Google Plus Introduce Custom URL Feature

If you visit a page on Facebook or Twitter the URL will contain that person’s name, however if you look up a person on Google+ instead of their name you will be greeted with a group of letters and numbers that represent that person or company. However this is slowly changing as Google is introducing ‘Vanity URLs’.

Google first started testing custom URLs back in the middle of August 2012. About a week later, the company started notifying individuals and brands with verified accounts, but then it largely stopped expanding the feature. Now that’s finally changing.


If your profile meets the following criteria, Google+ will let you claim a custom URL:

  • Has a profile photo, and
  • Has at least 10 followers, and
  • Has an account that’s at least 30 days old.

That should cover most active Google+ profiles. Users will be notified on the profile page when it’s their turn to set a custom URL, which should happen sometime this week. By setting up a custom URL, your profile’s address will no longer have the string of numbers after the slash. Instead, it’ll be ‘+yournameorbrandname’ in the address.

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Microsoft’s fight for Survival in the Mobile Space

One of the most enticing “what-ifs” of recent years has come true: Microsoft has purchased Nokia’s devices and services unit, bringing the Lumia lineup under the Redmond roof. The move unites Windows Phone 8 with its biggest hardware supporter, giving the company the integrated mobile offering it’s been looking for with Surface and other devices. When the deal closes in the first quarter of 2014, Microsoft will pay €3.79 billion for Nokia’s business, plus another €1.65 billion to license its portfolio of patents. (The €5.44-billion total is considerably less than Microsoft paid for Skype in 2011.)

BlackBerry and Nokia were once leaders in the Smartphone market but their fortunes changed dramatically after the launch of Apple’s iPhone in mid 2007.

Both companies made the mistake of believing that it would be hard for Apple or Google, newcomers, to unseat them from their dominant market position. History tells a different tale.

Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android together account for more than 90 per cent of the global smartphone market and the question has now turned to whether there is still any room at all for a third operating system.

Nokia had tried to press the “reset” button and recapture some of their lost market momentum with a new operating system – Nokia chose Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS.

Unfortunately, the “reset” also meant starting from scratch in building a vibrant mobile app market to support their new operating systems and introducing existing customers to entirely new formats and experiences.

Even with Microsoft’s deep pockets, that has proved to be a tough challenge.

Lumia sales did finally propel Windows Phone past BB10 to become the third-largest operating system in the first quarter, with a global market share of 3.2 per cent, according to IDC.

So what does Microsoft need for survival in the mobile space?

In terms of hardware and design, there’s not much that Microsoft can actually do. Of course, it can build its own designs. Microsoft is counting on its hardware partners to address the larger market. The issue is that right now, partners believe that they can differentiate more with Android. For instance, most of them change Android’s user-interface (UI) elements or try adding services that people often don’t care about. They all end up spending significant resources in software design, which don’t produce a valuable return. Yet, if the partners believe that they stand a better chance of success with Android, they will use their best hardware for Android designs. Finally, Microsoft does not support enough hardware platforms: only the Snapdragon S4 is currently supported, so powerful chips like the Samsung Exynos 5 Octa or NVIDIA Tegra 4 are currently left out of Windows hardware. Microsoft should make it that every Android designs could also run Windows Phone. We would love to have a Galaxy Note 2 for Windows 8 handset. Microsoft’s best move was to unify its code base and APIs for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Peter Klein means that Microsoft is playing the long game, and that there is no quick fix. Microsoft needs to fight for every percent of market share, and it has to do so by adding value for its customers, without alienating its partners. Of course, other companies have different strategies to do that, but Microsoft is… well, Microsoft, so it has to find a solution that works for itself. Microsoft can still take a number of tweaks to significantly improve its position in the market.

But in an industry driven by scale, Nokia/Microsoft’s market share is still too small to ensure long-term survival.

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The World of Open Source

Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available and licensed with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. Open-source software is very often developed in a public, collaborative manner. Open-source software is the most prominent example of open-source development and often compared to (technically defined) user-generated content or (legally defined) open-content movements.

The open source PHP e-commerce applications are widely used across the world by numerous internet users or developers and it is best way to get easily what you need  today, the Open source E-commerce applications are being so famous and it has become the need of today’s business as well. As it is associated with advanced business functionalities, advanced functions becomes even more important than any other thing in business.

There are so many business owners who prefer online shops for their products and then the search starts for the best open source PHP e-commerce application. There are so many open source PHP e-commerce applications that are claiming to be the best and it cannot be said false because it is right according to their point of view but advanced futures with advanced functionality and user friendly and simple interface have always been a preference of online shopping website owners and it is said that Magento provides them all.

The world of Open Source is changing with new software’s like Magento, Zencart, VirtueMart, Opencart to name a few but Magento is one of the best, we work on Magento.

Let’s know some detailed knowledge about the Magento web application. Here we will discuss the benefits of using Magento that you generally miss in the other common open source PHP e-commerce applications:

  • Open Source – Open source software is beneficial because it is often cheaper and can be completely customized to meet each business’s needs. PHP is free for anyone to use under the PHP General Public License. The other software associated with this language, including MySQL, Text Editors and the Apache Server.
  • User-Friendly – PHP is extremely user-friendly, giving users the flexibility they require. Programs can be developed at high rates of speed, cutting down on wait times for users.
  • Magento allows you to simply insert any needed block into any desired view through the panel of layout and this process would be so easy and quick.
  • Security – PHP offers protection against fraud and malicious attacks. The security features can easily be modified by changing the .ini file.
  • Embedding – PHP can easily be embedded in HTML code. This makes it extremely easy to convert an existing website into a Magento online store.


Do you really think that Open Source is changing the way of online shopping?

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Google’s Hummingbird


What is Hummingbird?

Let’s start with information shared by Google on their blog. They started discussing improvements to their knowledge graph, making it easier and fast for the people to access answers to their queries.

According to Google, this search algorithm is much more smarter. It can answer questions, filter them and gives you a comparison data quickly. You don’t have to click away from search results, hoping that pages will have answers, the data will be right there and easy to find.

They have also also redefined their mobile search results.

It’s cleaner & simpler, with the results clustered on cards so you can focus on the answer that you’re looking for.

Interestingly, whilst Google says Hummingbird is the biggest overhaul to its search engine since “Caffeine” in 2009, affecting 90% of searches, it is the Panda and Penguin updates, not Hummingbird, that will be the major cause of ranking fluctuations for the foreseeable future.

Amit Singhal, senior vice president of search, told reporters on Thursday that Hummingbird is aimed at giving Google’s search engine a better grasp at understanding concepts instead of mere words because people have become so reliant on the search site that they now enter lengthy questions in the search box instead of a few words, the report added.

How does it affect rankings?

Hummingbird was already pretty successful in parsing complex searches, as majority of the results got much better when compared to previous search results. This resulted many webpages to wipe out from Google SERP’s as majority of them were just containing only that standard keyword without proper content. This update is pretty challenging to SEO’s, as providing content to complex searches is not that easy all the times. Google still is not going much technical with this update, but has surely given a hint saying “Concentrate on providing more quality content to your users”.

So without the proper content & tagging you’re website rankings will drop down.

What a company should do?

With the launch of Hummingbird, what should a company do? So the answer to this is, Hire a SEO company, that’s what we do, now you might be wondering why us?

Why? Because we know exactly what Google wants? They want answers to long tail questions.

This is really simple, when you know exactly what Google wants and we give them just that you’re your content related on-page SEO will take care of that.

As a SEO Company, what we will do to adapt to this major shift in Google search?

  • In-depth articles
  • Knowledge Search
  • Google Now
  • Panda
  • Penguin
  • Google Plus
  • Encrypted Keyword Data

Let’s not forget to mention that this week, Google also made all keyword data encrypted so marketers can no longer track traffic by keywords from organic search.

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Social Media Spam Increased by 355% in 2013



The spammers are moving to social networks, where they have better chances of going undetected. That’s why, on a typical social media account, spam has risen 355% in the first half, according to a new study.

The “State of Social Spam,” an initial study by Nexgate, a San Francisco-based enterprise social media security firm, researchers analyzed 60 million pieces of social content published on over 25 million social accounts – including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube – and discovered that the first half of 2013 saw a 355 percent jump in social spam, with 15 percent containing URL’s to pornography and malware.

“One of the interesting things that really stood out to me was the growth rate,” Devin Redmond, Nexgate co-founder and CEO, told on Tuesday. “The other thing is the variety of mechanisms and how sophisticated it’s gotten. The mechanisms in which it’s distributed, an app or a fake profile, there are so many ways it’s getting out there.”

So, which social media websites are the most affected? Facebook and YouTube come up as the hardest hit in the report. Those two sites trumped the competition by offering up more spam than any other social network at a ratio of 100 to one.

Much like technology was created to combat email spam, technology will need to be created to fight off social spam, Redmond said, adding that Nexgate social spam reports have been written with these ideas in mind.

“Most organizations are dealing with this problem manually,” Redmond said. “We definitely need a technology-based approach.” But this study suggests that while spam might still be a limited problem on social networks, it could be only a matter of time before it gets worse.

What will you do when you get a spam email, tweet or a message?

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Top 4 Email Marketing errors to avoid!!

1: Uninteresting emails.

You have the opportunity to use a database system whenever and how often you choose, which is also absolutely free! Don’t get caught up in sending emails which do not entice your relevant reader. Announce, future positives. Lure your audience through aimed or time and event related messages. As soon as they reply, you shall be there for any questions asked. Always listen to your targeted market!

2: Impatient sending.

Sending your emails without taking the time to proof and digest the content may the biggest mistake possible. After writing your email, wait a few days and then re-read. It is also a very good idea to have a third party read it. Once you have their point of view you may begin to send emails. At the start keep recipients to just a few hundred. Once you have their feedback you then have the ability to make any adjustments. You are then on your way to send out as many emails required. Everyone is happy!!!

3: Sale on!! Buy now!!

Obviously this is very beneficial for you, however, be aware of spam filters and email programs which class your email as spam. This is simply from using exciting language. Large images also upset these filters. Keep your images smaller than usual. You don’t want emails to be blocked through programs such as Outlook. Simplicity is best.


Running a business from home is great, although your market audience need not know. By using a professional email address along with your website domain will be far more beneficial to your business. If you do not have this at present more information and help is available from We are happy to get you started.

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How to ensure the internet does not ruin you to smithereens?

As we all know there is no escaping the internet. It provides for us many uses and has transformed the landscape of how we communicate, socialise and do business.

The biggest effect the internet has had is that is has made the world a smaller place. This brings it with it some amazing benefits but if not careful it can work against all your efforts.

I was with a client yesterday helping them plan their digital marketing strategy for 2013. Towards the end of the meet one of the Directors embarrassingly showed me a string of negative reviews one particular disgruntled customer had placed. However what upset him most was the posting by a former employee.

What surprised me most was that some of the posts were 2 years old and my client apart from informing me only now did nothing to counterbalance the negative reviews.

Haarty Hanks has now been asked to remove the reviews from the various websites they have been posted to, but unfortunately it is not as straight forward as that.

Digital sabotage as I like to call it is on the rise. There are specialist firms out there being hired to write and post negative reviews targeting the competition. But it’s not only limited to business.

Are you a celebrity, someone in the know, a personality, business person, sales director, or at management level? If so then you too are at risk.

Have you ever Googled your name before?

Well if you have then imagine how many others have to see what’s out there about you online.
Do you know?

Unless companies wake up and start implementing measures to control digital sabotage (there is no way to prevent it) you could be left hung high and dry by the time you find out.

Regarding my client there is no way to remove the posts but we can bury them so that when their company is searched all negative comments have been buried past pages 5 or 10 and all visitors see are positive, happy glory comments.

I urge you all; DO NOT ignore the power of digital sabotage. If you have managed to upset someone then with the power of the internet getting you back has never been easier.

Haarty Hanks are specialists in Online Reputation Management.

If you are interested in protecting your brand, staff or your own personal reputation online, then do not hesitate to contact us on 020 8827 1600 or email for a no obligation chat.

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The Rise and Importance of Online Reputation Management

When was the last time you Googled yourself or your company?

Were the results what you expected?

Today many firms across the globe have invested hundreds and thousands of pounds to ensure they are getting a slice of online action by executing a range of search engine marketing campaigns. After all, it’s the art of effective marketing that will generate brand awareness and footfall.

Most search strategies whether SEO or Pay Per Click revolve around product or service based keywords.

Let’s take for example a real life case study.

I am currently managing the search marketing campaign for a well-known Accounting firm located in prestigious Canary Wharf. The campaign enables people to find their company based on a range of keywords where today they appear on the first page.

But what happens when you are found?

Does that mean you’ve won the business?

How often after finding a company online have you started to research the company itself by Googling their company name? How often have you Googled a sales rep or supplier after a visit.

The truth of the matter is that we all do it.

The internet as a tool not only helps us find the right product or service; it also helps us to effectively research companies and their staff members.

For example, have you ever researched a holiday destination or hotel to see what positive or negative comments/reviews have been posted? Have you ever done the same for someone you know or a company you are intending to place a large order with?

The irony is that companies are investing to be found, but have not yet engaged in any form of reputation management to ensure their brand and staff are protected online.

You need to ask yourself these questions:

How easy is it today to post negative comments online?

 How easy is today to discredit the competition online?

Whilst promoting your products and services is of course important, protecting your reputation should supersede anything else as unless you, your staff and your brand are protected online, all other efforts will be wasted.
Online reputation management is quite surprisingly a new phenomenon and one that is becoming increasingly important for companies as well as individuals.

You are the CEO of a large blue chip company. Are you protected online when your name is Googled?

You are a small business, is your brand protected online?

Do you know what people are writing about you?

Are you happy with the results generated when someone tries to find out more about you or your company?

Anyone reading this article that wishes to survive within this online real time competitive market place must ensure that they are engaged in some level of reputation management.

Remember, no one is going to knock on your door to inform you of negative comments and postings. It will be the drop in sales that will serve as the only indicator that something is wrong. It is therefore up to you to make sure that whenever someone searches for you or your company, only positive comments and posts are displayed.

The art to achieving this is effective online reputation management which utilises some key principles of search engine optimisation.

Amit Bhagalia, Managing Director
Haarty Hanks

Amit Bhagalia, is Managing Director or Haarty Hanks a leading London based digital marketing agency. Haarty Hanks specialises in all aspects of effective digital marketing from consultancy to execution. Haarty Hanks is a Google and Microsoft adCenter Certified partner.

Haarty Hanks works with a range of clients that are looking to expand their reach, exposure and brand online.

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