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Monday, March 15, 2010

Shopping Gateway – the new buzz in the internet world

Internet came into existence as interconnection between different networks. The prime goal was to use this for information sharing. Soon, more and more computers were connected to this network and now it is at the stage when huge amount of public can access internet very easily. This public has started using it for various purposes and shopping is one of these various purposes.
When it comes to shopping over internet, one can get thousands of resources here. These may be soft-services like download of software OR can also involve purchase of precious articles. Each of this involves high money transactions. So how does it work? Normally different articles available for sale are listed on various web pages – the so-called Online Shops. These can be accessed by the internet users. They can choose what they need and then make a payment through online money transfer means.

The latest buzz in this internet shopping world is Shopping Gateway. Shopping Gateways are the web pages which are only the link between the internet user and the Online Shops. These web pages only direct the users to the proper online shops through some kind of active links. There are no money transactions happening at the Shopping Gateway when the internet user makes a purchase. Also Shopping Gateways do not charge any amount to the internet users. Then, what is the reason for the existence of Shopping Gateway? Are these redundant?

The answer is Shopping Gateways are generating value for the internet users in the supply-chain. A huge amount of thinking and dedication goes into the art of building a Shopping Gateway. First, Shopping Gateways build value for users by providing them with high number of options for the article to be purchased. Second, Shopping Gateways have the leverage to negotiate with the suppliers on the behalf of its users. In this way, Shopping Gateways can provide its users with various offers, discount codes, etc., which are not available to someone who is not using these Shopping Gateways.

The biggest question is how do Shopping Gateways make profits? The simple answer is through the suppliers. A part of the sale made through these Online Shops is diverted to these Shopping Gateways in form of commissions or incentives. However, launching a Shopping Gateway is still a risk business since there can be no profits made until the actual sale takes place. So this model is likely to be the next buzz in the world of internet shopping.

“Find my Stuff: Need-Junction” is one such shopping gateway. The author, Shekhar Rameshsingh Pardeshi, actively negotiates the prices with the suppliers and offers its users with discount codes, offers, deals (which are comparatively cheap in cost). For Q1-2010, the focus for this Shopping Gateway is to provide its users with different options in Travel industry. It is recommended for all those who are planning their holidays or those who are looking for quick travels by cars, flights, etc. Currently, it is catering to the regions of USA, Australia, Europe, India, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Certificate of Deposit (CD)

(This article is specific to the United States.)

A certificate of deposit or CD is a kind of a time deposit offered to consumers by banks, thrift institutions, and credit unions.

CDs are similar to savings accounts in that they are insured and thus virtually risk-free; they are "money in the bank" (CDs are insured by the FDIC for banks or by the NCUA for credit unions). They are different from savings accounts in that the CD has a specific, fixed term (often three months, six months, or one to five years), and, usually, a fixed interest rate. It is intended that the CD be held until maturity, at which time the money may be withdrawn together with the accrued interest.

In exchange for keeping the money on deposit for the agreed-on term, institutions usually grant higher interest rates than they do on accounts from which money may be withdrawn on demand, although this may not be the case in an inverted yield curve situation. Fixed rates are common, but some institutions offer CDs with various forms of variable rates. For example, in mid-2004, with interest rates expected to rise, many banks and credit unions began to offer CDs with a "bump-up" feature. These allow for a single readjustment of the interest rate, at a time of the consumer's choosing, during the term of the CD. Sometimes, CDs that are indexed to the stock market, the bond market, or other indices are introduced.

A few general guidelines for interest rates are:
1. A larger principal should receive a higher interest rate, but may not.
2. A longer term will usually receive a higher interest rate, except in the case of an inverted yield curve (i.e. preceding a recession)
3. Smaller institutions tend to offer higher interest rates than larger ones.
4. Personal CD accounts generally receive higher interest rates than business CD accounts.
5. Banks and credit unions that are not insured by the FDIC or NCUA generally offer higher interest rates.

Example of a CD: Let's say that you purchase a $100,000 CD with an interest rate of 5% compounded annually and a term of one year. At year's end, the CD will have grown to $105,000 ($100,000 * 1.05).

CDs of less than $100,000 are called "small CDs"; CDs for more than $100,000 are called "large CDs" or "jumbo CDs". Almost all large CDs, as well as some small CDs, are negotiable.