Americans More Concerned Than Ever About Online Privacy

From the unveiling of the NSA’s mass surveillance program, to the recent accusation that Facebook is politically biased when selecting relevant content for news feeds (not to mention the common knowledge that Zuckerberg is selling your personal information to advertisers), there have been dozens of major headlines causing quite a bit of controversy in the realm of online privacy. Polarizing views are streaming from all possible ends when it comes to how this affects citizens; some fear the idea of terrorists and criminal organizations having the ability to hide themselves, others have a hard time trusting governments and corporations to have access to personal information so easily. Many more couldn’t force themselves to care if they tried. But at the end of the day, real life consequences are sure to be as mundane as always. The media talking heads stir up a frenzy over this or that controversy, and it never really affects out everyday lives, or the state of the country as a whole. Right? In this case, not so much. In a shocking report from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) that surveyed 41,000 internet-using households across the country, it was revealed that almost half (45%) of Americans had so many concerns about their security and privacy online that it stopped them from conducting financial transactions and posting on social media. Survey takers were asked to name their primary security concerns, and were allowed to freely give as many answers as they pleased without being prompted with options. […]

Last Week in Tech

What went on in the wonderful world of technology last week? Here are some releases and events you might have missed: 1. Batteries That Might Outlive You That’s right. An exponentially growing number of devices rely on lithium ion batteries that do pretty well holding juice- for the first couple thousand charges, that is; we’ve all had that old iPod or laptop that will only turn on when plugged into its power chord. This is actually due to the lithium corroding the inside of the battery overtime, a problem that was solved by researchers at UC Irvine who tried a new method of using gold nanowires to store electricity. Additionally, an electrolyte gel was used rather than the traditional liquid in an attempt to create a battery that wasn’t as combustible or sensitive to temperature. The unintended result was a battery that was able to withstand 200,000 simulated charging/draining cycles and only lose 5% of its original charge.  Turns out that the two materials work in perfect harmony, the gel actually interacting with the metal oxide to prevent corrosion. Reginald Penner, author of the paper released regarding the discovery, continues saying, “[The gel] actually seems to make the metal oxide softer and more fracture-resistant. It increases the fracture toughness of this metal oxide that is doing the charge storage. 2. Flexible Cameras That Can Wrap Around Anything Already unofficially dubbed a “wallpaper camera,” scientists at Columbia University have created a flexible sheet comprised of hundreds of tiny adaptable lenses capable of producing a high-quality image […]

Attack of the Ad Blockers!

Controversy and opinionated noise abound in this new era of blocking advertisements on our favorite web pages. Everyone can at least somewhat relate with the desire to stop getting popups or those banner ads that are creepily specific to our recent browsing activities. And that random audio that starts playing from a video commercial that you can’t always see, and you spend a few minutes in frustration looking for the source before you finally give up and close the page? Or you find it, try to click the ‘X’, and end up accidentally going away from your article to the advertiser’s page? Ugh. But in spite of these terrible minor inconveniences, there is an anti-ad blocking movement that seems to be growing at the same pace as the ad blockers themselves; a recent study was released that attempted first to quantify the popularity of ad blockers, then to examine the ensuing financial damage lost from ad revenue. Here are some number highlights: Ad blocking in the U.S. grew by almost 50% in 2015, increasing to 48 million average monthly users by the second quarter alone; that’s 16% of the population. 2014 saw an estimated $5.8B lost in revenue. In 2015 that number rose to almost $11B and is expected to exceed $20B in 2016.  Over 60% of sites used by ad blockers are gaming, technology, and social media sites. As of today, this is the only comprehensive study of ad blocking trends. Interesting, as it was conducted, analyzed and published by PageFair (a company that […]

Feel Like Your Store Is Missing Out On The Holiday Rush?

You just might be, but luckily it’s never too late to improve. Ever since the dawn of the interwebz shopping experience, the holiday mayhem has seen a gradual decrease in brick-and-mortar revenues, contrasted by an increase in cyber sales. This year was no exception: Thanksgiving Day saw a 25% jump in online sales, Black Friday and Cyber Monday together averaged 15% increases. But focusing on specific days has itself even become outdated—the Adobe Digital Index calculated $3 billion in sales on Monday, but a whopping $11 billion in sales from the whole weekend prior to. What does this all mean? It means shoppers as a whole are beginning to realize that they can find even better selection and better deals, all while not having to camp out in front of a store, freeze half to death, or even put pants on. The trap some web-based retailers may fall into is assuming that this makes the holiday season some sort of freebie spike in sales, so long as they offer some decent discounts or free shipping. Unfortunately, this is NOT the case. But why?

Beginner Tips for Advertising with Facebook

It wasn’t long before online retailers realized the advertising opportunities that the rise in social media brought about. Now Facebook offers multiple ad options for getting your store more exposure. There is one thing to keep in mind before you make any big commitments: FACEBOOK IS SOCIAL MEDIA. The hard truth is that Facebook ads do not usually lead directly towards boosts in sales. What everyone should be sure to remember is that Facebook users are in the social mindset rather than that of shopping. When you buy AdWords from Google, you’re tying your product to keywords that people are searching for with the intent of eventually purchasing something; on social media, people are there to just communicate and share information. So when designing your ad, bear in mind that it should be less focused on making a sale and more on spreading the word about your product. Social media and ecommerce experts agree that Facebook advertisements should serve two main purposes: Remarketing/retargeting your existing product in a new way Creating custom audiences based on the email addresses you receive from newsletter subscriptions and previous customers. This is somewhat due to the information that’s come out in the past year or two regarding Facebook’s often less-than-honest ad service. When ads aren’t specifically targeted, they often end up leading to your page largely being liked by people working for “click farms” in 3rd world countries. Essentially all this will do is cost you money by using up all of your paid clicks without […]

How Will the TPP Affect My Online Store?

What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal? The TPP is a multi-national trade agreement between twelve countries that share borders with the Pacific Ocean; the list includes the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and Singapore. The details have officially been made public in the past couple days, and they seem more-or-less is line with what we were promised they would be: a general freeing of trade restrictions as a means of encouraging economic growth as a whole. So what does this mean for you as an online retailer? The TPP in its entirety can be found online, but the chapter on electronic commerce is what we’ll address here; essentially it allows you to operate in all partnered countries without having to have foreign brick-and-mortar locations. Until now some countries, Australia for example, required e-commerce operators to have local computer infrastructure in the economies in which they want to operate. So if you manufactured and shipped widgets from the US and you saw market potential in Sydney, you would have to set up overseas servers in the land down under before you got anything going. These kinds of restrictions made it harder for small, or even medium-sized business to reach their full potential in the global market due drastically increased overhead. Additionally, the TPP aims to remove trade tariffs on imports and exports, as well as ensure that other governments don’t discriminate against electronically transmitted services not sourced domestically. You as an entrepreneur have the potential to greatly expand your business for two simple reasons: International […]

Making Your Transition from Magento Go to Bigcommerce Simple

It is no secret that Magento Go is closing its doors in February 2015. When this news broke in July 2014, it forced many online merchants to find a new platform to host their stores. Thankfully, the eBay-owned shopping cart platform provided users with a solid recommendation for new hosting—Bigcommerce. Are you a Magento Go storeowner wondering what you should do from here on out? Transitioning your store from Magento Go to Bigcommerce does not have to be a hectic one. In fact, it can be incredibly simple—if handled appropriately. Here are a few steps to take to make the overall switchover as painless as possible. Magento Go to Bigcommerce: Where to Begin The first step in successfully transferring your site from Magento Go to Bigcommerce starts with a simple phone call. The friendly and knowledgeable team at Bigcommerce will be more than willing to help you setup your new account and take advantage of special offers available exclusively to those making this change. In addition, they can also assist you in transferring product details and customer files from the old platform to the new. (Tip: One important note to remember about this step is that Bigcommerce’s migration package does not include any template design files or previous orders.) Magento Go to Bigcommerce: Finding a Design Partner After you have done this, you will want to find a Bigcommerce design partner to work with. A design partner will help you match the layout of your existing site (or create a […]

Bigcommerce SEO – 10 Tips to Grow Your Website’s Rank

Having a great website with tons of nifty products is fabulous—but only if shoppers can find you. Beating out the competition when it comes to search engine rankings is actually quite simple if you know what steps to take in order to make that happen. Here are ten search engine optimization tips for your Bigcommerce store to get you started. #1: Do Appropriate Keyword Research Knowing what keywords shoppers are actually looking for is an essential first step to getting your page ranking higher. Thankfully, Google provides webmasters around the globe an exciting and easy-to-use tool to make this process much less confusing—the AdWords Keyword Planner. Simply log on, add a few phrases or words that describe your ecommerce store, and hit submit.  The planner will spit out a list of the top search results with the exact number of people who use them each month. Think of it as a mini-cheat sheet for all the rest of your Bigcommerce SEO efforts. You will also want to pay attention to longtail keywords, which are essentially keyword phrases versus individual keywords. Not only do these phrases offer a greater chance of ranking, they allow you to specifically target shoppers in a unique way. Learn more about longtail keywords here. #2: Know Who Your Competition Is One of the most overlooked facets to optimizing a website is failure to review what the competition is already ranking for. The easiest way to do this is to open up a web browser, go to […]

5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Tulsa SEO Expert to Help with Your Website

You’ve worked hard to make your website look great and provide customers with the information they need about your fantastic products and/or services. But, have you considered utilizing a local SEO partner to help you stand out amongst the competition when it comes to search engine rankings? Here are five reasons why you should hire a Tulsa SEO expert to assist with your website. #1: You Gain a Knowledgeable Friend in Your Local Area One of the best reasons to hire a Tulsa SEO expert is that you gain a neighborly partner to help you reach your business goals. At Redhead Labs, we understand the unique challenges that Oklahoma small and medium-sized businesses face—mostly because we are one. We also get what cities and suburbs in the area to target to ensure you are getting the right type of traffic to your website, day in and day out. For example, we know exactly what keyword and optimization work it takes to effectively market lawn care services to homeowners in Owasso or offer custom-designed children’s tutus to parents in Jenks. Does “Jim the SEO Guy” in Los Angeles get that? Most likely not. And, if you’re ever so inclined, you can swing by the office to see how things really rock. #2: You Save Time and Can Focus on Other Important Tasks Working with a Tulsa search engine optimization firm also enables you to spend less time thinking about the narrow view in which search engines see your page and more […]

NBC Learns the Pros and Cons of Social Media

The Pros and Cons of Social Media We’ve been documenting the 2012 Summer Olympics briefly here at Redhead Labs. This Tulsa web developer is enthralled by a recent story not involving events on the field, but off. With the advent of social media in our every day lives, it is now even easier to catch up on your favorite athlete, your countries top performers, and all other Olympic events. And therein lies the problem. Tape delays and Twitter have been at the forefront of this weekend’s events, with vocal critics lashing out against NBC. Tape-delaying events has enraged American sports fans, oftentimes spoiling the outcomes on newscasts before they air. Problematic online streaming has angered even more. NBC is learning the hard way that digital freedom comes at a price. So while the Twitter feeds light up with angry tweets, NBC has realized firsthand the mighty impact of social media. The powers that be at NBC have taken this online lesson to heart, altering their newscasts to reflect the primetime events, and even taking to Twitter to converse with critics and fans alike. Using social media to sift through the good and the bad is a necessity for any large business to succeed in today’s economy. Olympic Update The Olympics are into the first week after an exciting weekend of international competition. Team USA women’s soccer and basketball teams both came away from very convincing victories and have matches set for today. The men’s archery squad pulled off a nail-biting semi-finals finish, but […]