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17 Top Small Business News Stories of 2013
Posted By Anita Campbell On December 31, 2013 @ 11:15 am In Small Business News | 6 Comments
A lot happened during 2013 that affects small businesses. Let’s take a look at the top small business news stories for 2013, as tracked by the Small Business Trends Editorial team:
Wearable technology ranges from Google Glass  (the eyeglasses-like computer you wear on your head – image above) to the smartwatch. Pebble raised a cool $10 million on Kickstarter and started shipping its smartwatch . Not to be outdone, Samsung unveiled the Gear  smartwatch as a companion to the Note 3 phone. And 2013 saw the concept of the Smarty Ring , which raised almost $300,000 on IndiegoGo .
Maybe one day Google Glass will be perched on every head, but that day will be a while coming, if it ever arrives. Part of the reason is due to privacy concerns people have about being filmed without their realizing it. Already there are businesses where Google Glass is not welcome .
Competitors from offshore and with cloud products, challenge the big players in this market. And we are seeing the market stratify, with accounting and financial products designed for various sizes of small businesses:
Online reviews and local listings that display them continue to be a sore point. Some of the sites where reviews appear have come across as cavalier and uncaring toward small businesses through poorly implemented review systems and uneven efforts to deal with rampant fake reviews:
Content marketing continued to grow in 2013. We published not one , but two lists of content marketing books  during 2013, so that ought to tell you how much interest there is. Native advertising also grew — native advertising comes in many forms, but newspapers have long published a form called advertorials.
Guest blogging and advertorials became so popular that they were over-used and abused by some. It seemed like an epidemic of plagiarism and “spun” articles . Fake writers and rings of “made-for-links” sites proliferated. What was the goal? Build links.
In May of 2013 Google’s head of Web spam, Matt Cutts (pictured above), spoke out and explained how advertorials need to be handled  under Google’s guidelines. Then later Cutts cautioned against “low quality” guest blogging . The U. S. Federal Trade Commission also updated its advertising guidelines to address disclosures needed in social media .
There will always be value in high quality content in marketing. But 2013 was the year that saw abuses of content explode, and a resulting crackdown start.
Etsy was originally set up as a marketplace for handmade items — and supposedly a refuge from mass-produced stuff. But shop owners, who number nearly one million on Etsy and are mostly entrepreneur-artisans and small businesses, have been vocal about mass produced goods  being allowed. Even Etsy’s “be honest” rule  is not enough, some say.
Some hand-crafted items from Etsy also are copied. Fakes end up on wholesale sites such as Alibaba. Alibaba, through founder Jack Ma (above), announced an anti-counterfeiting campaign  in advance of its rumored 2014 IPO . While counterfeiting is often thought of as a “big brand” type of plague, it also affects small businesses like artisans.
The year 2013 has been one of confusion. With many media reports being politically motivated either left or right, millions of small businesses had a tough time getting good information about healthcare options. Here are some key facts:
The words of Professor Scott Shane take on added meaning : “Despite (or because of) our policy makers’ efforts, employee health insurance remains a burden for small business owners. *** Only time will tell whether our policy makers’ efforts to help have alleviated or exacerbated the problems.”
Are we living through another tech bubble, like the Dot Com bubble of 2000? Judging from some of the valuations, possibly.
Remember Instagram, the company with no revenue that was valued at $1 billion back in 2012 when Facebook acquired it? The year 2013 saw a redux of sorts, when Snapchat’s 23-year-old founder turned down an offer of $3 billion  from Facebook. Meanwhile, at least 16 million small businesses had Facebook pages , and Facebook was placed on the S&P 500 . Despite all that success, a report by Oklahoma Senator Coburn suggests Facebook will for the second year in a row pay zero taxes .
Yahoo, trying to reinvent itself, acquired Tumblr , a blog platform known for its porn, for $1 billion. Shortly thereafter, Tumblr jumped on the sponsored posts bandwagon . And Yahoo is currently a Wall Street darling, with its stock price at a five-year high.
If you want to create a high-valuation startup, mobile and social are hot spaces to be. At least for now.
Remember those traditional technology companies so many of us run our businesses on? Here’s what happened with a few of them:
Netting it out: the changes at Microsoft and Dell are good news for small businesses. BlackBerry is becoming less of a player in the small business market with each passing month.
Two of the hottest viral memes in recent memory became big news this year  and later faded. Though the Gangnam Style video was posted in 2012 , by 2013 it had became the most watched online video in history. Grumpy Cat still has her fans, but the adorable cat (pictured above) is not quite as hot.
oDesk and Elance announce a merger . The two online freelance marketplaces decided to pool resources. That fact, along with 30+ other freelancer sites , shows how the labor market is changing, with more hiring of independent workers being done online.
Sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo became instrumental in funding startup projects. And sites like CrowdBrewed  are springing up to represent niche markets like brewing. Meanwhile, the SEC issued “no action letters” that made it a bit easier to do online venture and angel crowdfunding .
The issue continues to divide  small business owners, depending on their business interests. An effort to pass national legislation — the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act — appears stalled in Congress. Meanwhile, various states tried attacking related issues from another angle, by taxing affiliate marketing.
Traditional printing remained in demand, despite our move to electronic data. The HP laserjet turned 30 years old  and HP shipped its 200 millionth printer. But 2013 also was the year that saw 3D printing start to hit the mainstream (image above). Some UPS Stores now offer 3D printing to customers .
Bitcoin, the alternative virtual currency, was much discussed throughout 2013 . Some Web entrepreneurs use it because it makes it harder to track their money. However, Bitcoin has a long way to go to catch on with mainstream small businesses.
By now you’ve read about the NSA reading emails and listening to phone calls. But it’s not only the government digging into your privacy. News came out that Facebook knows more about you  than you might think. And hackers found small businesses to be easy targets .
Article printed from Small Business Trends: http://smallbiztrends.com
URL to article: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/top-small-business-stories-2013.html
URLs in this post:
 Google Glass: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/04/what-is-google-glass-heres-the-answer.html
 and started shipping its smartwatch: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/07/pebble-for-business-smartwatch.html
 Samsung unveiled the Gear: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/09/samsung-galaxy-gear-smartwatch.html
 raised almost $300,000 on IndiegoGo: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/smarty-ring-latest-wearable-technology.html
 businesses where Google Glass is not welcome: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/customer-asked-leave-business-google-glass-policy.html
 $150 million in funding in October, to go after the U.S. market: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/10/xero-small-business-accounting-software-funding.html
 mainly an invoicing and expense tracking software: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/09/invoicing-cloud-accounting-freshbooks-review.html
 adding features to its Sage One product: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/07/sage-one-small-business.html
 acquire document aggregator DocStoc: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/intuit-acquires-docstoc.html
 acquired the Ronin invoicing app: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/10/godaddy-acquires-ronin-invoicing.html
 A sting operation: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/09/fines-writing-fake-online-reviews.html
 faking its own reviews: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/09/faking-yelp-reviews-sues-business.html
 Facebook rolled out starred reviews: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/11/facebook-starred-reviews.html
 confuse small businesses with its Google Local (Places) Plus and Google+ for Business: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/06/google-local-plus.html
 allows business owners to manage and respond to reviews: http://www.seroundtable.com/google-places-reviews-center-17730.html
 verified local business reviews: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/11/better-business-bureau-customer-reviews.html
 rolling out advertising: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/10/twitter-schedule-tweets.html
 improved its business resources: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/08/twitter-followers-likely-to-buy.html
 acquire MoPub: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/09/twitter-plans-acquire-mopub.html
 cracking down on DM spammers: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/11/twitter-discontinues-direct-message-from-followers.html
 other abusers: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/08/twitter-report-button.html
 Twitter accounts banned in error: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/twitter-suspension.html
 not one: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/content-marketing-books.html
 two lists of content marketing books: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/best-content-marketing-books-2013.html
 plagiarism and “spun” articles: https://www.openforum.com/articles/risky-content-plagiarism/
 spoke out and explained how advertorials need to be handled: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SmlsfSqmOw
 against “low quality” guest blogging: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qozPhALuQQw
 to address disclosures needed in social media: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/03/ftc-how-to-disclose-sponsored-tweets.html
 vocal about mass produced goods: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/09/new-etsy-rules-handmade-goods.html
 Etsy’s “be honest” rule: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/10/new-etsy-policy-mass-produced-goods.html
 Alibaba, through founder Jack Ma (above), announced an anti-counterfeiting campaign: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/09/alibaba-counterfeit-issue-highlighted.html
 rumored 2014 IPO: http://allthingsd.com/20131226/tech-stocks-hover-near-2013-highs-paving-way-for-2014-ipos-like-alibaba-box-and-dropbox/
 The cancellations and higher premiums hit self-employed freelancers and small business owners as a group hard: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/11/two-self-employed-freelancers-obamacare.html
 the estimated 5 to 7 million self-employed and small business owners who rely on individual policies: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/11/obamacare-small-business-owners-affected-early.html
 were delayed until November 2014: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/11/another-obamacare-delay-small-businesses.html
 The words of Professor Scott Shane take on added meaning: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/09/news-employee-health-insurance-small-businesses.html
 turned down an offer of $3 billion: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/11/snapchat-turns-down-3-billion-facebook.html
 16 million small businesses had Facebook pages: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/small-business-facebook-pages.html
 on the S&P 500: http://mashable.com/2013/12/11/facebook-joins-sp-500/
 Facebook will for the second year in a row pay zero taxes: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/dec/17/coburn-wasted-feds-pay-collect-human-urine/?page=all
 acquired Tumblr: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/tumblr-deal-founder-mega-millionaire.html
 jumped on the sponsored posts bandwagon: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/06/tumblr-sponsored-posts-dashboard.html
 tablet hybrids: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/04/dell-xps-18-desktop-tablet.html
 combined hardware, cloud software and services company: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/dell.html
 Microsoft made a bid to acquire Nokia: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/09/microsoft-nokia-acquisition.html
 Mobile devices become big then get cheaper: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/08/htc-one-mini.html
 The responsive Web design approach: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/what-is-responsive-web-design.html
 Voice minutes are becoming almost a thing of the past: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/11/att-voice-minutes-abandoned.html
 away with hardware subsidies: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/att-next-program-signaling-end-free-phone-era.html
 generated $10 billion in revenue: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/06/apple-app-market.html
 became big news this year: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/03/grumpy-cat-trademark.html
 Gangnam Style video was posted in 2012: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/05/what-is-gangnam-style.html
 oDesk and Elance announce a merger: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/online-freelancer-odesk-elance-merge.html
 30+ other freelancer sites: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/12/looking-for-freelance-jobs-assistance.html
 sites like CrowdBrewed: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/10/crowdbrewed-crowdfunding-craft-brewing-beer.html
 online venture and angel crowdfunding: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/04/sec-letters-online-venture-capital.html
 continues to divide: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/10/illinois-amazon-tax-law.html
 HP laserjet turned 30 years old: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/11/laserjet-printer-history.html
 Some UPS Stores now offer 3D printing to customers: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/08/ups-3d-printing.html
 much discussed throughout 2013: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-bitcoin-has-value-2013-12
 Facebook knows more about you: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/06/facebook-leak-data-collection.html
 hackers found small businesses to be easy targets: http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/04/cyber-attacks-on-small-businesses-increase.html