Amazon.com slaps video game bloggers in the face

According to Amazon.com’s new associates agreement, changes are coming, effective next week, May 15th 2014. The people affected the most? People just like me. If you blog about video games and want to earn a living through advertising, it’s time to look somewhere else. Amazon has slashed their already lowest Fixed Advertising Fee Rates on “Video Game Console Products” from 4% to a meager 1%. Clearly, video game bloggers with successful ad models were a threat to Amazon’s success. (That, to be abundantly clear, was sarcasm).

The painful thing to note is that nothing else has changed in their Fixed Advertising Fee Rates. Associates for all other products don’t see a fee-change, but it seems obvious to me that video game bloggers have been able to make a dent in Amazon.com’s income by successfully alerting people to bargains they want to take advantage of via Amazon.com and linking them to the site. With literally 25% of the incentive compared to before, how many bloggers are going to continue plastering Amazon links on their website? I certainly won’t actively work as hard to embed a couple of referral links into an article anymore, and I hope more bloggers are onboard with me. I currently have a side-bar ad for Amazon, which will be gone with the site’s next re-design.

If there are enough sales happening that Amazon.com wants to cut the amount of money they pay out, that means there must be a lot of successful referral linking. Would you rather pay out that 4%, or simply not have any of those sales? To drop an Amazon.com Associate’s share to 1%, while all other products remain 4% or higher is down right insulting, and I hope to see a new revenue-sharing-savvy online retailer step up to take their place, soon.

Would you give up online privacy for…

The US Government recently announced their own universal user ID service, which would basically prevent the need for multiple logins. Twitter, Facebook, your email, any site you comment on from FoxNews.com to Reddit, they all require some kind of credentials. Would that make your life easy enough that you would be willing to essentially let someone else in on everything you read and write? Most likely not. Not to worry, I don’t expect to be as widely adopted as they hope. Services like Disqus and LiveFyre (the comment system on this blog) have tried to solve the issue in the past, but nobody has strictly shown true market dominance.

So if it isn’t just convenience, what about internet access? What would it take? Many people have understood and not had a problem with Google scanning their emails as long as their GMail is free. Until recently, that is. Continue reading “Would you give up online privacy for…”

Old blog posts & a review archived here

I am in the process of finding other old writings of mine and archiving them here on my website. I’ve pulled some of my product reviews on old websites, including a Max Payne 2 review from shortly after it released.

More lost writings from an old blog (a forgotten subsection of the original WinBreak) have been recovered and archived. Not all of them, just a few select pieces. Mostly stuff from 2006 and one from 2007. But with that, I officially have at least ONE piece of writing for every year from 2001 through 2014. How awesome is that!? If you want to browse the archives, you can start at 2001 and use the list on the right to jump between months and years!

What would you pay for a Microsoft Subscription?

Yesterday, Microsoft officially announced Office for iPad. The app will allow anyone who downloads it to view read-only versions of their documents stored in OneDrive. However, to modify your documents, you must be a paying Office 365 subscriber. Also, I have recently been considering signing up for an Xbox Music Pass. Not only that, but I have an ongoing Xbox Live Gold Member subscription.

This got me thinking. Imagine some sort of “Microsoft Subscription” that enabled access to the works? Xbox Live, Office 365, let’s say 50 or 100GB of bonus OneDrive storage, Xbox Music Pass… everything! What would you pay? If the MSRP of Office 365’s base package is $60 for one year. A year of Xbox Live Gold is $59.99, and Xbox Music, if paid up front, is $99.99. You’re looking at $220 worth of products, if you pay in advance. Paying month by month brings both Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Music to $120/year, each. So, what would you pay for a “Microsoft Subscription” to unlock it all? $150? $200? What other products would you want out of your subscription fee? If it were $250 and included a downloadable desktop version of Office to install your PC? A Windows license that always allowed you to upgrade to the latest and greatest version of Windows?

More importantly, do you believe something like this will happen in the future? Feel free to comment below.

Is Facebook buying Oculus Rift the death knell?

A friend of mine asked me what I thought of the Facebook $2 billion dollar buyout of Oculus Rift. This is what I wrote.

I thought Facebook was a 4-6 billion dollar company. Right before they went public, they gave a billion to Instagram. Then another 16+ billion to WhatsApp. Now two billion to Oculus. If you had $50, and you gave $40 away, you would be in a pretty weak position. Literally, based on raw numbers, it seems like Oculus could turn around and buy Facebook right now. It doesn’t make ANY sense at all.

  1. This MUST be shaking the confidence in Facebook stockholders. Zuck is still spending money however he sees fit, he has no vague idea how to monetize Facebook effectively and shareholders are only going to see their company having less and less value.
  2. Kickstarter backers should be furious. Even though Kickstarter doesn’t make you part owner of a company, I think that may be about to change. Sites like Kiva.org for Micro lending are going to take the place of sites like Kickstarter – where you either give someone a loan that will be paid back, or you become a shareholder in the company or product. It is insulting to give you money to get you this far, and then you don’t just go out and find a new investor, you let someone else BUY OUT your company. Why did I bother giving you money in the first place?
  3. Facebook COULD “leave it alone” in the beginning. Much like Microsoft has let Skype be their own thing for several years, and only recently started implementing it as their primary messenger platform. Skype still has most of its autonomy, now it just integrates with Microsoft’s platform better than before. Facebook could potentially allow Oculus to continue what they are doing, and then tackle his own ideas later.
  4. I, for one, haven’t been all that excited about Oculus Rift. Don’t care for it. It’s still this large clunky thing you have to strap to your head. It’s cool, but not cool ENOUGH, yet. So I’m not broken hearted over this deal. But given the growing dislike of Facebook among people in the tech community (reluctantly still members because “you have to be”), I can see many more developers than Mojang walking away. Perhaps flocking to Razer’s unofficially-unannounced VR platform.

You're still using Twitter wrong

So many people I talk to “don’t get” Twitter. Even worse, are companies with Twitter accounts who have fewer followers than someone like me, who just Tweets casually. Let me offer you some advice on the best ways to use Twitter.

Twitter is not a bullhorn. Get out of the web 1.0 mentality. You can’t just post status updates and expect people to find you.

Twitter is a conversation. Be a part of it. Engage and participate in trending topics, follow others and engage them in daily discussions.

Follow back. Follow those who follow you. Use the search feature to find others talking about your topics of interest and follow them. Watch the conversations occurring with the people you already follow, and follow the people they interact with.

Twitter can help you find others. Some of the best moments are when you complain about a product, and their support team finds you and offers to help. It’s a sneak attack, it defuses someone who may not have otherwise contacted you, and shows them that you really do want to help. Use that search feature to see if others are talking about you, your products, brands, or even just your topic of interest. The key to this is timeliness. Don’t respond a week later. Twitter is too real time for you to be “just getting around” to that person’s tweet.

Twitter can spread positive perception quickly. Use the “retweet” feature to your advantage. If somebody says something positive about you, retweet them. It shows that person that you are actively listening (reading), and shows others that you recognize your followers.

Twitter is news. When I first signed up for Twitter, I didn’t ever look back to RSS feeds. Not only is Twitter the place to go for breaking news events before any cable news networks, but it’s the place to go for trending topics, and even following some of the largest corporations as they continue to use Twitter as a bullhorn to spread their news. Only mega companies can get away with that behavior, but you will notice that even those with millions of followers will find a way to engage their fellow Twitter users.

Hold me to my own standards, follow @NuAngel on Twitter!

Apple products showing increased attacks from hackers

On Friday, Feb 21st, 2014, Apple issued an update for iOS. Apple’s website noted a serious flaw in SSL. On Tuesday the 25th, Apple finally released an update for Mac OSX (10.9.2) to address the flaw. I do not know if other, pre 10.9 Mavericks versions of Mac OSX are getting this update, or if iOS 6 users are receiving patches.

Considering Microsoft has supported Windows XP for over a decade and is only soon about to pull the plug, I find it shocking that Apple would only push these patches on their very latest operating systems, considering the severity of the flaw. Continue reading “Apple products showing increased attacks from hackers”

100,000 and growing

In late January 2012 I re-launched this website. I had this site (NuAngel.net) from 1999 to 2005. I then started another site (WinBreak) from 2006-2011, then repurchased the first domain and combined the two sites in 2012. At that time, I reset all statistics and started counting from scratch.

Fall 1999 – August 2003 I had about 50,000 views. Then I stopped tracking. I started tracking stats again in 2007. 2008 alone saw almost 89,000 views on the site. I have since adjusted the way I keep stats, using a few combined methods. In January of 2012, when I merged WinBreak into NuAngel.net, I reset the counters. Continue reading “100,000 and growing”

Will copycat mentality kill mega tech companies?

Google has your email. Not just GMail users, but major businesses. Google Apps users store the core of their business in Google’s cloud. Even Twitter uses GMail. I got on GMail very early on, back before users could invite each other, before you were given 5, then 20, then 100 invites to bring other people to GMail. I was excited to use it. The interface, the functionality, it was a leap forward from Hotmail, or the webmail app I had been using on my own domain. There was a time when I was excited to see what the search engine giant would do next. But these days, Google, Microsoft, and now Facebook, are all taking the wrong approach to business. Continue reading “Will copycat mentality kill mega tech companies?”

On the state of internet access in the United States

Oligopolies, legal monopolies: the laws that allow cable companies to corner the market and smother you. First off, if you think that companies like Comcast/Xfinity and Time Warner weren’t colluding and price fixing, you’re blind. Second, why do we allow cable companies exclusive rights to specific regional areas? The cable companies lobby the government to allow them to continue this way because of the cost of laying out their network. If they had to lower their prices to compete, they couldn’t afford to update their network. We don’t do that for phone companies, and many would argue that the telephone companies had similar, if not much larger, outlays of cash to create their networks nearly a half-century before the cable companies. Continue reading “On the state of internet access in the United States”