Seeking Alpha

Boaz Berkowitz

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  • Stamps.com: First Class Mail [View article]
    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.
    Jan 4 11:07 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Apple's (AAPL +2.8%) strong Black Friday iPad sales are partially attributable to a trend of the device being used by an increasingly younger age group of kids - to the point that one researcher now accuses parents of using the device as a "digital pacifier." The iPad's touch interface is "intuitive" for children who can't yet read, making it a natural toy for toddlers and helping the iPad position itself firmly as the most requested holiday gift for the second year in a row. [View news story]
    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.
    Nov 28 01:15 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Revisiting Reed Hastings Vs. Whitney Tilson: Was Tilson Right? [View article]
    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?
    Sep 8 01:03 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Revisiting Reed Hastings Vs. Whitney Tilson: Was Tilson Right? [View article]
    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.
    Sep 6 11:30 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Back in New York [View instapost]
    Thanks for the kind words!
    Jun 20 12:25 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Seeking Alpha Goes Mobile, Win an iPad & More [View instapost]
    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.
    Dec 28 07:57 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Quick Chat Number 132. Beginning 12/23/10 [View instapost]
    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
    Dec 26 03:44 PM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Please welcome Greg Anderson to the Contributor Relations team [View instapost]
    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.
    Nov 11 04:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Only for Seeking Alpha authors: win iPads, a Caribbean vacation and more [View instapost]
    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.
    Oct 13 08:29 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Seeking Alpha reaches 500,000 users! All registrants are eligible to win an iPad! [View instapost]
    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...
    Jul 7 04:23 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Seeking Alpha Celebrates 500,000 Registered Users! [View article]
    This is wonderful news! Congratulations to all of those who helped make this moment possible.
    Jul 6 11:06 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Twitter's Tiny Transactions [View article]
    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.
    Jun 25 07:37 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Cha-Ching: Microsoft Pays Users to Search with Bing [View article]
    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...
    Jun 23 05:21 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Save the Date! Next Contributor Networking Event - May 24th [View instapost]
    Absolutely David, we're hoping to have some additional events this summer.
    Jun 16 01:48 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Game Over for Nintendo [View article]
    Update: Microsoft's Project Natal has been renamed "Kinect."
    Jun 15 06:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
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