This week’s news: Fashion blogs, subscription commerce, e-commerce growth and more

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs, commerce and e-commerce.

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Last week we mentioned Germany’s most popular fashion blogger Jessica Weiss. A couple of days ago The Hyperland blog of Germany’s public television station ZDF published an overview about the country’s fashion blogger scene, that grew quickly after Weiss had proved that you don’t need to be a major publishing company to launch a successful site covering fashion. In case you want to dive more into the German fashion scene, here are the blogs mentioned in the piece: Stil in Berlin, Modepilot, LesMads, Journelles, Two for Fashion, Styleproofed, Dandy Diary.

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At Twingly we are obviously convinced about the many pros of blogging. But for everybody who has doubts, The Huffington Post has a list of 6 things that you get better at while blogging.

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Now back to e-commerce: Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, is said to be preparing an IPO in the U.S.. According to Forbes, it would be the most anticipated U.S. tech debut since Facebook.

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Subcription commerce has lately become a pretty popular niche within e-commerce. Instead of ordering items online when customers need them, they “subscribe” on an ongoing basis, getting the specific product(s) delivered straight to their door on an ongoing basis. Now Target, one of the U.S.’ major “offline” retailers, is jumping on the subscription trend, offering about 150 items that can be ordered on a subscription basis.

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Forrester has analyzed the e-commerce growth opportunities for a couple of countries. The result: The U.S. offers the biggest potential to retailers, with a score of 73.4, compared to the runner-up China (51.1 score). Also in the top 10: Japan, South Korea, Uk, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Sweden.

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PayPal-owner eBay is acquiring Chicago-based PayPal competitor Baintree for $800 million.

This week’s news: Instagram, Living Social, fashion blogging and more

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs, commerce and e-commerce.

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Instagram, the popular photo and video sharing app owned by Facebook, is infamous for not having a business model. Admittedly, since the service belongs to the big social network, there really is no urgency for Instagram to generate revenue, since Facebook itself is doing quite well. But at an event in London, Instagram boss Kevin Systrom explained that his service is becoming a commerce platform for folks in fashion. Many brands publish photos of their fashion items and at least indirectly manage to increase their sales, even if there doesn’t exist a “buy” button. But a link to the company website containing an online shop might be enough for clever fashionistas to get the shirt, pants or shoes from a brand’s Instagram shot.

Systrom didn’t go into details whether Instagram plans to exploit that commercial potential one day, but it’s not unlikely. If Instagram’s role as a facilitator of fashion sales is continuously increasing then Systrom and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would be crazy not to profit from that.

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Once upon a time, LivingSocial was seen as a serious competitor to coupon giant Groupon. A recent post by AllThingsD depicts the Washington D.C. based company as somewhat of a copycat, lacking its own innovative ideas and trying to imitate the competition – even though it’s not even clear whether the competitors, like Groupon, can establish a sustainable business.

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PandoDaily asks twhether it is crazy to start an e-commerce company in the age of Amazon. At least for the author the answer is “no”:  “If you’re smart and focus on where Amazon fails, an innovative e-commerce startups can grow into a large, successful company”

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In Twingly-country Sweden, fashion is the most popular blog category. It isn’t exactly the same in Germany, our Southern neighbour, but even there fashion blogging has risen and helped some talented, hard-working bloggers to gain expert status and even be acquired by big media companies. A German blog has just published an interview with Jessica Weiss who is said to be Germany’s most popular fashion blogger. For those of you who don’t speak German here is her story in a few sentences: When 20 years old Jessica started the fashion blog LesMads.de, and only a couple of month later German media house Burda took over and helped Jessica to make a living out of blogging while at the same time getting done with her studies. 4 years later, she left Burda and the blog she created. After a gig as editor in chief for another website she did it again and launched another fashion blog: Journelles, which is growing nicely . But instead of again looking for a big partner, she plans to keep her new project independent, enjoying being her own boss.

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One more reading recommendation: In a lengthy Wired-piece, Clive Thompson praises public thinking in form of blogging or posting thoughts  on social networks and explains how it powers new ideas and leads to serendipity.

This week’s news: iPhone, Groupon, Medium and more

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs, commerce and e-commerce.

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Apple has presented two new iPhones – the 5S and a little bit cheaper model made out of plastic, the 5C. The main feature-addition is a fingerprint scanner that is able to recognize the user with a quick scan of his or her fingerprint. For now, the fingerprints are stored on the phone and can’t be used by 3rd parties, thus won’t be available for websites or apps as an authentication tool. For now. That will likely change in the future and open up possibilities for online retailers to implement frictionless payment methods, as described by Businessweek. Another improvement relevant for the retail industry is a new iOS 7 feature called iBeacon, which lets the phone communicate with sensors nearby. One obvious use case would be to let stores enable coupons or mobile payments when customers with an iPhone walk in.

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Groupon has news again: The coupon giant has acquired the last-minute hotel-booking app Blink, making clear it does want to keep diversifying its business.

In other, a bit more entertaining Groupon news, the company’s Indian website recently offered a discount on onions – which apparently is a very popular vegetable in the country: The demand was so high that the Website went offline for a while. Within 44 minutes, 3,000 kilograms of onions were purchased.

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At the end of last week, a rumour appeared saying that Amazon would launch its own smartphone and providing it to people for free! Even if nothing seems to be impossible in the world of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, that story turned out to be incorrect – at least according to a statement issued by the company explaining that if it would offer its own smartphone, it would not give it away for free.

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Meanwhile, PayPal continues its foray into the retail sector, testing a hardware gadget for retailers that would auto-recognize when customers walk into the store, letting them pay via their PayPal accounts without having to pull out their phones or wallets.

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A little more than a year ago, the Twitter co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone launched the blogging platform Medium, focusing on longform writing. While the site that gives publishing rights only to selected users has caught the attention of many bloggers and tech pundits, questions about monetization and the status of the site (platform or publication) still wait for answers.

This week’s news: PayPal, Drones, Pixmania, BuzzFeed

Welcome to the new edition of “This week’s news”, a selection of links to interesting articles and news from the worlds of blogs, commerce and e-commerce.

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PayPal is not finished trying to change the way commerce and payments are done: The company, known for its tools to process payments between people and online merchants or eBay sellers, has launched a new mobile app including features to see nearby stores that accept PayPal payments as well as to pay in restaurants. PayPal, owned by eBay, seems to be serious about “offline” payments.

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Here is a completely new approach for delivery of goods bought online: Drones! At least that’s what a Chinese delivery company experiments with, making use of Drones that can carry as much as 6.6 pounds and fly 330 feet in the air (via).

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The online electronics shop Pixmania has been sold by its previous owner, the British retail chain Dixons, to the German company Mutares. The latter paid about 69 million Euro for the online retailer that has making losses for a while.

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BuzzFeed, the growing blog/media outlet known for its compilations of cute animal pictures, is growing strongly, forcing lots of media observers to change their assumption that online publishing and successful business models don’t go well together. Then again, some might not see the often rather short-lived, rather cheaply produced content as the saviour of journalisms in the digital age.