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Facebook and Wal-Mart Join Forces 127

Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Wal-Mart — the retail king of Big Data analytics — will be meeting Mark Zuckerberg for two days in Bentonville, to 'deepen' their relationship with Facebook. The CEO-level strategy summit is intended to bolster the relationship between the world's No. 1 social network and the world's largest retailer. Wal-Mart has been left in the dust online by the behemoth Amazon. An alliance may be poised to challenge this dominance, particularly in light of Amazon's planned foray into same-day delivery nationwide. The companies share James Breyer, who sits on the boards of both Facebook and Wal-Mart. Adding another angle to this, Yahoo's new CEO, Marissa Mayer, was elected to Wal-Mart's board in early June, while she was still at Google. Earlier this month, Facebook and Yahoo settled a patent dispute and announced plans to form another 'strategic alliance' involving advertising and distribution. The implications for online privacy in this series of relationships are uncertain."
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Facebook and Wal-Mart Join Forces

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 20, 2012 @09:45AM (#40711183)

    It's extremely simple.

    Wal-Mart's website sucks on a level that is so difficult to describe I would simply advise visiting it to see for yourself.

    It's like someone took a hundred teenagers and told them to build a retail website. Nothing fits together right, product descriptions are wrong, incomplete, confusing, and difficult to read. The site itself is difficult to navigate. The search engine is a joke.

    All that comes together to create this conglomeration of a website that doesn't fit together well and has no hope of building an online community - which is what it takes for any website to be successful.

    The only exception might be their photo website, which I would give a C if I were to grade it. It's at least functional - though for the world's largest retailer, it's much less than anyone would expect.

    They also are failing to use their biggest advantage - they've got DCs and retail fronts EVERYWHERE. Yet their shipping is not competitive at all, let a lone their prices. More often then not, you can save a substantial amount of money visiting their store vs online. Their marketing on their own website is terrible, too.

    I'm not sure what facebook is going to do for them, I think it shows how out-of-touch with their own failings the corporations executives are. Clearly they don't understand the problem, which to me says they need to replace not just a few but a lot of the management around their internet presence.

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Friday July 20, 2012 @10:21AM (#40711727)

    I always hear a lot of negative things about Walmart, but I have no problem with them. They don't do anything that other stores are not equally guilty of. So if I boycotted Walmart for being "evil" then I'd have to boycott all the stores, and have nowhere left to shop.

    The man who founded Walmart wanted to provide good products at a low price, so the low-income people in rural America could afford to live a middle-income lifestyle. James Cash Penney had a similar mission when he was a young man (his first store was called The Golden Rule... referencing the bible). After these men died both of their stores made mistakes, but they still follow the same root goal: Provide products at reasonable prices which people can afford to buy. Jeans for $15, shirts for $10, TVs for $100, food at 10-20% less than other stores, and so on.

  • Re:Why all the hate? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Friday July 20, 2012 @11:04AM (#40712387)

    WalMart and FaceBook offer things that people seem willing to exchange money/information for. You can opt out anytime.

    Actually you need friends with common sense (and actual respect for you, though why you'd be friends otherwise is a mystery...) and some technical skill. Otherwise it's quite difficult to prevent Facebook from ever knowing anything about you. If you had this idea that never personally visiting meant never being in Facebook's database, that's demonstrably false.

    The average user of Facebook has little or no technical skill and thinks it is useful or valuable to collect superficial acquaintences. They tend not to realize that every "Like" button you see on a non-Facebook site is a tracking device even if it is not clicked. When you access a non-Facebook site with such a "Like" button, there is no opt-out form presented. You need tools like Adblock and NoScript (among others) to frustrate this form of tracking. You first need to be aware of what tracking is and how it works before you can defeat it, of course. For average users, this is hardly "opting out anytime". This is "they aren't even asking me, they're just taking the info they want while hoping I remain ignorant". This is inherently exploitative because it's done without informed consent.

    Likewise, the effect Walmart tends to have on local businesses is difficult to opt out of. So is its impact on wages and benefits. Walmart knows how to play the retail game, that's for sure. They are in a stronger bargaining position than the localities they operate in and the workers they employ. They want to keep it that way, which is why they have so adamantly resisted unionization (unions have their own problems but actually would challenge this, and management knows it). Their overall effect tends to be the transfer of wealth out of local communities, rather than the creation of wealth within them. Maybe you're fine with that and maybe you'll make an apology for it, but in either case it's rather hard to simply opt out of.

I go on working for the same reason a hen goes on laying eggs. -- H.L. Mencken