Facebook Places: Google-backed SCVNGR Says It Will Win

first_img8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Market marshall kirkpatrick Related Posts Priebatsch believes that these dynamics will lead to more interesting content being pushed from SCVNGR to Facebook than competitors offer with mere “I was here” check-ins. The Facebook Places API will allow any trusted party to push multi-media payloads to user’s walls, but Priebatsch says his company can go beyond pictures. When outside publishers push content that gets a higher level of reader engagement, they are rewarded with increased visibility in peoples’ Newsfeeds for future published content.Priebatsch: Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… “The key differentiator and why SCVNGR will grow like never before in the age of Facebook places, where Foursquare and Gowalla will not, is that we’ve taken those 50 game dynamics [he says he didn’t give TechCrunch the very best ones for the list of 47 it published] and we’ve baked them into the SCVNGR game platform, to allow people to customize the game, in some cases from their phone. The game is being built, rebuilt and made into a custom experience by and for users. That’s what will let SCVNGR be the game layer on top of Facebook. We expect 10% of the users of SCVNGR to be actively participating in building the game.“We have a nontrivial number of users who are Foursquare and Gowalla converts who got tired of just simple check-ins. And unlike some of our competitors, anyone who wants their business to work with SCVNGR is able to right away.”SCVNGR may look quiet in your area, but Priebatsch says the company will be launching with free promotional rewards at the first 50 businesses it contacts in a new major city every week, starting in September. The company’s sales people are starting by talking to government tourism organizations in cities around the US, “many” of which Priebatsch says are already paying customers, and asking them which local businesses would be a good fit. Calling those businesses on the phone and starting the conversation out with mention of the startup’s financial backing from Google goes a long way, he says.Photo by Kevin Krejci Tags:#Location#web SCVNGR, a Google Ventures backed mobile location startup, will become one of the first few trusted partners to be allowed to write updates to Facebook through the Places API today. The company says it has already brought its game and challenge-based service to more than 600 companies, museums, universities, conferences and other organizations, including Princeton, MIT, The Smithsonian National Zoo, the City of Philadelphia and the U.S. Navy. It plans a major new push with free promotion of local businesses in major cities throughout the US starting next month.“It was only a matter of time before Facebook owned social networking plus location, through something like the check-in,” 21 year old founder Seth Priebatsch said by phone Thursday. “That’s why we’ve been focused on being the game layer. Will they give better ranking [in the Newsfeed exposure algorithm] to interesting, premium content in location? We expect to get a nice lift for our challenge stories. Foursquare and Gowalla are now basically just reproductions of Facebook’s own functionality.”SCVNGR, which launched as a consumer product just this Spring, has built an extensive series of game mechanics into its software. Technology business blog TechCrunch posted this week a series of 47 gaming concepts the company has articulated and aimed to incorporate. For example:17. Epic MeaningDefinition: players will be highly motivated if they believe they are working to achieve something great, something awe-inspiring, something bigger than themselves.Example: From Jane McGonical’s Ted Talk [link] where she discusses Warcraft’s ongoing story line and “epic meaning” that involves each individual has motivated players to participate outside the game and create the second largest wiki in the world to help them achieve their individual quests and collectively their epic meanings.last_img read more

A More Affordable 8 GB iPhone 4 Expected in September

first_imgTags:#Apple#web Related Posts Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Well, it’s that time in the Apple product lifecycle again. As the company begins ordering components for whichever device it’s planning on releasing next and details begin to leak out hearsay and rumors among Apple enthusiasts solidify into something more substantial. Indeed, the tech blogosphere is abuzz this morning with talk of an 8 GB iPhone that may launch as soon as the end of next month. Apple’s suppliers have been manufacturing a version of the iPhone 4 with an 8 GB flash drive, which is expected to be available at a lower price point according to Reuters.This is not the much-rumored iPhone 5, which is also rumored to be launched in late September. Rather, the new 8 GB device will serve as a way for Apple to reach more consumers with a more affordable device, especially in emerging markets. As for the iPhone 5, it is expected to come with a larger touch screen, an 8-megapixel camera and, of course, an improved antenna. The antenna will, hopefully, avoid a duplication of the consumer outcry over dropped calls that occurred with the previous iteration of the phone. While the fall is shaping up to be a busy season for Apple in terms of smart phone releases and the official launch of its next operating system, iOS 5, consumers anxious for the next iteration of the iPad are going to have to wait. The latest reports have that launching next year. center_img john paul titlow Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Wolters Kluwer Interview: A Three-Part Series on the New Code Sec. 199A Passthrough Deduction and Proposed Regulations

first_imgLast year’s tax reform created a new 20-percent deduction of qualified business income for passthrough entities, subject to certain limitations. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) (P.L. 115-97) created the new Code Sec. 199A passthrough deduction for noncorporate taxpayers, effective for tax years beginning after December 31, 2017. However, the provision was enacted only temporarily through 2025. The controversial deduction has remained a buzzing topic of debate among lawmakers, tax policy experts, and stakeholders. In addition to its impermanence, the new passthrough deduction’s ambiguous statutory language created many questions for taxpayers and practitioners.The IRS released the much-anticipated proposed regulations on the new passthrough deduction, REG-107892-18, on August 8. The guidance has generated a mixed reaction on Capitol Hill, and while significant questions may have been answered, it appears that many remain. Indeed, an IRS spokesperson told Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting before the proposed regulations were released that the IRS’s goal was to issue complete regulations but that the guidance would “not cover every question that taxpayers have.”Wolters Kluwer recently spoke with Joshua Wu, member, Clark Hill PLC, about the tax implications of the new passthrough deduction and proposed regulations. That exchange included a discussion of the impact that the new law and IRS guidance, both present and future, may have on taxpayers and tax practitioners.The interview is presented as a three-part series running from Tuesday, September 11 through Thursday, September 13. Part I of the interview can be located here.Part II – Aggregation, Winners & LosersWolters Kluwer: How do the proposed regulations provide both limitations and flexibility regarding the available election to aggregate trades or businesses?Joshua Wu: Treasury agreed with various comments that some level of aggregation should be permitted to account for the legal, economic and other non-tax reasons that taxpayers operate a single business across multiple entities. Permissive aggregation allows taxpayers the benefit of combining trades or businesses for applying the W-2 wage limitation, potentially resulting in a higher limit. Under Proposed Reg. 1.199A-4, aggregation is allowed but not required. To use this method, the business must (1) qualify as a trade or business, (2) have common ownership, (3) not be a SSTB, and (4) demonstrate that the businesses are part of a larger, integrated trade or business (for individuals and trusts). The proposed regulations give businesses the benefits of electing aggregation without having to restructure the businesses from a legal standpoint. Businesses failing to qualify under the above test will have to consider whether a legal restructuring would be possible.Wolters Kluwer: How does Notice 2018-64 Methods for Calculating W-2 Wages for Purposes of Section 199A, which accompanied the release of the proposed regulations, coordinate with aggregation?Joshua Wu: Notice 2018-64 contains a proposed revenue procedure with guidance on three methods for calculating W-2 wages for purposes of section 199A. The Unmodified Box method uses the lesser of totals in Box 1 of Forms W-2 or Box 5 (Medicare wages). The Modified Box 1 method takes the total amounts in Box 1 of Forms W-2 minus amounts not wages for income withholding purposes, and adding total amounts in Box 12 (deferrals). The Tracking wages method is the most complex and tracks total wages subject to income tax withholding. The calculation method is dependent on the group of Forms W-2 included in the computation and, thus, will vary depending upon whether businesses are aggregated under 1.199A-4 or not. Taxpayers with businesses generating little or no Medicare wages may consider aggregating with businesses that report significant wages in Box 1 that are still subject to income tax withholding. Under the Modified Box 1 method, that may result in a higher wage limitation.Crack & PackWolters Kluwer: What noteworthy anti-abuse safeguards do the proposed regulations seek to establish? How do the rules address “cracking” or “crack and pack” strategies?Joshua Wu: Treasury included some anti-abuse provisions in the proposed regulations. One area that Treasury noted was the use of multiple non-grantor trusts to avoid the income threshold limitations on the 199A deduction. Taxpayers could theoretically use multiple non-grantor trusts to increase the 199A deduction by taking advantage of each trust’s separate threshold amount. The proposed regulations, under the authority of Section 643(f), provide that two or more trusts will be aggregated and treated as a single trust if such trusts have substantially the same grantor(s) and substantially the same primary beneficiary or beneficiaries, and if a principal purpose is to avoid tax. The proposed regulations have a presumption of a principal purpose of avoiding tax if the structure results in a significant tax benefit, unless there is a significant non-tax purpose that could not have been achieved without the creation of the trusts.Another anti-abuse issue relates to the “crack and pack” strategies. These strategies involve a business that is limited in its 199A deduction because it is an SSTB spinning off some of its business or assets to an entity that is not an SSTB and could claim the 199A deduction. For example, a law firm that owns its building could transfer the building to a separate entity and lease it back. The law firm is an SSTB and, thus, is subject to the 199A limitations. However, the real estate entity is not an SSTB and can generate a 199A deduction (based on the rental income) for the law partners. The proposed regulations provide that a SSTB includes any business with 50 percent common ownership (direct or indirect) that provides 80 percent or more of its property or services to an excluded trade or business. Also, if a trade or business shares 50 percent or more common ownership with an SSTB, to the extent that trade or business provides property or services to the commonly-owned SSTB, the portion of the property or services provided to the SSTB will be treated as an SSTB. The proposed regulations provide an example of a dentist who owns a dental practice and also owns an office building. The dentist rents half the building to the dental practice and half to unrelated persons. Under 1.99A-5(c)(2), the renting of half of the building to the dental practice will be treated as an SSTB.Winners & LosersWolters Kluwer: Generally, what industries can be seen as “winners” and “losers” in light of the proposed regulations?Joshua Wu: The most obvious “losers” in the proposed regulations are the specified services businesses (e.g., lawyers, accountants, doctors, etc.) who are further limited by the anti-abuse provisions in arranging their affairs to try and benefit from 199A. On the other hand, certain specific service providers benefit from the proposed regulations. For example, health clubs or spas are exempt from the SSTB limitation. Additionally, broadcasters of performing arts, real estate agents, real estate brokers, loan officers, ticket brokers, and art brokers are all exempt from the SSTB limitation.Wolters Kluwer: What areas of the Code Sec. 199A provision stand out as most complex when calculating the deduction, and how does this complexity vary among taxpayers?Joshua Wu: With respect to calculating the deduction, one complex area is planning to maximize the W-2 wages limitation. Because compensation as W-2 wages can reduce QBI, and potentially the 199A deduction, determining the efficient equilibrium point between having enough W-2 wages to limit the impact of the wage limitation, while preserving QBI, will be a fact-driven complex planning issue that must be determined by each taxpayer. Another area of complexity will be how taxpayers track losses which may reduce future QBI and, thus, the 199A deduction. The proposed regulations provide that losses disallowed for taxable years beginning before January 1, 2018, are not taken into account for purposes of computing QBI in a later taxable year. Taxpayers will be left to track pre-2018 and post-2018 losses and determine if a loss in a particular tax year reduces QBI or not.The third and final segment of the interview discusses how the proposed regulations may change and provides key takeaways for practitioners. The final segment will be released on Thursday, September 13.By Jessica Jeane, Senior News EditorLogin to read more tax news on CCH® AnswerConnect or CCH® Intelliconnect®.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

Trump lifts sanctions on Turkey, says cease-fire permanent

first_img(AP) — President Donald Trump said Wednesday he will lift sanctions on Turkey after the NATO ally agreed to permanently stop fighting Kurdish forces in Syria and he defended his decision to withdraw American troops.“We’re getting out,” Trump said at the White House, asserting that tens of thousands of Kurdish lives were saved as the result of his actions.“Let someone else fight over this long, blood-stained sand,” he said.The president, who campaigned on a promise to cease American involvement in “endless wars,” took a victory lap as he lopped the American presence inside Syria in less than a year from about 2,000 troops to a contingency force in southern Syria of 200 to 300.Lawmakers on both sides of aisle chastised the president for turning on the Syrian Kurds, whose fighters battled side by side with American troops to beat back the Islamic State group They also questioned whether the move has opened up the region to a resurgence of IS.“I am worried that a full withdrawal will create space for ISIS to regroup, grow and gain more strength,” said Michael McCaul of Texas, the lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “We learned from President Obama’s reckless retreat from Iraq that power vacuums are exploited by America’s worst enemies. We do not want to repeat the same mistake. We must learn from history.”Trump warned that if Turkey does not honor its pledge for a permanent cease-fire, he will not hesitate to reimpose sanctions. Earlier this month, Trump halted negotiations on a $100 billion trade deal with Turkey, raised steel tariffs back up to 50% and imposed sanctions on three senior Turkish officials and Turkey’s defense and energy ministries.“The job of our military is not to police the world,” Trump said. “Other nations must step up and do their fair share. Today’s breakthrough is a critical step in that direction.”Trump earlier in October ordered the bulk of the approximately 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria to withdraw after Turkey’s president, Recep Tayipp Erdogan, told Trump in a phone call that Turkish forces were set to invade northeastern Syria. Turkey’s goal was to push back the U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters. Turkey views the Kurds as terrorists and an ever-present threat along its southern border with Syria.The U.S. pullout was seen as an abandonment of Kurdish fighters, who have incurred thousands of casualties as they fought with U.S. forces against the Islamic State militants.The U.S. troops left, but the conflict was not without repercussions.Trump’s critics say he gave up American influence in the region and signaled to future allies that the United States is no longer a reliable partner. More than 176,000 people have been displaced by the Turkish offensive and about 500 IS fighters gained freedom during the conflict.“There were a few that got out, a small number relatively speaking,” Trump said. “They’ve been largely recaptured.”Turkey is taking control of areas of Syria that it captured in its invasion. Russian and Syrian forces are now overseeing the rest of the border region, leaving the United States with little influence in the region.Trump said he would “bring our soldiers home” from Syria, but then recalibrated and his administration plans to shift more than 700 to western Iraq. Those troops, however, do not have permission to stay in Iraq permanently. Iraq’s defense minister, Najah al-Shammari, told The Associated Press that the U.S. troops will leave the country within four weeks.Defense Secretary Mark Esper visited the Iraqi capital on Wednesday, a day after Russia and Turkey reached an agreement that would send their forces along nearly the entire northeastern border to fill the void left when U.S. forces left. Between 200 and 300 U.S. troops will remain at the southern Syrian outpost of Al-Tanf.Under the new agreement, much of that territory would be handed over to U.S. rivals.The biggest winners are Turkey and Russia. Turkey would get sole control over areas of the Syrian border captured in its invasion. Turkish, Russian and Syrian government forces would oversee the rest of the border region. America’s former U.S. allies, the Kurdish fighters, are hoping Russia and Syria will preserve some pieces of the Syrian Kurdish autonomy in the region.“In the blink of an eye, President Trump has undone over five years of progress against the Islamic State,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.last_img read more