Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
The customer is always wrong? That's the slogan DecorMyEyes.com founder Vitaly Borker uses to draw publicity, no matter how unsavory, to his website. The New York Times investigated how Borker works tirelessly to refuse refunds, skirt the rules, and even threaten customers to get them to write about and link to his site on customer complaint boards like RipoffReport.com. In the meantime, Google either cannot or is unwilling to distinguish between good and bad coverage, placing DecorMyEyes near the top of searches for many brand name eyeglass carriers. But just how long he can sustain the ploy remains to be seen: one customer he physically threatened persisted to have him arrested and accused of aggravated harassment. Since then, Borker says he has discontinued the practice but continues to badger and tussle with customers over payments, legitimate or otherwise. "Why is the merchant always wrong?" Borker asks. "Can the customer ever be wrong? Is that not possible?"
Black Friday on-the-go. Why wait in line when you can get the same deal on your phone? TechCrunch reports today that eBay and PayPal mobile apps posted huge increases in Black Friday mobile app sales. The boom is not totally surprising considering the rise in smart phone usage, but as mobile app sales become increasingly essential for a company's bottom line, retailers are realizing that new features are the key to luring customers to spend. For example, eBay has recently revamped its iPhone app to offer barcode scanning and exclusive PayPal deals. The article also notes that "Mobile shopping is expected to be huge this year and it should be interesting to see if eBay and PayPal can sustain the mobile sales today on Cyber Monday and throughout the holiday season."
Google's struggle to stay nimble. Acting quickly and being nimble were two traits that made Google what it is today. But now that the search-engine giant is a global behemoth, the New York Times reports that Google is having trouble staying agile and retaining creative employees who would prefer working for a company with more of a start-up feel. While Google's CEO Eric Schmidt says that reports of a Google brain drain are "fundamentally wrong," he does admit that with tremendous growth, has come some stagnation. As he explains, "There was a time when three people at Google could build a world-class product and deliver it, and it is gone. So I think it's absolutely harder to get things out the door. That's probably our biggest strategic issue."
Meet Israel's Malcolm Gladwell. His name is Jacob Burak, an Israeli venture capitalist-turned writer, whose bestselling book Do Chimpanzees Dream of Retirement, has just been released in English. Our friends at Fast Company caught up with the man they've dubbed "Israel's Malcolm Gladwell" to answer some crucial questions like, "Are entrepreneurs born or made?" Based on his evolutionary research at Tel Aviv University, Burak says they are both. For every glaring genetic characteristic shared by entrepreneurs--"Blood type B is found in a much higher percentage (four times as often) in self-made millionaires than in the rest of the population"--Burak offers an environmental one as well. "'Fatherlessness' of some sort--a pressure to essentially become one's own father at an early age, due to absence or emotional dysfunction of the actual father--was found to be an important trait shared by many entrepreneurs," he says. Burak also discusses the relationship, or lack thereof, between business and happiness. He says, "Businesses should not seek to deliver an increased level of happiness of their clients, or even their employees...Happiness is one of the few choices that we should be making as individuals and not rely on others to make for us."
Google to buy Groupon? That's what the rumor mill is saying. The story originated with tech blog VatorNews, which reported this morning that the search giant has acquired Groupon for $2.5 billion, according to a "reliable" source. Though no one has confirmed the story with Google or Groupon, the news has spread to VentureBeat and Mashable, as well. Both sites agree that the acquisition, which has been rumored for some time, would be a perfect fit for both businesses. "[It] makes a lot of sense for Google, giving it a wonderful opportunity to fuse Groupon deals with its local business directory, Google Places," writes Mashable. "On the other hand, for Groupon it'll be much easier to fend off all those similar services under Google's wing."
"Mac for the masses." That's what analysts are calling Apple's lockdown of the tablet computer market during Black Friday and Thanksgiving weekend sales, according to ZDNet. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says the average Apple store was selling 8.8 iPads an hour--a rate that could help push the device to new mass-scale demographics. He forecasts that Apple will sell 5.5 million iPads this quarter. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that nine percent of holiday shoppers plan to buy an iPad in the next 90 days, according to a recent survey.