Tech Thursday Round Up – November 11, 2010

  • Survey: 64 Percent Say Free Shipping is the Most Effective Promotion for the Holiday Season
  • GoToMeeting®, GoToWebinar® and GoToTraining® to include High-Definition Video Conferencing
  • RocketLawyer.com: New Resource Of Legal Help for Growing Businesses
  • Elance Online Employment Report Reveals Strong Job Growth for Online Workers
  • BitDefender Announces Beta Launch of safego Application
  • LogMeIn Debuts join.me, a Drop-Dead Simple, Free Online Meeting Product
  • Bill.com Uses PayPal Business Payments and Transforms the Way Businesses Pay and Get Paid with PayPal X
  • Stone Age at work: Professionals still spend too much time scheduling meetings
  • Webs.com Launches ContactMe, the First Lightweight CRM Tool Created Exclusively for Home and Micro-Businesses
  • Concur Small Business Survey Reveals Surprising Habits for Expense Reporting; 59% of Respondents Admit to Making Mistakes

Survey: 64 Percent Say Free Shipping is the Most Effective Promotion for the Holiday Season
Stamps.com Survey Finds that Free Shipping Increases Average Order by at Least $4
stampslogo.pngLOS ANGELES – Nov. 11, 2010 – Free shipping is the most effective sales promotion heading in to the holiday season according to Stamps.com® (Nasdaq:STMP), the leading provider of USPS® postage online and shipping software to approximately 400,000 customers. In its latest survey on e-commerce shipping practices, Stamps.com found that 64 percent of respondents report that free shipping, with or without minimum spend, is the most effective promotion they can offer during the holiday season, and 53 percent will be offering free shipping on more products this year compared to last holiday season. More than half (52 percent) the survey respondents who use free shipping with minimum spend report their average order size increases by at least $4.

  • Of merchants offering free shipping with a minimum spend, 66 percent of respondents require an order value of $50 or higher.

  • 29 percent of the respondents will offer free shipping on orders of any size, no minimum purchase required.
  • 82 percent of e-commerce merchants expect to have international sales.
  • For merchants using social media this holiday season, 54 percent plan to use the channel to drive sales.


horizblueline.JPG
GoToMeeting, GoToWebinar and GoToTraining to include High-Definition Video Conferencing
citrix_online_logo.gifCitrix Online – a division of Citrix Systems – announced HDFaces™, a high-definition video conferencing technology for its web conferencing products, GoToMeeting®, GoToWebinar® and GoToTraining®. HDFaces features the innovative new Citrix Multistream HD™ technology, which enables all participants to view up to six high-resolution video conferencing streams in a high-definition session for a total maximum resolution of 1920p x 960p – a market first – and allows participants to view video and the presenter’s shared desktop in the same screen for the most natural virtual meeting experience yet. A beta version will be previewed today at Citrix Synergy Berlin, and commercial availability is planned for the first quarter of 2011.
To view the demonstration on demand from Citrix Online’s Chief Technology Officer Bernd Christiansen, click here.
horizblueline.JPG
RocketLawyer.com: New Resource of Legal Help for Growing Businesses
rocket_lawyer.pngWhen I was in Mountain View for my Small Business Technology Tour I stopped by the offices of Rocket Lawyer, a relatively new company that provides online legal services to growing businesses. It’s much more than LegalZoom.com, which provides legal documents for you to do things yourself. Instead you have an entire platform with which to manage the legal aspects of your business and you can get the personalized services of a lawyer. All of this can be managed in one easy to use and feature rich portal.
When you register you can

  • See your Legal Health Score, which gives you a snapshot of how well your business (or family) is legally structured.

  • Complete most legal documents paperlessly with Rocket Lawyer, using the sharing and e-signature features, which is better for the environment than printing and easier to keep track of as the business grows.
  • Track and finalize legal documents with next steps, including a personal legal calendar, reminders and alerts for important legal events.
  • Archive important legal documents securely online for worry-free safekeeping.

horizblueline.JPG
Elance Online Employment Report Reveals Strong Job Growth for Online Workers
Businesses embrace flexible employment model, tapping online professionals to advance their IT and Marketing strategies
elance.jpgElance, the leading platform for flexible employment, released its quarterly Online Employment Report, revealing that hiring in the cloud continues to result in increased earnings for online professionals. Online workers earned a record $24.5 million in the third quarter of 2010 on Elance, representing a 42% year-over-year increase. While the latest statistics from the Department of Labor show traditional onsite hiring remained tepid in Q3, job postings on Elance were up 11% in the third quarter of 2010. In contrast to the cautious optimism of the still recovering economy at large, opportunities are abundant for online talent, particularly for PHP Programmers, HTML5 and Mobile Developers and Geolocation Experts.
“Small businesses are adopting hybrid work models where onsite teams are augmented by flexible online teams with hot skills such as HTML5 and mobile geolocation services leveraging Google Maps,” said Ellen Pack, vice president of marketing at Elance. “Online workers are finding financial rewards and more purpose in their work as they create their own economic recovery by serving businesses in need of their expertise.”
The Elance Online Employment Report reveals that the job categories experiencing the fastest growth online are IT, Creative Services and Marketing. While IT continues to maintain its position as the largest category on Elance, Marketing has experienced the fastest growth with a 61% year-over-year increase. The report provides an in-depth look at the skills most in demand and the hottest spots within the U.S. and across the globe for online talent. To review the full Elance Online Employment Report, please click here.
horizblueline.JPG
BitDefender Announces Beta Launch of safego Application
Goes beyond Facebook®’s built-in privacy controls to alert users of personal information leaks, safeguard against e-threats, and only access safe content
bitdefender.JPGAccording to the 2010 Verizon Data Breach report, 50% of data breaches occur at companies with less than 1000 employees and 28% of all breaches employed social tactics.
Social engineering is increasingly used to infect computers with malware that can steal passwords and upload sensitive data to a remote server. Facebook’s 500 million users are increasingly becoming targets for cyber criminals and when you consider 77% of employees check their FB account at work this means business owners need to be aware of a new threat to their company data and computer systems.
To minimize this growing threat, BitDefender released a Facebook security app that can help keep office computers safe by guarding employees Facebook accounts. The App, called BitDefender safego, offers protection through:

  • Automatic scanning -users simply press the “scan now” button to get a snapshot of their Facebook security status
  • 24/7 protection – Facebook accounts are protected even when users are not logged in to Facebook
  • Protection for friends – users will have the ability to warn their friends about infected links in their Facebook accounts
  • Privacy protection – users are warned when they should modify their Facebook privacy settings so personal information isn’t exposed

horizblueline.JPG
LogMeIn Debuts join.me, a Drop-Dead Simple, Free Online Meeting Product
logmein_logo.gifLogMeIn, Inc. jumped into the online meeting and collaboration market with the launch of join.me, a fast, simple, lightweight screen sharing product. Taking a page from the company’s ‘free’ playbook, join.me offers free online meetings for both personal and commercial use to up to 250 participants — no registration, plug-ins or accounts required.
join.me is designed for both typical online meetings and the quick, impromptu scenarios — the scenarios for which today’s web conferencing products are rarely if ever used.
There is a paid “Pro” version that adds business-ready features, including:
• personal link (eg: join.me/myveryimportantmeeting)
• meeting scheduler
• user management (who else at work can have access to your meetings and account)
• all the stuff in free
horizblueline.JPG
Bill.com Uses PayPal Business Payments and Transforms the Way Businesses Pay and Get Paid with PayPal X
New features offer payments on Bill.com via PayPal X without high merchant fees for SMBs, validates new era of day-to-day financial management for businesses
billdotcom.pngAvailable immediately, Bill.com has incorporated APIs from the PayPal X platform to enable SMBs to fund vendor payments using their PayPal accounts, including the ability to send payments quickly from one PayPal account to another. Bill.com is participating in a pilot program with PayPal, utilizing PayPal’s Business Payments product announced at Innovate 2010 to enable a fast, convenient, and secure method for sending and receiving certain kinds of payments for a flat $0.50 payment fee.
Bill.com enables businesses to manage the entire business bill paying process from receipt through payment, providing the document management, workflow, payment processing, and accounting integration needed to allow SMBs to efficiently manage their day-to-day financial activities online.
Bill.com is among a select group of companies in the beta launch of PayPal Apps, announced today at Innovate 2010. PayPal Apps allows developers to embed applications directly on the PayPal website and offer SaaS (Software as a Service) apps which enhance PayPal’s services.
horizblueline.JPG
Stone Age at work: Professionals still spend too much time scheduling meetings
doodleR.pngDoodle, the world’s leading online scheduling service, commissioned their second study on international scheduling trends and unearthed some very interesting results. 1,500 professionals in administrative and managerial positions were surveyed in Germany, France, and the United States. The majority of respondents still use traditional forms of communication like telephone calls and e-mail to make appointments, and they spend about six working weeks per year scheduling meetings.
Respondents needed an average of 4 3/4 hours per week to arrange nine meetings with seven parties involved. Almost a quarter of workers needed seven or more hours per week to coordinate their appointments. Before a single participant was sitting in a conference room, initiators had spent over half an hour arranging the meeting.
Just like in the previous study from 2009, e-mail and desktop calendars are the most used scheduling tools, followed by phone calls and online calendars. Specialized online tools for scheduling (such as Doodle) are still only used as primary scheduling solutions by a small minority of people.
A parallel on-site survey of 385 occupational Doodle users revealed that online scheduling can be a real timesaver. With 15 minutes per meeting, Doodle users need half the time to coordinate an event in comparison to the respondents of the international study.
It was also discovered that almost 80% of meeting participants have different calendar systems, and 90% of the respondents say that they “too often” or “very often” need access to a calendar in a different system. 88% of the interviewees said that they’re annoyed when participants either do not respond or respond too late to meeting invitations. These issues would be resolved by using specialized online scheduling services that make the process of scheduling a lot more efficient.
horizblueline.JPG
Webs.com Launches ContactMe, the First Lightweight CRM Tool Created Exclusively for Home and Micro-Businesses
contactme.JPGWebs.com, the popular, do-it-yourself solution for website creation, launched ContactMe.com, the first customer relationship management (CRM) tool targeted exclusively at home and micro-businesses (0-5 employees). ContactMe helps busy entrepreneurs consolidate and manage their contacts, track customer relationships, attract more leads, and save valuable time.
Small business owners have a million things on their to-do lists, and keeping their business information in their heads—or scattered across emails, spreadsheets, and files—is inefficient and stressful. ContactMe lets entrepreneurs consolidate all of their contacts into one convenient, online system accessible from any Web or mobile device. Contacts, leads, and customers can be categorized by group and sales stage for effortless tracking and management.
Entrepreneurs can also consolidate all their notes, emails, tasks, and appointments for each contact. Organizing business information by contact is a unique element of ContactMe that makes it easy for entrepreneurs to keep information at their fingertips and to stay on top of every detail and deadline.
The system is packed with time-saving features, like a daily agenda, built-in calendar, one-step bulk emailing, marketing reports, and the ability to sync with popular services like ConstantContact® and MailChimp®, and Google®, among others.
Another unique element is the ContactMe button, which attracts the attention of site visitors and boosts the number of leads. The free ContactMe button and web form can be added everywhere entrepreneurs have a presence on the web to collect leads from websites, blogs, Craiglist, Facebook, and more. The button and CRM tool are, together, simply the best way to generate leads, follow through with potential clients, turn them into sales, and manage ongoing customer relationships.
horizblueline.JPG
Concur Small Business Survey Reveals Surprising Habits for Expense Reporting; 59% of Respondents Admit to Making Mistakes
concur_breeze_logo.pngConcur, a leading provider of on-demand travel and expense management services, announced the findings of its survey on expense reporting habits of small businesses, revealing that for most, expense reporting is both time-consuming and prone to errors.
Concur polled 500 employees of businesses in the U.S. with 100 employees or less. The survey asked respondents to address many facets of expense reporting, including: time spent on creating reports, the average cost of reports, as well as where reports landed in terms of priority.
Among the most significant findings, 59% of respondents recalled making at least one mistake on an expense report they’ve submitted in the past 12 months, while more than a third owned up to five errors or more in the same timeframe. Nearly half of the respondents admitted to having lost receipts, while 36% don’t always remember the purpose of certain expenses. Additional findings include:
Expense reports are low on the priority list. Not surprisingly, filing expense reports was among the least popular tasks on the daily to-do list. Respondents claimed they’d rather answer phones (26%), clean the office bathroom (10%) or even take out the company trash (18%) if it meant they’d never have to do another expense report.
Expense reports are time-consuming. It isn’t just employee mistakes that make expense reports difficult to handle. More than half of small business employees can name at least one problem, if not more, with the way their employers deal with expense reports. The biggest complaint? According to 36% of respondents, the time to process expense reports is simply too long.
Expense reports are still largely manual. One fifth of all respondents do not have any type of specific expense reporting process in place. Of those that utilize a defined process, almost half (42%) of respondents use spreadsheets or paper-based systems to manage their expense reports.
Expense reports add up. More than a third of respondents have filed an expense report that totaled $1,000 or more, attributing the amount to procrastination and/or lack of time set aside for expense reporting.

The following two tabs change content below.
Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, Smallbiztechnology.com . Editor and Founder, Smart Hustle Magazine Full bio at http://www.ramonray.com . Check him out on Google Plus, Twitter or Facebook

One thought on “Tech Thursday Round Up – November 11, 2010

  1. Pingback: Tech Thursday Round Up – November 11, 2010 | Small Business Technology | U.S. Justice Talk

Comments are closed.