Google is Booting the Botnets From its Ad Network

Google is getting to grips with botnets on its ad network.

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The Free Business Model

We are all consumers. Whether we consume products, services, or content, at some point, we all consume. Our method of consumption might change over time, but the reality is, consumption never ends. Consumption does have a limit – money. Yes, our resources (money), not our desire, limits consumption.

When faced with limitation, how do we choose? Cost, perceived value, desire, and enjoyment level are the most common factors. However, when ‘free’ is involved, this can reduce the impact of these factors. Free enables fulfillment of consumption without limitation or rather without a perceived cost.

‘Free’ brings us e-mail, enables us to share photos, allows us to watch videos, and provides us a medium to communicate ideas, to name a few. However, free does come at a cost: time. It takes time to create profiles, to create content, to share, view, and compose content/communications. We also spend considerable time understanding and learning the plethora of free offerings available.

Our freely invested time invariably turns into dependency. Our time spent without a second thought results in a dependency upon the service or offering.

Why does dependency matter? Well, in dependency we give the service provider a level of control. Also, now we say ‘yes’ to offerings we would have said ‘no’ to BEFORE the dependency; YouTube, a perfect example.

YouTube offers a free medium to share video and audio content. We as consumers do not pay for YouTube – it’s free and has become the standard platform in North America as a result. To see a video, or upload or share a video, most people use YouTube to the point it has become a verb. Side note: when a service offering becomes a verb, a dependency has been built around the service.

Recently, YouTube introduced two changes:

1. Videos automatically move to the ‘next’ recommended video. This increases content consumption AND YouTube conveniently controls which next video is recommended/suggested. Often sponsored content drives that recommendation.

2. Advertisements now appear not only at the beginning of the video, but also in the middle of the video as well.

This works out to a cost of 15 to 30 seconds of your time at the beginning of a piece of content as well as sometimes 15 to 30 seconds of your time in the middle of the content.

While subtle, payment has officially begun: we are now paying with our time. Impressive how cleverly YouTube orchestrated this dependency and payment:

• Free access

• Content controlled and provided by users

• Easily accessible via mobile

• Apps automatically added to the very first revolutionary Smartphone: the iPhone

The No. 1 search engine in North America – Google — purchased YouTube.

So what are the takeaways of ‘free?’ In the above YouTube example, watching advertisements is now required (paying with our time). Ironically one of the reasons people moved to the Internet in the first place was to avoid advertisements and commercials on TV channels.

Also for YouTube’s mass audience to reject these policies and switch to another platform would require a superior ‘free’ service offering matching YouTube’s functionality and mass adoption, AND have the SEO to be consistently ranked at the top. Remember Google controls the ranking for North America. An almost insurmountable possibility.

Should YouTube be compensated for its excellent service offering? Yes. Is its approach wrong? Well it’s legal. Does YouTube’s approach prevent the consumer from knowing the actual cost of the offering until it’s too late? Yes.

Here’s the question for each person to ask: Is free worth it?

On a personal note, I enjoy Google and YouTube service offerings, daily and weekly respectively. This article highlights an important underlying idea and was not meant to isolate Google or YouTube. Free has a cost and Google and YouTube illustrate this cost brilliantly. All ‘free’ offerings require a slightly different payment, not all replace money with time as a currency. Interesting concept to ponder…

Stay tuned for part two: free from the business perspective and the opportunity for monetization.


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Christiano Ferraro is a management consultant serving the start-up and small to medium-sized business community with more than 10years of sales success in technology including software sales, SaaS, and telecom. Christiano is a firm believer in consultative sales methodology as a strong sales foundation. Past sales divisions include: new business development, key account development, channel sales and VP sales.

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Facebook’s Impressive Mobile Line-Up


You will find more statistics at Statista

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Where Do Employees Trust Their Own Companies The Most?


You will find more statistics at Statista

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How to do a Successful Social Media Giveaway For Your Company

One day, the light bulb goes off and you just know you’ve got the best idea ever to get more buzz and traffic for your company—you’re going to create a social media giveaway.

But you’ve heard about great ones, terrible ones, corny ones—and ones that fail so miserably, people are STILL talking about them. And I don’t mean that in a “Wow, wasn’t that cool?” kind of way.

I’m talking the stuff of “holy crap! Can you believe that?” legends, complete with uploads, hash tags and memes, featuring the worst of the worst.

You’ve also heard how hard it is to manage them and different types of tools available for creating them. And every time you bring it up to anyone, they tell you one more story about why you should, why you shouldn’t, and send you links for both.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself to Host a Great Social Giveaway

But you’re onto something with the giveaway, and I’ve got four questions you should ask yourself that, once answered, will get you on the road to Internet supremacy (or, at the very least, a plan of action for a great sweepstakes).

1. Why? Establish Why You’re Doing the Giveaway

This may seem like the simplest, most intuitive question, but this isn’t always the first thing that people think when they want to sponsor a sweepstakes on social media. The “what” tends to dominate a lot of people’s minds, because they want to be sure they land on the thing that’s appealing enough without being too much or too little. But we’ll get there.

Consider your motivation first so you can get a feel for whether this makes sense for what you’re trying to accomplish.

That means you need to know what you want to have happen by creating the contest. It could be that you want to raise awareness about your company. That’s cool. Or maybe you want to drive traffic, or push a certain product or service. Again, those are great reasons, but whatever you decide, make sure you really list them out and dig into them. You want to be able to create a sort of matrix of ideas then look at how you’ll address them in support of your sweepstakes. As you can see, knowing the why informs the answers to every question after that.

2. What? Establish What You’re Giving Away

This isn’t just about what kind of prize you’ll be offering, but what form the contest will take. There are lots of different ways you can create that fun and engagement to build up awareness and everything else that goes along with it. Do you want a cash prize sweepstakes or a product giveaway? Do you want to create an experience that’ll build a connection to your company in some way?

Most of all, think of your audience. What resonates with them? If you’re a tech company, think of giving away an iPad. If you’re a writing company, give away a few free blogs.

Take a look at some options that are currently being used by other companies and see what makes the most sense for you. You’ll notice that whatever they are doing clearly reflects what their business is about.

Let’s take this example from Swanson Health Products, which is running a giveaway right now.

 image1

Swanson is a company that focuses on physical well-being and it is giving away items that are coveted, definitely, but also represent and support what the company stands for.

First, it is playing off of the familiar resolutions people make to be healthier or get in shape for the New Year as its theme and driving message. It then combines that with the Vitamix and Fitbit, tools that will make whatever you splurge on during your shopping spree on the Swanson Vitamins website even that much more effective.

3. How? Establish The Rules of the Contest

The ins and outs of the contest need to be explained easily and quickly. You want to be sure everyone understands how it all plays out, what the rules are, whether purchase is or is not necessary, all of those things. That means you need to decide that before you move forward.

Consumers are savvy and there are so many ways to play these days, they’ll be looking for holes. If your sweepstakes rules and points of entry aren’t clearly explained, they may lose interest altogether and chose not to visit your site again. Don’t let that happen.

To illustrate how to do this well, we’ll use Swanson Health Products again.  They have created a separate page that is straight, to the point and clearly outlines what you have to do to enter their contest. There’s nothing left to the imagination on how all of the logistics of the sweepstakes will work.

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4. When? Establish Start and End Times

There needs to be a time limit on how long the contest will accept entries and you need to clearly convey that. If there’s something that irritates consumers the most it’s not being able to discern the deadlines for sweepstakes. The fine print dominates and becomes difficult to navigate. You may create the greatest game ever, but if your consumers miss out, then they will definitely be vocal about it.

Let’s look at Swanson one last time.

Once you click on the Swanson contest rules and restrictions link in the entry form, you’re taken to the page that outlines more in-depth terms and conditions for the sweepstakes. The first point is a clear overview of the entry deadlines—start date to end date. The font is large enough that you can see it easily and it’s direct in its wording.

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Conclusion

When all is said and done, make sure you record the metrics on how this all worked out to see if you got the results you were hoping for. You need to be able to measure if it had an impact. This will determine if you continue to offer sweepstakes for your consumers or not. Capture what you learned out of all of this, what you’d do differently next time, what you’d keep and refer to that when you’re ready.

Social media sweepstakes should be fun for both you and your consumers, so putting together something dynamic will make a huge impact.


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Julia Spence-McCoy is the CEO of Express Writers, an online copywriting agency that began in 2011 with thousands of web content pages written to date and more than 50 talented writers on the team. Her passion is copywriting and all that pertains, including the ever-changing game of Google algorithm updates.

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Twitter to Address Rules Limiting Interaction – Character Count Won’t Include @username Enabling Longer Responses

Twitter’s making some changes which could alleviate complaints from many users.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at TechCrunch Real-Time Stream Crunchup, in July 2009. Photo by Brian Solis

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at TechCrunch Real-Time Stream Crunchup, in July 2009.
Photo by Brian Solis

The company has yet to officially make any announcement but a letter sent to shareholders certainly indicates some alterations in the works. The major thing mentioned is the @username issue many users cite when involved in an ongoing conversation on Twitter.

Currently, as more users begin to get involved in a conversation they’ll often include other users’ handle – @username – to ensure they, too see the post. While this is an inclusive tool it also limits what can be said in a tweet because the characters are included in the mandatory 140-character count.

The more people involved in the discussion means the shorter the actual messages get.

But, as Tech Crunch reported, it looks like Twitter may be about to change how those @usernames are counted. In fact, it looks like they’re not going to be counted at all.

“We are going to fix the broken windows and confusing parts, like the @name syntax and @reply rules that we know inhibit usage and drive people away,” the letter states.

Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, addressed this very matter during a conference call Wednesday. During his talk, Dorsey said the company recognizes it has “weird rules” around the issue and will be doing what it can to address the problem.

That’s as official as it has got, so far, in terms of any public statement, but it looks like Twitter has heard – and will listen – to users’ complaints. When, exactly, any changes can be expected is not known yet.


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W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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Intelligence Agencies Could Use IoT to Gain Information – Government Report Explains Future Data Gathering Could Include Household Devices

It sounds like something out of a high-tech spy movie, but it’s reality and it’s being proposed by high-ranking US officials.

James R ClapperSpying is nothing new and, as technology advances, the methods of keeping tabs on one’s enemies have changed. With those changes come even more opportunities to covertly collect data and the Internet of Things is opening avenues never before considered.

Proof of this comes in the form of a report to the Senate Armed Services Committee by U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper. Clapper’s extensive, 33-page report outlines a variety of issues and focuses on weapons of mass destruction, counterintelligence and human security. Yet, just a few pages in to the report, Clapper notes the IoT opens doors not only for uses, but for intelligence agencies too.

““Smart” devices incorporated into the electric grid, vehicles—including autonomous vehicles—and household appliances are improving efficiency, energy conservation, and convenience. However, security industry analysts have demonstrated that many of these new systems can threaten data privacy, data integrity, or continuity of services,” Clapper writes in the Feb. 9 report. “In the future, intelligence services might use the IoT for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials.”

As PC Mag reported, while government agencies accessing information on private citizens’ devices has been a long-debated matter there have been bids for further security. Both Apple and Google have stated their operating systems will be encrypted by default.

However, whether such measures actually make a difference has been debated with a study by Harvard University researchers showing encryption does not guarantee a “dark” Internet. Rather, such measures simple create areas of “dimness” on the web.


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W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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Google Cracks Down On Deceptive Download Buttons – Techlicious (blog)


Techlicious (blog)
Google Cracks Down On Deceptive Download Buttons
Techlicious (blog)
Google's now putting a stop to one of the most annoying Internet scams out there: the deceptive download button. We're referring to those sneaky … If Google detects a problem, they will then contact the site's webmaster to fix it. Even well-known

Webmaster Internet – Google News

Proposed Bill Would Block State Bans on Encryption – Congress Members Present ENCRYPT Act

Companies should not have to weaken their smartphone encryption to abide by state laws argues a new bill being proposed by two Congress members.

Rep. Blake Farenthold

Rep. Blake Farenthold

The bill, entitled the ENCRYPT Act, was introduced Wednesday by Reps. Ted Lieu and Blake Farenthold and would, if passed, stop states from requiring a company weaken its smartphone encryption to facilitate law enforcement action. The bill states no state or municipality can willfully require manufacturers, developers or sellers to use minimal encryption.

The bill states a state or political subdivision shall not request manufacturers or the others to “design or alter the security functions in its product or service to allow the surveillance of any user of such product or service, or to allow the physical search of such product, by any agency or instrumentality of a State, a political subdivision of a State, or the United States.”

Farenthold, as quoted by PC Mag, said different rules in different states create myriad issues. One bill addressing the matter, however, would alleviate the concerns.

“We need a unified approach to this issue that both protects security and privacy while enabling law enforcement to keep us safe,” Farenthold stated. “The California and New York proposals do not solve the problem. We need to keep free market and trade between the several states robust, not promote a false sense of security and require things like backdoors and golden keys that can be exploited by hackers.”

Lieu and Farenthold aren’t expected to be the only officials pushing for such changes. The Verge reported two senators, Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr, have also promised a bill imposing encryption limitations for devices.

 


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W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.

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Yahoo Lays Off 107 Employees at its California Headquarters

Yahoo has handed pink slips to 107 of the employees at its headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.

The layoffs, which take effect April 11, were spread across the company, affecting people in multiple departments, according to a notice filed with the California Employment Development Department.

The reductions are the first of the approximately 1,700 job cuts announced by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer at the beginning of the month when she laid out the company’s plans for the future.

“As part of our strategic plan, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to reduce our workforce in order to more efficiently align resources and position the company for a stronger future,” Yahoo said in a statement to the media. “We will provide more clarity to our employees who are impacted by these decisions in the coming weeks.”

The staff reductions in the coming months will amount to 15 percent of Yahoo’s workforce. Most of the layoffs are expected to occur in the first quarter.

“By the end of 2016, the Company anticipates having approximately 9,000 employees and fewer than 1,000 contractors,” Yahoo said in a statement when the company released its fourth quarter earning report. “This represents a workforce that is roughly 42 percent smaller than it was in 2012 and will result in savings in short term operating expense of $400 million annually.”

Yahoo stock went up one percent to $27.10 Wednesday with the news of the job cuts. Overall, Yahoo is down roughly 18.5 percent in the past year.


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Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.

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