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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL) affects small business

Canada's Anti-Spam Law (CASL), coming into force July 1st, affects most businesses – any sending emails, text messages or messages through social media. But, according to a new member survey conducted by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) this week, only 15 per cent of small business owners are fully aware of CASL's requirements, and most (62 per cent) have taken no steps to comply.
"Most small business owners don't think of themselves as spammers," said CFIB president Dan Kelly, "But under the new law, everyday interactions with customers and potential customers will be considered spam without a significant investment to document the right permissions."
Among other changes, the new law will require businesses to seek consent to send business emails, keep a record of those consents, and to add an unsubscribe feature to every email message. The required technological and process changes can be significant. As an example, a small business was told it will cost them $30,000 to $50,000to be in full compliance.
CFIB has received dozens of calls from concerned business owners who are struggling to figure out how to make their businesses viable in the new CASL world. Sadly, the support being offered by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), one of the agencies responsible for enforcing CASL, has been less-than-stellar.
"Businesses support the idea of reducing spam, but everything we're hearing suggests that the current rules need to be made small business-friendly," said Kelly. CFIB members support a focus on education over enforcement, and providing exemptions where these rules are not workable, for example where businesses send a relatively low volume of emails per month.
"The government has repeatedly insisted that CASL was designed to go after the worst offenders, and not the general business population," added executive vice president Laura Jones. "Small businesses want to comply with the spirit of the law, but implementing the letter of the law will be a challenge. Clearly, more work needs to be done to make CASL work for small business."
CFIB has prepared tips on implementing CASL for small business available at  
CFIB is Canada's largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Review of AmazonFresh

AmazonFresh is going to eat the local retailers lunch bite by bite and is Bezos's new disruptor

So there has been several attempts at on-line groceries in the past and most failed. In Canada, Longo Brothers Fruit Markets bought out Grocery Gateway in 2005. Their model is where pickers actually collect your chopping cart at a local Longo store for home delivery as opposed to the central warehouse model.

In the USA, there has been others that somehow failed. It is 2014 and enter AmazonFresh

Right now its in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle with plans for 20 more cities.

You need a $299/yr Amazon Prime Fresh membership which offers free delivery and video streaming associated with the goodness of Amazon prime. They are offering over 500,000 items with a $35 minimum order and deliver other goods unattended onto your doorstop.

How good is the service?

I asked a friend out in San Francisco as to their thoughts and this is what he said:

"You kind of need to order a day in advance because the drones are not ready to deliver the stuff yet but same day is possible depending on what you order. They ship in big green bags and cold stuff is packed in styrofoam and frozen water bottles. (cool you can drink the water later). I can choose delivery time slots as well. So far its very convenient as i don't have to bother going on stock up trips to the big box stores but it is more costly price wise however the convenience and time saving is worth it. So instead of hanging out in line ups and getting bashed around by shopper mom carts on a Saturday morning, I can take a drive out to Point Reyes or be mountain biking the trails in Marin County instead".

Is it really Fresh?

"Yeah so far its been fine but I prefer to get my vegetables, fruits and meats in person so I can pick and choose accordingly or from the different Farmer Markets instead. I got milk and yogurt shipped and it was delivered without any issues."

Getting an Amazon Fire telephone??

"No I have the Samsung Note 3 now but I love my Kindle Fire HD tablet. As an expat I should probably be looking to score a BlackBerry Passport as a second cellphone."

Still spending time at the Big Box stores?

"No because I can kind of get whatever I need from AmazonFresh so far but I am spending time looking for bargains at the Radio Shacks as they close down and I get stuff at local smaller grocery stores anyways"

When is the Apple watch coming out?

"I heard Mayor Ford is doing better these days"

Should BlackBerry do up a watch?

"Hey they could buy Pebble since the founder came up with a hacklab for getting his BBM on a watch display while cycling but maybe they should stick to QNX, M2M and having the most secure cellphone comms out there"

Thanks for your thoughts

"Too bad you torontonians dont have NFL Football and Dunkin Donuts"

Bye Bye now and too bad you do not have hockey or Harvey's Poutine. Oh hey I really called you to get a driver for windows 7 for my Palm One Z72 as it wont Hotsync with x64. You helping?

"Sure give me 20 minutes and you send me a BlackBerry Playbook and I will trade you a HP tablet."

with a 3Com Audrey.......??????

"no deal but i will send you a Halt Catch Fire TV show sticker anyways"

"Ok found the driver and its in!"