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Archive for December, 2011

Search Clinic wishes you a prosperous New Year

December 30, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Ecommerce, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, Uncategorized

Search Clinic wishes you a prosperous New Year.Search Clinic wishes you a prosperous New Year in 2012Search Clinic wishes you a prosperous New Year in 2012.

It’s been a very busy year with growing use of the internet to boost businesses’ ecommerce activities.

And lots of new marketing initiatives from technology companies to develop their investments.

Onwards and upwards into 2012!

Yahoo shares rise on Alibaba stake sale speculation

December 29, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Ecommerce, search engines, Technology Companies, Yahoo

Yahoo shares rose on speculation that the company is looking to sell its stake in China’s Alibaba Group and also Yahoo Japan.Yahoo shares rise on Alibaba stake sale speculationYahoo rose 6% on the Nasdaq stock exchange after the New York Times reported the firm was aiming to cut its Alibaba stake to 15% from 43%.

According to some estimates, the deal will value Yahoo’s Asian assets at £11 billion ($17 billion).

Yahoo bought its stake in Alibaba for £675 million ($1bn) in 2005.

Despite being one of the biggest brand names, Yahoo has seen its market share tumble amid growing competition.

The likes of Google and Facebook have not only surpassed it in the amount of users but have also seen advertisers flock to them, hurting Yahoo’s revenues.

Dwindling fortunes saw the company fire former chief executive Carol Bartz earlier this year and launch a strategic review of its operations.

There has been growing speculation about a takeover bid for Yahoo, with companies including Microsoft, Alibaba and private equity group Silver Lake being linked to a possible deals.

The main focus of Alibaba’s sale of its Asia assets will be on what developments take place with regards to its stake in Alibaba Group.

Alibaba is China’s biggest ecommerce group and Yahoo’s stake in it is considered by many as one of its most prized assets.

However, relations between the two firms have deteriorated reaching a tipping point earlier this year after Alibaba spun off its online payment business, Alipay.

Yahoo accused the Chinese company of hiding the move from it, saying the change had been made in August 2010, but it only found out about it in March this year.

Twitter gets £200 million cash boost

December 28, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Social Media, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Twitter, Uncategorized

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company has announced a £200 million investment in Twitter.Twitter gets £200 million cash boostThe investment follows “several months of negotiations”, a company statement to the Saudi stock exchange said.

The prince, who is one of the world’s richest men, owns stakes in many well-known companies, including News Corporation.

He also has investments in a number of media groups in the Arab world.

“Our investment in Twitter reaffirms our ability in identifying suitable opportunities to invest in promising, high-growth businesses with a global impact,” Prince Alwaleed said.

Western business is lagging behind in social media use

December 23, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Ecommerce, Social Media, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Western business have been slower at adopting social networks such as Facebook and Twitter than their rivals in developing countries, according to a report by KPMG.Western business is lagging behind in social media useThe report found firms in China, India and Brazil were 20-30% more likely to use social media than companies in developed countries such as the UK.

KPMG surveyed 1,850 managers and 2,016 employees from 10 countries.

On average, it found that 70% of companies now use social media.

“The emerging markets seem to be quickly finding that social networks offer a relatively low-cost opportunity to leapfrog the competition in developed markets,” said Tudor Aw, KPMG’s head of technology, Europe.

“The rapid adoption of social media in emerging market countries may also be attributed to a lower dependence on ‘legacy systems’,” such as email, he added.

The KPMG report also found that many employees are being banned by their employers from using these networks- but that they often use them anyway.

One third of employees surveyed whose firm had blocked access used workarounds to get onto social network sites.

KPMG’s survey found that 98% managers at firms in China and 95% of managers in Brazil said they use social media at least several times a week, compared with 80% of managers in the UK.

Only 48% of UK companies use networks such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate with suppliers, clients and customers.

That compares with 72% in the US and 83% in China.

However, the report found that UK firms had fewer problems using the internet for social purposes compared with their rivals overseas.

Blackberry maker RIM delays key smartphone launch

December 22, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: BlackBerry, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, mobile phones, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Research in Motion (RIM), which makes Blackberry phones has announced a delay to the launch of its new Blackberry 10.Blackberry maker RIM delays key smartphone launchThere was also disappointment at the prediction of sales of between 11 and 12 million smartphones in the current Christmas quarter, down from 14.8 million in the same period last year.

It reported net income of  £171 milion ($265 million) for the quarter to 26 November, down from £603 million in the same period of 2010.

RIM shares fell more than 6% in after-hours trading.

The Blackberry 10 phones were supposed to be on sale in the first three months of 2012, but RIM now says they won’t be available until late in the year.

It blamed the advanced chips for the phones not being available until the middle of the year.

RIM has also taken a charge of £222 million for unsold PlayBook tablets, which were launched with much hype earlier this year.

The new phones will operate the QNX operating system, which is seen as crucial to the company if it is to compete with phones using Google’s Android software or Apple’s iPhone.

The company has had a difficult few months, with a service outage knocking £25 million off its net income.

“As part of our commitment to improving our performance to better meet the expectations of shareholders and customers, we continue to evaluate ways to improve in several areas of the company’s operations,” RIM’s joint chief executives Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis said in a statement.

“It may take some time to realise the benefits of these efforts and the platform transition that we are undertaking, but we continue to believe that RIM has the right set of strengths and capabilities to maintain a leading role in the mobile communications industry.”

The two chief executives said they had reduced the cash element of their pay packages to $1 per year.

Online banking problems at Lloyds Bank

December 21, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Online banking at Lloyds Bank is the latest compnay to have suffered problems with their online systems.Some Lloyds TSB customers suffered problems getting into the online banking system on Thursday morning.

The bank’s customer services team has been apologising to customers who have complained about a shutdown in the system.

However, they said that the system should now be working as normal.

The glitch comes in the same week as computer problems affected customers with accounts at the Post Office who visited branches.

Last month, maintenance work affected services for customers of RBS and NatWest – the day after HSBC customers faced a shutdown in online services.

A spokeswoman for Lloyds claimed that the glitch affected the online banking system for an hour.

Computer glitch hits post offices

December 20, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Online Marketing, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Transactions were affected at the Post Office network on Monday as computer issues caused problems on one of the busiest days of the year.Computer glitch hits post officesSome transactions were affected for two 30-minute periods, leading to queues.

The Post Office apologised, saying that the service had now been restored across the UK network of 11,800 branches.

The problem came as Royal Mail’s website continued to suffer from a computer glitch.

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this problem has caused customers. We know how important the Post Office is to our customers at all times, but especially at Christmas,” said Kevin Gilliland, the Post Office’s network and sales director.

This is the second computer problem at the network in six months. In July, a shutdown blocked access for 3.3 million customers with Post Office card accounts.

Some pensioners have their benefits paid into a Post Office card account.

A Post Office spokesman said the glitch affected most services offered by the branches which were hit.

Post offices were expected to be particularly busy, because Royal Mail was predicting its busiest day of the year.

They were expecting 131 million items to be posted, double the usual number. They had taken on thousands of extra staff to cope with the Christmas rush, caused in part by the popularity of online shopping.

Last week, Royal Mail admitted that it had charged some customers twice for postal services as problems continue to hit its website.

Some 600 customers had cards debited twice, at an average of £50 each time, after repeating a purchase in the SmartStamp section which the system told them had initially failed. Various online postage applications – such as Price Finder – have also been down since 21 November.

A Post Office spokesman said the issues affecting Royal Mail were unrelated to the problems at the Post Office network on Monday.

Osborne announces more funding for broadband rollout

December 19, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Broadband, internet, Online Marketing, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, WiFi

Chancellor George Osborne announced £5 billion of spending on infrastructure projects such as roads, railways and broadband networks with £100 million of that is set to boost broadband coverage in London, Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff.Osborne announces more funding for broadband rolloutA further six cities will be identified later.

“For the first time we are identifying over 500 infrastructure projects we want to see built over the next decade and beyond. Roads, railways, airport capacity, power stations, waste facilities, broadband networks,” the chancellor told the House of Commons.

“It means creating new superfast digital networks for companies across our country. These do not exist today. See what countries like China or Brazil are building, and you’ll also see why we risk falling behind the rest of the world,” he said.

“Our great cities are at the heart of our regional economies. And we will help bring world leading, superfast broadband and wi-fi connections to 10 of them – including the capitals of all four nations.

The plan is to create a hub of super-fast cities with broadband speeds of between 80 to 100Mbps (megabits per second) and city-wide high-speed mobile connectivity.

The current average broadband speed in the UK is 6.8Mbps.

Firms including BT and Virgin will be able to bid for the money, which they can use to fill in urban notspots or increase wi-fi coverage, a spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said.

The government wants the UK to be the best place for broadband in Europe by 2015.

BT recently accelerated its superfast broadband rollout and now plans to offer fibre services to two-thirds of UK premises by the end of 2014.

Virgin Media has also turned up the speed dial on its services, which is available to half the homes in the UK.

Broadband rollouts in rural areas have been far slower with critics complaining that the £530m set aside by the government to encourage investment in these areas is insufficient.

Much of that money has been allocated to local councils identified as having broadband blackspots but few have yet got projects up and running.

HP gives WebOS system code to open source developers

December 16, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The source code behind the mobile operating system WebOS, is being given to open source software developers by Hewlett Packard.HP gives WebOS system code to open source developersThe company acquired the software when it bought the smartphone maker Palm for £767 million ($1.2 billion) last year.

HP used the code to power its short-lived range Touchpad tablet computers before it abandoned the product line.

The firm said it would continue investing in the project to help third parties add enhancements.

“By contributing this innovation, HP unleashes the creativity of the open source community to advance a new generation of applications and devices,” said the firm’s president and chief executive, Meg Whitman.

A statement from the company said it would make the underlying code behind WebOS available under an open source licence. It said third-party developers, partners and HP’s own engineers could then “deliver ongoing enhancements and new versions into the marketplace”.

The firm added that it intended to be “an active participant and investor in the project”.

Analysts said the decision secured the platform’s future, at least in the short to medium term.

Intel cuts sales forecasts because of Thailand floods

December 15, 2011 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Chip maker Intel has said it will miss it’s sales forecasts because of a shortage of hard disk drives.Intel cuts sales forecasts because of Thailand floodsIntel, the world’s largest maker of microprocessors, now expects to make revenues in the fourth quarter of £8.6 billion to £9 billion ($13.4 billion to $14 billion).

Intel shares fell more than 4% on news of the sales reductions.

Floods in Thailand, where several computer manufacturers have plants, have seriously disrupted production.

Intel’s statement said: “The worldwide PC supply chain is reducing inventories and microprocessor purchases as a result of hard disk drive supply shortages.

“The company expects hard disk drive supply shortages to continue into the first quarter, followed by a rebuilding of microprocessor inventories as supplies of hard disk drives recover during the first half of 2012.”

Tom Kilroy, senior vice president at Intel, told a news conference: “In the last two weeks, as the supply became more apparent, we saw a substantial change in our order rate.

“Most of our customers are concerned the shortage will continue – especially through the early part of the first quarter,” he said.

Analysts were not surprised that Intel cut its forecast, as recent news from the industry generally had prompted a lowering of expectations.