Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, January 25, 2021

Based on December online activity, MarketWatch’s Frank Barnako declares Amazon to be mas macho than Wal-Mart:

Web traffic at Wal-Mart totaled 40.7 million, while Amazon handled 57.8 million. However, when it came to ringing the register, Amazon was the overwhelming winner. Its site completed many more transactions: 10.7 million to 2.99 million.

Um, Frank? The only way to buy anything from Amazon is via the online option, because there is no Amazon store down the road. Naturally, it’s going to have more completed transactions.

Contrast that with Wal-Mart. While it pulls in a good amount of ecommerce dollars, its website has a dual purpose: To drive more customers to its physical stores, where they can be expected to spend even more money on additional/incidental purchases. People know they can research merchandise on Walmart.com and then go to the local store to buy in person — thus avoiding shipping fees and getting the item in their hands immediately. Of course, they also have the option of ordering online, if that makes more sense.

So to conclude that Amazon is somehow better at e-tailing than Wal-Mart is ludicrous. Wal-Mart has a distribution advantage — i.e., its brick-and-mortar locations — that Amazon (by design) can’t match. It has nothing to do with what either company does online.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/25/2007 11:50:58 PM
Category: Internet, Business
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It’s been kicked around for years — since I was in diapers — and increasingly so in recent months. Now, it’s all but official: The remaining 93 years on the operational lease for Stewart International Airport is being purchased by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for $78.5 million, bringing the Orange County airport under New York City’s metropolitan aviation umbrella.

The avowed goal is to eventually put Stewart on equal footing with JFK, La Guardia, and Newark. In reality, an airport located 60 miles north of Manhattan is never going to be a viable passenger option for NYC destinations. Factor in the proximity to major highway arteries into New England and the Midwest, and the most logical prospect is for Stewart to take most of the cargo flights that now go to the Big Three. Passenger overflow will be a small part of the mix.

Cognizant of this, the upstate natives are already restless over all the noise and congestion a major air cargo hub woudl bring. Not that it’ll derail this process.

It’ll be odd to see the changes, now that Stewart’s promise is finally coming to fruition. The house I grew up in lay indirectly in the main flightpaths approaching the airport; many’s the night I heard planes roar outside my bedroom window. I can’t imagine that kind of clatter increased tenfold or more. On the plus side, it should lead to increased property values.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/25/2007 11:31:34 PM
Category: Business, New Yorkin'
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Once you get past the gee-whiz factor in the rollout of the Wii News Channel, a Web-delivered news service exclusively for Nintendo’s new gaming console, you have to ask: What’s the point?

I mean, it’s amusing to see the less-is-more Wii improbably taking the lead in the quest to become the fabled household digital entertainment hub, when rivals Sony and Microsoft designed their consoles for the same end with what now seems like technological overkill. Not to mention that it finally fulfills a concept first proposed for the old Atari 2600 (by a company that eventually morphed into AOL).

But does it make sense to set this up as a “channel”? As I understand it, this is going to be a website-like interface on the Wii’s menu that brings AP articles and photos to the living room television set (or wherever the Wii is located). If so, why would a Wii owner opt to get news via this method, thus interrupting gameplay? If you’re going to stop playing a game to catch up on news, you might as well switch to the TV view and dial to the news station. Or more to the point, just go to the computer and bring up the preferred news site. Both those methods of news intake are established and efficient; I don’t see why anyone would forego those and turn to a game console — even a fully-fledged one — to get the same info that feeds broadcast and online news wires.

Here’s what would make sense: Pushing through the Wii News feed during gameplay as a scrolling bar, or “crawl”, at the bottom of the screen, ala most TV news channels. If the aim is to deliver news to Wii players who spend hours in front of the thing, then this method is the way to do it.

The crawl should be interactive, of course, so that the user can select/click on any headlines of interest for a detour to a Web-like full-page news story. Other options would include ability to customize what types of news get pushed through, speed of the scroll, etc. The Wii’s multifunctional controllers should be able to handle such maneuvers easily (thus making them seem even more user-friendly as compared to typical game controllers).

The point is that the crawl approach would allow the player to keep playing while still getting a peek at the news. It’s multitasking via console with just one screen in the room. And it’s what a Web-connected digital hub should be expected to do.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 01/25/2007 02:03:09 PM
Category: Internet, Media, Videogames
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