Posts tagged Just

Lord Sugar’s SEO Company Fails to Climb Online But Still Manages to Bag New … – Just SEO Digital Marketing News

Just SEO Digital Marketing News
Lord Sugar's SEO Company Fails to Climb Online But Still Manages to Bag New
Just SEO Digital Marketing News
Web Developers – the site construction was outsourced to (notice the similarity in the theme?) SEO's – if they had a dedicated SEO their link profile wouldn't be such a toxic mess. SEM's – we've already established they don't

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Don’t Call It a Comeback: Google Just Made Press Releases More Valuable – Business 2 Community

Business 2 Community
Don't Call It a Comeback: Google Just Made Press Releases More Valuable
Business 2 Community
Less than a year ago, Google's Panda 4.0 update devalued press releases as a SEO tactic, in response to far too many companies distributing press releases with zero news value to boost search rankings. As a consequence of rooting out spammy content, …

and more »

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It May Have A Billion Users, But YouTube Isn’t A Sure Thing Just Yet

Since it launched to the public at the end of 2005 (the very first video is still online), YouTube has come to dominate online video in a way that few businesses manage to dominate anything on the Web. Today, it boasts more than a billion users, who are uploading more than 300 hours of video every minute and generating billions of views every single day.

So far, so rosy—but YouTube isn’t exactly the home run that these figures might suggest it is, and it’s facing increasing pressure from all sides. Last month the Wall Street Journal reported that YouTube was only just breaking even; this month, Facebook unveiled a host of new video features designed to steal away a large chunk of YouTube’s share of the market.

See also: Facebook Is Coming After YouTube With Embeddable Videos

Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the only one who wants some of those YouTube eyeballs, either.

A Changing Landscape

Mark Zuckerberg is coming for YouTube

The 360-degree, 4K video uploads YouTube allows today are a world away from the grainy, blocky, buffering clips that appeared in the early days of the site. But it’s not just the technical aspects of online video that have come on in leaps and bounds.

We’re all watching more video than ever before, for example; movies and television shows are available on-demand over the Web in ways that would have been hard to envisage a decade ago; and services like Spotify (launched in 2008) have changed the way we think about content streaming.

Music is an interesting case study for those looking to chart the evolution of YouTube. It was something the video site stumbled into almost accidentally, providing an online, instant access, personalized version of MTV that connected with music lovers (especially younger ones). Before YouTube, there wasn’t really a way to find good-quality music videos online in any great number—today it hosts audio and video for millions of tracks.

Along the way, music on YouTube has become a professional, money-making business through partners like Vevo. But is it making enough? Bar an advert or two, all this content is free to access, and as rumors circulating around Spotify suggest, that’s not a model the record labels are particularly keen to see continue.

Enter YouTube Music Key, which provides ad-free tunes with a few extras thrown in if you pony up $9.99 a month for a Google Play Music subscription (you get both services whichever one you sign up for). From free to ad-supported to subscription in the space of ten years—that’s a substantial evolution, and one that makes you wonder how many more subscription services YouTube has up its sleeve.

See also: YouTube May Be Winning The World And Losing Its Soul

YouTube personalities who produce videos about tech, make-up, cooking, video game  and just about any other topic under the sun are another booming area of business for the channel. That’s no doubt why big names like Facebook and small startups such as small startups such as Vessel are looking to prise these stars (and their audiences) away from Google’s grip.

In the coming years, any big name video personality or successful music artist is going to have more choices than ever for hosting their material. So what does YouTube do next?

A Changing YouTube

Hits like Gangnam Style took off on YouTube.

Google faces a battle to both hang on to the core pillars of YouTube’s popularity as well as expand into more lucrative areas. One of those areas is likely to be video-game streaming and e-sports, a part of the market YouTube has yet to make a mark in (largely thanks to Amazon’s Twitch game-streaming site).

See also: Video Games As Spectator Sport—Why Twitch Is Booming

The Daily Dot reported this week that YouTube is preparing to dust off its live streaming ambitions and make esports the focus. Insider sources suggest Google has already started putting together a team and working on preparing the ground for such a move, with an announcement expected in June.

Live streaming of traditional sports could also be a potential goldmine—this is an area YouTube has dabbled in before, but most of the key events and leagues are tied up in several layers of television rights contracts. It seems it will take a TV-to-online shift in mindsets, like we saw with music, before live broadcasts of the NFL and its ilk can become a reality.

Then there’s the idea of YouTube pulling a Netflix. This is an idea often rumored and half-confirmed by YouTube’s head of content, Robert Kyncl, last month. In short, pay a monthly fee and never see an advert again—presumably a very good deal from YouTube’s perspective as it looks to finally get in the black and stay there. There’s potential too in a closer relationship with Google Play, providing a Web-based streaming equivalent to iTunes.

What’s certain is that YouTube can’t stand still, even with a billion user accounts to its name. If it’s going to be prospering at 20, then it’s will have to be significantly different from the YouTube of today.

Mark Zuckerberg photo by Owen Thomas for ReadWrite; other images courtesy of Google

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Apple May Have Just Killed An Open Source Project

On Tuesday, Apple acquired FoundationDB, an enterprise software company with a major open source component. On Wednesday, that open source component was no more.

See also: Apple Buys FoundationDB In A Decisive Break With The Jobs Playbook

FoundationDB’s GitHub page, which was a bustling open source repository mere hours ago, has now been locked up. “This organization has no public repositories,” a message now reads, indicating that FoundationDB’s new owners have made the project closed source.

Many developers were using FoundationDB’s open source software for database projects when the software was pulled. Unless those developers had made clones of the GitHub repository, the takedown could put their projects at risk. A group of Hacker News commenters dedicated a thread to discovering recent forks of the repository for anyone using it.

“Pulling an open-source project upon which people may depend is total jerk behavior,” one commenter wrote.

According to commenters on a TechCrunch article about the acquisition, neither FoundationDB nor Apple warned anyone using deployed versions of the software that they were about to close the open-source repository. With such warning, developers could have at least cloned the software on their own accounts and continued their work without major interruption.

Developers had no warning that there was anything unstable about FoundationDB’s open source status. Before the Apple acquisition, company’s FAQ stated, “We have released several FoundationDB language bindings and layers as open source software and anticipate continuing to do so.” The FAQ has been pulled, but you can still read it here.

With this move, Apple is indicating that everything FoundationDB has created is for its use alone, regardless of how recently it was intended for everyone’s use. It’s certainly Apple’s right to do so, but there’s nothing nice about it. 

Photo by hans van den berg

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What Did We Just Learn About The Apple Watch? Not Much

We were expecting Apple’s media event to answer all the questions we had about the Apple Watch — but in the end it mostly covered old ground and a few non-wearable announcements. Much of what was said on stage we’d heard six months before, though there are a handful of new details to pore over.

For starters, there’s the simple matter of availability and pricing. Apple will take preorders for its smartwatch starting April 10, and will begin actual sales in nine countries on April 24. It will debut with a range of designs that range in price from $349 to more than $10,000.

The ability to make calls from your wrist is something Apple hadn’t previously mentioned—and which you can’t yet do on Android Wear. Watch owners can use the device’s integrated microphone and speaker to initiate and receive calls—though whether you’ll want to walk down the street talking to your watch is another question.

It sounds like it’s going to be the same as using your iPhone in loudspeaker mode, except you’ll have both hands free to carry groceries or cling on to a subway train pole. With the limited range of the smartwatch’s internal components, you might need your wrist pretty close to your face for it to work—but we’ll know for sure when the first review units arrive.

Assault On The Battery

We also got a new hint on battery life. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the watch will last 18 hours over a variety of activities, although that doesn’t clarify things much beyond the “all-day battery life” phrase he used at the original Apple Watch unveiling last year. And the fine print in the official press release helpful notes that “battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors.” So again until we get to test the watch out we’ll have to take Apple’s word for it.

[Update, 3:34pm PT: Apple added a new Apple Watch battery-life page to its site that gives some additional details about its claims. Here’s what it says about the 18-hour claim:

All-day battery life is based on 18 hours with the following use: 90 time checks, 90 notifications, 45 minutes of app use, and a 30-minute workout with music playback from Apple Watch via Bluetooth, over the course of 18 hours. Battery life varies by use, configuration, and many other factors; actual results will vary.

The same page notes that charging the Apple Watch should take about 90 minutes to reach 80% battery capacity and 2.5 hours to reach 100%.]

So it’s possible that light users will get a whole day’s use from the Apple Watch, just as they do with their iPhones. Any kind of serious activity, though—making calls, tracking runs, going on an Apple Pay-powered shopping spree—and you might be looking for a charger by the early afternoon.

That’s a big problem for a device designed to be worn constantly, always listening out for input and monitoring your vital statistics at regular intervals. We heard nothing about the rumored low battery mode that some insiders say kicks into action once the battery life dips below a certain level.

Apple VP of technology Kevin Lynch was on hand, as he was in September, to showcase a few different apps, but again this was mostly treading old ground: apps to browse photos, unlock hotel doors and send doodles. We did find out that Apple Watch apps are handled by a separate app built into iOS 8.2, which rolls out from today. If you don’t have an Apple Watch, you can use it to see what you’re missing.

Aside from prices and shipping dates, there was very little in Apple’s Spring Forward showcase that we didn’t already know. We’ll have to wait until April to get the big questions about battery life and day-to-day use answered.

Image via Apple

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Huawei Just Made The Best-Looking Android Wear Watch Yet

The slickest, watch-iest Android Wear device so far made its appearance Sunday yesterday at Mobile World Congress. Made by the Chinese company Huawei and set for a June release in 20 countries around the world, the simply named Huawei Watch (say that 10 times fast) might be Android’s best Apple Watch competitor yet.

If, that is, it weren’t for one small problem.

Powerful Shortcomings

The Huawei Watch’s specifications aren’t that different from those of other Android watches. But a few of its features could make a big impact in the watch’s overall performance:

  • 1.4-inch AMOLED sapphire crystal display with 400 x 400 pixel resolution at 286 ppi
  • 4GB of internal storage
  • 512MB of RAM
  • Qualcomm APQ8026 1.2GHz processor
  • Heart rate monitor, 6-axis motion sensor, and barometer
  • 300mAh battery

The main difference  here lies in the higher resolution screen—which Huawei says makes it the “highest resolution Android Wear watch”—the heart rate monitor, and the 300mAh battery. That’s one of the smallest batteries featured in any Android watch so far—and it’s paired with some power-hungry features.

The Huawei Watch’s unveiling at MWC in Barcelona.

For comparison, the Moto 360—which has taken grief for its underwhelming battery life since its release last September—has a slightly larger display, heart rate monitor, and a 300mAh battery (despite a spec sheet that lists 320mAh). The G Watch R has a slightly smaller display, heart rate monitor, and a 410mAh battery.

Style Over Substance

What the Huawei Watch might lack in terms of battery, it could redeem with pure style. A sapphire crystal display means it will resist the scratches that come with everyday wear and tear. There have been more than a few regretful bumps on my Asus ZenWatch as I reach into the fridge to grab the milk, so the Huawei Watch’s tougher display could be one of its best features. It doesn’t hurt that the Huawei Watch’s round design simply looks great, and will come in gold, silver, or black style choices.

In addition to the silver version pictured above, the Huawei Watch will come in gold and black, with plenty of band choices.

There are still a few months between now and the supposed June release window, so maybe Huawei could swap in a more powerful battery. That’s not terribly likely, of course.

More important, until we actually try one out, we won’t know how well the battery holds up under normal use. I’m hopeful that Huawei manages to squeeze every ounce of efficiency out of this watch. It’d be a shame for something this good looking to go dark just past lunch.

Images courtesy of Huawei; MWC photo by Adriana Lee for ReadWrite

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Don’t Look Now, But Deep Linking Just Got Hot

Suppose the only way to get to this article—yes, the one you’re reading—was to first visit and then trust that you could locate it using the site’s navigation tools. Odds are good that you’d be somewhere else right now.

Instead, you probably followed a link shared on Twitter, passed along in email or even displayed here on ReadWrite. That “deep link” made it possible for you to zip right to this page, the same way you can visit just about anywhere on the Web with a single click. Deep links make the Web what it is; they’re so deeply ingrained in our online understanding that we take them for granted.

At least on the desktop, that is. Mobile is a different story. Most mobile apps live in their own silos, and offer no way to directly access photos, stories, messages and other information to which they control access. Instead of letting you tap through to a relevant page, mobile links generally direct you to the app’s own home page—leaving you to search around the app, often in vain, for whatever you’re really looking for.

See also: Facebook Still Thinks It Can Make Apps Work More Like The Web

It’s a problem that leads to increased user effort and frustration, and mobile app developers consider solving it a high priority. Suddenly, deep links in mobile are a hot topic.

Button Me Up

Right now, Button SDK is the development world’s most prominent open source solution to the mobile deep linking problem.

Out of hundreds of thousands of iOS repositories on code storage community GitHub, Button has trended in the top five most popular for weeks. That means a huge number of users are watching it, downloading it, and using it to integrate deep linking into their mobile apps. Recently, Button added ridesharing service Uber as one of those companies.

Chris Maddern, cofounder at Button, said the company built the SDK as a tool for its own app integration needs, but made it open source when they realized so many other developers were experiencing the same problem.

“From app to app, it’s all about taking a user’s intent and most closely matching it to the user’s action,” he said. “If I’m looking at an item and want to buy it in an app, why would you throw me on the home screen? I want to land on the item page so I can buy it.”

Why We Need Deep Links On Mobile

It’s hard to see the impact that deep linking has on our Internet browsing behaviors until it’s no longer there. Users expect to be able to tap from link to link between apps as easily as they do in their browsers. Deep linking is the one technology that lets them.

See also: Google Has New Targeted Ads That Encourage You Dive Into Apps

URX is another company that helps marketers implement deep linking. Mike Fyall, the company’s head of marketing, told me that until Android and iOS enable HTTP links on their end, mobile apps will need to use deep links to mimic Web browsing.

“Mobile web browsers support HTTP links just fine—it’s apps that are the problem,” he said. “They aren’t built to respond to HTTP links in the same way, so deep links are used to create similar functionality.”

URX takes the technology a step further with a type of deep linking it calls URX Links, previously known as omnilinks. Even deep links have their limits, and URX Links prevent a user’s app ownership from curbing his or her browsing experience.

“If a user clicks on a deep link but doesn’t have the app installed, they will get an error message,” said Fyall. “URX Links route users to the right place whether or not the user has the app installed. If the user has the app installed, the deep link is used and the user is taken inside the app. If the user doesn’t have the app installed, they are taken to the mobile website.”

The Future Of Mobile Deep Linking

Deep linking is becoming a big asset for marketers who want to drive mobile traffic seamlessly from mobile browsers to mobile apps. The next step for URX, Button, and other companies in the deep linking space is to foster deep linking between different apps. For example, if a user makes a table reservation on partner Rezy, Button wants there to be a link within the Rezy app to order an Uber car to the restaurant. 

“We want to build a more connected app ecosystem,” said Maddern. “To create the fluid world of users moving around on the Web, and a standardized way of moving users between apps.”

Right now, the process of deep linking is wildly different between Apple and Google. URX supports both Android and iOS with separate SDKs, and Button supports just iOS for now, (but is working on Android support). Both companies agree that the possibilities for deep linking could change dramatically depending on what Apple and Google do next.

“For the best user experience possible, we will always need to be able to link directly to a specific place in an app,” said Fyall. “Deep links will be the answer for the foreseeable future. However, if the industry agreed on a deep linking standard that worked across platforms and operating systems, they would be easier to implement and use.”

Photo by Yandle

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Group Direct Messaging Is Just Twitter’s Latest Flip-Flop

Twitter direct messages just got more talkative. Now you can have a private conversation with a group, the social network announced Tuesday.

Until now, Twitter’s direct messaging feature has been reserved for conversations between no more than two participants. Now, you can create groups of up to 20 Twitter users at the same time, and they do not have to be following one another to join. Group direct messages will support “text, photos, links, emoji and Tweets,” according to Twitter.

The feature is expected to roll out over the next couple of days to all users.

As Twitter has gotten noisier—and while messaging competitors like Snapchat and WhatsApp grew more significant—users have demanded improvements to its lightweight direct messaging feature, the only way to speak privately on the service. But Twitter has shown anything but a steady hand on the issue. Over the past two years it has lurched back and forth between opening up and restricting new features for direct message.

Here’s a quick timeline.

October 2013: You Can Receive Direct Messages From People You Don’t Follow

Prior to October 2013, two Twitter users had follow one another to exchange direct messages. Then Twitter inserted a new option where users could explicitly opt to receive direct messages from any of their followers, whether they followed them back or not. The Verge speculated the change allowed brands to have better access to consumers.

October 2013: Twitter Removes Link Sharing From Direct Messaging

That same month, Twitter users learned that they were unable to send links inside direct messages. This might have been a side effect of opening up DMs to a wider range of users, since it would have opened the door to spammy link-based advertising.

November 2013: Twitter Direct Messages Get A Makeover

Direct messages got a new look, one similar to iMessages. The feature began suggesting followers with whom users could begin a private conversation. The move was seen as part of a larger overhaul of direct messaging in order to compete with WhatsApp.

November 2013: Twitter Shuts Down Direct Messages From People You Don’t Follow

One short month later, Twitter decided fostering conversations between unverified users who don’t follow one another was a bad idea. The company does not respond to requests for comments, but reminds reporters it is “constantly experimenting.”

December 2013: Direct Messages Allow Private Photo Sharing

In a possible response to Snapchat’s visual success, Twitter began allowing people to share photos in privately in direct messages. Simultaneously, Twitter moved the direct messaging icon to a more prominent position on the top navigation bar of the homepage.

May 2014: Twitter Direct Messaging Still Has A Learning Curve

A few months after Twitter’s experimentation craze, ReadWrite reporter Selena Larson reflected on several embarrassing direct message mishaps, known colloquially as “DM fails,” in which users blasted messages to the world that they incorrectly thought would remain private. In a world where messaging services like Snapchat and WhatsApp were king, Twitter still lacked quality messaging.

November 2014: Tweet And Link Sharing Return To Direct Messaging

One year later, Twitter revived the ability to include links in direct messages. The social network described it as a secondary feature to the much acclaimed tweet sharing function, where users could take tweets from their timeline and share them privately.

January 2015: Group Messaging Supports Up To 20 Participants

Fast forward to the present, where Twitter is doubling down on direct messaging support. Users can share links, tweets, and emojis with up to 20 other users who may or may not be following one another. The feature includes elements Twitter has backtracked on in the past.

The real question is how long it’ll stick around before Twitter does its usual about face. 

Illustration by Nigel Sussman for ReadWrite

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Apple Supports Charlie Hebdo And Free Speech, Just Not In Its App Store

In what is likely the fastest App Store approval in iOS history, Apple took only one hour to greenlight an app that promotes a free speech campaign for Charlie Hebdo. Of course, Apple would never have approved an actual Charlie Hebdo app had the caustic—even scabrous—French magazine ever submitted one. (Which it apparently considered back in 2010 before learning of Apple’s restrictions and telling the company to “get lost.”) Like much of Silicon Valley, Apple is far more committed to the idea of free speech than it is to its actual practice.

The “Je suis Charlie!” app supports the Je Suis Charlie free speech campaign and Charlie Hebdo, which lost 10 staffers in a terrorist attack at its Paris office last week. The order to expedite review of  “Je suis Charlie!” came courtesy of Apple CEO Tim Cook, 9 to 5 Mac reports. Cook’s assistant responded to an email from Nice-Matin, the French news agency that submitted the app, 10 minutes after it was sent.

Free Speech For Me But Not For Thee

No one should begrudge “Je suis Charlie!” its fast-tracking, even though typical app review takes 10 days or longer. Prospective iOS apps connected to tragedy and the support of free speech are rare events, fortunately.

Pulitzer Prize-winning political cartoonist Mark Fiore, for instance—whose own app was famously rejected by Apple in 2009—has no problem with the speedy approval of “Je suis Charlie!” He does, however, see some tension in the fact that Apple fast-tracked an app intended to express support of cartoonists whose work would never have cleared App Store guidelines. 

“I’m glad they approved this app so quickly,” Fiore told ReadWrite. “What makes my skin crawl is that most of the stuff Charlie Hebdo does, Apple wouldn’t approve.”

See also: Facebook’s Got Us On Lockdown, Study Confirms

Fiore, whose work is comparatively tame to the majority of Charlie Hebdo’s catalog, ran up against Apple’s licensing agreement in 2009. At that time, Apple guidelines stated it would reject apps apps which “may be found objectionable, for example, materials that may be considered obscene, pornographic or defamatory.”

According to his Apple rejection letter, the offending content on Fiore’s app included political cartoons that referenced torture and White House party crashers. It wasn’t until Fiore became the first online-only political cartoonist to win the Pulitzer in 2010 that the Apple App Store had a change of heart. In the ultimate Apple mea culpa, then-CEO Steve Jobs reportedly responded to one of the many customer complaint about Fiore’s App Store rejection. “This was a mistake that’s being fixed,” Jobs wrote from his own email account.

In the wake of his Pulitzer win, Fiore said, “I received this Deep Throat-sort of phone call from Apple.” The voice the other side of the phone told him, “you might want to reconsider resubmitting this app and give us a call when you do.” Which he did. 

Speed When It Counts (For Apple)

The speediness with which Fiore’s second submission hit the App Store illustrates how quickly a giant company can make things happen once publicity is involved. Fiore made the call to let Apple know. Within two keystrokes Fiore overheard on the phone, his app hit the App Store. “It was pretty much an instantaneous thing,” he said.

The bad PR led to an update of Apple’s rules, which now allow for political content and lampooning public figures, but still reflect some subjective sensitivity concerning satire. Time reported in 2013 that Apple yanked the iOS game Sweatshop from the App Store. The developer describes as “lighthearted” but also “based upon very present realities that many workers around the world contend with each day.”

“It’s the idea that a game intended both as educational and intelligently satirical could wind up banned that’s dangerous,” Time’s Matt Peckham wrote. 

Apple isn’t the only Silicon Valley behemoth to embrace Charlie Hebdo in the abstract. Twitter’s French unit displayed a #JeSuisCharlie banner on its Twitter profile, while Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a tribute post that “different voices—even if they’re sometimes offensive—can make the world a better and more interesting place.” Both social networks, of course, have a documented history of censorship. It’s the price of building a business in countries where free speech is not a priority.

Google, too, is getting headlines for contributing $300,000 toward 1 million copies of Tuesday’s Charlie Hebdo edition. But that cash isn’t coming from the goodness of Google’s heart, or even its couch cushions. It’s part of a $70 million fund Google agreed to set up for French publishers two years ago as part of a settlement with the government over advertising loss. “It’s good that (Charlie Hebdo) got the money, but it’s good PR for Google, too,” Fiore says. 

As for Apple, Fiore says, “They show their support, ‘We’re all for free speech!’ But would you run these cartoons? Uh, no.” 

Apple did not return ReadWrite’s request for comment. 

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