Airbnb Signs Deal with Quebec , other Canadian Cities

Airbnb has long been hunted by government bodies across the world as someone who refuses to follow the rules and pay / collect taxes. This is all in a past now, at least in the province of Quebec, as well as City of Toronto.

Airbnb agreed with Quebec that it will collect a lodging tax on the province’s behalf and remit it to the province after the transaction if complete.

Renters do not have to do anything, no need to collect the tax any longer on their own behalf if they have been doing it before. This will be done automatically and start on October 1st, 2017.

The tax itself is an additional 3.5% tax levied on top of a rental fee so if it would cost $1,000 before to rent an apartment for a week, starting October 1st it will be $1,035 an additional $35 that will be taken by Airbnb and remitted to the province.

There are over 22,000 renters in the province of Quebec on Airbnb and over 1 million bookings made in the last year.

Not everyone was happy about this on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/FIVRE604/status/902653439770890240

Whether you agree with it or not, this will help Airbnb to ink more deals with other provinces and legalize its business more.

City of Toronto has also agreed on various rules with Airbnb. The plan that would implement a “One host, one home” rule for short-term rentals. It would also require hosts to register with the city and pay fees.

Update: New Super Nintendo Edition Console Is No Longer Banned in Quebec

Update: Few weeks ago, when we wrote the story, it was clear that due to language requirements new super Nintendo was not allowed to be sold  in Quebec because it was not translated into Quebec’s version of French language.

However just recently, ToysRUs Canada has twitted that restriction has been lifed and now you can buy it in Quebec after all:

This is quite interesting, because under recently introduced law new super Nintendo should not pass muster as it breaks the law under the provincial legislation (see below).

You have to wonder what happened? Did French Language Authority in Quebec have authorized the usage and made a one time exception for Nintendo, or were the rules changed in that province for uni-lingual games? Or maybe Nintendo complied and translated all games into Quebec specific French? No one knows for sure.

Either way it is great story that it ended this way and now users in Quebec can be on par with Canada and the US and order their loved console even though it will be a max of one console per person and no preorders in Quebec.

Original story:

If you are living in the province of Quebec, you might be surprised that you will not be able fulfill your nostalgia with an Old New Super Nintendo NES edition, featuring a lot of hit games from the 1990s.

This is due to Quebec recently introduced law in 2009 to protect French language requiring all toys / electronics to have Quebec French translation.

You can familiarize yourself with the law if you speak French here but basically it says that all games must be translated into Quebec French (French from France will not do) if it is also available in French in other parts of the world: https://www.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/francisation/consommateurs/secteur/jeux_video/details_entente.pdf

Nintendo has decided not to bother with translation into Quebec French and 7 million potential customers in Quebec. Doing so would take ages to translate hundreds of old games from the 90s into this specific French used in Quebec.

Some users lashed out at Nintendo for lack of translation. While some others defended Nintendo and lashed out at Quebec instead as well as that province’s “oppressive regime”:

NES Nintendo will be released to the world on September 29th, 2017 and is currently unavailable for purchase in Quebec. If you still want to buy it – you might need to bootleg it from neighboring Ontario  or the US.

Nintendo also stays clear of Quebec when it does its contests in America – where it excludes Quebec residents from entering its sweepstakes:

View this post on Instagram

There’s still time to enter the #MarioSonicRio2016 Family & Friends Olympic Games Contest. Share your at-home recreation of the Olympic Games competition along with #MarioSonicRio2016 and #NintendoContest for a chance to win an awesome prize pack. Click the link in our bio for the official rules and contest details. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the US (incl. DC) and Canada (excl. Quebec), 18 years or older. Promotion begins 9:00 AM PT on 6/24/16 and ends 11:59 PM PT on 7/22/14. To enter, upload photo to Instagram using hashtags stated in Official Rules. Four winners will each receive: 1 Mario amiibo figure; 1 Sonic amiibo figure; 1 Wii U video game system; 2 Nintendo 3DS XL video game systems; 1 Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games video game for the Wii U system; and 1 Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games video game for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. ARV of each prize package: $825.93. For Official Rules, visit http://Ninten.do/6189BQgjB. Sponsor: Nintendo of America Inc. © 2016 Nintendo. All rights reserved.

A post shared by Nintendo of America (@nintendo) on

eZWake, Vancouver startup app, best way to wake up according to science

ezWake is a youth-driven company that aims at an extremely simple problem: waking up. The company creates apps that activates the mind enough to make it difficult to fall back into sleep. Eventually, with enough uses, the app being personalized – adjusting its own difficulty and duration to the specific needs of the user.

Who started the company? Do you/team members have tech background?
Alannah Zhou, an executive of Illuminate Vancouver’s Tekathon, started the company. Her position gave her connection to a lot of figures in the Vancouver tech scene as well as the team’s developers with tech backgrounds. Her, as well as the marketers and designers, do not have as much tech background but do have a knack for what they do.

How are you being financed?
We currently have a Kickstarter accessible at http://kck.st/2iq85AE .

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?
Starting our project in July, and aiming to launch our app in the fall of 2017, time is our biggest obstacle as we hope to launch sooner in order to more quickly help those in need – those who struggle to wake up, and get out of bed in a timely manner, our mission. At ezWake, that, is what we strive for.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?
ezWake tries to use each marketer’s social media network to spread the word of our hiring applications. This gives ezWake a larger pool to select from.

Who is your biggest competition?
Time is our biggest competition. We don’t see other companies (that exist currently) as reason to worry.

How are you intending on taking your company to million dollars in revenues? In what markets?
An area that a lot of small-team apps fail at is marketing and design. We have a passionate team with marketers who have large access to our target market – high school and postsecondary students. Moreover, the app’s unique spin – individualized wake ups with differing durations and difficulties – will help steer in clients who are looking for something fit for them. ezWake has already started a research journey into how people wake up and interact with alarm apps.

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.
Hard work works when talent stops working. When a large group of teenagers dedicate themselves to a large project at the heart of summer break, the individuals who are truly driven to make ezWake succeed shine through. Those who prove their passion for the project become the best kind of executives – willing to risk great amounts for the team.

Yellow Pages Bad Business Practices

This post is our experience in dealing with Yellow Pages and their reps over the last year. Let this be a lesson for anyone considering doing business with them.

Last year after checking our website logs we have discovered that even though they charge thousands of dollars a year we have less than few hundred clicks from them so we have decided not to continue as we heavily advertise on Google / Yelp / Bing.

We have tried to cancel multiple times our subscriptions as they call it but they say there is nothing they can do about it – as they say : “it keeps on renewing automatically”.  The agent we need to speak to is never around – and all we get is a voicemail. The reps we speak to on a phone – noone can help – because you need a client retention specialist to speak to. They take your information , however you keep on getting invoices / bills for services you have never authorized, need or provided a credit card for (they charge $300 for a Yellow Pages book listing – who reads those books nowdays???) They keep on insisting that few years when you signed up for service you were given this information on the phone that essentially locks you with them and keeps on auto renewing. Is this insane or what?

After scanning reviews online – it seems we are not the only ones affected by this bad business practices where they lock you in  contracts, not letting go, because their business is dying (already dead?) due to competition from Google, Yelp, Bing.

Reviews below are from feedback website sitejabber:

Glenmore R. comments:

YP deserves a zero for their business practices!
They offer a terrible service, not worth the money then force you to be their customer through auto renewall process, then they pretend they can’t cancel service.

Waste of money,
terrible service
Poor business practice

Dishani G. comments:

“Should go out of Business for their Dirty Tactics”
7/14/17
Too bad there isn’t a negative star because they deserve it for their dirty tactics of putting customers on the hook for contracts they didn’t want, and not letting them get out of a contract. My husband has been trying to cancel a service that they tricked him into signing up for a year by quickly reading the terms to him over the phone and slipping that in without being transparent. And apparently on top of cancelling the contract; he has to explicitly state in a letter that he doesn’t want a new one to be automatically renewed. What kind of bogus practices is that. They have been very evasive every time he calls saying “the guy” who cancels the contract is out of office and will call back. How come there is only one guy that cancels the contract and 100 vultures that can sign you up for one? Is is some special rocket science technique that only one person in the company knows. They make is difficult and a complete waste of the customers time on purpose so we will give up. What a terrible company.

Kevin B. comments:

“YELLOWPAGES MAFIA…worse than Air Canada…get your head examined if you deal with this company”
6/30/17
I’ve been dealing with this Mickey Mouse organization for over 9 months trying to get answers. They are continually billing for contracts that are either cancelled, closed or have never been renewed. It’s like a self administered root canal without freezing. Instead of spending money with these criminals we will be burning piles of 20 dollar bills every Friday in the parking lot. At least this way I will know what I’m getting for my money…the insurance business is less blurry and less confusing.

This bad service is on top of erroneously advertising their services as providing organic search on google, where indeed their service is paid Google adwords add-on. This is reprint from MelbourneGeek.com website about his experience with yellowpages sales rep:

Maybe the Yellow Pages rep was confused, so I decided to clarify:

ME: ”So, just so I get this right, you are talking about organic search?” Yellow Pages: ”yes”

ME: ”Not paid ads up the top?”

Yellow Pages: ”No, I am talking about organic search. Yellow Pages have a Partnership with Google.”

She was confident about it. I asked her: ME: Are you ACTUALLY from Yellow Pages? Yellow Pages: Yes, I am actually from Yellow Pages, I am not an agent. I can give you a number to call back if you have any further questions.

It sounds really appealing to a business owner. I can imagine what the average small business owner would be thinking:

*Everyone has been saying that Yellow Pages is a big rip off for years. But now they are in bed with Google. They are a Google PARTNER! I want to be number one on Google. This sounds great.*

Read more here: MelbourneGeek.com website

Amazon Growing in Toronto and Vancouver

Amazon, American electronic commerce and cloud computing company based in Seattle, Washington, is about to sign giant office leases in both Vancouver and Toronto according to Financial Post.

147,000 sq ft office is to be signed in Vancouver and 112,000 sq ft in Toronto. This is on top of 2.2m sq ft in Toronto and 741,000 sq ft in Vancouver.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

This new space can accommodate around additional 1,000 employees in Vancouver and around 700 employees in Toronto.

Amazon move according to some sources is to grow their software development teams in both cities.

Hiring Job Fairs in Toronto and Vancouver are being held from time to time – just follow them on Instagram or Twitter:

View this post on Instagram

Amazon Fulfillment Technologies (AFT) powers the physical engine at the heart of Amazon. AFT builds and operates software, hardware, and processes that run the global network of fulfillment centers that move millions of units of inventory, employ tens of thousands of people, and ensure that customers get what they want when we promise we will get it to them. We do this by building automated solutions to handle things that technology does well, while relying on people to handle things that humans do well. Our environment is global and complex with a variety of software and systems, including industrial machines and protocols. We are constantly innovating in the ways we are automating and accelerating the delivery of products and packages which includes building custom hardware and applying machine learning, image processing, and real-time data processing using distributed systems. In order to R.S.V.P for this event, please follow the steps below. Step 1: Send your resume to AFTTorontoRecruiting@amazon.com Step 2: Wait for a confirmation email Step 3: Bring your invitation and resume to the event

A post shared by Amazon Toronto (@amazontoronto) on

US Tech looks to Canada For Relocation

According to a new study from Hired.com , American tech employees are now more than ever looking to relocate or expand their business and hiring in Canada. Report states it is due to President Trump changes to immigration policies especially to ban 6 Muslim countries from entering USA and proposed modifications to H1B visa.

At least 32% said they would move to Canada if given an opportunity. 12% said they might consider Germany to go and work there from the US. South America and Mexico came in last at 1%.

 

Canada is a country with more relaxed immigration system and a place where everyone feels welcome. Canadian government is also facilitating a way for people who work in Canada to apply for permanent residency and citizenship.

 

One Thing You Need to Look At When Hiring Someone (according to Shark Tank investor)

Daymond Garfield John is an American businessman, investor, television personality, author, and motivational speaker. He is best known as the founder, president, and CEO of FUBU, and appears as an investor on the ABC reality television series Shark Tank. He is based in New York City.

According to Daymond, one thing you need to look for an interview when hiring someone is whether you can stand that person. Meaning can you hang out / talk / go have a beer with this person every day of your life for the next 5 or 10 years. Because if not , no matter how good the resume is you will probably regret your hiring decision.

Make sure you like this person as a human being and can get along. Daymond says a lot of people hide behind technology or their resume – but see them for who they are and see if you can get along before making that hiring decision.

You can watch Daymond speak about who will make a good employee in this video cast: