Is Google Trying to Make Alphabet Soup Out of its Company?

By Carl Weiss

After being the big dog of search engines for more than a decade, Google has decided to change its corporate moniker to Alphabet.  After 17 years of building a $400 billion business that controls everything from the world's most popular search engine (Google) to the world's most popular video portal (YouTube), to life extension research firm (Calico), to self-driving car developer and a host of other acquisitions, Larry Page and Sergey Brin have decided to rename their enterprise.  Add to that the fact that CEO Page has turned the reins of Google over to Sundar Pinchai, and many people both in the Internet and on the stock market are wondering what's going to happen next.  Even before the soup has cooled, rumors are swirling that Google is interested in acquiring yet more companies, including everything from Twitter to a company that makes pocket toy satellites.  So if you are wondering if Google intends to make Alphabet Soup of their company, let’s give the pot a stir.

How to Safely Whet Your Appetite for Smartphone Apps

By Hector Cisneros

Does the public’s uncontrollable appetite for free smartphone apps also make you vulnerable? Right now there are approximately 4,000,000 apps combined that are available in the top four app stores. Are these apps being checked before being released to the public? Are we vulnerable as users by downloading free apps on our smart phones? Could we be compromising our security and financial information by using these apps? In this episode you will learn the truth about using free apps, how to stay safe, and what to look for when deciding “to get an app for that”. So stay tuned and turn onto this week’s Working The Web To Win and learn “how to safely whet your appetite” for smart phone apps.

Is it Time to Fire the Postman?

By Carl Weiss

As far back as the 19th century, when the telegraph came into vogue, people have been looking for a better way to deliver information and goods more efficiently than the US Postal Service. Today's wired world has created a myriad of electronic delivery systems that do everything from rendering payment, to delivering messages and even packages at the click of a mouse. In today’s blog, I intend to delve into a number of innovative, cost effective delivery options to the USPS, as well as the possibility that in the near future the post office could very well be as dead as the dodo bird.

They Don’t Call it Snail Mail for Nothing

Courtesy of en.wikipedia.org
The US Postal Service can trace its roots back to the Second Continental Congress in 1775.  That’s when Ben Franklin, a prominent Philadelphia printer, was appointed as the country’s first Postmaster General.  Since that momentous occasion, the USPS staff has mushroomed to 717,254 federal employees, making it one of the nation’s largest employers.  In 2014, the USPS generated $67.8 billion in revenues.  That sounds impressive until you realize that it represented a $5.5 billion operating loss.  This seems odd when you consider the USPS operates a virtual monopoly when it comes to delivering letters.  Stranger still is the fact that the post office has downsized considerably during the past few years, closing a number of offices as well as reducing the hours they are open.  Of course, the USPS is and always has been a bureaucracy.  That explains a lot.

The real problem with the Post Office is that unlike the 19th and first half of the 20th century where it had little if any competition, by the latter part of the 20th century when package and overnight delivery was privatized, the days of the Post Office monopoly was over. But the USPS was still alive and kicking, if at a snail’s pace. (They don’t call it snail mail for nothing.)  Sure, since the late 1800’s people could use the telegraph and telegram to send messages quickly.  But when one considered the fact that Western Union charged by the word, the telegram was more like Twitter than traditional correspondence.  Short copy was the norm.  Then came the Internet. 

We Don’t Need No Stinking Postage

By the mid 1990’s, digital technology such as fax and email began to slowly but surely erode the postal service’s hegemony.  Why wait days to deliver the message when anyone with a phone and a modem could send pages replete with photos across the telephone wires in minutes.  (Today we can do this in seconds, but remember how slow dialup connections once were.)
Courtesy of comons.wikimedia.org

Suddenly you didn’t need to pay for postage to send letters, flyers and ad copy across town or around the world. (Spam was born.)  All it took was type, point and click.  Add to this the fact that within the past few years, most businesses and banks have adopted electronic payment systems that allow customers to remit payment at the click of a mouse and it makes the USPS seem a lot like its predecessor, the Pony Express

Yet the Post Office still plods on. A number of tech companies such as Netflix still rely on the USPS to ship their products, as do a myriad of other advertisers, many of which we regard as junk mail.  However, as competition grows and technology makes much of what the USPS does seem redundant, will there come a time when the public, not to mention the federal government decides it’s time to put the Postal Service out of its misery?  A quote from Wikipedia sums it up nicely:

"Since the 2006 all-time peak mail volume,[5] after which Congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act,[6] (which mandated $5.5 billion per year to be paid into an account to fully prefund employee retirement health benefits, a requirement exceeding that of other government and private organizations [7]), revenue dropped sharply due to recession-influenced[8] declining mail volume,[9] prompting the postal service to look to other sources of revenue while cutting costs to reduce its budget deficit.[10] The USPS lost US$5.5 billion in fiscal 2014, and its revenue was US$67.8 billion."

Whoa Nelly! I can hear those telegraph operators of yesteryear crying the blues.  Not only have private shipping concerns such as UPS and FedEx continued to chip away at USPS market share, but other major players such as Amazon want in on the action. (Can you say same-day drone delivery?)  Being that neither timeliness nor cost-effectiveness has never been one of the Post Office’s priorities, as innovative companies continue to reel in more and more of the fish that USPS once had all to itself, at what point will the feds declare it time to abandon ship? 
Courtesy of  en.wikipedia.org

In a blog on Fox News, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stated that,
“Amazon delivery drones are still years away, but someday they will be as common as seeing a mail truck. Bezos told the Telegraph in London that the biggest hurdle Prime Air has to clear isn’t related to technology, but regulators.”

Of course, with other bureaucrats such as the FAA, running interference for the Post Office, they might be able to delay the inevitable for a time.  And since the US Postal Service has never been one to innovate since Ben Franklin stepped down from office, far from looking for new sources of revenue, it will face an ever shrinking customer base.  Combined with bureaucratic bloat and an unwillingness to face the fiscal realities of running a business, the sheer cost of running a dysfunctional shipping conglomerate will inevitably spell disaster. (Or, they can simply print an adhesive strip on the back of a $1 bill.)  As with other bygone technologies, the question is not whether the Post Office can survive change, but when will it be time to Fire the Postman? 

In this article I have discussed the US Postal Service and how this massive governmental bureaucracy is not only losing money, it is losing ground as a mail deliver system. The massive losses are causing the public and congress to rethink the USPS's role and whether it should be privatized.

If you found this article useful please share it with your friends, family and co-workers. If you would like to learn more about this subject, visit the notes page on this blog for the BlogTalkRadio show dated 8/18/15. I recommend checking out "How to Stop Sir Spamalot", "How to Avoid Being Caught in an SEO Phishing Netor "Going Postal - With Touch Marketing".  You can also search for other related articles by typing in “email” in the search box top of this blog.

If you'd like a free copy of our eBook, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century," please fill in the form below and we will give you immediate access to it. Your information is always kept private and is never sold.



Carl Weiss is president of Working the Web to Win, an award-winning digital marketing agency based in Jacksonville, Florida.  You can listen to Carl live every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern on BlogTalkRadio.

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Courtesy of  Microsoft.com

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By Hector Cisneros

Ready or not, Windows 10 is finally here. We all know that Windows 8 was a bust. Its ill conceived design, cost Microsoft in a big way. Windows 8 was so bad that Microsoft had to re-release Windows 7 on new PC’s, even after it had withdrawn version 7 from the market.  I am sure that Microsoft even had to back burner other initiatives while they hurried to fix this problem. So why should you look at Windows 10? Why place trust in Microsoft? Why not switch to Apple IOS of Google Chrome?  Even the way Microsoft released their new operating system gave cause for alarm by sneaking it in as an update that showed up on your “Task Bar” displaying a Windows symbol!  In this article we will explore our first impression of Windows 10, uncensored. We’ll look at the “good, the bad and the ugly” of what we have found and pass that information on to you, our loyal readers. So let’s get started.

The Doc in the eBox


Courtesy of  en.wikipedia.org
By Carl Weiss

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