Web

Jet, the new Amazon rival, ditches its $50 annual fee in bid for more customers

In an early move designed to sharply increase its customer base, the fledgling online retailer Jet.com has done away with its $50 annual membership fee.

The New Jersey-based Amazon competitor garnered a lot of attention when it launched in July, promising members prices 8 to 15 percent cheaper than elsewhere, with even greater discounts possible via its Smart Cart feature where choosing certain already-discounted items unlocks even greater savings on other products.

The move to ditch the annual membership fee comes as Jet’s three-month free trial period ends, drastically altering its initial business model overnight.

Liza Landsman, Jet’s chief customer officer, insisted the change in strategy has nothing to do with the suggestion that few people would be prepared to pay the $50 membership fee, which was supposed to be its main source of profit. Instead, Landsman says unexpected enthusiasm for the Smart Cart feature, and the resulting revenue from retailer commissions, means that big discounts on items are still possible without an annual fee.

She told USA Today that having looked at the figures, “we realized we could continue to offer consumers savings at between 4 percent on the low end and 17 percent on the high end without a membership.”

Jet, which offers shopping categories similar to Amazon’s, as well as free shipping for orders over $35, launched to great fanfare in the summer, having by then already raised $225 million from investors that included Goldman Sachs and Google Ventures.

The company hasn’t disclosed how many people signed up to use its service over the last three months, but doing away with its $50 membership fee means the e-commerce outfit will be desperate to rapidly expand its user base with customers who like to shop big.

Much could rest on the effectiveness of Jet’s national marketing campaign taking place over the next few months, a publicity push costing the company $100 million.

Business

Can Amazon deliver on plan to slash carbon footprint of shipments?

Amazon has announced an ambitious plan to halve its shipment carbon footprint by 2030. The company says improvements in electric vehicles, aviation bio fuels, reusable packaging, and renewable energy make the goal reachable.
Smart Home

Amazon may be close to opening its first cashier-free store outside U.S.

Amazon could be on the verge of opening its first cashier-free store outside of the U.S. after a recent report claimed the company has secured retail space for a location in central London.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Smart Home

Walmart slashes prices on Google Home during its Presidents’ Day sale

Walmart slashes prices on Google Home during its Presidents' Day sale. Whether you're taking your first step in configuring a smart home or expanding to every room, Walmart has excellent sale prices for all the key components.
Business

Marriott asking guests for data to see if they were victims of the Starwood hack

Marriott has created an online form to help you find out if your data was stolen in the massive Starwood hack that came to light toward the end of 2018. But take note, it requires you to submit a bunch of personal details.
Computing

New Chrome feature aimed at preventing websites from blocking Incognito Mode

A new Chrome feature will prevent websites from blocking Chrome users as they browse using Incognito Mode. The feature is supposed to fix a known loophole that allows websites to detect and block those using Incognito Mode.
Computing

Microsoft extension adds Google Chrome support for Windows Timeline

The Windows Timeline feature is now much more versatile thanks to the added support for Google's Chrome browser. All you need to do to increase its functionality is to download the official Chrome extension.
Computing

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.
Computing

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.
Movies & TV

Here’s how to watch the 2019 Oscars livestream online

The 91st Academy Awards will air live on ABC, but there are also a number of ways to watch Hollywood's biggest night online using your mobile device, desktop, or set-top streamer. Here's how to catch the Oscars livestream.
Computing

YouTube changes its strikes system, offers softer first-offense penalty

YouTube announced changes to its strikes system for its content creators. The changes include a softer first-offense penalty for creators who violate YouTube's guidelines and more consistent penalties for further violations.
Computing

An experimental feature could help reduce memory usage in Google Chrome

Google Chrome might be the most popular web browser, but it also is a resource hog. Google is currently working on an experimental feature for Chrome which sets out to reduce its overall memory usage. 
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. The best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or OS.