Amazon Payments Global Partner Program to Take on Paypal

Amazon is a popular platform for many things, with their websites offering everything from the kindle to mass ordering your pets favourite type of food. With recent steps in the video game market, courtesy of Lumberyard and even sharing educational materials for schools, the company look like it will stop anytime soon with the revelation of the new Payments Global Partner Program.

If this sounds familiar it’s because you probably already use PayPal or something similar, but Amazon’s Payments Global Partner Program looks to go head to head by offering you the same security you get with your amazon account when paying for products on hundreds of other sites.

Amazon states that all the merchants using the new system will be using the same fraud detection technology that Amazon already uses, meaning if you trusted Amazon you can trust them. If this wasn’t enough the temptation, companies are helped by its quick integration and inline basket, meaning no more tedious programming or changing sites to add in your bank details.

It should be noted though that sites using the new system will have access to customers “name and email addresses so you can personalise their on-site experience”, while not a huge issue some people would want reassurances that an easy to opt-in program had some security regarding their details.

UK Culture Secretary Compares Ad Blocking to Music Piracy

Ad blocking plugins have become a topic which polarized opinions and causes some friction between content creators and their readership. Websites like eTeknix rely on advertising revenue to pay staff wages, and help produce detailed content. On the other hand, we always want to make sure that the experience is user-friendly and display ads in a non-intrusive manner. This is why we don’t use adverts which take over your entire screen and become an instant annoyance. It’s a difficult balancing act though because websites are struggling to make money, and there’s various instances of major publications being closed due to financial problems. This includes CVG, Joystiq and more. Recently, Wired announced a new plan to block users with Ad blocking software and offer an ad-free website for a subscription fee.

As an internet user, I can understand why people use Adblock because many sites and services really make such an awful user-experience. If possible, it’s so important to white list those websites you want to support, because collectively it makes such a difference! The UK culture secretary, John Whittingdale recently weighed in on this very important debate during a speech at the Oxford Media Convention and said ad blocking software:

“..is depriving many websites and platforms of legitimate revenue,”

“It is having an impact across the value chain, and it presents a challenge that has to be overcome. Because, quite simply, if people don’t pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist.”

“And that’s as true for the latest piece of journalism as it is for the new album from Muse.”

“If we can avoid the intrusive ads that consumers dislike, then I believe there should be a decrease in the use of ad-blockers,”

“My natural political instinct is that self-regulation and co-operation is the key to resolving these challenges, and I know the digital sector prides itself on doing just that. But government stands ready to help in any way we can.”

Whittingdale even went onto compare ad blocking with illegal file sharing of films and music during the last decade. This is a very strong statement to make, and I believe it’s a little bit sensationalist. I personally see both sides of the arguments, and believe educating users about the importance of ads to help content creators is essential. At least Whittingdale did acknowledge that banning ad blocking software would be the incorrect approach.

Do you use ad blocking software?

Image courtesy of The Huffington Post.

ABS-CBN Awarded $7 Million in Two Online Piracy Cases

ABS-CBN has won two cases in a row against copyright infringing websites. The sites in question were not hosting the material themselves but were built with the intend to view it. Linking to third party sites hosting the actual content, the site owners made their income through advertisement revenue based on views.

The defendants didn’t show up for the trial, leaving it totally up to the judge and his verdict. The judge sided with ABS-CBN on both of the cases and ordered the infringing domains to be handed over to the broadcasting company. They were also awarded $3,960,000 and $3,120,000 in damages, but it’s doubtful that they’ll ever see a dime of the money.

There was a total of twenty domains involved in the trials, most of them some abbreviation of pinoyTV.

Thanks to TorrentFreak for providing us with this information

Spanish Sites See Drop in Traffic After Pulling Out of Google News

Well isn’t that a surprise – analysis of traffic to a number of high-profile news websites in Spain reveals that their traffic has dropped ever since Google News was closed in the country all thanks to a new law we reported on last week.

The law, which was partly brought about thanks to lobbying from many of the affected publishers, means that Google would have to pay for use of their content or face a hefty fine. The decision left Google with no alternative but to withdraw the service from the country.

Web-analytics company Chartbeat said that traffic to 50 Spanish sites dropped by 10-15% on Tuesday, the day that Google withdrew the service from the country. This is quite a significant drop and could seriously affect the individual site’s revenue.

There’s no doubt Spanish publishers will be concerned about this and we can only wonder, did they really believe Google would pay to promote other websites for free?

Source: Gigaom Via: The Verge

Google News Says Goodbye to Spain Thanks to New Law

Google has taken the decision to stop providing its news aggregation service in Spain following the passing of a new law. Legislation imposed by the country means that Google could be fined up to €600,000 for using content from news websites without paying for it.

That is essentially what the law entails – a number of publishers in Spain have complained that Google has been profiting from their content without their permission. They say that Google News is using this content unfairly and that Google should pay for it. The law adheres to this concern.

Google obviously is not very happy – in a blog post by Richard Gingras, Head of Google News, the company says that the service is something that “hundreds of millions of users love and trust” and that “Google News creates real value for these publications”. They say that most sites benefit from their optional presence on the service and that users and publishers will be worse off as a result.

“It’s a service that hundreds of millions of users love and trust, including many here in Spain. It’s free to use and includes everything from the world’s biggest newspapers to small, local publications and bloggers. Publishers can choose whether or not they want their articles to appear in Google News — and the vast majority choose to be included for very good reason. Google News creates real value for these publications by driving people to their websites, which in turn helps generate advertising revenues. “

What do you think, is Google stealing content, or is Google News beneficial to publishers?

Source: The Verge

Microsoft Azure and Xbox Live Suffer Major Outage

Yesterday Microsoft encountered quite a significant outage across many of its online and cloud-based products. Even its own website partially went down.

The outage mainly affected the company’s Azure cloud platform, meaning people couldn’t access files, virtual machines or in some cases their own websites. The issue seemed to occur to users across the globe, with Microsoft reporting that many regions were involved.

The problems didn’t stop there, as well as taking down the company’s own press centre and online store, some users had difficulty accessing various Xbox Live functions, with Microsoft reporting that “social and gaming are limited”.

The outages have now been mostly fixed, with Microsoft reporting that all systems are up and running, besides a few issues with latency in Europe.

Source: Forbes

Google Tells You When Web Pages May Not Work on Your Device

From Monday the 14th of July, Google will now indicate pages that may not work with your device when using their search engine. This will save mobile users countless frustrating searches, trawling through non-mobile compatible websites.

Wondering if you may be affected? Google’s release stated:

“For example, Adobe Flash is not supported on iOS devices or on Android versions 4.1 and higher, and a page whose contents are mostly Flash may be noted like this:[photo above]” Google Web Master Central

This is nothing groundbreaking, but is certainly a nice feature to have.

Google went on to give users advice on how to enable your site to have mobile functionality, which was backed up strongly by the user comment section. Google UK employee user Pierre Far‘s top rated comment reads:

“If your website still uses deprecated technologies that don’t work on mobile devices, it’s already well past the time to update it. For example, if a page’s main contents (or solely) uses Flash that doesn’t work on many mobile devices, starting today we will note that in the snippets in our search results.” Google Web Master Central

He went on to supply a few links to assist users in promoting modern websites and web fundamentals.

Image courtesy of Google Web Master Central

Cross-Platform DDoS Botnet Warning Released By Security Researchers

A new DDoS Botnet has the ability to infect both Microsoft Windows along with Linux-based systems, according to the Poland Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT). Unlike many cyber-based attacks, this botnet is only interested in launching DDoS attacks to knock certain servers and websites offline.

The Linux-based botnet reportedly handles dropping servers, while the Windows-based botnet easily hijacked consumer PCs. “Most servers that are injected with these various scripts are then used for a variety of tasks, including DDoS, vulnerability scanning, and exploiting,” according to security expert Andre Dimino, in a blog post. “The mining of virtual currency is now often seen running in the background during the attacker’s ‘downtime.'”

Seeing DDoS attacks to turn zombie PCs into an effective botnet isn’t Earth-shattering news, but this cross-platform attack is relatively unique. As bitcoin mining and launching attacks to impact certain companies is easily done when using unsuspecting machines.

Thank you Tweak Town for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of itproportal.com

Redesigned Google Maps Can Now Be Embedded In Websites

Google has finally added in the option for users to embed maps featuring the overhauled design that it debuted back in May. While the new Google Maps worked just fine for searching and browsing when it was first launched in beta, it was missing a number of features and easy shortcuts that have since been added in. Embedded maps wouldn’t have made much sense at first, the redesign was released in a closed beta after all, but it’s since been opened up to anyone interested in using it, and allowing embedded maps now could be a move by Google to get even more people used to the changes.

Embedded versions of the new Google Maps will largely function the same as the full website. They’ll remember any locations you’ve stored, and they’ll also display ads. Google says that the ads will be rolling out over the next few weeks, and that they’ll work similar to how ads are already displayed on both desktop and mobile – likely as points of interest highlighted in a different color. Existing map embeds will still display in the old Maps style, but it looks like the new Google Maps is getting closer to a feature complete release.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Google

Moving sites can be a nightmare

Bit of a weird title we know, but it’s a suitable one in our opinion and probably leaves you wondering what it’s all about, and so that’s exactly what I’m going to tell you.

For those who aren’t so tech-savvy, you may not be aware how sites, much like ours operate. The long and short of it, is that it requires a content management system of some kind. We used to use vBulletin which revolves mainly around their forum system but with a new-fangled front end and to be truthful, it was good but wasn’t fantastic and thus we needed to ditch it and try other avenues.

Looking around, it seemed there was no solution for eTeknix as moving to another platform would leave us in a heap of problems with the transferring of all of our articles and vital content that we know you all love.

This is when we stumbled upon gConverter, which whilst the name might not be fantastic, the service is. What they do, is work closely with you to provide a conversion service tailored to your needs. In our case, that involved moving from vBulletin’s vbCMS to trusty old WordPress, and we’re not shy to admit what we use as it provides us with fantastic functionality. The thought of moving all of our articles over manually simply scared us away, but gConverter and their staff made it clear that it would be simple and painless.

After speaking to a staff member called Samuel, who was easily obtained, even during late hours using their live chat to answer any questions, we were told of the process in hand and plenty of information was provided on the whole step by step transfer.

After this, it’s a simple matter of supplying your site details to the staff members via an easy contact form. They will then check everything over and get back to you as soon as possible via email. Then, with your go ahead, they will commence work and this is where another name-drop really needs to happen and that’s to the chief developer; Jenkins Lane.

He was there all of the way to liaise with us and inform us as to what was happening and even gave us time to check over everything after in case any problems arose. We did have a few initial problems with some transferring of images, but nothing that a quick reply to Jenkins didn’t fix.

Without delving too far into things, the best bit of advice we can give is to check out gConverter and read the information that their site gives to you as its worth while and puts your mind at ease if you are looking at moving your site software from one CMS to another.

On top of all of this, they also perform forum conversions if you’re looking at moving from phpBB to vBulletin or from vBulletin to Mambo and so forth, they really can do it all. Did we also mention, the prices are simply fantastic, and will save you a lot of time, effort and frustration by moving everything over manually.

If we were reviewing their service, like we do a product, we’d most definitely give it our best award, as they simply do deserve it. Congratulations on this fantastic and unique idea, and we can see them doing extremely well offering this to the world.