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More UK people using internet

June 01, 2015 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Dr Search, Ecommerce, internet, Technology Companies, Uncategorized, Website Design

More people are using the Internet in the UK- according to official statistics.

More people are using the Internet in the UK- according to official statistisIn the first quarter (Jan to Mar) 2015, 86% of adults (44.7 million) in the UK had used the internet in the last 3 months (recent users), an increase of 1 percentage point since the quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2014 estimate of 85%.

11% of adults (5.9 million) had never used the internet, falling by 1 percentage point since quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2014.

The South East had the highest proportion of recent internet users (90%) and Northern Ireland was the area with the lowest proportion (80%).

In quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015, the proportion of adults who were recent internet users was lower for those that were disabled (68%), compared with those that were not disabled (92%).

In quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2015 the proportion of adults aged 16 to 24 years who were recent internet users was lower for those that were disabled (95% recent users) compared with those that were not disabled (99% recent users).

The proportion of adults aged 75 years and over who were recent internet users was also lower for those that were disabled (27% recent users) compared with those that were not disabled (40% recent users).

Moral of the story is that if you are a business, you want more business- and you are not on the Internet you are missing a trick.

So if you need help with making money online then please contact us now either by clicking the contact us button or ring us 01242 521967:contact search clinic

Government warned about creating a digital divide

April 04, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Dr Search, Search Clinic, Uncategorized, Website Design

The UK government is in danger of creating a digital divide by putting public services online, a report warns.Government warned about creating a digital divide

Ministers say 82% of “transactions” can be carried out online- as that is roughly the proportion of the population which uses the internet.

But the National Audit Office argued that the percentage of people able to access some services, such as those used by elderly people, was lower. It called for “continued access” to face-to-face and telephone services.

The government said it was continuing to offer help to users and promised to create websites “so good that people will prefer to use them”.

The coalition has moved most government services to the single gov.uk address, after Whitehall departments set up their own sites in a more piecemeal fashion. Other bodies are expected to follow by March next year.

It estimates that making services “digital by default” may save up to £1.2 billion during the current parliament, with future savings potentially reaching £1.8 billion a year in the longer term.

In its report, the National Audit Office (NAO) agreed there was “greater scope” for online public services.

It said: “The government, in calculating potential savings, has assumed that 82% of transactions with public services will be carried out online, the proportion of the population currently online.”

But it warned that “online use of some services falls short of that level”, and that “age, socio-economic group and disability do make a difference”.

The NAO looked at 20 public services and found the main reasons for lower take-up were: a preference for face-to-face dealings; an unwillingness to provide information online; and low awareness of some online services.

The report said: “The government has set out plans to help people not on the internet to use digital services. Given the scale of ‘digital exclusion’, the government now needs to put these plans into action to avoid a ‘them and us’ problem.”

The government is caught between a rock and hard place- on the one hand it wants to save money by channelling people to it’s websites and on the other hand they put up websites like the HMRC site which makes tooth extraction an alternative appealing option. I don’t just mean the joy of paying- but the so called interaction.

Google criticised for Ivory ads

March 08, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Ecommerce, Google, Search Clinic, Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Results, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Campaigners have criticised Google for encouraging the poaching of elephants by running advertisements promoting ivory products.Google criticised for Ivory adsThe Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) says more than 10,000 ads about ivory were running on Google’s Japanese shopping site.

They have written to the internet giant asking for their removal.

The claim was made at the meeting of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) taking place in Bangkok.

EIA says that they have been monitoring advertising in Japan for a long time, looking for evidence of whale products being promoted for sale. They found more than 1,400 of these types of ads.

But when they carried out a similar search for ivory ads on Google’s wholly owned Japanese shopping site, they found more than 10,000.

The vast majority, more than 80% were for “hanko”, a Japanese name seal that people use to sign official documents. The stamps are often inlaid with ivory lettering.

The campaigners say the ads are contrary to Google’s own policies which don’t allow the promotion of elephant or whale products. And the EIA says they are contributing to elephant poaching across Africa.

“We were really shocked to be honest, to find that one of the world’s richest and successful technology companies with such incredible resources had taken no action to enforce their own policies, especially given that elephants are being slaughtered across Africa to provide these trinkets for the public in Japan.” said EIA’s Allan Thornton.

Google acknowledged that these type of ads violated their own terms. In a statement they said: “Ads for products obtained from endangered or threatened species are not allowed on Google. As soon as we detect ads that violate our advertising policies, we remove them.”

EIA says that they wrote to Google on 22 February to inform them of the problem but they have received no response as yet. They say that the adverts are still up and running.

“I don’t know what’s going on in Google,” said Allan Thornton.

“They are considered a progressive company who are interested in environmental issues, but they seem to have made some pretty serious mistakes by letting whale and ivory products be sold on their Google Japan site,” he added.

Dealing with the ivory issues is one of the key tasks for this meeting of Cites in Bangkok.

The sale of elephant tusks was banned back in 1989. But elephant welfare groups say around 30,000 elephants a year are still being killed to meet the demand for trinkets and carvings that are often sold to tourists in countries like Thailand.

The internet has given a huge boost to the ivory business. Last year, another investigation by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) found over 17,000 ivory products on sale on Chinese websites.

EU Commission’s IT shortage- despite 26 million unemployed

March 06, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Dr Search, Ecommerce, internet, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Despite record EU unemployment, the European Commission has launched a “grand coalition” to address the region’s IT skills shortages.EU Commission's IT shortage- despite 26 million unemployedDigital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes told delegates at the CeBIT exhibition that the EU’s competitiveness is “under threat” if it cannot fill the expertise gap.

The shortages come at a time of high unemployment across Europe, she added, calling for greater awareness of IT career opportunities.

Together with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, Ms Kroes said that 1 million euros (£860,000) will be invested into the coalition.

“This coalition is not about reinventing the wheel. It should be about building on existing success,” she said.

“I want people to be open in their commitments, join forces where they see the chance, and recognise we need to do things differently.

“Quite simply, facing hundreds of thousands of unfilled vacancies, we cannot continue as we were; and we must all do our bit.”

The commission’s own figures suggested that there will be 900,000 vacancies for IT-related roles by 2015. There are currently about 26 million people unemployed across Europe.

The number of “digital jobs” – jobs based around IT – is growing by about 100,000 every year, yet the number of skilled IT graduates is failing to keep pace.

Jose Manuel Barroso launched the digital jobs coalition

Ms Kroes said she now wants to have companies move “from ‘wouldn’t-it-be-nice-if’ to, ‘here’s-what-we-are-going-to-do’.”

The commission highlighted several new initiatives already taking places, including Telefonica’s investment in start-ups, and Cisco’s pledge to train 100,000 people to install smart-meters into homes.

The commission’s proposals include simplification of the certification system, making it easier to prove what skills a graduate has, regardless of the EU country in which they have worked or studied.

Technology skills shortages have been cited as a pressing problem for several companies which rely on highly-skilled engineers to further their development.

In January, Google chairman Eric Schmidt announced that his firm was to contribute to a scheme to give schools 15,000 free microcomputers.

The British Raspberry Pi devices will also be used to encourage young children into learning coding skills.

Paypal predicts the end of passwords

March 04, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Cyber Security, data security, Dr Search, Ecommerce, Hackers, Personal Security, smart phones, Technology Companies, Telecommunications Companies, Uncategorized

The days of the tiresome password may be numbered- according to Paypal.Paypal predicts the end of passwordsThe fact is that the way we users typically deal with having multiple passwords for our online accounts makes us too vulnerable to spyware, phishing and identity theft.

Many of us rely on the same password, while many more of us only use three or four passwords.

Ideally, the best password would be at least 16 characters with capitals, numbers and special characters – but you’d never remember it.

So the industry is looking to ditch passwords, and is turning to a variety of solutions, such as voice recognition, key stroke analysis and finger print identification.

Payments firm PayPal is one of those leading the changes, and president David Marcus says the aim is to make the whole process seamless.

“Like magic, you’ll be authenticated, and the payment will go through. We want to move away from passwords, and get to embedded fingerprint scanners on mobile phones.”

“You’re going to start seeing that type of experience later this year, with a mass roll-out in the year to come.”

Earlier this month, PayPal, Lenovo and others announced the formation of the Fido Alliance (Fast Identity Online) to change the way online security checks are carried out.

The idea is that users will be able to select the type of authentication that suits them best – from fingerprint scanning to USB tokens.

“The best protection is the one you don’t see – it’s the one that happens in the background, that verifies your identity accessing your own data,” says Mr Marcus.
‘Untapped potential’

For PayPal, solving the password security problem is important because so many people now use it to make purchases – it has 125 million customers in more than 190 countries.

“You shop offline more than you shop online, but in most of these transactions mobile is involved now,” says Mr Marcus.

“As the offline market is 17 times bigger than the online market, there is still huge untapped potential for us.”

The key driver for this has been the way in which customers are increasingly using phones, tablets and other handheld devices to make purchases.

Last year, PayPal recorded $145 billion (£95bn) in total transactions, of which $14 billion were via mobile devices, says Mr Marcus.  “But the year before it was less than $4 billion.

All of which should be welcome news for those of us who continually have to email our online retailers for new passwords, because we’ve forgotten the one we asked them for the last time we tried to buy something from them.

UK needs more skilled cyber crime fighters- official

February 11, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, Cyber Security, data security, Ecommerce, internet, Personal Security, Search Clinic, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Given the recent spate of hacking incidents a timely report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has highlighted that a lack of skilled workers is hampering the UK’s fight against cyber crime.UK needs more skilled cyber crime fighters- officialThe spending watchdog had heard from experts who believe it could take “up to 20 years to address the skills gap”, it said in a report.

But progress has been made in tackling cyber fraud, with more police resources and prosecutions aimed at catching cyber criminals, the NAO added.

The government said it was “investing heavily” in research and education.

The number of IT and cyber security professionals in the UK has not increased in line with the growth of the internet, the watchdog said.

In 2011, ministers announced funding of £650 million to implement the UK’s Cyber Security Strategy, which set out the risks of the UK’s growing reliance on cyber space.

The strategy identified criminals, terrorists, foreign intelligence services, foreign militaries and politically motivated “hacktivists” as potential enemies who might choose to attack vulnerabilities in British cyber-defences.

In a review of the strategy, the NAO said there had been an number of developments to help tackle cyber crime.

The internet economy in the UK accounts for more than £120 billion – a higher proportion of GDP than any other G20 country, the NAO said.

But it warned that the cost of cyber crime is estimated to be between £18 billion and £27 billion a year.

Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, received 46,000 reports of cyber-enabled crime, amounting to £292 million of attempted fraud, the report said.

And the Serious Organised Crime Agency had captured more than 2.3 million compromised debit or credit cards since 2011, preventing a potential economic loss of over £500 million.

New regional police cyber crime centres and a trebling of the size of the Police Central e-crime Unit had also helped boost the UK’s capability to combat attacks, the watchdog said.

But the NAO warned that the UK faced a current and future cyber security skills gap, with “the current pipeline of graduates and practitioners” unable to meet demand.

Education officials interviewed by the NAO said it could take “up to 20 years to address the skills gap at all levels of education”.

They raised concerns about a lack of promotion of science and technology subjects at school, leading to a low uptake of computer science and technology courses by university students.

Nintendo warns on it’s Wii-U sales forecast

February 01, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Ecommerce, Gaming, internet, Nintendo, Search Clinic, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Nintendo has cut the sales forecast for its new Wii-U console-  but still expects to make an annual profit thanks to the weaker yen.Nintendo warns on it's Wii-U sales forecastIt now predicts it will sell only four million Wii-Us in the year to March, down 27% from its previous forecast, after sales disappointed.

Nonetheless, the Japanese firm increased its annual net profit forecast to £98 million thanks to gains from its weakening home currency.

A year ago it made a loss of  £302 million.

For the first nine months of its year, the firm reported a £102 million profit, compared with a loss of  £115 million a year earlier.

The results, which came after the end of trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, provide mixed signals for stock analysts.

The apparent failure so far of the Wii-U to take off versus competition from tablet and smart phone game applications may bode ill for the company’s long-term growth prospects.

Nintendo also cut its full-year sales forecasts for its other games consoles, with 3DS sales expected to reach 15 million by March (down 14% from its previous forecast), and DS sales to total 2.3 million (down 8%).

Perhaps the biggest shock will come from the firm announcing that it now expected to make an overall operating loss of £140 million for the year, whereas previously it had foreseen a £140 million operating profit. Financial analysts had expected a £85.7 million operating profit on average.

The company said that the new forecasts took account of the evident turnaround in the yen with the election of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has taken a much more aggressively expansionary stance towards both government spending and the central bank’s monetary policy.

The weakening currency provides a two-fold benefit to the company – increasing the value of its foreign currency assets in the short-term, and reversing its steady loss of price competitiveness against foreign rivals in the longer-term.

Tax dodging Amazon announces lower profits

January 30, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Amazon, Customer Service, Ecommerce, internet, Online Marketing, Search Clinic, Uncategorized

Amazon has announced a sharp fall in profits for the end of 2012.Tax dodging Amazon announces lower profitsNet income for the three months to the end of December was £61.5 million, down from £112 million for the same period in 2011.

The fall came despite an increase in revenues during the period, from £11.08 billion a year ago, to £13.54 billion- a jump of 22%.

That growth came as the world’s largest internet retailer bagged a big share of internet spending during the crucial holiday period.

After reporting the results, Amazon’s shares rose by close to 7%.

“We’re now seeing the transition we’ve been expecting,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive of Amazon.com.

“After five years, e-books is a multi-billion dollar category for us and growing fast – up approximately 70% last year.

“In contrast, our physical book sales experienced the lowest December growth rate in our 17 years as a book seller, up just 5%.

“We’re excited and very grateful to our customers for their response to Kindle and our ever-expanding ecosystem and selection.”

The Seattle based company also said operating income increased by 56% to £257 million in the fourth quarter.

Payments by text message services to launch in UK in spring 2014

January 09, 2013 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Computers, data security, Dr Search, Ecommerce, mobile phones, Personal Security, Search Clinic, smart phones, Telecommunications Companies, Uncategorized

UK mobile users will be able to send and receive money by sharing only their phone number by the spring 2014  the Payments Council has announced.Payments by text message services to launch in UK in spring 2014Account owners will be asked by their banks if they want to opt-in to a database that will allow the sending of money by text message.

The scheme is being backed by eight major financial institutions.

Its launch will bring the UK up to speed with technology which has been used for several years in the developing world.

Many African nations use systems such as M-Pesa, which is typically seen as a secure way to transfer funds quickly between individuals and businesses.

Mobiles in the UK are already being used for a variety of online banking tasks, with services such as Barclay’s PingIt simplifying sending money to and from accounts.

But this new set up will be the first to not require users to set-up a separate account with a mobile wallet service.

The scheme will be administered by the Faster Payments service – which processed more than 800 million online and phone banking transactions in 2012 – and the Link network, which processed 3.1 billion cash machine withdrawals last year.

The system will mean people can send and receive money to others by sharing just their mobile number – rather than having to swap other details such as sort code or account number.

However, the Payments Council said a passcode or similar security measure would ensure the system could not be abused.

Also, banks will have the ability to remotely disable accounts suspected of misuse.

Research would be conducted to make sure the limit represented a blend of “convenience and security”, the spokesman added.

Record online sales shoppers on Boxing Day

December 27, 2012 By: Dr Search Principal Consultant at the Search Clinic Category: Customer Service, Dr Search, Ecommerce, internet, Online Marketing, Pay Per Click Advertising, Search Clinic, Tablets, Technology Companies, Uncategorized

Record numbers of UK shoppers visited retail websites on Boxing Day-  with analysts suggesting shoppers are also using the internet to identify bargains.Record online sales shoppers on Boxing DayInformation service Experian said UK consumers made 113 million visits to retailers’ websites on 26 December.

The number of visitors to the High Street on the same day was up 0.64% on last year’s Boxing Day trade, according to Experian.

Some big name retailers started their online sales on Christmas Day.

UK internet users made 84 million visits to retail websites on Christmas Eve and 107 million visits on Christmas Day, up 86% and 71% respectively compared to the same days in December 2011, according to Experian.

The Boxing Day level – 113 million visits – was 17% up on the same day in 2011. Typically, during the year, there is an average of about 70 million visits on Mondays – the busiest day of the week for online shopping.

“The UK sales creep continues to advance so that now the post Christmas sales are starting before Christmas,” said James Murray, digital insight manager at Experian.

“Five years ago we called it the January sales, before it became the Boxing Day sales, now retailers have to call it the winter sales as discounting starts earlier to encourage higher spending.”

Shoppers headed back to the High Street, with large department stores such as John Lewis throwing open their doors for clearance sales.

Yet, retail consultants have said that many people heading out to the shops will have already browsed online to choose the items they want.

The squeeze on family finances is likely to keep the lid on retail sales, especially on big ticket items.

However, some positive news in employment levels means that some stores could still record a decent level of sales in the significant post-Christmas sales period.

Experian Footfall said that there was “quiet optimism” on the High Street with the number of shoppers up slightly on 26 December, compared with the same day in 2011.

The growth of the internet means that the peak in sales might already have taken place.

Mr Murray, of Experian, said that 26 December was traditionally the single biggest shopping day of the year online.

And now, shoppers are using digital devices such as tablets and smartphones to search for bargains – then only travel to those specific shops to buy those items.

The amount people spent online was expected to account for 12% of total retail spending.