Company Blog

Top 5 Social Networking Platforms

  • Posted On  2015-07-13 10:39:08 by Blog

The world has definitely changed within the last 10 years. Before, communication was challenging and time consuming. To connect with others, there was a simple phone call or perhaps a trip. Now, individuals can come “face-to-face” with their friends and relatives through web cam, Skype and Yahoo Messenger. The process of communicating is virtually easy as there seems to be an endless supply of instant messaging services as well as chatting options with popular social networking sites such as FaceBook or MySpace. Not only do these platforms connect relatives or friends, but also corporations. Virtual meetings can be held over the internet with GotoMeeting and reports are easily sent with emails. The internet has vastly improved the communication world. With the creation of various social networking sites, people can now be bonded in ways that was not possible before.

There are many platforms that allow individuals to communicate. Of course, the social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace are the most popular; however, forums and web discussions are becoming increasingly popular as well. These platforms allow users to discuss various topics and it is very possible that, depending on the subject you are interested in, there is some type of forum that exists that specifically targets that subject. The process of creating a forum or web discussion is dependent on the skills the person has within web hosting and code. Forums and web discussions are still not quite as popular as other social networking sites, but they have the versatility to become anything the creator wants it to be, which is making it popular among individuals.

Who are social networking sites for?

Almost everyone has some type of social networking site and businesses are now creating their very own which would allow them to connect more deeply with their customers. By creating such sites, businesses are now able to see what their customers truly think in a relaxed, comfortable state. Individuals and businesses alike want a social networking platform that is easy to use and popular.

Here are the top five social networking platforms:
These five social networking websites are in the lead over all other social networking sites online. One may wonder how the rankings for the top five social networking platforms are decided. The decision is based on a number of factors. These factors include:

  •     Profiles
  •     Security
  •     Features for Networking
  •     Support
  •     Friend Focus

These few factors are what determine whether or not the social networking platform is a success. Profiles are the most essential factor because this is how a user expresses themselves and who they are to the public and to the people who they know. On a profile, users can talk about their likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests, and literally be themselves. Users value being able to have a profile that is easy to use and allows them to talk about themselves and what they are into. A user profile should be easy to set up and understand, but also decent enough to allow the user to show who they are and their personality through their profile.

The Importance of Security

Security is definitely another major factor on what makes a social networking platform successful. Users value their privacy and security. Who would want to be a user of a social networking website that didn’t value the security of its users? Surely, no one would. Each and every successful social networking platform should have security options for its users. These options include giving the users a block button so that they are able to block anyone they want, especially people who may be bothering them online. Users should also be able to block off certain parts of their profile from other people if they wish.

Available Features

The features for networking are definitely an additional bonus. If a social networking platform wants to have success, it will need to offer tons of features to its users. It is important that social networking platforms remember they are in constant competition with others. Features that should be offered to the users include picture updates, video update, groups, status updates, and tons of other features that the users want.

Support is a necessity especially for those who are new to using social networking platforms. The last thing that a platform should want to do is to leave a user feeling unsure and left out. The platform should offer support and advice to new users and there should always be a section available to users that answers some of the most frequently asked questions.

Connecting with Friends

Last but certainly not least, friend focus is essential and it is the main way that a social networking platform will grow. Users want to be able to connect with their friends and family members. If a social networking platform wants to be successful, they have to make the friend focus easy for users to keep in contact with one another.

In Conclusion

Overall, it seems as though Facebook has mastered most of these features because it is number one on the list of top five social networking platforms. Facebook has received a 4 star rating for security, support and friend focus. Facebook also received a 3 star rating for profiles and 3.5 stars for networking features. Facebook currently takes the lead as the number one social networking platform, but the website does have some fairly stiff competition.

MySpace comes in as a close second. The website received a 4 star rating for all features except for the friend focus feature. When it came to friend focus, MySpace received a 3 star rating, which is what put the social networking platform at number two in the list. MySpace is in constant competition with Facebook for the number one spot. If Facebook wants to keep its number one spot or if MySpace wants to reach that number one spot, changes will need to be made on both ends. The same goes for the other three social networking platforms and all of the other platforms that have not been able to make it within the top five.

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The Evolution of Web Design

  • Posted On  2015-07-13 10:17:07 by Blog

Web design has come along way within the past 30 years. In fact, there have been so many advances with technology within the past decade, it is obvious that web design would also continue to expand and change over the years.

History of Web Design

The very first website was designed in 1991 and was a far cry from the types of websites you would see today two decades later. The interesting thing is that this website was nothing special, but it was still usable. In 1991, no one really cared about HTML and all the unique tricks that make a website stand out and look good. When more people started creating websites for their companies and businesses, they didn’t go all out like how they do now. Most of these companies were using simple text with no picture or clip-art. Things have definitely changed within the past twenty years.

The first major change was the use of templates. Templates were designed to add a specific color design or theme to a website. Businesses and companies flocked to this because it made their websites look more organized and neat. Templates were free and easy to use, which is why people didn’t mind using them. Templates are still used for websites these days as well, but templates have come a long way and are much better looking.

Changes Being Made

Many different changes that were made have attributed to the way web design is today. Over a period of time, computer design programs were made available for users. Users could purchase and download these programs and create unique designs and graphics for their websites or for their own personal use.

Some of these programs include Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro and much more. People who started using these websites learned the basics on creating graphics and how important they could be to a website. Graphics look good on a website and add something extra besides just plain text. Being able to use these programs allowed web design to continue and advance. Businesses and companies liked having something extra on their website that would really catch the viewers’ eyes.

Giving Credit To Apple

The Apple incorporation deserves a lot of credit for the advances that have been made to web design and technology in general. In 1996, the Apple website looked fairly basic, just like most websites did at the time. The website appeared in black print on a white background with a clip art image of the Apple logo. Anyone who views what the website looked like today would have a hard time believing that the site for ever looked so, well, ridiculous. However, it proves that technology and web design have not always been what they are now. Even prestigious companies, such as Apple, started from the very beginning with their web design basics.

Right before the millennium, made some changes to the website. It looked more futuristic than before. It still wasn’t what it is today, but it was definitely better than it looked in 1996 with all plain text. In 1999, the website for Apple had nicer pictures with less text. The text that was displayed was more organized and didn’t look so awkward.

In 2000, the website changed for the better and displayed pictures of the new iMac that was produced by Apple. In 2001, the iPod was introduced and at that time, the web design changed again. This time, the web design focused solely on the iPod. In 2004, the main focus of the web design was still on the iPod, but this time it was all about the changes and advances that had been made to the iPod over the span of three years.

The web design for continued to change and grow. Each year, changes were made and the website looked better and better. What people found out and learned from is that simple web design was better than over the top craziness. Simple web design that looked decent and was organized would catch the eyes of Internet users.

The reason that Apple deserves such credit is because they opened the doors to other businesses and companies and their websites. Many of these companies chose to follow the direction that too with their web design, which has taught people a lot about how their website should look.

How Has Web Design Changed?

Web design has changed in so many different ways. Primarily, it has changed in the way that it is set up. What most have learned along the way is that less is definitely more with web design. In the beginning, companies would display tons of information in text and packed it directly on a web page but now, the less is more feature is so much better for viewers.

Web design has also changed because it is much more organized than it was in 1991 and it is even more organized than it was five years ago. It seems as though web design advances each year, so who knows how web design will be in 10 or 20 years. It will continue to progress each year and that has been proven already.

Another change that has been made to web design is companies that are selling a product typically display a picture of each product being sold. The picture allows viewers to know what they are buying before they actually pay for it. Viewers can look at the picture and read product information before deciding whether it is right for them.

Overall, web design is essential for any business and company and even for people who just want to spread the word about something and get their point across. Web design has come along way and with advances being made with technology, it will continue to grow and expand. Those who own websites will have to keep up with their web design on a regular basis if they want their website to continue to be successful.

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Internet Discount Clubs: A New Way to Save

  • Posted On  2015-07-13 10:15:34 by Blog

In the current economy, everyone is searching for new ways to save a few dollars wherever they go. From websites like Groupon and Living Social that offer gift-cards to various local merchants at a highly discounted price, to Amazon Subscribe and Save which helps you save money on gas by sending items you use a lot of each month to your home automatically on a subscription service model, every company out there is looking for ways to save you a few dollars and keep your business. With so many options to choose form, which ones will provide the best deals? Will a combination of a few of them make life easier? Let’s take a look at some of the options available.


Groupon is one of the first largely publicized savings programs on the net. First launched in 2008 in their home town of Chicago, their first deal was a half price pizza from the pizza place that was on the first floor of their office building. They have come a long way in a short period of time, now being a publicly traded company that is worth well over 6 billion dollars USD at this time. How they work is, Groupon partners with companies to provide a significantly reduced product or service such as a massage that would be valued at 80.00 and sell it on their daily deals for 40.00. This provides the company with brand new customers and hopefully repeat clients from that, and Groupon keeps ½ of the deal price.

Over time, there has been some criticism about how Groupon does business, some going so far as to say that it is “like a Ponzi” scheme. They are losing about 100 million dollars a quarter and have a negative net balance of well over 200 million. They are using later investors’ money to pay the earlier ones, etc. Somehow, though, even though this is known they still remain and even thrive! In fact, they genuinely only have one serious contender, Living Social.

Living Social

Living Social is much the same as Groupon, however, offering a bit more in the way of options. They have family and “escape” options that generate much interest among the cost conscious family community. While Groupon is primarily geared towards women of a higher economic class, Living Social has kept its eyes closer to the ground, for the “everyman” types. They have received much seed money from various large name firms in order to get the company going. While still smaller than Groupon, they have undoubtedly cornered the market in their own way.

Amazon Subscribe and Save

Amazon of course could not be left behind when it came to this juice part of business! They opened their “subscribe and save” service. This service allows you to sign up to receive certain products you use a lot of and have them shipped automatically to your home on a schedule. For example, you use 196 or so diapers in a month for your infant, and you don’t have a car but it’s blessedly expensive to put them in small packages because your local store does not sell cases. You sign up for this service through amazon, you find your brand and a case with the amount you prefer in it, and approve your credit card or debit card to be automatically charged for that item every month renewing on the same day that you originally bought the first product. The better idea is still that by signing up you receive a secondary 15% discount on the cost, bringing the price down to as low as .14 cents a diaper.

Amazon lately has had many generous promotions like this, keeping in mind the working lives of people in the world today and the terrible economy we face. They too, enjoying the idea of the “deal of the day” model, have opened their own program along these lines, although it is still in beta and not yet in all cities around the country. It is called Amazon local; along the same ideas as both programs listed above, just through the Amazon website and servers. With this program, we will have to see how it fares after it comes out of beta and is nationwide. It is rather late in the game to be jumping on this particular bandwagon. is an entirely different program all together, focusing solely on places to eat out and maybe have a few drinks. It is much the same idea as Groupon, except that the gift certificates are always available, not just for a day or so (or until time runs out or all are purchased). For example, the restaurant up the road from you is perhaps a bit more pricey than you are usually willing to pay, however, the site has a gift certificate for 20.00 except that it is worth 50! Here’s the catch however; in order to get that 50.00 off, you need to spend 75.00 total. So, you will be outlaying some money but not as much as you would be if you went and had not purchased the certificate.

Potential for Scamming

Unfortunately, just as there are those companies who do a legitimate business, there are also those who would take advantage of people. When you choose to use an Internet discount club or a similar service, look out for these warning signs:

After purchasing a gift certificate or deal from a legitimate site, a pop-up comes up asking if you’d like to save 10.00 on your purchase today, if so to enter your email.

  •     You end up being redirected to a site whose listing in the address bar is different from that which you began at. This is a sign of click-jacking.
  •     A site asks you after purchase for any identifying information that seems unnecessary for the purchase such as your ID number.
  •     As always, be safe with your information online and you should be fine.

In conclusion, there are many ways to save on everyday expenses online in this dreary economy. There are even ways to ensure that you have some luxury as well and don’t have to forgo eating out in pleasant places or getting that massage that would unquestionably make your day. By utilizing Internet discount clubs like the ones listed in this article, you can still have the life you had before…just for less cost.

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The WePay Surge: Why They May Dethrone PayPal

  • Posted On  2015-07-13 10:12:59 by Blog

We’ve reminded you here in this column before of one critical and forgotten truth when it comes to online supremacy: all empires crumble.  As much as we list the Lycos’s and Compuserve’s of the online world, though, this truth can be hard to remember.  That is because it can be hard to see how anyone can make inroads into a well-established internet semi-monopoly.

Oftentimes the reason this is the case is that whoever is #1 is there for a reason.  Google offers the most extensive search results; Apache offers the most stable web hosting package, and so forth.  Sometimes, though, #1 doesn’t try harder.  In those cases, their top ranking is based on little more than momentum, meaning that it’s only a matter of time before a competitor sweeps in, finding that company’s weak spots, and seizes the day.

PayPal: a decadent king

PayPal has been ripe for this seizing for a long time.  It is still easily the #1 payment processor online.  For years, though, this has been a title rather grudgingly awarded.  The complaints about the company have been piling up.  Most of these have centered around customer service, which branch out into various subcategories, such as bad decision making on fraud determination and poor customer communication.

These complaints were highlighted by an incident in which PayPal froze the account of the Flux Foundation.  The group was planning an historic exhibit at Burning Man, and though PayPal responded to the negative publicity by quickly granting them an exception, the story shined an embarrassing light on the company’s approach to their customer base.

It was from a far smaller incident, though, that a competitor to their services was birthed.  In 2008, Rich Aberman, now 25, was attempting to raise money for his brother’s bachelor party.  The hassle of trying to get the $4,200 from 14 different people presented the kind of headache that, in the right kind of mind, results in that very special realization otherwise known as, “There has to be a better way”.  While PayPal provided, and still does, some small types of group fundraising, it didn’t have a lot of the functionality for this kind of purpose that he required.

WePay steps into the ring

Aberman soon found investors who agreed with both the general complaints about PayPal and the belief regarding that “better way”.  They received $17,000 in seed money.  That was 2008.  Today, their investment capital has hit the 8-figure mark.  That’s an amazing increase.  What’s even more amazing is the list of people that this comes from, a list which includes PayPal founder Max Levchin.  Big names are seeing reasons to bet big on WePay.

It’s not just venture capital that’s increasing.  WePay’s revenue, transaction stream, and employee count are all shooting up with the kind of geometric growth that gets a company’s CEO’s grinning picture on the front page of financial magazines.  So what is it that makes this company so hot?

The selling points

There are several things that WePay is doing right that could mean PayPal has a serious challenger to contend with here.  Some of them are as follows:

  •     Customer service: Recognizing that this is one of PayPal’s primary weak points, WePay has been putting serious effort into making sure that their customers don’t feel brushed off.  24/7 support by phone, chat or email is available.  One subtle sign that they take this seriously is that tech agents and customer service agents are located next to each other.  Many in the tech community have experienced the phenomenon wherein a customer service agent wants to communicate an idea to the tech team, and feels like it has to cross a guarded moat to do so.
  •     WePay Stores: If there’s any idea left in E-Commerce that might make someone smack themselves in the head for not thinking of it first, this could be it.  WePay Stores is an E-Commerce solution that handles both the setting up of the storefront and the processing of payments.  It’s been so many years that this has been split between different companies that the whole of the internet seems to just have assumed that this must always be the case.
  •     Having fun: Let’s recognize that this is something that many startups have in the early years, only to lose it in the grumpiness of bloated corporate middle age.  We’re interested in the now, though, and right now… well, how can you not at least chuckle a little bit at a company that trolls it’s competitor’s conference with a 600 pound block of ice embedded with money as a symbol of the accounts PayPal has wrongly “frozen”?

Not there yet

These advantages notwithstanding, it’s not all smooth sailing for WePay just yet.  While so far they are appealing to a lot of the things that PayPal has dropped the ball on, their Goliath still has upwards of 80 million customers to call on.  The daily worry over at WePay is that PayPal will decide to alter their services one day and offer the same group payment architecture that WePay is focused on.

There is also the economic consideration that WePay’s services come at a price.  Their 3.5% transaction fee is high for the industry.  Scanning the comments that we saw in some of the articles about this company, there are still a lot of customers who are willing to deal with PayPal’s corporate deficiencies if it means saving a few bucks.  This is a hard line to walk, and with so much of WePay’s revenue coming from investments, one would not be irrational for being concerned that these guys are being a little too loose in rolling the dice.

As good a chance as any

Then again, when facing off against a behemoth like PayPal, does one have the luxury to not take any chances?  While things are riding hard and fast over at WePay headquarters, so far there doesn’t seem any sign that it’s moving faster than they are capable of handling.  PayPal is vulnerable, and Aberman and co-founder Bill Clerico just may have struck at the right time in the right way.  We can’t predict the future, but we can say that so far from what we’ve seen, it’s possible that we could be in the beginning phases of the passing of a great torch in the world of online payments.

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The Living Room Convergence

  • Posted On  2015-07-13 10:10:34 by Blog

Back in 2004, we started hearing the words “Living Room Convergence.” This was a marvelous idea that one day all of our data would be easily accessible through a computer, Laptop, etc. This would replace our pile of DVDs and CDs along with our cable boxes and home phone service.  As the words started dying out, the reality began to hit us. Here, in 2011, we have certainly hit the critical “Living Room Convergence.” Let’s take a tour of this phenomenon, shall we?

Life Has Become Wireless

Over the last few years, we have seen a proliferation of things going wireless, from phones to computers and even our digital displays. More and more of our lives are hosted “in the cloud” than ever before. What this brings us is the ability to have all of our media and computing needs met with a minimum of wires stringing along our homes, turning our living spaces back into beautiful designs with fewer tripping hazards.

Our video game consoles also offer wireless connections, now. This means that we can access downloadable content for our games as well as having streaming devices for video services, such as Netflix. Never before in our lives have we known such understated arrangements when our electronic devices were installed.

WiDi: True couch computing

In 2010, those geeks who knew the pains of standing beside their HDMI screens and awkwardly handling laptop, cords and managing to advance through photographs stored on that laptop from their latest vacation, have finally received the answer to their prayers. WiDi allows the user to connect their HDMI television or monitor to a small box that is much like a router and experience the web on their television sets! No 30 foot cables stringing across the room; just a wireless signal that brings the presentation to your choice of living room TV.

Of course, you must have a laptop that is compatible and you must have the device itself. Any laptop with the Intel Core i7 models or higher will do the trick. Netgear has cornered the market on WiDi boxes for home use, and one can be had easily through their website. This technology has truly revolutionized how we see home computing and entertainment.

Streaming Video, Music and Photographs

Thanks to the development of streaming system replay devices like the Roku, Apple TV and the WD TV Live Plus, users with subscriptions to Netflix, BlockBuster, iTunes and other streaming video sites as well as YouTube users, can stream their favorite movies and TV shows directly to their Television sets. This adds to the truth of the living room convergence by bringing us services that once were the sole function of our computers. Some features of these devices include being able to listen to Pandora music stations as well as viewing YouTube videos from your TV.

Many of these devices also allow themselves to be hooked up to external hard drives so that movies that may be stored there can also be played. Music and photographs can also be shared through the set top box. In most cases, the boxes weigh slightly less than a pound and are smaller than a paperback novel, making sure that they are smooth and classy, fitting in with your television and not looking at all clunky.


Slightly larger than your cell phone, and only a little heavier, the tablet computer has become one of those items that “all the cool kids have”, so to speak. The iPad has become the ultimate in portable computing, as well as in business management connecting to cloud services in order to maximize the availability of applications while saving much coveted hard drive space. Thanks to the larger screen, movies, television shows, books, music and photographs and any other form of media you can imagine, can be easily shared.

Of course, the iPad also makes available games and other forms of entertainment while working side by side with your business applications, offering a well-rounded and well-developed option for the consumer on the go.

Home Automation

Last, but certainly not least…and definitely taking it one big step further, is the concept of home automation. So, you have your media center based in your living room and you can control everything there with either your laptop, phone or tablet computer. What about the rest of your home? Of course, there are places that will allow you to wire your home entirely so that you can control everything, from the lights to your air conditioner and home alarm system (with all this technology in there, you have one, right?) through your mobile phone or through your laptop. It can even be set up that there are cameras within your home that you can operate and look in on through a secure website giving you the peace of mind that your home is safe while you are away.

There are many people who have found this type of home automation to be of great benefit, and it is one more step on the ladder to becoming technology-ruled people. The ease of turning those lights off in your living room so that you may save energy through your laptop has proven to be essential to some people. Automation is very popular with high level executives who are single and who choose to not place an assistant who remains at home to help them in keeping track of such things.

Where does this all lead?

It seems that, the further along the way we go, the more automated and more technology that becomes involved with our lives. Some people feel that this is a good thing and others are frightened of it. Some fear for our children becoming addicted to new technology and not being able to live without it. Some people just fear technology, period. As with all things, a manner of moderation will do you the best when dealing with our ever increasing world of tech. Take it slowly and learn about your options, and only use which technology you want to use and are comfortable with. As always, enjoy yourself!

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