Aug 21

CBD products don’t need a marketing push from journalists

Candy containing CBD, which can be derived from hemp as well as marijuana, is available on the internet.

Growing acceptance of medical marijuana has spurred aggressive marketing of CBD (cannabidiol), a non-intoxicating cannabis derivative that’s being added to things like skin cream, candy, and dog snacks.

While a CBD-containing drug was recently approved to treat two severe forms of epilepsy, there’s scant evidence for other health claims.

Nevertheless, marketers are promoting CBD to treat everything under the sun — anxiety, depression, neurological diseases, heart disease, addiction, diabetes, pain, sleep disturbances, migraine headaches. You name it.

Last fall the FDA issued warning letters to four companies that illegally marketed CBD as a cure for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other serious diseases, noting the products haven’t been shown to be safe or effective.

It cited blatant fabrications, such as CBD “makes cancer cells commit ‘suicide.’”

“The deceptive marketing of unproven treatments may keep some patients from accessing appropriate, recognized therapies to treat serious and even fatal diseases,” the FDA said.

New outlets should be pushing back against these absurd and potentially dangerous health claims, which continue in spite of the FDA’s admonitions, and some are. But others have been shamelessly showcasing CBD products and passing along positive testimonials with little or no scrutiny.

University of Alberta law professor and medical debunker Tim Caulfield called it an “upside down” version of Reefer Madness, the 1936 propaganda movie that so exaggerated the ill effects of marijuana as to become an object of satire.

In this case, it’s claims of a benefit and assurances of safety that are being wildly embellished.

“The CBD craze is a classic example of how media and marketing hype can build around a new idea,” Caulfield said via email. “CBD has gained traction in popular culture – in part due to the broader discussion about the legalization of cannabis.”

Playing up unfounded claims

An example is Fox News’ Proponents of pot-infused coffee tout ‘medical and health’ benefits, which gave free rein to the proprietor of a CBD-laced coffee business to tout his product for quelling anxiety, preventing cancer, and even removing plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s.

Fox News provided a platform for a business exec to tout CBD-laced coffee.

The story didn’t mention the lack of science to back those claims or limited data about CBD’s potential side effects.

Forbes’ Spas Take Treatments To New Highs With CBD Oil also grossly inflated the evidence, saying CBD “offers a myriad of potential health effects. Research shows that CBD helps ease anxiety, reduces inflammation, and might be an effective treatment for acne, among dozens of other promised benefits.”

A better effort was NBC Today’s CBD oil is on the rise: What to know about the marijuana ingredient, though it started off by displaying an array of CBD products along with a comment from a social media user calling the substance “a lifesaver if you’re someone who deals with chronic pain.”

The show’s medical contributor, Roshini Raj, M.D., did offer cautions about limited research and lack of regulation and mentioned CBD isn’t legal everywhere. But her general take was positive, saying CBD “does have some therapeutic properties” and “a lot of potential” with “relatively few” side effects.

Raj signed off by quipping that she would take a CBD-laced gummy bear “for the road.”

A flurry of first-person reporting

Some journalists have jumped at the chance to try out CBD products for themselves,

We’ve criticized first-person reporting on trendy and unproven remedies. Anecdotal evidence — even from a journalist — doesn’t constitute proof that something works. A perceived benefit could reflect a placebo effect or the natural course of the condition, and only a randomized controlled trial can prove a treatment’s effects.

A Today segment featured a positive testimonial about CBD from social media.

Food site Epicurious provided advice on how to cook with CBD oil while misinforming readers that CBD has been “shown to combat” an array of illnesses, and Bon Appetit offered a shameless endorsement of CBD strips as a remedy for stress:

Noting that “many consider (cannabis products) solid sources of antioxidants and beneficial amino acids,” a Glamour reporter wrote she was able to “get the buzz around CBD beauty” after a week of using personal care products containing the ingredient.

At least a reporter for The Oklahoman acknowledged the futility of relating her own experience swigging CBD-laced water, in a story that laudably cautioned about limited data.

She wrote:

“I took two sips (one with an Excedrin for my tension headache) and almost immediately felt my anxiety abate. Which could well have been because I was focusing on what would happen next, rather than on all the things I had been worrying about. As I sipped it throughout the day, I felt calmer than usual, but I have absolutely no proof whether the difference was the CBD, or the way my thoughts ran.”

Consumer confusion and a ‘dearth’ of evidence

Other reporting admirably refrained from hype.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution attempted to explain the growing appeal of CBD: Without legal way to buy marijuana, Georgians turn to CBD.

It highlighted confusion between CBD and another marijuana compound, THC, which does produce a high, and linked to an evidence review for journalists published by Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, which calls evidence on CBD “mixed.”

The Journal-Constitution was also the only outlet we saw in a scan of recent coverage that mentioned the price of over-the-counter CBD, saying vials cost $30 to $300 in a local store.

The Canadian Press wrote CBD marketing “has run wildly ahead of what scientific studies have proven,” and some parents have given the substance to children with autism spectrum disorder “despite a dearth of scientific support for any benefit and in the face of concerns over detrimental effects on the developing brain.”

Few randomized trials

Another critical look came from Consumer Reports, which noted that a 2017 report  by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine “could identify only three small published randomized trials—the gold standard for medical research—that looked at just CBD. And for none of those conditions—anxiety, smoking cessation, and Parkinson’s disease—was the evidence strong enough for the NAS report to conclude that CBD clearly helps.”

It also made the important point that while CBD appears to pose little risk of abuse, its safety is unclear. In short-term studies, CBD has produced at least some side effects including tiredness, diarrhea, and changes in appetite and weight.

A 2017 review also highlighted a need for larger and longer-term studies on CBD’s safety,

And there’s more reason for caution. A recent evidence review published in Canadian Family Physician cited “pervasive” pro-industry bias in cannabis research, exacerbated by poor news reporting.

Two co-authors of that review, researchers Joey Ton and Danielle Perry of the University of Alberta, said via email that a surge in CBD use “could lead to unexpected side effects or medication interactions that we do not know of at this time due to limited evidence in the literature.”

While some news stories have advised people to talk their doctors before using CBD, they said doctors “have many questions themselves regarding the use of CBD and whether the claims are correct.”

But is it organic?

Some reporting sidestepped that evidence gap, advising consumers only to vet CBD products for quality.

Bon Appetit’s Before You Buy CBD Oil Online, Ask These Questions called CBD “the thing that will deliver us, and our dogs, from stress, pain and anxiety,” while offering such cautions as: “If you’re worried about whether your kale is organic, you should take the same approach to CBD.”

Similarly, CNHI News Service’s The story regarding CBD oil: How do you know what to buy? warned of “scammers” who sell “a rip-off product.”

In other words, these stories seemed to say, go ahead and buy an unproven product, as long as it’s pure and organic.

Bloated expectations unlikely to be met

This spate of news coverage follows the FDA’s approval in June of a CBD-containing drug called Epidiolex, which used with other drugs in clinical trials reduced seizures in some patients with two rare forms of epilepsy.

The FDA cautioned Epidiolex might cause severe liver injury and carries other risks common to epilepsy medications, including suicidal thoughts.

We reviewed stories about Epidiolex by the Washington Post and CNN and an NYU Langone news release.

It’s possible that ongoing research will find other uses for CBD.

“To be honest, I suspect there will be applications for this product,” Caulfield said. “But it is a complex chemical and we simply do not have a robust body of evidence right now.”

Almost certainly CBD will fall short of the bloated expectations. It’s worth noting that other heavily promoted additives like probiotics and antioxidants have been researched for years without showing health benefits for the average consumer.

For now, journalists can serve the public by backing away from the gummy bears and skin cream and provide a counterweight to the wishful thinking that takes hold when there’s a vacuum of robust science.

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Aug 20

Tips On Using Online Car Insurance Quotes

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 19, 2018 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Discount—auto— has released a new blog post that explains how drivers can use car insurance quotes online.

Online auto insurance quotes are not just simple numbers displayed on a fancy search results page. They are cost approximations for auto insurance premiums. And they can be really accurate if the user knows how to use them. Drivers who want to get multiple quotes and compare prices should visit—auto—

The first thing to do is to know the maximum coverage limits and available budget. Before getting any quotes, it is important to determine what is considered affordable or not. Calculate the income and how much can be spent to keep the policy active. Make sure that the coverage plan meets the minimum requirements. Check the Local Department of Insurance’s website to find out more about the auto insurance legislation.  

Determine what coverage are the best. Each client is unique and each case must be treated individually. Clients who are not really aware of what policies to buy should consult an expert. The agent can tell more about what policies are recommended for the type of car owned, income and what deductibles should be selected.

Use the info above to fill in the questionnaire. No matter what website is chosen, it is important to set the limits and answer correctly to every question. When using different websites, make sure to add the same info and look for the same product. Otherwise, comparing different quotes will not be possible. The price difference will be determined by the difference between products.

Check for extra benefits. Look for discounts, newcomers’ bonuses, loyalty bonuses and other little extras that will make an offer more attractive. Before signing a contract, ask about other benefits and discounts than the ones advertised.

“Online car insurance quotes will help you get access to the best offers on the market. If you want to know if you still pay for a competitive offer, visit our website”, said Russell Rabichev, Marketing Director of Internet Marketing Company.

Discount—auto— is an online provider of life, home, health, and auto insurance quotes. This website is unique because it does not simply stick to one kind of insurance provider, but brings the clients the best deals from many different online insurance carriers. In this way, clients have access to offers from multiple carriers all in one place: this website. On this site, customers have access to quotes for insurance plans from various agencies, such as local or nationwide agencies, brand names insurance companies, etc.

For more information, please visit—auto—

Media Contact:Russell Rabichev, Internet Marketing Company, 8183593898,

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SOURCE Discount—auto—

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Aug 18

Internet Marketing Agency, fishbat, Shares the Benefits of a Comprehensive Ad Campaign

PATCHOGUE, N.Y., Aug. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — In order to help businesses continue to tackle growth and expansion from multiple angles, internet marketing agency fishbat shares the benefits of a comprehensive ad campaign.

When marketing a business, it can be tempting to look for the highest return on your investment and call it a day. However, in order to maximize growth, it’s important to diversify a company’s approach to advertising on multiple different digital platforms.

Discussed below are several key services to consider when building out an ad campaign.

Taking Advantage of AdWords. AdWords is one of the most popular forms of advertising – and for good reason. There are a variety of reasons why integrating AdWords into a marketing campaign is a good idea, but perhaps one of the most prominent is that it works faster than traditional SEO when it comes to giving a brand more exposure. The increased speed is due to the ability to easily target multiple keywords at one time, guarantee your ads will show at the top of a search engine page, and turn your campaign on or off whenever you please.

Another reason why AdWords advertising is so effective is that Google has started to integrate ads at the top of Gmail inboxes. As one of the largest email services, it can really take an email marketing campaign to the next level by strategically placing ads at the top of the page. Overall, AdWords is a powerful tool that should never be neglected in any comprehensive marketing campaign.

Advertise on Facebook. Outside of AdWords and general SEO best practices, one of the best ways to get a business in front of a wider audience is Facebook advertising. As the most influential social network in the world, there is a huge audience to market to, and the tools on the site give marketers the ability to target very specific demographics. While general SEO relies on people searching for sites similar to what a company happens to offer, Facebook advertising allows brands to zero in directly to the type of audience that is most likely to purchase their products. This makes it a very cost-effective way to market a brand, because the type of traffic the company’s ads are getting is much more valuable per impression.

Spread Advertising Over Other Major Platforms. The two huge players in advertising are AdWords and Facebook, but a company can get a lot of value out of placing ads on smaller sites as well. There are advertising opportunities on the other major social networks like Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat as well that can provide a good return on investment. Even sites like Pinterest and LinkedIn that many companies don’t immediately think of can be a viable way to expand a brand’s reach. All in all, once a company hits the major players like AdWords and Facebook, it’s time to diversify advertising into a variety of other avenues. By covering as much ground as possible within budget, the potential for valuable conversions becomes much, much higher.


fishbat is a full-service digital marketing firm that takes a holistic business approach to their clients’ digital marketing programs. The fishbat team understands the importance of business principles just as well as the nuances of the latest digital technologies. fishbat offers every digital marketing service available from digital marketing research and planning to brand development to website and asset creation through social media management and search engine optimization programs – all custom calibrated for both B2B and B2C businesses.

SOURCE fishbat

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Aug 17

Versa Networks Wins INTERNET TELEPHONY SD-WAN Product of the Year

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Aug. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ – Versa Networks, innovator of a next-generation software platform that integrates cloud, networking and security services, announced today that TMC, a global, integrated media company, has awarded the Versa Cloud IP Platform a 2018 INTERNET TELEPHONY SD-WAN Product of the Year Award. The INTERNET TELEPHONY SD-WAN Product of the Year Awards are bestowed upon companies that demonstrate the innovation, vision, and execution to deliver software-based networking tools to support different and unique communities of interest.

Versa Networks (PRNewsfoto/Versa Networks)

Versa Networks is the only vendor to offer a complete networking and security software solution to software-define the WAN edge in a single, cloud-native, multi-tenant software platform. Versa’s Secure Cloud IP Platform integrates cloud networking, SD-WAN, wireless and mobile connectivity, transport line conditioning and software-defined security services (NGFW/UTM) in a flexible, versatile software stack that displaces multiple legacy branch-office hardware devices. Versa’s software platform enables managed service providers and enterprises to transform the WAN edge by leveraging an application-oriented, end-user quality of experience driven by a secure multi-cloud and hybrid-WAN architecture.

“We’re thrilled to be recognized by TMC Net as a top SD-WAN product, especially since our technology has gained a lot of traction among enterprises undergoing digital transformation with cloud, IoT, and big data transitions,” said Robert McBride, head of product marketing at Versa Networks. “This continued third-party validation of Versa as a leader in the SD-WAN space recognizes the market need to integrate networking and security in a unified and simplified solution approach, to help secure the WAN-edge and accelerate the migration to multi-cloud topologies for our partner ecosystem and enterprise customers.”

“Congratulations to Versa Networks for receiving a 2018 INTERNET TELEPHONY SD-WAN Product of the Year Award,” said Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “Versa’s Cloud IP Platform has demonstrated true innovation and is leading the way for Software Defined Wide Area Network. I look forward to continued excellence from the company in 2018 and beyond.”

About Versa Networks

Versa Networks is the innovator of Secure Cloud IP architecture, a next-generation software platform that delivers integrated cloud, networking and security services. Versa’s solution, with an unrivaled depth of features and capabilities, enables enterprises to transition off of legacy WANs to achieve business agility, branch modernization and TCO advantages. The company has transacted over 150,000 software licenses through service providers, partners and enterprises globally. Versa Networks is privately held and funded by Sequoia Capital, Mayfield, Artis Ventures and Verizon Ventures.

For more information, visit or follow Versa Networks on Twitter @versanetworks.

INTERNET TELEPHONY magazine has been the IP Communications Authority since 1998™. Beginning with the first issue in February of 1998, INTERNET TELEPHONY has been providing unbiased views of the complicated converged communications space.  INTERNET TELEPHONY offers rich content from solutions-focused editorial content to reviews on products and services from TMC Labs.  For more information, please visit For more information about TMC, visit

Versa Networks Media Contact
Jacqueline Velasco

TMC Contact
Stephanie Thompson
203-852-6800, ext. 139

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Aug 16

Market America | SHOP.COM’s 2018 International Convention Spotlights The Company’s Revolutionary Shopping …

Over 20,000 Global UnFranchise Owners entrepreneurs together with Fat Joe, La La Anthony others celebrate the ecommerce powerhouse’s revolutionary Shopping Annuity program 26 years of entrepreneurial success

GREENSBORO, N.C. (PRWEB) August 15, 2018

The “Shopping Annuity” dominated the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina from August 9th through August 12th for the 2018 Market America | SHOP.COM International Convention. The event showcased many exciting updates for the company including several new cutting edge products, technologies, new strategic initiatives, new opportunities being seized and, most importantly, how to “Convert Spending Into Earning” and create an ongoing income through the company’s revolutionary “Shopping Annuity” program. The Shopping Annuity rewards smart consumers for shifting their purchases to SHOP.COM of the same everyday products that they are already purchasing from multiple brands.

“We are changing the world by leveraging our collective buying power to build our own economy that pays us all to shop,” said JR Ridinger, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Market America|SHOP.COM. “People everywhere are succeeding more rapidly through Market America’s UnFranchise® business. The Shopping Annuity has facilitated this unprecedented growth and strength of the UnFranchise® business model; we couldn’t be more proud of the continuing successes of our UnFranchise Owners.” Ridinger continued “with our one-to-one marketing, universal shopping cart, referral tracking system and the power of people, our economic future is now squarely in the hands of the consumer due to the economic paradigm shift effected by the Shopping Annuity.”

Ridinger continued, “in fact, just last month, ( cited The Shopping Annuity as one of ‘four effective business models that built billion-dollar companies.'” The subject article provides, “[t]he idea behind this model is simply to enable customers to earn from their own current spending. Consumers actually earn money when purchasing everyday items, such as paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, razors and so on. It can be a very compelling model that fits well into the ecommerce space….. Founder and CEO of Market America and SHOP.COM, JR Ridinger, is seeing significant success with this business model in nine countries, including the U.S. In a recent interview, Ridinger said, ‘The Shopping Annuity — converting everyday spending into earning — is the foundation of our business model and is like rocket fuel for our UnFranchise business, overall. Let’s face it, Uber is essentially the largest taxi service in the world, and they don’t own a single taxi/car. We look at the retail landscape in a similar way, and realize there’s an equally powerful opportunity for us as a global ecommerce powerhouse. People don’t just shop for luxury items, they shop for the things they use every day. By making those purchases the cornerstone of a Shopping Annuity, we feel this concept will revolutionize the retail industry as well as our economy. It took 25 years for the technology to catch up to our original vision of interconnected shoppers who wield their collective buying power and convert spending into earning.”

The event featured the Market America | SHOP.COM executive team, tens of thousands of successful entrepreneurs and celebrity guests, including recording Grammy-nominated artist and entrepreneur Fat Joe (the company’s President of Urban Latino Development), actress and entrepreneur La La Anthony, and others.

Among the highlights of the event:

  • JR Ridinger could not contain his enthusiasm for the success of the Shopping Annuity program, his brainchild. JR repeatedly demonstrated how adherence to the program generates substantial residual income over an extended period of time, ultimately resulting in great life freedoms for participants. In traditional JR fashion, he used multiple metaphors and symbols to drive his point home – whether demonstrating the inefficiencies of the “rat race” while on a giant hamster wheel or speaking to “Joe Nobody,” who lived and died an anonymous life without taking any chances to build for his future or the pitfalls of “the 45-year plan” that most working people get consumed by without ever realizing it. Based on digital aggregation and collective buying power and funded by one’s existing everyday spending rather than income, JR proved that the Shopping Annuity is the single greatest initiative that will drive both tremendous wealth creation for participants and exponential growth for the company. He also demonstrated what the company is doing to greatly simplify the Shopping Annuity program. JR’s appreciation for those onboard with him for the long haul was expressed in several emotional and tear-filled presentations from the business maverick. “So, you’ve got dreams? Dreams need to be turned into goals. Why? A dream is a vision. A goal is steps. So, to take the goal or the vision in a dream and get there, you need steps because we live in a physical world that has time restrictions…days…months. So, I take the dream, the vision, the WHY and I turn them into goals. Step one – think. Have you thought lately? No, honestly, most people go around going through life, running around doing all the crap that has to be done, being interrupted, upset, reactionary and never think! Think! Write it down. How am I going to get there? What do I want? Visualize. Visualize the end result. If you add emotion to visualization, stuff starts to happen faster than you expected. Plan. Here’s the problem — the brain doesn’t understand. The subconscious doesn’t understand. You’ve been programmed for a long time that this or that can’t happen. It’s illogical. How are you going to make it? You need to be able to give a logical explanation so that your brain says, logically, I can see how that can happen,” said Ridinger. JR closed his presentation by emerging from a NASA space capsule with his 5-year old grandson Ayden, both dressed in space suits. Making several analogies to the evolution of space travel, JR continued “When we were figuring out how to do the Shopping Annuity, I realized we had to do it in 3 phases. The first is to make it really, really easy and to match products. I have the plan and, just like going to the moon, it was Apollo, Mercury and Gemini. So, we have 3 phases. We are in Apollo right now. And we will land. Remember what John F. Kennedy announced in 1961? That in this decade, we will put a man on the moon. That was in 1961, guys. People thought it was preposterous and that he was crazy. And the point is that we did do it. And, you know, he didn’t say that without reason. Kennedy, in that statement, consulted with the greatest scientists of the time and he asked them if it was possible to put a man on the moon. They said it definitely was. Kennedy then asked ‘what will it take to do it?’ The response was five words – ‘the will to do it.’ It took almost a decade. Do we have the will to do this? It’s easier than going to the moon!” continued Ridinger.

Loren Ridinger, Senior Executive Vice President of Market America|SHOP.COM and creator of the Motives by Loren Ridinger cosmetics brand, mesmerized the crowd in her welcome address with her emotional and passion-fueled inspirational message of empowerment and self-love. Loren wowed the sold out audience with her powerful yet simple message – “you have to worry about rescuing yourself and not worry about what other people think and if other people like you. We’re so controlled by Facebook that we are controlled by that ‘like’ every day. Let me tell you something. I want you to wake up every single day and give yourself a ‘like.’ Give yourself a ‘like’ and a thumbs up and look in the mirror and say, ‘I like me! I like me. I’m going to do this. I can do this. I don’t need somebody to like me. I like me.’ Stop worrying about what other people think.” Loren then brought a couple onstage from Redding, California whose home had just burned down; they lost everything. Despite that tragedy, they still made it to Greensboro for International Convention. With an audience full of tears, Loren drove the point home – “they’re here, and that is what the Convention is all about. They are what this Convention is about. So get rid of the excuses. Stop being a victim and start forgiving yourself. Forget the past and live your future.” Loren then finished with this super powerful message – “Life is hard. Nobody ever said it would be easy. It’s been tough. You’re here because you want to find a better way. You’re here because you have the desire to change something. Either you want financial freedom or time freedom – or both. You want to be able to say when you wake up, when you go to bed, who you get to spend your time with, who you get to hang out with. The truth of the matter is, if we’re not happy, no money matters. Nothing matters. You have to be happy with yourself. And if you’re not, you’re lying to yourself.”
Market America | SHOP.COM President COO Marc Ashley announced the launch of several new cutting edge products, including trim café (a revolutionary thermogenic slimming supplement), Probiotics 10 (a comprehensive probiotic product), razor blades, shaving cream, shave balm, mouthwash, baby wipes and coffee. Marc also provided a sneak peek into several other new products that the company will be launching shortly. Marc detailed the newest offerings on the SHOP.COM site, including new products, new partner stores and new egift cards, as well as enhancements to the company’s other digital assets. Marc also showcased the company’s MasterCard® credit card and secured credit card program and encouraged attendees to earn cashback via the company’s super successful SHOP Local program. The SHOP Local program rewards customers of SHOP.COM for their offline spending (such as eating at restaurants and patronizing service establishments such as dry cleaners and auto repair shops) while at the same time allowing local small business owners to tap into SHOP.COM’s extensive loyal customer base. Marc demonstrated how easy it is to build a Shopping Annuity simply by shifting current every day product purchases to SHOP.COM because of the volume and competitive pricing of products on the site.
Marc was joined onstage by SHOP.COM President COO Steve Ashley. Steve delivered a very powerful presentation about how SHOP.COM is not only taking the friction out of online shopping via several site enhancements but is also taking the shopping out of shopping via the company’s new SHOP.COM Concierge Program. This new program provides personal shoppers who will help shoppers fill their carts before they even start to shop. The program is an important game changer for the company as it will enable SHOP.COM’s loyal customers to have perhaps the best and easiest online shopping experience possible.
Amber Ridinger-McLaughlin and Duane McLaughlin are creators of DNA Miracles™, a product line that provides the highest quality body and wellness products designed for babies, children and expectant mothers. Duane and Amber detailed the extensive work and product development that they put into the DNA product line. Recently launched products include: DNA Miracles Natural Kids Shampoo + Body Wash, DNA Miracles Natural Kids Conditioner, DNA Miracles Natural Kids Bubble Bath, DNA Miracles Natural Kids Detangler and DNA Miracles Natural Kids Lotion. The company has partnered with leading health professionals and scientists who follow the highest standards in ingredient selection to create the most effective skin, hair and health solutions.
Amber Ridinger-McLaughlin is also the founder of the popular Lumiere de Vie skincare brand. Amber revealed two new Lumiere de Vie products – a rose refresher and a renewal elixir – as well as introduced the brand new Lumiere de Vie Hommes skincare line for men (initially featuring a cleansing gel, a conditioning beard elixir and a hydrating aloe cream).
Grammy-nominated artist and entrepreneur Joseph “Fat Joe” Cartagena, the company’s President of Urban and Latino Development, delivered a heartfelt presentation about how the Shopping Annuity continues to positively change lives by providing ordinary people with simple ways to build residual income. Joe shared some very personal anecdotes, including about how his mother was diagnosed to die several years ago yet is still alive and thriving. Joe’s passion and genuine desire to help others lead a life that is “All The Way Up” (named after his hit song) were contagious.
Actress/entrepreneur La La Anthony took the stage to share her strategies for how to engage your Motives customers, giving the audience great tips on effective engagement and selling techniques for the most successful cosmetics brand on Instagram (the Motives account currently has 2.2 million followers).
Many UnFranchise® Owners shared their business building tips and success stories regarding how the UnFranchise® business and the Shopping Annuity have empowered them to create financial freedom via earning residual income. In addition, many were formally recognized onstage by the company for their achievements.


Set forth below is a link to the master list of stage presentations for the Market America | SHOP.COM 2018 International Convention, including links to video clips of same as well as the overall event highlight video.

MAIC 2018 Stage Presentation YouTube Playlist –


Currently in its 26th year, Market America, Inc. is a global Product Brokerage and Internet Marketing company that specializes in One-to-One Marketing and is the creator of The Shopping Annuity. Its mission is to provide a robust business system for entrepreneurs, while providing consumers a better way to shop. Headquartered in Greensboro, NC, the company was founded in 1992 by Chairman and CEO JR Ridinger and has generated over $8.5 billion in accumulated sales. Market America employs nearly 1,000 people globally with operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, United Kingdom and Malaysia. Through the company’s shopping website, SHOP.COM, consumers have access to over 60 million products, including Market America exclusive brands and thousands of top retail brands. Market America’s revolutionary Shopping Annuity program, which helps smart shoppers convert spending into earning, is an extraordinary and financially meaningful benefit of the business. Internet Retailer has ranked SHOP.COM #65 in the 2018 Internet Retailer Top 1000, the #43 largest global online marketplace, #96 in the Internet Retailer Asia 500 and the 18th fastest growing Internet Mobile Retailer. The company is also a two time winner of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics. By combining Market America’s entrepreneurial business model with SHOP.COM’s powerful comparative shopping engine, Cashback program, Hot Deals, SHOPBuddy™, Express Pay check out, social shopping integration and countless other features, the company has become the ultimate online shopping destination.

For more information, please visit or http://www.SHOP.COM.

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Aug 15

Here’s How Westchester Turns Tech Into Revenue

Westchester has been a leader in digital technology since IBM first came to town in the 1960s. Today, the county is home to a wide variety of companies at the tech forefront.

IBM may top the list of technology firms in Westchester, but a wide range of digital product and service providers have earned the county a firm role in the modern information economy. From cloud-based virtual businesses with offices in the founder’s back bedroom to publicly traded companies lodged in gleaming modern headquarters, the county’s tech firms make life more interesting for consumers around the globe.

“Although the United States is our biggest market, we are amazingly global in our reach,” says Will Treves, GM of the Ask Applications business at IAC Applications in Yonkers. “In fact, it’s hard to think of a country in which we don’t distribute our products.” He explains that the firm, a part of leading media and Internet company IAC, is itself a holding company that contains Apalon, Slimware, Daily Burn, and Ask Applications, the largest component in the Yonkers office, which houses 155 employees. “We build cool software that makes life easier in just a few clicks,” he says. “Our products span everything from recipes to weather to maps to tracking packages. It’s a very diverse portfolio.”

George Benko’s Instone Corporation lives in the cloud, although the founder works from an office in New Rochelle. His staff of five software developers contribute remotely, from Hungary and India, in addition to New Rochelle. “As a Web-based company where everything is done in the cloud, we don’t need an office,” he says. Benko, who has been in the US for 28 years, is a Hungarian immigrant. “Growing up there, I made many friends in the industry,” he notes.

If you’re into local sports, you’ve probably encountered one of InStone’s leading products — its Sports and Events Calendar, which is used by more than 20 schools around the county. “About eight years ago, New Rochelle Lightning Hockey needed a platform for managing hockey games, scheduling, and notification,” Benko explains. “Rye High School picked it up for all their sports, and now we have over 20 schools just in Westchester using it. Then BOCES hired us to create their score management system for the 80 schools in Section 1,” he says.

Benko’s company also provides custom database software and websites for commercial users around the world. Customers include Coastal Cars Worldwide in Florida and NYC’s Starlight Orchestra.

Big data drives many technology companies, among them eScholar, a software provider in White Plains that specializes in services that help students achieve their goals. In an industry where 20 months isn’t an unusually short lifespan for a company, eScholar’s 20 years is a remarkable record. “Every year, we have 15 or so competitors,” says founder and CEO Shawn Bay, “but only three or four of them will be from the year before.”

The company has about 50 employees, most of them in White Plains, but its products are used by educators across the country. eScholar compiles educational data that shows which pathways lead to careers in given fields. “For example,” Bay explains, “if you wanted to become an anesthesiologist, we can show you, based on the past experiences of millions of other people, that high schoolers who took physics and statistics are more likely to be successful in that field.” The company works primarily for state and large local-education agencies, which, in turn, provide the services to students and parents.

“Our business is constantly evolving…. Generally, once we have figured out one big challenge, it’s a near-certainty there is another one right behind it.”

—Will Treves, GM Ask Applications at IAC Applications

Another 20-year-old Westchester digital company is Purchase-based BrioDigital, which provides digital marketing services, including SEO (search engine optimization) and website design. Gerry Matts, founder and CEO, says, “We’re pretty much a global company. We have sales reps that cover the whole country, and I own a company in India, where my technology people are.” Local clients include law firm Marvin A. Cooper, PC, and Westrock Pools in Nanuet.

Matts says BrioDigital’s service is data-driven but with a human component. “We use a lot of research and tools that perform analytics, but we also rely on experience,” he explains. “We know, for example, that adding a form to a website can substantially increase the leads coming in from existing traffic to the site.”

Every time your cellphone installs a software update, it’s a reminder of how important it is for these companies to keep up with change. “Our business is constantly evolving,” IAC’s Treves points out. “Ten years ago, Google Chrome didn’t exist. Now it’s our biggest platform. Meanwhile users’ expectations of online products are completely dissimilar to ten, five, even two years ago. Then there are critical issues like privacy, which we take extremely seriously. Generally once we have figured out one big challenge, it’s a near-certainty there is another one right behind it.”

Benko says Instone tries to stay ahead of the trends. “We make sure our clients are ready for any kind of technology that comes along,” he says. “Everything we create has been mobile-friendly since 2011. Back then, everybody had cellphones but didn’t use them for information. Now, 80 percent of our users are on a mobile device. Being ahead of that curve gave us an edge.

“Today,” he adds, “our platform supports in-home automation, like Alexa. A parent can ask Alexa what’s on their calendar, and they’ll be told what sports events are at their school.”

How does eScholar cope with change? “We focus,” Bay says. “It’s not just about technology; it’s about making data valuable and useful. And it’s all focused on education and the workforce.” He adds another major coping mechanism: “Listening to our customers is important. They’re always doing something new and bringing us ideas. White Plains School District and the regional information centers of BOCES have been wonderful partners for us in creating a set of products.”

Westchester has two big advantages for these firms: people and prospects. As Matts of BrioDigital says, “Westchester is a great place. Many major companies are right here, and the decisions are made right here.”

Treves observes that IAC Applications has its roots in the county, having first been located in Irvington, then in White Plains, before moving to Yonkers. “It is a great location because we are on the doorstep of New York City but also part of the more suburban Westchester environment,” he says. “So this allows us to pick from different types of people. We find people in the city; we find people in Westchester; we find people in New Jersey and even from Connecticut.”

Bay agrees, adding: “One reason we located in Westchester is to have proximity to smart people who have the kinds of skills we need. We’re able to get really terrific people from all over the tri-state area.”

No one knows what the future holds for digital-technology companies in Westchester, but it is certain to be different from today. As Treves says, “The online environment changes so rapidly, it’s hard to know with any precision. But what I do know is that if we continue to focus on our core values — being bold, improving our user experiences, collaborating, being transparent — we’ll continue our long trajectory of success here in Westchester.”


Dave Donelson writes about business from a home office in West Harrison and tries not to spend more than eight hours daily in front of a screen.

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Aug 14

Expanding the Reach of Your Small Business

The reach of your small business operations is what dictates demand for your products/services. In short, the farther your reach stretches, the higher the potential sales and revenues you could be printing out on a quarterly basis. Expanding reach, however, can be a delicate process of balancing multiplied responsibilities with limited resources. Venturing out could prove detrimental to your current operations as it spreads your resources too thin. To help you navigate these murky waters, here are five tips on how to expand your reach:

Open Up New Stores

The most apparent way of extending your market reach is to open up stores in new areas. In fact, many successful companies start off with one or two locations and then using the revenues generated from those first two locations to open new locations. The cycle goes on until your business grows to heights equaling that of McDonald’s. If a store is too big of a financial responsibility to take on, you can start with a kiosk, which is significantly cheaper and easier to manage.

Create a Website

Another must-do in today’s digitally driven business world is creating a website. No company can hope to compete at an international level without at least a basic website. Think of your site as your own virtual store where you can post new business updates, announce new product lines or service features, and essentially boost brand awareness to a much wider audience. Anyone who has a computer and internet connection around the world can see your website’s content. And considering that abount 3.2 billion people use the web, according to a 2015 report by the International Telecommunication Union, a dedicated business website is a powerful tool for reach expansion.

Create a Blog

Supplementing your website with a blog can make it even more potent in reaching new audiences in new locations. It’s easier said than done for most entrepreneurs who have neither time nor the writing prowess to consistently create engaging content. To make it easier to maintain and justify keeping a blog, think of it as a written log of all possible questions that your audience throws at you all the time. Think of it as a FAQ page that saves you time by directing clients to an all-in-one resource that answers any gray areas they have about the business and its products/services.

Ask For Reviews

Put your small business up on review sites, such as Yelp and Foursquare, to gain more public attention. Reviews are the bread and butter of today’s businesses, especially small to midsized ones. Coca-Cola and other billion-dollar giants don’t really need reviews for their products to get advertised and bought. On the other hand, smaller businesses with more localized operations will need to gain the trust of the public, and that’s where reviews come in. Anytime a person shops for your product on your own website or through Amazon or eBay, most of them will first check how many reviews you have and the percentage of positive reviews over negative ones. Expand on the number of reviews you have by adding a star rating system and a comment box at the end of the checkout process.

Promote on Social Media

As mentioned earlier, half of the world’s population is online. A huge chunk of that 3.2 billion is on social media. Sites, like Facebook and Instagram, dominate today’s mainstream entertainment. Your small business can benefit a great deal if you’re also on social media. Create an official page for your business and start posting helpful and engaging content with backlinks that redirect to your website or blog. Not only is social media a great channel for expanding your reach, it also lends itself as a fantastic opportunity to know your audience better.

Don’t Underestimate Traditional Marketing Channels

Carlos De Santos claims that traditional marketing channels including door-to-door and direct mail marketing remain an effective way to get people to know about a business. Supplement your digital marketing efforts with traditional marketing materials including flyers and brochures, event tickets, door hangers, and banners.

Continuous expansion should be the primary goal for any business, regardless of size or industry. Follow the six tips above to keep your business moving and expanding to new territories.

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Aug 13

Poised for the 2018 iWorld Expo

CHENGDU, China, Aug. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The 2018 iWorld Expo will be held at the Century City New International Convention and Exhibition Center in Chengdu from August 16-18.

This year’s iWorld is supported by Chengdu Municipal People’s Government, jointly organized by Chengdu Municipal Commission of Economic and Information Technology, Chengdu Municipal Bureau of Exposition and Chengdu Hi-tech Zone Management Committee, and hosted by International Data Group (IDG).

As one of the world’s largest display platforms for electronics products and solutions for mobile consumers, the upcoming iWorld will be focused on the future development of digital economy in the new era through exhibitions, conferences, summit forums and a series of other events.

Eight exhibition areas to showcase the achievements of AI innovation
The emerging digital economy has become a major impetus for economic growth. It serves as a vital driving force for transformation and upgrading, and sets the benchmark for a new round of global industry competition. As China enters a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, it has turned towards the development of digital economy and promotion of digital transformation of the real economy and traditional industries into new missions and new opportunities for its economic development. The theme of the upcoming iWorld is “Digital Economy in the New Era”. This theme is in line with the general trends of digital economy and places the upcoming event in a more forward-looking, authoritative and guiding role.

We have learned that the exhibition will be spread across 22,000 square meters, with eight special exhibition areas set up for artificial intelligence, VR/AR, future intelligent life, smart cars, digital entertainment, renowned software cities in China, innovation and entrepreneurship, and intelligent hardware. The exhibition will be putting together more than 200 domestic and international brands, such as BOE, Smartisan, Pactera, Rokid, Codoon, BAIC BJEV, iFlytek, Chinasoft International, Skyworth, HYDATA, Fcoin, Shadow Creator, etc..

Exhibitors will be presenting their latest mobile internet products. Smartisan will be displaying its latest flagship phone – Smartisan R1, which has a Qualcomm 845 processor, 8GB RAM and maximum storage of 1TB. These are remarkable, record-breaking features in the world, and they showcase Smartisan’s pursuit of excellence. Rokid, the first company in China to study human-computer interaction and smart home robot category in the artificial intelligence field, will be showcasing three prime products such as Rokid Me portable smart speaker, KAMINO18 AI voice dedicated chip and Rokid AR Glass. BOE will be appearing at iWorld with multiple leading products in intelligent display field, which will include an eye-opening dynamic floating flexible and bendable AMOLED display. This innovative product comes with a thickness of only 0.03mm and a resolution of 1080×2160, and is able to wave like a skirt’s hemline that is caught in the wind. Codoon will be featuring its new sporting product – Codoon x XQIAO C3 smart treadmill. Based on the self-developed Codoon Smart Engine, it will bring “real-time virtual sports personal trainers” to its users. A range of other exhibitors will also be unveiling similarly exceptional products for the attendees.

Nine forums to explore the cutting-edge trends of AI
At present, the prototypes of various cloud ecosystems have matured gradually. The Internet of Things (IoT) looks set to become the mainstream form of interaction for the world in the future. Along with this trend, artificial intelligence has become the optimal solution to the application issues of Internet of Everything. In addition to the amazing exhibitions, this year’s iWorld will be hosting a main forum and 9 parallel forums to bring together the elites of mobile internet ecosystem at home and abroad. These prominent leaders will be focusing on the industrial characteristics of the Internet and share their insights on the future development trends.

The event will be attended by leaders from MIIT and Chengdu Municipal People’s Government, prominent business figures such as Jennifer Xu (Vice President of IDG Asia), Wang Xiaochuan (CEO of Sogou), Chen Feiliang (Vice President of Smartisan), Zhang Dongwei (Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Pactera) and Wang Qian (Co-founder of maimai), as well as top academics such as Yang Dong (Director of the Big Data Blockchain and Supervision Laboratory) and Zhao Qigang (Hi-tech Information Technology Research Institute of Chengdu), who will be delivering first-class speeches in the various forums to share their remarkable insights.

The Internet is entering a brand-new development stage of intelligent Internet. Artificial intelligence is an important driving force for a new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation. In the Main Forum of the 16th China International Software Cooperation Conference and iWorld Conference 2018, the guests will be focusing on the popular topic of artificial intelligence, and shall hold candid discussions on the substitution and unemployment problems that may be brought about by the reform. As the most sought-after and cutting-edge technical direction at the moment, blockchain will be undoubtedly the focus of 2018. In the “Linking the Future” Blockchain Summit, guests will be discussing topics such as development, supervision and business model of the blockchain.

A big display of capital and project docking will be staged during the Global Creative Mobile Internet Development Competition (Chengdu). As science and technology are the primary forces for production, guests will be able to share the power of technological innovation during the Technological Innovation Conference. The battle for talents has long a bone of contention. In the “Elite Strategic Layout–The Match Point of Internet Industry”, guests will be discussing how enterprises can build their nests and attract phoenixes during the initial, development and peak stages.

Five events take turns to showcase splendidness
In order to deliver a more intuitive and intelligent technology experience to the audience, iWorld 2018 has set up a variety of brilliant special events. The Best 2018 Awards, Talent Awards, Robot Fighting, Special Cooperation Negotiation of High-quality Brand Channel Businesses, E-sports, etc. will be staged in turn.

In addition, the “Clash Robots” Fighting Robot Carnival will hit the city of Chengdu in style. Packed with fun and technology, the robot fighting contest will provide audiences with a golden opportunity to understand and learn about robots. By combining smart technology and competitive fun, the event will offer a different viewing experience. At the same time, e-sports competitions will also be in the spotlight, including the popular games “Star Craft” and “King of Glory”. Top domestic and foreign masters and renowned teams will be gathered through live e-sports games to launch an intense competition, which will boost the interactive viewing experience of the live events.

Not only will the upcoming iWorld bring together the latest technology trends and cutting-edge technological products, it will also provide ample opportunities for visitors to network and seek business cooperation. At the same time, audiences will be treated to a brand-new and up-close experience brought by cutting-edge technology. Brand exhibitors and audiences shall enjoy a superb opportunity for an intimate experience with the latest technology. For more details, please follow the website at 

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