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Monday, 29 March 2010 14:43

Social Media and Online Advertising

The capability of social media vehicle in online advertising cant be determined by its reach. It92s in reality the propensity of the intended users to consume, retain and respond to ads that matters. Google search is the biggest medium used by advertiser92s to communicate with users. It is believed that user92s purchase preferences and content are correlated. The inability to create subsets by user interest within a given property restricts the relevance of content association to the property as a whole. Social media websites like Facebook allow users to talk about their interests, making each user relevant to diverse advertisers. With its reaches worldwide and its monetization capability, sites like Facebook can help expand online advertising revenues.


Advertisers use Facebook to reach out to the buyers who want to buy diapers, as also to those who are not really focused on one thing alone. Facebook as such has emerged as either the biggest or the only component of the social media budget and is quite often seen as an independent component of online advertising plans. As advertisers get caught up in alphabet soup of CPC (Cost Per Click), CPL (Cost Per Lead), ROI (Returns On Investment), CTR (Click Through Rate), online marketing offers correct convergence of text, relevant banners, videos, interactive games to build consumer loyalty and awareness like no one else. Online marketing is however often incorrectly used and under-funded to effective marketing channel. As such it important to leverage this channel to cash in on its Returns On Investment. However for doing that a few things need to be covered by online marketers, these include learning about social media, develop strategy about using social media, use social media the correct and honest way, educate the target audience, develop creative strategies and back them up with careful planning and analytics to lure potential customers, explore options to make sure that if one option doesn92t work the other should,A0 increase budget to improve ROI, develop fresh and updated content for the ads on regular basis, develop case studies, leverage various online marketing techniques to ensure extra revenues.

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Google Inc closed its China-based search service and began redirecting web searchers to an uncensored portal in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Though part of China, Hong Kong with its semiautonomous status due to its past history as a British colony, and Google is not legally required to censor results there. The company said it intends to continue research and development in China, as well as maintain a sales staff there, even after closing Google.cn and rerouting traffic to the unfiltered search site in Hong Kong. China reacted to the move by saying Google was “totally wrong” and had “violated the written promise it made on entering the Chinese market”. The Chinese government on its part denied involvement in Internet hacker attacks said to have generated from China and defended its online. The USA had urged Beijing to investigate complaints of cyberintrusions, after Google complained its site was hacked from China, especially endangering the emails of human rights activists in Tibet and Xinxiang.

The standoff that began on January 12 culminated with “Welcome to Google Search in China’s new home.” displays to search results in the simplified Chinese characters that are used in mainland China. However, the results can’t all be accessed inside China, because government filters restrict the links that can be clicked by mainland audiences. The Chinese-language version of Google search in the US as well as the mapping and music services on Google.cn have been untouched. The Chinese government has reacted by threatening to block access to Google’s other services, such as YouTube, which is owned by Google and social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter. The tensions with China have prompted Google to delay plans to sell some new wireless phones running on its mobile software. David Drummond, Google’s top lawyer said “Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on Google.cn has been hard. We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a nonnegotiable legal requirement.”

Before 2006 Chinese users could search through Google sites such as Google.com, although filters inside China kept people there from clicking through to links generated by queries such as “Tiananmen Square massacre”, 93Dalai Lama94, 93Uighur94. But when Google tried to better reach Web users in China by setting up Google.cn, it meant complying with rules requiring the omission of search results the government deemed subversive or pornographic. But this compliance sparked criticism by Google supporters, including some of its own employees, who believed the company was violating its “Don’t Be Evil” motto. The worlds largest internet search company vowed to shake loose from government-imposed restraints on the Internet; after it determined that Google and more than 20 other US companies were targeted in computer hacking attacks originating from China. Although Google never made a direct accusation the Chinese government role was

Google had earlier hoped to persuade China to let it run a search engine that could deliver unrestricted results; failing that wanted a common ground to maintain its research center and sales team in the country. Google which earned US$250 million to US$600 million from China said its decision to re-route traffic to an uncensored Hong Kong site for users in mainland China is 91entirely legal92; but China issued a blistering public attack on Google through a high-profile Communist Party newspaper. It seems by challenging Chinese government, Google appears to have violated an unspoken rule of doing business in China, especially in the Internet industry where Beijing feels its crucial to maintaining its authoritarian rule. This has resulted in realignments of business. Tianya.cn, a popular portal with 32 million registered users, said it was taking full control over social networking and question-and-answer services operated jointly with Google. China Unicom Ltd., one of China’s biggest mobile phone companies, hinted that it would shelve plans to offer two cell phones made by Motorola and Samsung with Google’s Android program. Publicly, Google’s continuing to work with its Chinese business partners by providing them with censored search services in an effort to abide by already existing contracts.

The U.S. State Department meanwhile has said it was not involved in Google’s decision over its search engine, and championed for internet freedom. This has added to Beijing’s concerns about collusion and aggravated recently tense U.S.-China relations. With growing pessimism in the US and European business community that Beijing was closing off access to the domestic market, Google is likely to face a tough road ahead to rehabilitation in the China market.


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Friday, 26 March 2010 14:44

Indians are World No 2 Spammer

India and Indian internet surfers are the second most popular spam originators worldwide, with 10.98% spams being sent globally from Indian IP addresses. PandaLabs, the malware analysis and detection laboratory of Panda Security said in a study. According to PandaLabs apart from India, countries like Brazil, Vietnam, Korea and US together make up the top 5 list of countries from which most spam were sent to other parts of the world during the first 2 months of 2010.

PandaLabs, which analyzed and picked close to 5 million emails as spams also came to a conclusion that these spam messages were originating from nearly 1 million different IP addresses, meaning that on average, each address was responsible for 5 spam messages.A0 Also according to PandaLabs, internet surfers based in major cities were the biggest spammers. According to PandaLabs, Seoul topped the list, followed by Hanoi, New Delhi, Bogota, Sao Paulo and Bangkok. According to PandaLabs, the spam messages generated are used primarily to distribute malware or sell illicit products, such as videos or photos of Brazilian girls.


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Friday, 19 March 2010 14:46

Facebook Beats Google in Visits

One of world92s leading social-networking website Facebook has passed Google to become the most visited website in the US. According to industry tracker Hitwise, Facebook started by Mark Zukerberg in 2004 finished the week ending March 13 as the most visited site in US. Heather Dougherty, Director-research (Hitwise) said it92s a important milestone with Facebook enjoyed a 185% increase in visits in the same period, over Googles92 9% increase in the same time. However it does not include Google websites such as social-networking website Orkut started by Orkut BFCyFCkkF6kten in 2004, or the popular Gmail email service, YouTube and Google Maps.

Together, both Facebook.com and Google.com accounted for 14% of the US Internet visits last week. However David Drummond, SVP-Google said 93We are at a critical point in the future of the internet. All of us have a choice. We can allow repressive policies to take flight and spread across the globe, or we can work together against such challenges and uphold the fundamental human right to free expression.94 It may be known that Google has added the social-networking feature Buzz to its Gmail service as well as new message inbox that echoes Gmail’s format, to reposition itself from challenges faced from Facebook.com and micro-blogging site Twitter.com.

According to online tracking firm, comScore; Facebook boasts some 400 million users while Gmail had 176 million unique visitors in December, 2009. Google, meanwhile has taken measures to limit online free expression, in 40 countries. It may be known that Google and YouTube services are or have been blocked completely in 25 countries.


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According to a study by global security solutions provider, Symantec; Indian companies are more worried about cyber attacks on their IT infrastructure than caring about perceived threats from terrorism and natural disasters. The study titled ‘On the State of Enterprise Security’ conducted in January revealed that Indian enterprises suffered an average revenue loss of Rs.5.8 million due to cyber attacks by elusive hackers in just 2009 itself. Vishal Dhupar, Managing Director- Symantec India said “Security has become a main concern to Indian enterprises as cyber attacks are posing a greater threat than terrorism, natural disasters and conventional crimes”.

The study also found that 66% or 2/3rd of the Indian enterprises surveyed faced cyber attacks from external and internal sources in 2009 causing considerable loss of confidential data and productivity. Cyber attacks are a malicious activity of the IT underworld that is used to steal sensitive information, confidential data and proprietary material for monetary gain. Since the advent of internet, hackers have tried gain access to the IT infrastructure of enterprises, spanning servers, storage and multiple devices are retrieve vital information. Vishal Dhupar said “Securing enterprises and protecting information are more challenging due to understaffing, new IT initiatives and compliance issues. A security blueprint that protects infrastructure as well as information, enforces IT policies and manages systems efficiently can increase the competitive edge of businesses in an information-driven world”. Business risk emanating from IT use is set to be a focus area for nearly every 4 out of 5 of businesses.

Another factor effecting enterprise security spanning networks, endpoints, web and data protection is availability of fewer employees to protect the IT infrastructure by securing endpoints, messaging and web environments. As such providing security is becoming more complex due to new offerings by IT enterprises such as infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, server and endpoint virtualisation and software-as-a-service. Enterprises need to develop and enforce IT policies and automate their compliance processes. Vishal Dhupar further said “Each cyber attack mounted has a financial impact on enterprises, besides loss of customer trust and damage to reputation. About 90% enterprises spend money to prevent such attacks and to comply with regulations, as such financial losses were on average Rs.8.4 million in 2009.”


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Thursday, 18 March 2010 14:52

BuzzInTown Reaches Out the NRIs

buzzintown.com, an online platform dedicated to promotion of events and entertainment in india, has launched its us and canada versions. according to buzzintown, its international versions currently cover 16 cities across us and canada and aims to tap growing non-resident and ethnic indian community across north america. amitabh saran, co-founder and ceo, buzzintown said 93the north american events and entertainment market, including the us and canada, for the nri community has seen significant traction in 2009 with the market growth pegged at around 10% a year. the launch is also in line with our strategy to tap the exponential spending capacity of the nri community which consumes indian news, movies, music and local events.

94buzzintown.com has also introduced new features such as recommendations, suggestions and information on events of the week; a movies section that features all the latest and forthcoming releases and reviews; listing of restaurants along with their specials and food festivals; a traveler section that provides information about various travel destinations in India and abroad including when to go, how to get there, what to carry and what to see, local shopping information and other travel tips

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Thursday, 18 March 2010 14:52

Google Almost Out of China

If reports are to be believed Google has drawn up detailed plans for closing its Chinese search engine, as talks with China over censorship have reached an apparent impasse. Google, is the world’s largest search engine. A person familiar with the company’s thinking said, while a decision could be made soon, Google was likely to take some time to follow through with its plans. This people say would be to takes steps to protect local employees from retaliation by authorities.

Earlier China had warned Google against flouting the country’s laws, as expectations grew over a resolution to a public battle over censorship and cyber-security. Google had earlier threatened to pull out of China in January if it could not offer an unfiltered Chinese search engine. The threat came after cyber attacks originating from China on it and about 30 other firms. China’s Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Li Yizhong, told reporters on Friday said ”If you don’t respect Chinese laws, you are unfriendly and irresponsible, and the consequences will be on you.” Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive of Google had said on Wednesday that he hoped to announce a result to talks with Chinese authorities on offering an uncensored search engine in China.

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology shares oversight of the use of Internet with a number of other bodies. Some more bureaucracies are involved in foreign access, thus complicating the Chinese government’s response to Google’s challenge.


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Thursday, 18 March 2010 14:51

Google Goes to Picnik

Google which in the last few years has acquired several internet based websites, services and tools recently acquired Picnik. Picnik is an online photo editing tool that allows users to crop, do touch-ups and add effects to their digital photos. Picnik launched in 2005, has already been integrated as a online photo editing tool with a number of websites including Picasa Web Albums, Facebook, Flickr, Yahoo Mail and Photobucket.

Brian Axe, product management director at Google said. 93We are not announcing any significant changes to Picnik today, though we will be working hard on integration and new features. As well, we would like to continue supporting all existing Picnik partners so that users will continue to be able to add their photos from other photo sharing sites, make edits in the cloud and then save and share to all relevant networks.94

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A survey conducted by GlobeScan for BBC World Service, showed that 87% of internet users worldwide believe that internet access should be made a fundamental right for all people. The survey also said more than 70% of non-users feel they should have access to the internet. The survey was conducted across 26 countries, including India with over 27,000 adults participants. South Korea, which is the most wired country on Earth had 96% of people, the greatest majority who believe that internet access was their fundamental right. In Japan, Mexico and Russia around 75% of respondents said they could not cope without internet. Most of those surveyed also said that they believed the web had a positive impact, with nearly four in five saying it had brought them greater freedom.

It may be known that countries such as Finland and Estonia have already ruled that access to internet is a human right for their citizens. Finland last year enacted a law to make broadband access a legal right from July 2010. Finland, which is home to Nokia mobile phones also plans to make a 100Mbps broadband connection a legal right by the end of 2015. Finland is already one of the world’s most connected countries, with 96% of its citizens online. France also made internet access a basic human right but stopped short of making broadband access a legal right. Dr Hamadoun Toure, secretary general, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) said. 93The internet is the most powerful potential source of enlightenment ever created,94 he also said that governments must 93regard the internet as basic infrastructure — just like roads, waste and water94.

Nearly 75% of respondents in Japan, Mexico and Russia confessed they could not deal without the virtual world. However the dangers of the online world, such as fraud, the ease of access to violent and explicit content and privacy worries, were amongst the most concerning aspects. However a majority of users in Japan, South Korea and Germany also said they were afraid to express their opinions safely online, where as internet users in Nigeria, India and Ghana felt much more confident about speaking out online.


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According to the SmartTechie magazine, online marketing and social networking websites are among the 9125 Most Promising Internet Companies92 in India. The recently released list includes websites like BigAdda (social networking), Yatra.com (travel), IndiaMart (B2B marketplace), Zapak (gaming), Jivox (online video advertising), Seventymm (movie rental), HolidayIQ (travel reviews), Sprinklr (email marketing), Foodiebay (restaurant directory) and even Sulekha (local commerce).

Among other companies/websites which have made it to the list of 9125 Most Promising Internet Companies92 include BoloHealth, PurpleTeal (consumer health); Netsoft Solutions, Zed-Axis Technologies (IT solutions); Concern Infotech, Future TechnoCrafts, Magnon Solutions (all digital advertising agencies); Ethnic Online Network (ethnic marketing); iJiny (online classifieds); Injoos (online collaboration); Gallatta (movie portal); TravelTechie (travel deals); YoPedia (desktop applications); Winds Online (business applications) and MobiKwik (mobile recharge).

According to SmartTechie, the list was decided by a panel of judges that comprised of CEOs, CIOs, VCs and analysts from reputed companies as well as editorial team of SmartTechie magazine. The companies/websites were chosen based on a number of criteria including ease of use, evidence of success, virtual scalability as well as eventual monetization potential. When asked about it, a representative at SmartTechie said, 93We at the SmartTechie believe that each company in this annual list had all those, which is needed to climb ladder of success as their products and plans are indeed progressive, and the technologies are groundbreaking. Perhaps, what makes all of them to tick is their innovative and need based approach.94


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