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Amazon launches new FB service, boosting retail move toward social networking and mobile commerce.

By Teresa Mears Nov 3, 2010 2:44PM

You check Facebook and realize that, once again, you've forgotten your niece's birthday. She's away at college in another town, so mailing brownies is out of the question if you want them to arrive in time. And you refuse to indulge in those lame Facebook games that involve spending real money for virtual gifts.

Retailers have indeed seen your need. This week, Amazon launched a new app with which you can send your friends gift cards via Facebook. You may see more apps like it soon.

Amazon gift cards have long been available via e-mail. Making them available on Facebook is another way to integrate shopping with a service that reminds participants of friends' birthdays and lets people share their shopping experiences online.


Research shows that interruptions can make pleasant things more pleasurable, and unpleasant things even worse.

By Karen Datko Nov 3, 2010 1:54PM

This guest post comes from Pop at Pop Economics.


Sometimes, I read a study and go, "Hahaha, yeah, right." Most often, I then proceed to do exactly what the study says I would do. This is one of those studies.


I mean, how would you react if the study title was, literally, "Enhancing the Television‐Viewing Experience through Commercial Interruptions"?

A couple years ago, Leif Nelson of UC Berkeley and Tom Meyvis of NYU decided to measure how much our pleasure in watching a TV program diminished when it was interrupted by commercials.


More banks are paying you to open accounts, but 'free' money has a cost.

By Karen Datko Nov 3, 2010 12:26PM

This Deal of the Day comes from AnnaMaria Andriotis at partner site SmartMoney.


There is no such thing as free money -- unless, of course, you want to open a checking account. Several banks have started offering cold, hard cash to get new customers in the door.


But hidden in the fine print are fees and rules that will wipe out the windfall.


Cash incentive offers have more than doubled over the last year, says Schwark Satyavolu, chief executive of, which tracks bank account trends.


The chaos that moving creates affects all aspects of our lives.

By Karen Datko Nov 3, 2010 8:38AM

This post comes from Kentin Waits at partner blog Wise Bread.


The thought of moving is enough to strike fear in the hearts of the bravest souls. Relocating on the cheap -- without the benefit of a team of professional movers, a sea of boxes and bubble wrap, and a small fleet of vans -- well, that's just plain hard.

But, for most of us, high-end moving services aren't part of our reality, and moving involves straining the bonds of friendship, frustrating all-night packing marathons, and eating croutons and bacon bits for lunch because we've packed the rest of the food.


With some simple preparation, a laser-like focus, and lots of patience, moving on a budget can be less of a hassle. Here are eight tips for successful DIY moving:


Brazilian court orders fast-food giant to pay former employee who gained 65 pounds on the job.

By Karen Datko Nov 2, 2010 7:33PM

This post comes from Jon Hood at partner site


McDonald's has lost a high-profile obesity lawsuit, with a Brazilian court ordering the fast-food giant to pay $17,500 to a former manager who says he gained 65 pounds while working at a franchise.

The employee, whose identity was not made public, said he went from about 155 to 231 pounds during his time with the company. The plaintiff said the random presence of "mystery clients" -- who are tasked with visiting franchises and evaluating their food quality, cleanliness and customer service -- made him feel obliged to sample the food every day.


What if doctors' offices were like the gym: pay $50 to $150 monthly and come as often as you like -- without insurance? It's already available.

By Stacy Johnson Nov 2, 2010 6:10PM

This post comes from Stacy Johnson at partner site Money Talks News.


You've probably heard of Doctors Without Borders. Maybe it's time for doctors without insurance.


Thanks to a little-known provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as health care reform, beginning in 2014 a new type of medical practice will be allowed to compete within state-based insurance exchanges. They're called direct primary care practices or "medical homes."

By eliminating insurance companies from the health care equation, these practices promise to lower the cost of medical care by up to 40% -- according to some experts -- the amount sucked up by insurance company profit and overhead.


There are subtle differences between these two huge shopping days, so you need a strategy.

By Karen Datko Nov 2, 2010 4:27PM

This post comes from Melinda Fulmer of MSN Money.


In the holiday spending smackdown, there are two big shopping days when people start opening their wallets and crossing off their lists.


One is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, when people have traditionally camped out in the cold for hot in-store deals. The other is Cyber Monday, a flurry of online-only sales three days later. 

What's the difference? Increasingly, not that much, says Dan de Grandpre, CEO of, as retailers shift more Black Friday deals to the Web. But there are some subtle differences that can help you plan your shopping strategy.


Housing was looking good for a while but prices are falling again. One expert predicts they'll drop 8% more.

By Karen Datko Nov 2, 2010 3:52PM

This post comes from Marilyn Lewis of MSN Money.


The question on the lips of many homeowners in America is: How much longer will my home's value be sliding down the drain?


No one knows, of course. But a useful activity -- even if it's not comforting -- is watching the direction of housing prices around the country. (Tell us how you are getting through this. Would you rather just cover your eyes?)

Even if you don't have a dog -- er, a home -- in this race, the fate of housing is the fate of the whole economy. So we've all got a stake in the outcome.



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