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You've worked hard building a strong relationship between your business and its customers. They trust that your products and services meet their needs, and more importantly, they trust the people who work for your business.
But what happens when you make a mistake, and that relationship based on trust is put in jeopardy?
Unfortunately, it happens, and it happens quite frequently. Many companies, some with previously stellar reputations, have lost the trust of their customers in the blink of an eye.
The rise of social networking services like Facebook has created significant digital privacy concerns. And new geolocation-based services like Foursquare are creating a whole host of new concerns.
But privacy doesn't necessarily have to be a touchy subject for today's most prominent social networks. Prominent venture capitalist Fred Wilson, whose firm has invested in Twitter and Foursquare, thinks that there may actually be an opportunity for companies to charge their users for additional privacy safeguards.
Online florist Arena Flowers recently fell foul of Norton, with its SafeWeb product flagging its website as unsafe for users due to an issue with the site's WordPress blog.
The problem was fixed promptly by Arena Flowers, but the process of contacting Norton and getting the warnings removed was far from perfect, and could have had a serious effect its sales and reputation.
Last week, popular reviews site Yelp announced that it had teamed up with OpenTable to offer Yelp users the ability to book restaurant reservations through OpenTable directly on the Yelp site.
A Yelp-OpenTable relationship is one that some have speculated about for some time now, and given that 29% of the businesses reviewed on Yelp are restaurants, the integration between the two services seems like a no-brainer.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg may be the most successful 26 year-old technology entrepreneur in the world right now, but he sure isn't making it look easy. His company finds itself being attacked for its position on user privacy, and the attacks have turned personal.
While Zuckerberg's character has been called into question before, the increased scrutiny on Facebook seems to be producing a steady stream of facts that don't show Zuckerberg in the best light.
In today's internet-enabled world, your 'reputation' is arguably more important than it has ever been in the past. Increasingly, information about you and your business will find its way online, and what people say about you online has the potential to become a significant asset or liability.
So it's no surprise that 'online reputation management' is a hot area. But as with SEO and social media, many mistakes are made.
Here are 10 of the most common...
The BBC’s strategic review has created a lot of fuss – especially around the closure of 6 Music and the supposed “halving” of its website.
To save you having to read the review, here’s what it actually says about the BBC’s online presence (and given the amount of confusing repetition in the report, I should be given a medal for saving you having to read it – can I suggest getting some more editors for the next strategic review?)
I wrote an article recently about the use of e-commerce trustmarks and how important it was for sites to display trustmark logos.
Though they may help some sites, trustmarks alone are not the answer, and factors such as brand trust, price, usability and good design all combine to reassure customers about making a purchase.
A recent post on the FutureNow blog makes this point, and argues that the need for 'costly' security indicators, can be avoided with good cart / checkout design.
Trustmarks are the images or logos that retailers can place on their websites to show that they have passed various security and privacy tests, and reassure customers that it is safe to shop on the site.
But how relevant are these logos from organisations like Verisign or McAfee? Have customers even heard of them? Would other security reassurances do the same job?
Just as marketers increase their spending on social media marketing comes potentially discouraging news: consumers are trusting their friends a whole lot less.
According to AdAge, the 2010 Edelman Financial Services U.S. Trust Barometer found that only 25% of those surveyed considered friends and peers to be credible sources of information. That's down from 45% in 2008.
57% of merchants see online fraud as the greatest threat to their business, while they expect to lose an average of 1.8% of their income to fraud.
This is one of the findings from Cybersource's 2010 UK Online Fraud Report, which surveys consumers and retailers about how fraud affects their business and shopping habits.
Most news organizations get that social media is important. And while many are embracing it, in a lot of cases social media is still kept in a silo.
But Sky News is looking to change that. It plans to install the popular Twitter client Tweetdeck on all of its journalists' computers in an effort to encourage them to incorporate social media into their news gathering efforts.