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Archive for May, 2010

Apple overtakes Microsoft to be most valuable technology company

May 28, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Apple has overtaken arch rival Microsoft to become the world’s biggest technology company by stock market valuation.Apple overtakes Microsoft to be most valuable technology companyChanges in the share price values of the two companies in this week’s fluctuating trading conditions left the total value of Apple at £154 billion. Microsoft is now valued by investors at £151 billion.

However, Microsoft still enjoys far higher profits than Apple. Its most recent annual net profit was £10 billion, compared with £3.9 billion for Apple.

Microsoft also reported bigger annual revenues of £40.3 billion compared with Apple’s £25.2 billion.

Apple’s shares closed Wednesday trading down 0.4%, while Microsoft fell by 4%.

The big popularity of the iPhone, which has become a big seller since it was first released in 2007, has further boosted Apple’s profits and revenues.

The handset has brought internet access on the move to the mass market, and led to an explosion in downloadable mobile “apps” – applications that enable a huge range of activities, from map reading to booking restaurants.

Meanwhile, this week saw the launch in the UK and eight other countries of Apple’s controversial iPad tablet- as 10 people has already killed themselves whilst making the product- see yesterday’s post below.

Apple has to look back to late 1989 to see the last time it was a bigger company than Microsoft.

Microsoft, whose operating system still run on more than 90% of the world’s personal computers, has not been able to match growth rates from its heyday of the 1990s.

Microsoft continues to make the majority of its earnings from its software and operating systems, and has struggled to successfully diversify into other products.

Thinking of buying an iPad- number of suicides reaches 10?

May 27, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

The spate of suicides at the factory making iPhones and iPads moved closer towards epidemic levels yesterday as a 23 year old man became the tenth worker to leap to his death at the same Foxconn plant.
Thinking of buying an iPad- number of suicides reaches 10Psychologists and experts in suicide have begun to talk openly of “mass hysteria” among the 350,000 mostly migrant workers at the vast factory in Shenzhen, which makes digital equipment such as iPods, mobile phones and laptop PCs.

The fatalities come amid mounting condemnation of working conditions at the Taiwanese-owned plant in southern China and the decision of several of the company’s biggest clients — Apple, Dell and Hewlett Packard — to investigate how their products are being manufactured.

The latest victim, like the nine other young employees who have committed suicide at the plant since January, leapt from the seventh floor of his dormitory.

The company has made hastily contrived efforts to improve conditions for its workers, the majority of whom stand in the same position for 12-hour shifts and receive the equivalent of about £90 each month in salary. Those measures include the use of “soothing” music on the factory floor, the recruitment of hundreds of dance instructors and the establishment of a suicide hotline.

The plant’s astonishing productivity levels have attracted global clients such as Samsung, IBM and Sony, but labour activists have long alleged that the famous efficiency comes at too high a cost.

The attention given to Foxconn suicides relates less to the actual numbers and more to the apparent pace at which they have risen and that the victims have taken their lives in the same “copycat” way. If the suicide rate at the Foxconn factory matched the Chinese national average (which they do not because most Chinese suicides happen in the country), the sheer size of the 300,000 workforce there would imply around 45 deaths per year.

The steep rate of increase in Foxconn suicides over recent weeks, though, has challenged the business model on which China’s manufacturing industry has grown. The company’s plant in Shenzhen is a city-sized complex set up with the sole purpose of feeding the global appetite for cheap technology.

Speculation that big brands might take their business away from Foxconn to protect their image are unrealistic, said one Tokyo-based electronics analyst. He said that consumers were no longer prepared to pay the sort of money it would cost to build computers, digital cameras and iPods without the productivity of companies such as Foxconn.

Search Clinic on YouTube- the most cost effective ways of online marketing

May 26, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Search Clinic on YouTube talks about the most cost effective way of online marketing

Simon Dye, Dr Search the Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic gave a lecture to businesses, professionals and students at the University of Gloucestershire for the 5th annual Gloucestershire Professionals conference in June 2009.Search Clinic on YouTube- the most cost effective ways of online marketingMore than 300 people attended the conference with over 60 attending Dr Search’s lecture on Online Marketing Tips, Strategies and plan the most cost effective tools for online marketing business.

Of the 12 seminars during the day Dr Search received the top rating with 93% of the attendees saying that he was relevant to their needs and 86% of attendees rated the content as highly rated.

This is the first of 11 videos on how to promote your website using the most cost effective elements of the marketing mix.

He compared search engine optimisation, pay per click, affiliate marketing, PR, outdoor, direct mail, magazines, newspapers, radio and television elements of the marketing mix.

Dr Search also looks at the search engines and changes that have effected their success on the past decade.

Please let me know what you think of the video. Have you found it useful? Was there anything else that you would like to learn about? Please contact Dr Search by clicking here now.

Please have a look at the other videos as they become live on Dr Search’s Search Clinic YouTube channel.

Beware Twitter cybersquatters who may damage your brand

May 25, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Dr Search has found that, despite the warnings, some firms are still risking brand damage from cybersquatters by not protecting their Twitter account brand name.
Beware Twitter cybersquatters who may damage your brandWhile the social media gold rush continues, there remains a darker side to Web 2.0 that can potentially damage brand reputations through no fault of your business.

Last year a survey of Twitter accounts for 100 big brand advertisers revealed that few had ownership of the Twitter handles that corresponded with the name of their brands.

More worrying still, several big names had fallen victim to cybersquatters, including Mastercard and General Motors.

Several months later and some brands have still yet to heed the warning, as Dr Search discovered when I uncovered a worrying level of brand cybersquatting of one of the UK’s most recognised high street chains.

It all came about following a visit to a Bristol branch of the Costa Coffee last week. I chose that particular chain because I picked up one of the company’s new loyalty cards recently so that particular customer strategy worked. One strategy that didn’t though was a conversation I overheard.

Only last week at the European Customer Experience World, Kip Knight, president of Knight Vision Marketing, warned attendees of the dangers of cybersquatters.

In fact, after a session discusing the value of social media to the customer experience and emphasising how firms not involved in the practice should make it a priority, he chose to conclude his address with a warning about cybersquatting and the damage it can do to your brand.

“If you currently don’t own the brand name on your Twitter account, you’d better go and check that out, because a squatter might be sat on it right now,” he stressed.

You might have people writing things about your brand name that you don’t even know about! Dr Search asks- how pleasing is that for you?

BBC adds iPlayer to Twitter and Facebook

May 24, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

The BBC is to link with Facebook and Twitter when it launches a new version of its television service iPlayer.BBC adds iPlayer to Twitter and FacebookThe corporation is trying to strike a more conciliatory tone over its digital expansion plans after coming under fire from commercial rivals, which accuse it of attempting to colonise the web.

The BBC is proposing to close or merge half of its sites by 2012 and cut its £135m online budget by 25%. But the launch of a range of iPhone applications has been held up by the BBC Trust after the complaints.

The iPlayer remains central to the BBC’s digital push, however. There were 118m viewer and listener requests to the service in March, including 84m to watch television programmes.

The new version will let users share what they are watching with Facebook friends or comment via Twitter.

Last week Project Canvas, a BBC-led plan to bring internet television to the masses, avoided an Office of Fair Trading investigation despite being attacked by BSkyB and Virgin Media.

By combining Freeview with a broadband connection, catch-up services such as iPlayer and ITV Player will be more widely available on television sets.

Adobe’s row with Apple over Flash technology escalates

May 21, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Adobe has launched another salvo at Apple over mobile video standards.

The co-founders of Adobe have published an open letter in which they say that Apple threatens to “undermine the next chapter of the web”.

The software firm has also started an adverting blitz in newspapers and on popular technology news sites. Some of the online adverts contain the tongue-in-cheek slogan “We heart Apple”. Adobe's row with Apple over Flash technology escalatesIt follows a letter from Apple boss Steve Jobs in which he defended his firm’s decision not to allow Adobe’s Flash technology on many of its popular products.

Mr Jobs described Adobe’s software – used on many websites for video and animations – as a “closed system” and “100% proprietary”.

Whilst Mr Jobs admitted that Apple also had “many proprietary products”, he said that Apple believed “all standards pertaining to the web should be open”.

Amongst other criticisms, he also said Flash performed poorly when used on touchscreen smartphones and handheld devices.

Adobe co-founders Chuck Geschke and John Warnock have now hit back.

“We believe that consumers should be able to freely access their favorite content and applications, regardless of what computer they have, what browser they like, or what device suits their needs,” the letter reads.

“No company – no matter how big or how creative – should dictate what you can create, how you create it, or what you can experience on the web.”

Adobe’s campaign is the latest move in a high-profile war of words between the two companies, which began with Apple’s decision not to allow Flash technology to run on some of its popular gadgets such as the iPhone and iPad.
Adobe advert The adverts contain tongue-in-cheek messages

But Flash is commonly used to build smartphone apps. As a result, developers commonly used automatic translation tools – some built by Adobe – to convert Flash code to run on Apple gadgets.

These allowed developers to make applications once and then distribute them for use on various phones and operating systems, including Apple’s iPhone.

But in April, Apple changed the terms and conditions of the licence that software developers must sign, banning them from using these tools.

Mr Jobs justified the decision in his letter by saying that experience had shown that the tools resulted in “sub-standard apps”.

The change effectively forced developers to build two separate applications – one for Apple products and one for everything else.

“As the founders of Adobe, we believe open markets are in the best interest of developers, content owners, and consumers.”

“If the web fragments into closed systems, if companies put content and applications behind walls, some indeed may thrive – but their success will come at the expense of the very creativity and innovation that has made the internet a revolutionary force.

The company claims that its software- and particularly Flash – is open.

“We publish the specifications for Flash — meaning anyone can make their own Flash player,” it reads.

“We believe that Apple, by taking the opposite approach, has taken a step that could undermine this next chapter of the web – the chapter in which mobile devices outnumber computers, any individual can be a publisher, and content is accessed anywhere and at any time.

“In the end, we believe the question is really this: Who controls the world wide web? And we believe the answer is: nobody — and everybody, but certainly not a single company.”

In response to the letter, an Apple spokesperson said that the firm also believes in “open web standards” such as HTML5, the latest version of a programming language used to build web pages.

“Flash is not an open web standard like HTML. It is a proprietary Adobe product. Just ask the W3 consortium that controls web standards – they have chosen HTML5 as the open web standard to move forward with.”

Adobe’s letter has been published on its website as part of a global advertising campaign.

The adverts list a series of technologies that Adobe says it “loves”.

It ends: “What we don’t love is anybody taking away your freedom to choose what you create, how you create it, and what you experience on the web.”

The adverts have been bought in the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle as well as the Financial Times and Wall Street Journal. Online, they appear on Wired, Techcrunch and Engadget.

Yell chiefs to quit after earnings slump

May 20, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Yell’s long running chief executive and finance director both announced their departure after it reported a 26 per cent fall in annual underlying earnings.Yell chiefs quit after earnings slump

Yell, the publisher of Yellow Pages, has been battling fierce competition from advertising on websites such as Google and eBay as well as the effects of the recession. It bought a directories group in Spain just before that country’s economy collapsed. Late last year it raised £559 million in a share issue to bring down some of its debt.

Dr Search has been helping a number of clients who were Yell and Yellow Pages advertisers improve thier marketing investments by switching their budgets into search engine optimisation.

The results can be remarkable.

Andy Turvey stopped his four figure yellow pages budget and let me optimise his main website instead.

The result? “I’m now getting all of my new business from my website now being found at the top of the search engines ahead of millions of my competitors”.

Do you fancy some of that for your business? If so, please just contact the Search Clinic.

Yell’s annual results showed that the company made a profit of £46.8 million against losses last year of £1.03 billion. Sales dropped by 11.5 per cent to £2.1 billion, though, which left left underlying earnings down 26 per cent at £620 million.

The company predicted that revenues would fall by a further 11 per cent in the three months to the end of June and then would continue to drop at about 15 per cent until the end of September.

Net debt had been cut from £4.2 billion at the end of March last year to £3.1 billion to the end of March this year.

Facebook- how to protect your account’s privacy settings

May 19, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

Following on from Dr Search’s post yesterday- Facebook- how to delete or deactivate your account today I look at how you can protect your Facebook account’s data privacy settings if you are staying with to protect your Facebook account's privacy settingsFacebook’s privacy policy is currently a massive 5,830 words long with 50 different settings and around 170 different options if you want to control every single aspect of your account.

Facebook says its extensive privacy settings allow users to have control over what information they share and who they share it with. So, which settings should you prioritise as soon as you set up your Facebook account, to ensure you’re not sharing personal information, private comments and photos with the whole online world?

Here are your top five most important settings to check and set:

1) Configure your friend lists
Apart from Facebook’s data security- or lack of, Facebook’s biggest problem is a lack of segmentation. Do you want your friends, family and work colleagues to all be able to see what you are up to?

So one of the most important tasks is to break your “friends” into separate groups. This is a time-consuming process, particularly if you have many “friends”, but it will make every aspect of controlling your privacy that much easier.

Friend lists allow you to group your contacts in to groups, so that you’re only sharing certain information with certain people.

For example, you might create four lists: “Close friends”, “Acquaintances”, “Family”, and “Work”.

“Close friends” is the group you will happily share your most personal information, photos and Wall posts with; you’d probably prefer the “Work” group of friends to see a somewhat sanitised and censored version of your Facebook profile.

By setting up these lists, you can ensure that no one gets to see something you’d rather keep private. You can add the same person to more than one list, but it’s worth spending time on getting this aspect of your Facebook settings right.

* To create and edit friend lists, log on to Facebook and select “Friends” from the list under your profile picture on the left-hand side of the page;
* On the next page, click the “Create a List” button;
* Enter a title for your list, and hit Enter;
* Add friends to the list by typing their names (or copying and pasting) in the “Add to List” field, or selecting them from the list;
* Click “Create List” to save these changes, and generate your new group of friends.
* To control what information each group of friends can see, click on Account, choose “Privacy Settings”, select “Profile Information“, and then work your way through each option, selecting the group of people you’re happy to share information with from the drop-down lists.

2) Opt out of searches
If you don’t want your Facebook profile to appear online, either when it’s searched for on Google or through Facebook itself, you can turn this function off. Click on Account, select “Privacy Settings”, and click on “Search”.

If you only want your friends to be able to search for your Facebook profile, select “Only friends” from the drop-down list. Under the heading “Public Search Results”, uncheck the box marked “Allow” to ensure your profile cannot be searched for on sites such as Google.

3) Protect your photos and videos
With 80% of employers already checking Facebook before hiring staff, what you do, say or show is particularly important to your financial wellbeing.

You can avoid this problem by restricting who can view photos stored on your profile, and even who can view photos in which you’ve been tagged – even if that picture appears on someone else’s profile page.

To manage this, click on the Account tab, choose “Privacy Settings“, then “Profile Information”.

Navigate to “Photos and videos of me” – select “Only Me” from the drop-down list if you don’t want anybody, apart from yourself, to see pictures and videos you’ve been tagged in; even if you’re less concerned about incriminating material, it’s wise to restrict this content to certain groups, such as the “Close friends” group you created earlier.

You can also restrict access to every photo album associated with your profile: below “Photos and videos of me” is “Photo albums”; click on this to choose exactly which groups of contacts can view which sets of pictures.

4) Control what personal information you share with applications and partner websites
Whilst some third party websites can be useful, others amy be less appreciated- however all of them may have access to certain elements of your personal information. You can control what information these apps are able to access by adjusting your privacy settings.

Choose “Privacy Settings” from the Account menu; click on the link labelled “Applications and websites”, then “What you share”, and adjust the permissions for each application accordingly.

The “Applications and websites” section is also the place to control what information your friends can share about you when they are using certain applications and programs (yes, that’s right – your friends could be sharing your information with third-party websites without your explicit consent) – make sure you go in and uncheck every box if you want complete control over how your personal information is divulged.

You can also opt-out of the controversial “Instant Personalisation” scheme through the “Applications and websites” page – this scheme is designed to help you “connect more easily with your friends on select partner websites”, such as Yelp and Pandora, and is switched on by default. You need to uncheck the box at the foot of that page to opt out of the service.

5) Make your contact information private
Personal security experts warn that people’s stupidity in publishing their full dates of birth, postal addresses and other contact details on Facebook – and then leave their profile’s open to the public – makes it easier for cyber criminals to commit identity fraud. You must ensure that only your trusted friends are able to see this information.

To lock down your contact information, click the Account button and select “Privacy Settings” from the drop-down menu. Click on “Contact Information” and then adjust each category by selecting the group of people you are willing to share that information with from the drop-down lists.

Dr Search wishes you Good Luck with your account. If you have comments or questions, please add them in the comments box below.

Facebook- how to delete or deactivate your account

May 18, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

As  Facebook appears immune to the ongoing row over personal data privacy issues, Dr Search today and tomorrow shows you how to delete your Facebook account or how to deactivate your Facebook account.facebook how to delete your account or deactivate your accountFacebook’s privacy policy is a massive 5,830 words long. As the New York Times recently pointed out, the Constitution of the United Statesof America is just 4,543.

In recent months, Facebook has made a number of revisions to its privacy policy that makes a growing amount of your personal information public by default; you have to opt out if your want to keep your information private, or share it only with a trusted group of friends.

Committing “Facebook suicide”, as it’s known, is a nuclear option- but you do need to plough through 50 different settings and around 170 different options if you want to control every single aspect of your account.

Here, I look at how to deactivate and delete your Facebook account – and the difference between the two – as well as how to lockdown some of the most important privacy settings on your profile:

Deactivating your Facebook account

Deactivating your account simply involves going on a temporary hiatus; it does not permanently delete your personal information. If you deactivate your account, you immediately become invisible to other Facebook users, who will no longer be able to access your profile.

However, Facebook  only “saves” your profile on file, so that if you choose to reactivate your account in future, then all of your friends, photos, lists of interests, games and other preferences, are automatically restored so your account looks just as it did before you deactivated it.

Deactivating an account is fairly simple: when you’re logged in to Facebook, click on the Account tab on the top right-hand side of the page. From the drop-down list, select “Account Settings“. The final option on the page is “Deactivate” – click on the link to be taken through to the deactivation page.

Facebook tries to tempt you in to reconsidering, telling you that your friends “will no longer be able to keep in touch with you”; it also asks you to say why you are deactivating your account.

At the foot of the page is box that allows you to opt out of receiving future emails from Facebook. If you do not tick this box, then you will continue to receive email notifications every time a former Facebook friend tags you in a photo, invites you to an event, or asks you to join a group.

Ticking the box means you will no longer receive these messages.

To reactivate your Facebook account, log in to the site using your usual email address and password. You will then be sent an email to that address containing a link which, when clicked, restores your Facebook profile in its entirety.

Delete permanently your Facebook account

If you’ve had enough of being asked to take part in endless quizzes or are simply concerned about privacy issues, then completely deleting your Facebook account is the nuclear option.

When you delete your account, Facebook promises to discard all “personally identifiable information” associated with that account from its databases – that’s things like names, email addresses, phone numbers, postal addresses, instant-messenger screen names etc etc.

However, Facebook says that copies of some material, such as photos, may remain on its servers for “technical reasons”, but that the material is “completely inaccessible” to other Facebook users, and is completely disassociated from any information that makes it possible to link that piece of content back to an individual user.

If you deactivate or delete your account, says Facebook, it will no longer use any content associated with it, either.

Committing Facebook suicide, though, naturally enough is not made easy. It’s not quite as simple as just clicking a few links to eradicate your social networking presence.

Instead, you need to send a message to Facebook, requesting the permanent deletion of your account.

Click or paste the following link into your browser window:

It will take you through to a Help page that describes the difference between deactivating and deleting an account. At the bottom of the second paragraph is a button link, which takes you through to a page where you submit your deletion request.

Then click on this link, read the warning entitled “Delete my account”, and then click Submit.

It can take up to 14 days to permanently delete your Facebook account.

Dr Search’s next blog will show you how to adjust your your Facebook privacy settings.

Good Luck!

YouTube breaks two billion views a day

May 17, 2010 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Uncategorized

YouTube has exceeded two billions views a day as it celebrates the fifth anniversary since first launching in beta in 2005.
You Tube has 2 billion views per dayThe Google owned video site, released the statistic to commemorate the occasion and has also launched a new channel called: “YouTube 5 Year Channel” which brings together a group of clips from people around the world talking about how the video-sharing service has affected their lives.

The videos, collectively called the ‘My YouTube Story’, were filmed by the documentary maker Stephen Higgins. YouTube users can also upload their own video stories to the channel too. The new channel is also home to an interactive timeline containing some of the site’s key moments.

Five years ago the first beta version of YouTube went live and 18 months later it was purchased by Google for £883 million in 2006.

Last October, on its third anniversary of being acquired by the search giant, the site hit one billion views a day.

The site is in the process of trying to reposition itself as the home of professional content online – having signed major broadcast deals with the likes of Channel 4 and Five last year.

In a rare interview with the press, Chad Hurley, YouTube’s co-founder and chief executive, outlined his vision exclusively to The Telegraph last month:

“”People think about the world of TV and the world of online video as being different ways to distribute video. But what happens when every TV is connected to wi-fi with a browser? What does that mean for your distribution opportunities? What happens when those worlds collide and it is just one thing? Instead there is just one world, the world of video, and people everywhere are putting ads against everything and there isn’t a difference. There won’t be a difference in the future.”

Hurley said last week that YouTube was increasingly focusing on showing users what their friends had watched on the site – as a way of improving the user’s navigation experience.

YouTube has famously yet to turn a profit, with Google executives having remained tight-lipped about its financial performance during each of their quarterly results’ calls. Its largest costs have been high bandwidth and storage fees.

However, analysts think the site, which has become more popular with advertisers since securing increasing amounts of quality content, could break even for the first time this year.

Dr Search has finally had a lecture edited which was video recorded when I spoke to the University of Gloucestershire at the Gloucestershire Professionals business conference last year and we will be showcasing the eleven snippets whihc will be uploaded to YouTube over the next few days.