More businesses move onto the internet

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Business Online thumb More businesses move onto the internetMore businesses are taking advantage of the internet, with many finding the move online creates more revenue, a new survey has found.

Research by accounting software provider MYOB has found that the number of Australian businesses now online has increased to 39 per cent, up from 35 per cent last November, with a further 22 per cent planning to create a website in the next 12 months.

Almost a third of the 1000 respondents surveyed reported an increase revenue compared with just 22 per cent without a website.

‘Today consumers look online first when making buying decisions,’ MYOB CEO Tim Reed said, releasing the survey findings on Wednesday.

‘If your business can’t be found via a search engine, it’s as if you don’t exist.’

Western Australian businesses are leading the way online at 43 per cent, closely followed by NSW and Victoria at 41 and 40 per cent respectively.

Still, not all business are making full use of the internet and some are convinced that the internet is not the way forward.

The survey found that 57 per cent of business still do not promote or sell products and services online.

Almost half without a website said they have no intention of creating one in the future, and 26 per cent don’t believe a website would benefit their business at all.

‘While only 26 per cent of business owners believe their competitors are ahead of them when it comes to the online economy, I’m concerned for Australia’s future international competitiveness if business owners don’t do more to embrace the online economy,’ Mr Reed said.

‘It’s important Aussie business owners take action now to make sure they don’t lose market share to global competitors.’

He said one of the biggest challenges for businesses getting online appears to be having the right skills and knowledge to take the necessary steps to move.

One in three businesses believe they are behind the times in using the internet for business, 35 per cent believe they don’t use the internet well enough for marketing purposes, and 31 per cent believe they don’t use online search engines well enough to market their business.


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Internet providers unsure on NBN

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NBN thumb Internet providers unsure on NBNThere was plenty of smiling and hand-shaking as Telstra and the government put pen to paper on an $11 billion deal – seen as one of the last major hurdles on the road to a National Broadband Network.

But as the government celebrates – Internet service providers around the country are sifting through the documents to work out what the deal means for them.

tt twitter micro3 Internet providers unsure on NBN


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Internet access life changing

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NBN thumb1 Internet access life changingA federal parliamentary committee has been told that internet access can be life changing for some people living in regional communities.

John Lindsay, from internet service provider Internode, told the inquiry his company was a strong supporter of the national broadband network (NBN).

But he said the cost of the service to consumers would be a big factor in its success in opening up regional communities to high-speed internet access.

Mr Lindsay said Internode had taken numerous testimonials from customers as the company had rolled out its own high-speed connections.

They had allowed many business people and other professionals, who were facing the prospect of having to move into bigger cities, to continue to live and work in regional communities.

‘Their professional lives meant they needed that level of connectivity,’ Mr Lindsay told the House of Representatives Standing Committee into the role and potential of the NBN.

‘So it really has been life changing for these people.’

In the debate over the merits of fixed line fibre connections and competing wireless services, Mr Lindsay said Internode considered them complementary technologies.

He said long-term contracts that accompanied fixed line services often did not appeal to young internet users or lower income earners who preferred pre-paid wireless connections.

But he said those same people might be lured into using the NBN if the price of connection was kept low.

In its submissions to the inquiry the South Australian government said the commonwealth’s commitment to providing high-speed, affordable broadband was to be applauded.

It said the government commitment was also important in that it recognised the need for priority in regional areas.

‘Achieving equity, affordability and priority will also enable considerable benefit to all communities,’ the government said.

Story source http://www.bigpond.com.au/

tt twitter micro3 Internet access life changing


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Internet running out of IP addresses

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ip address thumb Internet running out of IP addressesThe internet is running out of addresses.

With everything from smartphones to internet-linked appliances and cars getting online, the group entrusted with organising the web is running out of the ‘IP’ numbers that identify destinations for digital traffic.

Google engineer Lorenzo Colitti says one solution is to switch to a standard called IPv6 which would allow trillions of internet addresses, the current IPv4 standard only provides about 4 billion.

He says the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, has been calling for a change to IPv6 for years.

Google, Facebook and other major internet players will add IPv6 addresses to their systems in a one-day trial run on June 8 to let all parties involved check for trouble spots.

tt twitter micro3 Internet running out of IP addresses


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Google admits to accidentally collecting e-mails, URLs, passwords

Google admitted in a blog post Friday that external regulators have discovered that e-mails, URLs and passwords were collected and stored in a technical mishap, while the vehicles for Google’s Street View service were out documenting roadway locations.

According to Google, data was mistakenly collected in more than 30 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, some of Europe, and parts of Asia.

In the blog, posted by Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research, he noted "we failed badly here" and added that Google has spent months analyzing how to strengthen their internal privacy and security practices.

"We want to delete this data as soon as possible, and I would like to apologize again for the fact that we collected it in the first place," Eustace wrote.

Google announced in May that it had collected unencrypted WiFi data by mistake through its Street View service, but the severity of the situation was unknown.

According to a Google spokesperson, the company first became aware of the problem when the Data Protection Authority in Germany asked Google to review all of the data collected through its Street View cars as part of a routine check. The spokesperson added that in addition to street locations, Street View cars also collect WiFi data about hot spots in order to improve the location database for things such as Google Maps for mobile.

When Google went back and looked at the data, it turned out that in addition to WiFi hot spots, they were mistakenly collecting information that was being sent across unencrypted networks.

For the information to have been collected by Google, a person had to have been sending something over an unencrypted network at the same time that a Street View car was collecting data in that same location.

According to Google, the vast majority of the data is in fragments, but in the past week several countries have issued reports that they have found entire emails and passwords.

The data has since been segregated and secured, and WiFi data is no longer being collected from Street View cars.

Google has deleted the data collected from Ireland, Austria, Denmark and Hong Kong, but other countries have opened their own investigations, and Google has not been given permission from authorities to delete the data.

In a statement, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said, "This alarming admission that Google collected entire e-mails and passwords validates and heightens our significant concerns. Our multistate investigation, led by Connecticut, into Google’s alleged invasion of privacy through wireless networks is continuing."

In the blog post, Eustace outlined the steps that Google is taking to strengthen its internal privacy and security practices including appointing a director of privacy across both engineering and product management and enhancing the core training that engineers and employees responsible for data collection receive.

"We are mortified by what happened, but confident that these changes to our processes and structure will significantly improve our internal privacy and security practices for the benefit of all our users," Eustace wrote.

Story by Marina Landis, CNN – www.cnn.com

Good Experiences Motivate Women to Share Product Info

Females care more about relating positive vs. negative word-of-mouth

Marketers looking to spur brand advocacy among women—or those worried about the possibility of negative brand buzz facilitated by social media—have another piece of evidence that good experiences are a key motivator of brand discussions.

A survey of online women in North America by female-focused marketing and communications firm Harbinger found that 92% of them turn to friends and family for product information, making word-of-mouth their top source. They consider it important to seek and share information on a variety of product categories, with appliances, restaurants, automobiles and entertainment leading the list.

In the food and beverage category, which more than two-thirds of female internet users said they were likely to share information about, 58% said they would do so because of a good experience. A bad experience would motivate 46% of respondents to speak up.

Top 5 Reasons Female Internet Users in North America Seek and Share Information on Food and Beverages, Spring 2010 (% of respondents)

Experiences with appliances—which 80% of women surveyed said they would spread the word about—were even stronger motivators. Four in five respondents reported they would share good experiences with others, while just under three-quarters said the same of bad experiences.

Top 5 Reasons Female Internet Users in North America Seek and Share Information on Appliances, Spring 2010 (% of respondents)

In every product category studied, sharing good experiences, and often a desire to help other consumers make smart purchases, came ahead of sharing bad experiences as a word-of-mouth generator. A truly negative brand experience may still garner negative buzz online or offline, but the women surveyed were more inspired by the positive.

And despite the popularity of social media among women—and marketers’ propensity to target them there and turn them into online brand advocates—those studied preferred to share information with friends and family face-to-face (92%). They were also more likely to share info in person with strangers or acquaintances (36%) than via a website (32%) or social networking site (27%).

Fewer Women Online Spending More Time

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Women account for slightly fewer than half of global internet users but spend more time online than men, according to a new study from comScore.

Women Account for 46% of Global Web Users
“How Women Are Shaping the Internet” indicates that globally, women represent 46% of internet users age 18 and up. However, this percentage varies by region. For example, women represent 50.4% of North American internet users.

North America has the highest percentage of its adult internet-using population represented by women. In Asia Pacific (42.1%), Europe (47%) and Latin America (48.1%), women are still underrepresented.

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Broken down by individual country, Singapore, the US, New Zealand, Russia and Canada have the highest proportion of adult female web users – all with 50% or more. Countries with the lowest proportion of female web users include two countries where internet penetration is still extremely low – India and Indonesia, with 28 and 35%, respectively.

Asia-Pacific Has Most Female Web Users
Asia is undoubtedly the largest regional online market, and is still growing rapidly. Women online in Asia outnumber women in North America by more than two to one. China alone accounts for more women online than all of North America and, together with Japan, South Korea and India, account for more women online than Europe, according to comScore figures.

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In Most Regions, Women Spend More Time Online
The average 15-plus female spends 8% more time online than her male counterpart. In April, the global average was 24.8 hours per month for women, compared to 22.9 hours for men.

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Looking at time spent by women 18 and up compared to men of the same age by region, Asia-Pacific has the widest gap. Women spend an average of 17.9 hours per month online, 7.2% more than the 16.6 average hours spent online by men.

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North America is the one region where men spend slightly more time online per month than women. Men average 38.6 monthly hours, 2.6% more than the average 37.6 monthly hours spent online by women.

Women spend more time online than men in Europe and Latin America, but the gap is narrower than in Asia-Pacific. European women spend an average of 26 hours a month online, 3.8% more than 25 hours spent by men. In Latin America, women average 27.1 monthly hours online, only 1.5% more than 26.7 monthly hours average by men.

Women Do More Social Networking
Social networking sites reach a higher percentage of women than men globally, according to other comScore study results.

“How Women Are Shaping the Internet” indicates 75.8% of all women online visited a social networking site in May 2010, compared to 69.7% of men. Globally, women demonstrate higher levels of engagement with social networking sites than men. Although women account for 47.9% of total unique visitors to the social networking category, they consume 57% of pages and account for nearly 57% of total minutes spent on these sites.

Women spend significantly more time on social networking sites than men, with women averaging 5.5 hours per month compared to men’s four hours, demonstrating the strong engagement that women across the globe share with social sites.

Antisocial Social Media: The British Monarchy Joins Flickr

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british-monarchy-internet marketingFor such a classical institution, the British Monarchy has tried surprisingly hard to be tech and social media savvy in recent years, but it has failed to embrace the “social” side of the term. The latest example of that is the royal family’s Flickr account, which just launched with hundreds of photos.
The Monarchy’s profile hosts images new and old, ranging from a wedding photo featuring Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to more recent photos from the Queen’s visits to New York City and Canada. There are even photos of the Queen as a baby. Each member of the family has his or her own set of photos, and there are a few more general sets such as “Latest News” and “Royal Events.” The categories match those found at the family’s website.

Buckingham Palace already maintains a Twitter profile, and it launched a YouTube account a couple of years ago. The Twitter account has a little bit more than 50,000 followers. It’s not used conversationally, of course; it’s merely a publishing platform for links to news stories and updates on the website.

The YouTube channel is a bit more interesting (though no more engaging) because it features interviews, speeches and documentary coverage of the activities and travels of the royal family. The videos are all promotional or informative in nature, and comments are disabled.

According to the AP, officials have said that bloggers are welcome to embed and share the photos from Flickr, however the images are watermarked “© Press Association” and no Creative Commons leeway is given. As is also the case with YouTube, you can’t comment at the royals’ Flickr account.

It’s interesting to see an institution so immersed in tradition embracing new and social media, but unsurprisingly, that embrace is a measured one. The propriety of distance is maintained even in the digital realm. Aren’t they missing the point?

Story by Samuel Axon Mashable

Facebook membership hits 500 million

The number of people using Facebook has hit the 500 million mark, meaning one in every 14 people on the planet has now signed up to online social-networking service.

"As of this morning, 500 million people all around the world are actively using Facebook to stay connected with their friends and the people around them," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a blog post.

"This is an important milestone for all of you who have helped spread Facebook around the world."

To celebrate, the California firm introduced an application that lets members of the online community "tell the incredible stories of the moving and interesting ways they’ve used Facebook."

Examples given by Zuckerberg included NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen jogging with Facebook fans during his term as Danish prime minister and a US woman using the service to battle breast cancer.

"Our mission at Facebook is to help make the world more open and connected," Zuckerberg said.

"Stories like these are examples of that mission and are both humbling and inspiring. I could have never imagined all of the ways people would use Facebook when we were getting started 6 years ago

Companies Throw Their Weight Behind Online Video

Most of the attention in the online video space has focused on either media content and consumers or marketers and video advertisements. But companies continue to push further into this realm with non-advertising content.

Recent studies have shown that growing numbers of retailers are adding video capabilities to their sites. Surveys of Fortune 500 companies also indicate a broad-scale increase in the use of video for marketing purposes. In this sense, video has gone from a luxury to a near necessity for companies seeking an edge in marketing their products. From home-goods merchants to automobile manufacturers, companies across a wide spectrum are finding ways to use video in their marketing efforts, and consumers are embracing—sometimes demanding—these changes.

Retail is a sector where online video is becoming more important for driving sales. When asked by Multichannel Merchant to identify rich media features that they used, 46% of US multichannel retailers picked video, making it the highest-ranked category in the survey. Another 42.3% of respondents said they planned to add video capability in the next year.

Rich Media Features Offered by US Multichannel Retailers, February 2010 (% of respondents)

Several studies point to increased use of video by US companies. According to Forrester Research, the percentage of the top 50 US online retailers that offer videos on their sites skyrocketed to 68% in 2009 from 18% in 2008.

Marketers are on board with more than just ecommerce applications, as well. A study led by the Society for New Communications Research noted 31% of Fortune 500 companies with public-facing blogs used video blogging in 2009, up from 21% in 2008.

2008 and 2009 Fortune 500 Companies with Public-Facing Blogs* that Use Podcasting and Videoblogging (% of total in each group)

Ad-ology asked US marketing executives whether they would increase, decrease or make no changes in their 2010 marketing budgets for social and traditional media. Nearly 27% said they would increase their online video budgets for viral clips and podcasts, while 5.5% would decrease their budgets. Out of the remainder, 41% would leave the budget intact and another 27% said they did not use video. These responses put video ahead of mobile marketing and search optimization as budget priorities for US marketing executives.

As eMarketer’s Tobi Elkin noted in the report “Consumer Packaged Goods Sector Taps into Online Video,” “Creating an online video presence helps marketers facilitate an ongoing dialogue with consumers, boost brand equity, lure prospective customers and solidify support among brand loyalists.”

On the receiving end of these marketing efforts, consumers are accessing increasing amounts of video on multiple platforms, from laptops and home PCs to smartphones and tablets. As these devices continue to penetrate the market, consumers will expect ubiquitous access to video content. Examples might include watching product videos at the point of sale or viewing a portion of a podcast on a PC and resuming the session on a tablet. Marketers are aware of the potential and are upping their game in a variety of sectors.