The Web Week in Review

It was a slow news week in the world of technology as far as I was concerned, but there were still a few stories that caught my eye.

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Five outsourcing websites

Outsourcing often gets a bad rap, but if your business needs to build a new website or have a brochure designed, for instance, and lacks the expertise in-house, outsourcing your project at home or abroad is often the most viable and cost-effective solution.

So where can you find qualified contractors to complete your projects? Thanks to the internet, it's never been easier to not only locate talented contractors but to get them competing for your business.


Q&A: Neil Durrant of Submission Technology on cashback sites

With purse strings tightening across the UK, now seems an especially good time to own a cashback and reward site. 

So we’ve posed a few questions to Neil Durrant of Submission Technology,  which has been involved in cashback for five years and recently bought the domain for a “substantial” sum.

We ask Neil how cashback sites could improve their offering to consumers and merchants (including the challenge of tracking), and how marketers could get more out of them.


Why bother with e-commerce?

Despite the success and continued growth of e-commerce, there are still plenty of retailers who have yet to take the plunge and sell their products or services online.  

This includes well known high street companies like Clarks and H&M, as well as plenty of smaller retailers.

E-consultancy has put together a Beginner's Guide to E-commerce (free to download once you create a user account) that can to be used as a starting point for retailers who want to learn more. There are some very good reasons to sell online...


Site review: Grooveshark Lite

Online music community Grooveshark has recently introduced Grooveshark Lite, which lets users search for and listen to music on demand.


There are a number of useful music sites out there, so let's see how Grooveshark compares with, Deezer, Imeem and other rivals.... 


Is PR broken?

Steve Rubel, a senior vice president at Edelman Digital, essentially asked in a recent blog post if PR is becoming obsolete.


Beacon lawsuit shows being too "forward-thinking" has risks

When Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook's ill-fated Beacon advertising initiative in New York last year, he stated:

"Once every hundred years media changes."

With that, Beacon was not only supposed to change the financial outlook of a company struggling to monetize its massive audience, it was also supposed to deliver on the social media promise of advertising as conversation.


Accepting credit cards online - merchant account basics

If your business needs to accept credit card payments online, chances are you may have started out with a service like PayPal because of the low costs and the ease of integration.

But when you "outgrow" such a service, it's time to step up to a merchant account.


Q&A: ABN Amro's Popke Rein Munniksma on virtual worlds

As head of 3D experience at ABN Amro, Popke Rein Munniksma is experimenting with virtual worlds as an opportunity to promote the bank’s brand and cut the costs of internal meetings.

Here, we ask him about ABN Amro’s virtual world investments beyond the much-maligned Second Life, the challenges of gaining internal acceptance within his organisation and how he sees 3G technology being used within the firm’s existing websites.


Founder of UK blog network plays the blame game

I discussed the economics of blogging recently, sparking a bit of debate.

And it seems for good reason. The evolution of the blogosphere as a business hasn't been easy for many of its participants.


Site review: Oasis revamp

Fashion retailer Oasis has just launched a redesigned version of its website, with the stated aim of making the purchasing and checkout process smoother.

Oasis new website

We've had a look through the site to see if Oasis has managed to improve on the previous version...


BBC finally experiments with in-text 'links'

The BBC is experimenting with the idea of linking out to external sources from within the body text of its news articles, in a trial which will last for four weeks.

Obviously this is a good idea, though why it has taken a decade for the BBC to roll out a 'trial' is anybody's guess (though it won't have done any harm to The Beeb's own Pagerank).

However, the way it is going about this is, well, a little bit Noddy...