Japan Seeks Tech Revival With Artificial Intelligence

By Takashi Mochizuki TOKYO—Waiting for his mother to finish grocery shopping one day in 1994, 12-year-old Daisuke Okanohara passed the time with a little reading—of a research paper describing a new method to speed up data compression. He says he felt his body shake with excitement.“It was a breathtaking method,” recalls Mr. Okanohara, now 33. He spent months testing it to see how it worked.Today, as the co-founder of Tokyo-based artificial-intelligence company Preferred Networks Inc., Mr. Okanohara is aiming for breakthroughs of his own—with the weight of a nation’s beleaguered technology industry on his shoulders.Over the past quarter century, Japan lost its technology leadership to rivals in the West in large part because of software shortcomings. Apple Inc. pushed Japanese consumer-electronics makers out of the market with more elegant interfaces and better systems for software developers.Japan is still at the forefront in hardware such as robots, tiny smartphone parts and automobiles. But even that stronghold is in danger of being breached, because software is increasingly critical to making those products work.Enter Mr. Okanohara and “deep-learning” software—programs that, like the human brain, can learn on their own, without human hand-holding each step of the way. “Deep” refers to the networks of artificial neurons: They have more layers and so can tackle trickier problems.Deep learning is already big in Silicon Valley. Alphabet Inc.’s Google last year acquired London-based startup DeepMind Technologies for an estimated $500 million, while Apple, Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Tesla Motors Inc. also have invested in the field. Chinese Internet-search provider Baidu Inc. set up a deep-learning research center in Silicon Valley in 2014.U.S. market-research firm Tractica forecasts that annual software revenue for enterprise applications of deep learning will reach $10.4 billion in 2024, up from $109 million this year.To Silicon Valley, deep learning is mainly a way to make software better—so that, for example, voice-recognition programs such as Apple’s Siri respond more naturally to human questions. The Japanese companies beating a path to Mr. Okanohara’s door tend to look at deep learning differently, as a way to improve hardware. They believe a deep-learning machine could improve itself much faster than humans could improve it, because it could share what it learns with its fellow machines and would never get tired.Japanese industrial-robot maker and Apple supplier Fanuc Corp. recently took a small stake in Preferred Networks, with hopes of developing machines that can figure out on their own how best to assemble devices and even repair other robots.“PFN has the most advanced expertise in the world,” says Chief Executive Yoshiharu Inaba, referring to Preferred Networks by its nickname. Also working with the startup are Toyota Motor Corp., developing autonomous-driving technology, and Panasonic Corp., hoping to leverage Preferred Networks’ knowledge for surveillance cameras and consumer electronics.Preferred Networks’ hope for itself is to have a place at the center of companies’ deep-learning applications, much as Microsoft Corp. put itself at the center of the corporate personal-computer revolution in the early 1980s with its operating system. Preferred Networks recently introduced an operating system for deep-learning technology; called Chainer, it helps third-party engineers write artificial-intelligence-enabled programs. Founded last year, the 30-employee startup was valued in August at $120 million, and has insisted on remaining independent. That is a gamble given Google’s virtually unlimited resources, which allow it to snap up some of the best talent and potentially set global standards. The startup’s executives say they have had to turn down some partnership offerings because of a shortage of workers. Experts also say that the Japanese government’s slow adaptation to new technologies might pose problems as well.“Preferred Networks has great skill sets, but they also need to learn how to deal with capital markets,” says Yutaka Matsuo, an associate professor at the University of Tokyo.Mr. Okanohara says he started using computers when he was in kindergarten, growing up in Fukushima prefecture north of Tokyo. In grade school, he was already programming flight-simulator software.“I was not good at mathematics. I guess coding was his natural instinct,” says his father, Hisashi Okanohara, 67, a retired official at a car-audio maker.Logging on via a pre-Internet dial-up communications service, the boy downloaded computer-science papers such as “A Block-Sorting Lossless Data Compression Algorithm”—the one that gave him those grocery-store shakes back in 1994.He went on to the University of Tokyo, where he met Toru Nishikawa. The classmates hit it off immediately and eventually co-founded Preferred Networks.“I knew I wouldn’t have the luck to work with such a genius if I missed the chance,” says Mr. Nishikawa, the company’s chief executive.Mr. Okanohara, who serves as executive vice president, says he believes his expertise will become useful as items as diverse as cars and toasters go online. For he sees a problem with this so-called Internet of Things: A connected device can access an amount of data so astronomical that no conceivable computing power could analyze or transmit it. A car’s sensor, for example, could record every pixel on a neon advertising sign, information that is useless for the car’s safe operation.Human brains face the same problem of overload, but learn to discard what is irrelevant. Computers, likewise, must grow able to judge on their own what data is relevant and what should be shared with peers, says Mr. Okanohara.Artificial intelligence has disappointed some users in the past, in part because of lack of computing power. Deep learning needs a few more breakthroughs to shake up the world, but the arrival of the artificial-intelligence age is inevitable, says Junichi Tsujii, head of artificial intelligence at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. “Japan has many top-notch firms in many industries, and PFN is an ideal hub to tie them together as a team,” Mr. Tsujii says. Write to Takashi Mochizuki at takashi.mochizuki@wsj.com

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No Credit History? Your Smartphone Usage Will Do

By Elizabeth Dwoskin A handful of Silicon Valley-backed startups are looking to revolutionize lending in the developing world, where banks are scarce and many would-be borrowers have no credit history.Their strategy: Show me your smartphone, and my app will find out how creditworthy you are.Smartphones can dramatically reduce the cost of lending, experts say, because the apps they run generate huge amounts of data—texts, emails, GPS coordinates, social-media posts, retail receipts, and so on—indicating thousands of subtle patterns of behavior that correlate with repayment or default.Even obscure variables such as how frequently a user recharges the phone’s battery, how many incoming text messages they receive, how many miles they travel in a given day or how they enter contacts into their phone—the decision to add last name correlates with creditworthiness—can bear on a decision to extend credit.In Kenya, Branch.co offers an Android app that lets users apply for a loan and get immediate approval and access to funds. The loans average $30, enough for a taxi driver to pay for gas or a fruit seller to stock up on produce. Branch charges between 6% and 12% interest—based on the borrower’s creditworthiness—and loans are usually repaid between three weeks and six months later.Traditional microlending tends to be far more expensive—interest rates often exceed 25%—partly because lenders must visit borrowers in the field to assess their ability to repay. Banks have steered clear due to the high cost of building physical branches.These app-based lending startups are backed by some of Silicon Valley’s biggest names. Branch, which was founded by microlending pioneer Matt Flannery, has received funding from Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of data miner Palantir Technologies. InVenture, based in Los Angeles, is headed by a former United Nations officer and funded by venture investors Chris Sacca and Zachary Bogue. Saida is funded by startup incubator Y Combinator. Omidyar Network—an investment firm and foundation established by eBay Inc. founder Pierre Omidyar—holds a stake in Lenddo, a lender that determines creditworthiness by analyzing social networks like Facebook.By installing these apps on their smartphones, users grant them access to any information that may help assess the borrower’s creditworthiness—from the content of their texts and emails to the duration and volume of their calls.InVenture’s algorithms, for instance, found that users who wait until after 10 p.m. to make calls—when rates are lower—are lower-risk borrowers. Somewhat counterintuitively, Branch found that users who are known gamblers—something the app would find out by scanning messages or payments to a gambling company—are more likely to repay a loan than nongamblers.“You’re able to get in and really understand the daily life of these customers,” said InVenture CEO Shivani Siroya. Her company’s scoring formula, or algorithm, analyzes 10,000 so-called signals per customer.These lending startups build on the popularity of mobile banking in many developing countries and the rapid rise of smartphone use. A Pew Research Center report from April shows that 34% of South Africans, 27% of Nigerians and 15% of Kenyans already own a smartphone.Customers of Branch and InVenture in Nairobi, Kenya, said they used the loans to pay for running or improving small businesses. Some had access to banks but felt the smartphone interest rates were better; others had been borrowing informally from neighbors at high interest rates.The owner of a beauty and weight management center said small loans covered items such as skin cleansers when her bank account ran low.Samuel Njuguna, a chef, said he bought plates, cutlery, and pots. “I’ve had to turn down a few business opportunities because of lack of equipment,” Mr. Njuguna said. Now, he says he is plowing most of the money back into his business.“These are people that don’t have a credit score,” said Branch’s Mr. Flannery, whose earlier venture, Kiva.org, helped expand microlending. “Your digital trail can establish your financial track record.”Lending startups like Branch could bring formal credit for the first time to between 325 million and 580 million people in emerging economies, according to a recent report by Omidyar Network.While the smartphone lenders focus on emerging markets, their efforts to assess risk based on nontraditional data sources is part of a wider trend in Silicon Valley. Affirm, LendUp, ZestFinance and others use data from sources such as social media, online behavior and data brokers to determine the creditworthiness of tens of thousands of U.S. consumers who don’t have access to loans.And competitors with deeper pockets are entering the field. Visa Inc. has built mobile payment applications in Rwanda and is working with International Business Machines Corp. to use records of retail transactions or remittances to create a surrogate credit score. Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. recently launched a credit-scoring program that uses the company’s own trove of transaction data to assess risk.Privacy advocates have complained that borrowers might be denied a loan because of a Twitter post such as “my car has broken down.” U.S. companies have wide discretion to offer loans as long as they don’t sell credit scores or discriminate against minorities, women, or people with disabilities.The Omidyar Network surveyed dozens of individuals in developing countries about the privacy trade-offs, and most said they had no problem sharing personal details in exchange for much-needed funds. As a former official at the U.N. Population Fund, Ms. Siroya—InVenture’s CEO—has conducted more than 3,000 in-depth interviews with small businesses in developing countries. She said borrowers in these countries are far less risky than mainstream financial institutions think they are.Soon, she said, she will have the data to prove it. Write to Elizabeth Dwoskin at elizabeth.dwoskin@wsj.com

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A Break for California Franchise Owners? New Law Gives Them More Control

Assembly Bill 525

Franchises allow individuals to go into business knowing they have the backing of the franchisor. This has its advantages and disadvantages. Those positives ad negatives were recently highlighted in California as Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the strongest franchisee protection rules in the U.S.

One of the benefits of owning a franchise is that it comes with a lot of support from the franchisor. The downside is that, depending on the company, this support comes with some strict rules that franchisees have been claiming greatly favor the franchisor.

The new law, Assembly Bill No. 525 or AB525, gives new rights and protection to franchisees. The law passed with a large majority in the Assembly (56-12) and by 37 to 0 in the Senate. And it also received support from industry players after long negotiations.

Sometimes informally called the “Franchise Bill of Rights,” the new legislation has some revisions regarding the responsibilities of franchisors and franchisees, as specified in the California Franchise Relations Act (CFRA). The main points apply to the termination of a franchise agreement, compensation to the franchisee when an agreement is terminated or renewed, and the sale and transfer of the franchise by the franchisee.

Some of the finer points of the law are:

Franchisors can no longer terminate a franchise before the expiration of its term except for good cause. It is important to note the language. More specifically “good cause” has been a point of contention, and many see this as a gateway for litigation between franchisees and franchisors.  But the law goes on to specify and limit good cause to the failure of the franchisee to substantially comply with the lawful requirements imposed upon the franchisee by the franchise agreement.

When a franchise is terminated or not renewed lawfully, the franchisor must purchase all inventory, supplies, equipment, fixtures and furnishings that were purchased under the terms of the franchise agreement.  This purchase is to be made at the value of the price that was paid by the franchisee minus depreciation.

Franchisors cannot prevent a franchisee from selling or transferring the franchise whether it is in part, total or a controlling or non-controlling interest, if the person is qualified under the standards for the approval of new or renewing franchisees.

This law is supposed to curb the power franchisors exercise over franchisees. Earlier this year the law’s author, California’s Assembly Majority Leader Chris Holden stated in an official release, “Franchise corporations should not be able to use their dominance to rob franchisees of their livelihood. They should not be able to destroy someone’s future by hiding behind an unjust contract and weak state laws.”

The International Franchise Association was against the  legislation for obvious reasons, but in the end Gov. Brown did sign a bill into law after such overwhelming support by the legislature.

California Gov. Jerry Brown Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "A Break for California Franchise Owners? New Law Gives Them More Control" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

A Break for California Franchise Owners? New Law Gives Them More Control

Assembly Bill 525

Franchises allow individuals to go into business knowing they have the backing of the franchisor. This has its advantages and disadvantages. Those positives ad negatives were recently highlighted in California as Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law the strongest franchisee protection rules in the U.S.

One of the benefits of owning a franchise is that it comes with a lot of support from the franchisor. The downside is that, depending on the company, this support comes with some strict rules that franchisees have been claiming greatly favor the franchisor.

The new law, Assembly Bill No. 525 or AB525, gives new rights and protection to franchisees. The law passed with a large majority in the Assembly (56-12) and by 37 to 0 in the Senate. And it also received support from industry players after long negotiations.

Sometimes informally called the “Franchise Bill of Rights,” the new legislation has some revisions regarding the responsibilities of franchisors and franchisees, as specified in the California Franchise Relations Act (CFRA). The main points apply to the termination of a franchise agreement, compensation to the franchisee when an agreement is terminated or renewed, and the sale and transfer of the franchise by the franchisee.

Some of the finer points of the law are:

Franchisors can no longer terminate a franchise before the expiration of its term except for good cause. It is important to note the language. More specifically “good cause” has been a point of contention, and many see this as a gateway for litigation between franchisees and franchisors.  But the law goes on to specify and limit good cause to the failure of the franchisee to substantially comply with the lawful requirements imposed upon the franchisee by the franchise agreement.

When a franchise is terminated or not renewed lawfully, the franchisor must purchase all inventory, supplies, equipment, fixtures and furnishings that were purchased under the terms of the franchise agreement.  This purchase is to be made at the value of the price that was paid by the franchisee minus depreciation.

Franchisors cannot prevent a franchisee from selling or transferring the franchise whether it is in part, total or a controlling or non-controlling interest, if the person is qualified under the standards for the approval of new or renewing franchisees.

This law is supposed to curb the power franchisors exercise over franchisees. Earlier this year the law’s author, California’s Assembly Majority Leader Chris Holden stated in an official release, “Franchise corporations should not be able to use their dominance to rob franchisees of their livelihood. They should not be able to destroy someone’s future by hiding behind an unjust contract and weak state laws.”

The International Franchise Association was against the  legislation for obvious reasons, but in the end Gov. Brown did sign a bill into law after such overwhelming support by the legislature.

California Gov. Jerry Brown Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "A Break for California Franchise Owners? New Law Gives Them More Control" was first published on Small Business Trends



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It's Here! The MozCon Local 2016 Agenda

Posted by EricaMcGillivray

*drumroll* The MozCon Local 2016 agenda is here! For all your local marketing and SEO needs, we're pleased to present a fabulous lineup of speakers and topics for your enjoyment. MozCon Local is Thursday and Friday, February 18–19 2016 in Seattle. On Thursday, our friends LocalU will present a half-day of intensive workshops, and on Friday we'll be having an entire day of keynote-style conference fun. (You do need to purchase the workshop ticket separately from the conference ticket.)

If you've just remembered that you need to purchase your ticket, do so now:

Buy your MozCon Local 2016 ticket!

Otherwise, let's dig into that agenda!

MozCon Local 2016


Thursday workshops

12:00–12:30pm
Registration


12:30–12:35pm
Introduction and Housekeeping


David Mihm12:35–12:55pm
The State of Local Search with David Mihm

Already one of the most complex areas in all of search marketing, local has never been more fragmented than it is today. Following a brief summary of the Local Search Ranking Factors, David will give you his perspective on which strategies and tactics are worth paying attention to, and which ones are simply "nice to have."

David Mihm is one of the world’s leading practitioners of local search engine marketing. He has created and promoted search-friendly websites for clients of all sizes since the early 2000s. David co-founded GetListed.org, which he sold to Moz in November 2012.


12:55–1:35pm
Local Search Processes with Aaron Weiche, Darren Shaw, Mike Ramsey, and Paula Keller

Darren Shaw, Mike Ramsey, Aaron Weiche, and Paula Keller

Panel discussion and Q&A on the best processes to use in marketing local businesses online.


1:35–2:35pm
How to do Competitive Analysis for Local Search with Aaron Weiche, Darren Shaw, David Mihm, Ed Reese, Mary Bowling, Mike Ramsey

Each panelist will demonstrate their methods and the tools they use to audit a specific area of the online presence of a single local business. The end result will be a complete picture of how a thorough competitive analysis for a local business can be done.


2:35–2:50pm
Break


During this time period, each attendee will choose any three 30-minute workshops to attend. Some workshops are offered in all time slots, while others are only offered at specific times. Present your challenges, discuss solutions, and get your burning questions answered in these small groups.

LocalU Workshops

2:50–3:20pm
  • Tracking and Conversions with Ed Reese
  • Solving Problems at Google My Business with Willys DeVoll and Mary Bowling
  • Ask Me Anything About Local Search with David Mihm
  • Local Targeting of Paid Advertising with Paula Keller
  • Using Reviews to Build Your Business with Aaron Weiche
  • Local Links with Mike Ramsey
  • Citations: Everything You Need to Know with Darren Shaw
3:20–3:50pm
  • Tracking and Conversions with Ed Reese
  • Solving Problems at Google My Business with Willys DeVoll and Mary Bowling
  • Ask Me Anything About Local Search with David Mihm
  • Local Targeting of Paid Advertising with Paula Keller
  • Using Reviews to Build Your Business with Aaron Weiche
  • Agency Issues with Mike Ramsey
  • Local Links with Darren Shaw
3:50–4:20pm
  • Tracking and Conversions with Ed Reese
  • Solving Problems at Google My Business with Willys DeVoll and Mary Bowling
  • Ask Me Anything About Local Search with David Mihm
  • Local Targeting of Paid Advertising with Paula Keller
  • Using Reviews to Build Your Business with Aaron Weiche
  • Local Links with Mike Ramsey
  • Citations: Everything You Need to Know with Darren Shaw

4:20–5:00pm
Live Site Reviews

The group will come back together for live site reviews!


5:00–6:00pm
Happy Hour!


Friday conference

Mary Bowling talks to the local crowd

8:00–9:00am

Breakfast


David Mihm9:00–9:05am
Welcome to MozCon Local 2016! with David Mihm

David Mihm is one of the world’s leading practitioners of Local search engine marketing. He has created and promoted search-friendly websites for clients of all sizes since the early 2000s. David co-founded GetListed.org, which he sold to Moz in November 2012.


Mary Bowling9:05–9:35am
Feeding the Beast: Local Content for RankBrain with Mary Bowling

We now know searcher behavior and continual testing via machine learning indeed affects Google rankings and algorithm refinements. Learn how to create local content to satisfy both Google and our human visitors.

Mary Bowling's been in SEO since 2003 and has specialized in local SEO since 2006. When she's not writing about, teaching, consulting, and doing internet marketing, you'll find her rafting, biking, and skiing/snowboarding in the mountains and deserts of Colorado and Utah.


Mike Ramsey9:35–10:05am
Local Links: Tests, Tools, and Tactics with Mike Ramsey

Going beyond the map pack, links can bring you qualified traffic, organic rankings, penalties, or filters. Mike will walk through lessons, examples, and ideas for you to utilize to your heart's content.

Mike Ramsey is the president of Nifty Marketing and a founding faculty member of Local University. He is a lover of search and social with a heavy focus in local marketing and enjoys the chess game of entrepreneurship and business management. Mike loves to travel and loves his home state of Idaho.


Darren Shaw10:05–10:35am
Citation Investigation! with Darren Shaw

Darren investigates how citations travel across the web and shares new insights into how to better utilize the local search ecosystem for your brands.

Darren Shaw is the president and founder of Whitespark, a company that builds software and provides services to help businesses with local search. He's widely regarded in the local SEO community as an innovator, one whose years of experience working with massive local data sets have given him uncommon insights into the inner workings of the world of citation-building and local search marketing. Darren has been working on the web for over 16 years and loves everything about local SEO.


10:35–10:55am
AM Break


Lindsay Wassell10:55–11:20am
Technical Site Audits for Local SEO with
Lindsay Wassell

Onsite SEO success lies in the technical details, but extensive SEO audits can be too expensive and impractical. Lindsay shows you the most important onsite elements for local search optimization and outlines an efficient path for improved performance.

Lindsay Wassell's been herding bots and wrangling SERPs since 2001. She has a zeal for helping small businesses grow with improved digital presence. Lindsay is the CEO and founder of Keyphraseology.


Justine Jordan11:20–11:45am
Optimizing and Hacking Email for Mobile with Justine Jordan

Email may be an old dog, but it has learned some new mobile tricks. From device-a-palooza and preview text to tables and triggers, Justine will break down the subscriber experience so you (and your audience) get the most from your next campaign.

In addition to being an email critic, cat lover, and explain-a-holic, Justine Jordan also heads up marketing for Litmus, an email testing and analytics platform. She’s strangely passionate about email, hates being called a spammer, and still codes like it's 1999.


Emily Grossman11:45am–12:10pm
Understanding App-Web Convergence and the Impending App Tsunami with Emily Grossman

People no longer distinguish between app and web content; both compete for the same space in local search results. Learn how to keep your local brand presence afloat as apps and deep links flood into the top of search results.

Emily Grossman is a Mobile Marketing Specialist at MobileMoxie, and she has been working with mobile apps since the early days of the app stores in 2010. She specializes in app search marketing, with a focus on strategic deep linking, app indexing, app launch strategy, and app store optimization (ASO).


Robi Ganguly12:10–12:35pm
Building Customer Love and Loyalty in a Mobile World with Robi Ganguly

How the best companies in the world relate to customers, create a personal touch, and foster customer loyalty at scale.

Robi Ganguly is the co-founder and CEO of Apptentive, the easiest way for every company to communicate with their mobile app customers. A native Seattleite, Robi enjoys building relationships, running, reading, and cooking.


12:35–1:35pm
Lunch



Luther Lowe and Willys Devol1:35–2:05pm
The Past, Present, and Future of Local Listings with Luther Lowe and Willys Devol

Two of the biggest kids on the local search block, Google and Yelp, share their views on the changing world of local listings, their place in the broader world of local search, and what you can do to keep up, in this Q&A moderated by David Mihm.

Luther Lowe is VP of Public Policy at Yelp.

Willys Devol is the content strategist for Google My Business, and he spends his time designing and writing online content to help business owners enhance their presence online. He's also a major proponent of broccoli and gorillas.


Paula Keller2:05–2:35pm
Fake It Til You Make It: Brand Building for Local Businesses with Paula Keller

Explore real-world examples of how your local business can establish a brand that both customers and Google will recognize and reward.

As Director of Account Management at Search Influence, Paula Keller strategizes with businesses on improving their search, social, and online ads results, and she works to scale those tactics for her team's 800+ local business clients. Paula views online marketing the same way she views cooking (her favorite way to spend her free time): trends come and go, but classic tactics are always the foundation of success!


Dana DiTomaso2:35–3:05pm
Your Marketing Team is Larger Than You Think with Dana DiTomaso

Imagine doing such a great job with your branding that you become a part of your customer's life. They trust your brand as part of their community. This magic doesn't happen by dictating the corporate voice from a head office, but from empowering your locations to build customer community.

Whether at a conference, on the radio, or in a meeting, Dana DiTomaso likes to impart wisdom to help you turn a lot of marketing bullshit into real strategies to grow your business. After 10+ years, she's (almost) seen it all. It's true, Dana will meet with you and teach you the ways of the digital world, but she is also a fan of the random fact. Kick Point often celebrates "Watershed Wednesday" because of Dana's diverse work and education background. In her spare time, Dana drinks tea and yells at the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.


3:05–3:25pm
PM Break


Cori Shirk3:25–3:55pm
Mo' Listings, Mo' Problems: Managing Enterprise-Level Local Search with Cori Shirk

Listings are everyone's favorite local search task...not. Cori takes you through how to tackle them at large scale, keep up, and not burn out.

Cori Shirk is a member of the SEO team at Seer Interactive, where she specializes in managing enterprise local search accounts and guiding strategy across all of Seer's local search clients. When she's not sitting in front of a computer, you can usually find her out at a concert enjoying a local craft beer.


Matthew Moore3:55–4:10pm
The Enterprise Perspective on Local Search with Matthew Moore

Learn how the person responsible for local visibility across a portfolio of nearly 1,000 locations tackles this space on a daily basis. Matthew from Sears Home Services shares his experiences and advice in this Q&A moderated by David Mihm.

Matthew Moore is Senior Director, Marketing Analytics at Sears Holdings Corporation.


Adria Saracino4:10–4:40pm
How to Approach Social Media Like Big Brands with Adria Saracino

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, Periscope...the seemingly never-ending world of social media can leave even the most seasoned marketer flailing among too many tasks and not enough results. Adria will help you cut through the noise and share actionable secrets that big brands use to succeed with social media.

Adria Saracino is a digital strategist whose marketing experience spans mid-stage startups, agency life, and speaking engagements at conferences like SearchLove and Lavacon. When not marketing things, you can see her cooking elaborate meals and posting them on her Instagram, @emeraldpalate.


Rand Fishkin4:40–5:10pm
Analytics for Local Marketers: The Big Picture and the Right Details with Rand Fishkin

Are your marketing efforts taking your organization where it needs to go, or are they just boosting your vanity metrics? Rand explains how to avoid being misled by the wrong metrics and how to focus on the ones that will keep you moving forward. Learn how to determine what to measure, as well as how to tie it to objectives with clear, concise, and useful data points.

Rand Fishkin uses the ludicrous title "Wizard of Moz." He’s the founder and former CEO of Moz, co-author of a pair of books on SEO, and co-founder of Inbound.org.


6:00–10:00pm
MozCon Local Networking Afterparty, location TBA

Join your fellow attendees and Moz and LocalU staff for a networking party after the conference. Light appetizers and drinks included. See you there!

Buy your MozCon Local 2016 ticket!


Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don't have time to hunt down but want to read!



via Business Feeds

Web.com Introduces Safe Email with Encryption for Business

Safe Email Encryption for Business

Do you ever get the sneaking suspicion your email isn’t as secure as it could be? For the everyday, you probably don’t give email security much thought. But when sending confidential information and business files extra protection may be a good idea.  

What this boils down to is sometimes you just need a little more security.

That’s the idea behind Web.com’s new email encryption service. Called Secure Mail with Guard Encryption, the new service is provided through Web.com’s affiliated brand Network Solutions.

This video shows more about how the process works:

“While regular email is secure enough for everyday communications, small business owners often need the added security of email encryption,” stated Jason Teichman, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Web.com in a company release. “Guard Encryption provides an added layer of security that will let our customers send and/or store their private or confidential communications and files with confidence.”

Web.com is known for its online tools designed for small business owners. The company offers Internet services such as online marketing, build-it-yourself websites, eCommerce, and hosting. But this new service will add online security to the list.

Web.com’s tools and services are all aimed at saving time and frustration for small business owners.

According to the company, Secure Mail works by using PGP technology. PGP is a data encryption program that uses various “keys” to safely send emails and ensure only the intended recipients can read them. There are keys for the sender to secure the email, and keys for the recipient to unlock and read the email.

But Web.com claims all the complexity of PGP is completely transparent. This means that to use it neither sender nor recipient actually needs to know which key to use. Instead when you want to send an encrypted email all you have to do is click the “send secure” button that located in the upper right corner.

secure

Once the send secure button is turned on, Secure Mail automatically selects the right key to encrypt the email. Once sent all the recipient must do is open the email. Send Secure will again select the appropriate key to unlock the message without the recipient needing to do anything different.

It’s simple security without the need for any tech knowledge or complicated extra steps.

With a Secure Mail plan you get PGP email encryption and a number of other features. Features include tamper proof Encryption Guard that lets user “sign” an email and notifies a recipient if the email is altered in anyway. You also get 10GB email storage and 15GB files storage, an online productivity calendar, and mobile access to email, files, and calendar.

You can sign up for a Secure Mail plan through Network Solutions. Pricing starts at $7.74 a month.  

Image: Web.com/YouTube

This article, "Web.com Introduces Safe Email with Encryption for Business" was first published on Small Business Trends



RSS Business Feeds

Web.com Introduces Safe Email with Encryption for Business

Safe Email Encryption for Business

Do you ever get the sneaking suspicion your email isn’t as secure as it could be? For the everyday, you probably don’t give email security much thought. But when sending confidential information and business files extra protection may be a good idea.  

What this boils down to is sometimes you just need a little more security.

That’s the idea behind Web.com’s new email encryption service. Called Secure Mail with Guard Encryption, the new service is provided through Web.com’s affiliated brand Network Solutions.

This video shows more about how the process works:

“While regular email is secure enough for everyday communications, small business owners often need the added security of email encryption,” stated Jason Teichman, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Web.com in a company release. “Guard Encryption provides an added layer of security that will let our customers send and/or store their private or confidential communications and files with confidence.”

Web.com is known for its online tools designed for small business owners. The company offers Internet services such as online marketing, build-it-yourself websites, eCommerce, and hosting. But this new service will add online security to the list.

Web.com’s tools and services are all aimed at saving time and frustration for small business owners.

According to the company, Secure Mail works by using PGP technology. PGP is a data encryption program that uses various “keys” to safely send emails and ensure only the intended recipients can read them. There are keys for the sender to secure the email, and keys for the recipient to unlock and read the email.

But Web.com claims all the complexity of PGP is completely transparent. This means that to use it neither sender nor recipient actually needs to know which key to use. Instead when you want to send an encrypted email all you have to do is click the “send secure” button that located in the upper right corner.

secure

Once the send secure button is turned on, Secure Mail automatically selects the right key to encrypt the email. Once sent all the recipient must do is open the email. Send Secure will again select the appropriate key to unlock the message without the recipient needing to do anything different.

It’s simple security without the need for any tech knowledge or complicated extra steps.

With a Secure Mail plan you get PGP email encryption and a number of other features. Features include tamper proof Encryption Guard that lets user “sign” an email and notifies a recipient if the email is altered in anyway. You also get 10GB email storage and 15GB files storage, an online productivity calendar, and mobile access to email, files, and calendar.

You can sign up for a Secure Mail plan through Network Solutions. Pricing starts at $7.74 a month.  

Image: Web.com/YouTube

This article, "Web.com Introduces Safe Email with Encryption for Business" was first published on Small Business Trends



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5 Alternative Ways To Share Content Other Than Social Media

share content

When you want to get your content in front of new readers, tapping into the dozens of targeted platforms on social media is an obvious choice. Whether you share a blog post on Facebook or an infographic on Twitter, social media outlets boast millions of users. These established, engaged audiences give you a chance to not only get your content read, but also shared frequently.

However, there are times when you’ll need to go beyond normal social media sharing. Maybe you’ve found that your target market isn’t as active on traditional social sites as they are elsewhere. Or maybe you feel you’ve gained as much as you can from posting content to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and similar services. If you want to grow your audience further, you’ll need to think outside of the box when it comes time to share content.

Fortunately, there are plenty of options to share content besides the major social media sites. When you’re ready to take this step, pay particular attention to sites where you can share content that other people will then curate from, allowing you to get even more bang for your social buck. Here are five alternative ways to share content other than social media platforms to consider.

Scoop.it

On Scoop.it, you can share content on specific boards that are centered around the niche topics and keywords that are relevant to your business, your industry and your audience. People start to follow your content boards – similar to Pinterest – which can drive a lot of relevant traffic to your website as a result.

Add your own unique perspective to each article that you “scoop”, and share it not only to your content category but also on your website, blog and more. Many professionals rely on Scoop.it for their own content curation efforts, so posting your work here will increase your chances of having it be shared by others.

Triberr

Dubbing itself “A community of talented Bloggers and Influencers come together to read and share great content,” Triberr is another targeted place to share content other than social media.

To use Triberr, join specific tribes or groups of people sharing a specific category. By joining tribes that are related to your industry and interests, you can share content with a group of people eager to both read and share it with others. You can locate tribes exploring everything from SEO to women’s issues – there’s never a shortage of niches for you to tap into and grow your tribe.

Email Marketing

Email marketing has proven to have a consistently high conversion rate, and sharing your content to your email list is a sure-fire way to have your content reach those who are interested in what you have to say.

You can email your list a digest of content on a regular basis, including your own fresh content and interesting pieces you’ve curated from reading others’ work. Or, send your blog posts out as an email, and include the entire text of the blog in the email message itself. Before you launch, make sure that your email service provider is setup to handle the format, graphics, and links that you want to include. If your service provider has an RSS option, use it to translate your already-published content into your email.

Video Marketing

Not everyone enjoys reading and translating text and copy. Instead, sharing your content via video can be a great way to expand your reach. In fact, HubSpot shows that 40 percent of people respond better to visual information than written, making videos a relevant and useful option.

Videos can quickly be uploaded to a variety of sharing sites, as well as embedded in your website and sent to email subscribers. As with all content, simply creating a video or audio clip isn’t enough – you need to share and promote it. By adding it to your landing pages, email signature, and sharing sites such as Vimeo and even Google Hangouts, you’ll be able to send your content to thousands of new people without using social media.

Guest Posting

Creating guests posts on popular business news sites such as Inc., Forbes, and Entrepreneur can be a great way to share your thoughts without using social media. When you guest post, you not only reach the audience of a much larger website, you also get the credibility of the larger site as a tacit endorsement when people read your content.

When executed correctly, guest posting can bring tremendous additional traffic to your website and landing pages, while also creating buzz around your ideas, visibility and the ability to position yourself as a thought leader in your field. The secret to successful guest posting? Being selective about where you publish. Consider all of your content sharing options and select only those that will position you and/or your brand in the best possible light.

Sharing your content doesn’t have to end with the main players of social media like Facebook and Twitter. By adopting these five alternative ways to share content other than social media, you’ll find and reach a new audience of engaged readers, viewers, and listeners every time you produce new content.

Where else do you share content outside of social media? 

Crop Dusting Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "5 Alternative Ways To Share Content Other Than Social Media" was first published on Small Business Trends



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