AUSTIN, Texas, May 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- A lot of events have occurred recently that directly affect small businesses and startups, including the launch of new tools, updates to services and partnerships. Small business resource site ChooseWhat.com compiled the top ten small business events that happened in the past week, in the hopes of helping small business owners sort though the news and glean the important facts. Here are the top ten:
- Google announces Google Drive, an online storage service that will compete with Dropbox. Google Drive will benefit from direct integration with other Google products like the Google Docs application suite. Google Drive allows small businesses to further concentrate their cloud computing solutions under one interface, streamlining everything from training new employees to sharing information with outside partners. Read more at Google's official blog.
- Mobile credit card payment processing service Square announces it will now grant merchants access to funds the next business day on all sales made before 5 p.m. For small business owners without a large stock of capital, who depend upon constant access to funds for making purchases and servicing payroll, this news gives Square a huge advantage against mobile processing competitors PayPal Here and Intuit GoPayment. Read more at VentureBeat.com.
- WalMart announces they will begin allowing online shoppers to make cash payments in their physical stores with their "Pay with Cash" program. Pioneering combining e-commerce with cash payments will allow the retail giant to engage a large swath of low income customers with no access to credit or bank accounts, over half of whom have access to the Internet. Read more at NPR.org.
- Yahoo releases a video lampooning Kickstarter, a crowd-funding platform that has gained popularity among entrepreneurs and potential customers alike. Kickstarter allows users to request funding for projects without mandating repayment or awards be granted to backers. The video presents "Nickstarter", a young unemployed guy living with his mother, who requests funds for rent, beer, and clothing, among other things. View the video at Yahoo.
- Google releases the "Penguin upgrade" to their search algorithm which has upset many online small business owners whose search rankings were affected by the change. Head of Google's Webspam team Matt Cutts says the change affects only about 3% of queries, but collateral damage is being reported by small business owners who say they have strictly followed Google's best practices guidelines. Read more at the Google Webmaster Central blog and Search Engine Round Table.
- Yahoo releases an online marketing dashboard for small businesses. The new tool is an addition to their Yahoo Small Business product which provides small business owners with web hosting, ecommerce, email, and domain registration solutions. The dashboard allows you to measure site traffic, track email marketing and search engine marketing campaigns, monitor your online reputation and more. Basic service is free, and you have the option to add/upgrade to paid features. Read more at TechCrunch.
- A judge in Illinois ruled against the Affiliate Nexus Tax law, which sought to levy state taxes upon online retailers. This is seen as a victory for Amazon as well as other marketing affiliates who have lobbied against such acts for years. Supporters of the law claim that it would level the playing field between online retailers and brick-and-mortar retailers while allowing the state to capture more revenue from residents of Illinois. Read more at the Chicago Tribune.
- The US Postal Service plans to shut down 250 post offices and distribution centers beginning May 15th. The closures will increase the time and distance some small business owners, primarily in rural areas, must travel to ship packages. The closures will also delay the processing of packages at distribution centers that will take on more volume. Read more at CNN.
- Online Fax provider HelloFax debuts integration with Google Drive. Users of HelloFax who grant access to their Google accounts will now be allowed to load documents straight from their cloud storage folder without having to locally store the file first. HelloFax is providing 50 free fax pages upon sign up. Read more on how to fax online through Google Drive at Mashable.
- Starbucks announced a partnership with the non-profit Opportunity Finance Network to develop a fund for granting loans to small businesses. Starbucks will allow people to donate to the fund online or at any of their locations across the country, which the OFN will then use to grant loans through their network of community development financial institutions. The fund has already generated $1 million in donations. Read more at MSN.
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