Q&A: The New Football Pools’ Dominic Starkey on its digital revamp

The last few years have seen football pools operators’ once-massive audiences dwindle as the popularity of the lottery and online gambling has soared. But Sportech, the company which now owns the main pools players Littlewoods, Vernons and Zetters, is attempting to see their luck turn.

Last month saw the announcement that it would bring all three brands into one website - - as well as the launch of radically different digital strategy centred around ‘social betting’. The company has also been investing heavily in content, improved analytics practices and new channels on MySpace and Facebook.

Following all that, we grabbed a few minutes with head of online marketing Dominic Starkey to see how challenging the whole process has been...


Massive credit card heist shows pitfalls of wireless technology

In what is being called possibly "the largest federal hacking and identity theft case ever," United States authorities recently charged 11 people with stealing more than 41m credit and debit card numbers from popular retailers such as Barnes & Noble, TJMax, OfficeMax and Boston Market.


The five factors of compelling content

I've been involved with online content in a number of capacities. I've run my own online content ventures, consulted with people running online content businesses and obviously am a content producer myself.


Q&A: Royal Mail's Stephen Mitchell on online customer service

Royal Mail has recently introduced a new online customer service system, 'Ask Sarah', which aims to give customers immediate answers to their queries online.

We talked to Stephen Mitchell, Royal Mail's Digital Operations Manager, about the introduction of the new customer service system and the impressive early results...


Tips on site search box design

While many web shoppers may prefer to browse through a website using the navigational links, the importance of the search tool should not be overlooked.

If shoppers arrive at your site with a clear idea of what they want, then using the search box is the obvious option. This also indicates a clear intent to purchase, so the tool has the potential to convert well.


Does beta mean anything to the average user?

One of the most common words to be found on sites that might be defined as being Web 2.0 is beta.

But does this mean anything to those who don’t work in the tech space and should there be a time-limit on how long a site can remain in beta?


How else can Google ascertain relevancy?

Google was a pioneer in the search world for ranking websites based on incoming links as well as content. But which other measures could the search giant use to evaluate relevance?

Apart from the top level 'links' and 'content', which we know affect placement, online marketers use experience and testing to work out the other things Google looks at when ascertaining the relevancy of web pages for search terms.


Did Exxon Mobil get 'brand jacked' or did Twitter users get 'punk'd'?

Did you know that Exxon Mobil has "supported local NGOs in Angola and Indonesia to develop their capacity to effectively partner with multinational companies"?

Or that "Exxon Mobil has spent over $13m in the Save The Tiger Fund since 1992"?

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Can anyone compete with Google?

July saw the much fan-fared launch of Cuil (pronounced cool), which so far, to many in the industry, hasn’t quite lived up to the hype.

Billed as a potential Google killer and dubbed the “world's biggest search engine”, the initial response has been lukewarm, with mixed reviews from many of the industry.

It certainly didn’t help that the site went down shortly after launch and that general first impressions certainly haven’t put Cuil in the same league as Google (or Yahoo and MSN for that matter).


Web app security basics - filtering input and escaping output

If you have a web application, there are basic security best practices that should have been implemented when it was built.

In this post, I'll discuss two of the most important - filtering input and escaping output. It's so easy to do, yet so many web developers don't do it.


MobileMe's less-than-stellar launch shows Apple is not perfect

To many, Apple can do no wrong. The company has one of the most loyal followings of any in the world.

When it launches a new product, fans and press flock. Apple's CEO Steve Jobs is about as close to being a "rockstar" as any CEO can get.


Site review:

Launched recently, is a site from WPP which allows businesses to buy and create outdoor advertising in the UK.

The service, which makes good use of maps to pinpoint billboards, buses and other locations, aims to make it easier for small businesses to get involved in the outdoor ad space.