Industry Buzz

Merchbar

Matt Mullenweg Blog (Founder of WordPress) -

Merchbar is an iPhone app that makes it easy to buy merchandise from your favorite artists. It also was the first investment I made through my Angellist Syndicate, and I’m excited for the team on its launch. (Although it’s good to remember that launching is a halfway point — you should expect to spend at least as much time as you did leading up to launch to get to something you’re happy with. Something I’m thinking about a lot in Automattic these days.)

Cisco Buys OpenStack Private Cloud Provider Metacloud

Web Hosting Industry Review (WHIR) / Web Hosting Talk -

Cisco has agreed to buy Pasadena, California-based Metacloud, a private OpenStack cloud provider, adding yet another facet to the Cisco cloud strategy. Metacloud employees will join Cisco's Cloud Infrastructure and Managed Services organization. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of fiscal year 2015. The post Cisco Buys OpenStack Private Cloud Provider Metacloud appeared first on Web Hosting Talk.

A Defining Moment For Rackspace

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

As many of you may have seen, yesterday Rackspace made two big announcements: 1) we announced the end of formal evaluation of M&A transactions, and 2) we announced that I have been named CEO of Rackspace. We believe these announcements coupled with our laser-sharp focus on Fanatical Support and managed cloud services have Rackspace primed for future success. Below is the full text of the email I sent to all Rackers yesterday afternoon discussing these announcements. Hi Rackers, This afternoon we made two announcements about the future of our great company, and I’d like to talk with you about what they mean. First, we declared that we have ended our formal evaluation of all potential M&A transactions that could result in Rackspace being acquired. That means we’ve decided that we will best serve Rackers, customers and shareholders by remaining independent and doing what we do best – delivering Fanatical Support and managed cloud services for businesses. We also announced that I have been named chief executive officer. I want to tell you how honored I am to be your CEO and how excited I am about our future together. I am humbled — and yet so pumped to have this opportunity! Your commitment to our mission has made Rackspace what it is today, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with such talented and dedicated people. I want to thank Graham [Weston] for his kind words and to call out how lucky we all are to have him as our chairman and visionary for this company. I have learned a lot from him, especially in the last nine months. Thank you, GW! This is a defining moment for Rackspace, and I want to take this opportunity to briefly discuss how we got here, and why I am confident in our future together. Since our founding as a five-person startup in 1998, we have come a long way. Many of you have been here for many years and have built Rackspace, one delighted customer at a time. We set ourselves apart as the leader in what we do best: first in managed hosting and now in managed cloud. We have earned a valuable reputation for our managed services, specialized expertise, and Fanatical Support. We deliver an experience that business customers need and value, and are eager to pay for and promote to their friends. This unique, differentiated position in the evolving competitive landscape has created a lot of interest in Rackspace from other companies. (Warning: the following paragraph contains high levels of Corporate Speak. I think you know this is not how I normally write or talk, but it’s what I’ve gotta do on this topic, so thanks for your patience, Rackers.) As we stated publicly back in May, we were approached by multiple parties who expressed interest in a strategic relationship with us, ranging from partnership to acquisition. Our board of directors then asked the members of its strategic transaction committee to evaluate these inquiries, and retained Morgan Stanley and outside legal counsel to help. The board’s goal throughout the process was to maximize value for Rackers, customers and shareholders. During this process we talked to a diverse group of interested parties and entertained different proposals. None of these proposals were deemed to have as much value as that of our standalone plan. (End of corporate speak.) As you all know, we announced a new positioning in July to focus on addressing the growing demand from businesses who want a partner to design, manage and scale their cloud applications and operations. That positioning takes us back to our roots in Fanatical Support — but in a way that expands and evolves our capabilities to deliver the new managed services and expertise that today’s businesses are clamoring for. And that formula is working. We posted strong revenue growth in the second quarter. Our leadership has been affirmed by Gartner in its influential Magic Quadrant for Cloud Enabled Managed Hosting (or, what we call managed cloud). We are on track for a strong third quarter and second half of the year. I couldn’t be more excited about taking the next steps forward. Rackers, after a period of uncertainty, our destiny is back in our hands. It’s now up to us to execute and win. We have the best team in the business, and I know that together we can show the world why Rackspace is such a special company. Thank you for all you do to help us bring Fanatical Support to life and deliver on our promises. Let’s focus on what we do best – providing unbeatable managed services to the hundreds of thousands of businesses that depend on us! Graham and I will host an Open Book at 4 pm CT today. If you are able, please join us, in person or by streaming video, to discuss today’s news and let us address your questions and hear your comments. If you are unable to make it, we will send the recording out. I will travel to our San Francisco office this week and later to our APAC and EMEA offices. I hope to visit our other offices in the near future to hear your ideas and see you all in action! Best, Taylor

Living LinkedIn’s Culture of Transformation: Announcing 2014 LinkedIn Employee Transformation Grants

LinkedIn Official Blog -

I am thrilled to work for a company with a big and inspiring vision of creating economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. To achieve our vision, LinkedIn fosters a culture of transformation — of the world, the company, ourselves. One of the ways we bring this to life is through LinkedIn for Good’s Employee Transformation Grant program. As Chair of the LinkedIn for Good for Employees Grants program, I am honored to announce this year’s winners. These grant winners, chosen from more than 74 applicants representing our offices around the world, have been awarded $3,000 USD grants in support of their efforts to transform themselves, their families, their communities, and/or the world. This year’s Transformation Grant winners are embarking on some truly amazing efforts – from helping family members afflicted with challenging medical issues to creating economic opportunities for the poor in West Africa to delivering educational programs to students in Cambodia. These stories are personal, heartwarming and inspiring. I hope you will be as moved by them as I have been. LinkedIn for Good announces this year’s Employee Transformation Grant winners from LinkedIn for Good

1&1 Now Offers More than 200 New TLDs!

1&1 Online Success Center -

Since February, 1&1 has been offering new top-level domains (TLDs) for specific industries and websites. This week, with the launch of several more TLDs into the domain namespace, more than 200 unique, new Web addresses are available for businesses and individuals hoping to showcase their specific industry focus through their website. This week also marks the launch of two of the most important TLDs so far, with .WEBSITE and .VEGAS – the country’s first geographically-specific domain extension. Below are the newest TLDs from 1&1: .VEGAS –Geographically relevant TLDs provide a great way for businesses to promote themselves within the context of a specific city. Businesses located in Las Vegas, or even businesses elsewhere that relate to Las Vegas can take advantage of this new opportunity to brand their Web address. This TLD is just $39.99 for the first year. .CHURCH – Churches and other religious organizations can take advantage of this new TLD to register a new domain name that may have been previously unavailable in the traditional namespace. This new option is $19.99 for the first year. .GUIDE –Whether this TLD is used as a home page for a website, or rather a separate landing page for businesses to direct confused customers to instructional materials, this TLD is a great benefit to website owners. Users can register .GUIDE for $19.99 for the first year. .HOST –Businesses and individuals in the hosting industry can display technical savvy by securing a new .HOST domain extension for $69.99 for the first year. .LIFE – Whether for a lifestyle blog or a landing page for a business, users can register .LIFE for $19.99 for the first year. .LOANS – Several finance-related TLDs have been launched this month, such as .FUND and .INVESTMENTS, and .LOANS is another useful TLD that financial institutions should consider adding to their domain portfolio. For the first year, this TLD can be registered for $69.99. .PRESS – News organizations, blogs, or even printing companies can take advantage of this new TLD for $49.99 for the first year. .REPUBLICAN – To balance the “politics” of the domain namespace, .REPUBLICAN joins the previously launched .DEMOCRAT for political organizations and blogs to display party affiliation directly in the URL. For the first year of registration, this TLD is $19.99. .WEBSITE –A popular choice for individuals and businesses with any type of site, .WEBSITE is a popular domain for securing a unique, but memorable, domain name for an existing website or blog. This TLD is only $9.99 for the first year. For these, and now more than 200 unique, new TLD options, visit the 1&1 Domain Showroom to learn valuable information on current and upcoming domain names.

Google Authorship Dead In 2014?

HostGator Blog -

The post Google Authorship Dead In 2014? appeared first on HostGator Blog | Gator Crossing. If you’ve searched for anything on Google in the last month or so (who hasn’t?), you may have noticed slight changes in the results. First, the author pictures next to the results conspicuously disappeared. Then, videos started to vanish for most results (except those of YouTube and other sources where video is a primary source of content). Now, author names have disappeared. According to John Mueller from Google’s Webmaster Analytics team, Authorship has indeed been removed from your search results. A few months ago, the same search would have displayed the associated Google+ profile picture and related information, as shown in the image below from our prior Authorship blog post:   Now the posts are stripped down to provide you the content that you’re looking for without the fluff.   Why Was Authorship Removed? If you ever set up authorship, then you know it was not the easiest process to start with. There were several steps involved, including an update your site’s code to add the markup. If you were using a CMS like WordPress, the markup wasn’t too hard, but HTML sites were a little harder to modify. Since the entire ordeal wasn’t an easy 1-2 step process, it had a low adoption rate. As stated in Mueller’s post, and speculated by many, Authorship simply did not have any direct impact to an increase in clicks or rankings. A direct quote from the post: “If you’re curious — in our tests, removing authorship generally does not seem to reduce traffic to sites. Nor does it increase clicks on ads. We make these kinds of changes to improve our users’ experience.”   Is Authorship Completely Dead? From search results, it appears to be mostly (though not entirely) gone. As explained by Mueller, search queries will still show relevant posts from your Google+ connections with their information. So if you were connected with an author and searched for information pertaining to them, then you may see something like this: Keep in mind, the rel=author markup didn’t just affect search; social media displays this information as well. With Pinterest, you can stand out with rich pins. As you see in the picture below, you will still see the author markup:   You can also see it on Twitter with Twitter cards as shown below. If you’re able to edit the author Twitter handle, you’ll also get another spot in the author section. Do You Want To Advertise On Facebook But Don’t Want Your Followers To See Those Ads? Check Out Dark Posts http://t.co/P1b9NNheYX #Marketing — HostGator (@HostGator) August 16, 2014   Conclusion Although authorship has been mostly removed from Google search, it still does serve a purpose and cannot be entirely considered dead.. perhaps undead… zombie(?). You don’t necessarily need to go through the process adding the authorship through Google+ to include the rel=author tag, but who wouldn’t want a good branded back link on a Google product? What do you think? Is authorship just dead and should never be touched again or will you still be including it on your blog? Let us know in the comments! web hosting

The New VPS S-Class Hosting: More RAM. More Storage. More Bandwidth. FREE SSDs.

InMotion Hosting Blog -

We are excited to announce the release of the next generation of Virtual Private Server hosting at InMotion Hosting: the VPS S-Class. The new VPS hosting product line brings a number of significant enhancements to the legacy VPS-1000, VPS-2000 and VPS-3000 packages, including free solid-state drives (SSDs) and drastically increased RAM, storage and bandwidth. The wholesale VPS upgrades are consistent with our mission to bring customers the most comprehensive web hosting experience possible with top-of-the-line service and support. The development of the revamped VPS-1000S, VPS-2000S and VPS-3000S came as a result of in-depth product evaluation including intensive market research, security and scale concerns, fundamental feature analysis and customer surveys and feedback. In short, we wanted to make sure we are bringing you industry-leading Virtual Private Server hosting that meets all of your needs and addresses all of your website’s digital requirements. Whether you have a blog with increasing traffic, a growing business, or a website running complex and dynamic applications, our new VPS hosting packages have the power, performance and reliability to ensure your site will run seamlessly. The upgraded S-Class maintains many of the features that made InMotion Hosting an industry-leader, including automated backups, unlimited websites, burstable RAM, free cPanel and WHM, SSH and root access and much more. Not sure which hosting plan fits best fits your site and needs? Not a problem. Check out our comparison page to find out everything you need to know about shared, VPS and dedicated hosting and which product suits you best.

A Smarter Alternative To Data Center Expansion

The Rackspace Blog & Newsroom -

The past decade has been difficult for many IT organizations. Economic conditions and financial pressures have resulted in ever tightening IT budgets. These constraints have required CIOs to focus resources on ensuring the availability, reliability and stability of the most business critical systems and applications. This necessary focus on “keeping the lights on” has come at the expense of innovation, with over 70 percent of IT budgets now still spent on ongoing maintenance, operations and capacity expansion according to Forrester. To maintain relevancy and serve as a true partner to the business, IT focus now needs to rapidly shift away from efficiency and stability. Surveys show that business stakeholders in fact want more IT involvement and leadership around innovation. So how can IT regain a seat at the innovation table? The answer is simple – by aggressively refocusing resources on true core competencies and areas of differentiation, and investing in areas that truly create business value for the organization. As they pivot from a focus on cost to innovation, one of the areas that many organizations are actively evaluating is infrastructure. The accelerating need for data center capacity is requiring many CIOs and CFOs to question whether continued investment in internal infrastructure is prudent. In fact, according to Forrester, IT infrastructure consolidation and optimization is a top priority for 77 percent of IT hardware decision makers in 2014. When facing data center capacity expansions many forward-thinking enterprises are now considering migrating workloads to hosted environments. With the right service provider, hosted VMware environments can provide IT organizations a compelling alternative to investing in new internal data center capacity due to several key factors: Ease of Management – with the right service provider enterprises can seamlessly managing their on-premise and hosted VMware environments through existing tools, solutions, processes and people. Customers can effectively manage their hosted environment as an extension of their existing data center. Without the need for investment in new tools and capabilities, the case for hosted virtualized environments is much more attractive. Financial Flexibility – hosted virtualized models enable organizations to only pay for resources consumed, and to shift from a CapEx to OpEx financial model for IT. This is particularly attractive for organizations seeking to avoid capital investments and capacity management issues associated with direct infrastructure ownership. Hosted virtualized models can provide organizations valuable flexibility around infrastructure assets. Focus – by migrating workloads to a hosted VMware service provider the time and resources required to operate, monitor and support internal infrastructure is dramatically reduced. Incremental IT investments can instead be directed to help drive innovation and growth. By migrating workloads to hosted VMware environments customers can enjoy the benefits of a hosted model while minimizing the cost and risk of operational disruption. This is the last in a series of posts exploring the implications of migrating workloads to hosted VMware environments. Check out our earlier posts that explore the IT governance, management and tools implications of hosted virtualized environments.

Companies Consider Web Hosting in the Bahamas and Beyond to Avoid US Government

Web Hosting Industry Review (WHIR) / Web Hosting Talk -

Data hosted with a US-owned company but stored in a different country can still be accessed by the US government. This concern has led some businesses to forgo doing business with US-based service providers all together, and instead look for providers based in countries where there is more stringent rules around government data collection. The post Companies Consider Web Hosting in the Bahamas and Beyond to Avoid US Government appeared first on Web Hosting Talk.

The Role of Click to Call in Business Success

1&1 Online Success Center -

Click-to-call has been a successful business strategy for companies across multiple industries. The Web-based form of communication involves a user clicking on an object on the Web, and then is immediately connected with another person in real-time, either by phone call, text or chat. In 2013, Google commissioned Ipsos to conduct a study on their click-to-call buttons. The study looked at 3,000 mobile searchers who had recently made purchases to better understand the role, if any, that click-to-call played in their purchasing decisions. The results showed that 70% of mobile searchers use click-to-call and that calls are an important channel for consumers. Proving the positive impact that employing click-to-call features can have for a business, it is important to understand your options. While there are many types of click to call buttons, including our own Agendize website based version, in this post we’re going to focus on the importance of generating phone calls via click to call in general. What is the value of a phone call in this digital era? The first key statistic from the study is that 61% found click-to-call “Extremely/Very Important” in the “Purchase” phase of decision making. In other words, a simple act of a phone call had the power to turn a casual Web visitor into a customer. In fact,  39% said they “Always” or “Frequently” call a business when specifically looking to make a purchase or transaction. Can click-to-call really change customer’s perception of a business? Business perception is another key concept that the research looked into. The study found that lacking a click to call button in the search results could actually be damaging to a customer’s overall perception of the business. 47% described feeling “frustrated or annoyed” or “more likely to explore other brands” when they were unable to directly call the business. When another 35% felt “disappointed in the brand or company”.  It is clear that the click-to-call is a feature has turned from a consumer want to a consumer need. Big Question: What motivates a customer to call a business in the first place? If we take a quick look at why a customer would be motivated to make a call vs. checking a company website or other means, respondents felt calls were most effective for: Quickly getting an answer/accomplishing a goal (59%) Talking to a real person (57%) Asking more questions/getting more information than was available on the company website (54%) These findings are irrefutable when discussing the high advantage that generating phone calls through your online presence can have for a business. Using a click-to-call button takes the effort out of equation for the customers, and in turn they gain a personal, direct and in-depth sales experience from a trusted agent, helping to build a better relationship with your business What goals do customers want to achieve through phone calls? In terms of goals for every phone call, most respondents were looking to: Check for business hours (52%) Schedule an appointment/make a reservation (51%) Inquire about inventory/availability/booking information (47%) Inquire about pricing (43%) Of these major reasons for placing a call, checking business hours was key for Retail, Restaurants, Auto and Tech, while Online Scheduling were the most important activities for Finance, Travel and Local business sectors. It is important for business owners to keep this in mind when thinking about their own business industry. Understanding what customers are hoping to achieve through their phone calls makes it possible to develop an effective strategy in order to maximize your business’ efficiency and effectiveness. What’s all this trying to tell me? Through Google & Ipsos’ study, it is clear to see the value of both generating phone calls and the advantage click-to-call buttons can provide. While the focus of the study is Google’s click-to-call buttons which appear directly in mobile search results, more general click-to-call buttons, like the one Agendize provides, are able to capture the non-mobile segment of online consumers. With an Agendize click-to-call widget integrated into your business’ website it possible to use the same sort of tactics that has made the Google call buttons so effective. Source: http://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/research-studies/click-to-call.html

Promote and Market Your Content: Highlighting Hidden Gems

Everything Typepad -

Welcome to our series on promoting and marketing your own content. Every other week, we’ll debut a new post designed to help you push your blog content to a wider audience like a marketing rock star, and show you how to build a larger and more engaged community of readers along the way. As a blogger, there is no better feeling than seeing a post get a lot of attention. People are commenting, sharing the link with their friends on social media, and you're feeling the buzz of a successful post. But what about those posts that you put just as much care and work into that haven't quite taken off? It can be frustrating to look through your old posts and see content that you worked so hard on that hasn't reached its potential. In our first post about marketing your content, we talked about leveraging social media to drive new readers to your blog. Today, we'll explore some ideas for showcasing the posts that aren't getting so much traffic so they get the attention they deserve. Use Popular Posts to Direct Readers to Related Content If you have a post that's doing particularly well, you might take that opportunity to link to other posts from there. A simple list of links can be very effective. Using the Unordered or Ordered List option in Compose, you can add a short list of related links of your choosing to the bottom of the post. It could look something like: Did you enjoy this post? You might like these, too: Typepad 101: Utilizing Categories Typepad 101: Turn your blog into a book! Typepad 101: Transferring a Blog to Another Typepad Account Creating the list yourself allows you to handpick the links you want to include and easily change those out later if you want to highlight different content. Positioning the links at the bottom of the post is a natural way for readers to locate related content, so they shouldn't find it intrusive. For a more automated option, check out the Recommended links and posts feature. The feature's primary function is to link to content on other sites but it can be used to link to just your own content. Zemanta designates content on your own blog with a special icon for easy selection. Another simple way to let users find more posts like the ones they like is to use the Categories feature. For instance, if you post a book review, you can categorize that with all of your other book reviews and they will all show together on an archive page for that category. If you add the Category link option in Blogs > Design > Content: Post Footer, a reader will easily be able to click that post footer link to find more reviews. Use Your Sidebar to Showcase Content There are several options for directing readers to quality content via your sidebars. A Link TypeList allows you to create a custom list of links of your choosing and easily add that to your sidebar. It can be edited and updated at any time, so you can easily switch out links and track how content is doing over time. You can take this idea one step further and use the Sidebar Image module to add image links to your special posts. You can use an image that you included in the post itself, or get creative and make an image just for the sidebar link. Make sure to include a caption so people know where they're clicking to! If you're a Beta user, the Spotlight Posts feature allows you to showcase posts from a specific category in your sidebar. We recommend creating a category just for posts you want to highlight and then use that category in Spotlight Posts to direct your readers to that content. These can be posts that are getting a lot of traffic but it can be used for any posts, including those that could use some extra attention. More Tips Do you have a favorite way to drive traffic to the hidden gems on your blog? Share those in the comments and stay tuned for more posts in our series about marketing your content.

iWHMCS 2.0.2 Now Available

WHMCS Blog -

An update to iWHMCS is now available to download from the Apple iTunes Store. This update addresses usability and bug fixes reported in the initial Version 2.0 release earlier this month. Get the Update The changelog is available @ http://changelog.whmcs.com/iWHMCS_V2.0 To find out more about the iWHMCS app, please visit www.iwhmcs.com *Please note: It may take several hours before the update appears in all Apple iTunes store locations....

Updated: WordCamp Europe Coming to Sofia!

SiteGround Blog -

At SiteGround we definitely love WordCamps. We have been involved as sponsors and speakers in many of them lately. However, the upcoming WordCamp Europe is extra special for us. The reason? It will happen in our home city – Sofia! So apart from being just a sponsor, we get the chance to become much more involved this time: we have a ninja volunteer (Tina) in the main organization team of the event; we will welcome the contribution day in our office and we will be able to share our favorite places and pastimes with all the friends, clients and partners coming to town. Below is the list of events that we organize and anyone attending WordCamp Europe can join: Free Co-Working at SiteGround Office First and foremost, SiteGround office will be open for co-working to all attendees from September 23 (Tuesday) to September 30, 9 am to 7 pm – the whole week before the WordCamp and one day after Contributors Day is over. The office location for those of you who would like to come over is: Adora Business Center, fl 3 8 Racho P. Kazandzhiyata Str. SiteGround Office on Google Maps As entry in the building is controlled, please ping me on Twitter or drop me an email if you plan on coming.  Or just show up at the security desk downstairs and let them call the office. Our office manager Ramelina will come over to pick you up. Bar Hopping Hosted by SiteGround & Human Made Second, SiteGround and HumanMade (a WordPress.com VIP partner and agency for the enterprise) unite to organize a bar hopping on Thursday from 7 p.m. We start at Kanaal bar and every 40-60 min we’ll be changing locations so you can get a tour of one of the nicest areas in Sofia and get to know the best bars in town. SiteGround and HumanMade are paying the beer! To join the fun be at Kanaal bar at 7 p.m 2 Madrid blvd. Bar Kanaal on Google Maps Wakeboarding in Kazichene UPDATE: Because of the bad weather in Sofia we’re cancelling the Wakeboarding activity. Unfortunatelly, temperatures won’t allow us to have fun in the lake without getting cold. Third, for those of you who like extreme sports, I will take you wakeboarding and wakeskating in Kazichene on Thursday (meet time 2pm at the SiteGround office). Obviously, if it’s pouring and the weather is bad, we’ll have to skip that one and maybe replace it with an in-house game in our office (billiards, Dixit, Cards against humanity, Darts, table tennis, we have quite a few). If you are interested in any of these activities, you are welcome to comment under this post, ping me on Twitter or email me so I can keep you posted on all the details. We are looking forward to seeing you all in Sofia!

WordCamp Europe Coming to Sofia!

SiteGround Blog -

At SiteGround we definitely love WordCamps. We have been involved as sponsors and speakers in many of them lately. However, the upcoming WordCamp Europe is extra special for us. The reason? It will happen in our home city – Sofia! So apart from being just a sponsor, we get the chance to become much more involved this time: we have a ninja volunteer (Tina) in the main organization team of the event; we will welcome the contribution day in our office and we will be able to share our favorite places and pastimes with all the friends, clients and partners coming to town. Below is the list of events that we organize and anyone attending WordCamp Europe can join: Free Co-Working at SiteGround Office First and foremost, SiteGround office will be open for co-working to all attendees from September 23 (Tuesday) to September 30, 9 am to 7 pm – the whole week before the WordCamp and one day after Contributors Day is over. The office location for those of you who would like to come over is: Adora Business Center, fl 3 8 Racho P. Kazandzhiyata Str. SiteGround Office on Google Maps As entry in the building is controlled, please ping me on Twitter or drop me an email if you plan on coming.  Or just show up at the security desk downstairs and let them call the office. Our office manager Ramelina will come over to pick you up. Bar Hopping Hosted by SiteGround & Human Made Second, SiteGround and HumanMade (a WordPress.com VIP partner and agency for the enterprise) unite to organize a bar hopping on Thursday from 7 p.m. We start at Kanaal bar and every 40-60 min we’ll be changing locations so you can get a tour of one of the nicest areas in Sofia and get to know the best bars in town. SiteGround and HumanMade are paying the beer! To join the fun be at Kanaal bar at 7 p.m 2 Madrid blvd. Bar Kanaal on Google Maps Wakeboarding in Kazichene Third, for those of you who like extreme sports, I will take you wakeboarding and wakeskating in Kazichene on Thursday (meet time 2pm at the SiteGround office). Obviously, if it’s pouring and the weather it’s bad, we’ll have to skip that one and maybe replace it with an in-house game in our office (billiards, Dixit, Cards against humanity, Darts, tennis table, we have quite a few). If you are interested in any of these activities, you are welcome to comment under this post, ping me on Twitter or email me so I can keep you posted on all the details. We are looking forward to seeing you all in Sofia!

UX Updates – Improving User Experience or Increasing User Exploitation?

1&1 Online Success Center -

Rafael Laguna, CEO Open-Xchange The user experience (UX) is central to any online service. It should be easy, intuitive, and pleasing to use; delivering service or content without needing any special technical understanding. We’ve become used to well-designed, clean interfaces, with features specially created to improve our online experience. These features seem to change constantly – with new elements added, redundant elements taken away, and existing features tweaked slightly all in the name of creating a better UX. It’s becoming more evident, however, that improving our experience is not the main motivation for these changes. Facebook rules the roost when it comes to unannounced UX changes. Every now and then, they will introduce a new feature, or take away a much-loved one, leading to frustrated posts from users across the globe. Often, it seems that features are changed simply to increase money making opportunities. Already this year, we have seen auto-play video ads on our timelines. Following Facebook’s lead, Twitter is the latest service to alter its UX. Twitter users have voiced displeasure at unsolicited tweets entering their timelines. Where once the “favorite” function was a tool for discretely acknowledging or bookmarking a tweet, Twitter has begun to treat it more akin to a Facebook like. Your followers may now be able to see what posts you mark as a favorite appear in their timeline. In the past, Twitter has reversed controversial UX changes. For example, earlier this year, Twitter removed its ‘block’ function, but a swift and vocal #RestoreTheBlock campaign forced the company to quickly restore it. Of course, like many things, this all boils down to money; Twitter is a publically-traded company, and as such, is subject to scrutiny at board and investor level. The natural and easiest way to keep share prices up is to get advertisers on board. Last year’s addition of photos directly into users’ timelines came as a surprise to many, and it remains a point of contention for users. It’s fine that services such as Facebook and Twitter want to make money, but the problem is that money seems to be the main driver in changes to their UX. When a new feature launches, it rarely feels like it enhances your experience only – there’s usually a string attached. Geotag your photos? Great – now you will see ads for where you like to go on vacation. Link your Spotify account and you will be hit with suggestions of artists ‘you might like’. And this is the problem. Rather than focusing on making a nice product that people want and choose to use, the approach seems to be to wait until your users are committed, and squeeze them for as much revenue as possible. Users prefer a clean, uncluttered interface, and this poses a challenge for designers – but those that are truly passionate about UX will welcome this challenge. It is possible to present users with a great-looking product that does not take away any functionality. Thoughtful design, and an understanding of what is intuitive for users, should be at the core of everything product designers do. So let the UX be driven by good design, and not the need to drive as much revenue as possible. Make a product that people are perhaps even happy to pay for, or at least a service that they want to come back to without over-the-top advertising or sponsorship. Failing to do this could see an eventual downturn in subscribers, or it may be the case that you never get off the ground at all. We can’t all have hundreds of millions of users like the big social networks, but we need to properly look after the users we do have, and ensure they keep coming back. If you don’t get the balance right, they won’t. Photo Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/marekuliasz

Deutsche Telekom Denies Allegations of NSA, GCHQ Breach

Web Hosting Industry Review (WHIR) / Web Hosting Talk -

Documents provided to German newspaper Der Spiegel by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the NSA and GCHQ breached Deutsche Telekom and local telecommunications provider Netcologne, the paper reported Sunday. Deutsche Telekom responded quickly, saying that its investigation has discovered no breach so far. The post Deutsche Telekom Denies Allegations of NSA, GCHQ Breach appeared first on Web Hosting Talk.

If the States Regulate ISPs, Shouldn’t We Talk to Them about Net Neutrality?

BizTechTonics -

I found an interesting tidbit on the FCC website about the regulation of the internet.  It says: The FCC does not regulate the Internet or Internet Service Providers (ISPs). You may contact your state consumer protection office…. If that is the case, why are we contacting the FCC and the federal government about Net Neutrality, when the power to regulate it is already in the hands of the states we… Read More »

Why “Internet Fast Lanes” are B.S.: Users Create Traffic, Not Content Providers

BizTechTonics -

In the current Net Neutrality debate, cable companies and internet service providers are claiming that they deserve more money from Netflix and YouTube and other content providers because they supposedly “create” the most traffic on their networks.  But that is simply not true. Do you know who really creates the most traffic on the internet?  The end users requesting content and visiting websites. Think about it.  Netflix and YouTube only send… Read More »

The New Pinterest Analytics Tool: How To Use It for Business

Social Media Examiner -

Are you struggling to measure your Pinterest efforts? Do you want an easier way to track pins and engagement? The new Pinterest Analytics tool gives you access to a variety of data, including how potential customers interact with your pins beyond your website. In this article I’ll share how the new Pinterest Analytics features help you [...]This post The New Pinterest Analytics Tool: How To Use It for Business first appeared on Social Media Examiner. Social Media Examiner - Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle

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