Tag: More

Business Surveys, A Key Step To Drive More Profit Your Company

If you are a levelheaded consumer, you have the opportunity to reap multiple benefits on a back-to-back basis. So being an astute end user, you can effortlessly find quality products at lesser price rates. The statistics supplied by a large-scale company, although can lead one astray and companies defray millions of dollars per year in order to rev up the visibility of a company, in spite of their definite knack to achieve your needs. Fortunately, although, following the idea of business surveys what most businessperson do often; you can ascertain actually, what your consumers think about your business products and services.

Business surveys are a great way to determine what your target end users opine about products and service your company manufacturers and/or markets. They have lesser level of potential to be acted upon or wielded by prejudice, and they offer you extensively more brainstorm than just profit making on your own. Take for instance; if you are interested to deposit your funds in a specific finance bank then you would be happy to learn that there are already a variety of informational pools that can help achieve the need. What you can do is to simply pin faith on the bank’s marketing approach, replete with smiling stock images and appealing colors or you could seek advice from consult-polled data. The former will refer to you fundamentally nothing, although the latter will help you know what the user experience is akin to. Which would you find more helpful?

No matter which company you own and operate, you can manipulate business surveys to learn your end users’ opinion, achieve their needs, and be in their good books whilst making hefty profit. Assessing what type of values your end users have that can assist you more precisely, achieve their needs, and offer them a product that they will be keyed up regarding the use. By means of online business surveys, you can actually turn around the condition of your company end to end. So why to while away time and money?

Whether you are an end user or a company owner, business surveys is just the ticket for you to offer you the bet information. That statistics serve a pivotal role in contriving a level-headed decision for one and also assist in achieving the need once and for all.

So web store displays and website communication tools are available to all and sundry including the small business owner. It simply takes a little time to get your hands on the tools including a slight creativity to link them to your business.

The author is allied with the website Survey for Business and he often profiles it including its services and other features with the view to leverage the website’s standing and distance its competitors successfully. If you are avid to get complete lowdown about the customer satisfaction survey service or online survey services offered by Survey for Business, you are encouraged to visit the website.

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Know more about Business Networking Groups

The networking systems are reaching sky height at the present day. More than 50 per cent of the total population of the world are connected with each other via networking systems. Nowadays people do most of the things with the help of several networking systems, like shopping, contacting with others, selling, banking, studying, and many more. People also start doing business with their integrated business networks paradigm; it is a kind of business which are organised by the social networking. In this type of social networking, only business minded people are able to enter and do their activities. In business networking, people can create a new business relationship and bring more opportunities for the business. With that type of networking, the dimension of a business also gets bigger and at the same time new technology can influence the business too.

Business Networking Groups

A bunch of people serving the same thing is commonly known as a group. When many groups are gathering together and serve the same purpose, the business networking groups become more cost effective. The main objective of these groups is selling a product or promoting a company regardless of the purpose. The business networking groups also have effective communication with the other members of the groups. It helps to keep the consistency of the networking systems. Many times the organisation faces difficulties to maintain the networking group. Only suitable technological networking systems will give those organizations the efficiency to control those difficulties.

Business Referral Network

Referral network system is a traditional marketing procedure that promotes the product by speaking to the customers directly and spreading the business. A business referral is developed by the trading provided by the organization. The organizations also use referral to motivate and guide the individuals those who are already in the business networking. They deliver small video clip or a speech to the members or sometimes a direct conversation with the help of networking system. The traditional marketing referral is famous because it is fully digital and developed. The best thing about a business referral network is that it can be delivered to many people at the same time without spending any extra cost.

Business Referral Groups

The business referral groups are also developed in several places of the world as the networking organisations hope to run their businesses all over the world. In the United States Of America and United Kingdom, there are corporations that are building their business referral groups, but not a particular region. The benefits of referral group are that the primary organization sometimes does not have to influence or make the strategy. Depending on the regional expectations, the group members are taking the initiatives for the organisation.

Business networking is already getting popular all over the world. Especially in the western world, business networking is growing very fast. But the good thing about business networking is people from other parts of the world are also able to enter into that particular networking system if they wish to. With less labour and the technological expertise, people can get benefits from the business networking.

Business networks method for business events and groups in Colorado and Denver business by referral. For more info about networking for business development please visit at 4br.biz.

How Can Instructional Technology Make Teaching and Learning More Effective in the Schools?

In the past few years of research on instructional technology has resulted in a clearer vision of how technology can affect teaching and learning. Today, almost every school in the United States of America uses technology as a part of teaching and learning and with each state having its own customized technology program. In most of those schools, teachers use the technology through integrated activities that are a part of their daily school curriculum. For instance, instructional technology creates an active environment in which students not only inquire, but also define problems of interest to them. Such an activity would integrate the subjects of technology, social studies, math, science, and language arts with the opportunity to create student-centered activity. Most educational technology experts agree, however, that technology should be integrated, not as a separate subject or as a once-in-a-while project, but as a tool to promote and extend student learning on a daily basis.

Today, classroom teachers may lack personal experience with technology and present an additional challenge. In order to incorporate technology-based activities and projects into their curriculum, those teachers first must find the time to learn to use the tools and understand the terminology necessary for participation in projects or activities. They must have the ability to employ technology to improve student learning as well as to further personal professional development.

Instructional technology empowers students by improving skills and concepts through multiple representations and enhanced visualization. Its benefits include increased accuracy and speed in data collection and graphing, real-time visualization, the ability to collect and analyze large volumes of data and collaboration of data collection and interpretation, and more varied presentation of results. Technology also engages students in higher-order thinking, builds strong problem-solving skills, and develops deep understanding of concepts and procedures when used appropriately.

Technology should play a critical role in academic content standards and their successful implementation. Expectations reflecting the appropriate use of technology should be woven into the standards, benchmarks and grade-level indicators. For example, the standards should include expectations for students to compute fluently using paper and pencil, technology-supported and mental methods and to use graphing calculators or computers to graph and analyze mathematical relationships. These expectations should be intended to support a curriculum rich in the use of technology rather than limit the use of technology to specific skills or grade levels. Technology makes subjects accessible to all students, including those with special needs. Options for assisting students to maximize their strengths and progress in a standards-based curriculum are expanded through the use of technology-based support and interventions. For example, specialized technologies enhance opportunities for students with physical challenges to develop and demonstrate mathematics concepts and skills. Technology influences how we work, how we play and how we live our lives. The influence technology in the classroom should have on math and science teachers’ efforts to provide every student with “the opportunity and resources to develop the language skills they need to pursue life’s goals and to participate fully as informed, productive members of society,” cannot be overestimated.

Technology provides teachers with the instructional technology tools they need to operate more efficiently and to be more responsive to the individual needs of their students. Selecting appropriate technology tools give teachers an opportunity to build students’ conceptual knowledge and connect their learning to problem found in the world. The technology tools such as Inspiration® technology, Starry Night, A WebQuest and Portaportal allow students to employ a variety of strategies such as inquiry, problem-solving, creative thinking, visual imagery, critical thinking, and hands-on activity.

Benefits of the use of these technology tools include increased accuracy and speed in data collection and graphing, real-time visualization, interactive modeling of invisible science processes and structures, the ability to collect and analyze large volumes of data, collaboration for data collection and interpretation, and more varied presentations of results.

Technology integration strategies for content instructions. Beginning in kindergarten and extending through grade 12, various technologies can be made a part of everyday teaching and learning, where, for example, the use of meter sticks, hand lenses, temperature probes and computers becomes a seamless part of what teachers and students are learning and doing. Contents teachers should use technology in ways that enable students to conduct inquiries and engage in collaborative activities. In traditional or teacher-centered approaches, computer technology is used more for drill, practice and mastery of basic skills.

The instructional strategies employed in such classrooms are teacher centered because of the way they supplement teacher-controlled activities and because the software used to provide the drill and practice is teacher selected and teacher assigned. The relevancy of technology in the lives of young learners and the capacity of technology to enhance teachers’ efficiency are helping to raise students’ achievement in new and exciting ways.

As students move through grade levels, they can engage in increasingly sophisticated hands-on, inquiry-based, personally relevant activities where they investigate, research, measure, compile and analyze information to reach conclusions, solve problems, make predictions and/or seek alternatives. They can explain how science often advances with the introduction of new technologies and how solving technological problems often results in new scientific knowledge. They should describe how new technologies often extend the current levels of scientific understanding and introduce new areas of research. They should explain why basic concepts and principles of science and technology should be a part of active debate about the economics, policies, politics and ethics of various science-related and technology-related challenges.

Students need grade-level appropriate classroom experiences, enabling them to learn and to be able to do science in an active, inquiry-based fashion where technological tools, resources, methods and processes are readily available and extensively used. As students integrate technology into learning about and doing science, emphasis should be placed on how to think through problems and projects, not just what to think.

Technological tools and resources may range from hand lenses and pendulums, to electronic balances and up-to-date online computers (with software), to methods and processes for planning and doing a project. Students can learn by observing, designing, communicating, calculating, researching, building, testing, assessing risks and benefits, and modifying structures, devices and processes – while applying their developing knowledge of science and technology.
Most students in the schools, at all age levels, might have some expertise in the use of technology, however K-12 they should recognize that science and technology are interconnected and that using technology involves assessment of the benefits, risks and costs. Students should build scientific and technological knowledge, as well as the skill required to design and construct devices. In addition, they should develop the processes to solve problems and understand that problems may be solved in several ways.

Rapid developments in the design and uses of technology, particularly in electronic tools, will change how students learn. For example, graphing calculators and computer-based tools provide powerful mechanisms for communicating, applying, and learning mathematics in the workplace, in everyday tasks, and in school mathematics. Technology, such as calculators and computers, help students learn mathematics and support effective mathematics teaching. Rather than replacing the learning of basic concepts and skills, technology can connect skills and procedures to deeper mathematical understanding. For example, geometry software allows experimentation with families of geometric objects, and graphing utilities facilitate learning about the characteristics of classes of functions.

Learning and applying mathematics requires students to become adept in using a variety of techniques and tools for computing, measuring, analyzing data and solving problems. Computers, calculators, physical models, and measuring devices are examples of the wide variety of technologies, or tools, used to teach, learn, and do mathematics. These tools complement, rather than replace, more traditional ways of doing mathematics, such as using symbols and hand-drawn diagrams.

Technology, used appropriately, helps students learn mathematics. Electronic tools, such as spreadsheets and dynamic geometry software, extend the range of problems and develop understanding of key mathematical relationships. A strong foundation in number and operation concepts and skills is required to use calculators effectively as a tool for solving problems involving computations. Appropriate uses of those and other technologies in the mathematics classroom enhance learning, support effective instruction, and impact the levels of emphasis and ways certain mathematics concepts and skills are learned. For instance, graphing calculators allow students to quickly and easily produce multiple graphs for a set of data, determine appropriate ways to display and interpret the data, and test conjectures about the impact of changes in the data.

Technology is a tool for learning and doing mathematics rather than an end in itself. As with any instructional tool or aid, it is only effective when used well. Teachers must make critical decisions about when and how to use technology to focus instruction on learning mathematics.

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No Sick Leave At Restaurants Means More Sick Customers

Andrew Caballero-reynolds / AFP / Getty Images

Most of us are guilty of going to work when we're sick. But in the restaurant industry, that illness can quickly spread not only to coworkers, but also to customers. As Chipotle's outbreaks of norovirus, E. coli and salmonella last year showed, the consequences of sick restaurant employees coming to work can be devastating.

Altogether, the outbreaks dragged down sales by 14.6% in the final three months of 2015. In January, comparable sales continued to fall by about 36%. For a company doing a billion dollars in sales per quarter, a drop like that is a costly problem, but the true cost goes well beyond that. Chipotle's brand has been seriously tarnished, and recovery will be expensive.

“We all need to commit today not to let this happen again: we must not allow employees to work when they are sick. Norovirus outbreaks are avoidable if our existing protocols are followed,” said Chipotle co-CEO Monty Moran to workers during an all-hands meeting broadcast via satellite on Feb. 8.

Yet the damage had already been done. What's baffling is that companies — and restaurants in particular — haven't tried harder to keep sick workers home all along.

The lack of paid leave in an industry largely staffed by low-income workers creates a dangerous incentive. In a nationwide survey of 4,323 restaurant workers conducted by the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), a worker advocacy group, two out of three workers reported cooking, preparing, and serving food while sick.

The consequences are dire, and expensive. Infected food workers cause about 70% of reported norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, norovirus costs about $ 2 billion in the United States for healthcare and lost productivity from foodborne illness, according to the agency.

Last July, Chipotle rolled out paid sick leave, a surprisingly rare benefit in the restaurant business. Nationwide, only two-thirds of American workers have access to paid sick leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but in the restaurant industry it is far lower: an estimated 90% of restaurant workers don’t receive paid sick days, according to the ROC.

While a number of restaurant chains, such as Starbucks, offer employees some paid time off that they can use when ill, they do not have paid sick leave policy per se, except in states and cities that require it.

Saru Jayaraman, co-director of ROC, said that while Chipotle has received a lot of attention for its recent health issues, it's by no means an outlier in the industry.

“Norovirus is so pervasive in our industry, and it's because chains lobby through the NRA [National Restaurant Association] against paid sick leave legislation,” she said. “Chains are really responsible for setting standards both legislatively and in terms of industry norms.” She added that that workers who take time off, even for illness, are frequently fired or punished with poor shifts when they return.

National Restaurant Association spokesperson Christin Fernandez said in an email that the industry group had “opposed certain mandates in the past as they have been overly onerous to small businesses.” As for requesting time off, Fernandez responded that “flexibility with regards to scheduling, whether it’s sick time or personal time… is a trademark of the restaurant industry.”

Chipotle is now raising awareness of the need for workers to stay home when sick and has tightened protocols for addressing illness in the restaurant. “When anyone vomits in the back of the house or the front line, this is a red event, which means we close the restaurant immediately,” Gretchen Selfridge, a Chipotle restaurant support officer, said in an AP report.

The chain said it offers three paid sick days a year, and in cases where exceptionally sick employees are sent home and told not to work for five days, they will still be paid. Chipotle did not respond to emailed inquiries about whether paid sick leave was offered to all workers or only those who had been with the company for some time.

Paid sick leave has gained the attention of lawmakers.

In September, President Obama signed an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to allow their employees to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave per year, effective 2017.

According to the Department of Labor, there are earned sick time laws Connecticut, California, Massachusetts Washington, D.C., and Oregon; 22 local jurisdictions including New York City, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and a few cities in New Jersey have enacted legislation or approved paid sick leave programs by voter referendum.

“The safety of employees and diners should be priority number one for any restaurant,” said Fernandez. “That’s why we always encourage restaurateurs and their employees to follow the model food code and take sick time when needed.”

The Federal Criminal Investigation Of Chipotle Has Expanded

Chipotle Will Close Restaurants Nationwide On Feb. 8 For Employee Meeting

Chipotle Has A Plan To Woo Customers Back Into Restaurants. Will It Succeed?

BuzzFeed – Business

Teens And Young Adults Get Ripped Off More Than Anyone Else Online

“Millennials” also say they know more about online security than any other age group.

ITU/Rowan Farrell / Via Flickr: itupictures

Teenagers and adults born after 1980 are pretty damn confident they know more about online security than anyone else. And why wouldn't they? They're the first generation to grow up with the internet.

Yet a higher proportion of that same super-confident generation has been a victim of cybercrime than people of any other age group, according to a new consumer report by security giant Symantec.

In the 2016 Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, “millennials” rated themselves as having better knowledge of basic security measures and better overall tech savvy than any other group. But half of all the “millennials” surveyed had experienced crime online, with 36 percent having been victimized within the past year.

What gives?

“Millennials use more devices and are connected more, so their exposure is bigger,” said Kevin Haley, Director of Security Response at Symantec. “They've taken that feeling of invincibility and they're out there all the time.”

Haley's point — that people born between 1981 and 2000 are more vulnerable because they use more devices more often — makes sense. But consider some of the behavior the age group engages in. According to the report, “millennials” share passwords at the highest rate of any age group, at 31%. That includes passwords for things like email and Netflix, but it also includes banking. Symantec found that a third of all people who shared passwords in the US shared their banking information.

The report, out Monday, exposes the enormous gap between public awareness of risk online and the steps most people actually take to protect themselves. “Millennials” are only part of the picture. 82 percent of people are worried about cybercrime, but their behavior hardly reflects their worry. Among some of the more concerning findings, 62 percent of people globally use what they describe as “bad” passwords, and more than half of all parents don't do anything to restrict what their children do online.

And when it comes to cybersecurity, the disconnect between self-perception and reality is not just a “millennial” problem. Despite consumer perception of risk, and despite the lack of consumer precaution, every age group surveyed graded itself an “A” in security behavior.

BuzzFeed – Tech

Shake Shack Got More Expensive, And The Customers Kept Coming

The burger chain reported an 11% growth in sales at its established restaurants, but attributed much of the rise to higher prices.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Even when the burgers go up in price, people can't seem to get enough of Shake Shack: Revenue in the first three months of 2015 was up 56.3%, and sales at its 13 restaurants open at least 24 months increased by 11.7%.

The restaurants drew in more customers, but what really boosted revenue at existing stores were price increases, implemented in late 2014 and early 2015. The chain attributed 9.6% of the 11.7% comparable sales jump to the price hike and changes in the average customer order. Only 2.1% resulted from increased traffic into the stores. A basic Shake Shack burger now costs roughly $ 5.

Items such as the $ 6.19 ShackMeister Burger — an Angus beef patty on a buttery potato bun topped with crispy shallots — and the return of crinkle cut fries also helped increase sales, and executives hinted at other new menu items underway during an earnings call on Wednesday.

CEO Randy Garutti said recent restaurant openings in Baltimore, Boston, Las Vegas, and Chicago have been strong, and bode well for the chain's entry to California next year.

Yet the momentum from the first quarter is likely to slow as no further price hikes are planned. The company expects a comparable sales increase in 2015 in the low single digits, after growing 4.1% last year.

As growth at existing restaurants slows, new restaurants will be a key component to Shake Shack's expansion. The chain estimates the average restaurant brings in $ 2.8 million to $ 3.2 million a year, which is already at the high end for burger chains. McDonald's is at about $ 2.5 million, and even Chipotle, one of the restaurant industry's biggest successes in recent years, averages $ 2.5 million per store. It's questionable how much more each Shake Shack can ring up.

Yet the chain — now 39 restaurants in the U.S. and 27 overseas — is taking a particularly cautious approach to expanding. It opened just three new U.S. restaurants in the first three months of the year, and will likely open only about seven more by the end of 2015. The company declined to comment.

Fortunately, Shake Shack openings still draw large crowds, including its recent debut in Austin. Future stores — especially in markets like Southern California that already have local chains with loyal followings like In-N-Out Burger — will see how much America truly craves a new upscale burger restaurant.


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BuzzFeed – Business

Here Are The Companies Making Your Airbnb Feel More Like A Hotel

What began as crashing on a stranger’s futon has become a industry-swallowing juggernaut. But as the service matures, more customers expect the fancy linens and amenities found at hotels — and a group of startups are emerging to provide just that.

Chris Weeks / Getty Images

In the old days, when you booked a hotel room you knew roughly what you would be getting: a certain amount of cleanliness, amenities, services, and comfort, depending on how much you're willing to pay. And as Airbnb gradually takes over the market, a new ecosystem of service providers is emerging, aiming to bring a degree of order and predictability to the world of crashing in a stranger's apartment.

One of Airbnb's triumphs has been creating a fairly trustworthy layer of user reviews atop of a vast pool of rooms for hire that range from some guy's couch to a serviced penthouse. As a general rule, users can book a well-rated room from a host with lots of positive feedback and feel fairly comfortable that things will work out. But the company, which expects to pull in half a billion dollars of revenue from an estimated 1.5 million listings by the end of this year, still offers a mixed bag of experiences, and many believe the semi-chaotic system will gradually become standardized, much like the hotel industry it is gradually swallowing.

Enter companies like Guesty, Keycafe, Proprly, City CoPilot, SkyBell, Smart Host, and Beyond Pricing. A growing army of entrepreneurs aim to drive the standardization of Airbnb and the wider industry, offering everything from cleaning services, key exchange, and property management to a physical concierge desk for Airbnb listings in a given neighborhood. Beyond just piggybacking on Airbnb's growth, these companies hope to be the standard-setters for a new industry that looks set to boom long into the future, and will come under more and more pressure to offer a reliable experience, and one that complies with local laws.

“With Airbnb there's going to have to be some increased regulation on the rooms that are on their site and that consumers are using,” Dan Wasiolek, a hospitality analyst with Morningstar, told BuzzFeed News. He noted that New York recently increased the ranks of its Airbnb legality task force to ensure the quality and safety of Airbnb rooms offered in the city remained at adequate levels. “I think that makes all the sense in the world,” he said.

While the concept of standardizing Airbnb listings the way hotels are grouped by star ratings may be appealing, the pure volume of listings and users makes it a challenge. In other words, how can you create order and standardization among a pool of listings that is swelling to well beyond the million mark?

“They need to have standards, and Airbnb knows that,” said Randy Engler, a former eBay executive and frequent Airbnb host who founded property management startup Proprly in 2013 when he recognized a need for better guest experience among Airbnb hosts.

“The standard of cleaning and room experience, in hotels it's binary, it's either up to those standards or it's not, and we're trying to bring that to Airbnb, we're trying to get that on listings. If you go and check into a W or Ritz you don't even have to think about it.”

Similar challenges have played out at Uber and other ride-hailing companies, where the original promise of “ride-sharing” — an app-enabled version of carpooling, person to person, for a low price — has given way to a much more commercial product, with common standards for vehicles, drivers, prices, and service. It's easy to see the so-called “home sharing” business going the same way.

Airbnb would not comment for this story. But a number of these startup founders told BuzzFeed News that the company is aware of the need for quality metrics on its listings that go beyond just guest reviews. Engler attributes many bad Airbnb user experiences — messy rooms, complicated key pickup rituals, canceled bookings — to its astonishingly fast growth. The startups around Airbnb hope to become indispensable to the company and its users as the market matures.

“When you're growing that fast things are breaking,” Engler said. “That's the thread that is really challenging, because a lot of hosts, it's not that they're bad hosts, it's just if you've never stayed in a nice hotel, how do you have any concept of what it's like to stay in a nice hotel?”

Mariah Summers / BuzzFeed News


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BuzzFeed – Business

More Than Half Of Traffic On Retail Websites May Not Be Human

A report by Solve Media says that 34% of the traffic on retail-specific websites came from bots, and more than half was “suspicious.”

Solve Media

America's retailers are pouring billions into digital advertising this year as e-commerce grows and sets the tone of a highly competitive holiday shopping season. But a big chunk of their resources may be wasted on scams.

About 34% of U.S. web traffic on retail sites in the third quarter was determined to be from bots, while 55% was deemed suspicious, Solve Media said in a release yesterday. That bodes poorly for the fourth quarter, which accounts for a major part of the industry's estimated $ 11 billion in digital ad spending this year, as per eMarketer projections.

Fraudsters create bot traffic to fool marketers into paying more for internet ads. Payments are typically made when an ad loads; the advertiser will end up paying for that even if a real person hasn't visited the site.

The Wall Street Journal reported on the phenomenon in March, writing: “The fraudsters erect sites with phony traffic and collect payments from advertisers through the middlemen who aggregate space across many sites and resell the space for most Web publishers.” The identity of people profiting from this behavior is unclear, the newspaper wrote.

Retailers this holiday season “need to be the most proactive in protecting their budgets,” Solve Media said. That could mean anything from hiring firms to audit online traffic to rewording media contracts to cutting deals that require payment only once users engage with an ad.


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BuzzFeed – Business

The Internet Cares Much More About Nicki Minaj’s Butt Than Kim Kardashian’s Butt

This Google data proves it.

Jishai Evers/Dadaviz / Via dadaviz.com

In the last 24 hours, you've likely seen Kim Kardashian's shiny planetoid of a butt. But while the massive interest generated by this most recent assplosion may seem huge, Kim's keister can hardly hold (clench?) a candle in comparison to the assquakes caused by the current champion of buttinterest, Nicki Minaj. The above comparison chart, created by Jishai Evers of Dadaviz, shows that searches for Minaj's fat butt dwarf those for Kim's. (Those are units of relative magnitude; in other words, 100 is the most searches and 0 is the least.)

If you want to play around with the graph, which is interactive, click below.

LINK: Sorry Kim, The Internet Is Way More Obsessed With Nicki's Butt

BuzzFeed – Tech

Your Credit Card Could Be Costing You More Than You Think (If You Have The Wrong One)

It’s common knowledge that making a credit card’s minimum payment each month will get you nowhere, but which cards will bury you in an avalanche of debt the fastest? Here’s a look at the penalty rates for some of the most popular credit cards.

kieferpix/kieferpix

Everyone knows, or should know, that if you make the minimum payment on a credit card each month you will only dig yourself further into debt with no escape in sight. But for some credit cards, the penalty and interest fees imposed can exacerbate this process at quite an alarming rate.

A survey of 100 cards by CreditCards.com found that while the average penalty rate—charged for late payments of 60 days or more—is down slightly, from 28.6% in 2012 to 28.45% this year, the fee can still be a big hit to people who carry a credit card balance and the resulting interest charges.

The Federal Reserve estimates the interest rate is 11.82% for the average balance-carrying credit card holder. When you factor in the 28.45% penalty rate, that means someone with a $ 4,000 balance would have to pay $ 665.20 per year in interest if he or she missed just two payments.

While not all credit cards have penalty rates, the majority—60%—do, and at varying fee levels. Here's a look at how some of the most popular credit cards stack up when it comes to the potential for crushing debt through each of their penalty rates.

Choose wisely. Or, better yet, try not to miss a payment.

American Express: 27.24%

American Express: 27.24%

Mike Blake / Reuters

Most American Express cards charge a 27.24% penalty fee. This includes the Blue, Blue Sky, Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Costco program credit cards.


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BuzzFeed – Business

Old Navy Explains Why It Charges More For Women’s Plus-Size Clothes

The retailer’s plus-size women’s clothes are marked up, while men’s plus-size clothes are not. Its owner Gap Inc. says the materials used for women are more expensive.

Via change.org

A group of customers is criticizing Old Navy for selling plus-size women's clothing at a markup, while men don't face higher prices on plus sizes at the chain.

More than 16,000 people have signed a Change.org petition calling for an end to what they deem “discriminatory pricing practices.” The woman who made the petition said that on a recent visit to Old Navy's website, she noticed plus-sized women's jeans cost $ 12 to $ 15 more than smaller sizes, while men's plus-sized jeans did not. “If they are charging plus-sized women more to cover the cost of the fabric being used, then why aren't they doing the same for men?” she asked.

Gap says that it is, in fact, more costly to make plus-size clothing for women than for men.

“Old Navy is proud to offer styles and apparel designed specifically for our plus-size female customer, which includes curve-enhancing and curve-flattering elements such as four-way stretch materials and contoured waistbands, which most men's garments do not include,” Gap Inc. spokeswoman Liz Nunan said in an email to BuzzFeed News. “This higher price point reflects this selection of unique fabrics and design elements.”

Plus-size apparel is one of the fastest-growing parts of retail in America, where the average woman is a size 14. Plus-sizes, often classified as 14 to 34, account for 67% of the population, according to Plunkett Research, and many retailers have been working hard to cater to that audience. This summer, ModCloth said it doubled the size of its plus business since June 2013. Eloquii, a plus brand introduced by The Limited in 2011 but discontinued two years later, was recently picked up by Nordstrom.

The challenge for clothing makers is choosing the best fabrics and designs for women's plus-size apparel, given that bodies tend to change in more ways above a size 14 than below that. Old Navy Plus has its own design team, for example, which pays special attention to flattering the shapes of curvier women and picking the right fabrics.

The internet has been instrumental in fueling the rise of plus-size fashion. There are now more resources for curvy girls to figure out where the best clothes are, and where to find their sizes. Retailers can also more easily gauge demand on the web and sell into it, rather than make risky bets in stores that may or may not pay off.

oldnavy.gap.com


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BuzzFeed – Business

Abercrombie CEO Under Fire Again For Hotels, Helicopters And More

Mike Jeffries, who built up Abercombie’s sex-meets-Ivy League aesthetic in the 90s, is the focus of a shareholder lawsuit claiming poor governance at the fashion chain.

Abercrombie CEO Mike Jeffries.

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File

Abercrombie & Fitch, after making numerous management changes to appease angry shareholders this year, is still facing heat for CEO Mike Jeffries' spending and his partner's excessive involvement in the business.

The company is aiming to settle a lawsuit brought by a Florida pension plan at the end of August, which documents a host of bad behavior by Jeffries, his partner Matthew Smith, and Abercrombie's board. The shareholders, furious over the more than $ 140 million Jeffries has made since 2008 despite Abercrombie's lackluster performance, were able to obtain hundreds of internal corporate documents for review as part of the lawsuit. While the documents themselves aren't included in the suit, it contains summaries of expense reports and meeting minutes that shed more light on Jeffries' expensive tastes, Smith's unofficial work at Abercrombie, and the board's willingness to ignore these things.

BuzzFeed News exclusively reported on Smith's odd, executive-like role at Abercrombie in May 2013 — a source of confusion and frustration for some at the company, given he's not an employee, and a sign of lax oversight at the retailer. Smith, Jeffries' romantic partner of more than a decade, oversees the CEO's homes, compensation and investments through a private family office, which means he has no fiduciary obligation to Abercrombie shareholders. In a feature earlier this year, New York magazine quoted an unnamed Abercrombie insider as saying “Matthew has no decision-making authority inside the company,” and that reports to the contrary “greatly exaggerate the issue.” The complaint, from the City of Plantation Police Officers' Employees' Retirement System, shows that is not the case.

Internal Abercrombie documents show Smith made 170 unannounced visits to Abercrombie stores worldwide between August 2011 and November 2013, “providing reports on the stores' appearances, staffs, and atmosphere” — all unbeknownst to the board, according to the lawsuit. Real estate meeting minutes confirm Smith's regular attendance, and highlight his “direct role” in assessing store openings and closings outside the U.S., including in Vienna, Frankfurt and Shanghai, lawyers wrote. (These are costly for the company.) James Bachmann, an Abercrombie board member, admitted in a July interview as part of the suit that after he became aware Smith was choosing new store locations, particularly in Europe, he discussed it with the company's general counsel, but he didn't bring it up with the board.

Lawyers for Abercrombie and a company spokesman didn't return a request seeking comment.

Abercrombie jet travel logs from the period show Smith joined Jeffries on more than 95% of his business trips, the complaint alleges; while on the jet, Smith regularly received daily nonpublic sales reports. Abercrombie's flight crew manual, a hyper-specific 40-plus page document publicized through a separate lawsuit, contained the location of nonpublic sales reports and the password to access them, meaning flight attendants, pilots and others with access to the manual could easily get into “high-level, nonpublic” corporate information, according to this suit. Other documents showed Smith has enjoyed access to board meetings and other nonpublic Abercrombie information since at least December 2007, though he only signed a non-disclosure agreement with the company in August 2010, lawyers wrote. The full board wasn't aware of the NDA, they added.

Jeffries also comes under fire in the complaint for his spending on hotels. Expense reports disclosed to the shareholders show that Jeffries' “hotel stays cost the company significantly excessive amounts,” though the complaint didn't specify dollar amounts. The board's explanation, as per the suit, was that the CEO “uses his hotel rooms to conduct business, including holding meetings.” Jeffries also “incurred significantly outsized expenses by unnecessarily traveling by helicopter,” according to the suit.

Despite complaints from shareholders and proxy advisory firms, internal meeting minutes show that Abercrombie's compensation committee “viewed stockholders' concerns regarding Jeffries' compensation as a mere public-relations problem,” according to the lawsuit. Rather than figure out ways to match the company's performance to Jeffries' pay, they focused on creating communications plans that would mitigate the inevitable outrage that would follow giving him a massive award, the lawyers wrote.

Jeffries, 70, is considered the modern-day founder of Abercrombie, coming up with its sex-meets-Ivy League aesthetic in the 90s. (The chain also owns Hollister.) He ran the company with little oversight for years, but as sales have faltered and teens' tastes have changed, shareholders have swooped in demanding changes and calling for his ouster. Abercrombie has replaced much of its board, brought on new brand presidents who may succeed Jeffries and renegotiated the CEO's contract. Jeffries has also been unpopular on the Internet after the viral resurrection of comments he made to Salon in 2006, saying Abercrombie only markets to “cool, good-looking people.”

Abercrombie's board has left shareholders howling many times in the past — in 2010, the board paid Jeffries a $ 4 million lump-sum for agreeing to a smaller personal travel allowance of $ 200,000 a year, which was met with outrage. Craig Stapleton, former lead independent director of the board, told Bloomberg News in 2012 that the board supports Jeffries' strategy. When asked about succession planning a year ago at a meeting with analysts, Jeffries said, “I expect to be here,” adding that he was “totally energized by our opportunities.” In regulatory filings, Jeffries is referred to as Abercrombie's “brand visionary and chief creative talent.”

Abercrombie agreed to a preliminary settlement with the City of Plantation Police Officers' Employees' Retirement System shortly after the suit was filed, that a judge rejected on Sept. 26 on concerns it asked the company's shareholders to give up too much. The settlement did not contain a monetary component outside of $ 2.78 million in legal fees, and released Abercrombie from admitting any wrongdoing. The judge noted that given the complaint's description of “wrongdoing of a serious magnitude,” the total loss to shareholders may have been in the “billions of dollars.”

The group narrowed the scope of the release of shareholders' claims in a subsequent document, which got preliminary approval. Abercrombie continues to deny wrongdoing.

As part of the settlement, Abercrombie will “appoint and empower” a Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, it will strengthen internal controls over ethics and compliance, clarify and strengthen Abercrombie's whistleblower policy, communicate better with external advisors and large institutional shareholders on ethics, compliance and compensation-related issues, and better tie Jeffries' and other executives' salaries to performance. A notice was sent to shareholders and a fairness hearing regarding the plan will be held in Ohio on Dec. 18.

“We saw problems with Abercrombie's compensation and internal compliance function,” Mark Lebovitch, a lawyer for the shareholders, told BuzzFeed News. “We firmly believe that the settlement we demanded and the board agreed to implement fundamentally improves the company going forward, which will create significant shareholder value.”

“This settlement is all about charting a new path for Abercrombie,” he added.

AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Initial judgment rejecting the settlement.

The judge wrote: “The complaint describes wrongdoing of a serious magnitude – of a CEO who was vastly overcompensated and misused corporate resources, particularly during his frequent travels; of a CEO and Board who gave a non-employee access to confidential information and allowed him to influence, if not single-handedly make, strategic decisions that turned out poorly, particularly regarding expansion into overseas markets, an aspect of Abercrombie’s business that the complaint states is 'crucial' to the company’s business; and of a Board that ignored shareholder concerns and either acquiesced in or endorsed the misconduct of Jeffries and Smith.”


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