Industry Buzz

Live Video Strategy: How to Create a Show That Engages

Social Media Examiner -

Interested in broadcasting live video? Have you considered starting a live video show? To explore how to create a successful live video show, I interview Luria Petrucci. More About This Show The Social Media Marketing podcast is an on-demand talk radio show from Social Media Examiner. It’s designed to help busy marketers and business owners discover what works [...] This post Live Video Strategy: How to Create a Show That Engages first appeared on . - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

AWS Bill Simplification – Consolidated CloudWatch Charges

Amazon Web Services Blog -

The bill that you receive for your use of AWS in July will include a change in the way that Amazon CloudWatch charges are presented. The CloudWatch team made this change in order to make your bill simpler and easier to understand. Consolidating Charges In the past, charges for your usage of CloudWatch were split between two sections of your bill. For historical reasons, the charges for CloudWatch Alarms, CloudWatch Metrics, and calls to the CloudWatch API were reported in the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) detail section, while charges for CloudWatch Logs and CloudWatch Dashboards were reported in the CloudWatch detail section, like this: We have received feedback that splitting the charges across two sections of the bill made it difficult to locate and understand the entire set of monitoring charges. In order to address this issue, we are moving the charges that were formerly listed in the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) detail section to the CloudWatch detail section. We are making the same change to the detailed billing report, moving the affected charges from the AmazonEC2 product code to the AmazonCloudWatch product code and changing to the AmazonCloudWatch product name. This change does not affect your overall bill; it simply consolidates all of the charges for the use of CloudWatch in one section. Billing Metric The CloudWatch billing metric named Estimated Charges can be viewed as a Total Estimated Charge, or broken down By Service: The total will not change. However, as noted above, the charges that formerly had AmazonEC2 as the ServiceName dimension will now have it set to AmazonCloudWatch: You may need to adjust thresholds on your billing alarms as a result: Once again, your total AWS bill will not change. You will begin to see the consolidated charges for CloudWatch in your AWS bill for July 2017. — Jeff;  

Build a Platform, Not a Site Part I: The Factory Approach

Acquia -

At the 2016 Acquia Engage conference, I stood in front of a customer panelist group ranging from digital platform experts in planning, delivering, and managing a digital factory platform; and I said to them, “We are going to discuss building a platform and not a site today.” Each panelist knew exactly what I was talking about because each of them – Australian Department of Finance’s Sharyn Clarkson, Nestlé’s Raúl Jiménez, Warner Music Group’s Jeremy Kutner – had made amazing digital transformations from originally building project-to-project websites to building a digital factory that is now the most efficient platform for delivering digital experience content and applications across their entire organizations. This newfound efficiency has allowed these organizations to bring sites and digital experiences to market twice as fast than they could before, and those digital experiences are more consistent and more effective. If you want to equip your organization to be successful in scaling your digital experiences, the importance of investing in building a platform is imperative. So how do you build a platform, not a site? In this two part series, I will go through what a digital factory platform is, and I will discuss the necessary transformations an organization must make in order to become factory ready. The first part of the series covers the approach, and the second details the automation. What is a Digital Factory Platform? From the mid-eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries, a span of about one hundred years, the world experienced a revolution in how companies created and delivered goods to consumers. Previously, goods were created by hand. No one item was identical to any other. This resulted in wasted effort performing the same process many times with minor differences, poor maintainability due to the lack of interchangeable parts, and inconsistent quality control. The industrial revolution changed all of that by bringing scalability, repeatability, and governance to the world of manufacturing. Today, we are experiencing a similar revolution in the world of digital. Companies face the same problems of scalability, repeatability, and governance, and they are applying the same factory model to the production of delightful and engaging digital experiences. Consider SABMiller, a company that manages multiple brands. Separate teams manage the digital experience of each brand. Since each team has a slightly different idea of what makes a good experience for every brand, features often differ across each digital experience. If an organization wants to implement centralized management to ensure the security and maintainability of each experience, they will need to perform assessments and updates for each property, with slight variations every time. As the organization grows, this manual effort becomes unmanageable. Unmaintained apps become vulnerable to security breaches and degraded performance, putting the entire brand at risk. A digital factory platform is a highly efficient, standardized approach to assembling, manufacturing, and running the foundation for digital experiences (i.e. digital sites). The digital factory provides the right site components like templates, branding, CMS configuration and integration modules, access control and security, and cloud infrastructure resources to deliver and manage digital marketing and commerce experiences. Digital sites power digital content and applications as a service for the online branding, marketing, commerce, and customer service experiences across your business. The very image of a “factory” depicts standardized components, processes, and management that work in a hyper-efficient factory automation mode to assemble, deliver, operate, and govern digital businesses. As a result, the digital factory becomes the focus, IT project, and the platform. With the factory being at the epicenter, the task at hand is to build a platform not a site. Build a digital factory platform that manufactures, delivers, runs and enables all of your digital sites and experiences for your company across the globe. Inside the Digital Factory Platform The factory platform is 75% approach and 25% automation. The reason why 75% of your efforts should be spent on the approach is because it is the foundational framework and mindset, both technically and organizationally, that is integral to mobilizing your entire IT digital and marketing teams to work in unison as a factory. Adopting both makes it a factory. Let’s first examine the approach that you need in order to have a functioning factory. The approach is largely focused on organizational requirements within your IT digital team, as the group and its individuals are the ones ensuring the factory is running smoothly. It’s worth mentioning that our approach is meant as guidelines; it does not need to be followed down to a T. The Digital Governance Team Start the adoption by defining role-based teams. The exact number of people can vary based on the IT digital organization, digital projects, and overall platform scope. The teams and/or individuals can be centralized or distributed across the organization. The Assembly Role: When building a factory, you’re now in the business of manufacturing sites at scale, not hand-crafting individual items. The assembly role owns the assembly of the shared Drupal distribution. This role analyzes site requirements for content types, integrations, digital assets, and management needs up-front and creates a site model to define the core Drupal distribution. The assembly role provides continuous distribution lifecycle management to maintain Drupal versions, modules, assets, and all platform required code. The benefit is the digital organization can set company-wide standards, without limiting individual flexibility. The Delivery Role: This role is both internal and often an external digital development firm or agency. This role or team is responsible for the process of taking the shared Drupal distribution provided by the assembly team and customizing it to the individual site needs. It becomes a straightforward, less technical activity to customize sites provisioned by the standard platform in which corporate standards are baked in. Creative branding and content activities can work efficiently using the same shared distribution. If the platform does not meet all of the requirements, the assembly role is asked to upgrade the Drupal distribution for new requirements. The Operations Role: The main responsibilities of operations consists of provisioning and operating the digital sites at scale. Working closely with the IT operations and support organization, this team provides all site changes, site content updates, security, and site retirement. Digital sites are the foundation for “living” experiences and the operations team needs to be prepared to treat them as such. The Governance Role: The governance role consists of product or business managers, IT digital platform leaders, digital platform architects, and other experts who are involved in establishing standards and policies to support digital platforms. This role provides a unified company playbook for the people, policies, and standards for digital sites including planning, developing, delivering, and operating digital sites and experiences… basically, everything. Organizing and restructuring to be factory-ready can sometimes seem like a daunting task, especially for organizations that have small teams and limited resources. However, digital transformation doesn’t have to happen all at once – in fact, it’s best that you take the time to do it right. To make transformation easier, getting creative with how you form digital teams and assign certain roles is a must. For example, the digital organizations that have creative and development partners may choose to have their partners as one of the roles listed above (often the partner takes on the delivery role). At Acquia, we provide professional services and dedicated technical account personnel who eventually become part of an organization’s digital team as well. In the next part of this blog series, I will go through the automation transformation approach. This part of the approach is all about technical changes and requirements.

Set Up a Blog or Website in 5 Minutes with WordPress

DreamHost Blog -

When you think about running a blog or website, you might immediately think of WordPress. And with good reason! Since its initial release in 2003, WordPress has worked hard to be the best publishing platform on the web, and as of 2017, WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world. It’s used by nearly 75 million sites and powers more than 25 percent of the web! Pretty impressive. So it’s no wonder why you want to set up your website or blog with WordPress, and the good news? It’s super easy. In fact, here at DreamHost, we pride ourself on offering a one-click WordPress install, so you can get online in no time — okay, about five minutes. Still Not Sold on WordPress? Here’s Why You Should Be Besides the fact that WordPress is the most widely used CMS on the planet, why else should you use it for your website? For starters, WordPress.org is open-source software. This means that anyone anywhere can download and use the software. It is also incredibly customizable, allowing users to change, enhance, and extend its capabilities with website themes, plugins, HTML, and more. You can start with a basic theme, and turn it into pretty much whatever you want. You control 100 percent of the look and feel of your website. Now that is power. We’ve run the numbers. Here are 13 of the best security plugins for your WordPress website. Another reason to use WordPress: the software is completely free. While you’ll have to pay for WordPress hosting and can choose to splurge on premium themes and plugins, you never need to pay any licensing fees to the software publisher, and that is a huge plus. Last but not least, WordPress is very easy to set up. Of course, there is an expansive learning curve for those who want to deeply customize their website, but the initial setup and execution of building a site is super simple. So whether you want to start a personal or professional blog; create an online resume or portfolio to showcase your work; make a website for your community, business, or organization; or build a simple and effective online store, WordPress can get the job done well. Okay, ready to set up your WordPress site? We’ll walk you through how to do it in just five minutes. Get a Domain Name & Set up Web Hosting First, you need a domain name for your website. If you don’t have one, it’s quick and easy to register a URL of your own. You can choose from one of the many services that offer domain registration or you can use DreamHost to get your domain and web hosting all in one go. It’s simple: Visit DreamHost’s WordPress Hosting page and choose the right plan for you. Most beginners opt for Shared Hosting. Click “Sign Up For Shared Hosting.” Create your account by entering the email and password you want to use for your site. Register for a new free domain or enter a domain that you already own. Choose your billing plan, whether it be monthly, yearly, or every three years (that’s the best value). Check the box that says, “Install WordPress.” Enter your personal information and payment details. Finally, click on “Place Order Now.” Congratulations! You have just registered your domain and signed up for web hosting, which means you’ve got your very own website. Boom. Now, it’s time to install WordPress. Install WordPress with One Click After signing up, you should have received an email with your login credentials. Simply use these to log into the DreamHost panel. After logging in, you will see your DreamHost dashboard. If you need pointers on navigating your DreamHost dashboard, check out our control panel overview. To install WordPress with one click, simply follow these directions: Click on “Goodies” in the left-hand menu, then “One-Click Installs.” Click on the WordPress icon, and an application window will pop up. In this window, you will see a brief description of WordPress, the version of software used, an average rating and rating system, and links to relevant support pages regarding WordPress. Next to “Install to:” at the bottom of the window, use the drop-down menu to choose your newly registered domain. Next to “Select Database:” below your domain menu, the drop-down menu should already be defaulted to “Automatically Create Database.” Leave this option as is, and click on the blue “Install it for me now!” button. If you run into any snags during any part of this process, don’t hesitate to contact DreamHost. You should be redirected to the One-Click Installs page with a green “Success!” message at the top. It will take a few minutes for the installation to your website’s database to fully complete. In the meantime, you will be sent an email with additional instructions on configuring your new WordPress software, including how to create your own designated WordPress login credentials. Explore Your New WordPress Blog Now that you have set up a WordPress site in less time than it takes to chug a cup of coffee, you’ll notice that it looks pretty bare. That is because you need to choose a theme and start filling your blog with content. Here are a few ways on to get your brand new WordPress website started on the right track. Log Into WordPress After installing WordPress on your new DreamHost website, log into the WordPress backend by visiting: [yourdomainhere].com/wp-login.php using the WordPress login credentials you established post-installation. Now, you will find yourself in the WordPress control panel, where the world is your oyster. From here, you can make a title for your blog and choose an overall theme for your website. Want to share your site? Set up a group blog for multiple contributors.  Choose a Theme Choosing the right theme is critical; it will establish how your website looks and feels for the end user. Thankfully, the WordPress dashboard has many free themes to choose from. To find the right theme for you, click on “Appearance” from the left-hand side menu, click “Themes,” then click the “Add New” button. From here, you can explore and preview a plethora of varying blog layouts and color and font schemes. Once you choose a theme you like, simply click on the “Install” button to implement it. There are thousands of available themes. Here are 7 important guidelines when choosing a theme for your WordPress website. Write Your First Blog Entry Now that you have chosen the look for your blog, it’s time to populate it with content. You need to see your site’s theme brought to life with words, so it’s a good idea to get something substantive up there as soon as you can. To write a blog post, click on “Posts” from the menu, and click “Add New.” From here you can write and format your blog post. When your post is ready to be published, click “Preview” on the right-hand side of the screen to see how it will look live on your site. If you are satisfied, click the blue “Publish” button. Voilà! You just wrote and published your first blog post. Another WordPress Success Story For now, that should be enough of a start to get your blog up and running. Have fun exploring the WordPress dashboard and experimenting with the form and function of your new website. If you want to up the ante, we’ve created an ebook to help you learn more about WordPress. It covers all the basics, including how to navigate the WordPress dashboard, get the most out of plugins and widgets, and tszuj up your homepage. And don’t forget to optimize your WordPress site for mobile devices. Does your WordPress site need more juice? DreamPress is specifically designed for optimum WordPress usage and speed. The post Set Up a Blog or Website in 5 Minutes with WordPress appeared first on DreamHost.blog.

Rackspace Named a Leader in Forrester Wave for Hosted Private Cloud

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

Today, Forrester Research released its latest evaluation of the hosted private cloud market – The Forrester Wave™: Hosted Private Cloud Services, North America, Q2 2017. I’m proud to announce that we were recognized as a leader for our Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud offering. The report evaluated nine vendors based on 33 criteria, including current offering, The post Rackspace Named a Leader in Forrester Wave for Hosted Private Cloud appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

Rackspace Named a Leader in Independent Evaluation for Hosted Private Cloud Services

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

SAN ANTONIO – June 22, 2017 – Rackspace today announced that it was named a leader in the Forrester Research, Inc. June 2017 report, The Forrester Wave™: Hosted Private Cloud Services, North America, Q2 2017. The report evaluated nine vendors based on 33 criteria, including current offering, strategy and market presence. Rackspace was ranked above The post Rackspace Named a Leader in Independent Evaluation for Hosted Private Cloud Services appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

6 domains perfect for globe trotters

Name.com Blog -

Summer is the perfect time for an adventure, which is why people around the world are planning their next big trip. If you’ve got the travel bug, take a look at any of these domains that are excellent choices for sharing your adventures with an online audience. .TRAVEL This domain is about as generic as […] The post 6 domains perfect for globe trotters appeared first on Name.com Blog.

Conference Planning and Venue Picking

cPanel Blog -

Hi, I’m Ken. Many of you know me as the man in the green hat (have a visual aid). Earlier this year our Marketing Department was pulled away from the conference to work on other things, and I offered to take over the planning to make sure we still had a conference this year. In May I went to finalize things with the venue and took a few folks …

Securing Application Secrets with EC2 Parameter Store

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

When developing a non-trivial application, an important early step is to decide what to do with your application secrets. These can be API keys, database passwords, or other special configuration values your application needs to function, but that you don’t want everyone to have access to. Very often, developers wind up taking an insecure or The post Securing Application Secrets with EC2 Parameter Store appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

How To Easily Move Your Site To WP Engine [Upcoming Webinar]

WP Engine -

Next Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 11 a.m CT, join WP Engine for a 30-minute webinar that explains tips and tools to help ease the migration to WP Engine. If you’ve converted to WP Engine and are wondering where to go from here, this is the webinar for you! Watch the Webinar  Our Customer Experience Manager, Scotty Loewen, will fully explain the WP Engine Automated Migration plugin. Topics covered in the discussion will include what the plugin is, how to use it to reduce any heavy lifting involved in the migration to the WP Engine platform, and what to do when you get stuck. Can’t attend the live session? Sign up anyways and we’ll send you a link to view the recorded version once aired. Hope to see you there! The post How To Easily Move Your Site To WP Engine [Upcoming Webinar] appeared first on WP Engine.

The Best Way to Land Your Next Job Opportunity

LinkedIn Official Blog -

If I told you that almost 80% of LinkedIn members consider professional networking to be important to new job opportunities and career success, you might not be too surprised. But did you know that 70% of people were hired at a company where they had a connection? Conversations help you build relationships that can ultimately land your next job opportunity, but when was the last time you actually checked in with an old coworker to see how they’re doing, or asked someone you were introduced to... .

3 Ways to Easily Caption Social Media Video

Social Media Examiner -

Worried that most people view your social media video with the sound off? Looking for quick and efficient ways to produce captioned video? In this article, you’ll discover three ways to automatically caption social media video. #1: Use Live Titles to Caption Apple Clips Need a quicker way to do captions for a video? Apple [...] This post 3 Ways to Easily Caption Social Media Video first appeared on . - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX) Now Generally Available

Amazon Web Services Blog -

Earlier this year I told you about Amazon DynamoDB Accelerator (DAX), a fully-managed caching service that sits in front of (logically speaking) your Amazon DynamoDB tables. DAX returns cached responses in microseconds, making it a great fit for eventually-consistent read-intensive workloads. DAX supports the DynamoDB API, and is seamless and easy to use. As a managed service, you simply create your DAX cluster and use it as the target for your existing reads and writes. You don’t have to worry about patching, cluster maintenance, replication, or fault management. Now Generally Available Today I am pleased to announce that DAX is now generally available. We have expanded DAX into additional AWS Regions and used the preview time to fine-tune performance and availability: Now in Five Regions – DAX is now available in the US East (Northern Virginia), EU (Ireland), US West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Tokyo), and US West (Northern California) Regions. In Production – Our preview customers are reporting that they are using DAX in production, that they loved how easy it was to add DAX to their application, and have told us that their apps are now running 10x faster. Getting Started with DAX As I outlined in my earlier post, it is easy to use DAX to accelerate your existing DynamoDB applications. You simply create a DAX cluster in the desired region, update your application to reference the DAX SDK for Java (the calls are the same; this is a drop-in replacement), and configure the SDK to use the endpoint to your cluster. As a read-through/write-through cache, DAX seamlessly handles all of the DynamoDB read/write APIs. We are working on SDK support for other languages, and I will share additional information as it becomes available. DAX Pricing You pay for each node in the cluster (see the DynamoDB Pricing page for more information) on a per-hour basis, with prices starting at $0.269 per hour in the US East (Northern Virginia) and US West (Oregon) regions. With DAX, each of the nodes in your cluster serves as a read target and as a failover target for high availability. The DAX SDK is cluster aware and will issue round-robin requests to all nodes in the cluster so that you get to make full use of the cluster’s cache resources. Because DAX can easily handle sudden spikes in read traffic, you may be able to reduce the amount of provisioned throughput for your tables, resulting in an overall cost savings while still returning results in microseconds. — Jeff;  

Why Financial Services Needs Drupal 8 to Innovate

Acquia -

The wave of digital disruption continues to travel from sector to sector. Outside of market trading technology, financial services organizations have a decades﹣long history of innovating very little due to regulatory compliance concerns and in turn keeping legacy technology in market that is past its prime. But every year the number of consumers that grew up with technology steadily increases ﹣an unstoppable force driving digital transformation across every industry. This increasingly large number of digital natives has finally begun to exert pressure on one of the most regulated sectors in the US economy: financial services. In this need to rapidly innovate, modernize and deliver the kind of experience consumers are expecting, these organizations need to turn to and will find great success with Drupal 8. Take a recent example: While the specific brand cannot be shared publicly, this company is one of the world’s largest leveraged buyout organizations, having owned many iconic American brands over the years. With a portfolio valued in the billions and a highly successful track record, this organization is among the highest caliber investment companies in the world. But their digital brand did not match this reality. This is where Drupal 8 comes in. With a rapid rebrand and new, fully responsive design Third&Grove helped the client realize some immediate gains. We compared the performance of several key engagement metrics between the old site (Joomla) and the new Drupal 8 powered site, and the results were phenomenal: Total traffic up 66% Unique users up 53% Time on site up 44% Total pages visited up 97% Pages per visit up 19% Bounce rate down 21% How did we achieve such startling improvement? Drupal 8 made a variety of refinements possible: With strong support for SEO and responsive design out of the box, search engine rankings were dramatically improved, and so, in turn, was traffic. By using a unique process that was both user-centered and data-driven, it was seamless to steer the client towards a design that improved customer engagement rather than hindered it (think story carousels of regret). Drupal 8’s awesome support for in-place editing made it easy for marketing to refine content to maximize engagement, instead of being a dreaded process of logging into the cumbersome editorial backend of doom. Being open source we could leverage Drupal 8’s large ecosystem of free modules that provide additional functionality so that the project budget could be focused on improving engagement rather than building features from scratch. The pressure for increased digital innovation in the financial services sector continues to grow, and Drupal 8 continues to deliver. But the track record isn’t just isolated to marketing sites. Nasdaq chose Drupal 8 to power their investor relations site platform which is leveraged by some of the largest companies in the world. With such a strong value proposition and demonstrated track record of success, Drupal 8 is emerging as a digital content and experience management system of choice in financial services.

Banned from Amazon’s Affiliate Program: Now What?

Grow Traffic Blog -

Amazon is a great affiliate network, but at the same time, they can be a petty tyrant when it comes to violations of their service agreement. They have a firm list of policies and if you violate them, you are likely to find your account banned. You can occasionally appeal, but often it’s simply more work for Amazon to try to allow that, so they don’t. There are so many scammers trying to take advantage of their program that a zero tolerance policy has served them well. Step 1: Figure Out Why You Were Banned The first thing you want to do is figure out why you were banned. Knowing the ban reason will help you out in a number of ways. In some cases, you can fix the issue and have your account reinstated. In some cases, the issue was malicious attacks and you can fix it to get your account restored. If you want to try to circumvent the ban and open another Amazon Affiliates account, you will need to avoid making the same mistake twice. If you want to continue on with affiliate marketing via other networks, knowing the reason will help you know if you’re in violation of their rules as well. Amazon is fairly representative of most affiliate networks, in terms of rules. Generally, when Amazon bans you, they will send out an email telling you why. It might be a basic explanation, and it might not be the entire reason, but it’s a start. You can often email them for clarification and they will explain the situation further, though you may want to save that message for when you’re ready to appeal. An example of the primary and response emails can be seen in this old Warrior thread. So what are the most common possible mistakes that can get you banned? There are a ton of actual bannable reasons, but a lot of them are related to misuses of technology, being in the wrong market, or trying to exploit the system. 1: Putting affiliate links in your email newsletter. Amazon prohibits using Amazon Affiliate links for “offline promotion” which, interestingly, includes email because of how email can be downloaded and read offline. This includes newsletters as well as direct sales messages. Additionally, if you have a plugin that allows a reader to get email notifications of your new posts with the first paragraph or two included, it might include links for your first paragraph. If you include an affiliate link in that paragraph, it can be sent via email, and you can be banned for it. 2: Using URL shortening services that cloak the fact that the user is going to Amazon. You can use any URL shortener you want if you make it clear the user is going to Amazon, even if you just say so right next to the link. However, to be secure, you should probably use Amazon’s shortening service, Amzn.to. It’s the misdirection and cloaking that matters more than the shortening, though. 3: Putting affiliate links in ebooks, pdf documents, text messages, or other documents. This all falls under the same heading as number one: offline marketing. Amazon wants everything strictly online, because it’s easier for them to check and keep track of the quality of what they’re partnered with. 4: Using your own affiliate link, or encouraging your family to use it. I know someone who set up Amazon links for items their family were buying for Christmas. They earned a few hundred bucks each year, until Amazon put a stop to it. The exact phrasing was something like “Amazon Affiliates is a marketing program, not a friends and family discount program.” Fortunately, Amazon doesn’t often ban for this; they just make a blacklist of users whose affiliate clicks don’t count for your account. 5: Operating more than one affiliate account. There are very few reasons to want to do this. Either you’re trying to manage affiliate programs for multiple people, or you’re trying to replace tracking IDs with account IDs. One account can support up to 100 tracking IDs, which means up to 100 sites. Amazon finds that the main reason people make a second account is to get around a ban on their first one, so they ban the second one too. 6: Poaching Amazon reviews. If you’re selling an affiliate program you want to have positive reviews to sell it, but Amazon has that covered on their product page. You aren’t allowed to copy, display, or otherwise use the reviews on Amazon on any other site. You can get your own, write your own based on what you see on Amazon, or just allow Amazon to do the sales optimization on their own page. 7: Try to use affiliate links on prohibited content. One of the largest prohibited niches is anything sexually explicit. Amazon might sell sex toys and accessories, as well as pornography, but they don’t allow links coming in from sites that do the same. If your site has any explicit content on it, even if it’s a single image, you’ll likely be banned. 8: Using scripts, plugins, redirects, or any other method to cookie stuff. Cookie stuffing is when you force the affiliate cookie on to the user’s machine without them clicking to go to Amazon themselves. Not only can this technique get your account banned, it’s entirely possible that Amazon could pursue legal action for fraud. 9: Paying for Google Ads. Amazon prefers that you don’t pay for traffic to get to your site. Generally they just don’t want the competition; if you’re bidding for a keyword related to a product so you can refer the traffic to Amazon, and Amazon is bidding to send that traffic to their own site directly, you’re in direct competition. 10: Using Amazon trademarks. You can write the word Amazon, you can use images of Amazon’s logo, but you’re very regulated in the ways you can do these things. The one most people end up getting hit by is using the trademark in a URL. You can use it as part of a permalink, but not as part of your domain name. AmazonHacks.com would not be valid; MarketingHacks.com/amazon-tips/ would be fine. If you were banned, again, you might be able to appeal the decision, but I wouldn’t count on it. In any case, you have some steps you can take. Step 2: Fix the Problem Depending on the reason you were banned, you might be able to fix the problem. Ignorance of the rules is no excuse, but if you prove – or “prove” – that you were relatively innocent, you might be allowed back in. Just be aware that another ban will almost definitely be permanent. For content-related bans, you can often remove the content and appeal. For example, if you had Amazon reviews on your pages and were banned for it, remove them and ask for a review. Be honest about removing them, don’t lie and say they didn’t exist; Amazon can easily check cached versions of your site to call you out. For other types of content bans, it might be harder. If you’re running an explicitly adult site, you might not be able to revamp completely to remove that content without jeopardizing your site itself in other ways. For bans related to things like cookie stuffing or link cloaking, you’re going to have a harder time. For one thing, Amazon knows those kinds of techniques don’t just happen, they’re done intentionally. You can’t accidentally implement link cloaking. You can do it not knowing it’s wrong, but again, that’s no excuse. In these cases, removing the issue might allow you back in, but probably not. Amazon doesn’t want to keep known scammers around. They have enough marketers anyways, they don’t specifically need you. Besides, you were only making as much money as you were because of your exploits. Will you be able to pick back up with lower profits? Step 3: Email for Appeal Once you have fixed the issue, you should send an email to Amazon asking them to re-audit you and see if you can be allowed back in the program. This email should: Explain that you’ve read their policies and are trying to comply. Explain that you understand that you were in violation of those policies and have taken steps to remedy the situation. Ask if there is anything else wrong with your site that you should take care of. You will either get a response saying that you’re now in compliance and that they’re giving you a second chance, a response saying that you’re still in violation of X rules, or a response saying that their decision is final. In the first case, good job. In the second, repeat the fix-and-respond process. In the third, well, so much for Amazon’s affiliate program, eh? In addition to your email, you should file an actual appeal. In the Seller Central, under your performance notification section, you will see your suspension notice. Click on the “appeal” button, if one such button exists, and submit your appeal plan. If the button doesn’t exist, email or a phone call is your only option. Step 4a: Make a New Account If you want to keep using Amazon but they have either ignored you or kept your account closed despite your best efforts, you can try to circumvent their ban by opening a new Amazon Affiliates account. I don’t recommend this, since it’s another policy violation and it’s possible that you’ll just be caught and banned again, but it might be worth a shot if you’re desperate. First of all, you should wait a few weeks before you try opening a new account. If you go and immediately open a new one, they might just compare IP addresses and preemptively decline it. Secondly, you want to change as much information as possible. Open and interact with Amazon only through a proxy or a different IP address. Use a different email address to open the account. Use a different physical address – a PO box if necessary – and different payment information. You want to have as little in common as possible with your old, banned account. The ideal situation would be to migrate your site to a new domain name, change up the theme and content, and start “fresh” with the new account. If you’re relying on a lot of recurring traffic, you might not be able to pull that off, but it’s still a better idea to help hide your association. Step 4b: Ditch Amazon for Greener Pastures There are a wide variety of other affiliate marketing programs out there you can use in place of Amazon. I know Amazon has a lot going for it – the sales pressure, the brand weight, the recognition, the commissions – but if you can’t use it, you can’t use it. You still want to go through the first few steps to make sure your site is in compliance with general affiliate marketing terms. Again, most affiliate networks have similar terms and conditions. Some of them are a little more lenient, and will work with explicit sites and the like, but others are just as strict as Amazon. Some affiliate networks work just like Amazon, with links to product pages so the user can buy the product you’re promoting. Networks like CJ Affiliate, Rakuten, and Clickbank work this way. Others monetize more generic links, like Infolinks. Some involve changing your business model slightly, like using eBay affiliates to promote auctions rather than product pages. You can read about some alternatives here. You can also choose to get into a different kind of money-making entirely, like using dropshipping to mimic being a seller yourself. You have a lot of options, you just need to make use of them. The post Banned from Amazon’s Affiliate Program: Now What? appeared first on Growtraffic Blog.

WordPress Security Basics: What Is An SQL Injection Attack?

Nexcess Blog -

WordPress, along with most other content management systems, uses a database to store state. State is the things the content management system knows about, including the content and its organization, and user data. There are many different types of database, but WordPress uses one of the most popular open source SQL-based databases, MySQL. SQL is… Continue reading →

What is Cloud Hosting (and Do You Really Need It)?

Web Hosting Hub Blog -

Over the last few years the “Cloud” has been a hot buzzword for technology. We’ve heard about how devices and things in our homes are now part of the Cloud, or able to access the Cloud, or store things in the Cloud… but what does that really mean? And when it comes to a server, is it best to get your site hosted somewhere on a cloud server? What is the Cloud? When you hear someone talking about the Cloud, they are possibly referring to a few different, but interconnecting technologies. In simplest terms, “clouds” refer to networks of servers connected across the Internet. They share resources with one another, provide redundancy, and distribute some functions across multiple machines, often in different geographical locations around the world. You should note that although people often say they are doing something on the Cloud, there are actually many different “clouds”, though they may interact in various ways across the Internet. Some Clouds are built for storage, like the popular Google Drive. Others perform services, like QuickBooks Online, Netflix’s streaming service, or even Yahoo’s email. The main thing these solutions share is that they exist on the Internet, can be accessed by Internet connected devices from any location, and they run across multiple physical machines. This makes them more reliable, speedy, and easy to access. They can also interact with one another, so you could store info in your cloud drive, use that info in a cloud-based application, and then send the results from a cloud email service to another person. Am I Ready For The Cloud? Because cloud solutions are so powerful and interconnected, some companies have begun moving their websites from more traditional servers into cloud platforms. That is an exciting trend for all of us, because it means some amazing applications, storage options, and online services will continue to get bigger, faster, and more impressive. However, it is also worth pondering whether a cloud solution is right for your current situation. Before making a choice, consider these five factors that may impact your move to a cloud server: Do you have the right technical knowledge Cloud hosting requires a greater amount of setup, configuration, and maintenance to function properly. Do you have this knowledge? If not, are you willing to hire someone who does to setup and maintain your site? Is the cost structure beneficial? Cloud servers charge based on usage, as opposed to shared hosting that charge a simple flat fee. Some cloud pricing models may scale up based on use, but not back down. Prices can vary unpredictably over time. Can you afford a cloud hosting? Will you see enough benefit from a cloud server to make the potential increase in cost worth it? Do you have enough volume to negotiate high-volume discounts with the web hosting provider? Will migration to the cloud cause outages or delays? Moving to the Cloud has significant technical challenges. Those challenges could affect your timeline for getting the server online, and early bugs could lead to outages. Not every application that runs smoothly in a shared hosting environment works as well on cloud hosting. Do you have a plan to address these problems, should they arise? How will the affect your timeline and budget? Why would you need it? The big motivation when moving to the cloud is usually the instant provisioning and other cloud-specific features. True, cloud platforms can deliver content and run applications that might consume too many resources on shared hosting platforms. But, do you actually have a popular, and resource-intensive mobile application (like a graphics-heavy video game) to host? If you have a straightforward site that loads quickly and runs smoothly on shared hosting, with minimal maintenance or setup, what would you actually gain by moving to cloud hosting? Who is responsible for managing the cloud? Unlike shared hosting platforms, many cloud solutions require the site owner to retain responsibility for making sure everything works correctly. There is a risk that you could inherit a problem from the server that you have troubles fixing remotely or without specialized knowledge. Is Moving to the Cloud Worth It for You? Cloud computing is an exciting new area of technology, sure to see a great deal of growth over the next few years. However, individuals and organizations that have more advanced needs from a web server (like hosting a popular application) currently have the most reason to move. Shared hosting, on the other hand, provides predictable, affordable billing. It requires much less technical knowledge, so setup and maintenance take very little time. For individuals and organizations with typical websites advertising a product or service, shared hosting provides power, ease of maintenance, and affordability that cloud hosting will not for many years to come. Web Hosting Hub has some of the best shared hosting plans on the web. With a wide range of free add-ons, industry-leading support, and a 99.9% uptime guarantee, our shared hosting is the right answer for most websites. Click here for more information. The post What is Cloud Hosting (and Do You Really Need It)? appeared first on The Official Web Hosting Hub Blog.

Protect Web Sites & Services Using Rate-Based Rules for AWS WAF

Amazon Web Services Blog -

AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) helps to protect your application from many different types of application-layer attacks that involve requests that are malicious or malformed. As I showed you when I first wrote about this service (New – AWS WAF), you can define rules that match cross-site scripting, IP address, SQL injection, size, or content constraints: When incoming requests match rules, actions are invoked. Actions can either allow, block, or simply count matches. The existing rule model is powerful and gives you the ability to detect and respond to many different types of attacks. It does not, however, allow you to respond to attacks that simply consist of a large number of otherwise valid requests from a particular IP address. These requests might be a web-layer DDoS attack, a brute-force login attempt, or even a partner integration gone awry. New Rate-Based Rules Today we are adding Rate-based Rules to WAF, giving you control of when IP addresses are added to and removed from a blacklist, along with the flexibility to handle exceptions and special cases: Blacklisting IP Addresses – You can blacklist IP addresses that make requests at a rate that exceeds a configured threshold rate. IP Address Tracking– You can see which IP addresses are currently blacklisted. IP Address Removal – IP addresses that have been blacklisted are automatically removed when they no longer make requests at a rate above the configured threshold. IP Address Exemption – You can exempt certain IP addresses from blacklisting by using an IP address whitelist inside of the a rate-based rule. For example, you might want to allow trusted partners to access your site at a higher rate. Monitoring & Alarming – You can watch and alarm on CloudWatch metrics that are published for each rule. You can combine new Rate-based Rules with WAF Conditions to implement sophisticated rate-limiting strategies. For example, you could use a Rate-based Rule and a WAF Condition that matches your login pages. This would allow you to impose a modest threshold on your login pages (to avoid brute-force password attacks) and allow a more generous one on your marketing or system status pages. Thresholds are defined in terms of the number of incoming requests from a single IP address within a 5 minute period. Once this threshold is breached, additional requests from the IP address are blocked until the request rate falls below the threshold. Using Rate-Based Rules Here’s how you would define a Rate-based Rule that protects the /login portion of your site. Start by defining a WAF condition that matches the desired string in the URI of the page: Then use this condition to define a Rate-based Rule (the rate limit is expressed in terms of requests within a 5 minute interval, but the blacklisting goes in to effect as soon as the limit is breached): With the condition and the rule in place, create a Web ACL (ProtectLoginACL) to bring it all together and to attach it to the AWS resource (a CloudFront distribution in this case): Then attach the rule (ProtectLogin) to the Web ACL: The resource is now protected in accord with the rule and the web ACL. You can monitor the associated CloudWatch metrics (ProtectLogin and ProtectLoginACL in this case). You could even create CloudWatch Alarms and use them to fire Lambda functions when a protection threshold is breached. The code could examine the offending IP address and make a complex, business-driven decision, perhaps adding a whitelisting rule that gives an extra-generous allowance to a trusted partner or to a user with a special payment plan. Available Now The new, Rate-based Rules are available now and you can start using them today! Rate-based rules are priced the same as Regular rules; see the WAF Pricing page for more info. — Jeff;

Throw the best summer shindig with these 17 trends

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You’ve probably been thinking of ways to get outside and get some fresh air since January. But hosting an al fresco anything isn’t easy. Thanks to millions of party-planning Pinners, we have the scoop on the summer-ready latest ideas to help you host the best bash or everyday celebration. Here are a few highlights from our recent summer entertaining report. Aimee Bidlack

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