Yes, Your Dog Gets Jealous

In another case of science catching up with common sense, researchers have found that it is possible to make dogs jealous: they snap and bark more often when their owners engage with what appears to be another dog.

‘I Was Illegally Terminated’: A Working Mom’s Wal-Mart Nightmare

An absurd policy allowed the mega-retailer to run roughshod over Tiffany Beroid. Here's how bad it really got.

If TaskRabbit Is The Future Of Employment, The Employed Are F*cked

The employment of the future is here, and it's terrific for everyone except the people doing the work. TaskRabbit, which lets you outsource the things you don't want to do to people who need money, is at the forefront of this chore revolution, and it's already making some lives harder.

Does Mobile Advertising Work?

We’ve all heard for several years that the effectiveness of advertising — print, television, radio and even digital — is suffering from the law of diminishing returns. While there is some truth to that phenomenon, advertising in all forms is far from dead. In fact, since 1926...

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

One Consultant’s Approach to a Small SharePoint Cleanup

A pilot SharePoint cleanup project is straightforward. A consultant facilitating a small project to clean up a company’s SharePoint intranet can reach the lessons learned phase with a few basic tools.

Recall the mantra: simple is elegant.

Read full story...

Yelp Trends Tool Reveals Ten Years Of Local Reviews Data

Yelp is ten years old this year. Since 2004 the company says that it has collected 57 million reviews from users in nearly 100 cities in more than 20 countries. Yelp is now making that data accessible through a new Yelp Trends tool. Similar to Google Trends but more narrowly focused, the Yelp tool...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

iOS apps Square & IFTTT launch automation tie-up for merchants

Small businesses using Square's popular iPhone- and iPad-connected credit card readers now have a new way to connect the payments system to their other business processes, as Square and IFTTT on Thursday unveiled a new Square channel for the web automation service.

Google Maps “Explore” Feature Shows What’s Nearby Along With Reviews & Travel Times

Google Maps announced a new “Explore”  feature yesterday for its Android and iOS app. The new feature offers a “local guide” that adapts to wherever the user may be. According to the release: Now, whenever you want to discover places in your area, simply tap the new Explore...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Facebook Stock Hits New High, Doubling Its IPO Price


What a difference two years make

Facebook stock topped $76 a share in early trading Thursday, a new all-time high for the company and more than double its IPO price of $38 in May 2012. The company now has a market cap of $193 billion.

The stock surged more than 6% overnight following a strong second quarter earnings report thanks to continued growth in ad sales. Facebook reported revenue of $2.91 billion for the June quarter, up more than 60% year-over-year and coming in well ahead of Wall Street estimates

"Facebook handily beat 2Q Street expectations, driven by strength in advertising," Arvind Bhatia, an analyst with Sterne Agee, wrote in an investor note Thursday. "Results surpassed our expectations on almost every metric and the highlight was mobile advertising." Read more...

More about Facebook, Stocks, and Business

Family Booted Off Southwest Airlines After Dad Complained On Twitter

A Minneapolis man said he and his two children were kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight after the father tweeted about a “rude” gate agent who refused to give his kids priority boarding.

Blimey, Limey! UK Silver Set Getting Comfy with Shopping Online

Blimey Limey UK Silver Set Getting Comfy with Shopping Online 300x225 Blimey, Limey! UK Silver Set Getting Comfy with Shopping OnlineWell, it was bound to happen.

Apparently, senior citizens in the UK are starting to get more comfortable with the digital world and are going online for at least some of their shopping. On top of that, attitudes among the silver set toward shopping online indicate that this kind of behavior is destined to become even more common.

True, shoppers in the UK still see the “brick and mortar” store as their primary shopping channel. Even among internet users, in-store shopping is popular — particularly so for seniors.

According to March, 2014 polling by Retail Week in association with BT (British Telecom), 54.6 percent of UK internet users ages 55 and up shopped, for the most part, in-store.

But times are changing.

According to eMarketer, more UK seniors are saying they’re using digital more in their shopping endeavors. For instance, 14.8 percent of over-54s said they researched online and then bought in-store, vs. 19.5 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds.

Recent research (January 2014) for discovered that seniors seemed much less leery of online shopping than their younger cohorts. In fact, a larger proportion of UK internet users 55 and older said that nothing held them back from shopping online — 43 percent — in contrast to the 32 percent of millennials who had reservations.

37b97aafe3aee5bffdcf85f98539a0fa Blimey, Limey! UK Silver Set Getting Comfy with Shopping Online Blimey, Limey! UK Silver Set Getting Comfy with Shopping Online

There’s No Photobomb Like a Queen of England Photobomb


Here's a selfie photobomb to rule them all — no, really. The Queen of England is in it.

Hockey players Jayde Taylor and Anna Flanagan captured one of the most regal selfies of all time, featuring the one and only Queen Elizabeth. Better yet, the Queen is actually smiling — a rarity for Her Majesty.

The picture was taken at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre where the Commonwealth Games are currently taking place. Taylor and Flanagan are members of the Australian hockey team the Hockeyroos. (Bonus for the girls: The Hockeyroos also won their game on Thursday.) Read more...

More about Pics, Queen Elizabeth, Instagram, Photobomb, and Watercooler

Navy To Allow Enlisted Women To Serve Aboard Submarines

With female officers having served in the boomer force for nearly three years, the Navy is aiming for women to make up a significant portion of the ballistic-missile submarine force by 2020.

Why Can’t We Stop Talking About ‘Bikini Bodies’?

Every summer, tabloids and women’s magazines bombard us with news of “bikini bodies,” a predictable ritual with an equally predictable response.

ISIS Orders Female Genital Mutilation For Women In Mosul

The UN says militant Islamist group ISIS has ordered all women and girls in Mosul, northern Iraq, to undergo female genital mutilation.

Chicago Politicians Don’t Have The Monopoly On Corruption

In the past decade, more than 30 current or former state officeholders in New York have been convicted of crimes, sanctioned or otherwise accused of wrongdoing. Here are some of them.

When to Say No to a New Client: 10 Red Flags for Agencies

They say, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. But when it comes to bad clients, are you in better shape if you avoid the lemons altogether?

We consult for a number of small AdWords agencies. One emerging trend that we have noticed among newer agencies is that they jump at the prospect of bringing on new accounts, regardless of whether or not these clients are a good fit for them. These relationships quickly take a turn for the worse and the agencies find themselves in hot water. In many cases, the time and energy spent obtaining and onboarding these clients’ accounts outweighs the actual price they’ve paid to the agency.

Here at WordStream, our agency team does an in-depth account assessment for every prospect who is interested in our paid search services. Not only do we consider whether we can achieve their goals, we also keep an eye out for “red flags” that indicate they may not be successful, long-term clients.

We came to the realization that we needed a formal RFP process the hard way; when we first started offering management services, we encountered our fair share of nightmare accounts. In an attempt to prevent these clients from churning, we poured our hearts and souls into these accounts, only to later realize that our efforts were futile. As a result, we implemented an RFP checklist outlining all requirements for new accounts. If a prospect does not meet these standards, we walk away from the sale, regardless of how lucrative it may be.

Most successful AdWords agencies can sniff out “problem clients” from a mile away. In an effort to help new agencies develop this sixth sense early on, I asked agency experts to share their wisdom on the subject.

ppc agency client onboarding

I was lucky to connect with a number of agency owners, veteran account managers and PPC sales executives who were willing to share their thoughts on the subject. Participants included Aaron Levy, Andrew Miller, Bryant Garvin, Heather Cooan, Julie Bacchini, Kirk Williams, Mark Kennedy, Sakis Rizos and WordStreamers Rich Griffin and Elliott Reid. We devised a list of the top warning signs that you’re getting involved with a nightmare client. Save yourself a headache and think twice before taking on clients that exhibit any of these traits!

Red Flag #1: They have a history of bad behavior in AdWords.

If an account has received multiple warnings for policy violations, or has been fully suspended in the past, it’s likely that it is teetering on the edge of a permanent suspension. One small misstep—a disapproved ad, missing disclaimers on the landing page, etc.—could trigger the account termination, which is nearly impossible to bounce back from. Urge prospective clients to be crystal clear about their account history, so you know exactly where they stand in Google’s eyes. If you’re considering bringing on someone whose account does have a bit of a sordid past, take extra precautions when working in their campaigns. Also, steer clear of working with businesses that advertise restricted products and services, such as gambling, political campaigns, fireworks, etc. While their ads may have gotten through Google bots in the past, the moment you start making mass changes to their accounts, they are likely to get nabbed by the Google Policy police.

Red Flag #2: They don’t trust you.

This was, by far, the most popular response I got from the PPC community on this topic. Since clients are relinquishing control of a sizable portion of their advertising budget to you, it is important that they are confident with your skill set and respectful of your expertise. Kirk Williams, founder of ZATO, encourages new agencies to beware of clients who constantly second guess everything you say about PPC. In these cases, you often have to spend so much time defending your actions that you can’t focus on making optimal decisions for the account.

Red Flag #3: They have a poor reputation online.

If your clients have a slew of negative reviews online, this can severely hinder your paid search advertising efforts.

ppc agency bad reviews

Sure, you may be able to generate interest in the business and traffic to their site, but users may be hesitant to convert, given their reputation. We recommend doing a quick background check on the company prior to signing them to ensure they have a good BBB rating and decent Yelp reviews. If their reputation is abysmal, they’re likely to be a challenging account to work with. In some cases, this may also help you to discern whether the company itself is in good financial standing. We’ve seen some failing companies use PPC as a last-ditch attempt to garner new business. Nine times out of ten, these end up being very short-term clients.

Red Flag #4: They’re opposed to testing new strategies on the account.

Prospective clients are coming to you because they aren’t happy with their current PPC management solution, therefore they should be welcome your proposals to explore new techniques within their accounts (provided that your experiments are within reason). If they are super rigid from the get-go, it may be challenging to win their trust and convince them to be more open to testing in the future. Not only will this cramp your management style, but it could prevent you from achieving success within the account and keeping the client for the long-term. A good client understands that not all tests yield great results, but is still receptive to trying new PPC strategies.

Red Flag #5: They’re commitment-phobes.

adwords agency client red flags

Julie Bacchini, founder of Neptune Moon, likens the pre-sale process to dating. Now let me tell you, if I went on a date with someone who spent the entire evening complaining about his myriad of past girlfriends AND who couldn’t commit to date #2, I would certainly not pursue a relationship with him. Agencies encounter similar red flags while courting prospective clients through the sales process. Don’t ignore these tell-tale signs. Be on guard if the prospect has worked with numerous agencies in the past and has never been content. In this case, it’s likely that he or she is impatient, temperamental or has unrealistic expectations. If the prospect is reluctant to sign a contract altogether, run for the hills.

Red Flag #6: They refuse to acknowledge that their website is a disaster zone.

We all know this—our PPC efforts are futile if we’re sending searchers to a totally hideous AdWords landing page.

adwords agency websites

We can find the perfect keyword combinations, entice visitors with irresistible ad text, score a click….and then BOOM, the moment they land on the disastrous website, they high-tail it out of there and back to the SERP to click on your competitors’ ads. If your prospect’s website is poor and they’re willing to make adjustments, they could be a great fit (bonus points if you offer web development/design services), but if they are dead set on sticking with their current site, turn down the sale.

Red Flag #7: They can’t define their goals.

A prospective client with no concrete PPC goals? Sound like a goldmine, right?

adwords agency client tips

Wrong—just because they struggle to give you clear goals doesn’t mean they don’t have expectations as to what they hope to see the PPC account yield. Oftentimes, when prospects don’t provide clear thresholds for success, it means that they need a little coaching on paid search. Take the time to explain KPIs to them and help them to understand exactly what you’ll be able to achieve in their account. If you don’t have this alignment from the start, you may lose the client early on because they don’t understand the value you are bringing to their overall advertising campaigns.

Red Flag #8: Their goals are wildly unreasonable.

AdWords agency experts cited this as a problem that they encounter all too frequently. In some cases, prospects are focused on the wrong metrics and, despite our attempts to shift their perspectives, they are unwilling to budge on these requirements. For example, I’ve seen numerous prospects fixate on their Quality Scores, rather than more concrete measures of success like CPA or conversions. Even more frequently, clients want guaranteed results from the get-go. Anyone in the paid search space knows that this is a ludicrous expectation, as major account changes often take months to implement and optimize. If you cannot reset your prospects’ expectations appropriately in these circumstances, they’re probably more trouble than they are worth.

Red Flag #9: They don’t respect your schedule.

No doubt, it is critical for clients to develop good relationships with their account managers. They should be meeting regularly to discuss changes in the business model, upcoming promotions, account trends and more. However, it is a major red flag when prospective clients do not attend pre-scheduled meetings or call and email incessantly with questions about their accounts. If they don’t respect these boundaries during the sales process, there’s a good chance that things will only get worse as you take ownership of their account. Time spent dealing with the client can impede on the time you set aside to work in their account. Bryant Garvin also urges new agencies to be aware of prospective clients that “want to set expectations of ‘quantity’ of communication (especially by phone/video chat) without solid reasons why.”

Red Flag #10: Your gut says no.

I’ll leave you with these words of wisdom from Julie Bacchini, which I found to be really powerful—if the prospective client just doesn’t feel like the right fit for you, have the courage to walk away from the sale. Even though your reasoning may not be super concrete, if you don’t feel excited to work in the account, turn down the sale. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself dreading spending time in it and feeling as though it is distracting you from other clients. Save your energy for accounts that you enjoy working in!

Erin Sagin is a Customer Success Manager at WordStream. In addition to conducting software training and consulting calls for clients, she also helps to maintain our usability testing program. Originally from Western Maryland, Erin majored in International Studies with a concentration in Latin America at Kenyon College. When she’s able to take a break from PPC, you’ll find her practicing her hula-hooping skills or planning her next trip to the Caribbean. You can follow Erin on Twitter and Google+.

This post originated on the WordStream Blog. WordStream provides keyword tools for pay-per click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO) aiding in everything from keyword discovery to keyword grouping and organization.

Paid Search Portfolios: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Last month, I suggested that spending beyond observed profit maximization in paid search can make a great deal of sense on a number of grounds. In a nutshell, the argument is that a combination of other factors can make “losing money” on the incremental investment rational. Here’s...

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

An Algerian Plane With 116 On Board Has Crashed, Officials Confirm

A flight operated by Air Algerie carrying 116 people from Burkina Faso to Algiers has crashed, an Algerian aviation official told Reuters on Thursday.

Square, IFTTT Hope They’ve Found the Recipe for Small Business Success


Square is diving into recipes, but probably not the kind you're thinking.

The mobile payments company announced Thursday that it has integrated with IFTTT, a service that automates your tasks with a few manual directions.

IFTTT, which stands for "If This, Then That," allows users to create "recipes" — a series of events that occur once an initial trigger takes place. For example, a small business owner could have an email automatically sent to his supply manager when a specific product is nearly out of stock.

Or if a refund is processed, an owner could set up a IFTTT recipe to automatically send a text reminder to follow up with the customer the next day. IFTTT has been around since 2010, but the integration is the first time sellers could link their sales data to IFTTT for automated tasks. Read more...

More about Small Business, Startups, Business, Square, and Ifttt

You can now make Google Voice calls through Hangouts on your computer, all without a Google+ profile


We already know that Google has been working for a while now on completely migrating the functions of Google Voice into Hangouts, so that it can merge most of its communication apps into one (besides Gmail).


We’re getting closer to that reality now, as Google has added support for making phone calls via Hangouts from the Google Voice website — and you don’t even need Google+.

To get started, just go to your Google Voice account ( and when you go to make a call, select “Hangouts” as a “phone to call with.”

It’s a nice new addition, although not major, but still a step closer to full integration.

Source: +Alex Wiesen 

Come comment on this article: You can now make Google Voice calls through Hangouts on your computer, all without a Google+ profile

Digital Coupons Drive Sales [Infographic]

Everyone loves a deal. This infographic from the folks at Vouchercloud outlines the growth in digital coupons, who’s using them and how they’re being used. Here are some highlights:

  • The use of coupons during a shopping experience has risen from 63% to 92% in just the past five years, and a lot of this growth has been driven by online coupons.
  • Consumers have greater access to online coupons through email, shared through social media, and online via a plethora of coupon-specific websites.
  • 93% of coupon users say they’ll be very likely to use a coupon they receive in an email.
  • Not only has their access to coupons grown significantly, but how they fulfill them has changed as well. It’s estimated that 74.1 million consumers will use their smartphone and 68.7 million will use their tablet to present their coupon to a business.
  • Who are these people that using are using coupons? It’s really not a specific group. It’s split almost 50/50 between men and women. The age of users doesn’t vary much whether they’re 18, 30, 40 or 60 years of age. However, there are some coupons that are more popular than others.
  • Groceries, personal care products, and dining are the most popular coupon searches, followed closely by clothing, entertainment, pets and electronics.

So, we’ve got more people using coupons, using them in different ways, and across a variety of demographics, but do they work? The short answer is YES!

  • The vast majority of coupon users say that they’ll visit a retailer again because of being offered a coupon.
  • More than half said they would not have made that purchase unless they had a coupon.

Check out this infographic that explains how digital coupons can attract new customers and encourage existing customers to return.

 Want more marketing tips and advice? Get the VR Buzz delivered daily. 

© 2014, VR Marketing Blog. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

The post Digital Coupons Drive Sales [Infographic] appeared first on VR Marketing Blog.

Trip Hawkins releases second chapter of his ‘If’ iPad game for teaching kids emotional life skills

Trip Hawkins releases second chapter of his ‘If’ iPad game for teaching kids emotional life skills

Above: If

Image Credit: If You Can Company

Trip Hawkins’ startup game company If You Can has beefed up its app for teaching kids social and emotional learning skills. Today, it is releasing a parent dashboard for its game, If, and it is releasing the second chapter of the iPad-only title as well.

Trip Hawkins' new startup If You Can gets its name from a poem.

Above: Trip Hawkins’ new startup If You Can gets its name from a poem.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Hawkins — the charismatic founder of game publishers 3DO, Electronic Arts, and Digital Chocolate — has a new passion to teach children the social and emotional skills (SEL) that they don’t learn in school. He has a story-based app that gets lessons across that help kids deal with emotions and problems like bullies. But rather than launch it as a free-to-play game, Hawkins has gone a different route, releasing it instead as a subscription game.

That’s why every new chapter is important. It has to give kids enough new content without giving them so much that parents will complain about the number of hours they spend playing it. The title is targeted at children ages 6 to 12.

If it succeeds, Hawkins said in an earlier interview that he will consider it a bigger accomplishment than creating the blockbuster Madden NFL Football franchise years ago, when he was at Electronic Arts, the massive video game publisher that he founded.

While the first chapter is free, subsequent chapters require a monthly subscription fee of $5 per month. Hawkins believes that parents will like this better than the somewhat risky free-to-play model, where children sometimes get into trouble by spending too much real money on virtual goods.

Hawkins also said that each chapter will contain a few hours of gameplay as parents don’t want games to consume an inordinate amount of a child’s time. The dashboard app is a tool for parents to help monitor their children’s accomplishments and keep them motivated to do more.

Hawkins said that the game is aimed at helping kids manage difficult emotions, persevere through challenges, make healthy decisions, and show empathy and compassion. As important as all of this is, most schools don’t teach it.

If game scene

Above: If game scene

Image Credit: If You Can Company

If is cast as a kind of parable about empathy, and it imparts its lessons through a conflict between races of cats and dogs in Greenberry, an imaginary town. The goal is to bring the two factions into harmony. If is a fantasy simulation/role-playing game where kids try to walk in the shoes of an animated character who has to learn how to be sensitive to other living beings and how to deal with their own powerful emotions. You start as an animal character who runs into situations that help it learn to make moral choices and develop a compassionate attitude toward others.

With each new chapter, the child will learn something new related to emotional intelligence. Each chapter contains about a month’s worth of in-class lessons on SEL. In an age of a return to basics in education, SEL hasn’t been a staple in traditional curricula. But more schools are recognizing the value of SEL in an age of cyberbullying and campus shootings. Lessons include adventures like reuniting a mother with her baby.

Hawkins has received advice from social and emotional learning (SEL) experts, including Janice Toben, who taught Hawkins’ four kids at the private The Nueva School in Hillsborough, Calif., and also created the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning. Hawkins’ advisers include Toben; Roger Weissberg, the CEO of; another SEL nonprofit; Marc Brackett and Robin Stern of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence; and Fred Luskin of Learning to Forgive and a consultant at Stanford University on dealing with stress.

The San Mateo, Calif.-based company raised about $9.3 million to date from investors including Greylock Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund, and Maveron. If You Can Company plans to release additional chapters of If this year. Chapter one had more than 350,000 downloads. It had five-star ratings from 90 percent of its audience.

With each chapter, the child navigates a new If adventure, interacting with the combination of storytelling and popular gameplay mechanics to engage and motivate. The game is designed to take the child on “a hero’s journey” in which children slowly unlock If chapters.

“We’re delighted with the quality, depth, and value of this game,” said Trip Hawkins, the founder and CEO at If You Can Company. “It’s a big step beyond our preview of chapter one. When I became a dad, I wanted more than anything for my kids to be happy and capable. I saw how emotional learning could help them navigate the world. I did what dads do — I took my know-how in gaming and focused it on something important that really matters to me as a father.”

Based in San Mateo, CA , If You Can Company has developed an educational adventure game, for children. IF... The fun new game for improving Emotional Intelligence with SEL. Founded by Trip Hawkins (founder of Electronic Arts), Stew... read more »

Trip Hawkins is Chairman and CEO of Digital Chocolate, a creator of innovative mobile phone games and social applications, such as Tower Bloxx and MLSN Sports Picks. Trip is responsible for the strategic focus, overall direction, an... read more »

Twitter Diversity Statistics: 70% Male Globally, 59% White, 29% Asian in U.S. [REPORT]

How important is diversity in the workplace? A KelloggInsight report documented how better decisions are made by diverse businesses, while Catalyst noted that Fortune 500 companies with the highest representation of women board directors outperformed those with the least by 53 percent.

Now, Twitter has released data that reveals the company’s ethnic and gender diversity, and it makes for interesting reading.


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

FAA Lifts Ban On U.S. Flights To Tel Aviv Airport

The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its ban on U.S. flights in and out of Israel. The end of the ban, which the agency had imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets, was effective at 11:45 p.m. EDT Wednesday.

Using Social Media to Recruit New College Grads

Attracting students and young graduates has often been a top priority for companies, even before buzzwords like “employer branding” or “brand ambassador” emerged. And despite the double revolution of mobile and social recruitment, attracting students and young graduates is still an investment (in time and money) companies have to make to attract young talent. Yesterday: Traditional … Continue Reading

Using Social Media to Recruit New College Grads by Laurianne Laval -Maximize Social Business


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Salesforce Unveils Sales Reach with New Tools for Mobile

"Instant marketing and selling." That’s the idea behind Salesforce’s new Sales Reach offering, announced today. 

It combines the Salesforce1 Sales Cloud, marketing automation suite Pardot and Communities into on-the-spot marketing and selling tools. Salesforce1, announced last fall, is described by the company as its "next-generation social, mobile and cloud customer platform" with more APIs and options for mobile development and cloud development.

Read full story...

The ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Trailer Is Here

We know you've been waiting for this with bated breath.

Google Autocomplete Proves Summer Is Melting Our Brains


Google has a lot of important feelings about summer.

The autocomplete tool, while never once having made a strange suggestion in the past, for some reason gives pretty weird fill-in recommendations when it comes to everyone's favorite season.

Mind you, this isn't necessarily Google's fault either. The tool generates suggestions based on user searches.

Take a look through some of the strangest results we've come across below. And then get back to your sandy potato salad, you fascists

BONUS: 5 Surprising Facts About Google


More about Google, Web, Lists, Summer, and Google Autocomplete

More Exploits Expected to Enter Organizations via Mobile Devices

More Exploits Expected to Enter Organizations via Mobile Devices 300x205 More Exploits Expected to Enter Organizations via Mobile DevicesAlarm! Alarm! Alarm!

A new report is sounding the security alarm — and rightly so — for companies with BYOD policies in place.

The Second Annual BYOD & Mobile Security Study reveals more exploits entering organizations via mobile devices. All told, this reality a now a top BYOD security concern, experts reveal.

The Information Security Community on LinkedIn and Vectra Networks are behind the eye-opening new report.

The study found that nearly half of respondents agreed that users bringing downloaded apps or content with embedded security exploits into their organization, as well as malware infections, are top BYOD security concerns.

Additionally, 60 percent of respondents said that malware protection is a requirement for mobile security.

“Loss of company or client data, followed by unauthorized access to company data and systems are well publicized as security threats around BYOD, and they were respondents’ biggest security concerns in our 2014 study,” said Holger Schulze, founder of the Information Security Community on LinkedIn. “But it is very interesting that the study revealed that respondents’ next biggest security concerns were users bringing downloaded apps or content with embedded security exploits into their organization (47 percent), followed by malware infections (45 percent).”

A copy of the study can be found here.

37b97aafe3aee5bffdcf85f98539a0fa More Exploits Expected to Enter Organizations via Mobile Devices More Exploits Expected to Enter Organizations via Mobile Devices

TubeMogul, YuMe Could Benefit from Ad Budget Shifts


Last week’s successful IPO from Emeryville, Calif.-based TubeMogul, provider of a digital video ad platform, shined the spotlight back on other players in the sector, including Redwood City, Calif.-based competitor YuMe.

Both companies are poised to benefit from major brands shifting more of their TV advertising spending to the digital video market.

While the video ad market today is worth about $5 billion — relatively tiny in comparison to $197 billion spent worldwide on TV ads — it’s estimated to be expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 30 percent, driven by brands wanting to further extend their presence to where viewers are these days.

Read full story...

The Fusion Upstarts

To reach one of the world's most secretive nuclear-fusion companies, visitors must wind their way through a suburban office park at the foot of the Santa Ana Mountains, just east of Irvine, California, until they pull up outside the large but unmarked headquarters of Tri Alpha Energy.

How To Get Your Sex Tape Off The Internet

How hard is it to remove a sexually explicit video you've made from the horny corners of the internet?

I’m Ira Glass, Host Of ‘This American Life,’ And This Is How I Work

Ira Glass is a writer, producer, storyteller, performer, and a familiar voice. His show "This American Life" has set the contemporary standard of nonfiction radio shows, and has influenced and inspired countless others to grab a mic and give podcasting a try.

How A Solar Storm Nearly Destroyed Life As We Know It Two Years Ago

On July 23, 2012, the sun unleashed two massive clouds of plasma that barely missed a catastrophic encounter with the Earth’s atmosphere.

Influencer Marketing and Content FTW! 7 Steps to Co-Created Awesome

Influencer Marketing

What’s a faster way to connect with a target audience than building thought leadership from scratch? Working with influencers that already have authority and credibility with the target audience you want to reach.

Why so many companies focus only on buying their way into new markets and audiences I may never know. But working with industry influencers through networking, surveys and interviews has been an instrumental approach for our boutique and specialized agency to achieving amazing relationships with a substantial number of major brands and industry experts.

This post is an in-depth look at how your business can tap into the power of influencers and co-created content through 7 steps that go from planning to implementation to measurement.

And at the end, there’s a $500 off discount code for an upcoming digital marketing conference where I’ll be presenting on this very topic.

What are Influencers and what is Influencer Marketing?

Influencers are credible, authoritative individuals who have an engaged community that follows and acts on their thought leadership.

Influencer Marketing is working with influencers to affect change in thought and action amongst a network towards goals that are mutually beneficial to the brand, the influencer and their community. Whether it is a partnership to co-create content or more general advocacy, influencers open doors for brands to connect with engaged consumers they might otherwise never reach in a meaningful way.

Strategies for establishing influencer marketing programs:

What connects a brand with an influencer in a mutually beneficial way isn’t deep pockets and a famous person with high fans, friends and follower counts. Meaningful connections and influence start with context and relevant subject matter – topics. Brands that clearly define customer needs that intersect with how a brand wants to be known, can use that insight to identify topical focus for influencer marketing.

The logic is basically this: Find, qualify and engage people that are already authoritative and effective in their ability to influence your target market on the topics you both care about. Armed with specific topics of focus, influencers can be identified, qualified and engaged through a variety of tools, tactics and channels ranging from influencer discovery services to social networking to email marketing.

Creating value for influencers in a way that inspires promotion of brand messaging to the influencer’s community can support overall brand content marketing objectives. Building relationships with influencers that can deliver measurable impact keeps influencer marketing programs efficient and mutually beneficial.

Effective Influencer Marketing strategies involve an ongoing, mutually beneficial effort that bears fruit over and over again. Companies that can find influencers relevant to their own target audience and then provide those influencers with value, have a great basis for an influencer marketing program.

How to measure the success of influencer marketing programs aligned with business marketing objectives:

The success of Influencer Marketing programs relies on effective use of goal setting and identification of key performance indicators (KPIs). For example, it may be hypothesized that engaging with a certain group of news and social media influencers will increase online conversations and citations about your brand’s solutions and benefits, resulting in media placements, blog mentions and inbound inquiries for services.

Sophisticated Marketer's Guide to LinkedIn

A great example of this is The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn (client). Influencers were included in the creation of the guide and it was promoted and repurposed through multiple channels. With both influencers and content communicating the value, visibility of LinkedIn as a Marketing solution (vs. recruiting and jobs) resulted in a huge ROI on the program and millions in new revenue.

The KPIs for such a program might include influencer solicitations responded to, quantity and sentiment of influencer mentions of the brand, the social shares, engagement and links to brand content from influencers, the percent of referred traffic from influencers that turns into leads and sales, the percent of news media mentions, citations and links, the percent of referred traffic from news media that turns into leads and sales. A correlation of these KPIs can be presented as an overlay to web site traffic and conversions over time.

While there a number of strategies for using influencer marketing to achieve overall business goals, one of the most effective involves connecting with influencers to co-create content. Finding common ground between a target audience, brand and influencers enables content co-creation to provide value to all involved.

Content Marketing Strategy eBook 2014

An example of co-created influencer content that really shines is the series of conference eBooks we’ve been creating for Content Marketing World over the past 3 years (2012, 2013).

For the 2014 edition (pictured above), over 30 major brands and 10 industry thought leaders are contributing their insights into 4 different eBooks covering important content marketing topics like: Content Marketing Strategy, Audience Development, Visual Content and Content Marketing ROI.

The objective of these conference eBooks is to create awareness of the CMWorld conference by assembling strategic and practical insights from some of the most influential brands and thought leaders in the industry. The eBooks serve as a useful resource for any marketer who might want to attend the #CMWorld conference. They also promote the influencers that contributed. The eBooks also provide a living example of TopRank’s content marketing and influencer marketing expertise. On top of all that, the eBook series has become so popular that it has a 3rd party sponsor – Curata.

Performance measurement in reaching these objectives will come at many different levels and for multiple goals. The key performance indicators will range from the social reach, links and mentions at the individual influencer level, to the specific eBook they are a part of and to the overall campaign. Business outcomes to be measured include inquiries, leads and conference registrations.

We’ll be releasing the 4 Content Marketing eBooks (Strategy, Audience, Visual, ROI) starting in August so be sure to watch Online Marketing Blog and the Content Marketing World websites for their release.

With mutual benefit, influencer participation with content marketing projects creates opportunities for brands to tap into the influencer’s sphere of influence. Incentive for influencers to promote the content project is strong, especially when the content helps advance the influencer’s own goals for greater industry visibility.

So what’s a good process for developing an influencer content marketing program?

Putting A Co-Created Influencer Content Marketing Program in Action:

1. Define goals – Serving different audiences (influencers, brand, prospects, industry media) requires a strategy that identifies distinct goals. Influencers may want exposure, the brand wants to grow expertise for a topic and attract new business, prospects want expert information, the news media wants referenceable examples and subject matter excerpts as story sources.

2. Select topics – Topics represent the themes and areas of focus for planning editorial and for sourcing influencers. Topic alignment between brand, influencer and community is essential for mutual value to be created.

3. Identify type of content or media mix – Types of content are often determined by the content marketing plan, and target audience. At the same time, there are some types of content more amenable to co-creation with influencers such as eBooks, reports, blog posts, quoted infographics and video compilations. A clear line of sight must be present between the co-created content and the content objectives in the marketing plan.

4. Find, qualify and recruit influencers – Influencer sourcing and engagement takes time. Many influencer co-created content projects will draw from existing influencer relationships and involve making new influencer connections. Distinctions between brandividuals and influencers must be made – the influencers must be effective in their ability to affect actions amongst a community. Recruiting might involve small, easy projects that advance the relationship to more robust and substantial time commitments.

5. Plan, co-create, repurpose modular content – The content marketing plan for co-created content identifies the primary and sub-themes, the influencers to work with, the types of contributions influencers will make (according to themes), the type of content to be created, it’s component parts, social share messages and repurposing. Modular content planning allows pre-promotion of the co-created content project to build momentum for launch and then deconstruction of the content for customized repurposing and social promotion on networks, blogs, and the media.

6. Inspire participation and promotion – Influencer communications provide expectations and clear timelines along with the benefits for all when a co-created influencer content project is successful. Providing influencers with tools such as sharing images, pre-written tweets, embed codes and short URLs can substantially increase promotion participation and reach.

7. Performance measurement and optimization – Individual influencer promotions of the co-created content project can be measured based on social network shares, sentiment of those shares, engagement on the topic, links and blog pickups. Embeds used by influencers to create blog posts can be tracked for referral traffic along with referred social traffic from their links. Referred traffic that results in website visits can be further analyzed for metrics such as time on site, categories of content consumed, leads and sales.

Overall reach, engagement, traffic, leads and sales for the content project can be tracked as well, taking note of the contributions made by influencers towards key performance metrics like growing affinity between a topic and the brand as well as business outcomes like leads and sales.

Where to learn more about influencer marketing?

ClickZ Live San Francisco

I will be discussing the ins and outs, possibilities and best practices of influencer marketing, especially when it comes to co-creating content at the upcoming ClickZ Live conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, August 12th. Here are the presentation deliverables:

Learn how to identify, romance and engage influencers to co-create and promote incredible content that delivers for your audience and your brand. Through best practices and examples you will learn:

  • Topics and being the best answer for your category
  • Influencer content opportunities
  • How to identify, qualify and engage influencers
  • The mechanics of co-created content
  • Inspiring participation and promotion
  • Performance measurement and optimization

Besides myself, there’s quite a good mix of speakers that will be on hand to share their digital marketing wisdom including an opening keynote from Bonin Bough, VP, Global Media and Consumer Engagement, Mondel?z International (which includes brands ranging from Oreo to Ritz to Trident and many others)

There’s also an amazing collection of brand marketers presenting at ClickZ Live in San Francisco including: Pandora, eBay, HP, LinkedIn, Tribune Publishing, Hitachi Data Systems, Microsoft, Cisco, FordDirect, Verizon, Wyndham Hotels, Facebook, Hootsuite, SAP, IBM, Yahoo, Google, AOL, Nissan, Amazon and a lot more.

Honestly, this is one of the most impressive brand marketer representations that I’ve seen at a ClickZ (prev SES) event.

No doubt, there will be a lot to learn as well as some impressive networking.

If you register for the ClickZ Live conference using TOPRANK14 as a Priority Code, then you’ll get a nice discount $500 OFF on the admission fee. I hope to see you there!

Top image: Tom Fishburne

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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2014. | Influencer Marketing and Content FTW! 7 Steps to Co-Created Awesome |

“Making It Right”: A New Smashing Book on Product Management For A Startup World

You’ve seen this happen a thousand times. An organization struggles with a high level of internal enthusiasm and creative chaos that team leaders don’t know how to handle any more. To bring order into projects, a new product manager is appointed, under huge expectation, and with unclear responsibilities and big goals defined within a very short timeframe. That’s when things usually go south, resulting in failed projects, crushed teams and disappointed clients.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with our author and friend Rian van der Merwe, a senior product manager with a sociology and UX background, to create a new practical book to help product managers in the digital space manage projects effectively — the right way, with the right strategy, in the right time, with the right team. Making It Right is a book about just that: what product management is, what it isn’t, why it’s important, and how to approach it strategically and meaningfully to get things done well. Available today.1

What The Book Is All About

In the startup world, success is defined by the quality and reach of the product. The main purpose of this book is to help product managers who work specifically with digital projects build better — less complex, more focused, less long-winded and more intelligent — products. By featuring lessons learned and warning signs from real-life projects, the book provides a structured framework for strategic product management to help product managers build the right products, at the right time, for the right people with just the right amount of process involved.

Making it Right, a new Smashing Book by Rian van der Merwe82
Get the eBook.93 Get the eBook on

The book isn’t concerned with abstract models and theoretical concepts. Based on ideas discovered in actual projects, it explains the roles and responsibilities of product managers in a fast, agile startup environment. It features the characteristics of successful product managers and also provides a framework and practical guidance for product planning and product execution. If your company has to address these issues or you’re looking for a hands-on book to guide you through product management, this is the book for you.

The Structure Of The Book

The book’s structure has two main parts: product planning; and product execution.

  • Product planning explains how to figure out what to build and when. You’ll learn different ways to gather user needs, business needs, and technical needs. The section breaks down product discovery and looks at why it’s important to define the problem before jumping to product solutions. You’ll understand what goes into a strategic product plan, how to prioritize what problems to work on, and how to create effective, flexible roadmaps for product development.
  • Product execution gets into the nuts and bolts of shipping the product. You’ll learn how to choose the right problem definition (what problem are you trying to solve?) and how to distinguish between functional and technical specifications (how will the problem be solved?). The section touches on user-centered design, lean UX and how to test product hypotheses through quick, lightweight prototypes.
  • Finally, the book provides advice on how to establish an efficient working routine with team members through the “build, iterate, QA, release” process, and explains how to measure the success of the solutions being built, and how to feed those findings back into the product roadmap.

This Is What You’ll Learn From The Book

Let’s be honest: product manager is not the most inspiring job title, but it’s a critical position for building a great product and shipping it in time. In fact, it’s not something that everybody can do. Good product managers need expertise and specialized skills that have to be acquired and mastered first. You might not learn them all from this book, but you’ll know exactly what you need and how to apply these skills strategically.

In Getting It Right, you’ll learn:

  1. Roles, responsibilities, characteristics and common tasks of a good product manager,
  2. Where product management fits into an organization and why an executive mandate for PMs is a prerequisite for success,
  3. How to balance user needs, business needs, and technical needs in product discovery,
  4. How product discovery, product roadmaps, and strategic product plans frame the product’s development,
  5. How to redefine business needs by eliminating bad revenue streams and pursuing good revenue streams,
  6. How to avoid, minimize, and pay down technical debt that places strain on your product,
  7. Why many products fail and what the warning signs for failures are,
  8. Why minimum desirable products might be better than minimum viable products,
  9. When prioritizing themes, not projects or features, can help businesses to improve the quality of the product (the Amazon approach),
  10. When product roadmaps fail, when they work well, and how to set up a good one without timelines and release dates,
  11. Tools, techniques, workflows, and strategies for building prototypes quickly with a “design studio” approach.
  12. Practical guidelines and a checklist on how product managers can effectively start working at a new company.

Table Of Contents

Chapter 1 Roles And Responsibilities Of The Product Manager

Summary What is a product manager, and what do they do every day? This chapter starts by explaining why the product manager role is so important, including some common arguments against the role. Most of the chapter discusses the characteristics of a good product manager, and how they relate to day-to-day activites.

Keywords product/market fit common tasks product management market-driven approach characteristics I-shaped people feedback process validation stack schlep blindness prerequisite for success fairness roles responsibilities leadership collaboration culture.

Chapter 2 Uncovering Needs

Summary This chapter introduces the product planning process, and dives deep into the processes of developing a robust understanding of user needs, business needs, and technical needs. The starting point for creating products is — always — needs. Not what we assume would be cool, but what users or the business need to be successful. This chapter explains how to uncover and document those needs.

Keywords user needs business needs technical needs product discovery exploratory research design research assessment research bad/good revenue streams dark patterns product’s life cycle research usability revenue technical debt.

Chapter 3 Product Discovery

Summary Uncovering needs is one thing. Figuring out how to turn those insights into a successful product is something else entirely. This chapter discusses why so many products fail, and how to generate and prioritize ideas that won’t fail.

Keywords usable, useless products fishbone diagrams the five ways personas customer journey maps KJ-Method Kano Model Amazon’s approach product market fit problem definition strategic product plan prioritization.

Chapter 4 Product Roadmaps

Summary Product roadmaps can be controversial, to the point where some believe they shouldn’t even exist. This explains why you can’t live without a roadmap, and how to create flexible, useful plans to iterate towards better products.

Keywords product roadmap expectations elements of a roadmap product council release schedule.

Chapter 5 Defining A Product

Summary This chapter shifts from planning to execution by talking about generating ideas and prototypes to define what you’re going to build. It also discusses “design studio”, a very effective method to get teams involved in the definition process.

Keywords problem definition [user] has [problem] when [trigger] hypothesis testing design studio prototyping.

Chapter 6 User-Centered Design And Workflows

Summary The entire product management process has an undercurrent of user-centered design, so this chapter takes a slight detour to discuss the ins and outs of this design methodology. It also explains how product managers can drive and be involved in the process. The chapter ends with a short discussion on responsive design workflows.

Keywords budget estimates buying time acquisition, activation, activity responsive design content first pattern library usability wireframes prototypes iteration data-driven design responsive design workflows.

Chapter 7 Specifications

Summary • Specification can be a dirty word, but it doesn’t have to be. This chapter explains what specs are, why they are still important, and how to create specs that are actually used by developers and the rest of the business. The key is to remain flexible, to collaborate and only document what’s needed to understand and build the product.

Keywords functional specification technical specification marketing specification use cases flow charts deliverables dynamic specs accessible specs project summary success metrics competitive analysis project scope risks the last 20 percent.

Chapter 8 Build And Release

Summary • This chapter is mainly focused on how product managers work with developers to build and release products once they’re defined. It talks about maker vs. manager culture, and how product managers can help developers be most effective.

Keywords engineering development quality culture.

Chapter 9 Assess And Iterate

Summary • We often forget to measure what we’ve built. This chapter explains the crucial step of setting up the right success measures and feedback loops to ensure that the right information exists to continue to make product better with each iteration.

Keywords research triangulation analytics A/B testing features primacy/newness effects data meeting culture environment.

Chapter 10 Product Management In Agile

Summary • This book is methodology-neutral, but it’s impossible to examine modern product management without discussing how it fits into an agile framework. This chapter discusses how product management relates to product ownership, and how to be a good product owner without losing sight of the larger role.

Keywords agile role of the design “good enough” right-fidelity specifications scrum product ownership agile UX.

Chapter 11 Getting Started

Summary • Most books end with a summary. This one ends with a call to action. What should a product manager do during the first thirty, sixty and ninety days on the job? The theory is nice, the framework is nice, but how do you actually jump in, and start being a product manager? A few practical guidelines and a roadmap for getting started the right way.

Keywords first 30 days strategic product plan final 30 days product strategy product execution.

Author’s Note

Finally, here are a few notes from Rian himself:

“The book came about because I saw a lot of people in organizations perform some of the activities that make up the role of product management. The problem is that very few people take a holistic view of the product, and this is not a role that should be split up into tiny pieces. So, you see marketing people doing some design and research, business analysts doing some spec writing, developers managing the product backlog, and so on.

All this without a person who is responsible for the overall vision, prioritization, and execution of the product. I want to provide a complete framework for product management that is agnostic to whatever development process people use (agile, etc.). This book is my humble attempt to do just that.”

Written by Rian van der Merwe. Reviewed by Francisco Inchauste. Cover design by Francisco Inchauste. Inner illustrations designed by Anna Shuvalova. 190 pages. Available today.

Get the eBook

The eBook is already available5 in PDF, ePUB and Amazon Kindle formats, and of course it’s also provided in the Smashing Library, so if you are a subscriber already, the book is patiently waiting for you in your dashboard. Also, if you have an Amazon Kindle, you can get the eBook on for $0.996 — available only for the next 24 hours though.

If you’re interested in a printed edition of the book, please submit a form7 and we’ll do our best to make it happen.

Making it Right, a new Smashing Book by Rian van der Merwe82
Get the eBook.93 Get the eBook on

So here we go! We’re looking forward to your feedback and your thoughts, and we hope that the book is going to be helpful and valuable for you and to your company. Product management doesn’t have to be boring and made toxic with complex processes — this is why we created the book in the first place. Happy reading, and happy learning!

The post “Making It Right”: A New Smashing Book on Product Management For A Startup World appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

Swatch denies rumor it’s working with Apple on ‘iWatch’

Swiss watchmaker Swatch has moved to quickly extinguish rumors that claimed it is working with Apple on the company's hotly anticipated "iWatch."

Did Forrester Get Its Digital Experience Wave Right?

customer experience, Did Forrester Get Its Digital Experience Wave Right?

If it hasn’t sunk in yet for digital experience providers, let’s remind them: Forrester sees no leaders in digital experience delivery platforms.

The results came from the research giant’s first Forrester Wave for Digital Experience Delivery Platforms. So why no leader? 

CMSWire asked Forrester Wave authors Stephen Powers, vice president and research director, and analysts Anjali Yakkundi and Mark Grannan.

Read full story...

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Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

LeoNovus helps photo company process mosaic images in half the time

LeoNovus helps photo company process mosaic images in half the time

Above: LeoNovus provides computing horsepower for Picture Mosaics

Image Credit: Picture Mosaics

LeoNovus, a distributed cloud computing company, has announced that Picture Mosaics uses its technology to process photo and video mosaics in half the time compared to previous methods.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based LeoNovus, which is publicly traded on the TSX Venture Exchange in Toronto, has found a new way to do cloud computing; and it promises a higher level of geographic dispersion, security, privacy, and redundancy. It marshals unused computing power in PCs, set-top boxes, and other devices in order to create a distributed data center, or a geographically dispersed supercomputer that does the work of a centralized corporate data center. LeoNovus argues its tech is a lot cheaper and more power efficient than current data centers. And now it has a customer vouching for its technology with Picture Mosaics.

Picture Mosaics takes a bunch of consumer photos, uploads them to a cloud, and renders them into a photo mosaic. It also does video mosaics. Ordinarily, it has to use a lot of computing power in order to do that. But with LeoNovus, the company can spread the work across 20 processing cores and get a much faster turnaround in processing multimedia files. This helps Picture Mosaics because it has to satisfy consumers on demand, said Albert Charpentier, CEO of Blue Bell, Pa.-based Picture Mosaics, in an interview with VentureBeat.

“We’ve gone from around 36 hours down to 18 hours of processing time,” Charpentier said. “Time is money. Our producers may do the work in a day instead of three days. That saves us thousands of dollars.”

Picture Mosaics has worked with LeoNovus for a few months. Picture Mosaics has made state-of-the-art photo mosaic software that lets consumers and enterprises create high-quality, custom mosaics across every print and multimedia genre. Consumers use it to create personalized portraits, mosaic videos, large-scale murals, and interactive mosaics.

“We have a small compute farm on site, but to push this out globally, LeoNovus is the only solution,” Charpentier said. “It’s a win-win solution and a no brainer for us.”

LeoNovus has a plan to distribute free set-top boxes for hotel rooms. Normally, the hotels have to pay for these boxes that connect to the TV to movies and games. But now the hotels can get them for free and even make money from them. In exchange, the hotels let LeoNovus use the unused computer power inside these boxes. LeoNovus marshals these resources into what it calls a “distributed data center.” It then leases these so-calls distributed data centers to other companies that need computing power.

As announced last year, LeoNovus has a deal with a small town — Stratford, Ontario — where it’s testing this technology. The town’s 32,000 residents are getting free Internet access and a free set-top box from the town.

Gordon Campbell, chief executive of LeoNovus, said in previous interviews that LeoNovus, and its related research company Sviral, have figured out how to take “dark cores,” or unused central processing units (CPUs), and assign tasks for them to handle in a massively parallel program (one that does a lot of things at once). The idea has been around for years, but LeoNovus said in March that it and its sister company Sviral have cracked the code on how to do it. LeoNovus promises fast, secure, and cost-effective compute and storage services for enterprises.

Campbell is the founder of such Silicon Valley companies as QuickSilver Technologies and Chips and Technologies. He told us in March that distributed data center services are just one application of the new technology.

“We are currently scaling our projects for more concurrency and expect to achieve at least 3x performance,” Charpentier said. “This is a great fit for delivering high-performance concurrent computing so that we can increase our productivity, efficiency and deliver time-sensitive projects. We also have high value clients that are concerned about higher reliability and security of their multimedia assets, which the LeoNovus distributed cloud service delivers above and beyond servers housed in commercial data centres.”

“We are extremely pleased that we can scale Picture Mosaics workloads on demand to achieve greater efficiency for a faster time to market,” said Campbell. “As you can see by the work examples provided here as well as on their website, Picture Mosaics is rendering large amounts of graphics to deliver high resolution and quality products.”

LeoNovus’ sister company, Sviral, recently raised $20 million to use the cloud technology for its own purposes.

LeoNovus taps the unused processing power of hotel set-top boxes to run a data center.

Above: LeoNovus taps the unused processing power of hotel set-top boxes to run a data center.

Image Credit: LeoNovus

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 10.53.56 AMOur upcoming GrowthBeat event — August 5-6 in San Francisco — is exploring the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the scoop here, and grab your tickets before they're gone!  

LeoNovus Inc., a development stage company, engages in the development of browser-based SMART media Internet platform. Its platform with a managed system provides HDTVs and other consumer electronic devices with access to various featu... read more »

Social Media Newsfeed: Foursquare Rebrands | Facebook Earnings

 Click here to receive the Morning Social Media Newsfeed via email.

A Brand New Foursquare, with a Brand New Logo and Look, is Almost Ready for You (Foursquare Blog)
In a couple weeks, we’re rolling out a brand new version of Foursquare that’s all about you. Tell us what you like, and we’ll be on the lookout for great places that match your tastes, wherever you are. USA Today The company’s re-brand aims to better compete with local search platforms like Yelp and Google Places. “The local search is broken,” said Jon Steinback, Foursquare vice president of product experience. “We realized that we had the ability to change that, so we went for it.” Mashable Back in May, Foursquare announced that it was taking the check-in out of the main app and wrapping it into Swarm, a new distinct app. Starting today, if you want to check-in, you’ll need to install and use Swarm. The official Foursquare app will have check-ins removed and focus primarily on local discovery and recommendations. Business Insider Judging by initial reaction, Foursquare has its work cut out. Foursquare posted its logo change to Instagram and the commenters are not feeling it. It’s not as bad as what Airbnb got, but people are not happy. VentureBeat Last week, Yelp announced a revamped API and 25,000 calls-per-day limit to developers in an attempt to compete with Foursquare, though it might be quite behind as Foursquare has already been offering a 5,000 call limit prior to approval of third-party apps. In its blog post, the company also revealed that it now has 50 million users, and that more than three quarters of them have downloaded Swarm.

2Q Earnings: Facebook Has 1.32 Billion Monthly Active Users, 1.07 Billion Mobile Monthly Active Users, 399 Million Mobile-Only Monthly Active Users (AllFacebook)
On the financial side, Facebook posted second-quarter-2014 revenue of $2.91 billion, up 61 percent year-over-year, with advertising accounting for $2.68 billion of that total, up 67 percent compared with the year-earlier quarter. Mobile advertising revenue accounted for 62 percent of total advertising revenue during the quarter, after representing 41 percent of second-quarter-2013 ad revenue.

12 Reasons to Use Visual Content [Infographic] (SocialTimes)
Visual content grabs attention, is processed faster by the brain, generates more engagement and influences emotions. Images of products make them far more effective for retail ads than text-based ads.

Twitter Diversity Report: As Male and White as Facebook (CNET)
Twitter on Wednesday joined a growing number of technology companies in upping transparency and issuing a diversity report on employees. The outlook: predominantly white males, as to be expected in an industry grappling with deeply rooted gender and ethnicity imbalances.

Jon Stewart Launches Kickstarter to Buy CNN (LostRemote)
“It wouldn’t come cheap, though, with analysts saying the network would be worth about $10 billion on the open market,” Jon Stewart said. “It’s a lot of money for anyone, but not a lot of money for everyone. Which is why tonight we’re starting our Kickstarter campaign to buy CNN.”

Man Claims NBC Stole His Video From YouTube; Site Claims Fair Use (BetaBeat)
An active YouTuber is convinced that NBC used video footage he’d posted on his popular account without his permission. YouTube user Taofledermaus was relaxing at home on Friday, July 18, when messages started rolling in from other users, he says in his video explaining the situation.

Saudi Arabia Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison, 450 Lashes for Twitter ‘Homosexual Contacts’ (AllTwitter)
A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a homosexual man to three years in prison and 450 lashes for using his Twitter account to promote “homosexual contacts”, reports Gulf News. The 24-year old man was arrested after allegedly posting several tweets requesting to meet gay men.

Southwest Kicks Dad and Kids Off Flight After Tweeting Complaint (Gawker)
Duff Watson claims that he and his two daughters were forced off their Southwest Airlines flight from Denver to Minneapolis after he tweeted a complaint about the agent at the gate. Only after all three had exited the plane and the agent watched Watson delete the tweet were they allowed back on the plane.

What, How and Why People Share on Social Media [Infographic] (SocialTimes)
Web design and development company Go-Gulf created an infographic that breaks down what, where and why people share on social media. Pictures are the No. 1 type of content users like to share.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Choose the Right Path to Mobile

Thumbnail image for 2014-23-July-Maze.jpg

We’re more than halfway through 2014 — the year when mobile usage will surpass desktop computing — but many marketers and technologists are still scratching their heads about the best way to create a satisfying experience for mobile customers.

"Mobile is going to be there all the time. It’s going to be in your face. So, really, are you ready for that?," asked Fred Faulkner, director of marketing and digital strategist for ICF Interactive (formerly CITYTECH). During a CMSWire webinar yesterday, he fired off a series of questions to mobile minded managers on the call. (Watch the Webinar)

"Are we ready for the 2.3 billion people who are going to be using smartphones by 2017? Are we ready for the fact that, of the smartphone users today, 62 percent are expecting a mobile friendly website?," he asked.

Read full story...

These 3 Brands Are Doing Twitter Marketing Right

A look at a selection of brands that are embracing the new capabilities of Twitter and using the platform to its full marketing potential, along with tips for ways you as a marketer can do the same for your own business.

Make Your Transition To Google Shopping Campaigns A Smooth One – New Checklist!

Google is retiring Product Listing Ads (PLAs) in August 2014,and accounts running them will be upgraded to Google Shopping Campaigns. It is best to switch now, manually, so that you’re …


12 Sandsational Accessories for the Best Beach Day


The beach is the ultimate summertime destination

But even the top dog needs a little spicing up sometimes. If you don't want to lay on the sand turning into a lobster or swim in murky water, you can bring your own fun to the sandy paradise.

With a giant beach ball or a snorkel mask that has a camera, you can rest assured that no one will be bored. Maximize your beach time fun with these 12 wild products. Read more...

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Security researchers are increasingly finding an alarming number of ways to hack your home using the very devices designed to protect you.

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As a proposed advertising slogan, “Requires Effort” wouldn’t pass muster with Don Draper. But surprising new research finds that, under certain circumstances, people are in fact drawn to products that demand some work.

A Photo That Shows The Complicated Global Divide Over Gaza

If you wanted one photo that showed how divided the world was over Israel, this might be it.

Derailed On The Death Train

For every Central American migrant who makes it to the U.S. border, countless others are stuck in the purgatory of Mexico City on the long journey north.

Movius raises $13M to give BYOD users multiple phone lines, split billing on one device

Movius raises $13M to give BYOD users multiple phone lines, split billing on one device
Image Credit: Shutterstock

Movius, a messaging and call completion service provider, has raised $13 million in financing, it announced today.

It will use the funding to expand its CAFÉ and myIdentities platforms globally. CAFÉ is short for Communication Applications Framework Engine, which the company calls a “next generation mobile applications platform.”

In plainer English, the company’s services allow people to use the same device for business and personal use, with support for multiple phone lines, split billing, and more. Basically, these services allow people to manage their multiple identities and roles in life without needing to use more than one device.

Movius has partnered with 150 global carriers thus far, with more partnerships promised for later this year.

Brand new venture capital firm, PointGuard Ventures led the round and seems enthusiastic about the deal. “Movius is already becoming a new industry standard almost simultaneously in support of a massive new global communications segment,” said PointGuard Ventures’ managing director Krish Panu in a statement. “We couldn’t be happier making Movius our first mobile investment,” he said, noting that more additions to the firm’s portfolio will be announced as the year progresses.

New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and Anschutz Investments also contributed to the funding round.

Movius was founded in 1999 and is currently headquartered in Duluth, Georgia. It has raised a total of $39.5 million in previous funding rounds. Its biggest competitors at the moment are Alcatel-Lucent and Tecnotree, both of which offer variations on the services Movius provides, with greater emphasis on enterprise-level solutions.

PointGuard Ventures was founded by Krish Panu and Pete Thomas and is based in Menlo Park, Calif.

Movius® is a global leader in application enablement for service providers. End user culture has changed forever and we now live in a world where mobility, control, personalization and hyperlocal searches are the norm. We enable a uni... read more »

How to Use the Internet for Foreplay


Calling all couples: The Internet is your new best friend when it comes to foreplay

From secret Pinterest boards to sexy subreddits, there are plenty of sites that can dole out useful relationship tips. If you're uncomfortable talking about foreplay, these sites will help break the ice

Here are six ways to use the Internet for all your NSFW needs

1. Share a secret Pinterest board.


Search Pinterest tags like "romance" to find flirty images

Image: Pinterest

Sure, when most couples think "Pinterest," flowery dream weddings and proposals come to mind. But there are additional ways to use the visual social network. Read more...

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Babies’ Brains Practice Words Long Before They Can Speak

Babies mentally rehearse the movements required for speech long before they utter a word, scientists reported July 14 in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

9 SEO Techniques to Dominate the Most Popular Methods of Content Discovery

types_of_searchesThough Google gets roughly 3.5 billion searches a day, there are really only three types of searches that people perform -- navigational, informational, and transactional. If you want get more people to find you in search, you need to know how to optimize your content for each of these types.  READ MORE »

Thailand’s NBTC proposes ฿690 DTT receiver subsidy coupoon

Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has proposed a value of 690 baht ($22) for the digital TV subsidy coupons that it will distribute by mail to 22 million households in the country.

What Makes Great Ecommerce Websites Great? Part 1. The Home Page

5 examples of retail home page good practice

Great ecommerce websites are likely to be based on personal preference. But many would agree there are common practices for persuasive design that should be tested, if you’re not using them already.

In this post, I take a look at a range of less well-known small to medium business ecommerce websites where I have deconstructed the practices to suggest a shortlist of ‘must have features’ for the homepage. It’s part one of a series of posts, next I’ll be looking at category pages. Of course, in a blog article there is a limit on what can be sensibly covered. See the relevant Smart Insights guide for more details.

Home page feature 1. Clear Navigation covering sufficient product categories

Browsing is a core user activity on the home page. So your site menu / navigation should be simple enough to be clear to the user, yet allow them a more comprehensive choice of browsing than top-level categories alone. For example has a very clear top level navigation – womens, mens, kids etc. It then breaks out the top categories into sub-category options along a left hand menu. In addition there are clear navigation options for the advertised sales products, so allowing the user a wide choice in how to navigate the site. home page

Home page feature 2. Ensure On-Site Search is prominent and sufficiently sophisticated

Search is another key home page behaviour. Users today are less patient than they ever were, particularly if they are in the ‘Hunter’ stages of the conversion path i.e. ready to convert. Ensuring that they can get straight to the product they want with no confusions or diversions can mean a large difference in conversions therefore ensuring that your search box is a clearly visible navigation option as soon as they hit your site is a good call!

However it’s not just the visibility that’s important- it’s also the functionality. Providing a search option that churns out 200 results with no further way of filtering adds complexity and reduces conversion rates. So ensure that you take steps to make your search more user friendly through predictive search suggestions and filtering options on search results pages as seen below on

lifeandlooks on-site search from home page

Home page feature 3. Define strong Value Propositions and personalised customer service messaging

Many great home pages are now using personalisation to really ‘hook’ their customers- this is back to old school sales techniques. If you can build a rapport with your customer, you are more likely to achieve a sale. And if you can show the customer what it is that they are looking for (right time, right place) even better! The likes of House of Fraser welcome you by name when you arrive on their site – and if they don’t know your name they have a likable ‘Hello Stranger’ quip.

Smaller ecommerce websites are continuing to increase their usage of customer service messaging nicely too. In the below example some small customer service touches such as detailing free delivery and returns work well. Remember it is a customer that converts, not a web page!

customer service messaging on home page

Home page feature 4. Use distinct Calls to Action for primary paths

Too many website designs rely on customer interpretation of their prompts rather than having a very clear call to action. Customers are not mind readers! Make your call to action so clear that it leaves them no choice but to understand the message and then the visitor will need to resort to the menu less often. I came across this nice example recently from uk website MoodByMe- a website that allows you to customize your very own cashmere clothes, which they tell us clearly on the home page. Multiple times:

moodbyme homepage calls to action

Your home page is one of the most important pages on your website to get right. Not only is it your ‘shop window’ it is also a high footfall area. A snapshot of 10 Ambition Digital ecommerce clients shows that on average 17% of a websites’ page views will be concentrated on the home page. So show your home page some love and ensure you create a better ecommerce website!

Blogs Are Not the Only Type of Owned Content, Meet the Microcontent Hub

Carrie Kerpen at Social Fresh EAST 2014 - photo by Anthony Quintano

Carrie Kerpen at Social Fresh EAST 2014 – photo by Anthony Quintano

Carrie Kerpen (@carriekerpen) is the CEO and co-founder of Likeable Media.

She was our opening presenter at the most recent Social Fresh social media conference, in Orlando July 16-18, 2014. Her session focused on owned media, and the value of bringing your social content back to an owned channel.

To Truly Own Your Content Is To Step Away From The Social Network

Carrie has a great story about how her mom disagreed on many things while she was growing up, like always taking photos of her with messy hair (come one mom), but they share a true love…

… A love of all things Oprah.


Oprah is a great example of owned content. Ironically, even her Oprah Winfrey Network TV channel is called OWN.

When Oprah started her own network, she wanted more control over what she was doing. She wanted more control over HER CONTENT. But it took Oprah focusing on the kind of content that resonated with her audience for OWN to go from a lagging channel to success.

oprah success

It is important for organizations to learn what their customers truly connect with. And it is important to own that content whenever possible.

Don’t Own The Message, Own The Medium

Carrie reminded attendees not to be concerned about “owning your message” or what your community says about you. “We all know that is a fleeting goal of marketing past” she said.

But, because of the reality of social networking present and future, Carrie directed marketers to look seriously at the where their content lives and what value their business gets, both today and far into the future, from the placement of content on social networks only.

As an example of the motivation behind this type of thinking, let’s look at Facebook organic reach over the last 2 years. These numbers are from Likeable Media customers.

fb reach

Organic Post Reach has seen quite a down turn over the past 3 years.  In September 2011 it was 40%  and by December 2013 we saw it down to an average of 8%. This puts a spotlight on the need to own our social content.

When we put all of our money and time and content into social networks that change TOMORROW or go away TOMORROW, there is a need for a shift.

Two things that are inevitable in social media.

1. The tools will change.

The way we market on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter this year will not be how we market on those networks in a year from now. You are likely testing marketing on social networks today that will not be here in 1-2 years.

2. Networks will continue to monetize through brands (NOT users.)

Social networks will not ask users to pay. It is the businesses trying to access those users that will pay for the social networking infrastructure.

Building off these two inevitabilities, Carrie asks “Why don’t we focus on owning our own content?  We feel we need to spend time where the community is (Facebook, Vine, Twitter), instead of thinking through where the content will benefit our business the most.”

It is important to spend time on the social networks where your community spends its time. “That is not wrong” as Carrie says.

But the ideal is to have this content also live on your owned website. So then the community comes to you and shares your message out to the social networks for you.

The sharing is key.

A blog is the most recognizable form of this owned content that allows your brand’s community to share from.

Carrie recommends a couple other methods for owning your content. In this article we wanted to focus on just one of those recommendations, one that might not be as widely used as blogs, the micro-content hub.

The Microcontent Hub

A microcontent hub is exactly what it sounds like. It is a website or section on your brand website where your community can go to add, discover, and/or share microcontent.

As an example of a microcontent hub, Carrie points to Fruit of the Loom’s Father’s Day GIF registry. For a Father’s Day campaign users could send Dad fun animated GIF ‘vouchers’ through an OWNED microsite.

fruit of the loom gif registry

“When you think about great content to share, you don’t really think about your underwear website,” Carrie said while introducing this unique Fruit of the Loom example.

All of a sudden, through this campaign, Fruit of the Loom’s website wasn’t just a place for underwear.  They created an entire content hub.  It was the place to start your day happy.

Here is an example of one of the gifs you could share with the message “Dad would start everyday this way if he could”:


Another example of a microcontent hub is the Snickers website.  They combine all the social content created for distribution across the web with user generated content from fans.

The site embodies great Snickers marketing images with a splash of their fans’ passion.

snickers website

Disney’s Maleficient

Disney made it’s own version of a microcontent hub with a promotional website for the feature film Maleficent. The website was designed to house a ton of preview content from the film, as well as original art related to the movie, that you could not find anywhere else.

And of course it was all one click away from being shared across Tumblr and other social networks.

disney maleficent hub

Nine West

A section of the Nine West website, their  social gallery, is dedicated to featuring fan produced content around the brand. The heavily Instagram inspired page spotlights user images using the hashtag #9WWEDOSHOE.

They call it their Shoe and You Gallery and encourage fans to tag their photos in order to be featured. They also connect the photos to the products in the shots.

nine west gallery


“We want to give the community something to talk about.  If it’s valuable, it will be shared,” says Carrie.

“It’s not that you can’t share your message, but think about giving your community a reason to visit your website AND share your message.  If you do that, you will see far greater rewards.”




12 Quotes to Motivate Your Creativity


Sometimes you need a little motivation to get you goingDIY inspiration isn't just a Pinterest thing

While you're gathering supplies for your next project, take some time for a little advice from some of the world's favorite authors, filmmakers, artists and musicians. Before you know it, you'll be bursting with creativity.

Whether you're an avid knitter or just looking for some creative solutions for your home, every project has to start with some inspiration. Read more...

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Get Vertical-Specific With PPC Timing and Device Targeting

A one-size-fits-all approach to campaign timing and device targeting just won't work in this day and age. Marketers need to get specific and refine their PPC campaigns by vertical, device, and time of day.

Twittersphere Abuzz With Negativity Over Pinterest’s New Brand Leader

The general sentiment is that David Rubin's success with the Axe brand is unlikely to help him grow the social network's male audience.

Data Helps Wyndham Hotel Group Deliver a Five-Star Experience

The hotel company relies on technology to ensure that its rates and inventory are in sync across platforms.

10 Things You Didn’t Know You Agreed to via Terms of Service


The terms of service, also known as the document you're supposed to read before signing up for a site or platform, is a treasure trove of legal guidelines, rules and permissions that few people really care about.

But there are a few things you're agreeing to, hidden within the jargon, that might change the way you use the web. Some permissions, like keeping personal information, protecting copyrights and preventing impersonation, are well-known and relatively innocuous. That said, there's a chance you're violating a term of service without even realizing it.

More about Facebook, Twitter, Social Media, Terms Of Service, and Features

How to Get Started With Social Media Marketing

Do you need a beginner’s guide to social media marketing? Looking for something to help you get started with social media? Social media is a conversation you can join any time. Join now. You’ll be welcomed. In this article I’ll help you blast through the hardest part of social media: getting started. Right here. Right [...]

This post How to Get Started With Social Media Marketing first appeared on Social Media Examiner.
Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

Be the editor of your brand

There are about a thousand ways to say what I need to say today: Less is more. Never add, always subtract. Pare it down. I’ve recently decided that we could all use a good editor. It’s easy to believe that pushing out new content several times a day is the goal. It isn’t the goal. It isn’t even close to the goal because, well, it’s potentially annoying to your customers. The goal should be pushing great, sharable content. I think that’s where we all started. I think we started with good intention to contribute great content to our audiences, but then we fell into the trap that we all fall into from time to time. If it works…do more! Sometimes more is just more. Never forget that. More is just more. More does not equal better. Better equals better.

So instead of building more content for the sake of having something to post, only put something out that is a real point of view or really useful. Even if this isn’t a long post/update/podcast. Even if it isn’t the old level of frequency. Make every piece of content count. Why? A few reasons: chances are your audience did not wake up today wondering what you are up to on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. If your blog post doesn’t come into their feed today, they are not going to stop and wonder if everything is ok. Because they care about 100% less about your brand than you think they do. Another reason: weak content hurts you because it makes it easier to ignore you. You do not wish to be ignored.

But what about test and learn?

Less is MoreWe often preach test and learn. Test and learn doesn’t mean you have to add to the content cycle, it means you need to have a plan and be meaningful in your content. When you have a plan and direction and insights you want to test against, then you can really perform content tests to see what will be engaging and shared. Test and learn does not mean throw a bunch of content out there to see what sticks. It just doesn’t. Because that isn’t a plan at all. It is reckless and it will not help you learn what works and what you should be doing. With this in mind, let’s try to agree that we need a plan and we need to start editing our content strategies to be more meaningful to not only your brand but to your audience. So, here’s what we need to do…

Stop posting to just post

We all do it, heck I do it. And you know what, I bet you can tell. The same goes for all the social updates. Find the right content to post and test to learn. Don’t feel compelled to fill your social updates because you think you should. Post when you have something useful to share. Which leads me to the second point:

Have something to say

This talks to having a plan and a voice in the marketplace. Your content should have a unique point of view. It should push buttons or provide value to your audience it should be unique, memorable. If you are getting ready to share something on social in an update or a blog post or ebook, make sure it is a point of view that you can stand for and behind.

Say it in fewer words

If you can use fewer words to get your point across you should. People skim. They read short sentences to get the gist. Use powerful words and less of them that might seem comfortable. Trust me, they’ll get it. We can get better and better at being concise and it will pay dividends.

We can do this. Let’s get started.

A Family’s Lost Love Letters, A Stranger, And A History Revealed

The story of my mother’s family is built on dark secrets and tragic losses — suicide, sudden death and fatherless children — yet there was always a treasured relic that transcended the pain: the many love letters my grandfather wrote to my grandmother when he was fighting in World War II, the letters that won her heart and her hand.

Summertime and the Blacklisting Is Easy: Tips to Steer Clear in the High Season

Summer is high season for email blacklisting. What can marketers do to avoid being put on the dreaded blacklist, which could effectively ruin their email ROI?

Algeria Passenger Plane Disappears From Radar


Algeria news agency reported Thursday that a passenger plane has disappeared from radar on flight from Burkina Faso.

No details about the number of passenger on flight AH5017 were given. The plane was en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers, and it disappeared some 50 minutes after take off, Reuters reports

Developing...

More about Algeria, Plane, Us World, Us, and World

15 Jaw-Dropping Waterfalls Worth Chasing


Planet Earth has countless jaw-dropping landscapes, but of all its stunning scenery, waterfalls are the most impressive.

There's something oddly mesmerizing about watching water plunge off the top of a waterfall. Its hypnotic, infinite flow of beauty can trap even the most seasoned nature-gazer.

Unfortunately, not all of us can stare the day away watching loops of plummeting water, but we can take a few moments to gawk at these beautiful pictures of waterfalls. Read more...

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New Google Maps for Android and iOS Takes a Jab at Foursquare


Google has announced a new version of Google Maps for Android and iOS devices, adding a new Explore function that lets you find interesting spots near your location

Located in the bottom right corner of the app, the Explore button gives you an overview of what's nearby. It's not only location-sensitive — the feature also pays attention to the context, meaning you'll get different results depending on the time of day and the weather

To get the best results, you need to have both location reporting and history turned on

And to find out more about a location, Android owners can tap on the "My Location" button at the bottom right or on the blue dot on the map and get info such as restaurant reviews and transit schedules Read more...

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5 Ways to Find Leads and Customers on Twitter

Do you need more leads? Have you used Twitter to find qualified leads? Does the idea of finding new customers on Twitter peak your curiosity? Many businesses don’t know how to cut through the clutter and find the people they’re looking for on Twitter. In this article you’ll discover five ways to find leads and [...]

This post 5 Ways to Find Leads and Customers on Twitter first appeared on Social Media Examiner.
Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

With The Blessing Of Bill Gates, An Unlikely Summertime Best Seller

Summertime reading lists are typically heavy on page-turning novels — not a collection of business articles, published as a book in 1969, and long out of print until a few weeks ago.

How to Get More People to Register for Your Next Event

event-crowdAccording to a recent HubSpot and Eventbrite survey of event organizers and attendees, 84% of respondents feel that attending events is an important part of their job, with 79% going to events specifically to learn something. However, over a third of those people are being left disappointed with the events they are invited to. READ MORE »

Our Fear Of Immigrants

Why did a group of fourth graders rally in support of an undocumented classmate while the citizens of Murrieta, California, tried to stop immigrant children from entering their town?

Building A New Hockey Helmet

Virginia Tech scientists and engineers will test popular brands and establish a ratings system similar to that of football helmets in an effort to reduce the number of concussions.

Tencent invests $3.2M into a laundry-on-demand service in China

Not be outdone by the U.S. and its Washio, Chinese internet giant Tencent has invested $3.2 million into an on-demand laundry service with an app made by laundromat chain Rongchan, reports say.

The service, named Edaixi, currently receives about 1,000 orders per day, and hopes to reach 10,000 per day within the next year. It offers a flat-rate $16 service for the washing of all items in one of its custom laundry bags, unlike most of its customers that only charge per item of clothing. Customers can also get individual items of clothing, shoes, furniture, air conditioners, and handbags cleaned through the service.

Edaixi’s customers can submit their orders through the website, native app, or WeChat messaging app, which Tencent owns. The service then picks up the laundry and delivers it back all clean within 72 hours. It aims to eventually be able to always pick a customer’s laundry within 48 minutes.

Rongchang will use the new funding to expand the service’s coverage in Beijing, the only city where it’s currently available, as well as to expand in additional cities. The company took on Tencent as an investor because of its belief in the Internet giant’s understanding of the online-to-offline model, Rongchang’s founder Zhang Rongyao told 36k.

Competitor 24tidy raised new funding just a few days ago, and Edaixi also faces competition from Ganxike, Yiyigi, and WeWash on its turf.

As mentioned, such services have already been seeing popularity in some U.S. cities, with Washio leading the craze after competitor and fellow Y Combinator startup, Prim, folded. Washio raised $10 million in early June from a host of investors.

edaixi -- WeChat ordering

Via Tech in Asia.

Tencent has grown into one of China's largest and most used Internet service portal. Since its establishment over the last decade, Tencent has maintained steady growth under its user-oriented operating strategies. On June 16, 2004, Ten... read more »

WeChat puts all of your social needs at your fingertips! Keep in touch with everyone important with this comprehensive feature suite: voice chatting, text messaging, photo and video exchange, and sharing of personal photo journals of y... read more »

Washio is a Southern California based wash and fold laundry service that picks up your dirty laundry, cleans it, and delivers it to you - See more at: read more »

Apple to open 12th Chinese retail store in Wuxi’s Center 66 mall next week

Apple announced through its website on Wednesday that it will be opening a new retail outlet in Wuxi, China at the Center 66 mall, the company's 12th brick-and-mortar store in the country.

Ban on Flights to Israel Lifted by Federal Aviation Administration


The Federal Aviation Administration lifted its ban Wednesday on U.S. flights in and out of Israel, which the agency had imposed out of concern for the risk of planes being hit by Hamas rockets.

The decision was effective at 11:45 p.m. EDT.

"Before making this decision, the FAA worked with its U.S. government counterparts to assess the security situation in Israel and carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation," the FAA said. "The agency will continue to closely monitor the very fluid situation around Ben Gurion Airport and will take additional actions as necessary." Read more...

More about Israel, Us World, Us, World, and Travel Leisure

Email Marketing: Copy test increases clickthrough 37%

Converting attention into interest is really the sole purpose of copywriting.

How you approach that task in your marketing efforts can make a huge difference in the results.

In this MarketingExperiments Blog post, we’ll look at how some tactical copy changes increased one company’s clickthrough rate by 37% to help you craft effective copy of your own.

But first, here are a few snippets on the test.


Background: Company selling audio equipment and accessories.

Goal: To increase clickthrough rate.

Research Question: Which email copy approach will generate the highest clickthrough rate?

Test Design: A/B/C variable cluster split test




In the control, the MECLABS research team hypothesized the email utilized a headline that was not immediately clear, thus undermining the value of the offer.





Here is a simple breakdown of the differences in the treatments:

  • Treatment 1′s email tweaked the headline to focus on the aesthetics and performance value of the product.
  • Treatment 2′s headline was centered on the overall value proposition of the product.





While both treatments produced a lift, Treatment 2 saw the highest with a relative increase in clickthrough rate of 37%.


What you need to understand

The copy in emails is often subdued to a lot of outside artificial pressure.

There’s pressure in marketing to be unique, clever and any other adjective you can think of here that fits.

But there is only one pressure that should matter to you – delivering value.

If you craft copy that is relevant, direct, and most importantly, honest about what your products claims it can offer customers, then you are well on your way improving performance.

Want to learn more about the importance of email marketing and its role in conversion? According to the MarketingSherpa Ecommerce Benchmark Study, email is one of the biggest drivers of traffic to a website. Download your complimentary of the study for more insights from your peers on how they are leveraging channels to drive conversion.


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Artist Creates Stunning Art Using Old Books as His Canvas


Even your local library can be a great place for art supplies.

Artist Mike Stilkey reclaims the book covers of dozens of old books that otherwise would have been thrown out. Using ink, colored pencil and paint to create his whimsical works of art, Stilkey asserts that painting on book covers came to him more naturally than painting on a canvas

"I began painting on them almost accidentally ... I was always somewhat afraid of pristine white pieces of paper or canvas," said Stilkey to Mashable.

The creatively stacked hardcovers do not just create a mixture of painting and sculpture, they also create a story within a story. Dozens of books filled with dozens of stories are given new life with Stilkey's paintings Read more...

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What’s Better Than A Total Eclipse Of The Sun?

This may be the most heart-rending, most beautiful eclipse in our solar system. But you can't travel to see it. Not yet.

Apple issues new Safari betas for OS X Mavericks, Mountain Lion with minor changes

Apple late Wednesday seeded to developers new builds of Safari 7.1 for OS X 10.9 Mavericks and Safari 6.2 for OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, asking developers focus on credit card and password autofill features.

People are more important than technology, according to new Altimeter Group study

People are more important than technology, according to new Altimeter Group study
Image Credit: Brian Solis

The Altimeter Group has just released The 2014 State of Digital Transformation, its second report on the topic this year. Principal analyst Brian Solis spent time researching and interviewing leading businesses from different industries to see how they interact with customers through technology. The challenges faced in the process were also examined.

The report defines “digital transformation” as “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”

The report indicates that customer journey mapping is listed as the “epicenter” to drive transformation.

However, although 88 percent of the executives and digital strategists interviewed said they were undergoing digital transformation, only 22 percent  claimed they had mapped out customer journeys. Thus, the Altimeter Group concluded that digital transformation is a concept many strategists are “now beginning to understand and pursue.”

Also, 42 percent of study participants claimed they have not officially researched the digital customer journey but have updated digital touch points with new social and mobile technologies and investments.

“Digital transformation is much more human than it is digital,” Brian Solis said. “Technology was meant to help businesses optimize processes and scale to become more efficient. Businesses got further and further away from their customers. Look at customer service, look at CRM, look at automated marketing. All of these things took the human out of the equation, and that’s not alright.”

The Altimeter Group’s report also ranks the most important digital transformation initiatives. Improving processes that expedite changes to digital properties like websites and social platforms is at the top with 80 percent  of interviewees agreeing that it’s “very important”. Updating websites and ecommerce programs for mobile came in second at 71 percent. Integrating all online service efforts into a frictionless customer experience is third at 70 percent.

According to the study, company culture is the number one challenge facing digital transformation today. Sixty-three percent of the interviewed participants put it at the top of the list, outranking cooperation failure and budgetary issues. Meanwhile, three percent of participants claimed that culture is not an issue.

“Executives of bigger businesses spend their days reporting to stakeholders and shareholders. Startup entrepreneurs report to investors. They get so hunkered down that they lose perspective,” Solis explained. “There’s no sense of urgency to [change culture] most of the time because you’re still having to make the numbers, you’re still reporting on a quarterly basis – you’re operating.”

Further research from Altimeter indicates that support from executive and C-suite leadership is needed to make culture change. 54 percent of companies were in consensus that CMOs were the top executives championing digital transformation efforts, while 42 percent claimed CEOs were.

Altimeter’s study states that “change agents” should also be present in a company order to drive transformation.

“Their whole mission is to get other people to see things their way, but it only works when they’re able to get people to see things at a bigger level, at a brand level, at a customer-centric level, not just because of technology, technology, technology,” Solis said. “That’s a mistake that a lot of people make is that they get too caught up in technology.”

Brian Solis is a Principal Analyst at Altimeter Group. Brian works with businesses on new media strategies and frameworks to build bridges between companies and customers, employees, and other important stakeholders. Additionally, he s... read more »

Foursquare gets a new logo and several new changes and features

Foursquare Logo

We knew Foursquare was planning on spinning off its check-in feature to Swarm, a companion application to the location discovery app. That change is officially happening tomorrow, along with some other new changes and features to Foursquare, one of which is a brand new logo.

Aside from the flatter, cleaner logo, Foursquare is completely dropping off its ability to check-in to locations without Swarm. Fortunately, Swarm integrates nicely into Foursquare’s new user interface, which is seeing some pretty great improvements. It’s also getting a more personalized touch by allowing you to follow certain users and adding in your own tastes in stores, locations, and restaurants, which will cater specific results just to you. Even if you don’t put in much personal information, Foursquare will start curating suggestions just based on the places you visit and check-in at. Pretty handy new features.

Keep an eye out for the update to go live, and be sure to download Swarm if you haven’t already.

source: Foursquare Blog

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‘I’m on Vacation’ Is Your New Anti-Work Summer Anthem


Please do not kill these two bros' vacation vibe

YouTubers Rhett & Link have a new song called "I'm On Vacation," and it's the perfect summer anthem for anyone desperate to leave the 9 to 5 grind behind

Just make sure you have enough PTO before you do.

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Google Maps gets new Explore feature to help you find points of interest nearby

Google Maps explore

In addition to getting new ad extensions, Google Maps is getting a brand new Explore feature that’s going to make finding new locations and points of interest even easier.

Tapping the new Explore button at the bottom of Google Maps opens up a pane that displays different kinds of places to visit in your general location. After confirming your location, you can specify how close you’d like recommendations to be (within 10 minutes walking distance or 20 minutes driving distance, for example) and what time of day you’re interested in going, and Google populates the results based on that information. This keeps the feature from suggesting you head to a breakfast spot at 8 at night, or from recommending driving locations when you’re out and about on foot for the day.

If you’re using an Android device, you can also view more detailed information about specific locations, including things like restaurant reviews and transit information where applicable. As you check into more and more locations, Google builds more personalized results to make sure you’re only seeing relevant information. Definitely a step in the right direction towards making Google Maps your go-to app when you’re looking for anything around your city or travelling.

source: Google Maps Blog

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Who Said It: Beauty-Pageant Contestant, Philosopher Or Politician?

Pageant queens are not the only ones who face the challenge of answering rapid-fire questions about current events.

Winter Is Coming to Russia: Putin Abolishes ‘Daylight Saving’ Time Shift


Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken the first steps in claiming "Winterfell" as Russia's nickname, after he signed a law on Tuesday that places the country under a permanent wintertime, starting October 26.

Under the new law, "seasonal changing of clocks is not being carried out," the Kremlin announcement said, according to Agence France-Presse. "Russians will turn their clocks back one hour, and will not set them an hour ahead the following spring," Russian news site RIA Novosti reported.

Putin's "winter" will revert former president Dmitry Medvedev's 2011 policy, which moved Russia to a permanent summer time, or GMT+4 (Greenwich Mean Time plus four hours). From October 26, Moscow will be permanently on GMT+3 (Greenwich Mean Time plus three hours). Read more...

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Yves Béhar sells his design agency to Chinese PR firm BlueFocus

Yves Béhar sells his design agency to Chinese PR firm BlueFocus
Image Credit: Fortune Live Media/Flick

Industrial design guru Yves Béhar is selling 75 percent of his design firm, Fuseproject, to Chinese conglomerate BlueFocus Communications Group, reports say.

Béhar, who’s worked at Frog design and Lunar Design on projects for Apple and Hewlett-Packard among others, founded Fuseproject in 1999. The agency has designed or contributed to the looks of a variety of well-known tech products, including several Jawbone products, the Ouya gaming console, the Vessyl smart cup, the Edyn garden sensor, the August smart lock, Jimmyjane vibrators, and PayPal’s new logo, just to name a few.

“We still have the freedom to run fuse the way it should be run, with the means to grow on a global scale,” Béhar wrote in an email to Fast Company.

“Nothing is changing in the way I run fuse — I’m still CEO, we still choose our own projects, and design our own way, and are fully integrated with our venture partners Jawbone, August, Herman Miller. We’ll just do more of it.”

He added that the two business are planning to build new practices, such as a nonprofit consulting business, for example.

BlueFocus is listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange with a market cap of $3.5 billion, with revenues growing 60 percent to ($560 million) in 2013.

OUYA was created in 2012 by Julie Uhrman, a video game industry veteran who saw an opportunity to open up the last closed game platform — the TV. Julie and an initial team of game developers and advisors brought the concept to life, ... read more »

Jawbone has developed products and services for the mobile lifestyle unparalleled in their innovation, ease-of-use and sophistication of design. The company is the creator of several wireless products including the award-winning and be... read more »

Yves Béhar is a designer, entrepreneur, and sustainability advocate. He is the founder and principal designer of Fuseproject, an award-winning industrial design and brand development firm.He's also Chief Creative Officer of the wearab... read more »

Philips Hue Lights React to ‘Sharknado 2′ for Bloody Cool Effects


Ian Ziering looks serious. His character's worrisome scowl appears permanent, a consequence of living through probably the most absurdly hellish scenario in B-movie history: a tornado that hoovers up thousands of hungry sharks from the ocean, only to rain them down onto Los Angeles to feast on hapless residents.

Sharknado was a social media sensation (as well as a ratings one) last summer, whipping Twitter into a feeding frenzy of shark-obsessed tweets, with notable influencers such as actor Wil Wheaton and writer Damon Lindelof leading the charge. Twitter even released analytics around the broadcast, showing how it went viral. Of course, a sequel was quickly green-lit. Read more...

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