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Archive for July, 2012

Facebook shares drop to new low

July 31, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Facebook, internet, Mobile Marketing, Pay Per Click, Pay Per Click Advertising, Pay Per Click Marketing, smart phones, Social Media, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Shares in Facebook have fallen to a new low, as investors react to the social network’s first set of results since its flotation.Facebook shares drop to new lowLate Thursday, in its first report as a public company, Facebook said it lost £100 million ($157 million) from April to June.

Its shares plunged more than 16% in early trading before recovering slightly to end the day down almost 12% at $23.71.

Facebook shares were priced at $38 when it listed on the Nasdaq in May.

Facebook’s results on Thursday showed that revenue in the second quarter of the year had grown 32% to £752 million ($1.18 billion), just beating forecasts.

The number of monthly active users (MAUs) rose 29% from the same period last year to 955 million, but some analysts question the reliability of this data given the number of fake profiles on the social network.

The number of people who logged in daily to Facebook’s site from their mobile devices surged 67% year-on-year to 543 million.

But the company has yet to resolve how it generates profits as users move from the computer desktop version to accessing the site via mobile phone.

Key questions remain-  the future of Facebook mobile monetisation and the future of Facebook user engagement.

Ofcom finally reveals 4G mobile auction plans

July 25, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: internet, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, smart phones, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, WiFi

Telecoms regulator Ofcom has finally revealled plans for the auction of fourth generation (4G) bandwidth for mobile phone services.Ofcom finally reveals 4G mobile auction plansThe sales process will start later this year but bidding will not begin until early 2013, which Ofcom said was in line with its previous timetable.

The regulator says it expects consumers to start getting services in late 2013.

It wants to see “at least four credible national wholesalers of 4G mobile services” to promote competition.

The auction will sell chunks of radio spectrum to support future 4G mobile services, which will allow users to download data such as music and videos at much faster speeds.

The regulator has previously said that the spectrum to support 4G services will not be available to use until 2013.

It says its plans should see mobile broadband rolled out to at least 98% of people in rural areas across the UK.

The auction will offer the equivalent of three quarters of the mobile spectrum currently in use – some 80% more than released in the 3G auction which took place in 2000, Ofcom said.

It now wants to see at least four wholesalers of 4G mobile services so that consumers will benefit from better services at lower prices.

“In the interests of competition, Ofcom has decided to reserve a minimum amount of spectrum in the auction for a fourth operator. This could be either Hutchinson 3G or a new entrant altogether,” Ofcom said.

Everything Everywhere – the merged operator of Orange and T-Mobile – Vodafone and Telefonica, which owns O2, are the other three operators.

PC sales weaken on economic woes and mobile devices competition

July 20, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Ecommerce, internet, mobile phones, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) has become the latest firm to warn of weaker than expected PC sales.PC sales weaken on economic woes and mobile devices competitionEconomic uncertainty, the rise of mobile devices, the dollar’s strength and the upcoming release of Windows 8 have all been linked to the trend.

The news follows a report by research firm IDC which suggested PC shipments to Asia Pacific had begun to shrink between April and June.

AMD discussed the problem in a conference call after it posted £23.6 million ($37m)  of net income for its second quarter representing a 39% drop on the previous year.

The company’s shares closed down 13% following the news.

“It is clear that global economic activity is slowing, and this is impacting the PC market,” chief executive Rory Read said, according to a transcript published by financial site Seeking Alpha.

“For the first time since 2001, client PC shipments have declined sequentially for three consecutive quarters and have been below historical averages for the last seven quarters.

“We expect macro headwinds will continue for the third quarter. We also believe the PC industry may be resetting to a new baseline and that full year industry growth estimates will be reduced.”

He added that weak sales of chips designed for desktop computers had first become evident in China before “spreading across the globe”.

The comments agreed with an IDC study which suggested that 30.7 million PCs were shipped to Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, between April and June. That marks a 1% fall on the same period last year.

IDC’s figures suggest that PC sales did grow in Europe, the Middle East and Africa over the same period, but only in light of poor figures the previous year.

Government’s Tech City growth strategy criticised

July 13, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Ecommerce, Online Marketing, Social Networking, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The government’s strategy to support technology growth companies in London has been criticised in a report.Government's Tech City growth strategy criticisedThe think tank Centre for London said entrepreneurs in the Tech City area had been left “frustrated” by some policies that had been put in place.

Plans to encourage businesses to move to the Olympic Park area were said to be “potentially counterproductive”.

“We are not trying to create or even follow a formula,” a spokesman for the Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO) said in a statement today.

“The cluster of tech, digital and creative companies was growing organically in east London and will continue to do so, regardless of government intervention.”

“Our role is to provide help and support where we can to help ensure long-term, sustainable growth — whether that’s through policy initiatives from central government or through business support delivered by TCIO.”

“We focus on helping businesses set up in the area that’s right for them – whether that’s in Shoreditch, Greenwich or Stratford.”

The Tech City initiative was launched in 2010 as a way to help grow London’s emerging technology start-up industry.

Due to rental rates lower than other areas of the capital, the Old Street area of east London gained a reputation as being the hub of this activity, earning the nickname “Silicon Roundabout”.

TCIO, headed by British entrepreneur Eric Van Der Kleij, aims to help this area grow by encouraging investment in its fledgling companies. It has a yearly budget of £1.7 million.

The organisation also seeks to extend the hub to locations in and around the Olympic Park – a policy with which the think tank report expressed concern.

“There [are] fears that by concentrating its energy on the Olympic Park sites, which many see as the main reason for the Government’s continued attention, [TCIO] risks diminishing the energy of what is still a young cluster,” the report read.

While tech companies in the area broadly support government policies to support them, the report said “most of them knew little of their detailed nature”.

It also said entreprenuers in the area perhaps lacked the business know how to carry out the TCIO’s ultimate aim of creating “the next Facebook”.

“Although there were many success stories, we found surprisingly little appetite for developing firms into global players,” the report said.

“For more world-beating firms to emerge, more of them will need help and support from experienced managers adept at expanding businesses,” the report suggested.

Northern Ireland Ulster Bank customers at back of RBS queue

July 06, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Customer Service, data security, Ecommerce, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

The RBS computer crash still rumbles on as the shadow secretary of state has said he is concerned Northern Ireland Ulster Bank customers have been “put to the back of the queue”.Northern Ireland Ulster Bank customers at back of RBS queueIt is nearly two weeks since a computer breakdown left thousands of customers unable to access their accounts.

The bank has admitted the backlog of uncompleted transactions would not be fixed by Monday.

Vernon Coaker said RBS had “serious questions” to answer for “the way they have treated customers in NI”.

“How can it be that Ulster Bank is so far behind the RBS and Natwest in resolving issues for customers, if they all shared the same system which caused the problem?” he asked.

“Why have people in the rest of the UK have been prioritised at the expense of those in Northern Ireland, who will continue to be without access to their money well in to the week?

“They are justifiably angry and frustrated, and opening up a limited number of branches for a few hours on a Sunday is not an adequate response to their needs.”

Mr Coaker said he would be seeking answers from senior management at the RBS Group and the Ulster Bank, as well as raising the matter in the House of Commons.

Meanwhile, SDLP MP Margaret Ritchie has called on Chancellor of Exchequer George Osborne to help bring the Ulster Bank crisis to an end.

Ms Ritchie said the government own 82% of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and should step in to end “this fiasco”.

Ulster Bank is part of the RBS group.

Mrs Ritchie said: “The chancellor must actively pursue a resolution to the ongoing fiasco where customers of a bank that is 82% owned by the government cannot access their money.

“The chancellor and the Ulster Bank also need to confirm that there have been no security breaches associated with the error and that the bank can monitor suspicious activity on accounts as it would under normal service.

Online bank account robbers are jailed

July 03, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Cyber Security, data security, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Two people who used computer viruses to rob cash from online bank accounts have been jailed.Online bank account robbers are jailedPavel Cyganok was jailed for five years and Ilja Zakrevski for four years for masterminding the online theft crimes.

A third man, Aldis Krummins, was jailed for two years for helping launder some of the cash stolen by the pair.

UK police were tipped off about the criminals by Estonian police who suspected Zakrevski was using viruses to target Britons.

Cyganok and Zakrevski used the SpyEye trojan to steal login details for online bank accounts. Stolen data was uploaded to servers to which the pair had access.

The Metropolitan Police’s Central E-Crime Unit (PCEU) said it had seized one of the servers that was based in the UK, which revealed about 1,000 machines had been infected by SpyEye.

The seizure led the PCEU to other machines through which the two men were identified.

Cyganok was still logged on to one of the control servers when his home was raided and he was arrested.

Zakrevski was arrested in Denmark for a different crime, but because British police had issued a European arrest warrant for him he was extradited to the UK in July 2011.

The PCEU said the pair had used stolen money and credit cards to finance the “large scale” purchase of luxury goods, which they had then re-sold on auction sites.

About £100,000 of the money stolen was laundered through online accounts to which the criminals had access.

Mobile phone charges dropped in eu

July 02, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Apple, BlackBerry, mobile phones, Samsung, smart phones, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

New eu mobile phone call and data charges start this month.Mobile phone charges dropped in euThe new charges rule will prevent “bill shocks” when using mobile data in Europe have come into force.

Data will now no longer cost more than 56p (70 cents) per megabyte – which is far less than previous rates.

In addition call charges will be capped at 23p (29c) per minute, plus VAT, under the new rules.

The EU said the regulations were aimed at stopping people building up huge bills after making calls and using data applications, such as maps, while away.

However,  there is no such cap for those travelling outside Europe and networks may not alert users if they clock up huge bills.

From 2014, consumers will also be able to choose a different operator abroad in the EU from the one they use at home, under the EU rules.

It is hoped this “split network” approach will encourage greater competition- and hence price reductions.