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Recent blog posts

Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook review: good for reading, but hardly the best budget tablet

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook review: good for reading, but hardly the best budget tablet

There was a time when Barnes & Noble was so big, so dominating, that even Tom Hanks managed to look like a jerk when he played a book-chain executive. But times have changed, and as people began to order their books online -- or even download them -- B&N found itself struggling to keep up. After losing a lot of money last year, the company decided it was time for a change: It vowed to stop making its own tablets, and instead team up with some third-party company to better take on Amazon and its Kindle Fire line. Turns out, that third party was none other than Samsung, and the fruits of their partnership, the $179 Galaxy Tab 4 Nook, is basically a repackaged version of the existing Galaxy Tab 4 7.0. Well, almost, anyway. The 7-inch slate comes pre-loaded with $200 worth of free content, and the core Nook app has been redesigned to the point that it actually offers a better reading experience than the regular Nook Android app. But is that a good enough reason to buy this instead of a Kindle Fire? Or any other Android tablet, for that matter?

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iTunes Festival app arrives on Apple TV for London's month of music

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Apple's annual month-long concert series in the UK kicks off next week, and to make sure that you're properly equipped to stream the performances, there's a new Apple TV app that'll do just that. Starting Monday, September 1st with deadmau5 and lasting through the end of the month, sets will be beamed to your living room right from the stage of the Roundhouse in London. Of course, should you find yourself away from home, tunes are also available on iPhone, iPad and iPod to catch the latest. While you can peruse the full list of acts here, scheduled artists include Beck, Pharrell Williams, Ryan Adams and Mary J. Blige.

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Fujifilm was one of the first companies to turn compact cameras from "dying category" into "retro-tinged lust object," and its latest model, the X30, is no exception. The redesigned magnesium body still looks sharp, but Fujifilm has added an OLED XGA (2.36 million dots) viewfinder with a blistering 0.005-second lag in place of the last model's optical version. It also has a bigger, higher-res 920K-dot tiltable screen, longer battery life and WiFi connectivity -- which finally brings features like remote smartphone snapping. Core features remain the same, namely the 2/3-inch, 12-megapixel X-Trans II sensor; EXR Processor II; and the 28-112mm-equivalent, f/2.0-2.8 zoom lens. It also has the last model's $600 price tag, which may give some enthusiasts pause -- especially since Sony's stunning, $800 RX100 III is only a short rung up the price ladder.

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A pile of US currency, topped with a mobile phone, reminds us that money talks and can be very persuasive!

Late last year, Square introduced a service called Cash that lets you send money to anyone in the US with just their email address. You could either do so with a regular ol' email app -- simply CC This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. in an email to the recipient with the dollar amount in the subject line -- or you could download the Square Cash app to make the process easier. With the latest Cash app update, however, there's a special bonus feature if you decide to use the app to send money -- you'll be able to send money with their phone number as well. Just enter in the number manually or you can let the app access your contacts list. The recipient will then get a text message with a link to download the Cash app if they haven't already, and with just a few steps, they'll get their money. In addition to this new feature, you can now track payments and requests via push notification. Plus you'll now be able to link all of your email addresses and numbers to a Profile account so it's that much easier for folks to send you funds.

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http://www.engadget.com/2014/08/26/netflix-fcc-petition-time-warner-cable-comcast/

Netflix asks FCC to stop Comcast/TWC merger citing 'serious' public harm

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As it promised, Netflix has filed a petition to the FCC demanding that it deny the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner. The 256-page document claims that it would result in "serious public interest harm," and no discernible public benefit -- two red flags for regulatory bodies. Netflix cited several examples of harm already inflicted on it by Comcast or Time Warner Cable. For one, Comcast has used network congestion as an excuse to "shift Netflix traffic to paid interconnections," It also argued that data caps have been used as a tactic to deter consumers from third-party streaming companies like Netflix or Hulu.

Netflix wrote that a merged cable giant would have huge leverage over it and other internet companies. It said Comcast and TWC's claims that there is enough competition in the market are disingenuous, since DSL offerings from AT&T and Verizon are often insufficient for Netflix streaming. It added that TWC and Comcast offer competing paid video-on-demand services over broadband and thus have "incentives to interfere" with third-party companies like Netflix.

Comcast truck

It also noted that it's prohibitively expensive for consumers to switch broadband services, and that even if they wanted to, there are often zero alternatives -- a situation that would worsen with a merger. Finally, it complained about the problem of "terminating networks," or the point at which user data switches from one network to another. It contended that providers can deliberately congest such routes to extract fees -- and in fact, currently have no incentive not to.

There are many more arguments listed in the document (at the source), and many are well known to the US public -- who have become intensely interested in the merger and net neutrality in general. Naturally, Netflix has its own interests (and profits) at heart, and Comcast and TWC may have a rebuttal to its main arguments. But Netflix's legal challenge to the FCC is significant, since it (and its customers) may suffer the most from a merger. It has now joined Dish Network in filing a formal brief along with numerous consumer groups.

Update: Many others, including the Writers Guild of America and Public Knowledge, have chimed in against the proposed merger. Meanwhile, Comcast and Time Warner Cable have assembled a list of organizations writing in support of the merger, and that includes two familiar names in Cisco and TiVo.

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http://www.engadget.com/2014/08/26/interactive-censorship-map/

 

Interactive map shows you where internet censorship is strongest

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The internet censorship map at a glance

If you're reading this, you probably enjoy open internet access as a matter of course. However, other countries aren't quite so liberal. How do you know where you're truly free? IVPN's new interactive censorship map might just answer that question for you. The site lets you click on a given country to quickly learn about its tendencies to block free speech online, attack critics and shred anonymity. Not surprisingly, very authoritarian governments like China, Cuba and Iran don't score well -- they tend to insist on real names when you post, and will throw you in prison for challenging the internet status quo. Many other countries, like Russia and Venezuela, walk an awkward line between freedom and trying to crush dissent.

The map is far from perfect. There are quite a few gaps, although that's partly dictated by countries that can't or won't offer data (North Korea isn't exactly the sharing type). Also, you may scoff at the nations deemed truly free -- the info comes from 2012, before we knew about Australia's proposed anti-leak measures, American surveillance revelations or the UK's hit-and-miss porn filter. Still, the guide should make it at least a little bit easier to understand where it's safe to speak your mind.

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20 ways to keep your internet identity safe from hackers

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      • The Observer, Saturday 11 May 2013

We're high up in the Gherkin in the City of London and Garry Sidaway, director of security strategy at Integralis, a firm which advises government agencies, pharmaceutical and financial services multinationals, is giving my computer a security MOT. "You don't have anti-virus software, I see," he says, a trace of mockery in his voice. "That's your first mistake." According to Sidaway, while most of us are much more aware of the risks now ("My mum shreds her documents even if she doesn't know why," he says), we should all be raising the bar. He thinks we Britons are an overly trusting lot. Sitting ducks for an armada of hackers, who are every bit as focused on stealing our data as we are relaxed about storing it. "The criminal gangs know exactly which kind of data they want and where it is likely to be," he explains. "Conversely we're not sure what they're after." So what are they after, I ask? "We are seeing a wide variety of attacks – everything from opportunists trying to extract passwords through phishing [emails which purport to be from legitimate sources and attempt to get us to click on an infected link] to highly organised crime units targeting businesses and government systems in an effort to steal intellectual property and information related to critical infrastructure." The government estimates that the total cost of cybercrime in the UK is £27bn a year. The majority (£21bn) is committed against businesses, which face high levels of intellectual property theft and industrial espionage. Enabled by the sharing culture on social media – and with ever more sophisticated malicious software known as malware at their disposal – cybercriminals have become far more adept at crafting attacks and targeting individuals and organisations. Phishing emails purporting to be from friends, often reflecting our interests – perhaps gleaned from social media sites – or from trusted organisations such as your bank or HM Revenue & Customs encourage us to click on infected links or attachments containing malware. (A recent example of the latter was malware disguised as a security warning from Microsoft's digital crimes unit.) "We have a level of trust in certain organisations and criminals exploit that trust," says Sidaway. Typically, these so-called "man-in-the-middle" attacks install colourfully named Trojans (pieces of malware, essentially) such as Zeus, SpyEye or Citadel on computers, which have the effect of compromising, for example, online banking transactions. "Everything you then do on your compromised laptop is subverted through a hacking site which means when you [communicate] with your bank, you are going through a man in the middle. Initially, man-in-the-middle attacks were passwords used in authentication – the criminal would wait until you had finished to start using the credentials they'd just gathered. This is why banks brought in one-time passwords or codes," he says. "But more recent malware will perform a man-in-the-middle attack to obtain the user's session (a session is created after a user logs in successfully and the browser and the bank's website use this to continue the interaction) and fake the logout requests. Once the user thinks they've logged out, the attacker can make payments using the existing session without the victim seeing any changes to their balance until the next time they log on. This is partly why banks have rolled out card readers to help prevent payments to new payees." He adds: "It's a constant game of cat and mouse." TWENTY COMMANDMENTS: THE DOS AND DON'TS OF ONLINE SAFETY 1. Never click on a link you did not expect to receive The golden rule. The main way criminals infect PCs with malware is by luring users to click on a link or open an attachment. "Sometimes phishing emails contain obvious spelling mistakes and poor grammar and are easy to spot," says Sidaway of Integralis. "However, targeted attacks and well-executed mass mailings can be almost indistinguishable [from genuine emails]." Social media has helped criminals profile individuals, allowing them to be much more easily targeted, he adds. "They can see what you're interested in or what you [post] about and send you crafted messages, inviting you to click on something. Don't." 2. Use different passwords on different sites With individuals typically having anything up to 100 online accounts, the tendency has become to share one or two passwords across accounts or use very simple ones, such as loved ones' names, first pets or favourite sports teams. Indeed, research by Ofcom last month revealed that over half of UK adults (55%) use the same passwords for most, if not all, websites they visit, while one in four (26%) use birthdays or names as passwords. Any word found in the dictionary is easily crackable. Instead, says Sian John, online security consultant at Symantec, have one memorable phrase or a line from a favourite song or poem. For example: "The Observer is a Sunday newspaper" becomes "toiasn". Add numerals and a special character thus: "T0!asn". Now for every site you log on to, add the first and last letter of that site to the start and end of the phrase, so the password for Amazon would be "AT0!asnn". At first glance, unguessable. But for you, still memorable." 3. Never reuse your main email password A hacker who has cracked your main email password has the keys to your [virtual] kingdom. Passwords from the other sites you visit can be reset via your main email account. A criminal can trawl through your emails and find a treasure trove of personal data: from banking to passport details, including your date of birth, all of which enables ID fraud. Identity theft is estimated to cost the UK almost £2bn a year. 4. Use anti-virus software German security institute AV-Test found that in 2010 there were 49m new strains of malware, meaning that anti-virus software manufacturers are engaged in constant game of "whack-a-mole". Sometimes their reaction times are slow – US security firm Imperva tested 40 anti-virus packages and found that the initial detection rate of a new virus was only 5%. Much like flu viruses and vaccine design, it takes the software designers a while to catch up with the hackers. Last year AV-Test published the results of a 22-month study of 27 different anti-virus suites and top-scoring packages were Bitdefender, Kaspersky and F-Secure. Meanwhile, security expert Brian Krebs published the results of a study of 42 packages which showed on average a 25% detection rate of malware – so they are not the entire answer, just a useful part of it. 5. If in doubt, block Just say no to social media invitations (such as Facebook-friend or LinkedIn connection requests) from people you don't know. It's the cyber equivalent of inviting the twitchy guy who looks at you at the bus stop into your home. 6. Think before you tweet and how you share information Again, the principal risk is ID fraud. Trawling for personal details is the modern day equivalent of "dumpster-diving", in which strong-stomached thieves would trawl through bins searching for personal documents, says Symantec's John. "Many of the same people who have learned to shred documents like bank statements will happily post the same information on social media. Once that information is out there, you don't necessarily have control of how other people use it." She suggests a basic rule: "If you aren't willing to stand at Hyde Park Corner and say it, don't put it on social media." 7. If you have a "wipe your phone" feature, you should set it up Features such as Find My iPhone, Android Lost or BlackBerry Protect allow you to remotely to erase all your personal data, should your device be lost or stolen. "Absolutely, set it up," advises Derek Halliday of mobile security specialist Lookout. "In the case where your phone is gone for good, having a wipe feature can protect your information from falling into the wrong hands. Even if you didn't have the foresight to sign up, many wipe your phone features can be implemented after the fact." 8. Only shop online on secure sites Before entering your card details, always ensure that the locked padlock or unbroken key symbol is showing in your browser, cautions industry advisory body Financial Fraud Action UK. Additionally the beginning of the online retailer's internet address will change from "http" to "https" to indicate a connection is secure. Be wary of sites that change back to http once you've logged on. 9. Don't assume banks will pay you back 20 ways to stop hackers: 'I've been the victim of online credit card fraud' Banks must refund a customer if he or she has been the victim of fraud, unless they can prove that the customer has acted "fraudulently" or been "grossly negligent". Yet as with any case of fraud, the matter is always determined on an individual basis. "Anecdotally, a customer who has been a victim of a phishing scam by unwittingly providing a fraudster with their account details and passwords only to be later defrauded could be refunded," explains Michelle Whiteman, spokesperson for the Payments Council, an industry body. "However, were they to fall victim to the same fraud in the future, after their bank had educated them about how to stay safe, it is possible a subsequent refund won't be so straightforward. Under payment services regulations, the onus is on the payment-service provider to prove that the customer was negligent, not vice versa. Credit card protection is provided under the Consumer Credit Act and offers similar protection." 10. Ignore pop-ups Pop-ups can contain malicious software which can trick a user into verifying something. "[But if and when you do], a download will be performed in the background, which will install malware," says Sidaway. "This is known as a drive-by download. Always ignore pop-ups offering things like site surveys on e-commerce sites, as they are sometimes where the malcode is." 11. Be wary of public Wi-Fi Most Wi-Fi hotspots do not encrypt information and once a piece of data leaves your device headed for a web destination, it is "in the clear" as it transfers through the air on the wireless network, says Symantec's Sian John. "That means any 'packet sniffer' [a program which can intercept data] or malicious individual who is sitting in a public destination with a piece of software that searches for data being transferred on a Wi-Fi network can intercept your unencrypted data. If you choose to bank online on public Wi-Fi, that's very sensitive data you are transferring. We advise either using encryption [software], or only using public Wi-Fi for data which you're happy to be public – and that shouldn't include social network passwords." 12. Run more than one email account 20 ways to stop hackers: 'Help, my Mac keeps getting viruses' Thinking about having one for your bank and other financial accounts, another for shopping and one for social networks. If one account is hacked, you won't find everything compromised. And it helps you spot phishing emails, because if an email appears in your shopping account purporting to come from your bank, for example, you'll immediately know it's a fake. 13. Macs are as vulnerable as PCs Make no mistake, your shiny new MacBook Air can be attacked too. It's true that Macs used to be less of a target, simply because criminals used to go after the largest number of users – ie Windows – but this is changing. "Apple and Microsoft have both added a number of security features which have significantly increased the effectiveness of security on their software," says Sidaway, "but determined attackers are still able to find new ways to exploit users on almost any platform." 14. Don't store your card details on websites Err on the side of caution when asked if you want to store your credit card details for future use. Mass data security breaches (where credit card details are stolen en masse) aren't common, but why take the risk? The extra 90 seconds it takes to key in your details each time is a small price to pay. 15. Add a DNS service to protect other devices A DNS or domain name system service converts a web address (a series of letters) into a machine-readable IP address (a series of numbers). You're probably using your ISP's DNS service by default, but you can opt to subscribe to a service such as OpenDNS or Norton ConnectSafe, which redirect you if you attempt to access a malicious site, says Sian John. "This is helpful for providing some security (and parental control) across all the devices in your home including tablets, TVs and games consoles that do not support security software. But they shouldn't be relied upon as the only line of defence, as they can easily be bypassed." 16. Enable two-step verification If your email or cloud service offers it – Gmail, Dropbox, Apple and Facebook do – take the trouble to set this up. In addition to entering your password, you are also asked to enter a verification code sent via SMS to your phone. In the case of Gmail you only have to enter a fresh code every 30 days or when you log on from a different computer or device. So a hacker might crack your password, but without the unique and temporary verification code should not be able to access your account. 17. Lock your phone and tablet devices Keep it locked, just as you would your front door. Keying in a password or code 40-plus times a day might seem like a hassle but, says Lookout's Derek Halliday, "It's your first line of defence." Next-generation devices, however, are set to employ fingerprint scanning technology as additional security. 18. Be careful on auction sites On these sites in particular, says Symantec's Sian John, exercise vigilance. "Check the seller feedback and if a deal looks too good then it may well be," she says. "Keep your online payment accounts secure by regularly changing your passwords, checking the bank account to which it is linked and consider having a separate bank account or credit card for use on them, to limit any potential fraud still further." 19. Lock down your Facebook account 20 ways to stop hackers: 'What's the problem with sharing my Facebook info with friends of friends?' Facebook regularly updates its timeline and privacy settings, so it is wise to monitor your profile, particularly if the design of Facebook has changed. Firstly, in the privacy settings menu, under "who can see my stuff?" change this to "friends" (be warned: setting this to "friends of friends" means that, according to one Pew study, on average you are sharing information with 156,569 people). Also in privacy, setting "limit old posts" applies friends-only sharing to past as well as future posts. Thirdly, disable the ability of other search engines to link to your timeline. You should also review the activity log, which shows your entire history of posts and allows you to check who can see them. Similarly, you should look at your photo albums and check you're happy with the sharing settings for each album. In the future you may want to consider building "lists" – subsets of friends, such as close friends and family, who you might want to share toddler photographs with, rather than every Tom, Dick and Harriet. Also, remove your home address, phone number, date of birth and any other information that could used to fake your identity. Similarly you might want to delete or edit your "likes" and "groups" – the more hackers know about you, the more convincing a phishing email they can spam you with. Facebook apps often share your data, so delete any you don't use or don't remember installing. Finally, use the "view as" tool to check what the public or even a particular individual can see on your profile, continue to "edit" and adjust to taste. If this all sounds rather tedious, you just might prefer to permanently delete your account. 20. Remember you're human after all While much of the above are technical solutions to prevent you being hacked and scammed, hacking done well is really the skill of tricking human beings, not computers, by preying on their gullibility, taking advantage of our trust, greed or altruistic impulses. Human error is still the most likely reason why you'll get hacked.

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Posted by on in SEO

We often spend our time in this space talking about how businesses should use the internet to market themselves, or how a professional web development and marketing company can cut your costs, but we don't give out a lot of tips on how to keep the information that you have safe. Today, we'll give out a few tips on how to make sure that your information stays where it is supposed to, and not in the pockets of hackers and thieves.

  • Tip #1 - STOP USING WINDOWS XP (Or any other outdated software) OK, this seems unnecessary to some people. Why would I move on from XP? Everything in the office works just fine with XP, why should I pay to update? Well, the reason is security. Microsoft has announced that they will no longer support XP, which means no more security updates. While many office managers think "Good, now I don't have to run these updates on all of my employees' computers!", this is actually a huge security issue. Almost every update that runs on your computer is meant for security. Running these helps keep malicious hackers out of your system and information, and helps your IT guy sleep at night. Staying with Windows XP at this point is akin to driving a car with no seatbelt. You can do it, but you're an unsafe fool if you do.
  • Tip #2 - Use better passwords Passwords are the gateway to your system. They're there for YOUR protection, not as an impediment to your day. If you can't learn to remember one complicated password, that you may be in trouble for the rest of your career. Passwords should be at LEAST 10 characters, including capitals, numbers, and symbols. If anyone reading this has "password" as their password, then we need to talk. If you're "admin" "password", then you're most likely already hacked and sending spam from a rootkit in your machine.
  • Tip #3 - If you use a phone, laptop, or tablet for business, it needs a password as well These devices need to be code locked if they have any personal or company information stored on them. Even if you have to put in tour password every time you check your email, that is not good enough. Password locks are designed to keep people from accessing your devices if they are separated from you. They're not a punishment, they are a necessity.
  • Tip #4 - Make sure to change default passwords on everything Your router, modem, laptop, or other device may come with a pre-programmed user name and password, which may make you think it is safe to use these. After all, it's included! However, hackers and thieves know these, and they're the first tries against your system when they try to break in. Leaving the default password is akin to leaving a key in the lock on your front door. Anyone can come in, if they bother to use it.

High Level Studios is a full-service web design and internet marketing company that is small enough to meet with each client individually, and big enough to accomplish any task.  Call today at (314) 423-0189, and visit us at www.highlevelstudios.com today to see how your company can get found faster.

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Posted by on in SEO

The future of search is information. Think of Google as a hungry monster, but instead of wanting to eat villagers and demanding sacrifices, Google wants new information. Finding a way to present what your company makes, or what services you offer, is a key to finding yourself near the top of search engine results. Content doesn't always have to be dry though. Writing for the web can be fun if you follow a few basic rules.

1. Make sure that your keywords are used in your articles

It sounds like common sense, but if you want someone to find you for something, make sure that your keywords are actually used in the body of your article. Google wants to see that you are, in fact, talking about the subject that you are advertising to them in your headline and keywords. Using the keywords in the body of the article as part of quality writing, and should be integrated in order to entertain the reader as well. That's the holy grail of web writing. SEO friendly text that people WANT to read. It's harder than it looks, but is something that can be achieved with good self-editing or having a second party look at it.

2. Remember that you are the expert

When writing about your industry, remember this: you know more about your industry than anyone outside of it. I always ask clients for help depending on how involved they want to be. Any help from an expert is appreciated, from writing to proof-reading. Many times, my research might not match up with what a client believes of subscribes to. You want to make sure that the article expresses both knowledge of the subject and the correct position for your client.

3. Headlines are important

Give your article an informative headline that describes the content to follow, and is shorter than 60 characters. There's a debate whether search engines stop reading at 60 or 80 characters, I say why chance it, keep it under 60. Search engines only read a certain amount of your description, keywords, and title. For titles, it's 60 characters. For descriptions, it's 150 characters. For Keywords, I keep them under 10. That's because there's more weight attached the less there is.

Hopefully this will help with writing blogs for your website. They're a great way to communicate with your customers, and a great way to increase the amount of content on the site, while proving that you're an expert in your field.

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If you are part of the online world, you would have heard a lot of talk about Google's algorithm changes called Penguin and Panda and, as a result, may have made changes to your website or those of your clients. However, if you are a small business owner, such as a carpet cleaner, hairdresser or plumber and search engine optimizsation is not something you think about an awful lot, all this talk probably means diddly squat (not a technical term).

To put it in plain terms, when it comes to Google, Panda and Penguin are not cute animals you find at the zoo, rather they were names given to major updates to how Google prioritized pages when someone does a search.

As the Internet changes and evolves, Google and other search engines update their algorithms (the way they rank search results) to help searchers find websites that provide a greater user experience.

In Google's official blog, it says their goal is simple: to give people the most relevant answers to their queries as quickly as possible.

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Posted by on in Uncategorized
Website design has become a lot more sophisticated in recent years. There are so many websites online now that the competition is getting stiffer by the day. Every edge you can give yourself means one step closer to winning the game. Web design concerns are increasingly more important and you can give yourself that added advantage by paying attention to just a few web design principles.
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The following are short byte-sized tips and tricks I’ve picked up since my inception into Internet marketing. No doubt there’s something valuable for everyone to take away from this post, no matter what marketing strategies are being implemented.

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Lacking a solid Web design strategy wastes money, loses clients, and can harm your business much more than if you had no website at all. But why?

Because, website design is not about “the design.”

All “website design” is not created equal … but this is the No. 1 related misconception adopted by small businesses on the Web.


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DG MediaMind’s Innovation Team descended upon Las Vegas for the annual technology gadget overload that is CES. This year’s show had a record-breaking exhibit space of 1.92 million square feet and over 150,000 folks attended. Out of all of the insanity, we spotted some exciting new trends that will shape the way we live in the not-too-distant future.

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One of the chief concerns we have as website owners is how to drive traffic to our websites. Without knowing how to get more traffic, how else will we get more leads, make more sales and continue to make money online?

There are a number of ways to get more traffic, so I’ve collected this list of my favorite traffic-generation techniques. I’ve tried to organize them into the following categories:

Content & Article Marketing
SEO & Search Engine Marketing
Video Marketing & Podcasting
Email Marketing & Syndication
Advertising & PPC
Public Relations & Spreading the Word
Social Media & Bookmarking

Today we focus on SEO & Search Engine Marketing. Look for more to come!
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Brands that regard their websites as a primary revenue source have three distinct priorities: give customers an optimal experience, create loyalty and convert potentially passive browsers into active buyers.

It’s not a coincidence that experience and loyalty precede sales in this short priority list; the relationship between exceptional customer experiences and revenue growth is fairly direct. The better your website speaks to your visitors, the more loyal they will become and the more sales you will generate.

The good news is that customers can (and should) be very active in the optimization process. Through their clicks, page views, bounces, reviews and purchases, our online customers are offering us helpful feedback about their online experiences, in real time.

So what can you do with all this data?


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Consumer tech is weirder than ever. From interactive digital credit cards to "smart" forks, we went inside CES to find the innovations that will have the biggest impact on marketers.

CES innovation No. 1: The next generation of digital credit cards
How smart is your wallet? If you’re looking for a new brand engagement opportunity, get ready for a breakthrough in digital credit cards. With the introduction of the Dynamics "ePlate" device, consumers can push a button on the card itself to choose what reward they want a particular payment to go toward. Users can also choose whether to pay cash or pay with redeemed points through the physical card. And a version of the card also features security-hidden card numbers. Available on any existing VISA or MasterCard account, this innovation puts the control at the fingertips of the user. And it’s free for brands to participate.

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One of the chief concerns we have as website owners is how to drive traffic to our websites. Without knowing how to get more traffic, how else will we get more leads, make more sales and continue to make money online?

There are a number of ways to get more traffic, so I’ve collected this list of my favorite traffic-generation techniques. I’ve tried to organize them into the following categories:

Content & Article Marketing
SEO & Search Engine Marketing
Video Marketing & Podcasting
Email Marketing & Syndication
Advertising & PPC
Public Relations & Spreading the Word
Social Media & Bookmarking

Today we focus on Content & Article Marketing.  Look for more to come!

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Recruitment firms Robert Half Technology and The Creative Group have released 2013 Salary Guides this month that identify SEO/SEM specialists and social media specialists as two of the hottest technology jobs for 2013.

Both positions offer strong starting salaries in both the U.S. and Canada, with income ranges that have increased in the past 12 months due to continual high demand for experienced candidates.

According to The Creative Group, the growth of online, mobile and social media content has created strong demand for professionals with a range of interactive skills, including user experience designers, mobile developers and online community managers. Marketing professionals with experience using social media measurement and client relationship management tools, for example, are highly sought after.


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Whether you are creating your first website or wanting to improve an existing one, use this checklist to ensure the success of your business online.

1. Domain Name

Register a domain name that has keywords related to your business. Even if your business name is John Smith & Sons, registering a domain name with just the name is not going to help your business from a search engine point of view. Try including some keywords, for example: Johnsmithplumbing.com or yourcityplumbing.com. You can always register additional domain names with your business name or product names to protect your brand and identity but, for the main domain name, make sure you have some keywords included. This will help with search engine optimization later on.


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2012 was a year of changes in the world of SEO. Google came out with several algorithm updates that basically rocked the whole search engine system. With updates such as Panda and Penguin, the once easy way of getting a site ranked at the top of Google became a tough game of chess, where highly refined strategies and not short-lived tactics are the winning elements.

In 2013, with the rumors of Google launching a Penguin 2.0 update in our midst, it becomes quite critical to design and implement a link building strategy that won’t hurt your website’s search standing should this rumor inevitably come to pass. I say inevitably simply because it seems real enough that Matt Cutts and his team would follow up on their previous algo updates with a few more just to lock down their new rankings system and to mess with our minds a little bit more. Well, let’s show those nerds from Google a thing or two by coming up with a strategy that is at least two or three steps ahead of them.

Here are several link building rules and tips to keep in mind for your 2013 link building program:
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