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Chinese E-Commerce Platform Poised to Go International, Could Be Threat to eBay

Chinese E-Commerce Platform Poised to Go International, Could Be Threat to eBay
Chinese e-commerce juggernaut Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is now building an international platform of its monolithic e-commerce portal, Taobao. This global version will appear in multiple languages, including English, but English-speaking shoppers will have to continue to use a field guide to navigate the site in the meantime. To understand the implications of this move, it's important to first take a look at eBay. The U.S. online retail platform was a major contributing factor to the $1 trillion of retail sales directly connected to e-commerce made in 2012. After all, by the end of 2012, eBay had a whopping 123.5 million active user accounts. With all the online clout eBay has, Alibaba was still able to squeeze it out of China when it made its debut back in 2003. Just last year, its some seven million merchants and 800 million shoppers transacted about $160 billion worth of goods. In fact, Taobao is arguably the largest e-commerce operator in the world by sales. On November 11 -- the Chinese shopping holiday "Single's Day" -- it raked in $9.3 billion in sales. This is an impressive figure made only more jaw-dropping by the fact that it's double the West's 2013 Black Friday and...
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How Google is Changing the World of SEO

How Google is Changing the World of SEO
The future is now -- Google Now that is. Recently, Google has been amping up its marketing efforts for Google Now, a digital personal assistant with seemingly psychic abilities. Ads for Google Now, which is roughly comparable to Apple's Siri, appear during prime time television shows, on the side of iconic New York City taxis, and plastered across billboards and banners in major cities. While the continued rivalry between Google and tech giant Apple continues to rage on, one thing remains certain: Google is serious about this app. Google Now isn't anything "new," per se. In fact, the mobile app has been around since 2012, but has yet to gain much, if any, popularity until now. The app is available for iOS, Android, and of course Google Glass and Google Watch. It can also be downloaded and installed on a desktop computer. Perhaps the biggest difference between Google Now and Siri is the delivery of personalized information. Google Now provides information such was weather and traffic updates, flights, appointment reminders, and package tracking via "cards." The information contained on each card is taken from a number of sources, including a user's Gmail account, location, and previous search history. This allows Google...
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New POS Tech Makes Starting a New Business Easy

New POS Tech Makes Starting a New Business Easy
Five years ago, your small business might not have been able to get off the ground before you raised thousands of dollars to buy a point-of-sale system. But now, the POS landscape is finally changing, and small business owners are the ones who win out. The development of cloud-based technology has been cutting down significantly on hardware and software costs, and new start-ups appear every day with the intention to woo small business owners with their new POS solutions. Because of the high rate of competition, many of the services are cheaper than ever. With these new services, entrepreneurs can instantly access services and tools that would have cost tens of thousands of dollars only a few years ago. Point-of-sale systems, payroll, scheduling and other crucial finance systems aren't viable options only for big businesses anymore. Now you can buy them all for monthly subscription fees that are practically negligible. Advances in technology have made it easy for anyone with a hobby or a dream to start a side business or even a career, usually for a very small start-up cost. Turning crafting projects into unique and viable businesses no longer has to be a pipe dream. Local entrepreneurship accounts for...
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Drug War Violence Results in Mobile Safety Network for Alerts

Drug War Violence Results in Mobile Safety Network for Alerts
Officially, the Mexican Drug War has been ongoing since December 2006 when the Mexican military became involved, but unofficially it has lasted longer. For innocent bystanders, mobile technology has been a way for people to avoid gunfire in their communities and identify "risk situations" (situaciónes de riesgo) through social media rather than local authorities and new media, who often remain silent on these issues. While online communities functioning as civilian alert systems aren't unique to Mexico, they are invaluable in situations where violence erupts among rival drug cartels. Experts say it can also help people feel less alone during these dangerous times.On the night of June 5, residents of Altamira and Tampico, in Tamaulipas state, began reporting their encounters with nearby armed groups over social media platforms, such as Twitter, hashtagging #SDR for situación de riesgo. The entire incident ended with five casualties, one of whom was a local leader of a criminal group, and several cargo trucks on fire. Government policy concerning criminal activity is to not name specific groups in the media, according to Mexico's Interior Ministry after asked for information on another incident in late June that resulted in the deaths of 22 gang members.Yet many in the area were unable...
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Epson to Produce Bulk Packages of Printer Ink for Corporate Customers

Epson to Produce Bulk Packages of Printer Ink for Corporate Customers
Japanese printer maker Epson has announced a new way for small businesses and companies to save hundreds on printer ink.The Replaceable Ink Pack System, or RIPS, is a liter-sized bag of printer ink that can print as much as 75,000 pages. Epson will soon introduce RIPS-compatible printers to the Japanese market that can print roughly 24 pages per minute using a moving inkjet print head, according to a June 16 Financial Review article.The RIPS printing system is another move by Epson to replace high-end laser printers as the go-to printing choice for corporate offices.Epson's WorkForce line of printers is another way the company hopes to replace laser printers with its own high-volume color printers for companies and businesses everywhere.According to PC Magazine, Epson's WorkForce printers can print at up to half the cost of printing with a comparable color laser printer, while still preserving quality. For individuals who are looking to save money on printer ink for their personal printers, there are a number of ways to cut costs. One of the best is to buy refurbished ink cartridges. Refurbished, or remanufactured, ink cartridges recycle the parts of an ink cartridge that will last a long time, and simply refill the cartridge's...
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Adobe Finds Renewed Success with Expansion of Digital Marketing Solutions

Adobe Finds Renewed Success with Expansion of Digital Marketing Solutions
Five years ago, Adobe made its first move into the digital marketing sphere with its acquisition of digital marketing software and services provider Omniture. While the purchase was widely viewed as an extreme departure from the company's roots as an engineer and retailer of high-end video and photo editing software, with Photoshop being the most notable, half a decade later, the move is paying off for the technology giant. Over the last four years, the company has enjoyed a compound annual growth rate (CAG) of 106%. The growth was mostly spurred on by the success of the newly absorbed Omniture. Today, the firm's digital marketing division pulls in more than $1 billion in annual revenues and accounts for approximately 20% of Adobe's value. In other words, purchasing Omniture has turned out to be an extremely savvy move. Growth of eCommerce Drives Craze for Digital Marketing It goes without saying that Adobe got into the digital marketing game at the perfect time. Now everybody and their cousin is trying to eek out a living by providing web marketing services. The "why" of it is simple: according to statistics from Gartner, businesses around the world are pumping more money into digital marketing...
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Intel Looks to Reinvigorate Marketing Team with Addition of Staples Exec

Intel Looks to Reinvigorate Marketing Team with Addition of Staples Exec
Intel announced Monday that it was bringing Steven Fund, a senior executive at Staples, on board as the corporation's newest head of global marketing. Mr. Fund will take over as chief marketing officer, replacing former Intel CMO Deborah Conrad, in a bid by the company to reinvigorate its marketing efforts and bring sorely lacking consumer interest back to the technology firm. Mr. Fund brings with him years of marketing experience, not only for the aforementioned Staples but also as a recognized branding professional under both Procter & Gamble and the Pepsi-Cola Corporation.The Company Clearly Needs All the Help It Can GetIt's no secret that 2014 hasn't brought success or consumer confidence for Intel. In January, the company announced plans to slash 5% of its work force, a personnel reduction of over 100,000 people. The downsizing was announced after the company's first earnings report of the year led to a forecast of no growth for Intel through 2014.The Biggest Problem? MobileWhere Intel got into trouble was by virtually ignoring the explosion of popularity of mobile technology, while companies like Google and Apple were making a point to develop their phones and tablets. In the end, this led the company into an ostensibly...
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Why American Shopping Malls Are Going the Way of the Dodos

Why American Shopping Malls Are Going the Way of the Dodos
Brace yourselves: a new beast is about to be added to the rapidly growing list of extinct species, only this time it won't be a bird, fish, or any other animal. No, if current trends continue, the great American shopping mall, that omnipresent pinnacle of our love to eat food court offerings and shop until we drop, will be a thing of the past. Since 2006, not a single new enclosed mall has been built in the United States. By 2024, approximately 50% of all our once beloved malls will be closed, never again to let the ring of a cash register echo through their venerable halls. That's Not to Say All Malls Are Dead, but... Of course, this shouldn't be read to mean that all malls will go the way of the dinosaurs. If you take anything away from this, it should be that the shopping center will become more of a novelty, instead of a consumerist utopia that every big city has. As of now, there are 109,000 shopping centers peppered throughout the United States, most of which will be closing in the very near future. However, as with anything, innovation and novelty will play a huge part in...
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New Cost Explorer Enables Companies to Better Track and Analyze Cloud Spending

New Cost Explorer Enables Companies to Better Track and Analyze Cloud Spending
According to InfoWorld, Amazon has just released a new service known as the Cost Explorer, with the goal of enabling organizations to more easily view and analyze their spending using Amazon's hosted cloud services. Amazon Web Services have, in the past, been criticized for the difficulty involved with tracking and projecting cloud costs. It seems that the industry giant was listening, because the new tool is likely to be a big hit with current users.To assist users, the Cost Explorer, which is free, will come with several preconfigured reports that can help make clear the totals of daily spending, the monthly spending for each service, and more. Cost Explorer allows users to create customized filters for cost analysis based on services, tags, time period and accounts. Cost Explorer is capable of analyzing data for the current month as well as the previous four months of available data.According to a recent study by RightScale, about 94% of companies now use cloud technology in some capacity. However, there is a wide variety of adoption levels when it comes to deployment. Keeping the cost of cloud services under control can be difficult for companies that use it for a large range of capabilities.Amazon seems to...
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Lenovo Buys IBM Servers, But at What Political Cost? U.S. Investigators Aim to Find Out

Lenovo Buys IBM Servers, But at What Political Cost? U.S. Investigators Aim to Find Out
In the tech world, the Chinese multinational Lenovo Group Ltd. is a juggernaut. That's why United States officials are taking a closer look at a recent deal made by Lenovo to purchase a server unit from IBM for $2.3 billion. In short, the government fears that valuable intelligence secrets could be leaked out to China through IBM's tech servers -- but why would that happen in the first place? For one thing, the Pentagon uses IBM servers. The FBI uses IBM servers. Some of America's largest telecommunications companies use IBM servers, according to Telegram.com. That has some of the top officials in the U.S. worried that the servers could give the Chinese inside access to the information on those servers. The deal plans to expand Lenovo's presence in North Carolina to nearly 5,000. The agency called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. -- known as CFIUS for short -- will handle the investigation, The Inquirer reports. This deal was made all the way back in January, so what's taking the examiners so long to decide whether or not the deal will stand? At this point, it's not entirely certain. What is certain, however, is that the U.S. has approved similar...
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Web Design in 2014 Needs to Take Google Chrome Seriously

Web Design in 2014 Needs to Take Google Chrome Seriously
Web marketing is a complicated beast. You have to write high-quality web content that people want to read, you have to build a vibrant presence on social media platforms, and you have to focus on search engine optimization. As eCommerce levels continue to rise -- web users are expected to spend $1.5 trillion in 2014 -- those tactics are only going to become more important.  While those methods are important, they are arguably not the most important tactics for success online in 2014. Web design is the crucial element of any successful advertising campaign this year. Quite simply, your web design is the lens through which your customers view everything you do. You can write great content, but if it's published on a poorly designed site, it won't matter.  Understanding web design is often reduced to learning code and basic design principles, but to anyone in the industry, it's a much more complex science. Take, for example, web browsers: web pages need to be designed to work with the most popular browsers. This year, that means making sure Google Chrome can display the pages you design as intended.  How Microsoft Lost the Browser Wars Anyone who grew up alongside the internet...
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Putting More Focus on Mobile is the Trick to Business Success in 2014

Putting More Focus on Mobile is the Trick to Business Success in 2014
For the last few years, if someone were to ask you what the key to success in small business was, you would have responded that marketing yourself online was the most important marketing tool for generating local foot-traffic and renewed revenue. After all, eCommerce levels are expected to eclipse $1.5 trillion globally by the end of 2014.  However, you need to consider who is contributing to that huge growth. Is it just traditional web surfers, or are mobile users, the fastest growing marketing demographic, playing a key role? With over 50% of people using their favorite mobile devices to search for locally available goods and services online, the answer should be quite clear: mobile marketing is the key to any small business that wants to generate local traffic and succeed in 2014. Let's Look at the Numbers Depending on your industry, using mobile will have different effects. All of them, however, will be positive. For example, if you work in the restaurant industry, optimizing your website for mobile users puts you in the top 5% of all restaurants. Quite simply, 95% of restaurants don't take the time to optimize their web marketing pages for their mobile users. Further, since 62% of...
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How is Akamai Driving IBM, Others from Traditional Tech Footholds?

How is Akamai Driving IBM, Others from Traditional Tech Footholds?
As February comes to a close, we can see just which tech companies managed to keep their footholds and which businesses lost ground to their more innovative competitors. The findings show that longstanding American tech institutions are losing significant market influence, while smaller, lesser-known upstarts are only gaining. Take, for example, IBM: after specializing in business tabulating procedures for the last twenty years of the 19th century, the company was incorporated in its current form in 1911. From there, it grew into a computer producer, analytics powerhouse, and infrastructure hosting agency. Even being entrenched in the industry for more than 100 years, IBM stocks are showing losses in 2014. Year to date, the company has lost $4.78 on its stocks, almost a full percentage of their worth. On the other hand, groups like Akamai Technologies, Inc. and Juniper Networks have seen 32% and 24% growth, respectively. Where are IBM and older companies like it going wrong? Outdated Hosting Methods Need to Stay in the Past The issue for IBM lies in its continued reliance on physical hardware. Before cloud computing appeared in the foreground, businesses were left to rely on physical servers for their IT infrastructures. For a long time, the...
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Improving Data Analytics in 2014 Can Have a Big Impact on Your Business

Improving Data Analytics in 2014 Can Have a Big Impact on Your Business
Unless you've been completely ignoring the statistics, the number one place to do business in 2014 is the worldwide web. Why? Perhaps because 97% of consumers now use the internet to find goods and services, which is a huge shift from when they'd simply head to a brick-and-mortar store. As you should be aware, the most effective way of tapping into the increasing number of eCommerce shoppers is by getting noticed in search engines --where 93% of all online experiences start-- generating high-quality web content, and creating a human, engaging social media presence. How Does Web Usage Translate to Sales? Increased web usage, as you may expect, has had a direct impact on the growth of eCommerce. Current estimates have American eCommerce levels set to grow by 13.8% until 2017, when sales will eclipse $440 billion. Likewise, mCommerce, digital sales made from a smartphone, tablet, or other mobile device, are expected to grow by a whopping 28% to $113 billion by the same year. Clearly, not being online, or at least not being visible online, can be a huge blow to your business, regardless of your size or market. How Do You Tap into Growing eCommerce Revenue? Hearing about the wealth...
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Improved E-mail Means Improved Web Marketing in 2014

Improved E-mail Means Improved Web Marketing in 2014
There has been a lot of talk about the importance of improving business web marketing in 2014, and why not? 34.3% of the human race, over two billion people, use the internet each and every day. They use the web to check social media and stay in contact with friends and family. They're reading high-quality web content, and they're making more purchases online than ever before. Current statistics show that American eCommerce grew to $262.3 billion last year. Looking at these facts, it's no wonder why so many espouse the necessity of getting on social media, building a better website, and producing great blog content that will draw web users to your business. All of those things are true, but a huge number of sources reporting on web marketing have been doing you a huge disservice by ignoring e-mail as an important tool. Why Does E-mail Remain So Important? To see how important e-mail remains to a web marketing campaign, you need only look at the usage statistics. Mobile users spend nine minutes a day, approximately 7.6% of the time spent on their mobile phones daily, using their e-mail. Overall, more e-mail is read from a mobile device than is read...
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Why Web Designers Need to Have a Grasp on Google

Why Web Designers Need to Have a Grasp on Google
When you read about the importance of web design and how it can help you tap into $1.25 trillion in annual eCommerce spending, what company name do you see at least once in every article? It certainly isn't Bing or Yahoo! No, without fail, you will see Google mentioned multiple times throughout any piece discussing web design for search engine optimization. Is this just favoritism on the part of content writers, or is there something far more serious at work here? Why Google is More Important Than Other Search Engines The reason why every article you read stresses the importance of getting in good with Google is because it is the most popular search engine on the web. How popular is it? Recent statistics show that Google owns 65 to 70% of the search engine market share. In more concrete terms, the search giant handles 100 billion searches a month. Microsoft's Bing, Google's closest competitor, only owns 17.9% of the market share, generating significantly lower monthly search requests. In short, it's far more important that your web designer pleases Google than any other search service. Why Web Designers Need to Know Google Guidelines Sorting out Common Mobile Design Problems Using responsive web...
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Mobile Devices Users Everywhere Are Realizing the Implications of Their Lax Security

Mobile Devices Users Everywhere Are Realizing the Implications of Their Lax Security
Between the exorbitant financial losses, expensive legal or regulatory infractions, and shameful reputation damages, businesses paid a whopping average of $7.2 million per data breach, according to computer security firm Symantec. Across the country, mobile device users are realizing how mistaken they were to be so lax about their security. Everyone, from medical professionals to politicians to social media addicts to small businesses to everyday smartphone users, are suddenly feeling the potential impact of security breaches and data losses, and looking for appropriate solutions. Over 80% of pharmaceutical and healthcare professionals routinely access sensitive records while mobile, according to a report in Medical News Today. Of that 80%, the vast majority (90%) use free file-sharing services, which do no have the adequate security necessary to access such sensitive documents. This puts these medical professionals at risk of breaking HIPAA codes, which would lead to serious infractions. In addition the medical industry, the federal government is also incredibly vulnerable. According to a study titled "2014 Mobilometer Tracker: Mobility, Security, and the Pressure In Between," almost half of government employees who rely on their mobile devices aren't practicing several essential security protocols. The security issues don't stop with professional industries either. Recently, a...
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How to Shape a Successful Small Business Blog in 2014

How to Shape a Successful Small Business Blog in 2014
2014 is going to be another big year for eCommerce. Most recent statistics show that 2014 will continue a 13.8% growth trend expected to last until 2017, when American eCommerce is set to eclipse $440 billion in sales. Content marketing, the method of offering useful, engaging articles, videos, infographics and more, can help small businesses harness increased revenue potential in the new year. In fact, 82% of marketers plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2014. The most important small business content marketing tool? Blogging.  Look at the Numbers  Producing well-written, engaging, and useful content is shown to increase lead generation by 126%. As you well know, leads don’t mean much if you can’t close them. However, content marketing shows a remarkable capacity for transitioning those leads from potential clients to actual clients. 61% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase a product or service from a company that produces high-quality, custom content that teaches them something interesting about the product or answers any questions they might have. In a nutshell, quality blogging leads to higher lead conversion and sales.  Don’t Write Content for the Sake of Content The key terms in the discussion about content marketing and...
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New Approaches are Needed for Optimizing Web Designs in 2014

New Approaches are Needed for Optimizing Web Designs in 2014
SEO in 2014 looks almost nothing like it did even just a year ago. Thanks to Google updates like Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird -- which influences more than 90% of global searches --  content creators need to get away from tactics that used to be successful, like keyword packing and link building, and provide content that is created with the end user in mind. This year, the Moz Industry Survey brought that point home. It states, “Across the board, content marketing is on the rise and fewer and fewer of you are actively link-building.” The study found that content marketing is now the second most common activity, after analytics. What does this mean for web designers? Essentially, the shift to content creation that has readers and topics, rather than keywords, at the core means that website developers need to follow suit if they want to earn and sustain high rankings. For the most part, that means designers will need to provide an easy-to-navigate, highly accessible site that allows visitors to find the information they need quickly.  As a result, there are a few things that should be kept in mind when trying to build an effective website. Cognitive Dissonance That term...
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As the Digital Marketplace Continues to Grow, Graphic Design and Web Development Need to Continue to Evolve

As the Digital Marketplace Continues to Grow, Graphic Design and Web Development Need to Continue to Evolve
More and more, consumers are choosing to do most, if not all, of their shopping online, rather than heading to brick-and-mortar retailers. In fact, according to data compiled by Invesp, estimates suggest that Americans alone will spend some $279 billion online by 2015, while consumers could spend up to a staggering $1.4 trillion globally. Because of that, businesses looking to attract new customers and grow will have to find ways to establish a strong online presence, one that allows online shoppers to easily research and buy products. Building a great new website is usually the best way to do that, and using the latest graphic design trends can help owners make sure their site stands out. Bold Graphics Web users tend to move quickly, and will make a decision about whether or not a site they visit has any value in just a matter of seconds. In order to draw shoppers in and make sure they are able to find exactly what they are looking for, site developers need to use creative and engaging graphics. Sites that are bland and too text-heavy will fail to draw interest, even if they have lots of great content or the exact product or service...
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