Should Your Business Accept Bitcoins?

You’ve probably heard of bitcoins.  But what are they, really?

There’s an old saying that everything is worth what its purchaser will pay.  Bitcoins are a great example of that.  They first started trading a few cents apiece.  As of May 23rd, 2013 they are trading at $126 to one bitcoin.

So the real question is: should your business accept them?  In my personal opinion, I’m going to have to say no.  Recently in the news, bitcoin exchanges have been shut down .  Also, because the volatile nature of bitcoins, you may end up worrying about the market rate rather than running your business.

On the other hand, most businesses that accept bitcoin see such transactions as a very small percentage of their total revenue.   However, the fact that bitcoins are untraceable currency from the ether (most currencies are) attracts less than upstanding citizens.

What’s Fun with Google Play

If you have a Google account, you may noticed that there is something new. Most notably, the introduction of Google Play onto your navigation bar. Put simply, this service is Google’s answer to Apple’s iTunes. Google Play was once called Android Market, but it lagged heavily behind iTunes in both visibility and sales. This re-branding seems to be an attempt to capitalize on the trends in digital media consumption. According to the Pew Research Institute in 2010, 56% of all adults went online for leisure purposes. That’s double that said they did so in 2000. The research seems to suggest that a lot of this has to do with the ease at which people can personalize their internet experience. Google is aware of this and Google Play has several key features that address this yearning.

All purchases done on Google Play will be stored in the cloud which can be accessed by both your mobile and web devices. Anywhere you are, your purchases can go with you. Because they are stored on a cloud server, movies and books won’t eat up your hard drive space. That’s an advantage over iTunes which requires the additional iCloud services to do such a thing. Also, Play Music, Google’s audio arm allows you to upload up to 20,000 songs for free. Apple’s iTune’s Match costs 24.99 a year. All the things that you upload and purchase can be announced in status updates, another key aspect of a personalized internet experience.

The internet was first created as a communications tool for the US Air Force. After all this time, it hasn’t strayed too far from its roots. Social networking is an idea as old as time, but it is only recently that we can do it with such ease and over such distances. What has changed over the years is the brightness of consumer identity. Less are people defining themselves by race or birthplace, but more by what they buy. We all know that people who purchase nothing except Apple products and guys who wear V neck T shirts are saying something about themselves. Google Play delves into this dynamic. Users can post purchase updates to let their friends know what they are listening to and what they are watching. This is thanks to a wide array of other Google services that support what Google Play’s mission.

Any IT Consultant can tell you that e-marketing is about ease of purchase and security. Google has a near spotless security record. As for ease of purchase, they’ve got Google Wallet for that. The service makes purchasing goods, especially Google goods, just one click away. What could be easier? Sign into your Google account and you’ve signed into Google Wallet, Youtube, Google Play and much more. When it comes to leisure, simplicity is important. I don’t want to waste what little free time I have trying to watch a movie online.

Google Play represents a great chance for Google to cut into Apple’s commanding market share. It seems to play into every facet of a good e-business of the social marketing age. Purchases are kept in the cloud for ease of access anywhere. It allows purchasers to share their experiences with other users. Finally, it’s easy to navigate and even easier to buy things. Time will show us if Google Play is as fun as it says it is.