PARIS: Total's French retail electricity arm is on track to win 700,000 customers this year, challenging former state monopolies EDF and Engie with a low-cost, digital service it believes could mimic Uber's success in the taxi market.Total Spring is signing up 3,500 to 4,000 customers every day, attracting them with a 10 percent discount to the regulated price that state-controlled rival EDF must use, its director Marc Bensadoun told Reuters.A decade after liberalization, France's power supply market is final coming to life as the process of switching providers has become easier and the entrance of new players has increased customer awareness of the options available.EDF still accounts for about 80 percent of the retail power market, with roughly 26 million customers, but it is losing around 100,000 a month, according to French energy market regulator CRE.Since oil giant Total's entry into the market a year ago, several other major French companies - including retail groups Casino and … [Read more...] about Total has ‘Uber-like’ ambitions to shake up French power market
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LONDON: Executives at the world's biggest oil and gas companies are under growing pressure to loosen the purse strings to replenish reserves, halt output declines and take advantage of a crude price rally after years of austerity.With oil at a four-year high of US$85 a barrel, exploration departments are urging company boards to drill more, wages are creeping higher, service companies say rates will have to rise and some investors say Big Oil must start growing again soon.For the heads of companies such as BP , Chevron and Royal Dutch Shell who have pledged to stick to lower spending after slashing budgets by as much as 50 percent since 2014, the pressure may become hard to resist.As in previous oil price cycles, there are concerns about the strength and duration of the business cycle, now in its 10th year of growth after the 2008 financial crisis.Unlike previous oil price cycles, there is the prospect, eventually, of an end to growth in oil demand as the world shifts to cleaner … [Read more...] about After lean years, Big Oil is under pressure to spend
Amazon‘s terms of service prohibit sellers from offering users products for free in exchange for reviews. The only reviews that can be incentivized must come through Amazon’s own Vine program. It’s an invitation-only club for a small percentage of elite reviewers, selected by Amazon. Some sellers’ forums cite it as costing as much as $1,000 per product for vendors to participate in Amazon Vine. Amazon‘s terms of service aim to keep vendors from incentivizing reviews, but a little-known service run by the site does just that for sellers who are willing to pay for it. Known as Amazon Vine, this invitation-only club for a small percentage of elite reviewers, selected by Amazon, aims to prevent biased reviews on the site. Reviewers are sent products and asked for honest feedback, with no direct dialogue between the sellers and reviewers. Vendors “cannot modify, influence, or … [Read more...] about Amazon has an under-the-radar system that allows sellers to pay for reviews
source Rafi Letzter/Tech Insider Last week, hundreds of Amazon shoppers took to social media to complain that their accounts had been mysteriously closed over the past week. Amazon sent a mass email to customers who had lost access to their accounts, saying that the deactivations happened either because customers broke the company’s review policy or because they were using the account for “commercial purposes.” Comments on private Facebook groups for Amazon reviewers reveal that sellers could be using underhanded tactics to get customers to review products. Last week, hundreds of Amazon shoppers posted complaints online after they found they had been mysteriously locked out of their accounts without explanation. Amazon said in a mass email response to customers whose accounts had been closed that anyone who had been impacted had either broken the … [Read more...] about Amazon has an underground subculture that trades reviews for deals — and the company is finally cracking down
By Shree Paradkar Race & Gender Columnist Thu., March 29, 2018 The first step towards lightening The White Man’s Burden is through teaching the virtues of cleanliness. PEARS’ SOAP is a potent factor in brightening the dark corners of the earth as civilization advances, while amongst the cultured of all nations it holds the highest place – it is the ideal toilet soap. Article Continued Below Anybody who got through that without shaking their head needs to give their head a shake. But, hey, that was 1890s, when racism was, like, totally cool. Zoom way into the future to now and what a change. There are no racists anymore. You can tell because advertisers don’t appeal to them or say anything racist. Ashton Kutcher didn’t do brownface for Popchips in 2012. Dunkin Donuts didn’t air commercials using Blackface in Thailand in 2013. Nivea didn’t show a Black man tossing a mask of his own pre-Nivea … [Read more...] about Are ads like the ‘Lighter is Better’ beer commercial leaning on racism as a publicity stunt?