Weekly reader: PayPal vs. Square, AmEx, Yahoo! as patent troll and deals

This contains a summary of my work, where I’ve been quoted by others as well as some other highlights of the week.

My work

PayPal at retail is a terrible product — I had a chance to look at PayPal’s new retail product being used at Home Depot. I can’t find a reason why consumers would adopt this. It’s less convenient than a credit card and less rewarding. Although it may be good for merchants in the long term, this is a two-sided market and you need to have a reason for consumers to adopt. A note about the headline: Initially I’d proposed “POS is a POS,” trying to be humorous. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have agreed to spelling it out. 

What I’ll be looking for in a Square competitor — My preview of PayPal’s Square competitor and the economics of the space.

How PayPal Here aims to be a full-service financial product for small businesses — My analysis of PayPal Here, PayPal’s competitor to Square. PayPal wasn’t very aggressive in their pricing, but the structure of their offer may be compelling to many. Regardless, it’s not a winner-take-all market.

Decline in the U.S. newspaper industry in 3 charts — It’s been an ugly decade for the newspaper industry and things only look to get worse. I look at U.S. newspaper revenue (excluding digital) in three ways: the absolute decline, the inflation-adjusted decline and the per-capita decline. The per-capita decline is particularly stark: since 1998, this has dropped from $243 to $66.

Quoted elsewhere

Report: PayPal takes on Square in mobile payments (USA Today) — I talk to USA Today in advance of the PayPal announcement.

Other interesting nuggets

AmEx/Twitter deal real-time tracking — An infographic that charts the success of the AmEx/Twitter promotion campaign. Ignore the parts of the chart labeled “total spend” and “discounts”. (They have no way of gathering these data.)

The new iPad — The Retina display is gorgeous and the new camera is amazing. I’m not sure I’d ever use the camera in real life, but it’s a vast improvement over the camera on the iPad 2.

Design still sucks — This week, I picked up a router, a NAS and received review units of Logitech’s Harmony Link and 900. I’m well above average when it comes to these products and these things are still way too complicated.

Weekly deals

This week I’m starting a new feature of deals that I think readers might be interested in. If I get something in return, I’ll call it out.

  • Yammer CEO David Sacks is offering a $25,000 bonus to anyone who leaves Yahoo! and starts at Yammer in the next 60 days. This is a protest to Yahoo! suing Facebook for alleged patent infringement.
  • Related to the above, I promise a pre-launch pitch meeting to any startup founders who leave Yahoo!
  • 20% off this week’s Ignition conference if you use promo code IGNITION20 for my readers.
  • If you’re in the market for a Sonos (they’re great), get a free wireless bridge ($49 value). If you do this, I get a $10 iTunes gift card. If 5 of you do this, I get $100 toward my next Sonos purchase.
  • On Tuesday, AmazonLocal will be offering a $10 Amazon credit for $5. This is much less generous than LivingSocial’s $20 credit for $10 from a while back. But free money is free money.

About Rakesh Agrawal

Rakesh Agrawal is Senior Director of product at Amazon (Audible). Previously, he launched local and mobile products for Microsoft and AOL. He tweets at @rakeshlobster.
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