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MySpace faces Facebook challenge July 31, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet, Internet Software.
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Rupert Murdoch’s MySpace is facing intense competition from Bebo and Facebook, according to latest figures on social networking in the UK.

MySpace, which was acquired by Murdoch’s News Corp in July 2005 for $580m, has long been the market leader for young people looking to talk to friends online. And with 6.5 million unique visitors in May, MySpace still remains the most popular social networking site in the UK.

In May, however, MySpace saw its first monthly drop in traffic since June 2006 and only the second drop since November 2005, research firm Nielsen/NetRatings said. Over the last six months, Facebook’s UK audience has grown at 19 times the rate of MySpace’s – 523 per cent compared to just 28 per cent. Bebo has grown by nearly 50 per cent per cent during the same period of time.

Facebook, once largely used by only American colleges, had 3.2 million unique users in May, while Bebo attracted around 4 million visitors. Nielsen’s figures also reveal that Facebook has become more popular in the UK than in the US. Ten per cent of British web users visited Facebook in May, compared to 9 per cent of the US online population.

MySpace is far more dominant in the US than the UK, having four times the visitors of Facebook stateside (56.6 million versus 14.2 million), Nielsen said. Bebo’s success is very much UK-based, according to Nielsen’s research. The site is visited by 12 per cent of online Britons, compared to just 1 per cent of US internet users.

Alex Burmaster of Nielsen/NetRatings said: “MySpace is, by far, still the most popular social network. “However, if last month’s growth rates were to remain consistent, both Bebo and Facebook would catch MySpace in September this year.”

The stats also reveal that MySpace is proving much less entertaining for its users than both Bebo and Facebook. MySpace users spent an average of 96 minutes on the site in May, compared with 152 minutes for Bebo and 143 minutes for Facebook.

“It’s extraordinary to think that Facebook is now a relatively bigger phenomenon in the UK than in the US where it started out life in Harvard back in 2004,” added Burmaster. “Bearing in mind that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg turned down a $750m buyout offer, supposedly holding out for $2bn, well before it made a significant footprint in the UK, one wonders what price he’d put on it now.”

Globally, MySpace is comfortably the most popular social network site, with an audience of 74.7 million. Facebook is second on 18.2 million users and Bebo is ranked third, with an estimated 5.8 million.

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StatCounter rakes in the clicks July 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Google, Internet, Internet Software.
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The booming Irish Web analytics startup was launched by the top vote-getter in BusinessWeek’s young entrepreneur contest when he was just 16

Aodhan Cullen got off to an early start. The top vote-getter in the Business Week’s annual contest to find Europe’s most promising young entrepreneurs started his first business, a resumé-typing service, when he was just 12 years old. Then, as a teenager, he began designing Web pages for paying clients, who often wanted to know how many people were visiting their sites.

Lightbulb moment. In 1999, at the age of 16, Cullen launched Dublin-based StatCounter, an online service that lets clients measure the number of hits they get on their Web sites, plus the geographical location of visitors, the pages people view, and the keywords they use to find a site.

That turned out to be a smart move for the young Irishman, now 24. Web analytics, a field which grew rapidly doing the dot-com boom and then fell out of favor, is “exploding again,” says Bill Gassman, a research director specializing in Web analytics at tech consultancy Gartner. It’s already a $400 million market, and analysts expect it to more than double in size by next year. Big players in the field, such as Omniture, in Orem, Utah, are growing at more than 50% year over year.

The Votes Are In > Latching onto such a hot growth market may have been what gave Cullen the edge among voters in our second annual contest to identify the most promising young entrepreneurs in Europe. Out of a field of 16 companies run by 19 Europeans age 25 or younger, StatCounter rose to the top. But not far behind were equally promising startups such as communications firm JT International of Sofia, Bulgaria, and software social-networking site Wakoopa of Amsterdam.

These and other winners were likely helped by a strong show of support from friends and colleagues. Thanks to a new screening system, this year’s poll was free of the manipulation that dominated the contest in 2006, later eliminated by filtering. And not being ranked in the top five takes nothing away from the promise and achievement of startups such as BytePlay, Moneytrackin, and Friend Media Technology Systems. (For the original list of nominees, see BusinessWeek.com, 6/1/07, Slide Show: “They Set Their Minds on Success.”)

Ahead of Household Names Like Dell > Still, Cullen’s company stood out for its strong growth. StatCounter currently has more than 1.5 million users and tracks more than 9 billion page views per month across its network of 2.2 million Web sites. Cullen won’t discuss revenues for the privately held company, but says he’s signing up 1,500 new members per day.

That helps explains why Alexa Internet Web Search, which ranks sites by traffic, currently lists StatCounter as the 34th-most-visited site in the U.S., ahead of household names like Adobe, Dell, and Wal-Mart, as well as Internet fixtures such as CNET Networks, Ask.com, and Expedia. To keep up, Cullen has opened an office in Dublin’s Guinness Enterprise Center, hired six employees, and added 80 powerful servers.

StatCounter doesn’t really compete with Omniture or other players such as WebTrends that target multinationals and big corporations. Rather, it’s going after small and midsize firms that don’t need highly sophisticated analytical tools, and can’t afford to spend $10,000 and up to buy them. The StatCounter service is mostly free, supported by ads, and works remotely over the Internet rather than by being installed on client PCs. High-volume customers with more than 250,000 monthly pageloads pay anywhere from $9 to $29 a month for StatCounter.

Google Has Taken Notice > Cullen does face one rather formidable competitor in the entry-level market: Search giant Google, which bought a Web analytics company called Urchin Software in 2005 and now offers a free, advertising-supported traffic tracking tool called Google Analytics.

Cullen doesn’t dismiss the competition, but argues there are key differences. Google Analytics, for instance, is tightly integrated with the company’s AdWords advertising service, and users are limited to tracking 5 million hits per month unless they are AdWords customers. “Google Analytics’ goal is to increase their advertising business,” he says. “StatCounter’s goal is to provide the best tracking possible.”

Alan Boydell, Goodle Analytics associate for Google France, disputes Cullen’s claim about Google’s motivations and says its goal likewise is to provide “the best possible free tracking service.” He acknowledges the 5-million-page-view limit for noncustomers, but notes that AdWords clients can track unlimited page views.

StatCounter, Cullen adds, also offers live tracking, which lets customers monitor and spot problems on their Websites as soon they happen, a feature Google Analytics lacks. And it also displays live visitor path reports to show how each visitor is navigating a Web site and what paths are leading to customer conversions. Google’s services are similar, but only display what happened about three or four hours ago. “There is room in this market for new players,” says Gartner’s Gassman. Though Google has far broader brand recognition, he says, StatCounter “appears to be very good at listening to users and it is growing very fast.”

Saying No to VC, for Now > Among its paying customers is Mathaba, an online, international news agency based in Hong Kong, London, and Washington, D.C., that gets 2 million page views a month. The company’s Web master, Adam King, says Mathaba uses StatCounter several times a day to check for problems on its site, to see where visitors are coming from, and to measure the popularity of the site’s toolbar. He also uses the StatCounter tool to verify which news items are doing well, how long people spend on the site, and how many come back regularly.

So what’s next for Cullen? Venture capitalists have been beating a path to his door but so far the young entrepreneur says he isn’t interested in being bought out. He says he wants to continue growing the company, which has been profitable from the start, on his own, by improving the services he can offer his customers. That’s the spirit!

Panda launches new Vista-compatible antivirus, firewall April 24, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet Safety, Internet Software, Microsoft.
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Panda Software has launched a new Vista-compatible version of Panda Antivirus+Firewall 2007.  This version includes a new system for blocking malicious URLs and a specially-designed tool for stopping malware that uses rootkit techniques to hide.

Panda Antivirus+Firewall 2007 customers can download the new version for free from http://www.pandasoftware.com/products/Antivirusfirewall2007 .

Windows Vista compatibility is one of the key features in this version, and Panda Antivirus+Firewall 2007 is also compatible with Windows XP 64 bits, Tablet PC and Media Center.

“Windows Vista has been presented as one of the safest operating systems. Nevertheless, several vulnerabilities have been found that can be exploited to infect PCs running this operating system. It is therefore advisable to have additional protection that completes and increases Vista security,” explains Jaime Herrero-Velarde, director of Consumer Marketing at Panda Software.

“One of the features that can be improved is the firewall. Vista includes a built-in firewall,  but it doesn’t have all the functions that complete protection requires. Panda Antivirus+Firewall 2007 includes intrusion prevention against WiFi networks, malware detection, default scanning of inbound and outbound traffic and a complete Intrusion Detection System,” says Herrero-Velarde.

Panda Antivirus+Firewall 2007 incorporates a system for blocking malicious URLs. This tool prevents users accessing web pages designed to carry out phishing attacks or those containing spyware, making the task of combating threats more effective.

The new solution from Panda Software also features specially-designed technology to protect from rootkit-using-malware.  Rootkits are programs used for concealing the processes of malicious codes, making it more difficult to detect. To improve protection against these tools, Panda Antivirus + Firewall 2007 detects files associated with hidden processes and those infected with rootkits and marks them as malware to delete them.

Panda Antivirus + Firewall 2007 provides maximum, automatic and permanent protection against all types of malware and hackers. It doubles the security of PCs with TruPrevent Technologies, protecting against unknown viruses and intruders.

Panda Antivirus + Firewall 2007 also offers additional protection against numerous other types of threats: it includes firewall technologies to defend against hacker attacks, even in WiFi networks, and protection against phishing and spyware by blocking malicious URLs. It also offers Tech Support 24h-365d, 24h-SOS virus and daily updates.

Likno Web Button Maker March 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Internet Software.
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Likno Software announces the release of Likno Web Button Maker v2.0 build #122.

Likno Web Button Maker is a user-friendly software for creating unique and professional custom 3D web buttons for your web pages and projects in just minutes. With this innovative software you can design and create an endless variety of stylish 3D website buttons with different effects, backgrounds, and text options by customizing their dimension, text, size, shadow, lighting, texture, shape and more. You can choose from a range of pre-defined shapes and styles of web buttons (plastic, metal, glass, stone, marble, etc) or simply customize your own buttons by applying a variety of different custom features and effects to them. Impress your web site visitors by adding unique navigation buttons to your html pages, or simply transform your projects by applying stylish 3D web buttons to them. Guide your users to the desired “click” by making attractive buttons with this 3D button generator.

Among the new features that have been added in version v2.0 build #122 are:
– Optimized mesh recreation algorithm
– Optimized 3D engine.
– Previous version bug fixes.

The basic features of the program are:
•Setting the width and height of the web button.
•Setting the margins of the web button.
•Selecting the shape of the web button.
•Incorporating a background image or color to the web button.
•Setting and editing the reflection of the web button.
•Selecting texture for the web button.
•Adding lights to the web button and set their intensity.
•Adding shadow features to the web button.
•Adding and editing the web button shadow.
•Editing and adding text features and actions to the web button.
•Rollover Button Creation (Three-States: Normal, Mouse Over, Mouse Click).
•You may apply Copy-Paste values between the three-states.
•You may manually (mouse and keyboard) determine movement and resizing of button and its elements.
•Previewing the web buttons as they are being designed and customized.

Likno Web Button Maker v2.0 build #122 costs $35.00 for a single-user license and can be securely downloaded at http://www.likno.com/web-button-maker/download.html . The price also entitles you to priority based customer support.
 
Likno Web Button Maker’s founding company, Likno Software, is a leading software development company that over the past years has managed to firmly establish itself in the international community of web developers as a leader in JavaScript/DHTML technology through its advanced software and services.

E-mail: support@likno.com
Product web site: http://www.likno.com/web-button-maker/
Corporate web site: http://www.likno.com
Examples available at: http://www.likno.com/web-button-maker/examples.html

Likno Software, is a leading software development company based in Athens, Greece. Over the past five years Likno Software has managed to establish itself in the international community of web developers as a leader in JavaScript/DHTML technology through its advanced software and services.

Likno Software, 52 D.Ralli Str., Maroussi 15124, Athens, Greece
+30 210 6121923 (Greek fax) +1 815 301 9700 (US fax)

What is Web 2.0? February 19, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Blogging, Internet, Internet Software.
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Web 2.0 changes the whole ballgame. It not only places the Internet user squarely in the middle of things, but it gives that user the means and power to create and manipulate data. Web 2.0 dramatically changes how we view and use the web. Actually, in many respects, it creates a whole new Internet.

Just what exactly is Web 2.0? What does it mean? Is there a precise definition that all webmasters can get their heads around and understand? Not really, many believe Web 2.0 is just another one of those contrived buzzwords, signifying mostly marketing hype!

However, perhaps the simple definition can be found in the word “you”! Time magazine probably summed it up best by making reference to the “you” in user generated content. Web 2.0 is basically all the platforms that give us this brave new user-powered interactive Internet, generally referred to as ‘social media’.

Web 2.0 can be seen or manifested in such sites as YouTube, MySpace, Del.icio.us, Digg, Squidoo… Web 2.0 uses scripting languages such as Python, Perl PHP, RSS… to construct interactive platforms that websites can use to create all this user-generated content.

Many refer to these evolving formats and scripting platforms under the name AJAX and no this does not refer to the popular cleaning agent under your kitchen sink! This AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScrípt and XML) comes from Google and takes web based interactive programs such as Google Maps, something that’s usually associated with desktop applications, but is now being applied on the web. If you have used Google Earth, you will realize how powerful and revolutionary these new applications can be, not to mention, they are a whole lot of fun.

Where did the name Web 2.0 come from? > Many point to Tim O’Reilly, the constant innovator of many technological changes on the web. O’Reilly has been at the forefront in discussions and conferences on the nature and substance of the ‘meme’ open source platforms dominating the new social media.

How all this new media plays out is anyone’s guess, but all webmasters should optimize their sites for this new Web 2.0 and take full advantage of all the SEO possibilities presented by this brave new Internet.

Here are a few SEO suggestions you can try >

1. RSS/Blogging: You must place a blog and RSS feed on all your sites. This is a fairly simple procedure to do with free server-based programs such as WordPress. Having a blog and RSS feed will place your site into the whole tagging process. Each category you create in your blog will be seen as a tag by such sites as Technorati. RSS stands for ‘Really Simple Syndication’ and your RSS feeds will get your content distributed across the web. A simple and easy way to tap into the new Web 2.0 universe.

2. Create some Google Juice!: Join as many of these highly interactive sites as you can: MySpace, YouTube, Del.icio.us, Digg, Wikipedia … my favorite is Squidoo, where you can create Lenses on different topics that interest you. User driven content that’s utilized by all the major social media sites. Of course, link back to your sites in your posts and creations in these user-created content havens and watch your PR ratings go way up.

3. Use Interactive Scripts: Place interactive JavaScripts and platforms on your own sites. Have membership forums, polls, blogs, feedback forms, user-contributions… to build unique content driven sites. Become the spider!

4. Tagging (Folksonomy): Be constantly aware of the tags (keywords) you’re creating with your blogs and sites. This can have a very beneficial effect on your traffíc and rankings. Closely relate these tags to the content on your sites and build higher rankings in all the major search engines.

5. The Long Tail: Especially important for affiliate marketers, you need to cover special niches where there is less competition and content. These narrow niches make up a large portion of the whole vast web, creating content in these unique areas will get your site included in the search engines a lot quicker and keep them there a lot longer.

6. Holistic Web 2.0: Be constantly vigilant in placing your sites in the whole ‘Interactive Game’, building links and partnerships with the important YouHubs: MySpace, Del.icio.us, YouTube, Digg, Squidoo… the more connections you have, the more your own sites will prosper.

Be the Spider! > No doubt, Web 2.0 will play an ever increasing role in the development and evolution of the web. Make sure your sites are optimized and in the ‘You’ game. Create blogs, RSS feeds, interactive forums, membership areas, user-generated content and truly make your sites interactive havens in their own right. Just remember to tag everything and your sites will reap the benefits of this new Web 2.0 generated SEO gold rush.