Boaz Berkowitz

Tech, long only, dividend investing, ipos
Boaz Berkowitz
Tech, long only, dividend investing, IPOs
Contributor since: 2008
Company: TalkMarkets
I like Stamps.com and believe they offer a good service. However, I am very turned off by its incredibly misleading pitch to get new users to sign up for their no risk trial:
- They promise a "free" postage scale but actually charge $10 for handling. The scale will not work if you cancel your account.
- They promise $40 in free postage but you can only claim all of it once you've paid for 4 months of service. You do so by mailing in 4 different postcards, over a four month period (one per month) and only after you are a paying customer, not during the trial.
- The trial itself isn't actually free. If you opt to stay with a subscriber, they charge you for that first month retroactively. Rather it is a no-risk trial, meaning if you cancel before the 30 days are up, you will not be charged.
It is also very difficult to cancel - when I tried, the rep wouldn't let me until I listened to him try to convince me not to for about 30 minutes. However, he did offer enough incentives that I decided to stay with them for a bit longer.
They also have a scaled down plan that is $9.99 per month. It is not advertised but you can request it.
The software they have is great and very easy to use and works well with the postage scale. But the scale has no screen and will ONLY work with their software which is accessible only by paying members. Some hackers have found a simple workaround for this, but for the lay user, it means the scale becomes worthless if you cancel.
Stamps.com advertises, and the author here mentions, that discounted rates are offered. However, I have found this NOT to be the case. When I compared printing postage at usps.com and stamps.com, the prices were all the same. In other words - no discount at all. When I mentioned this to Stamps.com, they did not deny it.
One main benefit they do have is that Stamps.com offers a first class mail option while USPS.com does not. This can offer significant savings for those who can utilize this.
I've been amazed at how well my 4 year old has taken to the iPad. It is extremely intuitive and almost immediately my son was able to master using Netflix (something he has trouble doing from our integrated TV) and playing some games. I know some people who are purchasing the latest iPad for themselves because they are sick of having to fight their own children. As for it being a "digital pacifier," people have been using the TV as a pacifier for years and the iPad has many educational games for children which is far more interactive than the television.
However, it is an expensive gadget to give to a child though. Leapfrog created a child's tablet called a LeapPad which may be more appropriate.
I am only a streaming customer so the change hasn't really affected me (plus my actual "TV time" is limited). I've been very happy with the quality of the streaming service and haven't played a physical DVD in quite a while. Netflix has completely replaced cable for me and there never seems to be a shortage of shows/movies to watch though I admit it is occasionally frustrating when a particular title is not available. However, I believe the offerings will only continue to grow as they phase out the DVD-by-mail side of their business and focus on streaming. Out of curiosity though, what alternatives did you find?
While many were outraged by the Netflix price increase, most I know plan to continue using Netflix since it is still the cheapest/best alternative available. Either as a supplement to their current media consumption or as a full replacement for expensive cable TV packages. During these difficult economic times, I expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future. At the end of the day, Netflix has a great product at a comparatively low cost to consumers and an incredibly loyal fan base.
Thanks for the kind words!
Hi Jordana, any one is welcome to submit an article for consideration but I encourage you to read our editorial guidelines first to better understand our requirements:
seekingalpha.com/page/...
You will also find instructions on how to submit the article. Regardless of whether it is accepted as an article, it will still appear on your personal instablog for our readers and your followers to see.
Wishing you lots of luck Mark! You will definitely be missed at SA and we'll be waiting for you when you retire once again!
Happy Holidays to you too,
Boaz
Hi Jeff, you can choose the default in your Settings. Just click on "settings" on the toolbar that runs along the bottom of your screen, and then click on "share settings" from the menu on the left sidebar.
Sorry for the confusion - brand new authors will not be able to see the link right away due to a technical limitation. Now that the beta launch is over this will not be an issue any longer.
Thank you for your kind words. Please feel free to share them with the rest of our community directly on David's announcement:
seekingalpha.com/artic...
This is wonderful news! Congratulations to all of those who helped make this moment possible.
Twitter had used Dabble DB as a database solution before creating their own product in-house. I actually believe Twitter is more interested in Smallthought Systems' other product, Trendly (www.trendly.com), "a tool that helps web sites distinguish signal from noise in their Google Analytics data." According to Twitter's blog: Twitter will now "...focus on integrating ideas from Trendly into our current tools and building innovative realtime products for our future commercial partners."
A better question is whether Twitter will bother to keep Dabble DB alive, a stellar product in its own right, or view it as a distraction and put all of Smallthought Systems' resources behind Trendly instead. The company will not comment on whether Dabble DB will remain in business or not and will only promise to give customers 60 days noticed before any possible discontinuation of service. Neither Dabble DB nor Trendly are accepting new customers at this time.
Despite Bing's success, Microsoft has announced it will discontinue the cashback program as of July 30, 2010 9:00 pm PST. They plan to replace this with a yet undisclosed "exciting new program." More details can be found here:
www.discoverbing.com/c...
Absolutely David, we're hoping to have some additional events this summer.
Update: Microsoft's Project Natal has been renamed "Kinect."
Sorry we missed you Robert. Hopefully this will be the first of many events.
Thanks Jonathan but I can't take any credit. Annie Rudden from our NY office took all the photos. You can see the rest of the photos here:
tinyurl.com/39burw8
It is certainly surprising that IR professionals have not been flocking to Seeking Alpha in greater numbers. However David, you are not the only one to have recognized the potential that Seeking Alpha has for the IR community. Not so long ago I linked to a post by Dominic Jones at IR Web Report where he outlined just how useful Seeking Alpha can be to investment relations departments. He gave step by step instructions describing how to best utilize Seeking Alpha to achieve IR goals:
www.irwebreport.com/da.../
Perhaps Jones is merely an early adopter and others in the industry don't have as keen an understanding into the workings of the Seeking Alpha community. But I expect in time others in the IR field will recognize the wisdom of his words and follow his lead.
Congratulations Eli, looking forward to working with you!
We'll miss you Mick. Wishing you the best of luck and much success!
Thank you for posting this Alan. Jim's passing was a loss for all of us.
Hi Jake, I emailed you to fix this for you.
Hi Michael, this is one of many benefits for contributing authors. You can easily apply to become a contributing author here:
seekingalpha.com/page/...
Good luck!
No problem David, all you need to do is edit this option within your settings (the link to "Settings" can be found on the toolbar that runs along the bottom of your screen. If you have any trouble, send me a direct message and I'll lead you through it.
Great Article!
Hi Miles, I just sent you an email. Feel free to respond at your earliest convenience.
Sounds like a good read, thanks.
Sounds like some amazing technology!
Great post, thanks.
Thank you for putting this together! Nice job.
Interesting correlations.
I have to agree with jwebb1970. Marketing and image as well as other factors such as price often wins out over superior hardware and not just in video game consoles. VHS won out over Betamax, PCs over Apples, etc.
User "Big Moving" makes a good point, except Nintendo can easily produce games irrespective of its hardware. Remember Sega? They used to battle it out with Nintendo for platform dominance and at one point captured 51% of the market. But after a few bombs (Dreamcast, Saturn, etc.) and the emergence of Sony's PlayStation, Sega's market share of platform sales plummeted to a lowly 2%. Shortly afterward they abandoned this market completely and focused solely on game development. They still produce some exceptional games for the other platforms, even their ancient rival, Nintendo. In my youth I never would have imagined video games featuring Sega's Sonic the Hedgehog and Nintendo's Mario but now they exist.
Nintendo's games will not be enough save them if they want to remain the industry leader. They will need innovative hardware, not software.
But yes, they do make some fine games :)
On Nov 01 08:27 AM Big Moving Stock wrote:
> Gaming is a part time passion of mine, since childhood many moons
> ago. Agreed that Nintendo does not have the most technically superior
> hardware but they do have something nobody else has and probably
> never will. They create the best 1st party software by a long shot
> and they own the best franchises in the history of gaming. Mario
> - Zelda - Metroid, etc.. Nintendo has never tried to have the "best"
> hardware or machine, but what they have strived for and largely succeeded
> at, is producing the software and games that are the most fun and
> appealing to the largest audience of users, both casual fans and
> hardcore gamers. I Love Nintendo!