NEWS
2010-12-07
Sellers on sites like Ebay, Half.com and Etsy who earn more than $20,000 or process more than 200 transactions per year will need to file the 1099-K form with their taxes next year.

Starting on January 1, many U.S.-based businesses and individuals who sell products on third party Websites are going to need to file a new form with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Sellers on sites like Ebay, Half.com and Etsy who earn more than $20,000 or process more than 200 transactions per year will need to file the 1099-K form with their taxes next year.

This new regulation was finalized by the IRS earlier this year in an effort to get more online retailers to report their earnings. Even though Americans are supposed to report all of their earnings to the IRS, it's not uncommon for those selling products online to keep their earnings under the radar.

Third party merchant sites are going to be asking their users to provide their Taxpayer Identification Numbers (TIN) or Social Security numbers. Some, like Ebay and its subsidaries, will be generating 1099-K forms for their users to make filing easier.

In an email sent to customers today, Ebay's Half.com warned:

If you don't provide us with your TIN/SSN before you meet the thresholds, payments to your account could be frozen, we may be required to withhold taxes from your payments, your listings could be removed, and your ability to sell on Half.com could be suspended, in addition to other consequences.

Sellers who wish to avoid giving out the TIN or SSN can apply for a Employer ID Number (EIN) onIRS.gov.

 

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2010-12-07
Cyber Monday Sales Resulted in Smart Spending
Yesterday, while shoppers were clogging the internet with holiday transaction, reporters at CNN were waxing on about how Cyber Monday is a myth. More to the point, they said it was a marketing ploy (gasp!) and is erroneously labeled “the biggest online shopping day of the year.”

It might not turn out to be the biggest day, but retailers aren’t complaining this morning after seeing a 19.4% increase over last year. The numbers come fromCoremetrics, an IBM Company’s third annual Cyber Monday Benchmark Report and here’s how it adds up.

Cyber Monday 2010 Compared to Black Friday 2010

  • Consumer Spending Increases:Online sales were up 31.1 percent, with consumers pushing the average order value (AOV) up from $190.80 to $194.89 for an increase of 2.1 percent.
  • Luxury Goods Continue Comeback: Jewelry retailers reported a significant jump of 60.3 percent in sales.
  • Social Shopping: The growing trend of consumers using their networks on social sites for information about deals and inventory levels continued on Cyber Monday. While the percentage of visitors arriving from social network sites is fairly small relative to all online visitors—nearly 1 percent—it is gaining momentum, with Facebook dominating the space.
  • Mobile Shopping: Consumers continue to use mobile as a shopping tool. On Cyber Monday, 3.9 percent of people visited a retailer’s site using a mobile device.

Cyber Monday 2010 Compared to Cyber Monday 2009 (year/year):

  • Consumer Spending Increases:Online sales were up 19.4 percent, with consumers pushing the average order value (AOV) up from $180.03 to $194.89 for an increase of 8.3 percent.
  • Luxury Goods Report Big Gains:Affluent shoppers opened their wallets wide, driving sales of luxury goods up 24.3 percent over 2009.
  • Shopping Peaks at 9:00 am PST/Noon EST: Consumers flocked online, with shopping momentum hitting its peak at 9:00 am PST/noon EST. But consumer shopping maintained stronger momentum throughout the day than on Cyber Monday 2009.

The consumer may have been generous this year, but so were the retailers, offering not only deep discounts but free shipping on all purchases and that added up to big savings.

Not only was spending up, but Google says there was a sharp increase in holiday deal related search terms. Phrases such as “Cyber Monday deals” trended earlier than usual and “Cyber Monday 2010″ was the second fastest moving search term yesterday.

Google also reports a dramatic rise in online meets offline search terms such as “Black Friday store hours” and “printable coupons.”

This year’s Cyber Monday deals truly were exceptional which makes me wonder if, in spite of the 19.4% increase in spending, did the average retailer actually turn much of a profit? Even though I was already done my holiday shopping (yes, really), I couldn’t resist a late deal offered by Warner Archives that cut 50% off the price if I bought five DVDs and they threw in free shipping. Like a good holiday shopper, I bought five even though I only was interested in three. Can’t turn down a deal like that, can I?

Retrieved it from marketingpilgrime.com

 

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2010-11-25
Lose the Flash

Regardless of where you stand in the war over Flash, the fact remains that more and more sites and web developers are moving away from Flash-only solutions for video, animation and navigation.

Flash still excels when it comes to building fully interactive designs and Rich Interactive Applications (RIAs), but for small business owners who aren’t showcasing or providing that sort of experience, trading Flash for HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3 might just make more sense.

The fact is, Flash is not accessible on most mobile devices. Even the mobile devices that do support Flash don’t support each element reliably. As a customer, there is nothing worse than visiting a website from my mobile phone and finding out I am unable to access the contact information, list of products and services or location information because the navigation or core content was built in Flash.

Flash is a great tool for certain types of work, such as sites that can capture audio or video, do complex animations or run web games. If you’re still using an old circa-2005 Flash template, 2011 might be a good time to upgrade to something more modern.

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2010-11-23
Mobile Compatible/Optimized Sites

More and more websites — big and small — are taking the time to make their sites small screen friendly. Having a mobile compatible or mobile optimized website means that not only will your site load faster over cellular data connections but that content will be better formatted for the screens of smaller devices, making it easier to access and understand.

As smartphone adoption continues to soar, more and more of our online time is spent on our phones. For small businesses, making sure that that experience is fast and pleasant can be a great way to improve your website’s effectiveness.

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2010-11-07
Web Fonts Fevolution

Typography is an important — I would argue crucial — component of any web design. Historically, customizing the typography you use on a website has been a complicated and headache-inducing process. As a result, most designers were reduced to either using the small selection of web-safe fonts or using workarounds like text images or Flash as text replacements.

The good news is that in the past 12 months, the situation with fonts and the web has improved quite a bit. Thanks to services like TypeKit, Fonts.com Web Fonts and Google Web Fonts, it’s now possible to use web fonts on your own site with very little effort, for either free or very nominal costs.

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