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Hello 9malls customers! We wanted to bring your attention to a company that’s making a difference during this difficult time. We love Thrive Market as one of our 9malls partners and we like them even more when they announced their Thrive Market COVID-19 Relief Fund.

In the past weeks, Thrive Market has directed all donations at checkout towards giving grocery stipends + free memberships to those affected by COVID-19. Thrive Market members have donated over $100,000 at checkout, an amount that their Mission team has matched dollar for dollar. That’s $200,000 (and counting!), and they have been able to service over 1,300 families so far.

Thrive Market has created a Donation Page where anyone can donate at any time:

https://thrivemarket.com/blog/announcing-the-thrive-market-covid-19-relief-fund

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The first thing that you may notice about this Cyber Monday and Black Friday shopping guide is that Cyber Monday is mentioned before Black Friday. There is a reason for that. I will explain that later in this article.

Since the 1960s, the term Black Friday has been used to identify the day after Thanksgiving when the Christmas shopping season was officially launched by retailers. Prior to the 1960s, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the day after Thanksgiving was the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season, but had not yet received the title of Black Friday. Instead, it was the day when prominent department stores would begin advertising their holiday sales. It was traditionally linked to when Santa Claus would make his first appearance in a department store parade.

With the growth of the internet and modern technology, Cyber Monday became a way of extending the Thanksgiving weekend Christmas shopping. Cyber Monday, initially, benefited internet marketers the way Black Friday benefited brick and mortar retail marketers. This year, Cyber Monday will mark its tenth year of existence.

Differences between Cyber Monday and Black Friday

You might be wondering if you can basically get the same discounts and deals on Cyber Monday and Black Friday. According to Wikipedia, there is a difference; although more and more over the years the larger department stores are offering some great deals online.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say:

“The deals on Cyber Monday are online-only and generally offered by smaller retailers that cannot compete with the big retailers. Black Friday generally offers better deals on technology, with nearly 85% more data storage deals than Cyber Monday. The past Black Fridays saw far more deals for small appliances, cutlery, and kitchen gadgets on average than Cyber Monday. Cyber Monday is larger for fashion retail. On the past two Cyber Mondays, there were an average of 45% more clothing deals than on Black Friday. There were also 50% more shoe deals on Cyber Monday than on Black Friday.”

As the years progress, we are now seeing some retailers expanding their “great buys” beyond the two special days and even to all of November and December.

Researching Online for the Best Cyber Monday and Black Friday Deals

In order to get the best discounts and deals, you will first want to make a list of everyone you need a holiday gift for. Don’t only put down names; add an amount you feel you can afford to spend on each gift. As you find the gifts, keep a list of what items you bought for each person on your list. You will want to keep that list in a file to reference for next year.

So much research and comparison shopping can be done online now. To make your shopping easier, there are mobile apps available for iOs, Android and Windows phones.

Now you are ready to comparison shop:

– Invisible Hand can show you if the item you are looking at is cheaper someplace else.

– Amazon may not be the least expensive, but it is a great place when comparison shopping.

– Google Shopping will show you the items you are searching for, the price and how many stores are listing the item.

E-mail Promotions:

You may want to sign up with your favorite stores to receive notification of their Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. If you do, you should consider setting up a special e-mail address for just that purpose.

These sites will also alert you of special promos that the different stores are featuring:

https://blackfriday.com/

www.bfads.net

www.theblackfriday.com (a cousin to the site mentioned above)

http://www.blackfriday.gottadeal.com/

If you really get into searching for the best deals, there are two sites that are super special for that. They are both deal forums:
Fat Wallet which is devoted to deals and helping you with great tips, tricks, price alerts and coupons.

SlickDeals which constantly updates a list of the best deals around the web.

If you follow our guide, you should be on your way to becoming a shopping pro this Cyber Monday and Black Friday. Happy shopping!

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It’s official. After being eagerly awaited Sling TV is being launched to the general public.

What Is Sling TV?

The Dish Network Sling TV is a Net-delivered video service. Net TV can be watched on computers, tablets and smartphones. It can also be viewed on TVs with the proper attachments. Glenn Hower, research analyst with Parks Associates, has stated:

“The percentage of subscribers interested in (Net-delivered, over-the-top) video services is trending upward, and more industry players are planning to launch their own OTT services. The age of appointment television is coming to a close, and programming will need to adapt to an on-demand environment.”

Later this year, HBO plans to launch a standalone Net service. Research has shown that of the roughly 91% broadband homes that are also pay TV customers, about half would cancel pay TV once they can get the new HBO service.

With the Sling TV launch, it puts Dish Network on the ground floor of this new trend.

How Does Sling TV Work?

According to Mike Snider of USA Today, who was one of the early testers of Sling TV:

“Sling TV is easy to use. For starters, you need a robust broadband internet connection — Netflix recommends 5 megabits per second for HD quality.”

“You download the Sling TV app onto your device whether it’s an Android or iOS tablet or a Net TV device such as an Amazon Fire or Roku device connected to your TV or Xbox One video game system. Some smart TVs from LG and Samsung also will have the app.”

Once the initial connection is made, you can be up and running is minutes.

Pay TV versus Sling TV

The reason for creating Sling TV was to attract people who had dropped their cable and satellite connections, or never had pay TV connections.

According to Sling TV CEO, Roger Lynch, the new Sling TV has been designed to target Millennials. The Dish Network says that they are less likely to subscribe to pay TV, and they are the demographic group that is more technology savvy. But, David Lieberman, the executive editor of Deadline.com questions whether Sling TV will actually appeal to the Millennials. He feels that Sling TV, due to their current programming lineup, may actually “appeal more to cash-strapped cable and satellite subscribers than it will to young adults.”

Initially, the Sling TV programming packages don’t come close to comparing with pay TV packages, but there are plans to expand the different offerings. At this time of launch, the Base Package, which costs $20 a month, with no contract like pay TV, gives you live feeds to ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, ABC Family and CNN. A Kid’s Package and a News Package are also offered for an additional $5 each. There lineups are also very limited at this time. Plans for future expansion will add a Sports Package, but for now subscribers will be happy to be able to get live feeds on ESPN, ESPN2 and CNN. Getting live feeds is a big advantage for Sling TV. Up until now, the only way to get live sports was by having pay TV connection.

How to Get the New Sling TV

In an article that was posted on January 26th online at USA Today entitled, Sling TV looks to liven up streaming video party, Mike Snider wrote:

“The Internet-delivered subscription video service from satellite TV provider Dish Network will begin official operations Tuesday (January 27). The first invites start going out at 12 a.m. ET Tuesday to customers who preregistered on Sling.com.”

“Everyone else has to wait, but they will get a free one-week trial when the service opens to all customers within the next two weeks. Consumers who don’t have one of the supported Net TV devices such as an Amazon fire or Roku device can sign up on Sling.com to order a device as part of a subscription package (prices to be announced).”

Remember, it’s only $20 a month with no contract to try it out.