The Face of Facebook
Before reading April's cover story on Mark Zuckerberg ("How Ya Like Me Now? "), I first noted the front cover, which states, "What You Don't Know About Facebook." Then I turned to the
Table of Contents, which stated, "Mark Zuckerberg is still misunderstood." So there are things we don't know about Facebook, and Zuckerberg feels he's misunderstood. That combination
creates some concern. Facebook pulls significant productivity out of the population. The site has addictive qualities that are undesirable, it accumulates far too much information on those who use it, the company has made multiple bad assumptions on the topic of privacy, and with all its algorithmic tentacles, the site will soon reach a billion users. Let's hope we do know and understand Zuckerberg and Facebook. If we don't, it may be our undoing.
St. Joseph, Michigan
The Detriments of Daily Deals: Who's to Blame?
Our story "Are Daily Deals Done?"  investigated the impact--both good and bad--that daily-deal sites such as Groupon have on small-business owners. Readers chimed in and were quick to assign blame for the system's flaws. Here's where it fell.
The sooner these sites go away, the better. They are killing small businesses. Consumers are getting the wrong message about the real value of products and services because of the widespread culture of coupon "chic" that has resulted from daily-deal sites.
Dawn Kjeldsen Freeland
I think Groupon and LivingSocial are total rip-offs for businesses. I haven't gotten involved with daily-deal sites because it seems dishonest and unfair. I'm in business myself, so I guess I've got a little more sympathy for the small businessperson than I do with Groupon and their types.
Passing fad. Once businesses figure out that these offers crash their profitability without creating new customers, the offers will dry up.
The harm is in the volume created by consumers who are not interested in being longtime customers. The goal is for the purchased vouchers to be redeemed by folks who will want to use the service again--that's the best-case scenario. Worst case--which seems to happen more often--you get a huge volume of people looking for a deal. They stress out the business owners with a huge influx. They can't handle the rush of the promotion.
Good for consumers, bad for businesses.
Deal sites aren't to blame. Businesses need to be strategic about what they offer.
If discounted services and products don't lead to a genuine relationship with the company, there is no long-term value for anyone.
Elon Musk is such a #boss
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