All merchants deal with finance — borrowing money, raising equity, dealing with banks, and selling (or buying) a business. We address all those topics, plus U.S. regulatory changes, financial technology, earnings of public ecommerce companies, and more.

  • Finance

    Going Public? How to Decide Which Exchange to List On

    April 20, 2012 •

    Thinking about taking your company public? After you get through all the paperwork you will have to decide at which stock exchange you want to list your company. Each publicly traded company may trade shares on only one domestic stock exchange. Substantive differences exist among the ex...

  • Finance

    Equity Crowdfunding Is Now Legal in U.S.

    April 10, 2012 •

    Last week President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) that includes revisions to the 1930s era financial regulations that limited equity funding for start-up businesses. Equity crowdfunding is now legal in the U.S. The final bill is more restrictive than ...

  • Finance

    Kabbage, A Funding Source for Ecommerce Merchants

    March 15, 2012 •

    When we first first wrote about Kabbage just over a year ago, it was a fledgling endeavor with only eBay merchants as customers. But Kabbage now serves merchants who use Yahoo! stores, Etsy, Amazon, and Shopify, as well as eBay. In July Kabbage will be launching in the U.K., its first ...

  • Finance

    15 Top Crowdfunding Projects on Kickstarter

    February 23, 2012 •

    Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site to fund entrepreneurial projects in technology, design, film, art, and other creative fields. The video game project Double Fine Adventure has raised two million dollars from over sixty thousand backers, and the funding still has 19 days to go. Within ...

  • Finance

    Buying Sites to Boost Traffic

    January 12, 2012 •

    Purchasing and maintaining established, niche websites may help online retailers increase site traffic and sales. Boiled down to its essence, much of online retail marketing is devoted to increasing site traffic in the hope that more visitors will ultimately lead to more sales and more...

  • Finance

    Zynga Falters in Public Debut; Affects Facebook?

    December 26, 2011 •

    The market for technology stocks is closing the year on a less than happy note and the disappointing public debut of online game provider Zynga did nothing to change the mood. Zynga's Opening Day Zynga's IPO was highly anticipated despite the fact that in the days prior to going publ...

  • Finance

    6 Internet Stock Offerings in 2011; Recap

    December 19, 2011 •

    Although 2011 is not yet over, it appears it will be a dismal year for the IPO — initial public stock offering — market. As of September, according to statistics compiled by market tracker Dealogic and reported in The Wall Street Journal, 63 percent of all 76 IPOs were trading below the...

  • Finance

    Crowdfunding: 5 Things You Should Know

    November 24, 2011 •

    New crowdfunding sites are springing up every month and more and more entrepreneurs are looking to these sites for money. Despite all the hoopla, crowdfunding is not currently a good alternative for most start-up or small businesses. Here are five things you should know about crowdfundi...

  • Finance

    Venture Capital Firms Bullish on Ecommerce

    November 10, 2011 •

    In "Ecommerce Companies Snag Venture Capital," I discussed several ecommerce firms that recently received venture capital funding. Most of them were ecommerce infrastructure providers. I was curious to find out if VCs prefer business-to-business infrastructure companies to consumer-ori...

  • Finance

    Banks React to Durbin Amendment

    November 4, 2011 •

    When the Durbin Amendment regulating interchange fees on debit card transactions took effect October 1, it appeared that merchants could accrue some cost savings on debit card transactions and perhaps leverage their savings by encouraging customers to use debit cards in lieu of credit c...

  • Finance

    Ecommerce Companies Snag Venture Capital

    October 25, 2011 •

    While venture capital funding has generally been in the doldrums this year, a few ecommerce software companies — and even some online sellers — have managed to attract equity investors.

  • Finance

    Amazon Becomes a Proponent of Uniform Internet Sales Tax

    September 29, 2011 •

    Two months ago I wrote "California Joins the Internet Sales Tax Fray; Federal Legislation Coming?," a description of the latest efforts by states to get online sellers to pay sales tax. Several new developments warrant another look. California and Amazon Come to Terms After we publish...

  • Finance

    Ecommerce IPOs for 2011: 3 Down, More to Follow?

    September 23, 2011 •

    Groupon's initial public stock offering, which had been pushed back, is now back on. But for how long? With the ongoing market volatility, several prominent Internet companies are reconsidering their IPO plans. Here is a roundup of the ecommerce-related IPO market for 2011, including a...

  • Finance

    Consumers Use Tablets for Shopping; 70 Million Units in 2011

    September 22, 2011 •

    When Apple introduced the iPad in April 2010, people ridiculed the name. Nobody is mocking it anymore. While other companies, including Microsoft, tinkered with tablets earlier, none of them made much of an impression on consumers. With its sleek design backed by Apple's marketing magic...

  • Finance

    Amazon Prime: 5 Million Members, 20 Percent Growth

    September 16, 2011 •

    For $79 a year, Amazon customers who join the Prime membership program get unlimited free two-day shipping on eligible items with no minimum order size. For $3.99 an item, a ...

  • Finance

    How to Read a Financial Statement

    September 8, 2011 •

    Having a good accountant is important to the success of every small business. But do you really understand all the terms in the documents your accountant prepares? Relying too heavily ...

  • Finance

    How to Choose a Business Credit Card, Part Two

    August 26, 2011 •

    In “Part 1” of this two-part series, I provided some tips for choosing a business credit card. In this “Part 2” installment, I provide details on specific cards as evaluated ...

  • Finance

    How to Choose a Business Credit Card, Part 1

    August 25, 2011 •

    Unhappy with your current business credit card? Cheer up. As a business owner you have many choices. But a card that is right for one business may not be advantageous for another. Cash flow, credit rating, and the amount of business travel can influence your choice of cards. This is "...

  • Finance

    Will the S&P Downgrade Affect Smaller Ecommerce Businesses?

    August 18, 2011 •

    The downgrading of U.S. creditworthiness from AAA to AA+ by Standard and Poor's has dominated the news over the past two weeks. Since 1941, the U.S. credit rating has been AAA — the highest rating — denoting a safe investment. While S&P's action will doubtless have repercussions,...

  • Finance

    How to Find Venture Capital Investors For Your Company

    August 12, 2011 •

    If you have a great idea for a start-up — or if you have an existing business that needs money to grow — the main options are to borrow from friends and family, borrow from a bank, or seek equity funding from a venture capital firm. Banks are skittish about lending to small businesses i...

  • Finance

    Does the SEC Fail Small Internet Businesses?

    August 5, 2011 •

    As retailing migrates online, an increasing number of ecommerce and Internet business will seek to raise public capital. Many of them will be smaller companies. But a growing number of observers believe the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is failing smaller businesses and In...

  • Finance

    Need Funding for Your Company? Look Online

    July 29, 2011 •

    It used to be that if you wanted capital for your business, whether a loan or equity investment, you had to prepare lots of Excel spreadsheets, put on a suit and tie or a dress, and spend an uncomfortable amount of time being grilled by potential funders. Today all that is unnecessary t...

  • Finance

    California Joins the Internet Sales Tax Fray; Federal Legislation Coming?

    July 21, 2011 •

    The Internet sales tax issue continues to roil, with California the most recent state to enact a bill mandating that out-of-state online retailers with affiliates in the state collect state sales tax. Amazon and Overstock immediately responded by cutting off their affiliates in Californ...

  • Finance

    Groupon Files for IPO: Rapid Growth, No Profits

    July 15, 2011 •

    Founded in Chicago in November 2008, Groupon filed to go public last month after reportedly rejecting a $6 billion takeover offer from Google last December. As with other recent filings by ecommerce firms, a few surprises emerged. Groupon is a pioneering marketing company that has achie...

  • Finance

    Zynga Opens the Kimono; We See Facebook

    July 8, 2011 •

    If you have ever played FarmVille, CityVille or Zynga Poker you're in good company — 148 million other people in 166 countries play Zynga's games monthly. And because people usually play more than one game each month, they account for 232 million monthly visits. All of this is disclosed...

  • Finance

    Our List of Publicly-Traded Ecommerce Companies

    June 30, 2011 •

    The rise of online retailing has fostered many companies in that industry to become publicly owned, selling shares on major stock exchanges. We've been tracking publicly-traded ecommerce companies, and we've prepared a list of them, together with publicly traded, pure-play Internet com...

  • Finance

    How LinkedIn Makes Money; Behind the IPO Numbers

    June 23, 2011 •

    In May, LinkedIn went public. To much fanfare, the business-oriented social networking site sold common shares at $45 each, for a total offering of $352.8 million and an overall valuation — public and private shares — of $4.3 billion. It was the biggest Internet initial public offering ...

  • Finance

    13 Crowdfunding Websites to Fund Your Business

    June 15, 2011 •

    Who needs banks? Crowdfunding websites can help you find a community of small investors to fund your business, without the risks of traditional financing. Here is a list of crowdfunding sites. Some sites focus on funding creative projects, others sites focus on meeting specific needs ...

  • Finance

    19 Tools for Online Bookkeeping and Invoicing

    May 20, 2011 •

    Keeping the books is essential to the health of any company, helping you keep track of your business. With online accounting tools, you can ensure that you won’t miss a beat. Here is a list of online bookkeeping and invoicing tools. Some are complete accounting platforms; others are sp...

  • Business

    CartSpan Founder on Peachtree Accounting Integration

    April 25, 2011 •

    Virtually all merchants utilize accounting software. They typically transfer sales and customer data from their shopping carts to that software. For many merchants, this transfer requires the manual exporting of data from the cart, and the manual importing of it to the accounting softwa...