What Happened to Zumu.co?

Mel Barrios, DVDhunt

zumu.co is gone

You may have seen the commercials.  Zumu.co offers to pay cash for your used DVDs, CDs and video games. All you need to do is type in the bar-codes of your items, review what Zumu will pay you for them, put them in a box and ship them off. Once all your items are checked in, Zumu sends you a check. Sounds easy enough, right?

Neil Ozman, the Founder of Zumu.co

Neil Ozman, the Founder of Zumu.co

Not so fast. Apparently there are number of unpaid sell orders judging from the internet chatter and BBB notices.  This the Zumu notifcation being sent out to customers with unpaid transactions before the shutdown:

I the We are currently experiencing some technical difficulties with our payment system that is affecting PayPal payments. We are working as fast as we can to get this resolved. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding. We hope to have this matter fully resolved by the beginning of this coming week, and payments issued as quickly as possible! You will receive notification from PayPal once the payment has been issued! Thank you for using Zumu, have a nice day!

That last little “have a nice day” always makes me feel better.

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dvd outlook

If you were not on Amazon in the past year, you probably are unaware of the changes Amazon has made to their selling structure. In the past, all third party sellers were listed under new and used links and everyone was responsible for their inventory and shipping them out themselves. Then Amazon announced the Fulfillment by Amazon program (FBA hereout) where a seller can send to Amazon their inventory for them to handle and buyers would reap the same benefits as if buying from Amazon themselves. The trust in this for buyers was the security that they were getting the item and that any problems would be handled in the same fashion as Amazon handles their own items. This posed a double edged sword for sellers as the item was more or less out of their control when it came to reliable buyers, returns, etc. With the success of FBA, Amazon created a “buy box” (a button designated for quick purchase to the cart from the product page) for used items. If more than one FBA seller appeared, the lowest price prevailed. However, this had its limits depending on the price in relation to the MSRP. Finally, in late Januray and early February, Amazon announced that sellers using FBA would receive the buy box on the product page for new titles. Cheapest price prevails, so if you are lower priced than Amazon, your item is being sold on the main product page which states the sellers name “Fulfilled by Amazon”.

Earlier in the year, Amazon and a number of sellers flooded the market with out of print Paramount titles in varying quantities. This became a boon and a hinderance for all sellers and perhaps even buyers. Initially it seemed promising as it allowed sellers to pick up some titles that they might have missed. But then the amount available seemed to outweigh the investment. Following this were some sellers that seemed to have equal or larger quantities than Amazon. On top of this were sellers putting in the French/Canadian versions (which has French type on front, spine and back in addition to English), but with different UPC code. The problem this posed were sellers filtering it through the FBA and seeing the buy box, which does not have any description from the buyer posted on the product page. Most of these sellers are not writing any desctption, or with perhaps the minimal descroption as “brand new”. Sadly this creates a poor reflection on Amazon’s handling of what people are selling to FBA. Certainly sellers (discussed in the forum) are even selling items as new, but clearly are repackaged, or as used in “very good” or “like new” but are previous rental versions without any notice of this being the case. So I recommend you reading some of the feedback on some of these sellers to smell out some of the problems that are trendy in their selling.

The other dilemma that has been created through the new approach of selling on Amazon are larger sellers using FBA to blowout their buys at competitive prices with hundreds or even thousands of copies competing with either Amazon or the lowest price merchant seller. For collectors, this could be a boon, while for the seller, its a hinderance. Ultimately, the DVD is becoming devalued through these warehouse dumping that Paramount did, and by mixing the US version with the French version, and Amazon’s non-compliance of their own policies has crashed the prices on most of these once valuable titles. Some have managed to recover, while others will probably take a long time or never be recovered from this. 

Unfortunately, Paramount is not the only culprit. Following this some months later, it is evident that Warner has dumped their own warehouse to a number of large sellers and similar problems have cropped up. A number of sellers are selling Canadian versions of Casablanca I have found. And no doubt plenty of other Warner titles are being sold in this manner, either through merchant or FBA filters. Some other studios like Sony and Universal have some dumping of titles, either through sellers or stores, these warehouse clearance has devalued the DVD all together, where the expectancy of the buyer is that prices are cheaper than ever. It is also seen that brick and mortar stores are also following suit with this pricing structure. The competition is tougher than ever and Amazon seems to have become the Mecca of selling and buying online for any and all things. Places like eBay seem to have been marginalized by their changes in the past few years, upsetting the sellers where they migrated to other arenas, either their own website, Amazon or another third party seller platform, unfortunately, after Amazon, the competition is scarce or rife with bootlegs. 

On the brighter side, although DVD’s have come down in value, the DVD itself is not dead. Despite streaming getting more attention, the DVD is still priority for the studios as they have a much better profit margin than streaming, and sales are still dominant over the new technology. In addition, blu-ray is also keeping the fans attention for higher quality playback, even if the turnout of titles are slower (although statistics show the progress of sales to be the same as the DVD within the same timeframe). With that said, although I have not updated this page in a while due to my own business, there are some interesting stuff happening in the DVD world that needs to be highlighted for those that have are not aware of the changes. So what follows are some of the interesting stuff that has been discontinued. As always, status is subject to change at anytime without notice.

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Growing Demand for High-Definition Home Entertainment to Drive the World Blu-Ray Discs Market, According to New Report by Global Industry Analysts, Inc.

Growing concerns over carbon footprint of data storage technologies is also  throwing the spotlight on blu-ray. For instance, Carbon footprint of data  storage is on the rise given the tendency among enterprises to sequentially  complicate the complexity of storage infrastructures with increases in data  volumes. This in turn increases the carbon footprint of data storage primarily  because complex and sophisticated data storage solutions, such as storage area  networks have huge energy, cooling and connectivity needs, all which increases  both carbon emissions and power consumption. Stricter environmental mandates  governing an organization’s carbon footprint including emissions resulting from  data storage is now throwing the spotlight on “Green Archive” solutions, at the  heart of which are optical disc solutions like the blu-ray technology. Against a  scenario of an evolving carbon conscious society, blu-ray discs are optimally  positioned to benefit given their low carbon footprint and their relatively  robust long-term archiving capabilities. The ensuing refocus and re-emphasis of  companies on optical disc technology is likely to drive future gains in the  market for blu-ray discs.

The consumer electronics industry in Europe remains nervous about the play  out of the sovereign debt crisis drama. While no easy and immediate solutions  exist for Europe’s macroeconomic imbalances, Europe remains a wildcard with the  economic health of the region forecast to be the sum of the solutions adopted to  resolve the crisis. While the potential outcomes of the crisis remain numerous,  baseline market sentiments currently accumulate at the optimistic end of the  spectrum. Bearish market sentiments indicate that tough government spending cuts  and increase in taxes as part of the austerity measures could bring consumer  spending under pressure in debt ridden economies. However forced austerity  measures implemented in Greece to reduce the country’s widening deficits, are  less likely to be adopted in relatively stronger economies with lower debt loads  like in Germany, Spain and Italy. This is primarily because of the growing  acceptance of the counterproductive implications of such a strategy on GDP  growth in an economy.

Market sentiments are additionally strengthened by the fact that the  sovereign debt crisis has not yet been transmitted to the real economy as is  indicated by the relative stability of the value of the Euro currency. The  intrinsic value of the euro has been stable despite fears of massive inflation,  and the Euro continues to remain the dominant world currency in comparison to  the dollar. Germany’s relative resilience in handling the euro zone crisis is  also helping strengthen confidence levels. Given the yet encouraging outlook for  the German economy, the largest in the euro zone, it is not all gloom and doom  as pessimists might view. Encouraging economic data such as comparatively lower  levels of unemployment, better trade surplus accounts, and stable industrial  output and manufacturing indices, indicate that the real German economy has not  yet been impacted by the crisis as feared. This thereby discounts an across the  board impact of a possible eurozone crisis which is still not confirmed as a technical recession. Consumer spending in Europe is therefore expected to hold  up in the year 2012 despite the debt crisis.

As stated by the new market research report on Blu-ray  Discs, Japan dominates the world market in terms of both value and volume  sales. Strongest growth, however, is forecast to stem from Asia-Pacific  (excluding Japan) which is poised to trail a projected CAGR of 94.6% over the  analysis period.

Major players in the global marketplace include CMC Magnetics Corporation,  Falcon Technologies International LLC, Hitachi Maxell Ltd., Lions Gate  Entertainment Corporation, Moser Baer India Limited, Panasonic Corporation,  Paramount Pictures Corporation, RITEK Corporation, Sharp Corporation, Sony  Corporation, Taiyo Yuden Co Ltd., TDK Corporation, Twentieth Century Fox,  Umedisc Limited, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Walt Disney Co., and  Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., among others.

The research report titled “Blu-ray Discs: A Global Strategic Business  Report” announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a comprehensive  review of market trends, issues, drivers, company profiles, mergers,  acquisitions and other strategic industry activities. The report provides market  estimates and projections (in Thousand Units & US$ Million) for major  geographic markets including the United States, Japan, Europe (France, Germany,  United Kingdom, Rest of Europe), and Rest of World.

For more details about this comprehensive market research report, please  visit – www.strategyr.com/Blu_Ray_Discs_Market_Report.asp

About Global Industry Analysts, Inc. Global Industry Analysts, Inc., (GIA) is a  leading publisher of off-the-shelf market research. Founded in 1987, the company  currently employs over 800 people worldwide. Annually, GIA publishes more than  1300 full-scale research reports and analyzes 40,000+ market and technology  trends while monitoring more than 126,000 Companies worldwide. Serving over 9500  clients in 27 countries, GIA is recognized today, as one of the world’s largest  and reputed market research firms

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/05/04/prweb9475736.DTL&ao=2#ixzz1twCFjQX9

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Amazon Closing pricing API to Amazon Sellers

Big changes to the Amazon AWS Product Advertising API.   This is the API Amazon Marketplace Sellers use to obtain secondary market pricing.   Only those that are selling Amazon products through their website are the so called “associates” that will be allowed continued access to this API.
Amazon Marketplace Sellers who rely on this data for scouting product to sell on Amazon will be either forced out of business or to use other measures like outsourcing data requirements to one of those luck few with a waiver. Then those with this free pass, (Monsoon Neatoscan, Media Scouter or whoever) will be cashing in.


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Recommerce Embracing Opportunities Amidst Movie Gallery, Borders & Blockbuster News

Ron McCardle, dvdhunt.com

It was a very busy year for me and my family.  We moved twice–don’t get me started on how much I hated moving a family of seven twice in one year–and I was busy with keeping my home.  Things have settled down where I can continue to pursue my life-long dream of becoming a published author.

Just to catch up with the world of recommerce, always looking to turn negatives into positives, online recommerce is embracing opportunities arising from both a tough economy and an industry-wide decline in brick and mortar retail CD, DVD and book sales.

Physical Media is doomed… You may have heard by now that Borders Books has just filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy planning to close 200 of their stores and restructure itself to attempt to remain viable in the market.  This comes as e-book sales are rising at a rate high enough for the New York Times Book Review to begin featuring bestseller lists accounting for the sale of e-books.

On the heels of Movie Gallery and Hollywood Video’s liquidation in 2010, Blockbuster Video has started its bankruptcy sell-off process in the wake of its internet-based competitor, Netflix’s success, after first attempting a Chapter 11 restructuring.

CNN Money reported that CD sales dropped from $14.3 billion to a mere $6.3 billion between 1999 and 2009.  Just six months after their report, Best Buy announced late in 2010 that they would be taking even more of its retail space away from CDs and DVDs to make way for more Video Games, netbooks and tablets, (see the full details at DailyFinance.com.)

Retailers are looking for other opportunities… Brick and mortar retailers of books, DVDs and CDs are finding it increasingly difficult to support the overhead associated with a retail shop.  If you were watching the Super Bowl on Sunday you most likely saw the new Best Buy commercial featuring a very funny Ozzy Osbourne and a very out of place Justin Bieber.

This unlikely duo interrupted my taquito eating Super Bowl commercial time to tell me about Best Buys exciting new buy back program. Wow, what a novel idea! Who knew you could trade in old stuff for new stuff, old stuff for cash, or old stuff for store credit? Do you see where I’m going with this?

Not to be outdone by Best Buy, Radio Shack announced this week that they will be starting their own buy back program. Us folk here at dvdhunt.com are glad to see that the rest of the world is catching on to the idea of reCommerce. We’ve been well aware of it and for several years now and we’re happy to see the word is spreading.

Now a days it seems silly to actually throw something away. Items can be resold, donated, refurbished, or reCommerced. Though we at dvdhunt.com are primarily focused on CDs, DVDs, Books, and Video Games, we’re still part of a community and economy that tries to recycle items rather than let them end up in landfills. We didn’t invent recommerce, but we sure do take responsibility for furthering it. It’s kind of fun to know the big corporations are only a couple years behind us.

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Gamestop Sued: Accused of Deceptive Used Game Practices

Ron McCardle, DVD Hunt.com

GameStop Used Game Lawsuit [Mar 26, 2010, 11:42 am ET] – Share – Viewing Comments A lawsuit has been filed in the Northern District of California against GameStop, citing deceptive practices relating to used game sales. IGN has details on the suit, which stems from a customer buying a used copy of Dragon Age: Origins with the belief that additional DLC was available for free based on the cover blurb. Of course this DLC is part of the new trend intended to impede used-game sales, which the customer learned when they tried to get the DLC, which set them back an additional $15.00, making their final purchase price for the used game $10.00 more than the cost of a brand-new copy (that sound you hear is EA execs exchanging high-fives).

This free content is obtained with a one-time-use download code, which is entered into a digital storefront such as Xbox Live. However, after that code is used by a games’ original owner, the code expires, and the content is only then available by paying an extra fee.

The problem is that GameStop allegedly deceives consumers by not making clear that the content is not included for free with a used game. “In short, as a result of GameStop’s deceptive and misleading practices, consumers who purchase used games from GameStop unknowingly find that they must pay an additional fee to access the full game they thought they purchased,” the complaint said.

 IGN has a copy of the complaint and an article on this on Gamasutra offers thoughts from an analyst saying that GameStop will probably be able to remedy this problem by affixing stickers to used games clarifying DLC availability.

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Ipodmeister: Exempt from the Law?

Mel Barrios, DVDhunt

I recently heard of a new website called Ipodmeister.  You simply pack up your old CDs and get a new iPad, iPhone, or hard drive.  They’ll even send you a DVD with all your music backed up.  I did more research and found the company has received positive press reviews in some respectable media outlets: The Consumerist, Cnet News, Dvice, and the New York Times.

It sounds interesting, but I have a few questions and so did commenters of these articles.

Legality of Keeping a digital backup– The biggest thought in my mind is that once you sell your CDs back to iPodMeister, it’s probably illegal for you to keep a copy for yourself or use their digitizing service (I use “probably” because I’m not a lawyer.)  If  it were legal to keep copies for yourselves, we’d just recycle CDs on Craigslist all day.  I’d pay $2 to get the used the CD and sell it back to someone else for what I paid after I copied it. The Right of First Sale was getting a lot of scrutiny in some states as far back two and a half years ago.

Is iPodMeister affiliated with Apple? – Lastly (and least importantly), does iPodMeister have an affiliation with Apple? I ask only because they give out Apple products and use a derivative of the trademarked Apple iPod name in their name.  Again, I’m no lawyer, just curious about these kinds of things.

The legality of the digitizing question is the big one for me. It just doesn’t seem right. Yet it seems that these media outlets are being irresponsible when they will interview Ipodmeister and not ask the question.  Interestingly though the question of legality is largely hammered out in the comments section among the readers.

They might be safe for a while. For one the RIAA’s main concerns appear to be online file sharing, bootlegging and downloading. Throughout, their overriding target has been distribution of “multiple copies” of a song or CD.  For two, they are doing a good job insulating themselves by basing their operation in Switzerland and just having an operations office in New York.  I wonder do they think paying people in Ipods instead of cash also insulates their legal exposure? Personally i would prefer an Android phone.

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