Tag Archive | "Tech"

Enough is Enough – Tech Companies Values Need To Change, Says Marc Benioff

“I feel so strongly that we are at a point in our industry where enough is enough,” says Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. “We need to get the values straight with these tech companies. There are some things going on in regards to the manipulation of their consumers, the misuse of the data, and serious issues with privacy. Those values need to change and some of those companies need to be held accountable for what’s going on.”

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, discusses how he supports the government investigations into the tech industry in an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC:

We Are At a Point In Our Industry Where Enough is Enough

I feel so strongly that we are at a point in our industry where enough is enough. We need to get the values straight with these tech companies. There are some things going on in regards to the manipulation of their consumers, the misuse of the data, and serious issues with privacy. Those values need to change and some of those companies need to be held accountable for what’s going on. So I’m actually all in on this (DOJ review of big tech). I actually think it’s maybe too little too late. They should be more aggressive. We’re following behind what the European Union is doing.

The European Union are the ones who are the leaders in this area. Not just in privacy with GDPR but with their European action against these companies when they misuse data, misuse privacy, or take advantage of customers. There are things that have happened in our industry that are embarrassing to me. So let’s clean it up and let’s get back to where Facebook is not the new cigarettes. That’s what I’ve been saying to everybody. Let’s make it all great again if you will. Let’s make tech have the values that we all want it to have and let’s take care of our customers and put consumers first. This is what I think is important.

Absolutely, The Tech Industry Has Brought It On Themselves

Absolutely, (the tech industry has brought it on themselves). I think that now is the time for them to basically clean it up. It’s not too late, it never is. That is what has to happen. You can see companies who have not made these changes and their executives have walked out. They buy these huge companies and you’ve seen them (top execs and founders) walk out. These people are friends of mine.

I’ll say, why are you leaving this company? “Well, I don’t like the values. I don’t like what’s important to that CEO. That CEO said this to me so I’m leaving.” Wow. That’s amazing. Then you saw the customers leave and you saw advertisers leave. That has to change. I think that there needs to be corrective action and it needs to come from the government. I’m for the regulations that are coming in here.

Enough is Enough – Tech Companies Values Need To Change, Says Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff

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Greg Smith: Founder Of Canadian Tech Startup Thinkific Explains How They Used MVPs To Build A Hugely Successful Subscription Software Company

 [ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] One of the hottest business models in the tech startup world is anything with a recurring subscription business model, especially if it’s software based. Another hot online business model for talented individuals who want to make money from their knowledge, is […]

The post Greg Smith: Founder Of Canadian Tech Startup Thinkific Explains How They Used MVPs To Build A Hugely Successful Subscription Software Company appeared first on Yaro.Blog.

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Greg Smith: Founder Of Canadian Tech Startup Thinkific Explains How They Used MVPs To Build A Hugely Successful Subscription Software Company

 [ Download MP3 | Transcript | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] One of the hottest business models in the tech startup world is anything with a recurring subscription business model, especially if it’s software based. Another hot online business model for talented individuals who want to make money from their knowledge, is […]

The post Greg Smith: Founder Of Canadian Tech Startup Thinkific Explains How They Used MVPs To Build A Hugely Successful Subscription Software Company appeared first on Yaro.Blog.

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Microsoft Warns of Rising Tech Support Scams, Calls for Industry-Wide Cooperation

Incidents of tech support scams targeting susceptible PC users are increasing, Microsoft warned. The company received 153,000 reported complaints from consumers in 2017, 24 percent higher than the prior year, according to its detailed security report released on Friday.

Tech support scams reported to Microsoft

Image via Microsoft cloud blog

Reported incidents came from 183 countries, suggesting a widespread global problem. Of those who fell prey to the scam, roughly 15 percent lost money averaging between $ 200 and $ 400. There were cases of victims paying significantly more. In December 2017, Microsoft was notified of a tech support fraud in the Netherlands that resulted in the financial loss of 189,000, or about $ 109,000.

Called social engineering attacks, scammers use a variety of ways to initiate the fraud. Cybercriminals send phishing emails, display strategic online ads or full-screen error messages, install malware, or place unsolicited phone calls to convince victims that their systems or devices have been compromised.

Once victims contact the call center for help, a fake technical support specialist instructs them to install remote administration tools (RATs). This allows fraudsters to have complete control over the device and unrestricted access to sensitive information. They make changes inside the device and point out system errors to convince victims of the ‘problem’. This then prompts unsuspecting consumers to pay for the removal of fake or nonexistent malware.

According to Microsoft, the widespread problem is not limited to its platform but has affected users of MacOS, iOS, and Android systems as well. The FBI received 11,000 tech support fraud complaints in 2017 from 85 countries. Of these, claimed losses amounted to approximately $ 15 million, representing an 86 percent increase compared to prior year.  

The FBI also noticed an emerging trend: re-targeting past victims of tech support fraud. Scammers pose as government officials or law enforcement and offer assistance in recovering losses in exchange for fees. Other fraudsters act as collection services and threaten the victim with legal action for nonpayment of outstanding tech support fees. Some criminals use obtained personal information to commit additional fraud, such as unauthorized bank transfers or opening of new accounts for unlawful payments.  

Microsoft expressed concern over tech support scams that bypass secure platforms like Windows 10 easily and coerce users into giving unrestricted access to their devices. Because the problem is far-reaching, the company called for industry-wide collaboration and law enforcement partnership. Microsoft continues to form partnerships with web hosting providers, telecom networks, browser developers, antivirus solutions, and financial networks in detecting tech support scammers.  

The graphic below shows how the scam usual works.

Image via Microsoft cloud blog

Customers, on the other hand, can protect and empower themselves through education. Be wary of error or warning messages with phone numbers or emails with malicious attachments. Shut down your device once you receive a pop-up message or locked screen. If you have been a victim, notify your bank to reverse the charges and change all your passwords. Uninstall any application used during the tech support and run a virus scan for remaining malware.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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Tech Titans Meet With Trump: Video, Pics and Opening Transcript

The tech titans of Silicon Valley (and a few other places) met with President Elect Donald Trump at his request today. Notably, Trump said that any of them could call him directly if their companies needed help. He said that there is no chain of command here.

“I’m super excited about the possibility that this could be the innovation Administration,” said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg added, “I’m excited to talk about jobs.”

The complete transcript of Trump’s opening remarks to the group:

“Well, I just want to thank everybody. This is a truly amazing group of people. I won’t tell you the hundreds of calls we’ve had asking to come to this meeting (laughter). I will say Peter (Thiel) was sort of saying, no those companies are too small, and these are monster screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-7-16-14-pmcompanies.

I want to start by thanking Peter because he saw something very early, maybe before we saw it, of course he’s known for that in a different way. He has been so terrific and so outstanding. He got just about the biggest applause at the Republican National Convention. He’s ahead of the curve and I want to thank him and (while shaking his hand) you’re a very special guy.

I want to add that I’m here to help you folks do well and you are doing well right now. I’m very honored by the bounce, everybody is talking about the bounce, so everybody in this room has to like me at least a little bit. We are going to have to try and have that bounce continue.

Perhaps even more importantly, we want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. There is nobody like you in the world. There is nobody like the people in this room. Anything we can do to help this go along, we are going to be there for you. You call my people, you call me, it doesn’t make any difference, we have no formal chain of command around here.

We are honored to have Gary, the President of Goldman Sacks, left Goldman Sacks to do this. And Wilbur, everybody knows Wilbur, they don’t call him Wilbur Ross on Wall Street, they just say oh it’s Wilbur (laughter). There’s nobody like him.

We are going to do fair trade deals, we’re going to make it a lot easier for you to trade. Across borders, there are a lot of restrictions and a lot of problems. If you have any ideas on that, that would be great because there are a lot of restrictions and a lot of problems. You probably have less of a problem than some companies because some companies have massive problems, but we are going to solve those problems.”

Who Was There?

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Progressive Tech Companies Want Trump to Protect Sharing Economy From Dem Attacks

Michael Beckerman, President & CEO at Internet Association which represents big internet focused tech companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Uber, Netflix, Twitter, Lyft, PayPal, Salesforce, Rackspace and many more, sent a congratulations letter to the Trump transition team today. In it they sought to inform Trump how important the internet is to the economy and gave their take on issues dear to them.

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-5-22-52-pm

The entire letter is available here (PDF).

One very interesting area the group focused on is the sharing economy, which has been under severe attack by progressives and liberal Democrats around the country. Perhaps Trump isn’t Silicon Valley’s worst nightmare after all, considering he is likely to agree with them on these planks:

ON DEMAND OR SHARING ECONOMY
By harnessing the power of the internet and internet-based commercial cloud technology, sharing economy platforms allow individuals to use their free time and resources to earn significant supplementary income under a flexible working arrangement that allows people to earn money how, when, and where they want. Although still in its nascent stage, the sharing economy is projected to account for $ 335 billion in global revenue in 2025, up from $ 15 billion in 2013.

Offer Consistent, Smart Regulatory Approaches: The rapid rise of this new sector of the economy, however, has been met by piecemeal regulatory approaches at the local and state levels that often feature misguided or overly burdensome rules driving up costs for consumers and workers. By steering clear of burdensome regulations, policymakers at every level can ensure this rapidly growing sector of the economy sees its full potential.

Protect the Flexibility and Economic Opportunities of the Sharing Economy: On demand and sharing economy companies are driving new economic growth and opportunities by providing individuals with unprecedented flexibility and control over the decision of when, and how, they earn income. By attempting to apply the same static workplace regulations of the 20th century to this new economic model, policymakers could threaten the very entrepreneurial spirit that drives these 21st century earning opportunities.

One of their other key concerns is safeguarding platforms like Facebook from lawsuits because of things their users post which means not weakening current intermediary liability laws:

“Weakening intermediary liability laws would not only chill innovation and free expression online, but would also threaten investment in the next generation of ideas fueling our digital economy. If digital content intermediaries were responsible for the content uploaded by users, over 80 percent of investors would be less likely to fund startups. In addition, 85 percent of investors are uncomfortable investing in digital content intermediaries open to unpredictable legal action.”

Another major concern is copyright law safe harbors, such as fair use, exemptions, compulsory licenses and first sale doctrine:

“Threats to the flexible framework, such as weakening limitations or exceptions to safe harbors, would create barriers to entry for internet startups and creators, which would deny users the ability to access content
online.”

They also want policies that promote pro data innovation rules:

“However, new regulatory proposals on how data is used and collected threaten to reduce this value. U.S. policy must ensure businesses in every U.S. industry can keep a competitive edge by innovating with data. To do so, policies should champion data innovation by acknowledging the crucial role of data in the modern economy and promote pro-innovation rules. This includes taking a harms-based approach to consumer privacy, instead of a collection-based approach, and stopping data minimization efforts or other proposals that would inhibit innovation.”

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Tech Billionaire Peter Thiel Cites Trade as the Main Reason He Supports Trump

Peter Thiel, the billionaire Paypal co-founder and apparent financier of the Hulk Hogan Gawker lawsuit, spoke at the National Press Club on why he supports Donald Trump for President.

Of course, this is only news because in Silicon Valley and especially the young tech and startup world of San Francisco, he’s really going against the tide.

Thiel’s most powerful argument for Trump is about trade, where even Bernie Sanders voters find agreement. The past strategies of all Republicans and Democrats has left us with a country that is on a direct path to manufacturing nothing, and this is killing the middle class and good paying blue collar jobs.

Here’s how Thiel puts it:

Why do voters still support Donald Trump even if they think the American situation is serious? Why would they think that Trump, of all people, could make it any better? I think it’s because of the big things that Trump gets right.

For example, free trade has not worked out well for all of America. It helps Trump that the other side just doesn’t get it. All of our elites preach free trade. The highly educated people who make public policy explain that cheap imports make everyone a winner, according to economic theory.

But in actual practice, we’ve lost tens of thousands of factories and million of jobs to foreign trade and the heartland has been devastated. Maybe policymakers really believe that nobody loses, or maybe they don’t worry about it too much because they think they’re among the winners.

The sheer size of the US trade deficit shows that something has gone badly wrong. The most developed country in the world should be exporting capital to less developed countries.

Instead, the United States is importing more than 500 billion dollars every year. That money flows into financial assets, it distorts our economy in favor of more banking and more financialization and it gives the well-connected people who benefit a reason to defend the status quo.

But not everyone benefits… and the Trump voters know it.

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Facebook users prefer pets and photographers to banks and tech

cool tabs categoriesThere are marketers who swear that Facebook is the key to staying in touch with customers and others who think Facebook is a waste of time. Believe it or not, both are right. As you’ll see from this new infographic by Cool Tabs, it all depends on who and where you are.

Cool Tabs makes apps and widgets that you can put on your Facebook pages to increase engagement and attract new followers. They also offer a performance check-up service and it’s that data that led to these results.

Most Engaging Categories

It’s nice to have followers but it’s better when your followers actually engage with your posts. In Facebook terms, that could mean anything from leaving a thumbs up or comment to sharing a post with their own followers.

Cool Tabs found that people were more engaged with pet posts than any other category. Fictional characters came in a close second. Then we drop quite a bit before getting to “just for fun” and small business posts. Photographer posts round out the top five.

Photographers were also the big winner for overall reach. With an average viral reach of 49.82% and an organic reach of 20.40% – shutterbugs are the kings of the Facebook branded Page kingdom.

Sporting Events had the best organic reach and record labels had the highest viral reach.

On the other end of the scale are banks and financial institutions with organic reach of only 4.5% and 2.28% for viral reach. Software pages had the worst organic reach and electronics pages had the worst viral reach with only 1.65%. With numbers like that, electronics companies would be better off on Google+.

Negative Nellies

Engagement on a Facebook post is great. . . except when it’s not. If your Facebook page is full of negative comments then you might be based in Australia – the country with the highest percentage of negative Facebook feedback. Or, it could be that you run a reference page. By category, reference pages get more negative feedback than any other.

How Fans Impact Reach

This chart shows the average viral and organic reach a page can expect based on the number of followers / fans.

Cool tabs fansOn small pages, the viral reach is much longer than the organic reach and for the most part, organic grows and viral slips as the fan count rises. This means, Pages with fewer followers have to work extra hard to post content that is likely to be shared and shared often if they want to grow.

If you take only one thing away from this post, take this: it’s clear that cute puppy photographs are the key to Facebook success.

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My Tech Startup Journey: Learning How To Fund A New Software Company

Entrepreneurs-Journey.com has always been a sounding board for my own use as an entrepreneur. From the day I started blogging I wrote about what I was up to with whatever business I was focused on at the time. Blogging is fantastic for all kinds of business reasons, but it’s also…

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New Moz-Builtwith Study Examines Big Website Tech and Google Rankings

Posted by Cyrus-Shepard

BuiltWith knows about your website.

Go ahead. Try it out.

BuiltWith also knows about your competitors’ websites. They’ve cataloged over 5,000 different website technologies on over 190 million sites. Want to know how many sites use your competitor’s analytics software? Or who accepts Bitcoin? Or how many sites run WordPress?

Like BuiltWith, Moz also has a lot of data. Every two years, we run a Search Engine Ranking Factors study where we examine over 180,000 websites in order to better understand how they rank in Google’s search results.

We thought, “Wouldn’t it be fun to combine the two data sets?

That’s exactly what our data science team, led by Dr. Matt Peters, did. We wanted to find out what technologies websites were using, and also see if those technologies correlated with Google rankings.

How we conducted the study

BuiltWith supplied Moz with tech info on 180,000 domains that were previously analyzed for the Search Engine Ranking Factors study. Dr. Peters then calculated the correlations for over 50 website technologies.

The ranking data for the domains was gathered last summer—you can read more about it here—and the BuiltWith data is updated once per quarter. We made the assumption that basic web technology, like hosting platforms and web servers, don’t change often.

It’s very important to note that the website technologies we studied are not believed to be actual ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. There are huge causation/correlation issues at hand. Google likely doesn’t care too much what framework or content management system you use, but because SEOs often believe one technology superior to the other, we thought it best to take a look..

Web hosting platforms performance

One of the cool things about BuiltWith is not only can you see what technology a website uses, but you can view trends across the entire Internet.

One of the most important questions a webmaster has to answer is who to use as a hosting provider. Here’s BuiltWith’s breakdown of the hosting providers for the top 1,000,000 websites:

Holy GoDaddy! That’s a testament to the power of marketing.

Webmasters often credit good hosting as a key to their success. We wanted to find out if certain web hosts were correlated with higher Google rankings.

Interestingly, the data showed very little correlation between web hosting providers and higher rankings. The results, in fact, were close enough to zero to be considered null.

Web Hosting Correlation
Rackspace 0.024958629
Amazon 0.043836395
Softlayer -0.02036524
GoDaddy -0.045295217
Liquid Web -0.000872457
CloudFlare Hosting -0.036254475

Statistically, Dr. Peters assures me, these correlations are so small they don’t carry much weight.

The lesson here is that web hosting, at least for the major providers, does not appear to be correlated with higher rankings or lower rankings one way or another. To put this another way, simply hosting your site on GoDaddy should neither help or hurt you in the large, SEO scheme of things.

That said, there are a lot of bad hosts out there as well. Uptime, cost, customer service and other factors are all important considerations.

CMS battle – WordPress vs. Joomla vs. Drupal

Looking at the most popular content management systems for the top million websites, it’s easy to spot the absolute dominance of WordPress.

Nearly a quarter of the top million sites run WordPress.

You may be surprised to see that Tumblr only ranks 6,400 sites in the top million. If you expand the data to look at all known sites in BuiltWith’s index, the number grows to over 900,000. That’s still a fraction of the 158 million blogs Tumblr claims, compared to the only 73 million claimed by WordPress.

This seems to be a matter of quality over quantity. Tumblr has many more blogs, but it appears fewer of them gain significant traffic or visibility.

Does any of this correlate to Google rankings? We sampled five of the most popular CMS’s and again found very little correlation.

CMS Correlation
WordPress -0.009457206
Drupal 0.019447922
Joomla! 0.032998891
vBulletin -0.024481161
ExpressionEngine 0.027008018

Again, these numbers are statistically insignificant. It would appear that the content management system you use is not nearly important as how you use it.

While configuring these systems for SEO varies in difficulty, plugins and best practices can be applied to all.

Popular social widgets – Twitter vs. Facebook

To be honest, the following chart surprised me. I’m a huge advocate of Google+, but never did I think more websites would display the Google Plus One button over Twitter’s Tweet button.

That’s not to say people actually hit the Google+ button as much. With folks tweeting over 58 million tweets per day, it’s fair to guess that far more people are hitting relatively few Twitter buttons, although Google+ may be catching up.

Sadly, our correlation data on social widgets is highly suspect. That’s because the BuiltWith data is aggregated at the domain level, and social widgets are a page-level feature.

Even though we found a very slight positive correlation between social share widgets and higher rankings, we can’t conclusively say there is a relationship.

More important is to realize the significant correlations that exist between Google rankings and actual social shares. While we don’t know how or even if Google uses social metrics in its algorithm (Matt Cutts specifically says they don’t use +1s) we do know that social shares are significantly associated with higher rankings.

Again, causation is not correlation, but it makes sense that adding social share widgets to your best content can encourage sharing, which in turn helps with increased visibility, mentions, and links, all of which can lead to higher search engine rankings.

Ecommerce technology – show us the platform

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the biggest ecommerce platform of them all?

Magento wins this one, but the distribution is more even than other technologies we’ve looked at.

When we looked at the correlation data, again we found very little relationship between the ecommerce platform a website used and how it performed in Google search results.

Here’s how each ecommerce platform performed in our study.

Ecommerce Correlation
Magento -0.005569493
Yahoo Store -0.008279856
Volusion -0.016793737
Miva Merchant -0.027214854
osCommerce -0.012115017
WooCommerce -0.033716129
BigCommerce SSL -0.044259375
Magento Enterprise 0.001235127
VirtueMart -0.049429445
Demandware 0.021544097

Although huge differences exist in different ecommerce platforms, and some are easier to configure for SEO than others, it would appear that the platform you choose is not a huge factor in your eventual search performance.

Content delivery networks – fast, fast, faster

One of the major pushes marketers have made in the past 12 months has been to improve page speed and loading times. The benefits touted include improved customer satisfaction, conversions and possible SEO benefits.

The race to improve page speed has led to huge adoption of content delivery networks.

In our Ranking Factors Survey, the response time of a web page showed a -0.10 correlation with rankings. While this can’t be considered a significant correlation, it offered a hint that faster pages may perform better in search results—a result we’ve heard anecdotally, at least on the outliers of webpage speed performance.

We might expect websites using CDNs to gain the upper hand in ranking, but the evidence doesn’t yet support this theory. Again, these values are basically null.

CDN Correlation
AJAX Libraries API 0.031412968
Akamai 0.046785574
GStatic Google Static Content 0.017903898
Facebook CDN 0.0005199
CloudFront 0.046000385
CloudFlare -0.036867599

While using a CDN is an important step in speeding up your site, it is only one of many optimizations you should make when improving webpage performance.

SSL certificates, web servers, and framework: Do they stack up?

We ran rankings correlations on several more data points that BuiltWith supplied us. We wanted to find out if things like your website framework (PHP, ASP.NET), your web server (Apache, IIS) or whether or not your website used an SSL certificate was correlated with higher or lower rankings.

While we found a few outliers around Varnish software and Symanted VeriSign SSL certificates, overall the data suggests no strong relationships between these technologies and Google rankings.

Framework Correlation
PHP 0.032731241
ASP.NET 0.042271235
Shockwave Flash Embed 0.046545556
Adobe Dreamweaver 0.007224319
Frontpage Extensions -0.02056009
SSL Certificates
GoDaddy SSL 0.006470096
GeoTrust SSL -0.007319401
Comodo SSL -0.003843119
RapidSSL -0.00941283
Symantec VeriSign 0.089825587
Web Servers
Apache 0.029671122
IIS 0.040990108
nginx 0.069745949
Varnish 0.085090249

What we can learn

We had high hopes for finding “silver bullets” among website technologies that could launch us all to higher rankings.

The reality turns out to be much more complex.

While technologies like great hosting, CDNs, and social widgets can help set up an environment for improving SEO, they don’t do the work for us. Even our own Moz Analytics, with all its SEO-specific software, can’t help improve your website visibility unless you actually put the work in.

Are there any website technologies you’d like us to study next time around? Let us know in the comments below!

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