While The Last One Was A Hoax 123-reg Has Actually Deleted People’s Websites

A few days ago we reported on the fact that a company had apparently deleted itself, news which later turned out to be a hoax as part of a bad marketing scheme. For people who used 123-reg, a website hosting company in the UK, the joke may be on them as the company has actually deleted people’s websites.

123-reg has around 800,000 customers within the UK, hosting around 1.7 million sites, said that similar to the hoax, an error was made during “maintenance”, resulting in data from one of their servers being deleted.

The firm issued a statement saying that the company they were working on “restoring … packages using data recovery tools”, a process that is slow and not always effective, as people noted to the previous hoax. 123-reg has recommended that those with backups of their sites should use them to rebuild their sites, as the company itself didn’t have backups of the customers sites.

While the fault is reported to have only affected “67 out of 115,000” servers, it was caused by an automated script. An audit of 123-reg’s scripts is now being conducted and any deletion will now require human approval in the future, something that I’m sure the many companies that have lost business because of this blunder are less than comforted by.

Microsoft Reveals How Their Bing Algorithm Determines ‘Mobile-Friendly’ Websites

Microsoft first revealed their interest in mobile-friendly web pages and finding a way to figure out some guidelines for them last year. It seems that the company has been busy since then and finally revealed how they plan on determining which page is good or bad for a mobile device.

If you saw the ‘Mobile-friendly’ tag in the brief website description result of pages found by Bing, then you might already know that Microsoft has rolled out its new mobile-friendly detection algorithm. For those of you who do not know, then a web page which is mobile-friendly in Bing’s eyes is marked with a ‘Mobile-friendly’ tag like in the picture below.

So how are the websites marked for their mobile-friendliness? Well, Microsoft looks to have focused its interest into four major areas. The first one is Navigation, where the algorithm checks the size of buttons, links and menus. Nobody likes it when they try to tap on something and accidentally hit a link or button next to it, no?

The second and third marking criteria are Readability and Scrolling, which are assessed by checking the website’s font size and viewport settings. A mobile-friendly website, like all websites, should have its contents clearly visible without having the user to manually zoom and scroll horizontally on the web page to view its contents.

Last, but not least, the fourth requirement is Compatibility. From my point of view, this is the main decisive criteria to take into account. Web developers should try to make an effort to drop all external or third-party dependencies such as flash content and plug-ins and look into fully exploiting HTML5 that not only has a variety of support, but is also cross-platform compatible.

While the criteria mentioned above shaped the algorithm, some polishing was needed as well. Thanks to a lot of feedback received from users, it was determined that they prefer to use mobile-friendly websites in contrast to non-mobile-friendly ones. With this in mind, Microsoft has made a few changes to the website rankings, shifting mobile-friendly websites towards the top as much as possible. However, this does not mean you will be fed a lot of mobile-friendly websites that have no business with what you are looking for.

Microsoft noted that sites which are “highly relevant to the given query that are not yet mobile-friendly will not get penalized”, which essentially means you will still be getting websites with the most relevant information for your search at the top. But if there’s a mobile-friendly page among them, you will have that given to you first.

More information about Bing’s new mobile-friendly algorithm can be found over at Bing Blogs. So how likely are you to switch to Bing as your default search engine?

Image courtesy of Bing Blogs

Gaming Site Joystiq to Shut Down

Re/code reports that AOL, owner of gaming site Joystiq, is “likely” to shut it down. They say that the site will probably be closed as part of a wider effort to cut its under-performing properties.

The site itself poked fun at the “rumour” with its own article, saying that “We do not comment on rumor and speculation,” and that “Sources tell Joystiq that the staff is aware of the closure, but corporate hasn’t officially told them, so they are unable to acknowledge anything out of concern that it will cause immediate shutdown.”

The site was originally an extension of Engadget’s gaming news and was part of Weblogs, a property AOL purchased in 2005. Re/code says that more closures are coming at AOL, a company that owns a large number of some of the web’s biggest blogs and news sites, including TechCrunch, Engadget and The Huffington Post.

Source: Re/code

Torrent Site Admin Sentenced to Five Months Prison

The case started two years ago when Rights Alliance filed a complaint against Tankaner, a Swedish torrent site. The alleged owner has now been sentenced to five months of jail in the somewhat bizarre trial.

The 40-year old man was prosecuted for copyright infringement related to the illegal distribution of 32 movies during 2012 and 2013. Since there were ads on the page and the owner tried to make money that way, the prosecutor was pushing for a prison sentence.

The man however claimed that he had “disposed of the site four years ago,” but the court didn’t buy that. There was extensive evidence against the man in form of signed contracts for the piracy server, login information, bookkeeping, e-mails and photos working against the 40-year old site-owner.

“In the case the suspect argued similar standpoints to the ones argued by the suspects in the Pirate Bay case and they were dismissed on the same merits. However a difference from the Pirate Bay case is that the man was convicted as a direct infringer and not for contributory infringement,”  said Rights Alliance lawyer Henrik Pontén to TF.

So while the torrent site was the reason for his arrest, and the site is still is online, it seems that he was prosecuted very lightly and for direct offenses. To me it looks like a small win for the anti-piracy lobby on a minor fish in a sea full of large whales.

Thanks to TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

AT&T to Release Sonim XP6, Rugged Anti-Smartphone

American mobile operator AT&T has just announced a new product under the ‘anti-smartphone’ category – the Sonim XP6. Said to be extremely rugged in design, this new smartphone incorporates a physical keyboard and button support into its architecture. This announced device has been marketed as a phone that can support most common features as seen in regular smartphones, but provides the user with a rugged alternative useable in all scenarios and situations.

The Sonim XP6 can be used with AT&T’s EPTT press-to-talk service, giving consumers another way to manage their clients, management and staff easier whilst on the work site. They’ve also been given IP68 and  IP69 certifications, meaning it is resistant against splashes of water, mud or any other liquid you may come into contact with while on the grind.

Marketed as drop-resistant, said to be able to be comfortably dropped onto a concrete floor, the Sonim XP6’s screen can also be seen in direct sunlight. AT&T have further included an extremely loud 103 db phone ringer capability, said to help identify when calls are coming over the sound of heavy machinery.

There hasn’t been an announced release date or price for this phone yet, but given it’s ‘industrial’ nature – you can exepct it to be quite pricey. This is a common trend amongst companies who cater products towards a commercial audience, why should they lower the price when it’s a company paying for the goods?

Image courtesy of Chiphell

Pirate Websites Generate $227 Million A Year From Ad Revenue

Reports show that pirate websites make a fortune out of advertising. The Digital Citizens Alliance is said to have released a detailed report emphasising how much piracy websites are making in ad revenue.

The report is named “Good Money Gone Bad: Digital Thieves and the Hijacking of the Online Ad Business” and states that pirate websites having TV shows, music, movies, etc. as content made a staggering $227 million in annual ad revenue in 2013.

The number of ad positions, page views and estimates of the different ad-rates were used to generate the report’s statistics and the websites were divided into three sizes based on the number of unique visitors per month, which are ‘Small’ ( lower than 1 million), ‘Medium’ (between 1 and 5 million) and ‘Large’ (over 5 million). It is also said that sampled websites are the ones for which Google received 25 or more DMCA takedown requests during the third quarter of 2013.

The statistics inside the report were taken from 596 websites, out of which 30 were the largest sites and the top torrent sites which made profits margins of around $6 million a year. Also, profit margins up to 94.1 percent were made by torrent sites, taking up less than 1/4 of the total sample and half of the total ad revenue.

The reports states that a large part of the total ad revenue comes from premium brands like McDonalds, Ford, Dell, Amazon, and others, brands that are not aware of this themselves, but the DCA states that this could damage their reputation.

Thank you Tech Spot for providing us with this information