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Google Tests Mobile Web Ads In Japan

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Google has just wrapped up a successful test for advertising via mobile phones in Japan, according to Bloomberg. The Japanese mobile phone market, more robust and advanced than the US market, is often used to test mobile technologies.

It is also potentially an indicator of things to come, though Google says testing a similar service in the US is a ways off. Verizon and Adobe just announced a collaborative effort to incorporate Flash-based services in upcoming devices, a capability long available in Japan.

"Mobile Internet usage is fairly high in Japan," Deep Nishar, a Google product manager, told Bloomberg. "We've had a fairly successful trial of mobile text ads there."

A potentially lucrative revenue stream for Google, the Mountain View, Calif.-based search advertising giant has launched a barrage of wireless services in the recent past; these services range from Internet search to maps.

According to Nishar, advertisers may be willing to pay more for mobile phone advertising than for PC-based ads because mobile phone users may be closer to point of sales or point of purchase.

The forthcoming mobile advertising era should work well in conjunction with Toshiba's recently announced technology that allows mobile phones to scan product bar codes and return an overall product rating from the comments in the blogosphere.

The technology can search for up to 100 product reviews on weblogs and calculate an overall positive or negative mood within about 10 seconds. Testing for the product also began in Japan last month, and is expected to be available in mobile phones before April 2007.



Article kindly provided by webpronews.com
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Texting teens use SMS for help

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Text-mad youngsters are being targeted by a youth charity determined to speak to them in a language they understand.
Base 25, a charity offering advice on subjects such as relationship and health issues is using text messages to communicate with teenagers.

Text Talk allows troubled youngsters to send a text to a dedicated number and receive an immediate response.

"It makes sense to use a medium which our target market is very comfortable with," said Rob Willoughby at Base 25.


"Research has found that 96% of young people own mobile phones, regardless of social class and youngsters are extremely adept at using text messaging technology," he added.

Boy talk

The text service has been in operation in Wolverhampton since January and has helped 200 youngsters in its opening months.

There are now plans to offer a similar service to groups operating nationally and Base 25 has had lots of initial interest from other charities such as the NSPCC and the Samaritans.

The main issues young people are contacting Base 25 about are health information, relationship dilemmas and sexuality.

And boys seem particularly drawn to the service.

"As a general trend we have noticed more boys using the service and that may be because text messaging enables anonymity which makes it easy for them to ask for help," said Mr Willoughby.


Article kindly provided by BBC News.
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Hey AdWords Clients! No Popups!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

No matter what justification an advertiser can bring to the discussion, no matter if he or she can debate the issue like Henry Clay, you cannot have any sort of popup ads on AdWords landing pages.

Google's AdWords team addressed the issue of popup advertising in its blog, and cited the existing policy banning them as noted in the AdWords Editorial Guidelines:


"We do not allow links to landing pages that generate pop-ups when users enter or leave your landing page. We consider a pop-up to be any window, regardless of content, that opens in addition to the original window."

"Boo hoo hoo," cry some advertisers. "My popup isn't so bad," they claim.

Google's reply can be summed up in two words: too bad.

It seems that typical Internet users despise popups, pop-unders, delayed pops, etc. Google referenced usability expert Jakob Nielsen's essay titled, The Most Hated Advertising Techniques.

Apparently users who despise popups tend to despise the sites that display them. Bad user experiences with those landing pages could discourage users from clicking on AdWords advertising, a situation that could impact Google's revenue should it hit a high enough scale.

No trust means no clicks. Thus the policy on no popups. No exceptions. There is a reason why Firefox and Opera browsers, and Windows XP, have popup blockers: because users hate popups.

So don't even ask.


Article kindly provided by webpronews.com
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eBay launches classified ad sites

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Online auction house eBay has launched a series of classified advertising websites in Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
The move comes as the company faces pressure to match its strong earnings growth figures of recent years.

eBay shares slipped after its October to December profits failed to meet market expectations, despite rising 44% to $205.4m (110m) on 2003.

The new sites were launched under the name Kijiji on 28 February.

Individuals will be able to list items free of charge.

Website acquisitions

eBay said the launch will not have a material impact on its earnings this year.

The firm has been investing in a number of classified advertising websites.

In November it bought Netherlands-based Marktplaats.nl for $290m and last month snapped up US property site Rent.com for $414m.

Its $152m purchase of German auto ads site Mobile.de is set to be completed in the next few months.



Article kindly provided by BBC News.
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Online ads win over the brand leaders

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Online advertising has come of age with major brands like American Express and Nike now firmly embracing the internet as an equal to more traditional promotional outlets.


Yahoo has said a boom in online advertising helped it to more than double fourth-quarter profits to $187m (143.2m) in the last three months of 2004.

Newspaper groups, meanwhile, seeing a loss of revenue from print advertisements, are expanding their own internet operations as they bid to keep up with demand from marketers in a sector which is growing.

"We saw a complete change of philosophy last year," says Jeff Lanctot, vice president of media at AvenueA/Razorfish, the largest independent online ad agency in the US.

Faced with a multi-channel media landscape and corporate belt tightening, marketing departments began to see online advertising as a cost-effective medium.

With its mass reach, the internet can now rival other entertainment outlets for audience size, says Mr Lanctot.

"Brand advertisers once considered online an emerging technology they should test but in 2004 they considered it an essential part of their campaigns."

Rise of the portals

Total online spend grew by about 27% last year but still only accounted for 3-4% of US and European company marketing budgets, according to JupiterResearch.

By 2009, JupiterResearch forecasts revenues will have more than doubled to about $16.1bn (8.5bn) in the US and 4.7bn euros (3.2bn) in Europe.

Although growth will slow and overall revenues will remain far below TV and newspapers, online advertising is the only area expected to significantly increase its market share over the next five years.

Financial and travel companies were among the first to start selling products and services on the internet and now spend up to 20% of their advertising budgets online.

Sponsored searches - where firms pay to have links to their websites displayed in response to internet searches - and the bright spot in the years after the dot.com crash for the likes of Google - continues to grow.

And sales of online display or banner advertisements - the largest earner in the sector - generated their first increase in revenue last year since 2000.

It was the major brands advertising on specialist sport sites and the portals like Yahoo, MSN and AOL - where the cost of space has been rising and can now cost $400,000 for a 24-hour placing in the US - that is behind the recent boost.

Busy lives

Marco Bertozzi, commercial director at London-based digital media advisors Zed Media, has seen the number of clients who view the internet as "more than just a direct response channel" increase dramatically over the last two years.

Their online spend accordingly is up by about 400%.

"The shift is primarily being driven by volume," he says. "If the audiences are growing then you will be able to reach people more quickly."

"People are turning to the web for info, entertainment, to save time in a very busy life.


"Online is part of most people's lives now and the uniqueness of it is the fact that advertisers can get far closer to their consumers."

There are now the first signs of internet companies starting to sell ad space as part of a package and insist on minimum spend requirements but Mr Bertozzi believes prices could remain stable as choice allows advertisers to shop around.

Wary consumers

A survey carried out for the European Interactive Advertising Association, a trade organisation for sellers of interactive media, found 83% of online users felt that TV has too much advertising but less than half felt the same about the internet.

A third of those surveyed said that online advertising was relevant to them.

"There was a confidence as the industry re-established itself on a much more stable footing after the dot.com crash," says Julian Smith, European online advertising analyst at JupiterResearch.

But Mr Smith envisages challenges ahead as faster internet connections see advertisers vying to create even more creative campaigns.

"As more [advertisers] come online in 2005 and competition intensifies to attract the attention of ever more experienced and wary online consumers, so the costs of online marketing will increase."



Article kindly provided by BBC News.
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Fewer charges for website content

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The number of UK media groups charging for online content has nearly halved over the last year, according to the Association of Online Publishers (AOP).
The association said just 37% of its members now charged for some online content, compared with 63% in 2005.

However, a quarter of the AOP members that do charge for online material said it earned them more than 5m in 2005.

AOP's members include IPC Media, BSkyB, Reuters, BBC, FT.com, The Economist Group, Guardian Unlimited and Which?.

Display ads

Its survey of members for 2006 showed that display advertising was still the main source of income, making up an average of 41% of online revenues.

Paid-for content was responsible for 18% of all revenues, while sponsorship made up 9%.

The AOP said that the proportion of its members saying they were unlikely to start charging for online content had risen from 18% in 2004 to 43% in 2006.

"While there remains a strong view from consumers that web content must be free, the healthy online ad market has probably convinced most publishers that there is little point in... trying to convert customers to paying," said AOP chairman Bill Murray.

"However, I suspect that within the B2B market and with some of the more interactive, high-value consumer content enabled by broadband, we will see long-term growth in the number of publishers charging for the best content."



Article kindly provided by BBC News.
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Using Animation & Rich Media In Web Design

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The use of special effects on web pages has literally exploded. Special effects are used either to draw potential client's attention to a web site or to show off technical expertise.


However, many web site designers, graphic designers, and programmers, or HTML "newbies" often use special effects without considering how their target audience will react to them. Ultimately, using advanced technology can alienate the very customers designers are trying to attract because they want their web site to look "cool."

BEFORE you add any special effects to your web site, especially your home page, is your site easy to read, easy to navigate, easy to find, consistent/coherent in design, and quick to download? If the answer to all of these questions is yes, then adding special effects to your web site can be a good idea.

Special effects add to a web site's download time, and you don't want potential customers clicking off your site before viewing its content because you wanted "cool" effects on your web pages.

Some special effects require a plug-in. Here's a typical scenario. Let's say that some of your visitors do not have the plug-in required to hear the sound. Again, before they see the content of your site, they're probably going to see a pop-up asking them if they want to download the plug-in. Do you want your potential customers to see that pop-up right away? Or do you want them to see your products and/or services that they are searching for? If visiting your site means potential clients will have to download a plug-in first in order to view your site, products and/or services, they will probably continue to navigate your site. It means that you were thinking more of your corporate image than of your potential customers.

Some special effects, such as animation and music, might be cute and impressive at first. However, after the initial impact, it can become irritating. So irritating, in fact, that some people actually unplug the speakers to their computers.

To show design, technical, or programming talent, we recommend dividing your site into individual pages that showcase one particular talent per page. Doing this can greatly increase your pages' download speed, and your visitors will know what to expect when they go to a special effects page. An added bonus to this layout is that you can code (meta-tag, descriptive titles, etc.) and promote each talent page differently (i.e. emphasis on different keywords), possibly resulting in better, targeted traffic to your site.


Article kindly provided by DesignNewz.
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Redesigning: How Often Is Too Often?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

You've all seen it on some websites. They completely overhaul the look of the website every other month. Or at least it seems that way.

Then there's the other extreme, where websites haven't been redesigned since 1996. So how often is too often?

Change for the sake of change is pointless. Do not feel compelled to redesign your site if you are satisfied with its look. Instead, ask yourself these questions:
Do I like the look of my site?


Does the design appeal to my target demographic?


Is the design appropriate for the site's content and subject matter?


Does the current design make it difficult in any way to navigate the site?


Do a lot of impartial people say that the site looks dated?


Are there any fundamental design flaws, like inconsistency across multiple pages, that are integrated into the design?
There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages to redesigning your site. Depending on how it was set up originally, converting a lot of pages to a new design may take weeks, and that's after the new design is done and approved.

People who come back to your site that haven't visited it in awhile will be greeted by a look that is unfamiliar to them. Unless you are prominently using the same logo, they may initially be unsure if they have come to the right site.

However, a fresh new look can often help you retain website visitors. Individuals who might have just given your site a cursory look before may be more apt to stick around and look in more detail. And the longer they look around on your site, the more likely they are to buy, to come to your physical store, to submit articles, etc.

If your site design is more in alignment with the purpose of the site, people will be more likely to engage in that purpose, regardless of whether it is shopping online, playing online games, or just reading more about your business.

So do not redesign just because it's been a few years. Evaluate the current look.

Perhaps you can send a poll to your top 50 clients and ask them questions about your website. See what they think of it. And then, if they feel a redesign is needed and you agree with their reasoning, go ahead and redesign!


Article kindly provided by DesignNewz
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Overlooked Step In SEO

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Imagine spending countless hours optimizing your website only to discover that it's still not ranking any higher.

What could possibly be holding your site back? After all your code is search engine friendly, the content has been rewritten to ensure its topic relevancy, and you've managed to score some pretty good links to your site.

If everything seems to be in place, you may be surprised to find out that you've overlooked a crucial step in the SEO process.

Just when you think you're site is performing at its best you learn the awful truth - your web server is hindering your search engine ranking.

Selecting a server is often overlooked as a step in the SEO process. However, it is a crucial first step that each SEO professional should address when beginning any project. There are seven key areas that search engines now consider when ranking websites that could be affected by your web server.

Uptime

Your web server's guaranteed uptime is a major factor that can affect your site's ranking. The uptime of your site is so important because if it isn't up and running then there is no way for the search engine spiders to crawl your pages. To ensure that your site is at its best availability don't settle for a web server that offers anything less than 99.9% uptime.

Name Servers

Do you know who else is on your name server? Well, even if you don't know all of the major search engines do. They can identify all of the domain names with which you share a name server. This can be bad news for you ranking if you happen to share your name server with a large number of spam sites.

IP Classes

Search engines group websites into neighborhoods based on their IP addresses. A search engine can detect what types of websites are hosted on a Class C IP address, and you could be penalized if your site is mixed into a bad neighborhood.

Sharing an IP Address

Chances are that you are just one of the many clients that your web server has assigned to a single IP address. This could mean that you are in some bad company if one of those sites breaks the rules of one or more search engines then you run the risk of being banned with them. You see it is much easier for a spammer to obtain a new domain name than a new IP address so many search engines choose to ban the IP address instead of the domain name.

Response Time

Search engine spiders are busy programs and therefore have very limited time to crawl through each site. If your website has a slow response time then it will take longer to read each page and the spiders will have to move on before crawling all of your pages.

Date Modified Attribute

Another aspect of your web server to keep in mind is whether it supports the Date Modified attribute or not. Major search engines like Google are constantly checking the dates that documents are created to determine the average age of the documents on your site and how frequently pages are updated or changed. If your web server doesn't support the Date Modified attribute then the search engines are unable to collect this pertinent information from your site.

301 Redirect Capabilities

Search engines see the www domain and the non-www domain as separate sites, but 301 redirects help to avoid the possibility of duplicate content penalties. Ideally, your server should automatically issue a 301 server site redirect to any request made for a non-www domain that forwards users to the www domain.

Check out your web hosting server to determine if your host is keeping your ranking down. Ask them about these important factors to see where their service stands. Were they selective when you signed up for hosting or were they willing to give up the space without asking any questions?

On the other hand, if you are a web host keeping these criteria in mind can help you to provide a better quality service to your customers. Services that determine whether or not your servers are SE friendly are available from SEO Certified Servers.

Article kindly provided by webpronews.com
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Is Google No.1 Forever?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Google is without a doubt the world's number one search engine. According to the research firm Neilsen/NetRatings, Google's share of the global search market in February 2006 was 48.5%, more than double the 22.5% share its nearest rival Yahoo saw.

Having been the engine of choice for nearly five years, Google is synonymous with search. Because Google is the first thing most folks think of when they think about search, it is the most important search marketing venue, at least for the vast majority of SEOs.

That might be changing in the coming years. There's a sense in the SEO sector that the horizons have expanded significantly and the search marketing map has gotten far larger. What the new landscape will look like exactly, and how large Google's footprint will be, is still unknown. The emerging online environment is still being explored, so to speak. As it is explored, it is evolving very quickly. In many ways, it feels like the early days of the commercial web where everyone knew that everything was about to change, but no one really knew exactly how.

While Google's influence is incredible and its dominance appears unassailable, a number of newer products and changes in public perceptions have prompted subtle shifts in the habits of Internet users. Search marketers and online advertisers have started taking notice, putting more energy into helping clients understand and use tools such as blogs, images, press releases and video content as marketing devices.

The evolution of the Internet, in regards to search depends a lot on four unique groups; users, online marketers, search engine developers, and creative web developers. How each group reacts to these new user/marketing channels in the coming months and years will determine if Google's dominance is threatened. As it stands today, Google remains synonymous with search however, users are starting to venture away from the Google brand, even if it is the most recognizable one in their minds.

A recent survey conducted by UK-based online marketing firm, Harvest Digital (reg. req.), shows that Google is almost universally recognized as the UK 's leading search engine. (When thinking about North American search engine usage, similar results are assumed to be a somewhat safe assumption.)

When asked, "What search engine do you use?" 94% of respondents said Google. 40% said they used Yahoo, 39% said Ask Jeeves and 37% said MSN.

The answer clearly shows that Google is the first thing consumers think of when asked about search but is also shows that most search engine users are looking at more sources when looking for information. It also confirms that Ask continues to enjoy high popularity in the UK , even after dropping ex-pat butler Jeeves. Of the 205-person test group, only 24% said they only used one search engine with 56% using two or three search engines.

A large group of search engine users express less than stellar expectations from their experience with search engines. There appears to be a growing dissatisfaction among UK search engine users with only 22% of the survey group stating they felt "... confident that search engines would always give them the information that they needed." More often than not, users blamed themselves when searches produced less than useful results. 36% assumed they were using the wrong keywords. 32% figured the information they were looking for was too specialized. These statements should be noted by SEOs when thinking of creative keyword targets along with alternative search venues such as vertical and local search.

Interestingly, nearly a quarter of respondents said that advertisers paying for higher position are responsible. 24% agreed with the statement, "Advertisers are paying to come top of the results", is the reason "... some searches are less successful". While the survey draws the conclusion that this is a paid-search issue, it is unclear if respondents are noting PPC ads or well-optimized sites dominating organic results.

When choosing results to click on, 60% said it is because that result appeared on the first page with 17% tending towards the top results. 32% stated the description as an important factor when choosing which search results might best match their needs. Again, 78% of them will express some sense of dissatisfaction with the results.

Ultimately, the survey tells search marketers and their advertisers to spread their focuses to see the much wider horizon. Almost one third of respondents stated their search queries are too specialized to produce successful results. This suggests there is a lot of room for adoption of more targeted search tools such as the vertical search sector and local search engines.

Google is working to cover the vertical bases with its all-in-one solution, Google Base. Several search marketing forums have noted the appearance of Google Base results in searches conducted around the travel, home sales, and automotive industries. It is assumed by many SEOs that Google is trying to see if it can take a share of the market from popular advertising boards like Craigslist and e-commerce facilitators such as eBay.

Yahoo and Google continue to compete against each other and smaller firms such as A9, Ask, and even AOL, in the race to perfect a local search model. As Internet access is integrated in smaller portable devices, local search is seen as one of the greatest growth areas for search marketing.

Other search firms are moving to explore the expansive web as well. Last month, Lycos announced it was introducing a number of self-publishing and distribution options for content creators. It recently entered the VOIP market with Lycos Phone and today announced the release of a desktop Blog editing tool, Lycos-Qumana.

Google has another problem on its plate in regards to user loyalty. Its footprint has grown large enough that at times, it sort of steps on people's expectations in the course of its operations, as is the case with Google's relationship with the Chinese Government. While the other major search engines are active players in the Chinese market, and actively make values-based compromises their Western users might find unacceptable, Google tends to attract the majority of user outrage. That's likely because users have come to expect Google to hold itself to a higher standard, one that goes beyond compromising fair search results. A minor migration from Google happens every time the tech-press cracks a shot across Google's bow.

As Internet usage increases, and the online environment evolves through growth, search engine users are being offered more options while becoming more educated about the medium. Social networks (which enjoy enormous traffic) such as MySpace have search features that users turn to when logged in to the network.

The goal of online marketers is to drive traffic to client websites or documents. For search marketers, the expanding horizons can bring a bounty of business. Today, the reality is that Google is the most difficult engine to achieve a high ranking on but it is also the most effective search marketing venue. Google is the most popular search engine and continues to drive the most traffic.

We expect that fact to remain the same but, at the same time, we are strongly advising our clients to think about other search marketing channels. The habits of Internet users are changing as the incredible growth of MySpace demonstrates. There is a lot of new search marketing turf out there and it is time to work towards establishing a presence there.

Article kindly provided by webpronews.com

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US 'winning war' on e-mail spam

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The number of unsolicited e-mails received in the US appears to be falling thanks to new laws and better technology, a government report says.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said internet users still disliked spam - but most got less than two years ago.

Spam filters and a 2003 US law allowing people to opt out of future mailings were helping cut the problem, it said.

However, the report warned spammers were improving their technology and the number of e-mail scams had risen.

The US CAN-Spam legislation (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) was introduced in the US in January 2004.

The FTC said a survey by e-mail filtering firm MX Logic found spam accounted for 67% of traffic through its system for the first eight months of 2005 - a 9% drop from a year earlier.

Time Warner's internet unit AOL reported a 75% fall in spam received by its members from 2003 to 2004, the report added.

'Acceptable nuisance'


The FTC said studies from other countries, including Canada and Finland, "similarly report a decrease in the amount of spam reaching consumers' inboxes".

Most retailers and marketers were complying with legislation under CAN-Spam which allowed consumers to opt out of future mailings, it said.

Surveys also showed users were becoming more tolerant of spam, seeing it as "an acceptable nuisance rather than a cause for abandoning e-mail".

Internet service providers (ISPs) had improved their filters, the FTC said, and could now effectively block the vast majority of spam messages.

However, the government report warned, there has been a troubling shift in spamming techniques over the past two years.

"Spam advertising commercial products or services is being replaced by spam that is potentially more harmful, as opposed to merely annoying," it said.

"For example, phishing spam, which attempts to trick recipients into providing personally identifiable information to scam artists posing as legitimate businesses, has increased significantly since the enactment of CAN-Spam."

Article kindly provided by BBC News.

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Blackberry users stay connected

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The boss of the firm behind the Blackberry e-mail device says it came through its marathon patent dispute battle without losing a customer.
Canadian firm Research In Motion (RIM) reached a $612.5m (349m) settlement with patent-holding firm NTP, averting the possible closure of its US service.

Despite the uncertainty, chairman Jim Balsillie said RIM had not lost any of its four million users.

He said that the settlement costs would be paid from RIM's $1.8bn cash pile.

The settlement brought to an end four years of legal disputes with NTP, which claimed that RIM's technology infringed on its patents.

Patent trolls

Although the US patent office had yet to issue a final ruling on whether the patents were valid, a jury found against RIM three years ago.

A judge in a US district court had threatened RIM with an injunction to block its US service if the two sides could not resolve the dispute out of court.

"I am not angry, but basically we took one for the team," Mr Balsillie told the BBC.

"The uncertainty was interrupting our business, so we made the sacrifice. But it is not something we feel all that good about."

Some experts have hit out at "patent troll" companies like NTP, saying they acquire and use patents just to sue companies that actually make products and generate revenue.

They are particularly unhappy that in such patent cases firms are able to obtain injunctions that can then threaten a company's entire business.


The Supreme Court is due to hear a similar case soon involving eBay and a patent-holding company called MercExchange.

"We feel the system has been manipulated," said Mr Balsillie.

"We shouldn't have to pay for the predictability of our business."

Looking forward, he said RIM had not lost ground to rivals like Nokia, Motorola and Microsoft.

He said the company would push on towards its five millionth customer later in 2006 and would continue to offer new web applications like Google Local, which provides a local mapping service for mobile phones.

Article kindly provided by BBC News.

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Microsoft starts Blackberry rival

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Microsoft and Vodafone have joined forces to launch a portable email service that intends to rival market leader Blackberry.
In addition to sending and receiving e-mails, Windows Mobile E-mail will enable users to edit Microsoft Word and Excel documents.

The service will be available in the UK, France and Germany next month.

It comes as Blackberry-maker Research In Motion (RIM) fights the possibility of a forced shutdown in the US.

The Canadian firm is embroiled in a legal row with US software business NTP, which is demanding Blackberry be turned off, arguing the device has breached its patents.

'Exciting time'

RIM said last week that it had developed a software patch that would enable it to maintain its service in the US even if it loses a forthcoming court patent ruling.

Microsoft said users of its Windows Mobile E-mail service would be able to forward messages sent to Microsoft Outlook accounts on their PCs to suitably enabled handsets.

"It's an exciting time for companies who are now realising the true business potential of mobile solutions for both the business and for their employees," said Microsoft's Pieter Knook.

Microsoft and Vodafone launched Windows Mobile E-mail at the mobile phone industry's annual 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona.

Article kindly provided by BBC News.

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Intel launches marketing makeover

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Intel, the world's biggest chipmaker, will launch a new corporate slogan next week as part of a major rebranding.
The "Intel Inside" phrase is out, and the company will now encourage consumers to "Leap Ahead".

Intel will also change its logo, replacing the one featuring a lowered "e" with one showing an oval swirl surrounding the company name.

The firm wants to re-position itself as providing the technology behind many digital products, not just PCs.

Intel chief executive Paul Otellini is set to unveil the details of the new marketing campaign on 5 January at the giant gadget festival, the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

According to the Interbrand consultancy, Intel is the world's fifth most valuable brand, worth an estimated $36bn (21bn).

Article kindly provided by BBC News.
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Survey shows island logo success

Sunday, March 12, 2006

An association in Jersey which promotes local produce says 92% of people questioned buy its products because of the logo.
Genuine Jersey says its stamp on products is more likely to encourage people to buy locally grown produce.

Over 1,000 people were asked in a survey last year what they thought of the standard of Genuine Jersey produce.

Chairman Ken Syvret says the findings show how people in Jersey take pride in buying locally grown products.

'Detailed analysis'

More than 1,000 shoppers at various outlets were surveyed by First Research last November.

Mr Syvret said: "The brand is becoming very well recognised and vegetables, fruit and dairy products are the items that receive the best recall.

"A detailed analysis of the survey's findings will influence how Genuine Jersey is promoted this year.

"Our calendar of events for 2006 has just been finalised and we hope that initiatives such as activities with schools and increased promotion of the website will help to introduce Genuine Jersey to a wider audience."

Article kindly provided by BBC News.
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Google pledges on revenue growth

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt has reiterated the firm's belief that it will continue to enjoy strong increases in its revenues.
He was speaking two days after his chief finance officer George Reyes warned revenues were slowing, prompting a 10% dip in the share price.

Mr Schmidt said the firm would continue to expand outside its core internet business into other media sectors.

In January Google bought US radio ads firm dMarc Broadcasting.

High ambitions

Mr Schmidt told analysts on Thursday that the ultimate aim was for Google to become "a global $100bn (57bn) company".

Although Mr Schmidt declined to clarify whether the $100bn figure was in regard to Google's market capitalisation (the combined value of all its shares), or its revenues, its market capitalisation already exceeds this figure at $110bn.

Yet for Google's annual revenues to top $100bn will require both significant growth and time - its 2005 revenues were $6.14bn.

Article kindly provided by BBC News.

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Google shares fall on slow growth

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Shares in internet search giant Google fell as much as 10% on Tuesday after finance officer George Reyes said overall growth was slowing.
He told investors at a conference that the company would have to find new ways to grow revenues.

Nearly all Google advertising revenue comes from a pay-per-click ads system.

Shares in Google were down more than $39 to about $350 on Nasdaq at one stage before closing down 7.11%, or $27.76, at $363.40.

'Negative reaction'

"Growth is slowing and now largely organic," Mr Reyes was quoted as saying.

"The search monetisation gains have now been largely realised."

Tim Biggam, chief options strategist at Man Securities in Chicago, said that stock valuations based on future growth prospects were also likely to be hit when expectations were dampened.

"As in the case with Google... you are going to see this sort of negative reaction in the marketplace."

Google stock had been hit in January over fears that its shares were overvalued. Then, its 82% surge in profits failed to meet Wall Street's forecasts and questions were asked about its way forward.

At the time, it reported that net income in the last three months of 2005 rose to $372.2m (209m) from $204.10m a year earlier, lifted by a strong demand for online advertising.

"Google is taking a shaky market down. It's the other shoe to drop," said another analyst, Larry Peruzzi, senior equity trader at The Boston Company Asset Management.

"It's been a stellar performer and a leader," he added. "This is kind of new territory for them being this cautious."

Article kindly provided by BBC News

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Google in Storage?

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Google is preparing to offer online storage to Web users. The storage would create a mirror image of data stored on consumer hard drives.

The news leaked out from company documents that were mistakenly released on the Web.
The existence of the previously rumored GDrive online storage service surfaced after a blogger discovered apparent notes in a slide presentation by Google executives.
The notes were published on Google's site after its analysts presentation day last week.

"With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including emails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc and make it accessible from anywhere," the notes said.
CEO Eric Schmidt said one goal of Google was to "store 100%" of consumer information.
Copies of the notes were captured by a handful of bloggers and shared around the Web.
The company subsequently took down its original PowerPoint slide presentation and replaced it with a 94-page Adobe Acrobat file, devoid of the speaker notes.
When asked to confirm plans for a GDrive, a Google spokeswoman refused to comment but agreed that presentation containing the notes had been mistakenly released on the Web.

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Google Analytics - is it worth its price?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Yesterday, Google released a new service with the name Google Analytics. Google Analytics is basically a rebranded version of Urchin, a web analytics service that Google purchased in March.

What is Google Analytics?

Like other web analytics services, Google Analytics is a service that tells you where visitors to your site are coming from, what links on the site are getting the most traffic, what pages visitors are viewing, how long people stay on the site, which products on merchant sites are being sold and where people give up in multistep checkout processes.

The main difference between Google Analytics and other web analytics services is that Google Analytics is free. In exchange for sharing your data with the company, Google doesn't require you to pay directly for their analytics service.

Should you use Google Analytics or should you stay away from it?

Why is Google Analytics free? Does Google have to give money away? Of course not. Google will find ways to monetize this service. There is no such thing as free lunch. Everything, even what is seemingly free, must be paid for by somebody in some way.

Google already knows a lot of things about you. If you also use their new tracking service, you will tell Google how much you earn, when you earn it, which products you sell, how often you sell them, how much you spend for ads on other sites and you will reveal much more information about your online business.

Ask yourself if you want Google to know that much about you and your company. Do you really want to share your revenue information with a company that also wants your advertising dollars? Do you want to share your revenue information with any other company at all?

Google officials have declined that they will use the data to better understand how much you are willing to pay for ads, based on conversions. They also claim that they do not plan to tap into the data as a means of improving regular search results or to identify bad sites. Nevertheless, these things are easily possible if you use Google Analytics.

Google engineer Matt Cutts even writes in his blog: "Blackhat SEOs may be leery of using Google for analytics, but regular site owners should be reassured." That sounds as if Google might actually use the information for other purposes.

Think twice before using anything that is "free"

While Google's new analytics tool looks great at first glance, you should think twice before using it. The market power of Google can make your business highly dependent on Google if you decide to use all of Google's services. The more Google knows about you, the better they can get your money.

If a company in the real world asked you to tell them everything about your interests, the shops you visit, the magazines you read, your full address, your revenue and a lot of other very detailed and confidential information about you and your company then you probably wouldn't give that information to the company.

When it comes to Google, many people happily reveal information they wouldn't even tell their friends. Be careful.

Article kindly provided by Axandra
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Police take youth strategy online

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Scottish police force has taken its beat online through a website aimed at teenagers and children.

Strathclyde Police's spstation.co.uk page contains information on how the force operates, as well as advice on alcohol, drugs and bullying.

The site was launched on Tuesday by River City star Stephen Purdon as the force outlined a new youth strategy.

The children's website covers safety issues, while there are driving and crime awareness sections for teenagers.

This includes information on domestic and child abuse, racism, sectarianism and how to avoid internet grooming.

The youth strategy was launched at Annette Street Primary School in the Govanhill area of Glasgow on Tuesday morning.


Although a small number of youths are responsible for a high percentage of youth crime, the great majority of young people are entirely law-abiding
John Neilson
Assistant Chief Constable

The force said the youth strategy was aimed at promoting the safety of young people, targeting persistent offending and promoting the service among youngsters.

Assistant Chief Constable John Neilson said: "This strategy document sets out clearly for the first time how we will go about engaging with young people.

"Although a small number of youths are responsible for a high percentage of youth crime, the great majority of young people are entirely law-abiding.

"We must strive to counter this misconception and present a positive image of the young people as part of our communities.

Community groups


"Most importantly, all young people deserve to be treated with dignity, fairness and respect in all forms of contact."

The force said a leaflet which sets out the strategy would be distributed to schools and community groups.

The website, which was designed in-house, includes a virtual police station, which offers information about the force and the law.

Users can also access advice and help on personal and road safety, bullying, knife crime and child abuse.

Dairy Robert Wiseman has joined the initiative, with website details advertised on milk cartons.

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Yahoo honours the best of the web

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A primary school's website, a cloud appreciation site and a blog detailing one man's attempt to meet 500 celebrities are among winners in Yahoo's Finds of the Year awards.

Now in their fourth year, the awards aim to celebrate the best of the web.

The judging panel were looking for originality, creativity, design and relevance across eight categories.

A People's Choice Award - which allows the public to vote for their favourite - will be announced in February.

"The Yahoo Search Finds of the Year awards celebrates the huge diversity on the web and we've found some of the most informative, unusual, clever or bizarre websites out there," said Andy Williams, from Yahoo Search.



AND THE WINNERS ARE...

Best Community website - Text Treasure
Best Educational website - Woodland Grange Primary School
Best Entertainment website - Liveplasma
Best Innovative website - Net Disaster
Best TV website - Derren Brown
Best Travel website - Transport for London
Best Weird and Wonderful website - The Cloud Appreciation Society
Best Celebrity website - Greeting the 500

Woodland Grange Primary School beat off stiff opposition from a Nasa site dedicated to the Mars Rover Mission to win in the educational category.

The pupils received the news that they had won at morning assembly.

They are no strangers to awards. The site has been recognised in the past for the depth of material and resources on the site as well as acting as a showcase for the school work of the children.

Winner of the Best Celebrity Website was a blog set up by Julian Segal, who agreed to meet 100 celebrities from a list of 500 drawn up by his friend as part of a bet.

So far he has met around 50 of the celebrities listed - including the BBC's former political editor Andrew Marr, Chris Martin, lead singer of the band ColdPlay and Sir Patrick Moore.

He has just two weeks to go to meet the rest or face a series of forfeits.

An overall winner from the eight categories will be chosen on 2 February in the People's Choice Award. Those interested in voting can log on to Yahoo's Finds of the Year website to select their favourite out of the all the websites short listed.

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Google expands with $1.2bn radio advertising deal

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Google yesterday underscored its ambition to expand beyond its core internet-search business and into traditional media when it announced a deal to acquire a radio-advertising group for up to $1.2bn (680m). The agreement follows a deal struck last year when Google bought up space in technology magazines to resell to its online advertising clients

With about $6bn in cash on its books, Google is rapidly expanding into new areas of business and new geographies. The company allows its engineers one day a week to work on their own projects to provide a pipeline of potential money-spinning ideas. The company said it is buying the privately held dMarc Broadcasting for an initial $102m in cash. If certain performance targets are hit over the next three years, Google could pay an additional $1.14bn, the company said.

Article continues
"Google is committed to exploring new ways to extend targeted, measurable advertising to other forms of media," said Tim Armstrong, vice-president of advertising sales at the search engine.

DMarc uses an automated advertising platform designed to simplify the sales, scheduling, delivery and tracking of radio advertising. Broadcasters are able to use the technology to manage the scheduling and placing of advertising to minimise radio station costs as well. The company, based in Newport Beach, California, is run by brothers Chad and Ryan Steelberg.

Google aims to integrate the business with its AdWords platform. AdWords places relevant advertising on Google search results pages as well as on partner sites, such as the New York Times online and Earthlink. The company said the addition of dMarc would provide AdWords advertisers with an additional outlet to promote their goods or services.

Google confirmed in September that it had dipped its toes into print advertising sales. The company bought space in specialist titles such as PC Magazine and Maximum PC to resell to its existing advertising base. The company at the time said the scheme was a test and would not elaborate further. But it is clearly not satisfied with sitting on the rapidly growing market for search-related advertising. In November it provided advertisers with another service, trialling "click-to-call" sales, where web users can phone an advertiser using a voice-over-IP connection.

Shares in Google keep marching higher - they are now five times the $85 offer price when the company joined the market 18 months ago. The brokerage firm Bear Stearns earlier this month lifted its price target for the next year from $360 to $550. Piper Jaffray expects the shares to hit $600 this year. One analyst at the brokerage Caris & Company speculated that the shares could reach as much as $2,000 apiece. The market currently values the business at more than $130bn.

But doubts could creep in on Wall Street if Google strays too far from the internet search-related advertising business. Radio in the United States has been in a slump. The company had investors guessing when it raised an additional $4bn in a secondary share offering last August, adding to the $3bn of cash it already had in the bank.

At the time, Google said the money was for "general corporate purposes" including potential acquisitions. Last month it used $1bn of that money to take a 5% stake in the internet service provider America Online. The deal with dMarc Broadcasting will have analysts widening their lenses to work out what Google might buy next. "Don't be surprised," the firm warned at the IPO "if we place smaller bets in areas that seem very speculative or even strange."

Google has been throwing off new ideas and products at such a rapid rate that the firm last year launched an internal project called "fusion" aimed at trying to bring some of the technologies together.

One result of that effort has been the launch of a personalised Google home page, including news feeds, local cinema listings, stock prices and ultimately advertising. The firm has in effect created an internet portal that could eventually rival Yahoo or MSN. The company's revenue last year was around $4bn. Among other recent launches from Google, the firm earlier this month announced the Google Video Store, allowing consumers to buy and rent content from the likes of CBS, ITN and Sony BMG.

Article kindly provided by The Guardian

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BMW given Google 'death penalty'

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Search giant Google has "blacklisted" German car manufacturer BMW for breaching its guidelines.

Investigations by Google found that BMW's German website influenced search results to ensure top ranking when users searched for "used car."

Google has now reduced BMW's page rank to zero, ensuring the company no longer appears at the top.

BMW admitted using so-called "doorway pages" to boost search rankings, but denied any attempt to mislead users.

BMW's activities were revealed in a blog by Google software engineer Matt Cutts.


If Google says all doorway pages are illegal we have to take this into consideration
BMW spokesman
BMW's German website, which is heavily reliant on javascript code unsearchable by Google, used text-heavy pages liberally sprinkled with key words to attract the attention of Google's indexing system.

However, once a user clicked on the link displayed in Google's results window, they were redirected to a regular BMW Germany page, which contained far fewer of the key words.

'Do not deceive'

A BMW spokesman admitted the company used the doorway pages, which are created to do well in searches for particular phrases and direct users to a final website.

But the spokesman insisted the company's intentions were honourable.


Google
Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users
Google website guidelines
"We did not provide different content in the search results to the final website," Markus Sagemann told the BBC News website.

"However, if Google says all doorway pages are illegal we have to take this into consideration."

On Google's own website the company lists a series of quality guidelines.

First among those is a requirement to design websites for users, not for search engines.

"Don't deceive your users or present different content to search engines than you display to users, which is commonly referred to as 'cloaking'," Google says.

Google confirmed that BMW.de had been removed from search results, adding that it would not tolerate any attempts to manipulate searches.

"The quality of our index and search results is of the utmost importance to Google," the company said in a statement.

Google would continue to strive to protect the accuracy and quality of its results, it added.

Testing times

The action against BMW comes as Google faces criticism over its expanding activities.

Last month Google unveiled a new Chinese site, agreeing to Chinese government restrictions on search results.

The company's shares fell sharply on Wall Street after the California-based firm announced a $9m drop in profits, falling short of expectations for the first time.

It also bought a 5% stake in AOL, worth $1bn, fuelling fears of preferential treatment for AOL within Google searches.

Google has also remained quiet over accusations that business rivals have manipulated its click-based advertising system.

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Tesco in e-mail marketing assault

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Tesco is bombarding UK consumers with a massive e-mail marketing campaign.

Way ahead of its supermarket rivals, it issued 44 separate e-mail campaigns last month, more than Sainsbury, Asda, Waitrose and Somerfield put together.

According to e-mail marketing firm Interactive Prospect Targeting Services, Tesco is blitzing the nation with 16-20 million e-mails per month.

Tesco e-mail campaigns offer deals on everthing from DVDs, books and flowers to wine, gardening kit and gym gear.

Targeted

"Tesco has more information on more people than its rivals, thanks to one of the most sophisticated customer data-collection operations in the UK," said Mark Smith, chief executive of marketing company themutual.net.

Tesco.com sales were up 31% at 401m in the first half of this year.

It deals with about 170,000 orders per week, compared with its nearest rival, Sainsburys.co.uk, which gets about 38,000.

"More people shop with us online than with anyone else and we do communicate with a lot of them by email," said a spokesperson for Tesco.

"We know that customers hate junk mail so we try to target them as much as possible and make it easy for them to stop receiving emails if they don't want them."

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Turn a camera-phone into a barcode scanner. Easy. Just load the code ...

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The bottom could fall out of the bar-code scanner market any day - just as soon as a new camera-phone application appears, which turns any mobile phone with even the lowest-resolution lens into a device for reading these otherwise meaningless blobs.

Then again, the whole concept of a camera-phone scanner could die almost instantly on launch, if it turns out to be a Trojan gateway for phone viruses.

The software uses SMS extensions to communicate data back to a host server - which will delight mobile operators, since SMS is easily the most expensive way there is of shifting data over wireless, if you exclude reading the binary digits out aloud over the phone.

All the user has to do is point the camera phone at a barcode. Depending on what is in it, the barcode reading program could send data to a server, or download a program, or store the data.

The software is still in a "work in progress" state at LogicaCMG, where they see it as allowing businesses to put barcodes in places where it would never have been economic to do so before.

"The key is the way it frees barcode users from the need to use special purpose devices," said Ian Upton, business director of wireless enterprise solutions. "Mobile phones are standard devices which it is quite reasonable to assume people already have."

The technology works in reverse, too. A pilot operation is under way, using the phone's display as a way of showing rail tickets, or entrance tickets to theme parks, in the Netherlands. The customer buys the ticket, and it is sent in 2-D barcode form as a data packet, using the SMS network, to the customer's phone. The phone is then held up to the ticket scanner, which verifies that the holder has paid the fare.

The demo version of the software uses Aztec square barcodes, which can hold up to 3Kbytes of data.

But the company says it is only starting to appreciate just how widespread the applications are for this technology, in consumer areas, not just in warehouse stock checking or supermarket shelf stacking.

"The software in the phone processes the bar-code," said Upton. "So the application can be very specific to a particular process, unlike some proposed schemes we've heard about in Japan, or Korea, where they plan to use MMS to send the photograph to a remote site for processing. We don't have to transmit each barcode. We can take actions in the phone, and send only relevant data."

The code on the barcode can, indeed, be just that: executable. The scanning application required can be loaded by the user, simply by scanning the data on a barcode, which either executes directly, or connects to a central server to download an applet over the air, either by SMS or by GPRS.

"We're starting to be aware of the security implications of this," said Upton, "but how we will cope with them depends on who wants the application. It may be necessary to have no more than a simple checksum on some applications; but if people start printing public barcodes, then it may become essential to protect the network by using signatures."

But the system could contain its own security: it turns out that the data from a retinal scan fits neatly into an extended SMS message. "A normal SMS is restricted to 160 characters," reported the developer - showing it at the Orange Code Camp recently. "The extensions aren't universally supported, but where they are, you can get up to 1Kbytes of data into them - that's plenty for transmitting biometrics, including a retinal scan." The plan (at least at this stage!) doesn't involve using the phone to scan your retina. But the data from your retinal scan could be carried as a 2-D barcode, and there are sophisticated plans to ensure that this could be used to fast-track travellers through security/customs at airports.

Article kindly supplied by www.newswireless.net
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Fine-evaders may get chased by SMS text messaging from Magistrates' Courts

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Magistrates' courts across England and Wales could soon text fine evaders demanding they pay up, after the initiative was successfully used in the Midlands recently.


Courts are also looking at sending automated reminders by text, email or phone to fine evaders, offenders who don't do their community service and those who fail to attend court. The planned new offensive would ensure offenders comply with orders of the court, and provide an additional enforcement tool when they ignore their legal obligation.

The Office of Criminal Justice Reform is running a telephone reminder pilot in two areas - Camberwell Green and Devon and Cornwall. It involves a staff member calling the defendant to remind them to attend court.

Courts aim to use modern technology to speed up debt collection, compensate crime victims and ensure justice is done. It also sends a message to criminals that the justice system is one step ahead of them and it won't tolerate failure to respect the courts.

The SMS way of chasing persistent offenders was used recently in Staffordshire during the national fines blitz, Operation Payback 3. Staffordshire magistrates' court set up an automatic system for contacting offenders. It involved sending a "pay up or get locked up" message to about 150 fine evaders' mobile phones.

It worked! The element of surprise frightened about three quarters of the offenders into paying up immediately. Because it was so successful, it may form part of the National Enforcement Service (NES) which will be tested next April and come into effect a year later.

Operation Payback 3 was held between 15 and 23 October 2005.

Constitutional Affairs Minister Rt. Hon. Harriet Harman QC MP said:
"Everyone's got a mobile phone and as one of the most common ways to keep in touch these days, it makes sense for the courts to contact offenders that way too.

"It's about being one step ahead of the criminals. It doesn't cost much, it's quick and effective and most importantly offenders take notice.

"People want to see the punishment fit the crime. If it doesn't, victims become upset and prosecuting agencies become frustrated. It's demoralising for the court too.

"We've already changed the law to give magistrates' courts better access to information and material held by police and others, such as photos of people who are charged.

"Now we're examining how extensively we could use texting to remind offenders of their legal and moral obligations."

The possible new weapon in the enforcement armoury comes as figures reveal the most successful Operation Payback so far. More than 2m in outstanding fines was collected, exceeding the previous national fines blitz total which was 1.7m.

Operation Payback 3 was partly responsible for the fact that October had the highest monthly total for fines collection in two years, exceeding average fine collections by about 4 million.

Eighty two per cent of offenders pay their fine compared with just over 50 per cent two and a half years ago. The improvements are laying solid foundations for the introduction of the NES which will be tested in the North West next April and introduced nationally in April 2007.

It's a rigorous new enforcement regime that will bring together for the first time a range of enforcement initiatives developed over the past two years. These include better access by magistrates' courts to crime fighting intelligence held by police and other government agencies such as the current whereabouts of 'hard to find' offenders.

Ms. Harman said:
"Fines and community penalties can only be credible sentencing options if they're enforced properly. The certain knowledge that offenders will be pursued relentlessly if they try to avoid punishment will encourage them to pay their fine and do their community penalty.

"Respect for the court means complying with the orders of the court and where that doesn't occur, we need to ensure rigorous enforcement.

Article kindly provided by www.publictechnology.net - the daily news service on public sector IT & e-Government.

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