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How to get your first 10k monthly listeners — in response to a post made yesterday

A user by the handle of u/WeakestBeast made a post yesterday with some helpful tips ey had gathered along their journey to 300k monthly listeners. One of these tips was to build a consistent listenership of about 10-50k people monthly before shopping around to labels — this is good advice, by the way, because a label needs to see that you're gonna make this happen with or without them before they're going invest a dime. But getting that first 10k monthly listeners can seem like an insurmountable first step, so I wanted to talk a bit about our personal journey.

A BRIEF INTRODUCTION
I've done this before. Shortly after our first release, we reached a monthly listenership of 50k at our peak. It's been six months since our most recent release (that first album) and we've settled into a comfortable 10-20k listeners consistently. And we do it all ourselves — recorded in my bedroom, mixed on cheap speakers with stock plug-ins, made our album art with an iPhone camera and some worklamps from Home Depot, cold calling playlisters and venues and blogs. Beyond my personal project, I'm involved in several other music projects, which range from 50-100k monthly listeners consistently. While the fact that I've done this is an important qualification to actually talking about, I think probably more important is that I've been involved in a lot of really good bands that never even broke the 2k barrier, and I can tell you why.

A DISCLAIMER ABOUT THE FALSE DRAW OF MONTHLY LISTENERSHIP
But there's something we need to address before we get started: monthly listenership is a red herring as far as your musical success, however you may define it, is. It is measuring something, but it has power mostly because we give it power, and an even less precise measure because of that. In all likelihood, your interest as a musician is not just getting your music in front of millions of people who will only ever listen once, but specifically to get it in front of the people who will resonate with your music. The people for whom your songs are meaningful, the people who will become fans. I suspect that for many of us, that is the truer measure of success (even if we aren't always good at shaking off the delusions of fame and influence). Monthly listenership does not measure that. These are listeners, not fans. There are many, many, many musicians with 200k+ monthly listeners out there that struggle to bring 50 people to a show. The rise of the playlist has as a side effect the tendency to render music as "wallpaper", an accompaniment to people's days and not something with which they actively engage.
Given, we and the people we want to impress (managers, labels, press) attribute quite a lot to monthly listenership. That's the second failing. Goodhart's Law tells us that once a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a useful measure. Which is to say, when we put so much emphasis on monthly listenership, it ceases to be a good proxy for the quality or actual retentive quality of your music. You can easily imagine that this number could be misleadingly inflated by fame or popularity without any regard for the quality of the music at all.
So remember that this isn't the end-all-be-all. Your goal is to reach as many future fans as you can, NOT just random people — and that doesn't always look like 500k people right off the bat. I don't doubt that there's an audience of that many people for whatever your genre is, no matter how weird. There are a lot of people, and if you like it, odds are someone else will appreciate it as well. But finding them is a much, much, much more difficult task than reaching that first 10k of passive consumers.

STARTING FROM NOTHING
The first question to ask yourself is what you really want. Do you want this? I know I want it, and I'm going to assume you do too. But it's not going to be easy and it's not going to be fair. If you really want this, you need to turn a critical eye to your own music and excise everything that doesn't work. Commit to making the best possible art you can. You might not think of yourself as a songwriter, but you need to understand how a good song works. You might not think of yourself as a producer, but you need to know how to make things sound good. You might not think of yourself as a marketer, but no one else is going to do it for you and you need to get your music in front of people. You might not think of yourself as an influencer, but you're selling experiences and that's the whole package. So ask yourself right now, what are you the worst at? What are you the best at? Think long and hard about these things, then hit Google and commit right now to getting better at all of it.
I am not saying this is a prerequisite. This is a continuous process. The biggest obstacle any of us will face is time, so don't wait for everything to be perfect. A musical career is just growing up in the public eye.
But I know you're all doing that already, or you wouldn't be here reading this.
So you've finished your project and it sounds good. Great writing, tight production, well-mixed, well-mastered. Nice. You've got some slick album art. You're excited and ready to drop this project.
But you're not going to drop this project yet. This is the longest part, it takes patience and it's not nearly as fun as making music. No, you're going to wait. You're going to set a release date for two months, minimum, from now. And then you're going to start planning.

GAINING AN AUDIENCE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
First, let's get the social media logistics out of the way. Do you have a mailing list? Are you on at least one of the major social media platforms? I recommend Instagram and TikTok, which are by far the dominant platforms right now. Make a YouTube channel. Make a Bandcamp. Make a Soundcloud. Reddit, if you want. You want people to be able to stream your music even if they aren't on Apple or Spotify. Lock down an email address. Make sure your handle is the same for all of these.
The trick to gathering an audience on these platforms is to create something of value. And that value is important because it's specific and in-line with your artistic identity. I use our Instagram as a place to keep in touch with our community — I follow and interact with other artists and collaborators, I post daily snippets from the life of the band to our story, little musical videos, I even post about what books I'm reading. People are on Instagram because they're interested in you and your life, so it's nice to see behind the curtain and into the lives of you and your bandmates. TikTok, on the other hand, seems to be entirely driven by a content-based algorithm — this can look like a lot of things: funny little videos, covers of songs you like, dances, vibey lifestyle posts, rating different things, more informational stuff (our most popular by far were about DIY audio engineering). TikTok seems to prefer videos that show your face from the front, by and large, and anything that makes use of its in-app sounds, songs, effects, and features. Just a small tip. Do some duetting and reacting, people like that. What, you're not on TikTok? Get on TikTok! It makes me feel old and out-of-touch, too, but you've got to excise that discomfort and get after it. Remember, we're committed. Facebook is useful for scheduling events, more useful if you have an older audience. But even then, I'd use a mailing list. The nice thing about email is it gets you away from algorithm-driven exposure — now you can contact people you care about directly. YouTube is a great place to do covers and gather fans from other, extant fanbases. I know that fans of Pinegrove or Death Cab for Cutie will find something to like from our music, for example, so we've spent a lot of time and effort putting together some good quality covers. I prefer to use Reddit in this way — I spent years learning a lot from this community and it's great to be able to contribute, now. And who knows, maybe you'll gain some new listeners that way, too. You're welcome to make yourself a website, but to be honest I don't think it's all that important anymore.
So you're going to spend your two+ months gathering an audience on all these platforms by posting regularly, engaging with others, and creating high-value content. Sneak in some promotional stuff for your music. TikTok seems particularly lawless — just post your song and people will start demanding you release it. This is a game of inches. It takes time. And don't be afraid to direct your friends and family. Learn how to ask, you're going to need to. Otherwise no one will ever even know you released it. But every person you gather becomes a potential vector of new exposure.
ADS
As a brief aside, if you have the money, ads can be really useful. The trick is to make it less of an ad and more of a normal post on social media. Engagement with videos is much higher. Spend some time making a short little video teaser and release video for your music. Music videos are even better! Try to spend at least $10 a day and use a targeted audience. If you've run ads before, try especially to focus people who have previously engaged with your material. You can have Instagram and Facebook promote you, you can have YouTube screen your videos before other relevant artists. And feel free to get creative with ads in the real world, too. Leave random letters inviting people to your show. Put up flyers! Collaborate with local artists to make cool merchandise and flyers!

PLAYLISTS, PLAYLISTS, PLAYLISTS (AND BLOGS, AND RADIO)
Next, get on SubmitHub. You're going to find yourself a couple blogs — as many as you can — to talk about your release. To be honest, I don't think too many people actively read blogs anymore, but you might gain a little exposure out of it. More importantly, it gives you another measure of legitimacy. People are talking about your music. You're going to share those articles when they're written, and people will be more inclined to check your music out having seen that other people are writing about it. More importantly, find a couple playlisters to add your song. With both of these things, it helps be specific about your targeting — do a little research. And it helps to have a little money for premium credits, the rate of acceptance is so much higher. But if you don't — and that's completely okay — you can earn them by rating others' music on Hot or Not. And you should add your music to SubmitHub's Hot or Not as well. Think of all the other appreciative musicians who are on there listening through Hot or Not. Someone might think your stuff is pretty hot! And then you've got a new fan as well.
But playlists. Someone commented in the other thread, "Playlists, playlists, playlists." And if you want to up your monthly listeners and maybe even gain some fans, this is the right answer. So ask yourself, who does your music sound like? Note, this is not who do you listen to, but who do you sound like? I love Frank Ocean and Theo Katzman, both have influenced my songwriting and sound immensely, and I sound nothing like those artists. But fans of Pinegrove might find a particular resonance with our music. I'm a new fan of Phoebe Bridgers (Punisher is such an amazing sounding album. I love Gruska and Mills and Berg's production, wow) but even before I liked her music I understood that others might find similar qualities. What's the strongest quality of your music? Now go forth on Spotify and find user-made playlists that have a similar vibe. Given them a listen. Now's the creepy part — and this process is long and tedious, too. Look at the user. Do they make playlists under their name? Do they have a profile picture? Great. Spotify pulls those things from Facebook. Go find their Facebook profile, friend them, and send them a message cold. Be courteous and respectful, be friendly and genuine. Let them know you've been digging their playlist. You really like X and Y artists, and because of their playlist, you found Z artists and you really dig it. You think your song might be a good fit. Send them a link and say, if you like it, I'd love it if you could add it to your playlist. This feels slimey and weird and it was one of the earliest forms of exposure we got beyond our immediate social circles.
Don't forget about Spotify's playlist submission. As long as your submit two weeks prior to release, you'll be put on Release Radar, which will let everyone who's listened to your previously know you've got a new song out. From my own experience, Release Radar can also expose you to new likely fans based on engagement, acting as a little mini Discover Weekly. Discover Weekly is where you want to end up, because Spotify will just continue shipping your song around to new fans as long as there's engagement. These things are both driven by engagement and sharing by users immediately following release, so all that work you put in above is going to be really important! And of course you can submit a song from each release for Editorial Playlist consideration, too! As always, targeting is key. Find the right curated playlist for your specific song, tailor your pitch to that playlist's vibe and content.
By the way, I recommend releasing a few singles before the project, and scheduling them to be four weeks apart. This way, Spotify will note the consistent influx of new listeners and the momentum you've built up, so it'll start doing some of the work for you. Plus, it gives you momentum to outside observers.
On a sort of related note, reach out to local radio stations! The students who run college stations are eager and have such a passion for music. They are fans just waiting to happen, and you'll find they're often friends waiting to happen as well. It is such a pleasure to sit down and chat with a couple students on the air and it costs you just an hour of your time, an enjoyable one at that. Likewise with podcasters! There are so many podcasts these days and I guarantee you know someone that hosts one. Reach out!

PERFORMING LIVE
Back before the beginning of the end of the world, we used to play live. Live shows remain the number one way you'll convert a listener to a fan. Try to maximize your exposure by playing venues with good foot traffic — venues with enough of a reputation that they bring their own listener base on a regular basis, potential new fans for you — and by pairing with other bands in the scene. How do you meet other bands? Be friendly and sociable, go out to their shows, listen respectfully, talk to them after, buy them a drink. You'll find your scene. Their fans will become fans of yours too, and now you two can support one another as acts! Build a community, collaborate, experiment, make new great art together. Play bomb shows together. And that extends to the people listening as well — put aside whatever discomfort you might feel and play your heart out; invite your audience to come and say hello after the show, to say hello to one another and make new friendships. They'll come to the next show, too, and bring friends.
I want you to play at least two shows, a month apart, in the time leading up to your release. More if you can travel (e.g., Brooklyn and Manhattan, separate enough audiences. Burlington VT is small enough that you don't want to oversaturate). Put together all that work for a big release show when your project drops — collaborate with other bands you've befriended, get a good Friday or Saturday spot. Hell, schedule a tour! We try not to release music without scheduling a little mini-tour for that weekend.
Okay, so maybe you don't have a band, or you don't know how to perform. I encourage you to do it anyway. Remember that we're committed here. You can repackage your music — it doesn't have to sound like the record. We recently played a live show online from my apartment. Unfortunately it's not really practical for us to play drums and thrashing electric guitars here, so we stripped it down, went acoustic, emphasized the harmonies, I play the piano. A different packaging, but I'm just trying to communicate my vision however I can. I've done videos of myself playing all the instruments. Whatever it takes. You can play out live with a laptop as a backing track. You can loop yourself. Maybe you're just a bomb musician, so you can just play and that's compelling enough. I'm not that way but I know plenty who are. You can do it! Just do it!
In my experience, colleges and DIY audiences are all really willing and invested fans. Colleges will also pay you quite handsomely!
Also the current backdrop to our musical lives is one of global emergency and live shows aren't really happening right now. There are still shows happening, but it's a bit of a different scene. Still, the above applies. Find a venue with a built in audience, find some collaborators within your scene, and put something together! Maybe you record it with your iPhone. You can get a great sound with a phone these days, just spend time getting a good placement. You can do it! Just do it!

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Before our first release, I spent multiple hours doing this everyday. I would wake up, submit to blogs and playlisters on SubmitHub every four hours, cold message Spotify playlisters on my bus ride into work. I put together a show at one of the biggest, highest traffic venues in town with a couple bands from the area — friends I'd made by visiting their shows and being a part of the local scene. We collaborated with a local graphic designer to make these awesome posters. I drove around an hung them at the local universities and all around town. I scheduled a mini-tour immediately to follow, hitting some of the major cities on the East Coast. I invited everyone I knew in each city. I reached out personally! I asked them to bring friends! We filmed parts of our future ad material at these shows with the audience participating. After the show, we packed up quickly and spent time hanging out with friends and listeners, meeting the people with whom our music had resonated. I posted to Reddit. Some of those posts flopped — which embarrasses me and I'm telling you about it now because that's a reality of what we're doing and we need to accept that. It's slow. But this is a game of inches and you have to keep going, right? That's the only way forward. TikTok wasn't around yet but you can bet I'd have been posting on there everyday if it had been. I did as many podcasts and playlists as I could. I reached out to local newspapers and did interviews. My friends and I all streamed the new song non-stop on our phones. I asked everyone I knew to share the song if they liked it, telling them it was a small thing they could do for me that would mean a lot for our band. There's really no way around approaching this with humility. Remember your commitment. Excise your ego. This is music, it's a compassionate act to begin with. You have to reach out to others and connect, and it's in forming that community that you will go farther.
By the time we released our second single, a month later, all that consistent effort and momentum paid off. Release Radar did a little better. We started seeing some consistent listenership. We were finding our fanbase. Finally, by our third single, things started working for us. We got a huge bump off Release Radar followed by a huge bump off Discover Weekly. We have two songs now that routinely get peddled on Discover Weekly and that has driven us to so many new listeners and fans — all because of that hard work we put in. And I am still doing it everyday, in between producing our new record and my friends' new record and, of course, going to work. It is very possible that we will never have our tinderbox moment, the big break, and find tremendous success, but I am determined to find as many people to connect with as I can and I am going to keep working as hard as I can to make that a reality. You can do it! Just do it! It is slow and hard work and frankly it is mostly discouraging work, too. But if you want it, I promise you can do it. This will work. It will take work, but if you show up and you keep at it you will see results. Good luck!
submitted by couchsleepersband to WeAreTheMusicMakers [link] [comments]

From 0 programming knowledge to the appstore in 7 months. If i can do it everyone can do it.

From 0 programming knowledge to the appstore in 7 months. If i can do it everyone can do it.

Sleep Analytics for iOS built with Swift UI
Feel free to download my first app and let me know your feedback much apreciated.
Download Sleep Analytics for iOS: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/sleep-analytics/id1503904392
I started to learn SwiftUI in December 2019. I had 0 knowledge of programming at that time.
First i have used the playground app from Apple. Then i register for SwiftUI training courses on Udemy.
I found training courses in my native language (french) that helped me a lot at the beggining to understand the basics.
I found a lot of great informations from this Reddit. I followed many tutorials and built differents projects from GitHub to understand how they work.
So After about 1 months i started SleepAnalytics project as a test project. I wanted to learn as much as possible how to use the hardware from the iOS device so i could build interface around it.
I started with the barometer and then step by step added more and more features like location, camera use and more. At the beggining it was very frustrating because i would not understand everything because of my english technical skills was limited.
I had some days i wanted to quit really, but then the next day i was back with full power.
I spent 8 hours a day learning and doing Sleep Analytics project. Even more during the lockdown of corona virus. Then i talked with a mentor to be able to correct me and tell me what i was doing wrong.
I really loved the experience to create something from nothing and i'm very happy to see it today in the Apple app store.
I'm sure SwiftUI can become a new opportunity in my life, specially after this Corona virus pandemic, also i'm waiting my 1st baby in 2 months. I need a new job.
I love challenges, if i can do it everyone can do it trust me ! All you need is motivation and beleive in yourself.
Today the world is changing at fast speed. I'm betting on SwiftUI for my future and i hope to learn more to be able build some more advanced app later.

More about the me and how I did this project:
I work as an entrepreneur since I'm 18, today i'm 39 and i made different business online, I was creating project/ideas and managing a small dev team (only web). Some of this business worked well for some years and some failed. So I have lost my team and closed business. That's the life of entrepreneur. Sometimes you win sometimes you lose.
I always wanted to create iOS applications and the Apple Developer conference last year really gave me the motivation by seeing the unlimited possibility of creativity in iOS. I have watched mostly all videos from WWDC19.
Yes I have a MacBook Pro and an iPhone XR.
Then I started with the iOS13 & Swift 5 course by Dr. Angela Yu : https://www.udemy.com/course/ios-13-app-development-bootcamp/
I made about half of this course and then I have met a iOS programmer Move Upwards : https://github.com/MoveUpwards. He suggested me to start learning SwiftUI.
I suffered a little with some technical terms in English specially at the beginning to understand the difference between "@State" var, "@Binding" and the others. Also the difference with Array, Tuples etc...
I have found a SwiftUI course in French on Udemy by Matthieu Passerel : https://www.udemy.com/course/swiftui-ios/
I finished this course and this helped a lot to really understand the basic of SwiftUI.
From there I have used the 100 days of swiftUI : https://www.hackingwithswift.com/100/swiftui
Then I decided to make a small app to use the camera of the device to mesure the light obscurity. Then create another service to use the barometer, and then came the idea to make the Sleep Analytics project.
I used https://www.sketch.com to draw a prototype. It is still available here: https://www.sketch.com/s/26c7dfc4-e919-43c9-bf3d-7f1cc2a5fa96
And then I asked MoveUpwards dev if he would be ok to be my mentor for this project. He said yes.
I have started to design the app and the different section using what I have learn from the previous course. This course often provide exemples so I could go back and check at my samples. 1 time per week, sometimes more 2-3 times per week, I had a private session with my mentor and he was explaining my error, help correcting, also explaining how to do things properly. Creating services etc ...
Every day SwiftUI for all this time. 7 months after here we are.
I may take a break a little and spend a little less time at computer but I will be back full power soon ! I will update this thread in 1 year to see how things went :)

Sleep Analytics was designed to use your mobile as a sleep monitoring device, analyse different features such as light effect, pressure change, air quality, location, sound recording and much more. The results give a complete analysis and tips on how to improve your sleep despite all of these factors.
Many things can be be improved in Sleep Analytics but i wanted to share it with you.
Thank you the SwiftUI community ! This project would never be possible without you !
Thank you for your time. Keep it up !
submitted by furiousteam to SwiftUI [link] [comments]

Best Prime Day Deals Reddit

Amazon Prime Day Deals 2020 Reddit , Amazon’s yearly deals bonanza for Prime members, is almost here, and it’s not too early to start pulling together your wish list. Last year’s mid-July event yielded some of the best prices we saw during all of 2019, and we expect to see the same quality of deals this year on October 13 and 14. Here’s a quick preview of the early deals we’ve found and a primer (see what we did there?) on what you can expect during Prime Day 2020.The best early Prime Day deals As Amazon’s deals bonanza draws closer, we’ve already begun to see some pre–Prime Day deals crop up on the site. Some of these early Prime Day deals have already come and gone, but don’t worry: Those that have disappeared will likely be back in time for Prime Day looking just as good or even better. Until then, here are the best early discounts we’ve spotted so far.
More details here https://techbylight.com/best-tech-deals-today/
Amazon device deals Kindle Paperwhite deals After rounds of diligent testing, our guide writers have come to the conclusion that the Kindle Paperwhite is the best ebook reader money can buy—and, luckily for avid readers, we fully expect the Paperwhite to drop to $85 or less during Prime Day. Right now, we’ve found a bundled Pre-Prime Day deal that includes the Paperwhite, an Amazon leather cover, and a power adapter for $120. However, we don’t think this deal is that great, considering the case isn’t a Techbylight pick and most people will find the extra USB wall charger extraneous.
Audible 1-Year Subscription Deal price: $100; street price: $150
Kindle Unlimited (6 Months) Deal price: $30; street price: $60
Amazon Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8 Deals Both the Amazon Echo Show 5 and the Echo Show 8 are Techbylight-approved smart displays that can serve many functions—they can act as alarm clocks, kitchen sous chefs, a way to spend time with your family virtually. We expect to see good deals on both the Show 8 and the Show 5 (which is just a smaller version of the 8) this Prime Day, and the Show 5 is actually on sale right now for $45 in a pre-Prime Day deal. For an extra $5, Prime members can also add the Blink Mini indoor security camera to their carts as part of that same promotion.
Amazon Echo Show 5 Smart Display Deal price: $45; street price: $75 Read our review of the best smart display for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
Amazon Echo Dot Deals The Echo Dot is the perfect choice for a beginner looking to dip their toe into the world of smart speakers. Affordable and compact, the Echo Dot gives you a surprisingly good sound for something so small, along with all the control and features of Alexa; for folks already entrenched in the Alexa ecosystem, adding another Echo Dot to another part of your home can extend your smart assistants’ range. We’ve already seen the price of the Echo Dot drop in the run up to Prime Day 2020—we found an exclusive Prime member deal that brought a two-pack of Dots down to $40. Unfortunately, that deal has already expired, but we’ll likely see the price of Dot drop again during Prime Day proper.
Amazon Music Unlimited 4 Months for $1 Deal price: $1; street price: $32
For details https://techbylight.com/best-tech-deals-today/
Echo Auto Deals The Echo Auto is a way to add Alexa to your vehicle. Available for $20 as part of a pre-Prime Day promotion, it claims to allow you to use your voice to play music, check the news, make calls, add to your to-do list, or manage your calendar. We don't recommend the Echo Auto, as per Techbylight Senior Editor Grant Clauser: "It's an interesting concept, and is nice when it works, but it frequently doesn't."
Blink Mini Indoor Camera The Blink Mini is Amazon’s new security camera, and, as part of a Pre-Prime Day deal, can be added on to an Echo Show 5 purchase for $5 extra. Compact and light, this small indoor security camera (which sells for $25 on its own) claims to offer motion detection, night vision, and Alexa capabilities. Techbylight does not recommend the Blink Mini for a few reasons, the biggest being its tendency to overlook motion along with its recording limitations. “It missed some events completely during testing and limits recordings to 30 seconds, with 10-second gaps in between captured clips,” says smart home senior staff writer Rachel Cericola. “And while that may not seem like a lot, it means every time there’s 90 seconds of movement, you’re missing a third of that.”
Blink Minis purchased now come with a free trial of the Blink cloud storage subscription through the end of December 2020—but once the year is over, you’ll be required to subscribe to the monthly service if you want the camera to make and save recordings, and Rachel says there are far better options for that (which we recommend!).
Kitchen deals We’ll see deals on small kitchen appliances, including favorites from OXO and Instant Pot. Historically, the Instant Pot has been one of the star deals of Prime Day—we’ve seen deals that have taken it to as much as 50% off. Expect to see deals on coffee makers, as well, with our top pick, the OXO Brew 9 Cup Coffee Maker, likely to be well discounted. One caveat: Small kitchen appliance deals are trickier this year than on previous Prime Days, as the coronavirus pandemic has driven tremendous demand for some sought-after products and brands. Since March, for example, we haven’t seen the KitchenAid stand mixer deals we usually see with some regularity, and that’s largely true of our best blender picks, as well.
All-Clad D3 Stainless 12″ Fry Pan with Lid Deal price: $100; street price: $125 Read our review of the best skillet.
For Details https://kitchenkm.com/best-nonstick-skillet/
OXO Good Grips Spiralizer Deal price: $32; street price: $40 (use code FALL) Read our review of the best spiralizer.
OXO Steel Salad Spinner Deal price: $38; street price: $50 (use code FALL) Read our review of the best salad spinner.
For details https://kitchenkm.com/blog
Rubbermaid Brilliance Pantry Food Storage Containers (24-Piece Set) Deal price: $28; street price: $40 Read our review of the best dry food storage containers.
Apple deals In the past few years, Prime members have also been able to nab deals on select Apple products. We expect to see discounts on the Apple Watch Series 5 if it remains available after the recent release of the Series 6 and Apple Watch SE, but keep an eye on our Apple Watch review, as the SE might be a better option (pending testing) for anyone who doesn’t need the ECG feature. The 8th-generation iPad has been just recently released, if you want the latest and greatest, and while we may not see huge discounts, initial discounts may appear. The 3rd-generation iPad Air may be worth your while if it’s cheap enough, as it too got a September refresh and the 4th gen is now available. We also expect to see MacBook Air and Pro models discounted to match previous sale prices in 2020. The previous-generation iPad Pro could be discounted, too, a tablet that our resident Apple expert, senior staff writer Nick Guy, still considers a great value if the price is right.
Apple iMac (27-inch, with Retina Display) All-In-One Computer Deal price: $1,650; street price: $1,750 (10 gen intel core i5, Costco Members only) Read our review of the best all-in-one computer.
Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 2020, 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, Space Gray) Deal price: $1200; street price: $1300 Read our review of the best MacBooks.
Apple iPad mini (5th generation, 64 GB) Deal price: $336; street price: $385 Read our guide to why the iPad is the best tablet.
Will the release of the Apple iPhone 12 affect Prime Day deals? Apple has a product announcement event on October 13, the first day of Amazon Prime Day. It's widely expected that the company will announce the iPhone 12 lineup, though actual availability dates are still unknown. For right now, Deals team has the feeling that the timing of this release might mean some deals on the iPhone 11 (our current top pick)—perhaps gift card or BOGO deals rather than price drops. You’ll probably want to pass if you’re an Apple aficionado with eyes for the latest and greatest tech, but if you want to save a few bucks on an iPhone that our guide writers love, this could be a good time to pick one up.
Vacuums on Prime Day Vacuums are almost certain to see great prices during Prime Day, but some vacuum types in particular (robot vacuums from Eufy and Roomba and cordless stick vacuums from Dyson) have historically had the best Prime Day deals. Last Prime Day, we saw the Eufy Robovac 11S, our budget pick, drop all the way down to $150. Shoppers will have a variety of options to choose from, as we expect multiple models robot vacuums and cordless stick vacuums to be heavily discounted. For the best deals, keep an eye on all retailers, not just Amazon—vacuums at Walmart typically see good discounts, too, especially on Dyson vacuum refurbs and Roombas.
Upright and canister vacuum sales are also a possibility, as we usually see at least one worthwhile Prime Day discount on our top pick from Shark. Even handheld vacuums have been the subject of Prime Day deals in previous years, so we’re likely to see vacuum discounts for every vacuum category covers.
Dyson V8 Animal+ Cordless Stick Vacuum Deal price: $300; street price: $340 (For Costco members only) Read our review of the best cordless stick vacuum.
Eufy RoboVac 30 Robot Vacuum Deal price: $160; street price: $240 (budget pick variant; free shipping for Prime Members) Read our review of the best robot vacuums.
Best Battery LawnMower Deals Reddit 2020
Gaming deals When it comes to PlayStation and Xbox, the deals will essentially be for the last-gen consoles due to the impending release of the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X. If you’re okay with last-gen technology, however, you’ll enjoy the best pricing we’ve ever seen for the older consoles, but we only recommend that you grab the Xbox One S or standard PS4, as you’ll overpay for the PS4 Pro or Xbox One X. Note that PS4 controllers won’t work on PS5 games, though Microsoft claims that all Xbox accessories save Kinect will be compatible with the Series X and Series S.
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The Nintendo Switch hasn’t seen any deals at all since very early in 2020, and we don’t expect to see any deals during Prime Day. In fact, since March it has been rare to find the slightly refreshed new Switch model (which offers longer battery life) available even at full price. Deals on the Nintendo Switch Lite are slightly more likely, as inventory is more steady. We will, however, likely see deals on recommended Nintendo Switch accessories such as the Switch Pro controller or charging accessories.
PlayStation Store $100 Gift Card (Digital Delivery) Deal price: $90; street price: $100 (For Costco members only) Read our review of the best game consoles.
Super Mario Party (Amazon) Deal price: $40; street price: $50 Read our review of the best game consoles.
Super Mario Party (Walmart) Deal price: $40; street price: $50 Read our review of the best game consoles.
Fitness deals As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact gymgoers, quality home fitness equipment continues to experience high demand, which means its unlikely we’ll see deals in this category. Our top adjustable dumbbell pick, the Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Set, has been sold out at reliable sources for months. Even large and expensive fitness gear like our treadmill picks and the Peloton bike are experiencing stock issues and shipping delays as shoppers attempt to duplicate their gym experience at home. At this point, we’d be happy to see many of our fitness picks in stock at all, and we’ll do our best to highlight these items if they become available.
We are currently searching for the best deals on picks in this category and will add them here if we find them!
Prime Day TV deals Amazon Prime Day has historically offered deals on budget and ultra-budget TV models doesn’t recommend that use Amazon’s own Fire TV interface, but in recent years we’ve seen more variety in the types of TV deals available. For instance, the newest TCL 6-Series line, our new top LCD/LED pick, could see some discounts, but Amazon Prime Day TV deals on Sony TVs are less likely, so new picks like the Sony X950H (for those seeking a wider viewing angle) will probably stay at full price. Finally, in 2019, we noted Amazon Prime TV deals that included bonus gift cards for our OLED pick, and hope to see similar deals for the newer LG CX, which will almost certainly be our new OLED TV pick.
LG CX Series OLED TV Deal price: $3,700; street price: $4,100 (plus a $300 Visa Gift Card w/ purchase) Read our review of the best OLED TV.
Samsung The Frame LCD TV 55" and other sizes Deal price: $1,100; street price: $1,400 Read our blog on designer TVs.
Roku Streaming Stick+ Media Streamer (Amazon) Deal price: $37; street price: $45 Read our review of the best media streaming devices.
Roku Streaming Stick+ Media Streamer (Walmart) Deal price: $37; street price: $48 Read our review of the best media streaming devices.
Laptop deals Historically, we haven’t often seen great deals on laptops or computers during Prime Day, and we expect that to hold true this year, too. We’ve seen small deals on MacBook Pro laptops and some configurations of the MacBook Air recently which will likely stick around through the duration of Prime Day. We don’t expect to see too many deals from Amazon on Windows Ultrabooks, either, but that won’t stop us from keeping an eye on other retailers. The best Prime Day laptop deals we’ll see this year—if any—will likely be on Lenovo branded laptops, either through Lenovo itself or through Best Buy. Deals on Chromebooks, even small ones, will be very rare this Prime Day—so if you do see one, nab it while you can!
In past years, we’ve seen a few good Amazon Prime Day computer monitor deals, but because of the pandemic, those too have been in short supply. Though we’re starting to see a few monitor deals crop up again, they’re usually on our budget or upgrade models, rather than our top or runner-up picks (which are still out of stock). In the run-up to Prime Day, we’ve also seen a few price drops on variations of our top mini PC pick, the HP Prodesk 600 G5.
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Dell U3419W Ultrawide Monitor & $100 Dell Gift Card Deal price: $648; street price: $770 (use code STAND4SMALL, $100 Dell Gift Card) Read our review of the best ultrawide monitors.
Baby and kid deals Prime Day features a number of deals for kids, some of which are picked by Techbylight. Notably, we expect it to include some STEM toys we recommend in addition to bath, beach, and sandbox toys from Green Toys made from recycled materials. Gear for those with younger kids could well see deals too, with baby carriers, strollers, and car seats often available at a discount.
Ergobaby 360 Cool Air Mesh Baby Carrier Deal price: $98; street price: $130 Read our review of the best baby carriers.
Whole Foods, small business, and other early Amazon promotions On October 13 and 14, Prime Members will get an extra $10 for every $40 put on an Amazon eGift Card. From now until October 12, Amazon is offering Prime members a $10 credit to use on Prime Day when members spend $10 on items sold by select small businesses. From now until October 14, Prime members can spend $10 at Whole Foods Market online or in-store to get $10 to spend on Amazon during Prime Day. Prime members who spend $10 in an Amazon Go store through October 14 get $10 to use during Prime Day. Prime Members can use the QR code in the Fresh In-Store section of the Amazon app to get $10 to use on Prime Day when they spend $10. Use your Prime account to spend $10 at checkout at an Amazon Books or Amazon Pop Up, and you get $10 to use during Prime Day. Whole Foods promotions overall may be less robust than those of prior years and geared toward online purchases, but we’ll note any additional promotions we see as Prime Day approaches.
What time does Prime Day start? This year, Amazon Prime Day will be held on October 13 and 14. The event will begin at midnight Pacific Time, that's an early 3 a.m. Eastern Time wake-up call for dealseekers. CNET previously reported that Amazon Prime Day would begin October 13, but until late September Amazon had confirmed only that it planned to hold Prime Day in the fourth quarter of 2020. As CNBC previously reported, during the summer Amazon provided sellers with the week of October 5 as a placeholder date. The retailer has typically held Prime Day during the second week of July, so this delay has pushed the event back by roughly three months.
Buy on Amazon Prime Day or wait? Because Prime Day was delayed by three months this year, you may be wondering whether you should capitalize on Amazon’s deal pricing now or wait for the upcoming holiday sales—Black Friday and Cyber Monday are only about a month away, after all. Here are the products we think you should buy now, and what we think will see even better pricing in just a few weeks.
Robot vacuums. We’ve always seen great deals on robot vacuums (like Roombas and Eufys) on past Prime Days, and we expect the same to be true this year. Robot vacuum deals will be around on Black Friday too, but we think you should buy now to avoid potential shipping delays around the holidays. Air purifiers. Last year we saw exceptionally good deals for air purifiers during Prime Day, but this year, we expect to see fewer deals and smaller discounts as wildfires have driven up demand—so if you see a deal on any of our purifier picks, snag it! Noise-cancelling headphones. This year’s Prime Day will almost certainly offer deals on all our noise-cancelling picks, whether you’re looking for over-ear headphones or our favorite earbuds. We have a feeling we’ll see the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, our top pick, sell for $300 or less, and the Anker Soundcore Life Q20, our budget pick, for $40 or less; we’re pretty sure the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pros, our top noise-cancelling earbud pick, will drop to $110, and the Jabra Elite 85H is likely to fall to less than $200. Canister vacuums. We expect to see some solid deals on powerful canister vacuums like our Shark picks in the NV350 and NV360 line this Prime Day, so if you spot a deal in your price range, pounce on it! Apple Watch. Whether you’re looking for deals on dwindling 5th generation Apple Watch models or like the already-budget-friendly SE, Prime Day will likely deliver. We think we’ll see great deals on select 5th gen models now that the Apple Watch 6 and SE have been released—but act fast if you spot a discount, since stock may be low. Just don’t fall for any “deal” on the Series 3; its technology will soon become obsolete. Nintendo Switch, accessories, and games. Nintendo Switch deals are far and few between, so if you happen across one, snap it up! Deals on Switch accessories and games will be a bit more ubiquitous this Prime Day, and we think you should capitalize on those discounts too if you find them. Wait on it
iPads. Though we’ve already been seeing the price of the 8th generation iPad (which happens to be our upcoming top pick) drop by $30, but we think the deals will be better come Black Friday. However, if you happen to see the price fall by more than $50, you should definitely snag the deal. We’ll probably see a few deals for the 7th generation iPad, but we think you’ll get more bang for your buck by investing in the newer model, which has a better processor—so skip the discounts for the 7th gen. Outdoor security cameras. We think there will be better discounts on a wider range of outdoor security camera brands we pick closer to Black Friday, so if you can wait, you should. Unsurprisingly, Amazon prioritizes deals on its own branded items, so it’s likely we’ll see mega discounts on Ring cameras, but Techbylight doesn’t recommend them. Gaming console bundles and games. Hold off until Black Friday if you’re on the hunt for new gaming consoles or game bundles; the deals will almost certainly be better. You should also wait until late November if you’ve got your eye on early PS5 and XBox Series X titles. Stick vacuums. Though we’ll likely see Dyson stick vacuums on sale from Prime Day through Black Friday, we expect to see slightly better quality deals across a variety of models closer to the holidays..
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What can we expect from Walmart, Target and Best Buy? Amazon competitors are certain to have sales that run concurrently with Prime Day, but some also have a history of starting sales before Prime Day. Savvy buyers can take advantage of those early sales to save on things that may sell out quickly on Prime Day itself. Here’s what we know so far about early sales, as well as sales that will happen during Prime Day, at Amazon competitors.
Best Buy Early Black Friday Deals Best Buy has now formally announced that it will be running a sale of its own concurrent with Prime Day on October 13 and 14. This is a slight departure for them, as Best Buy has a history of preempting Amazon Prime Day with discounts of its own, and prior to Prime Day and Black Friday of 2019, we noted sales from Best Buy that approached and even matched pricing we saw during the deals mayhem later. Best Buy is framing this event as a preview of its Black Friday event, so we look forward to seeing what it includes.
Walmart Big Save event Walmart’s Prime Day–competing sale event, called the Big Save event, started last night at 7 p.m. Eastern. Walmart has historically followed Amazon’s lead and run its sales concurrent with Prime Day, but the company seems breaking with that history this year. As part of this event, the Roku Streaming Stick Plus is discounted to $37, the lowest we've seen it this year—although Amazon has already matched that drop. The emergence of Walmart+, which launched September 15, could also mean deals with membership or a free trial. Though we haven’t seen any sales or savings exclusive to Walmart+ just yet, we’ll still keep our eyes open. Regardless, we expect Walmart to match much of Amazon’s Prime Day pricing when the event goes live (pricing that folks will be able to take advantage of without a Walmart+ membership), so Walmart could be an option if you don’t want to shell out for Prime (or get a free Prime trial). Amazon items and brands aren’t available at Walmart, however, so if you’re looking for those things, Amazon or Best Buy will be your best bet.
Target Deal Days We saw Target expand its efforts to compete with Prime Day with its Deal Days promotion in 2019, and Target has now announced it will be doing the same in 2020 with a Deal Days promotion that will run concurrent with Prime Day. At the very least, we expect Target to match some of the better Apple deals out there. The most notable benefits of shopping at Target versus Amazon are the possibility of store pickup (if that appeals to you) and the presence of Target’s RedCard 5% discount and promotions. Although 5% isn’t a huge amount, it becomes significant on large purchases. Additionally, Target frequently offers RedCard-exclusive promotions—while those haven’t been overwhelmingly good during Prime Day events and Black Fridays past, we wouldn’t be surprised to see them more this year.
Amazon Prime Day shopping tips and tricks Prime Day shopping can feel overwhelming, but we’ve compiled some tips to help you get the most out of the event.
Comparison shop: Many Amazon competitors are going to offer competing sales during Prime Day. The Walmart Big Save event, Target Deal Days, and Best Buy's early Black Friday sale will be in full force. We’ll be looking out for deals that originate with them or Amazon price matches. You should, too, particularly if you have a cash-back card or belong to a program that saves you a little extra (like Target’s RedCard). Use third-party price trackers: Techbylight uses a combination of internal and third-party price-tracking tools to monitor price history, but Deals editor Nathan Burrow is still partial to CamelCamelCamel, which tracks Amazon pricing. It’s free to use, and although it’s imperfect, it provides some directional data that can at least set you on the right path. Consider Amazon’s Wishlist, Watch, and Waitlist tools: We know that’s a confusing mouthful. Wishlist allows you to curate items you’re already interested in. Watching an item is a tool you can use to flag upcoming deals during Prime Day and get alerts via the Amazon Shopping app when those deals go live. Waitlist is a tool you can use when you’ve missed a Lightning Deal—if someone else fails to follow through and purchase the item after adding it to their cart, you might be able to claim it. Ask Alexa: If you already have an Amazon smart device and want to ask Alexa about Prime Day deals, say “Alexa, what are my Prime Day deals?” In past years, we’ve even seen early-access deals for Alexa users. Using the Amazon app and the Amazon browser extension to find deals Last year, we saw a number of app-exclusive deals that you couldn’t get on a laptop, so it might be worthwhile to download the Amazon iPhone or Android app. During the event, you can use the app to track your favorites as you shop and keep an eye out for upcoming Lightning Deals available for preview. Once you claim a Lightning deal, you have a limited amount of time (15 minutes) to pull the trigger and complete the purchase before your claim expires. Turn on push notifications in the Amazon app to increase your chances of grabbing a Lightning Deal on an item you’re watching before it goes out of stock.
Three sections to note before Prime Day:
“Get Ready for Prime Day” banner: New for 2020, this allows you to subscribe to get deal notifications about select items on Prime Day. The suggested items appear to be served based on your shopping preferences, and if you opt in, you’ll receive deal notifications at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Prime Day. “Start shopping early” banner: Here you’ll find pre–Prime Day promotions such as Amazon’s $50-off deal for Audible. “Get Prepped for Prime Day” section: View tutorials showing some of the features of the app, such as how to “watch” an item—a helpful trick to make sure you can grab upcoming Lightning Deals on Prime Day. This year the Amazon Assistant browser extension is seeing expanded functionality. The Amazon Assistant helps you compare while browsing and easily add an item (even non-Amazon items) to a wishlist, and it also makes personalized product recommendations. The browser extension also allows you to get alerts in your browser for items you’ve watchlisted on the app in addition to delivery updates, a nice feature if you’re switching between your phone and computer.
Lightning Deals on Amazon Prime Day To get a Lightning Deal on Prime Day, first and foremost you’ll need to be a Prime member. You can grab a free 30-day trial in advance of the event or join on a more permanent basis for $119 per year if you’ve decided to make the leap. Students are eligible for a special $59-per-year rate. You’ll also need to be quick to click that buy button—as their name suggests, Lightning Deals are designed to go quickly and to create a sense of urgency. If you miss out, though, never fear. You can add yourself to a waitlist for Lightning Deal items you may have missed out on—if some percentage of the “sold out” item never goes all the way through checkout, you’ll get an alert, and you may be able to snap one of those remaining units up if they become available.
We’ve also noted a trend of Lightning Deals ending and then coming back on day two of Prime Day, something to keep an eye out for. Finally, you can also add items you have your eye on to a wishlist via an “Add to List” button right next to where the “Add to Cart” button is located. You can even adjust your settings to get push notifications on your phone via the Amazon app for these items when and if they become available as Lightning Deals.
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I'm on display at Mr. McCallister's Odditorium. Someone please, help me escape. (Part 1)

My name is Alice. I need to write that down before I forget it. I don’t know how much time I have before he comes back, so I’m going to try to write this down as fast as humanly possible. We’re all so terrified. There’s about 10 of us, and he hasn’t finished his collection. I need to stop him before- I don’t know. Sorry, let me calm down and start over.
I’ve always been a loner. No siblings, not many friends. I guess I’ve always been more focused on my work. I’ve dated guys, but none of them stick around. They always said I’m too “detached”. I didn’t mind then. I lived in Manhattan, and I always had work to keep me busy. That is, until my parents died unexpectedly. Car crash. I was upset, sure, but I wasn’t very close to my parents if I’m gonna be honest. So imagine my surprise when I got a call from my family’s attorney saying that they left me the house. My childhood home. In the middle of east bumb-fuck nowhere. I begrudgingly packed up my shit and moved down there, hoping I could sell it quickly and get back to my life.
My hometown is very small, an “everybody knows everybody” type of place. So it was very unsurprising that all of my neighbors took extreme interest in me moving back home. The first couple days I was home I was bombarded by neighbor after neighbor pounding on my door, wanting to see “how I was doing” or “what I was up to”, which very quickly became borderline unbearable. It wasn’t until the third day I was there that my childhood friend, Ray, knocked on my door.
“Alice- hey!”
“Oh my god Ray, is that really you?” I’m not a hugger, but when he went in for one, I didn’t pull away.
“Yeah! I heard you were in town, so I figured I would stop by! I’m really sorry about your parents…”
I didn’t really know what to say, so I muttered a thank you. We stood there for a moment, an awkward silence permeating the air. Eventually, Ray spoke again.
“Hey… do you remember that carnival we went to as kids?”
“Oh my god, yes!” I laughed, “Those were always so fun! God, I’m sure there’s about a million cheap stuffed animals from the ring toss stuffed in a box somewhere…”
Ray laughed heartily, “Oh my god, yes! You killed that game!”
“Yeah, I always beat you!” I laughed, and he put on an offended face, clutching his pearls.
“Well excuse me! I was going to ask you to go with me tonight, but apparently I’m not good enough for the ring toss queen, so I’ll just be going…” He joked, dramatically turning around, pretending to leave.
“Wait! The carnival is in town?”
He spun around, a stupid grin on his face. “You bet it is! What do you say?”
I laughed. This was the most interesting thing to happen to me since I got back. “Yeah, that would actually be great! Meet you at 8?”
“Deal!” He smiled, before jogging back to his car and driving away.
We spent the entire evening talking and laughing. I beat him at ring toss (again), and after stuffing our faces with funnel cake, we took a lap around the fair. We stopped in front of a structure I had never seen before.
It was a worn tent in a red and black striped pattern. One flap of the tent was pinned open, the darkness inside almost permeating the air. I shuddered. I don’t know what it was, but something about this tent seriously creeped me out. A large sign was staked into the ground, written in a very floral font, matching the tent in coloring.
Mr. McCallister’s Odditorium
“Oh I heard about this place!” Ray exclaimed, breaking me out of my fog. “It’s a freak show, you know, bearded ladies, conjoined twins, that kind of stuff. Let’s go in!” He said, grabbing my arm and dragging me to the tent. I stayed still, pulling my arm out of his grasp.
“Um, I don’t know Ray, I don’t really feel okay with gawking at people’s deformities…”
“Come on, Alice, it’ll be fun!” He said with a tight lipped smile, annoyance in his eyes. Something was off with him. I shook my head, and he grabbed my arm so tight I could see the blood beneath his grip drain from my wrist.
“Alice, let’s just go!” He forced me toward the tent, but I stood my ground, pulling against him, before eventually yanking my arm from his hold.
“Ray, seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you? I don’t want to go in!”
He rubbed his hand over his face, frustrated, before sighing at looking at me.
“Sorry. I just really wanted to go in, it was actually the reason I wanted to come to the fair. But nevermind, I’ll come back another time.” He smiled, but it didn’t quite reach his eyes.
“It’s fine Ray, let’s just walk around some more, okay?”
We walked around for a little while longer, before it seemed like the carnival was starting to shut down for the night. We hopped into Ray’s car and he drove me home. As I was getting out after saying goodnight, Ray stopped me, putting his hand on my arm gently.
“Hey, Alice. I.. I just want to say I’m really sorry.”
“Ray don’t worry about earlier, it’s totally fine.”
There was a strange look in his eyes. He looked almost guilty. His eyes were glistening, tears threatening to fall.
“Alice, I’m so, so sorry.”
Weirded out by his behavior, I just nodded at Ray, getting out of his car and jogging to my parent’s house.
It was almost one in the morning, so I quickly got ready for bed, suddenly really exhausted. I quickly checked that the door was locked, still weirded out about Ray, and I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow.
At around three in the morning, I woke up to a creaking sound coming from the living room. Trying to tell myself that it was just the house settling, I attempted to go back to sleep, but the creaking seemed to get closer. Getting slightly nervous, I quietly crept out of bed, looking for any sort of weapon, eventually grabbing a decorative clock off the bedside table. This’ll have to do, I guess, I thought to myself, internally rolling my eyes at my behavior. This is a super safe neighborhood, it’s probably nothing, I kept repeating to myself, as I slowly opened the door, peeking out into the darkness. I didn’t see anything, so I quietly crept into the living room, double checking that the door was locked. I breathed a sigh of relief when it was, and just as I was about to turn around and head back to bed, someone grabbed me, wrapping me in a bear hug. He was strong. Inhumanly strong, and I could see his massive arms and bulging veins, even in the darkness. I tried to scream, but he fought me, dragging me further into the house. He held me with one arm, and I felt him reach into his back pocket, before brandishing a white cloth. He shoved it into my face, holding it over my nose and mouth. I fought, I fought so hard, kicking and screaming, but my vision quickly started to get blurry, and soon, I passed out.
I woke up in a dimly lit room, the fluorescent lighting hurting my eyes. It was bare, save for the metal table I was strapped to. I tried to move, but the restraints were tight. It was when the initial haze wore off that I realized that my entire body was on fire, like I was stung by a million hornets. I wanted so desperately to look and see what was wrong, but my head was in some sort of trap. The pain was agonizing, and I let out a whimper, trying to make as little noise as possible. A few moments later, I heard a metal door open and shut behind my head. A deep voice chuckled, immediately chilling me to the bone. Eventually, a man loomed over my head, a surgical mask covering his face.
“Well, well, well. My little treasure is awake.”
I tried to speak, but I realized my mouth was also in agonizing pain, so I kept it shut.
“You’ll make a fine addition to my collection, Tabitha.”
My eyes widened. I spoke weakly, despite the pain.
“Tabitha? You… you have the wrong person. My name is Alice.”
He laughed, his eyes dancing. “Not anymore it’s not.”
He began undoing my restraints, before eventually releasing my head from the trap I was held in.
“Wha- what are you doing?”
“Well, I figured I would let you be the first to see your new look.”
“My- what?”
He ushered me over to an object covered by a tarp in the corner of the room, before ripping it off with a flourish. I fought back a scream at what I saw.
Tattoos covered my body from head to toe. All over my face, my stomach and arms, my feet. Every inch of skin was covered. I was clad in a small leather bikini and a choker. My hair was dyed black and styled in finger waves, and my makeup was meticulously done to resemble that of the 1920’s. My eyes were electric green, and my pupils were slits, like a cat’s. I slowly opened my mouth, to reveal razor sharp fangs, and a forked tongue.
“Presenting… Tabitha the tattooed lady!” He cackled, insanity in his eyes. I fled to the corner of the room to throw up, and he only laughed harder at my reaction.
“Don’t worry Tabitha, you’ll get used to it eventually.” And with that, a large man burst into the room. Before I knew what was happening, a white cloth was pressed against my nose and mouth, the world fading to black once more.
I woke up in a cage. I recognized the coloring of the small tent immediately. I looked around, taking in the many cages that lined the tent. Every cage was filled with a person, faces twisted with misery. I looked to the tops of the cages, seeing that atop each one, a sign in that similar floral font from the front sign, displayed their names:
The Siamese Twins
The Lobster Girl
The Human Skeleton
The Reptilian Man
Those were the only ones I could make out in the dim lighting, the others were too far away to see. A few moments later, people started flooding the tent, ooh-ing and ahh-ing at us. I rushed up to the front of the cage, holding tight to the bars. I called out to the closest people.
“Please, please help me! They kidnapped me, and they’re holding me hostage!”
The couple looked at me, taking in my eyes and body, before beginning to laugh.
The man turned to the woman, “Wow, they train these freaks well, it really ups the creep factor!”
The woman laughed, and they continued their walk, taking in the morbid curiosities surrounding them.
I tried to catch the attention of several other patrons, but they all laughed me off. Tears began to spill down my face, when I heard a mumble to my left.
“Don’t bother, they won’t believe you.”
It was a man in a suit, hair parted down the middle and slicked down. He was traditionally handsome, blue eyes and a strong jaw. It wasn’t until I looked down that I saw his third leg. My jaw dropped.
“It isn’t mine.”
“What?” My eyes snapped up.
“The leg,” he whispered, “It isn’t mine.”
I just stared at him, unable to fully process what was going on.
“Look,” he said, “I’ll explain everything as soon as we’re on the road. He won’t be able to listen in on us then. But until then, I’m James, the three legged man.”
“I’m.. Tabitha, I guess.” I said, eyes lowering, anger warming my belly.
“You can tell me your real name later, okay?” He offered a small smile.
I nodded, before returning to the small stool that sat in my otherwise empty cage. I sat there for what felt like hours, watching the patrons laugh and whisper at my appearance. Tears spilled down my face, but it only seemed to make the patrons laugh more. I could see the sun was starting to set through the small opening created by the tent flap. As I was about to turn away, he walked in.
Ray.
He perused the cages, taking his time. Shock quickly turned into fury as I ran to the front of my cage, growling in pure anger. I shook the bars, screaming until he finally looked over and saw me. The color drained from his face, and he ran over to my cage, making sure he was out of my reach.
“Alice-”
“I’LL KILL YOU RAY, I SWEAR TO GOD-”
“I didn’t mean for this to happen, Alice I’m so sorry-”
“How could you do this to me?!” I yelled, swiping at him.
“He threatened to take my sister unless I could find a replacement- I- I had to save her, I’m so sorry…” Tears were spilling down his face.
“Fuck you. FUCK YOU. As soon as I get out of this hellhole I’ll fucking kill you!”
It was then I heard that familiar cackle that I froze.
“Well hello again, Ray! You’ve brought me a lovely specimen,” He said, patting him on the back, “I can’t thank you enough!” He said, tipping his bowler, before straightening his suit jacket and walking toward the bars of my cage. I attempted to swipe at him, but he caught my wrist, squeezing it until I yelped in pain.
“Now Tabitha, you’re going to be a very good girl, otherwise I’m going to have to sedate you.”
I growled at him, pushing against the bars.
“Fuck you.”
He squeezed my wrist tighter, crushing it. “Now that’s not very nice language to use in front of my guests. Very well- I’ll get Bruce to administer-”
My eyes widened. “No! No, I’ll be good. I promise.”
He smiled, revealing crooked, yellowing teeth, before releasing my wrist. “Very good. Now sit in your chair like a good girl. And, push up your breasts, would you? I want everyone to see my excellent handiwork.” And with that, he turned on his heel, his coattails catching air, before strutting away. I started crying once more, shoulders shaking with my silent tears, before doing as I was asked, and returning to my stool.
“Alice..”
I looked at Ray, pure despair reflected in my eyes.
“Please, go.”
He looked at me one more time, before leaving the tent. He never came back.
For the next two days I did as I was told. I sat, and stayed silent as people took in my appearance. But all the while rage burned in my gut. I needed to get out of here, I just didn’t know how. Towards the end of the night, a drunk man stumbled into the tent. He shook the bars, sneering at all of us, spitting out insults and reaching inside the bars, attempting to grab us. After reaching for me, he spun around, leaning against the bars of my cage. It was then when I saw it. His iPhone was hanging out of the back pocket of his jeans. I saw it, relief flooding my eyes. My golden opportunity. I crept up behind him, slowly plucking his phone out of his pants pocket, before stuffing it in the back of my bikini bottoms. He whirled around at me, taking in my appearance.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?”
I froze. “I- uh…” An idea struck me, and I swallowed my pride. “I just… wanted to say hello to you, handsome.” I winked at him, trying to keep down the bile rising in my throat.
He smirked, using the bars of my cage as an attempt to steady himself.
“Well… you’re pretty hot, for a freak. Why don’t you let me in that cage of yours?”
It was then that Mr. McCallister showed up, quickly apologizing for my behavior and ushering him out the door. He stalked over to me, lowering his voice.
“I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but you better go back to your chair and sit like a good girl.”
I tried to hide my smirk as I nodded, returning to my stool.
The idiot didn’t have a passcode on his phone, thank god. I can’t call anyone, but there’s no service anyway. He had this app on his phone and I figured this might be a good place to write this down. He’ll be coming back any minute, but please, if you can, help us. We’re about to go on the road to the next town, so hopefully I’ll be able to get some answers from James. I have no clue where we’re going, and there’s no one in my life to come looking for me. I’m scared. God, I’m so scared. Earlier today, I saw them moving several empty cages, blank name plates placed on top.
He wants more of us. And there’s nothing I can do to stop him.
Part 2
submitted by vlbrown1997 to nosleep [link] [comments]

Music To Be Murdered By Megathread


Physical copies are now available everywhere!
Just like with the release of 'The Marshall Mathers LP2', 'SHADYXV', the 'Southpaw' soundtrack, 'Revival' and 'Kamikaze', we also have a Megathread for 'Music To Be Murdered By', including links to different types of content.
And remember, just like every SotW post or previous Megathreads, we want this to be an open thread, so feel free to discuss everything 'Music To Be Murdered By'!
Music To Be Murdered By On Official Channels:
Album Cover - Alternative - Second Alternative | Album Back | Booklet
Announcements: Eminem: Twitter - Instagram - Facebook Paul Rosenberg: Twitter - Instagram Denaun: Instagram Royce: Instagram
Released Singles:
Other Releases:
Reactions/Responses From Other Artists/Celebrities:
Music To Be Murdered By on other subreddits:
Live performances:
Interviews:
Videos:
Pictures:
Discussion Threads:
  1. Premonition - Intro
  2. Unaccommodating Ft. Young M.A
  3. You Gon' Learn Ft. Royce Da 5'9" & White Gold
  4. Alfred - Interlude
  5. Those Kinda Nights Ft. Ed Sheeran
  6. In Too Deep
  7. Godzilla Ft. Juice WRLD
  8. Darkness
  9. Leaving Heaven Ft. Skylar Grey
  10. Yah Yah Ft. Royce Da 5'9", Black Thought, Q-Tip & Denaun
  11. Stepdad - Intro
  12. Stepdad
  13. Marsh
  14. Never Love Again
  15. Little Engine
  16. Lock It Up Ft. Anderson .Paak
  17. Farewell
  18. No Regrets Ft. Don Toliver
  19. I Will Ft. Kxng Crooked, Royce Da 5'9" & Joell Ortiz
  20. Alfred - Outro
Extra:
Reviews:
Other:
submitted by Phouza to Eminem [link] [comments]

[USA-OR] [H] Samsung Galaxy Fold Box with all unused accessories, Galaxy Buds+ Black, Galaxy Buds White, Galaxy Fold Case, Samsung Wireless Charger Duo Pad, USB Cable, Desk Organizer [W] Local Cash, PayPal

Samsung Galaxy Fold accessories and other Samsung accessories up for sale. These were all bought for personal use and I also have Apple ecosystem phones and laptop. One person can only use so much, rest assured these saw minimal to no use. Ask away!
Will figure out a pricing table, if you find something you like in the mean time, submit an offer. Messages best, chat won’t work on Apollo app.
Buying multiples will get quick USPS Priority shipping included.
Cross post /GalaxyFold
Timestamps - https://imgur.com/a/qOKvEJM
submitted by kkiran to hardwareswap [link] [comments]

Oracle’s BlueKai tracks you across the web. That data spilled online – TechCrunch

Article included for those not wanting all the trackers and scripts

Oracle’s BlueKai tracks you across the web. That data spilled online – TechCrunch

Zack [email protected] / 2:30 pm GMT•June 19, 2020
Have you ever wondered why online ads appear for things that you were just thinking about?
There’s no big conspiracy. Ad tech can be creepily accurate.
Tech giant Oracle is one of a few companies in Silicon Valley that has near-perfected the art of tracking people across the internet. The company has spent a decade and billions of dollars buying startups to build its very own panopticon of users’ web browsing data.
One of those startups, BlueKai, which Oracle bought for a little over $400 million in 2014, is barely known outside marketing circles, but it amassed one of the largest banks of web tracking data outside of the federal government.
BlueKai uses website cookies and other tracking tech to follow you around the web. By knowing which websites you visit and which emails you open, marketers can use this vast amount of tracking data to infer as much about you as possible — your income, education, political views, and interests to name a few — in order to target you with ads that should match your apparent tastes. If you click, the advertisers make money.
But for a time, that web tracking data was spilling out onto the open internet because a server was left unsecured and without a password, exposing billions of records for anyone to find.
Security researcher Anurag Sen found the database and reported his finding to Oracle through an intermediary — Roi Carthy, chief executive at cybersecurity firm Hudson Rock and former TechCrunch reporter.
TechCrunch reviewed the data shared by Sen and found names, home addresses, email addresses and other identifiable data in the database. The data also revealed sensitive users’ web browsing activity — from purchases to newsletter unsubscribes.
“There’s really no telling how revealing some of this data can be,” said Bennett Cyphers, a staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told TechCrunch.
“Oracle is aware of the report made by Roi Carthy of Hudson Rock related to certain BlueKai records potentially exposed on the Internet,” said Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger. “While the initial information provided by the researcher did not contain enough information to identify an affected system, Oracle’s investigation has subsequently determined that two companies did not properly configure their services. Oracle has taken additional measures to avoid a reoccurrence of this issue.”
Oracle did not name the companies or say what those additional measures were, and declined to answer our questions or comment further.
But the sheer size of the exposed database makes this one of the largest security lapses this year.

The more it knows

BlueKai relies on vacuuming up a never-ending supply of data from a variety of sources to understand trends to deliver the most precise ads to a person’s interests.
Marketers can either tap into Oracle’s enormous bank of data, which it pulls in from credit agencies, analytics firms, and other sources of consumer data including billions of daily location data points, in order to target their ads. Or marketers can upload their own data obtained directly from consumers, such as the information you hand over when you register an account on a website or when you sign up for a company’s newsletter.
But BlueKai also uses more covert tactics like allowing websites to embed invisible pixel-sized images to collect information about you as soon as you open the page — hardware, operating system, browser and any information about the network connection.
This data — known as a web browser’s “user agent” — may not seem sensitive, but when fused together it can create a unique “fingerprint” of a person’s device, which can be used to track that person as they browse the internet.
BlueKai can also tie your mobile web browsing habits to your desktop activity, allowing it to follow you across the internet no matter which device you use.
Say a marketer wants to run a campaign trying to sell a new car model. In BlueKai’s case, it already has a category of “car enthusiasts” — and many other, more specific categories — that the marketer can use to target with ads. Anyone who’s visited a car maker’s website or a blog that includes a BlueKai tracking pixel might be categorized as a “car enthusiast.” Over time that person will be siloed into different categories under a profile that learns as much about you to target you with those ads.
The technology is far from perfect. Harvard Business Review found earlier this year that the information collected by data brokers, such as Oracle, can vary wildly in quality.
But some of these platforms have proven alarmingly accurate.
In 2012, Target mailed maternity coupons to a high school student after an in-house analytics system figured out she was pregnant — before she had even told her parents — because of the data it collected from her web browsing.
Some might argue that’s precisely what these systems are designed to do.
Jonathan Mayer, a science professor at Princeton University, told TechCrunch that BlueKai is one of the leading systems for linking data.
“If you have the browser send an email address and a tracking cookie at the same time, that’s what you need to build that link,” he said.
The end goal: the more BlueKai collects, the more it can infer about you, making it easier to target you with ads that might entice you to that magic money-making click.
But marketers can’t just log in to BlueKai and download reams of personal information from its servers, one marketing professional told TechCrunch. The data is sanitized and masked so that marketers never see names, addresses or any other personal data.
As Mayer explained: BlueKai collects personal data; it doesn’t share it with marketers.

‘No telling how revealing’

Behind the scenes, BlueKai continuously ingests and matches as much raw personal data as it can against each person’s profile, constantly enriching that profile data to make sure it’s up to date and relevant.
But it was that raw data spilling out of the exposed database.
TechCrunch found records containing details of private purchases. One record detailed how a German man, whose name we’re withholding, used a prepaid debit card to place a €10 bet on an esports betting site on April 19. The record also contained the man’s address, phone number and email address.
Another record revealed how one of the largest investment holding companies in Turkey used BlueKai to track users on its website. The record detailed how one person, who lives in Istanbul, ordered $899 worth of furniture online from a homeware store. We know because the record contained all of these details, including the buyer’s name, email address and the direct web address for the buyer’s order, no login needed.
We also reviewed a record detailing how one person unsubscribed from an email newsletter run by an electronics consumer, sent to his iCloud address. The record showed that the person may have been interested in a specific model of car dash-cam. We can even tell based on his user agent that his iPhone was out of date and needed a software update.
The more BlueKai collects, the more it can infer about you, making it easier to target you with ads that might entice you to that magic money-making click.
The data went back for months, according to Sen, who discovered the database. Some logs dated back to August 2019, he said.
“Fine-grained records of people’s web-browsing habits can reveal hobbies, political affiliation, income bracket, health conditions, sexual preferences, and — as evident here — gambling habits,” said the EFF’s Cyphers. “As we live more of our lives online, this kind of data accounts for a larger and larger portion of how we spend our time.”
Oracle declined to say if it informed those whose data was exposed about the security lapse. The company also declined to say if it had warned U.S. or international regulators of the incident.
Under California state law, companies like Oracle are required to publicly disclose data security incidents, but Oracle has not to date declared the lapse. When reached, a spokesperson for California’s attorney general’s office declined to say if Oracle had informed the office of the incident.
Under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, companies can face fines of up to 4% of their global annual turnover for flouting data protection and disclosure rules.

Trackers, trackers everywhere

BlueKai is everywhere — even when you can’t see it.
One estimate says BlueKai tracks over 1% of all web traffic — an unfathomable amount of daily data collection — and tracks some of the world’s biggest websites: Amazon, ESPN, Forbes, Glassdoor, Healthline, Levi’s, MSN.com, Rotten Tomatoes, and The New York Times. Even this very article has a BlueKai tracker because our parent company, Verizon Media, is a BlueKai partner.
But BlueKai is not alone. Nearly every website you visit contains some form of invisible tracking code that watches you as you traverse the internet.
As invasive as it is that invisible trackers are feeding your web browsing data to a gigantic database in the cloud, it’s that very same data that has kept the internet largely free for so long.
To stay free, websites use advertising to generate revenue. The more targeted the advertising, the better the revenue is supposed to be.
While the majority of web users are not naive enough to think that internet tracking does not exist, few outside marketing circles understand how much data is collected and what is done with it.
Take the Equifax data breach in 2017, which brought scathing criticism from lawmakers after it collected millions of consumers’ data without their explicit consent. Equifax, like BlueKai, relies on consumers skipping over the lengthy privacy policies that govern how websites track them.
In any case, consumers have little choice but to accept the terms. Be tracked or leave the site. That’s the trade-off with a free internet.
But there are dangers with collecting web-tracking data on millions of people.
“Whenever databases like this exist, there’s always a risk the data will end up in the wrong hands and in a position to hurt someone,” said Cyphers.
Cyphers said the data, if in the hands of someone malicious, could contribute to identity theft, phishing or stalking.
“It also makes a valuable target for law enforcement and government agencies who want to piggyback on the data gathering that Oracle already does,” he said.
Even when the data stays where it’s intended, Cyphers said these vast databases enable “manipulative advertising for things like political issues or exploitative services, and it allows marketers to tailor their messages to specific vulnerable populations,” he said.
“Everyone has different things they want to keep private, and different people they want to keep them private from,” said Cyphers. “When companies collect raw web browsing or purchase data, thousands of little details about real people’s lives get scooped up along the way.”
“Each one of those little details has the potential to put somebody at risk,” he said.
Send tips securely over Signal and WhatsApp to +1 646-755-8849.Oracle’s BlueKai tracks you across the web. That data spilled online – TechCrunch
Zack [email protected] / 2:30 pm GMT•June 19, 2020
Have you ever wondered why online ads appear for things that you were just thinking about?
There’s no big conspiracy. Ad tech can be creepily accurate.
Tech giant Oracle is one of a few companies in Silicon Valley that has near-perfected the art of tracking people across the internet. The company has spent a decade and billions of dollars buying startups to build its very own panopticon of users’ web browsing data.
One of those startups, BlueKai, which Oracle bought for a little over $400 million in 2014, is barely known outside marketing circles, but it amassed one of the largest banks of web tracking data outside of the federal government.
BlueKai uses website cookies and other tracking tech to follow you around the web. By knowing which websites you visit and which emails you open, marketers can use this vast amount of tracking data to infer as much about you as possible — your income, education, political views, and interests to name a few — in order to target you with ads that should match your apparent tastes. If you click, the advertisers make money.
But for a time, that web tracking data was spilling out onto the open internet because a server was left unsecured and without a password, exposing billions of records for anyone to find.
Security researcher Anurag Sen found the database and reported his finding to Oracle through an intermediary — Roi Carthy, chief executive at cybersecurity firm Hudson Rock and former TechCrunch reporter.
TechCrunch reviewed the data shared by Sen and found names, home addresses, email addresses and other identifiable data in the database. The data also revealed sensitive users’ web browsing activity — from purchases to newsletter unsubscribes.
“There’s really no telling how revealing some of this data can be,” said Bennett Cyphers, a staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told TechCrunch.
“Oracle is aware of the report made by Roi Carthy of Hudson Rock related to certain BlueKai records potentially exposed on the Internet,” said Oracle spokesperson Deborah Hellinger. “While the initial information provided by the researcher did not contain enough information to identify an affected system, Oracle’s investigation has subsequently determined that two companies did not properly configure their services. Oracle has taken additional measures to avoid a reoccurrence of this issue.”
Oracle did not name the companies or say what those additional measures were, and declined to answer our questions or comment further.
But the sheer size of the exposed database makes this one of the largest security lapses this year.

The more it knows

BlueKai relies on vacuuming up a never-ending supply of data from a variety of sources to understand trends to deliver the most precise ads to a person’s interests.
Marketers can either tap into Oracle’s enormous bank of data, which it pulls in from credit agencies, analytics firms, and other sources of consumer data including billions of daily location data points, in order to target their ads. Or marketers can upload their own data obtained directly from consumers, such as the information you hand over when you register an account on a website or when you sign up for a company’s newsletter.
But BlueKai also uses more covert tactics like allowing websites to embed invisible pixel-sized images to collect information about you as soon as you open the page — hardware, operating system, browser and any information about the network connection.
This data — known as a web browser’s “user agent” — may not seem sensitive, but when fused together it can create a unique “fingerprint” of a person’s device, which can be used to track that person as they browse the internet.
BlueKai can also tie your mobile web browsing habits to your desktop activity, allowing it to follow you across the internet no matter which device you use.
Say a marketer wants to run a campaign trying to sell a new car model. In BlueKai’s case, it already has a category of “car enthusiasts” — and many other, more specific categories — that the marketer can use to target with ads. Anyone who’s visited a car maker’s website or a blog that includes a BlueKai tracking pixel might be categorized as a “car enthusiast.” Over time that person will be siloed into different categories under a profile that learns as much about you to target you with those ads.
The technology is far from perfect. Harvard Business Review found earlier this year that the information collected by data brokers, such as Oracle, can vary wildly in quality.
But some of these platforms have proven alarmingly accurate.
In 2012, Target mailed maternity coupons to a high school student after an in-house analytics system figured out she was pregnant — before she had even told her parents — because of the data it collected from her web browsing.
Some might argue that’s precisely what these systems are designed to do.
Jonathan Mayer, a science professor at Princeton University, told TechCrunch that BlueKai is one of the leading systems for linking data.
“If you have the browser send an email address and a tracking cookie at the same time, that’s what you need to build that link,” he said.
The end goal: the more BlueKai collects, the more it can infer about you, making it easier to target you with ads that might entice you to that magic money-making click.
But marketers can’t just log in to BlueKai and download reams of personal information from its servers, one marketing professional told TechCrunch. The data is sanitized and masked so that marketers never see names, addresses or any other personal data.
As Mayer explained: BlueKai collects personal data; it doesn’t share it with marketers.

‘No telling how revealing’

Behind the scenes, BlueKai continuously ingests and matches as much raw personal data as it can against each person’s profile, constantly enriching that profile data to make sure it’s up to date and relevant.
But it was that raw data spilling out of the exposed database.
TechCrunch found records containing details of private purchases. One record detailed how a German man, whose name we’re withholding, used a prepaid debit card to place a €10 bet on an esports betting site on April 19. The record also contained the man’s address, phone number and email address.
Another record revealed how one of the largest investment holding companies in Turkey used BlueKai to track users on its website. The record detailed how one person, who lives in Istanbul, ordered $899 worth of furniture online from a homeware store. We know because the record contained all of these details, including the buyer’s name, email address and the direct web address for the buyer’s order, no login needed.
We also reviewed a record detailing how one person unsubscribed from an email newsletter run by an electronics consumer, sent to his iCloud address. The record showed that the person may have been interested in a specific model of car dash-cam. We can even tell based on his user agent that his iPhone was out of date and needed a software update.
The more BlueKai collects, the more it can infer about you, making it easier to target you with ads that might entice you to that magic money-making click.
The data went back for months, according to Sen, who discovered the database. Some logs dated back to August 2019, he said.
“Fine-grained records of people’s web-browsing habits can reveal hobbies, political affiliation, income bracket, health conditions, sexual preferences, and — as evident here — gambling habits,” said the EFF’s Cyphers. “As we live more of our lives online, this kind of data accounts for a larger and larger portion of how we spend our time.”
Oracle declined to say if it informed those whose data was exposed about the security lapse. The company also declined to say if it had warned U.S. or international regulators of the incident.
Under California state law, companies like Oracle are required to publicly disclose data security incidents, but Oracle has not to date declared the lapse. When reached, a spokesperson for California’s attorney general’s office declined to say if Oracle had informed the office of the incident.
Under Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, companies can face fines of up to 4% of their global annual turnover for flouting data protection and disclosure rules.

Trackers, trackers everywhere

BlueKai is everywhere — even when you can’t see it.
One estimate says BlueKai tracks over 1% of all web traffic — an unfathomable amount of daily data collection — and tracks some of the world’s biggest websites: Amazon, ESPN, Forbes, Glassdoor, Healthline, Levi’s, MSN.com, Rotten Tomatoes, and The New York Times. Even this very article has a BlueKai tracker because our parent company, Verizon Media, is a BlueKai partner.
But BlueKai is not alone. Nearly every website you visit contains some form of invisible tracking code that watches you as you traverse the internet.
As invasive as it is that invisible trackers are feeding your web browsing data to a gigantic database in the cloud, it’s that very same data that has kept the internet largely free for so long.
To stay free, websites use advertising to generate revenue. The more targeted the advertising, the better the revenue is supposed to be.
While the majority of web users are not naive enough to think that internet tracking does not exist, few outside marketing circles understand how much data is collected and what is done with it.
Take the Equifax data breach in 2017, which brought scathing criticism from lawmakers after it collected millions of consumers’ data without their explicit consent. Equifax, like BlueKai, relies on consumers skipping over the lengthy privacy policies that govern how websites track them.
In any case, consumers have little choice but to accept the terms. Be tracked or leave the site. That’s the trade-off with a free internet.
But there are dangers with collecting web-tracking data on millions of people.
“Whenever databases like this exist, there’s always a risk the data will end up in the wrong hands and in a position to hurt someone,” said Cyphers.
Cyphers said the data, if in the hands of someone malicious, could contribute to identity theft, phishing or stalking.
“It also makes a valuable target for law enforcement and government agencies who want to piggyback on the data gathering that Oracle already does,” he said.
Even when the data stays where it’s intended, Cyphers said these vast databases enable “manipulative advertising for things like political issues or exploitative services, and it allows marketers to tailor their messages to specific vulnerable populations,” he said.
“Everyone has different things they want to keep private, and different people they want to keep them private from,” said Cyphers. “When companies collect raw web browsing or purchase data, thousands of little details about real people’s lives get scooped up along the way.”
“Each one of those little details has the potential to put somebody at risk,” he said.
Send tips securely over Signal and WhatsApp to +1 646-755-8849.
submitted by PrivacyPostMaster to privacypostIO [link] [comments]

How awesome it is to play on BetFury anywhere: the mobile guide

How awesome it is to play on BetFury anywhere: the mobile guide

https://preview.redd.it/7p3b65194kv41.png?width=1280&format=png&auto=webp&s=25cd60d6902fa7dfabe51fcc8296b722a5c1e190
Crypto-space is not only a community of like-minded people, but also the world of freedom. While traditional bookmakers and casinos are struggling with multi-accounts - we are telling how to get more advantages and profit. One account on different devices means only that you can easily use all the advantages of quick registration and deposits and play with equal pleasure from your phone, computer or a tablet! The main thing is not to forget the password to your wallet. Do you know the key tips for wallets and funds safety? If not, then read this material at your leisure - https://steemit.com/safety/@betfury-steem/safety-of-wallets-and-funds-on-betfury-key-advices
We’ve already talked about how to create an account in Tron wallet and log in to the platform from a computer. Here are 5 steps for new users: https://steemit.com/betfury/@betfury-steem/5-steps-for-new-users-to-play-on-betfury
Today we will show how to register and enter the platform using a smartphone. Both for Android and iPhone this procedure is the same.
Follow this detailed guide:
  • Install a Tron wallet. BetFury is available to be used with Tronlink, Tronwatch or any other Tron wallet web extension. Let’s take the “TronWallet” app for example. It has one peculiarity: at first you have to create a new wallet and then add the one, which you want.
  • Create a new wallet. The initial screen menu should ask you whether you want to “Create” or Restore” your wallet. Press “create” to continue.
  • Enter a new PIN. Then you can create your seed words of save the existed ones. It’s very important to save them, while you’ll need it in case you want to restore your account.

https://preview.redd.it/23s4glne4kv41.png?width=1224&format=png&auto=webp&s=b4ac19fe69a17a90a55b565c72b58b97189a7702
“Main Account” screen should be opened. Now you can add here the account which you want.

https://preview.redd.it/8qbutjkh4kv41.png?width=388&format=png&auto=webp&s=710682e4dbb4ebbab82ff61bdfa426e70168ecf3
To add one more account press the “+” icon in the Header. The “Add account” menu should be opened. Press the “Import w/secret key” button. Then enter the account’s name and the secret key (copy it from the account you want to have here) The address will be displayed automatically. Press “Create” to finish.

https://preview.redd.it/b8jarttj4kv41.png?width=448&format=png&auto=webp&s=57f01642f047914afe70e9bb1c6bfa8dfbc0ca21
  • Your account should be added, amount of coins saved.
  • To enter BetFury with your Wallet press the globe icon in the footer. The “Browser” page should be opened. Enter the URL “betfury.io”. Confirm to continue.

https://preview.redd.it/4iksf1im4kv41.png?width=1204&format=png&auto=webp&s=c159058909063a3ae435a569fc2b3fb21f6e67ac
  • Now press “Sign In”. Congratulations! You can play your favorite games!
With TronLink pro the procedure is a bit easier. You just have to know the seed words and the secret key to enter with your existed account at once.
Thus, you can have fun on BetFury from any device available to you. Also, we do not prohibit users to have multiple accounts.
Play our In-house games, distinguish new slots, live casino and table games. Enjoy convenient playing on BetFury! Also, follow our social networks to be aware of the latest news, competitions, giveaways and just have a pleasurable communication with other Betfurians!
Telegram: http://t.me/betfury Telegram Channel: https://t.me/betfuryofficialchannel Twitter: https://twitter.com/betfury_io Facebook: https://facebook.com/BetFury.io/ Instagram:https://instagram.com/betfury.io/
submitted by BetFury_io to u/BetFury_io [link] [comments]

New story in Technology from Time: Apple Ditching Intel Could Mean Big Changes Ahead for Mac Desktops and Laptops

Apple’s first-ever virtual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) came with the usual slew of mostly predictable announcements, like upgrades to the iPhone and iPad operating systems, new features for its AirPod earbuds, and more. But its most striking news was a decision to shift from powering its Mac devices with Intel processors in favor of its own homemade chip, which it’s calling “Apple silicon.”
The Cupertino, Calif. tech giant claims the move will bring myriad benefits: it will make Macs faster, let them benefit from the company’s latest machine learning technology (for features like augmented reality, photo processing, facial recognition and more), and make it easier for developers to bring popular apps from the iPhone and the iPad to desktops and laptops. The transition to Apple silicon will take about two years; more Intel-powered Macs are yet to come.
Apple silicon differs from Intel’s processors by virtue of their architecture, which determines how a computer executes tasks. Apple is using ARM technology, which boasts faster performance with less power use compared to the architecture used by Intel (and its rival AMD). Generally, ARM processors make sense for devices like phones and tablets (because ARM chips use less battery power), while Intel and AMD’s chips have made more sense for high-performance desktops and laptops (where battery usage is less of a concern).
While the move may seem like a major blow to Intel—a longtime processor giant whose “Intel Inside” motto was once ubiquitous in computer stores—the company has already been moving away from making chips for companies like Apple, focusing instead on autonomous vehicle hardware, AI analytics, and high-margin, high-end processors for entertainment and gaming PCs.
“They recognize the challenges that are inherent in the client businesses these days and while they’re not going anywhere, they’re certainly trying to diversify themselves away from that,” says NPD Group analyst Stephen Baker. The Apple news, he says, is “not great, but in the long run I don’t think it’ll have an incredible impact on Intel.”
To be sure, Intel faces some headwinds. It still leads in market share, but it has consistently lost ground in the consumer market month after month to rival AMD (AMD’s share of the desktop market jump from 12% to 18% in the past two years, according to Mercury Research). Intel has also struggled to gain ground in the mobile world—it sold its ARM processor subsidiary in 2005, it killed off a pair of experimental augmented reality glasses in 2018, and last year stopped making 5G smartphone modems in favor of focusing on 5G infrastructure.
Perhaps Intel’s biggest struggle—and a reason it lost favor with Apple—is a never-ending battle with the laws of physics. Processors are composed of billions of transistors that perform calculations by turning on and off. The larger the transistor (measured in nanometers, or “nm”), the more power it uses. By using smaller transistors, you can fit more of them on a processor, which means more computing power, but also more energy efficiency. All told, the size of a processor’s transistors is a good indicator of how powerful that processor will be.
For most of modern computing history, chipmakers like Intel have been able to rely on “Moore’s law”—an observation that the number of transistors you can fit on a single chip doubles about every two years, thanks mostly to technological improvements. But, space being a finite thing, it’s getting harder and harder to cram transistors onto processors. As of today, Intel can make 10 nm processors, but even that achievement came after significant delays that put itbehind the curve. By comparison, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, which makes mobile chips designed by Apple, has released smaller, more efficient 7 nm processors for mobile devices.
Intel’s delay in introducing 10 nm processors may have contributed to Apple’s decision to go their own way. “Having their own microprocessor architecture is something they’ve wanted to do since the Jobs era, for sure, to not be beholden to an outside partner,” says Jon Stokes, author ofInside the Machine: An Illustrated Introduction to Microprocessors and Computer Architecture, and co-founder of technology site Ars Technica. “I think the tipping point was when ARM started to catch up to Intel in … performance, and Intel stalled in processor leadership.”
Still, Intel is doing fine when it comes to powering other companies’ laptops, along with its other projects in AI and autonomous vehicle sensors. Its PC-centric business (providing processors for consumers’ desktops and laptops) grew by 14% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2020 as people bought new devices to work from home in the COVID-19 era. But in a sign of the company’s evolution, its best performing sector has been its data center group, whichboosted revenue by 23%year-over-year thanks to an increase in cloud services.
What should the everyday Apple user make of the switch from Intel? It may end up being something to celebrate: Apple has a good track record of designing chips; the processor in the iPhone has outperformed Intel-powered laptops at certain tasks. Furthermore, the company is bringing popular third-party developers like Adobe on board early in the process, which should ensure that Apple silicon-powered Macs have plenty of useful software from jump (avoiding a critical misstep Microsoft made when releasing an ARM-powered Surface). That Macs armed with ARM will be instantly compatible with millions of existing iPhone and iPad apps is another nice bonus. And if Apple’s making Macs with iPhone-like internals, it’s not much of a stretch to imagine features like integrated LTE or 5G wireless connectivity, Face ID, and other mobile-only goodies come to its desktops and laptops. All told, Apple betting on itself might be the best decision the company has made since, well, betting on Intel.
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[Review] Mini Fall Street-Designer Haul (Amiri, Rhude, Off-White, LV, Represent, FOG)

Bet.
I said i wouldnt do another haul, but this is my 12th by now.
Stats:
Height: 6’2
Weight: 210
Favorite poet: NAV
Favorite drink: Fanta Purple, 1:1 eu corner store exclusive
Favorite animal: TJ Dillashaw
Link to QC: https://m.imgur.com/a/foYJLnY?utm_source=share&utm_medium=ios_app&utm_name=iossmf
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Rhude Longsleeve: 8/10
It’s thicc but wash is not correct, gonna have to manually give this a vintage wash thx to some 1;1 tips from my fam. Got an xl afaik
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Represent NCD Hoodie: 10/10
Perfect fit, got a medium, fits oversized to a nice point and also came with 10/10 hydroxofufu that i need to get rid of. After so many cops this has the worst smell i think.
Print is very nice and hoodie is thicc.
—-
FOG BJJ Pants: 7/10
No branding, fits good, but quality is meh. Cool for some fits though.
—-
FOG Essentials Hoodie: 10/10
Got this on now, thicker than a double-sized snickers. Oversized asf and warm for your ass. Everything checks out good enough, GMAN is better but not worth on this one as it has such little detail thay’s visible. Stichting is great on the sleeve too.
—-
LV x Virgil Chain: boi this shit is ass as a bag chain
It looks the part but is short asf and snapped as soon as i put it over my back with my hoodie on lmao.
—-
Amiri Indigo Washed Jeans: 10/10
The best jeans for 30$ you can ever buy, they look great, dont smell and they FIT good.
The wash is perfectly how i wanted it too.
The bottom is a bit too baggy for my liking, but that’s alright, might get it tapered or just pintie it.
They arent too skinny and are very stretchy. Just wished they werent so distressed but that’s what it’s supposed to be like.
—-
Off-White iphone xs skull case: 10/10
Not in my qc, but a great case. Came in 1:1 packaging and is near perfect. Also, it’s a phone case. It cases my phone.
—-
All w2cs are here:
item. taobao.com/item. htm?id=605769096674 rhude
item. taobao. com/item. htm?id=590927897771 lv
item .taobao. com/item. htm?id=601973842733 fog hoodie
item. taobao. com/item. htm?id=568784592559 amiri
https:// www. cnfashionbuy. net/product/fake-lab-skull- phone-case -19ss-transparent/?attribute_pa_size=x-xs? attribute_pa_size=x-xs ow case
item. taobao. com/item. htm?id=604679252468 REPresent
item. taobao. com/item. htm?id=592469919583 fog bjj pants
Happy with my cops, tired of always buying tshirts so got some quality shit.
Note to you: stop buying budget batches. It’s not worth your money. Spend 2x, enjoy 4x as long and much.
submitted by elcarOehT to FashionReps [link] [comments]

$50k/mo selling studded iPhone cases.

Hey - Pat from StarterStory.com here with another interview.
Today's interview is with Andrew Moore of Felony Case, a brand that sells iphone cases.
Some stats:

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi, I’m Andrew Moore, the founder, and designer at Felony Case, a Toronto based company designing unique iPhone cases. I founded Felony Case in 2012, and since then we’ve created several flagship iPhone case designs.
Our most notable designs are our spiked and studded cases, which feature hand screwed-in metal studs. When the stud fad began to fade, we knew we needed to reinvent our designs to stay relevant in a fast-changing environment. We went ultra-high-end with genuine python and stingray leather cases.
While these saw success with a certain demographic, I realized it’s easier to sell higher quantities of more competitively priced cases. Which lead to the creation of our Kaleidoscope Case — a current top-seller.
Felony Case started as a small shop on Etsy, and has grown to become an internationally recognized fashion iPhone case brand sold in top tier retailers like Nordstrom, Holt Renfrew, Indigo, Urban Outfitters, Revolve, Free People as well as across multiple e-commerce channels including two Shopify stores (felonycase.com in USD and felonycase.ca in CAD), Spring and Amazon. Last year we did over half a million dollars in revenue.

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

It’s a funny origin story, because I never set out to start an iPhone case company.
I had just graduated from college and I was working as a driver delivering construction supplies. It gave me a ton of time to listen to podcasts and I was really drawn to tech and startup focused ones. I had an idea for a while to do a wishlist website where people could create and share a list of gifts they wanted. I ended up having the site built, but I didn’t know how to get people using the website.
From there, I decided I wanted to sell a tangible product, something that people can touch, feel, use and form a connection with. Something that serves a purpose and brings value.
In 2012, I was on Twitter and someone I followed tweeted a photo of this crazy, punk rock looking metal studded iPhone case saying “Where can I get one of these?!” I had another look at the photo and thought it couldn’t be that hard to make it myself. The next day I went on eBay, ordered silicone iPhone 4 cases and 100 metal screw in “punk” studs (the kind you usually see on studded belts or leather jackets). I replied to the tweet “Give me a few weeks, I’m going to try and make one”.
The next week I was on vacation in Miami. My friends and I went to a bar and ended up talking to a girl with a multicolored mohawk, bullet shell belt, ripped fishnets and huge platform boots - a total punk rocker. She introduced herself saying “I’m Melanie but my friends call me Felony”. That word stuck with me and ended up becoming the name of the brand.
When I got home the cases and studs I ordered were waiting for me. My roommate at the time designed leather goods, and had a hole punch tool that’s used to punch the belt holes. I used it to punch the holes in the silicone case, and then screwed in the studs by hand.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

I showed my friends and family some of the first cases I made and they really liked them. Some friends placed orders from me so I went back to eBay to buy more cases and studs, this time in more colours. Once I made the first batch of cases for my friends I started getting orders from friends of friends. The cases were so eye-catching they were marketing themselves.
I had a note in my phone of people’s names who ordered cases and which colours they wanted - at the time I was offering black or white cases with gold, silver, or gunmetal studs. When I had the case made I’d arrange with the buyer to pick it up from my house. Unfortunately, the first batch I made had some issues - the studs were unscrewing easily which I fixed by adding a dab of Loctite to each of the threads.
I realized I didn’t want to have to arrange meetups every time I made a sale so I started with an Etsy site. It was very barebones with product photos I took myself on my iPhone camera. The Etsy shop grew and eventually I was shipping my handmade studded cases all over the world. I decided we needed a custom online shop of our own so we could be in complete control of our branding and creative, so I started a store on Shopify while still keeping the Etsy shop running.
Our first big break into retail was bigger than I ever could have imagined and it happened because of a lucky encounter. My friend who had one of the studded cases was sitting front row at a Toronto Fashion Week event beside the Vice President of Holt Renfrew. She caught a glimpse of the studs on his case and said “tell me more about this case”. He went on to explain it was his friend from Toronto who makes them and she asked to set up a meeting immediately.
The following week I was in the Vice President of Holt Renfrew’s office with all of their accessory buyers and a table full of cases I made by hand. The buyers picked through the colours and put aside their favourites - they placed an order for 200 cases. I was on my couch for the next 2 weeks straight making cases by hand for Holt Renfrew (thankfully they gave me a 30-day delivery timeframe).
After hand-making that order, I decided I needed a better method to punch the holes in the cases because I was starting to develop serious hand cramps from punching the holes and screwing in so many studs.
Luckily, a friend of mine had a tool and die shop, and he was able to make me a jig on a press that punched all 26 holes in one shot. This was a lifesaver for me at the time — I crunched some numbers and calculated that saved me 16 minutes making each case.
Around the same time, I received an email from Apple’s head of retail requesting samples saying “there’s an opportunity for Felony Case in Apple retail stores”… Holy shit.
I put together a package of perfect samples, making sure all the holes were punched perfectly straight and none of the studs were crooked. I shipped the samples out to Apple and waited to hear back from them. He came back to me in a couple of weeks saying the cases were a huge hit when they arrived at their office, but unfortunately, they couldn’t sell them because they contained metal which was against Apple’s policy, as it could interfere with functions in the iPhone.
So began the search to find a factory that could replicate the studded design of my case but made fully out of plastic. I found some factories on Alibaba that said they were capable of this and booked a flight to China to visit them a couple of weeks later.
I wanted a prototype in hand to bring to the factories so I could show them exactly what I needed. I had a 3D designer mock up what the case design could look like if it’s made fully out of plastic (polycarbonate) and this is what we came up with:
I then had that 3D printed so I could bring a physical sample to show engineers at the factories. This gives them a better feel and visual representation of what I’m looking for:
I needed this to be a two-part case so we could do the body of the case with a matte or gloss coating finish but have the studs with a metallic (Gold, Silver, Rose Gold) finish.
With the prototype in-hand, I was off to China for the first time.
I had meetings set up with four potential partners that I found through Alibaba. I thought they were all factories, it turns out two of them were actually only trading companies, which means they buy and sell products that other factories make and act as the middleman, but don’t actually do any manufacturing themselves. I knew I wanted to work directly with a factory, and ended up choosing one I visited.
I decided to proceed with production with this manufacturing partner based on a few factors; They seemed the most capable and willing to do what I needed, they had good communication, they had samples of other cases they’d made that were good quality, they were willing to do a lower minimum order quantity to start, and they had competitive pricing.
On my last meeting with them, I paid a deposit to begin the engineering work to design the Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of the case and prepare materials for tooling. The remainder of the payment would be sent upon completion of the production, prior to shipping.
These are screenshots I received from the engineer’s initial designs - I didn’t have a CAD program on my computer at the time so I had to rely on their screenshots for the design and their intel to ensure the case would actually fit the iPhone 5 correctly:
After I signed off on the CAD drawings they began tooling. A few weeks later a sample was ready for me to review, they express shipped it to me and… it was horrible.
The studs were different shapes — some were sharp, others were dull; there was awkward spaces around the studs, and the two pieces of the case didn’t fit together to feel like a one-piece case. We went back and forth a lot on shape, fit, colour and how the two pieces were fused together.
We eventually dialed everything in and I placed an order for 8 different colours, 1000pcs of each. White Case with Gold, Silver, Rose Gold, and Gunmetal studs, and Matte Black Case with Gold, Silver, Rose Gold, and Gunmetal studs - 8000pcs total.
I’ve been to China twice since my first trip, mainly to source new suppliers. Looking back on it now, I’d definitely recommend going to a trade show (sourcing fair) in China or Hong Kong (or locally in your country if there are any). Some good ones to look into are Global Sources, HKTDC, and the Canton Fair. I recommend planning to spend 2-3 days at the fair and then giving yourself time to visit with the factories/producers you meet there, allowing you to see their factories and production capabilities.
Now I have a roster of about five factories we work with on a regular basis. Some are better for printed cases, others specialize in doing tooling and plastic injection, others are great at doing metallic coatings. We have a few different factories we use for packaging as well. Although it can make it a lot easier to only work with one, don’t feel like you have to stick with one factory for everything.
Tip: The factories you’re working with for your product will likely have a good source for packaging. Ask for photos of current packaging other customers of theirs use for the product, this can give you ideas of packaging style and design and it can also maybe give you a sneak peek at which other brands your factory is producing for. Usually, the factory who is producing your product will be able to do the pack-out of your product also, get them to do that before shipping to you so when your product arrives it is already packaged, stickered, and ready to sell.

Describe the process of launching the business.

As I mentioned previously I initially launched by selling locally to friends and family with supplies I ordered off of eBay and a free shop on Etsy.
I did the product photography myself and traded a case to my friend who designed the logo. I’ve kept the whole operation super lean right from the beginning. I think it was beneficial for me in the beginning to not have had a full-fledged business plan when I started out, I would have definitely overthought aspects of the business that didn’t need as much attention in the beginning.
One big takeaway I can tell other entrepreneurs looking to start a company is to just start. The longer you sit around and mull over ‘what could happen’, the longer you aren’t out there getting feedback and selling your product.
I remember my first big spend was on the domain name. I was originally using felony-case.com because the domain felonycase.com was listed on GoDaddy as a premium domain (which makes sense because of the law connotation). I think it cost $1400 which was huge for me at the time but I’m really happy I did it. I’ve since bought most other domain names containing “felonycase”, I figure if the case business ever goes belly up I can sell the domains to a law firm.
I did need a loan once for a large production run for a commercial customer who did a custom case colour way as part of a marketing initiative. I was able to get this loan from a family member and I paid them back as soon as the customer payed me, I hate being in debt to people - especially if its family.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

A large part of our initial customer base came from referrals through friends and family and Instagram influencer marketing (this was before ‘influencer marketing’ was as prominent as it is today).
The spiked cases had marketing built into them because they were so eye-catching. People who had a case told me they were always be stopped in public by people asking where they can buy it. That organic growth was huge for us right out of the gate.
Organic growth is crucial when you don’t have a ton of marketing dollars to spend. Paid advertising is a slippery slope to start out on. I’d definitely recommend having organic traction before dumping money into Facebook, Instagram or Google ads.
It also helped that people were just starting to break out as ‘models’ and ‘influencers’ on Instagram. I put a lot of time into reaching out to influencers in those early days offering to send them cases to use. A key part of my approach was not asking for anything in return. Thankfully cases aren’t overly expensive to manufacture or ship and I had a lot of product in storage.
I was able to send out a lot of cases to influencers and we received a lot of content for our own Instagram which we used by reposting photos from people who tagged @felonycase. Some notable celebrities who’ve had our cases are Hailey Bieber, Devin Brugman, and Tash Oakley among others. We were also lucky to be featured national news and holiday gift guides (which usually happened organically by someone from the media outlet reaching out to me directly).
I also worked on a collaboration iPhone case with The Weeknd that put our cases into the hands of his fans. I reached out to his Creative Director with mockups of designs we could do and he got back to me to set up a meeting. A month later our collaboration XO cases were available through The Weeknd’s web shop and at his tour stops. Don’t hesitate to reach out to people with pitches. You never know what could happen. I’ve also reached out and designed cases with Deadmau5, Travis Scott, Drake, Jazz Cartier, and Theophilus London – while none of these collaborations made it into production, it was a great learning experience to see how their teams work.
I would also recommend having multiple ecommerce channels. We currently sell through our two Shopify sites (felonycase.com and felonycase.ca), an Etsy shop, and Amazon. I wanted to get our products in front of as many people as possible — we needed to be where the searches are happening. Amazon has been a huge growth channel for us since we started selling through Amazon FBA two years ago.
Having your product stored in and shipped from Amazon warehouses through their Fulfilled By Amazon service (FBA) gives your listings the ‘Prime’ badge. Having your products FBA also gives your listings a big bump up in search results; they favour listings that are FBA/Prime. It’s hard to tell if purchases made through Amazon are from customers who originally found us through our websites or social channels then searched Amazon to get the free Prime shipping or if these are new customers who found us via Amazon searches.
Our cases don’t currently rank very high in generic ‘iPhone case’ search results on Amazon or Google as there’s a ton of competition at lower prices but I think it’s important to have a presence on Amazon regardless. Google SEO is also a constant that I’m always working on improving, but it’s a tough nut to crack.
We’ve been able to partner and grow with some incredible retailers worldwide which makes up a large percentage of our overall revenue. I consider myself more of a creative than a salesperson as sales don’t come as naturally for me. I’ve managed to put together a sales tactic that seems to work okay but it is by no means polished or perfect. I have all of our products in a Brandboom presentation, often referred to by retail buyers as ‘line sheets’.
It shows all of our styles, descriptions, retail and wholesale pricing along with photos and video. I send this link to buyers and they can get an idea of our brand and products through the presentation. Buyers can also place orders directly in our Brandboom presentation. It’s a great service but it can be costly if you’re just starting out.
Something similar I recommend doing is having an order form in an Excel file along with a .pdf presentation that you can send to buyers. This mimics what Brandboom does to a certain degree while avoiding the monthly fee.
Finding retailers who are a good fit to reach out to can be hard, I often start with stockist lists on competitor’s websites. With smaller boutiques you can usually reach the person in charge of buying by emailing their general email address. For bigger retailers and department stores you have to get a little more creative. I often start at LinkedIn and search for “‘store name’ buyer” but some of these stores have hundreds of buyers so you need to find out which buyer is in charge of buying for your category. You can often do this by searching “‘store name’ ‘tech accessories’ buyer” - insert your category where I have ‘tech accessories’.
Another tactic that I was actually surprised that it worked was sending a sample package directly to head office with ‘Attn ‘category’ buyer’ on the shipping label. This worked with getting Felony Case into Urban Outfitters, I was surprised to get an email from their iPhone case buyer a couple weeks after I sent the sample package to their head office.

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

By keeping business operations lean we’ve been profitable since the start. I’m a solo founder and still work as the only employee for the most part.
I’ve outsourced our shipping for online orders to a third-party fulfillment partner. They pick up, store, pick, pack, and ship all of our online orders from Shopify and Etsy. I have people who come in and help pack orders for retailers and shipments to Amazon FBA warehouses. I’ve been fortunate to have a great crew of interns over the years who have helped with design, marketing and customer service.
I’ve also hired people via Upwork including a virtual assistant from the Philippines who helped with customer service and influencer marketing, and an Amazon listings expert from India who helps upload listings onto Amazon. I’ve tried outsourcing advertising to ‘specialists’ but no one has been able to turn advertising profitable for us yet — feel free to get in touch with me if you can.
Currently 40% of sales come from selling to retailers. We’ve been lucky to have incredible retail partners like Nordstrom, Indigo, Urban Outfitters, Free People, Holt Renfrew. The rest is split by our Shopify shops doing 30%, Amazon 25% and Etsy 5%.
I’m always designing and prototyping new case designs. It’s an especially exciting time right now, as we’re still fresh off the release of the iPhone XR and iPhone XS Max, meaning it’s a great time to introduce new styles.
I’m working on some interesting concepts that will be available in the coming months. Follow us on Instagram @felonycase and check out our stories to see what I’m working on prototyping right now. It feels good to be back in the studio focusing on design as opposed to putting all of my energy and effort into sales/marketing.
To me, it feels like I’m getting back to the roots and where it all started — working hands on developing new products. We’re using state of the art rapid prototyping like 3D printers, CNC and laser cutters to come up with some really unique new designs. Not all of them will go into production because they’re a bit “out there”, but it’s been really fun experimenting.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

There are a lot of factors at play when selling direct to customers (DTC) or selling to retailers. You have to have the right product fit, at the right time, at the right price.
Selling to retailers it can be tricky. You have to send them a great sales email or phone call when they have a need in their stores for your product. Buyers have budgets at different times throughout the year, so you need to ensure you’re getting into their inbox when they have budget to spend or before they do so they can keep your product in mind when they do have the budget. Holiday is the busiest time of year for retailers so you need to be emailing them in July or August to be considered for their back to school and holiday season.
I’ve also learned there are a lot of people who think they can help you grow. Whether it be marketers, advertisers, salespeople, people trying to sell you apps or add-ons to use, etc. Unfortunately most I’ve worked with haven’t been able to back up their claims. I get pitched all the time by advertising and sales agencies who claim to be the best, but through working with numerous agencies etc. I’ve yet to find anyone who really moved the needle for us.
A lot of starting your own business is about trying different things out, just make sure you keep the ball in your court when you’re testing. For example, don’t give up any part of your business or agree to any crazy sales structures until they’ve backed up their claims and that they’re a good working fit with you and your business. Know when to say “no” and don’t have any hesitation in saying it. Setting these partnerships up takes a lot of time and energy, could that time be better utilized in other ways to grow your business?
When looking for a production partner or factory to work with be as clear as possible when discussing your product with them. Your best bet is to already have a physical sample made to the exact quality and specs that you’d like the final production run to be. If you can’t get a physical sample made, have a digital mockup with sizing, Pantone colours, and all other relevant specs. I’ve learned to always have factories send photos of products prior to shipping so I can diagnose any issues before they’re shipped. Sometimes factories will agree to refund the sample fee with the mass production order, so be sure to ask about that too!
Another thing I’ve found incredibly beneficial is connecting with other entrepreneurs, even if they’re in different categories or sell different products. Chances are you’ll have some of the same pain points and they could have advice from their own journey. Go to meetups in your city, join Facebook groups (Shopify Entrepreneurs are some good ones), or even reach out directly.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

3PL or Fulfillment Partners: As soon as you’re spending more time packing orders and standing in line at the post office than you should be, definitely outsource your shipping to a Third Party Logistics (3PL) or fulfillment partner. Search for one in your area and see if they do pickups directly from you, this will save you having to spend money to ship your products to them. Some other beneficial features of fulfillment partners are better shipping rates that you may not have access to with the volume you alone are shipping. If you’re shipping internationally from Canada you know shipping with tracking to the US is expensive. Look up a service like Chit Chats and see if the fulfillment partner you’re working with can offer something similar. Another benefit to working with a fulfillment partner is they may have multiple fulfillment warehouses. This means they can store your products in more than one location and they’ll ship out orders from the warehouse closest to the customer to save on shipping rates and shipments will get to your customers faster. Make sure you shop around and price compare with different fulfillment companies to get the best rate and service. A lot of these companies have minimum number of orders per month you’ll need to hit. Don’t get frustrated if the first few won’t work with you because of your current order volume. There are a lot of smaller fulfillment companies out there who are willing to work with smaller brands and grow with you.
Upwork to find freelancers. I’ve found great designers and virtual assistants through Upwork. I also work with an Amazon listing expert who adds all of our products to the various Amazon marketplaces for me.
Instagram to find designers and content creators to work with.
Consistent Cart for abandoned cart recovery is a no-brainer. They recovered over $8k in abandoned carts for us last year. You only pay based on what is recovered.
Product Reviews with the Product Reviews Addon. Shopify’s native ‘Product Reviews’ app doesn’t automatically send emails asking for reviews which is why you need the 3rd party add-on. Start this right away even if you don’t think the amount of sales you’re getting justifies it. After you’ve set it up, this just runs in the background and helps you get product reviews which will hopefully lead to more people purchasing your product down the road based on great reviews you receive.
Product Upsell which helps increase average cart value. I have it set up so when a customer adds an iPhone case to their cart they get a pop-up asking if they’d like to add a screen protector too.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss - even if there’s no chance in hell of actually working 4 hours each week as an entrepreneur, this book has a lot of great insights into optimizing tasks and workflow as well as great tips on outsourcing
Shopify Masters podcast (I’m on this episode: Before You Take a Trip To China Looking for a Manufacturer…)
The Amazing Seller podcast
Hypebeast - Business of Hype podcast
How I Built This podcast
The Tim Ferriss Show

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Don’t be afraid to start! Don’t overthink it, get a product out into the world and start your journey.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I’m always looking for talented, up-and-coming product and graphic designers as well as photographers and content creators.
If you’re a PPC master and can get us running +ROI ads, hit me up.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Liked this text interview? Check out the full interview with photos, tools, books, and other data.
Interested in sharing your own story? Send me a PM
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