure, trusted place to do business.  Popular security seals include Verisign and BizRate.

4. Give users the option to continue shopping from the checkout page – They may have forgotten something, and there’s nothing worse than hitting the back button and finding that all your cart details have vanished.

5. Differentiate checkout/continue shopping button colors – If you have these two buttons side by side, consider changing the color of one of them to make it visually separate from the others and lessen the chance that the user will click the wrong one.  Add plenty of space in between them so there’s no mistaking where the user clicked.

6. Give visitors the option to create an account AFTER checking out – There’s nothing more aggravating than being presented with the “Register to Create an Account!” popup first before you can complete your order.  Removing it caused one online retailer’s sales to increase by $300 million!  People will gladly give their contact information in order to track their purchase after the order rather than stopping to fill everything in beforehand.

Amazon.com usability

Everyone’s favorite usability study, Amazon.com has pre-checkout down to a fine art.  This cart page includes details on the item added, a financing offer, free shipping, protection plan and related accessories on one page. Leer más “40 Checkout Page Strategies to Improve Conversion Rates”

Can PayPal Micro Payments Save Newspapers And Other Content Producers?

I used to read The Times every single day of the week. I loved their sports coverage and it was my “go to” newspaper. Then the pay wall went up and I stopped reading. I didn’t stop reading because they were asking me to pay but I stopped because I really couldn’t be bothered adding in my credit card details and going through the sign up process. What the Times needed to get in order to get my custom was a one click solution that allowed me to make a micro payment without even thinking about it. It looks like Paypal could be about to launch that very system with word that the payment giant is about to have a stab at the micro payment market. I wanted to have a look at just how effective micropayments could be and if they could possibly help some of the struggling newspapers and content producers out there who are all scrambling around for a business model.
Reducing The Friction

Nobody wants to pay for content online because the friction of getting your credit card out is just too painful and time consuming. With a new solution where you pre-load you Paypal account and just click a button without evening thinking about it I think the chances of people paying for content increase massively. I still check the headlines every day on The Times but I don’t go in because of the friction but if I saw something that caught my eye at simply had to make a payment of a couple of cents then that is something that I might just do.


Screen shot 2010 10 07 at 20.21.57 Can PayPal Micro Payments Save Newspapers And Other Content Producers?I used to read The Times every single day of the week. I loved their sports coverage and it was my “go to” newspaper. Then the pay wall went up and I stopped reading. I didn’t stop reading because they were asking me to pay but I stopped because I really couldn’t be bothered adding in my credit card details and going through the sign up process. What the Times needed to get in order to get my custom was a one click solution that allowed me to make a micro payment without even thinking about it. It looks like Paypal could be about to launch that very system with word that the payment giant is about to have a stab at the micro payment market. I wanted to have a look at just how effective micropayments could be and if they could possibly help some of the struggling newspapers and content producers out there who are all scrambling around for a business model.

Reducing The Friction

Nobody wants to pay for content online because the friction of getting your credit card out is just too painful and time consuming. With a new solution where you pre-load you Paypal account and just click a button without evening thinking about it I think the chances of people paying for content increase massively. I still check the headlines every day on The Times but I don’t go in because of the friction but if I saw something that caught my eye at simply had to make a payment of a couple of cents then that is something that I might just do.

Screen shot 2010 10 07 at 20.25.10 Can PayPal Micro Payments Save Newspapers And Other Content Producers?

Freemium Model

For this to work really well I think publishers will still have to give away a significant amount of their content for free. I can only really see people paying tiny amounts for the really special content that they can’t find elsewhere. Maybe a special live streamed show or a expert analysis from well known journalists. To make this business model really work publishers need to attract large volumes of people and then convert a small percentage of them in to revenue by enticing them to click through to the really good content via micro payments. Leer más “Can PayPal Micro Payments Save Newspapers And Other Content Producers?”

EE.UU.: demandan a American Express por “prácticas anticompetitivas”

“Defenderemos los derechos de nuestros tenedores de tarjetas en el punto de venta y nuestra capacidad para negociar libremente con los comerciantes”, dijo en un comunicado Kenneth Chenault, presidente ejecutivo de American Express.

Tras conocerse la noticia, las acciones de la compañía cayeron un 6,5% en la bolsa de Nueva York.

Según las autoridades estadounidenses, American Express, Visa y MasterCard tuvieron ingresos de US$35.000 gracias a los cargos que cobran a los comerciantes cada vez que un cliente paga con sus tarjetas de crédito o débito.

El año pasado, el gobierno de EE.UU. sacó adelante una ley que le pone nuevas restricciones a las tarjetas de crédito.

Según explicó el corresponsal de BBC Mundo en Washington, Carlos Chirinos, entre los objetivos de la llamada “Ley de los Derechos de Usuarios de Tarjetas de Crédito” se encuentra el frenar los aumentos desmedidos en los intereses y los cargos ocultos en las tarjetas.


Redacción | BBC Mundo

Logotipo de American ExpressLos responsables de American Express dijeron que no tienen intención “de conciliar el caso”.

El Departamento de Justicia de Estados Unidos demandó a American Express por lo que considera prácticas anticompetitivas de la compañía con los comerciantes que utilizan sus tarjetas de crédito.

Según las autoridades estadounidenses, las reglas de American Express evitan que los comerciantes alienten a los consumidores a usar tarjetas de crédito rivales más baratas.

“Con la demanda de hoy enviamos un mensaje claro”, dijo en una conferencia de prensa el secretario de Justicia, Eric Holder.

“Queremos poner más dinero en los bolsillos de los competidores y, eliminando las reglas de las compañías de tarjeta de crédito que impiden la competencia, eso es lo que lograremos”, añadió.

En un principio, el Departamento de Justicia también demandó a Visa y MasterCard, aunque finalmente ambas compañías llegaron a un acuerdo con las autoridades y decidieron permitir a los comerciantes ofrecer descuentos a los consumidores que usen de tarjetas de crédito y débito más baratas.

Pero los responsables de American Express dijeron que no tienen intención “de conciliar el caso”. Leer más “EE.UU.: demandan a American Express por “prácticas anticompetitivas””

Airbnb.com: Necessity Begets Creativity

How was Airbnb born?
I had just quit my job in LA and drove up to San Francisco to live with a friend from RISD [Rhode Island School of Design], Joe Gebbia. I got there, and we basically realized that our rent was more money than we had in our bank accounts. You know, out of necessity, you sometimes become very, very creative. Well, this is one of those cases. We were basically aspiring entrepreneurs, we knew that we wanted to start a company doing something, but we didn’t know what.

It turned out that that first weekend I came to San Francisco, there was this international design conference happening, the IDSA. On the conference website, all the hotels were sold out. Joe and I were talking, and we came up with the idea of having a designer bed and breakfast. The idea is that we can just house the designers, get to meet them, and make money to pay our rent. I didn’t have any furniture, but we had an air bed in the closet.

We ended up hosting three people. The fact that they were from totally different demographics and from all over the world was the thing that made us start to realize that maybe there was a new idea here. What’s funny is that even after that first week, it still wasn’t clear that Air Bed and Breakfast was going to be the business. We were still brainstorming business ideas. It wasn’t until about six months later, when we launched the website, that we were really committed to the idea of it.

We were aspiring entrepreneurs, we knew that we wanted to start a company doing something, but we didn’t know what.

How has Airbnb evolved since the “air beds for conferences” days?
As we started growing, it became clear that people wanted more than just Air Beds. They wanted houses, they wanted just space, in the abstract sense. They didn’t just want space for events, they wanted space for vacation, for business trips. We started thinking, why limit it?

So it all started with just sharing, well, living rooms. Then it went to bedrooms, then it went to entire homes and apartments. From there, it started going to all sorts of other spaces, like castles, tepee houses, boats, igloos, anything. And that’s where it’s moving towards today. We really think of ourselves as a marketplace now for space.

The people out there renting rooms have driven many of the changes you’ve made to the Airbnb concept. What are they asking for now?
People are requesting two things from us. People are requesting that they can book or rent out different types of spaces, and they’re requesting that they can rent them out for a larger window of time. They’d love to rent out their bike, their parking space, their car. They want to be able to rent out a hot air balloon, a pool, things you could never imagine.

You have a background in industrial design. How does that play into your work now?
I think that industrial design is all about user experience. You become a user, you become your own guinea pig, you learn to observe the world. It’s important that you put yourself in the shoes of the user and really use the product. I literally live in Airbnb. I gave up my apartment and only live in spaces found on Airbnb. The original reason I did it was because we needed space; we turned the bedroom into a meeting room. It’s meant to be a short-term thing, because I needed a place to go. And then I decided, you know, this is actually an industrial designer’s dream.

In other words, if you were designing medical equipment, you would want to be in an operating room, observing. You wouldn’t just want to be looking at data at all. And that’s the thing that we think about. We think about user experience. Put ourselves in the shoes of the user, and we view the decisions coming from a design-oriented philosophy.

Tell me about your experience living only in Airbnb rooms. How long has this been going on?
It’s been going on for three months so far, and I change spaces about every five nights. It’s been amazing. I’ve stayed in very unique spaces, very social environments. I’ve stayed with one of the top air guitarists in San Francisco, also a guy who is the #2 ranked Ski-Ball champion in the US. I stayed at one architect’s house; he designed his own house, and it was a beautifully furnished, a very open and modern eco-friendly planned space.

Originally, I told everyone I was going to do this for the summer. Then I said, what the hell, I’m going to take it all the way through 2010. I do have a personal goal, which is to do it until I’m 30. I’m 29 now, so for another year.

As an industrial designer, you just have to consume it, you have to live it. I think what I’m doing is slightly extreme, kind of pushing the boundaries, but I actually think that it’s the future of how a generation of people will live and travel.

What benefits has the experience had for your business?
Understanding nuances and learning how to empathize with our users. Also, improving the UX of site.

As an industrial designer, you just have to consume it, you have to live it.

How has your team grown since you guys set up shop in your apartment?
We have close to 20 people working in the office. The culture has a very laid back and fun, informal environment. We’re always sharing ideas and running around; it’s super high energy. We try to give people a lot of autonomy to do their own thing, so they can champion their own ideas. As long as they communicate their vision for our goals and what we’re trying to accomplish, it’s just a matter of then giving people the autonomy to pursue what they think their contribution to the company can be.


Three years ago, Brian Chesky had just arrived in San Francisco with not much more than a memory foam mattress and a dwindling bank account. He had two problems: no job, and no money to make rent. Today, Chesky lives exclusively in mansions, tepees, apartments, and castles. In short, anything he can find listed on the “marketplace for space” otherwise known as Air Bed & Breakfast, which he created with co-founder Joe Gebbia. Not coincidentally, Airbnb came about when the lives of its two co-founders, as well as the American economy, were at a crossroads. The way Americans conceptualized vacation was changing, and the idea of “renting from real people” emerged to fill a gaping void between hotel stays and budget travel. With Airbnb, vacation doesn’t have to be a financial extravagance (although it certainly can be, as Airbnb’s offerings extend to spaces that would make The Four Seasons look like a hostel).

Whether it’s a spare couch in a studio apartment or a vacant house by the beach, individuals around the world are making money by letting strangers into their homes, and anyone with a computer and a credit card suddenly has access to a space and a culture that they might otherwise never experience.

We caught up with Chesky one morning after he arrived at the office, coming straight from the Airbnb listing in San Francisco that he called home for the previous week. He spoke about his Industrial Design background, becoming a user experience guru, and the future of work, life, and travel.
Leer más “Airbnb.com: Necessity Begets Creativity”

Facebook is becoming real life

I’ve covered a few articles on the blog that show how Facebook is moving out of the confines of a typical social network and becoming more and more integrated with other parts of our lives. Delta Airlines turned it into a booking engine, Coca Cola took it into amusement marks with real-world Likes and we’re starting to see many other examples that show how the site is growing at an alarming pace and steadily diversifying. The latest addition comes from Target, who are introducing Facebook Credit gift cards into their stores.


Author of Facebook is becoming real lifeby Lauren Fisher

I’ve covered a few articles on the blog that show how Facebook is moving out of the confines of a typical social network and becoming more and more integrated with other parts of our lives. Delta Airlines turned it into a booking engine,  Coca Cola took it into amusement marks with real-world Likes and we’re starting to see many other examples that show how the site is growing at an alarming pace and steadily diversifying. The latest addition comes from Target, who are introducing Facebook Credit gift cards into their stores.

facebook gift cards Facebook is becoming real life

This is Facebook’s first foray into the retail world and it’s an important one. While the concept may not be all that new – we’ve had iTunes gift cards for a few years now – this has important implications for the way we consume our social content. While the iTunes card leads to one site and one purchase, the potential for Facebook gift cards is phenomenal.

The area of online purchases through games and social objects is ready to hit the mainstream and Facebook have just made this a little bit easier. By providing a physical purchase point they tap into common behaviour – purchasing a gift card – but use this for something completely new. I think it’s absolutely genius  and brings us one step closer to a unified shopping experience, where your real and virtual currency are no longer separated.

Leer más “Facebook is becoming real life”

Should You Charge Customers Late Fees?

When it comes to getting customers to pay on time, business owners typically use two approaches — carrots and sticks. Pay your bill early and you get a nice discount. Pay your bill late and you get smacked with a late fee.

The trouble is that neither of these solutions does the job it’s intended to do. Quick payers who’d pay on time anyway often take advantage of early-payer discounts, cutting into your company’s profit margin. Slow payers — often cash-strapped consumers or small business owners themselves — don’t have the money to pay late fees and may not pay you at all.

What’s the answer? Scrap this ineffective system of rewards and punishments and try to figure out why your customers are paying late and what you can do to make them pay you faster.


When it comes to getting customers to pay on time, business owners typically use two approaches — carrots and sticks. Pay your bill early and you get a nice discount. Pay your bill late and you get smacked with a late fee.

The trouble is that neither of these solutions does the job it’s intended to do. Quick payers who’d pay on time anyway often take advantage of early-payer discounts, cutting into your company’s profit margin. Slow payers — often cash-strapped consumers or small business owners themselves — don’t have the money to pay late fees and may not pay you at all.

What’s the answer? Scrap this ineffective system of rewards and punishments and try to figure out why your customers are paying late and what you can do to make them pay you faster.

For example, let’s see… Leer más “Should You Charge Customers Late Fees?”

Designing and Producing Creative Business Cards: Techniques and Details

No one knows more about the techniques and materials available—and new ones come out all the time. Generally, printers are more than happy to give you all the industry news and advise you on techniques and materials. (If yours isn’t, you might want to look for a new printer.) If you learn a little about how they operate, they will appreciate it and be even more willing to help.
Size

While this article focuses on custom shapes and sizes, keep in mind standard sizes, too. Card holders are made to fit standard size cards, and I have often heard comments like, “If a business card doesn’t fit in my wallet, I don’t care how beautiful it is, it’s going in the trash.”

The standard sizes are 3.5 x 2 inches in the US and Canada, 85 x 55 mm in the European Union and 90 x 55 mm in Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia. Or you could use a standard credit card as a reference, which about 85 x 54 mm or 3.34 x 2.25 inches.

Unless you have some other use for your cards in mind (for example, a bookstore’s card that doubles as a bookmark), you’ll want to stay within those dimensions. Smaller is okay, but anything too big won’t fit in most pockets, so consider going bigger only if you have reason to believe your cards will not be stored in wallets or holders.

Do you have the perfect idea but don’t know what to do with it? Maybe you’ve heard about die-cutting, varnishes, metallic inks, letterpressing and special materials but are unsure what they are exactly or which one is for you? Let’s jump into the different techniques!
Die-Cutting

Any card (or any printed material for that matter) that isn’t a standard rectangle or that has holes in it is created by a technique known as die-cutting. A metal template is prepared and is used to cut the paper in the given shape. The easiest way to think about this is to picture a giant hole-puncher, except that the holes are not necessarily round, but rather whatever shape you want them to be.

This means that, in addition to the artwork, you will need to provide the printer with a custom shape to “punch out” your cards.

The result can be as simple a round hole in the center of your card or as complex as a three-dimensional pop-out.


Plenty of creative business card showcases are available out there. Many of these are beautifully done and well thought out, and they serve as inspiration for those who would like their business card to be more than the standard rectangular piece of paper. Yet little explanation accompanies these examples, and figuring out just how to bring your idea to life can be overwhelming, to say the least. This guide is meant to help you decide which technique is right for you, how to correctly prepare the files and what to look for in a printer.

General Advice

Content Goes First

I never tire of repeating this to anyone who will listen. Don’t base your business card design on the fact that your printer has a special limited-time offer on round corners or metallic inks.

Think in terms of what the design will add to your message. Tempted to use rounded corners just because the cool kids are doing it? Maybe your card would stand out more by not using this technique.

Why do you want metallic ink? Do you think your name would really stand out in gold, even though your message is all about technology and recent code developments? You may want to rethink that. Or do you sell hand-crafted jewelry and want a design that reflects your latest silver creation? Then the silver ink might be the perfect solution for you after all.

The back of a business card is often ignored, but it can be a great place for extras that make your card even more memorable. Make it relevant to what you do, and make it useful if you can. You could include tips or a quick how-to guide relevant to your product, offer a free consultation, add a reminder for a date when you will offer discounts, or invite loyal customers to collect a stamp every time they purchase from you. Think of something that would make them want to hang onto your business card and consult it often. If you think the back should be reserved for note-taking, why not mark a few dotted lines, titled “Notes,” rather than leave it blank?

Talk to Your Printer

No one knows more about the techniques and materials available—and new ones come out all the time. Generally, printers are more than happy to give you all the industry news and advise you on techniques and materials. (If yours isn’t, you might want to look for a new printer.) If you learn a little about how they operate, they will appreciate it and be even more willing to help.

Size

While this article focuses on custom shapes and sizes, keep in mind standard sizes, too. Card holders are made to fit standard size cards, and I have often heard comments like, “If a business card doesn’t fit in my wallet, I don’t care how beautiful it is, it’s going in the trash.”

The standard sizes are 3.5 x 2 inches in the US and Canada, 85 x 55 mm in the European Union and 90 x 55 mm in Australia, New Zealand and Scandinavia. Or you could use a standard credit card as a reference, which about 85 x 54 mm or 3.34 x 2.25 inches.

Unless you have some other use for your cards in mind (for example, a bookstore’s card that doubles as a bookmark), you’ll want to stay within those dimensions. Smaller is okay, but anything too big won’t fit in most pockets, so consider going bigger only if you have reason to believe your cards will not be stored in wallets or holders.

Do you have the perfect idea but don’t know what to do with it? Maybe you’ve heard about die-cutting, varnishes, metallic inks, letterpressing and special materials but are unsure what they are exactly or which one is for you? Let’s jump into the different techniques!

Die-Cutting

Any card (or any printed material for that matter) that isn’t a standard rectangle or that has holes in it is created by a technique known as die-cutting. A metal template is prepared and is used to cut the paper in the given shape. The easiest way to think about this is to picture a giant hole-puncher, except that the holes are not necessarily round, but rather whatever shape you want them to be.

This means that, in addition to the artwork, you will need to provide the printer with a custom shape to “punch out” your cards.

The result can be as simple a round hole in the center of your card or as complex as a three-dimensional pop-out.

Optimum in Designing and Producing Creative Business Cards: Techniques and Details
This simple and effective design makes use of the round hole on both sides of the card.

Bizcards03 in Designing and Producing Creative Business Cards: Techniques and Details
This card takes the shape of the product. Instant recognition!

Leer más “Designing and Producing Creative Business Cards: Techniques and Details”

12 Ways the Tech Industry Is Screwing You (and How to Fight Back)

You can’t install the apps you want on your smartphone. You can’t play the movies you bought on your PC. You can’t even walk into a store without getting upsold, enrolled, restocked, and recalled. Welcome to the world of tech in 2010, where your phone doesn’t work–and companies tell you that “you’re holding it wrong.”

Just because you venture into the tech marketplace with a credit card in your hand doesn’t mean you deserve to get screwed. Check out these 12 ways that the tech industry is pulling a fast one on you–and learn how to fight back.
Ridiculous Restocking Fees

Bought a laptop and realized it wasn’t for you? No problem, you can return it within 30 days–that’ll be $150, please.

Restocking fees are an easy way for vendors to make a tidy profit from a consumer’s buying misstep. The rationale for such fees may be to discourage cheapskates who have no intention of keeping a device from buying it, using it for a short time–say, for the length of a vacation–and then returning it; but the practical result is that you can get slapped with a fee ranging from 10 percent to 25 percent of the purchase price just for the privilege of returning a gadget you’re not happy with.

For example, Best Buy charges 10 percent for iPhone returns; 15 percent for opened laptops, projectors, digital cameras/camcorders, and GPS systems; and 25 percent for any special-ordered item. Amazon.com, Sears, and Newegg all charge a 15 percent restocking fee for computers and electronics, though each vendor’s specific rules vary–for example, Sears charges only if the returned item doesn’t include the original packaging, whereas Newegg dings you for anything you return after opening it.

Take the restocking fees into consideration before you buy. It’s illegal in some states to charge a restocking fee without notifying you in advance, but the notification could be buried in the return policy on the back of your receipt, so ask a salesperson before you swipe your credit card. You might discover that the $5 you save by buying a product from a particular vendor could be negated by the $50 it charges as a restocking fee. Buying a gift? Get a gift card if there’s any chance that the recipient might want to return the item you’re tempted to choose.


Whether you seek out cutting-edge tech gear or keep to a strict budget, the tech industry has ways to nickel-and-dime you out of your hard-earned cash. Here’s how to fight back.

Patrick Miller, PC World

You can’t install the apps you want on your smartphone. You can’t play the movies you bought on your PC. You can’t even walk into a store without getting upsold, enrolled, restocked, and recalled. Welcome to the world of tech in 2010, where your phone doesn’t work–and companies tell you that “you’re holding it wrong.”

Just because you venture into the tech marketplace with a credit card in your hand doesn’t mean you deserve to get screwed. Check out these 12 ways that the tech industry is pulling a fast one on you–and learn how to fight back.

Ridiculous Restocking Fees

Bought a laptop and realized it wasn’t for you? No problem, you can return it within 30 days–that’ll be $150, please.

Restocking fees are an easy way for vendors to make a tidy profit from a consumer’s buying misstep. The rationale for such fees may be to discourage cheapskates who have no intention of keeping a device from buying it, using it for a short time–say, for the length of a vacation–and then returning it; but the practical result is that you can get slapped with a fee ranging from 10 percent to 25 percent of the purchase price just for the privilege of returning a gadget you’re not happy with.

For example, Best Buy charges 10 percent for iPhone returns; 15 percent for opened laptops, projectors, digital cameras/camcorders, and GPS systems; and 25 percent for any special-ordered item. Amazon.com, Sears, and Newegg all charge a 15 percent restocking fee for computers and electronics, though each vendor’s specific rules vary–for example, Sears charges only if the returned item doesn’t include the original packaging, whereas Newegg dings you for anything you return after opening it.

Take the restocking fees into consideration before you buy. It’s illegal in some states to charge a restocking fee without notifying you in advance, but the notification could be buried in the return policy on the back of your receipt, so ask a salesperson before you swipe your credit card. You might discover that the $5 you save by buying a product from a particular vendor could be negated by the $50 it charges as a restocking fee. Buying a gift? Get a gift card if there’s any chance that the recipient might want to return the item you’re tempted to choose. Leer más “12 Ways the Tech Industry Is Screwing You (and How to Fight Back)”

Your Smartphone Will Soon Double as Your Wallet

The race is on to transform your smartphone into your wallet.

The Japanese call it osaifu keitai (cell-phone wallet). Flash your phone virtually anywhere you go for almost any purchase and it’s automatically logged into a digital expense report. Eat frequently at McDonald’s? Tap your phone to pay and your all-in-one debit card/receipt tracker/loyalty program may instantly offer you 10% off.

Today, if you want to enjoy these benefits, you have to go to Japan. But after years of talk, wireless carriers, banks, startups, and handset makers are now actively working to transform Americans’ cell phones into mobile wallets. The goal: to snag a share of the processing fees associated with the $3.2 trillion in annual retail credit-card charges, and to turn the $1.2 trillion in cash and check spending into digital transactions.


By: Dan Macsai

Wallet, over filled, credit cards, receiptPhotograph by Sue Tallon

The race is on to transform your smartphone into your wallet.

The Japanese call it osaifu keitai (cell-phone wallet). Flash your phone virtually anywhere you go for almost any purchase and it’s automatically logged into a digital expense report. Eat frequently at McDonald’s? Tap your phone to pay and your all-in-one debit card/receipt tracker/loyalty program may instantly offer you 10% off.

Today, if you want to enjoy these benefits, you have to go to Japan. But after years of talk, wireless carriers, banks, startups, and handset makers are now actively working to transform Americans’ cell phones into mobile wallets. The goal: to snag a share of the processing fees associated with the $3.2 trillion in annual retail credit-card charges, and to turn the $1.2 trillion in cash and check spending into digital transactions. Leer más “Your Smartphone Will Soon Double as Your Wallet”