How do you say “Netflix and chill” in Mandarin? It doesn’t really matter, because they can’t do it.

At the end of 2016, Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) became the latest online services company to admit defeat in the Chinese market. The video streaming goliath announced that it will syndicate content to Chinese partners. It’s given up on pursuing full service in the country.

Netflix is hardly the first American tech company to run into this problem. Alphabet (Nasdaq: GOOG) has a single-digit percent share of China’s search market. Facebook (NYSE: FB) is almost completely blocked on the mainland.

As we’ve covered in previous Investment U articles, other American industries have done just fine in the Chinese market. American clothes and sporting goods are status symbols there. But time after time, the online services industry has failed to breach the Great Firewall.

These failures aren’t the result of low demand. China is a rapidly developing country of 1.3 billion people. The Chinese love their computers as much as anybody else. But for a multitude of reasons, Chinese people tend to use Chinese internet services instead of their American competitors.

Let’s look at the cultural, political and economic forces keeping American tech companies out of Chinese markets. In the process, we’ll learn how to invest in the homegrown firms that are dominating China’s growing online presence.

Culture Shock in the Chinese Market

As Matthew Carr explained in a recent article on savings habits, your language has a huge influence on how you see the world. And thus, it influences your actions as a consumer.

The Chinese language is one piece of the puzzle in understanding why American internet companies have failed there. Specifically, their writing system is too different.

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Americans love to type. Our language is written in an alphabet, which makes it easy for us to rattle off our thoughts on a keyboard. That’s why search is so crucial to the structure of the internet in the West.

But Chinese is a pictographic language with no alphabet. It has thousands of character glyphs. And that makes it tough for a Chinese speaker to navigate the web by keyboard.

Instead, they tend to click around much more than we do. That might seem like a small difference, but it leads to very different website architectures. Just look at this screenshot of a Chinese news site below.

china-daily

Chinese sites have far more links than our sites do and far less text fields. It’s a whole different approach to how you design a website. This is one reason why American sites like Facebook, Google and Netflix haven’t gotten traction there. Chinese websites work best when designed by Chinese people.

Of course, it would be wrong to say that writing systems are the only reason Facebook and Google have failed in Chinese markets. That would ignore the political side of China’s unusual internet culture.

Beijing Doesn’t Approve

Western internet companies tend to use a lot of the same buzzwords. Openness. Sharing. Personalization.

These concepts are all well and good in a democracy. But they’re kind of problematic if you’re trying to run a single-party police state. That’s part of the reason why Beijing has been less than welcoming to Western tech firms. Online transparency and Maoism don’t really mix.

The demise of Facebook in China is the best example of conflict between the Chinese Communist Party and Western online services firms.

Western China is home to the Uyghur people, a Muslim minority that has long suffered under Beijing’s rule. In 2009, Uyghur independence activists staged a series of protests around the western Chinese city of Ürümqi. And they used Facebook to coordinate groups of dissidents.

Obviously, this was user-end activity with no involvement from Silicon Valley. But it rattled Chinese authorities and eventually led to a pervasive ban on Facebook on the mainland.

Google has had similar struggles in China. The government demanded that it remove dissenter websites from its search results. Google wasn’t willing to play along, so Beijing regulated it into irrelevance.

Investing in China’s Home-Grown Online Services

Fortunately, there’s a workaround for American investors who want in on Chinese internet growth. Chinese entrepreneurs understand their culture much better than we do. And they know what their government will and won’t tolerate.

As a result, China is home to many successful home-grown online services companies. With support from Beijing, they’ve managed to outcompete their foreign rivals. And many of them are even listed on U.S. stock exchanges.

Want to invest in Chinese Google? Pick up some shares in Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU), the country’s No. 1 search engine. Instead of Facebook, try Renren (NYSE: RENN).

The failure of American online services firms in Chinese markets teaches us a valuable lesson. We’re living in the age of the internet - where connectivity is king. But there are still cultural differences between regions of the world. And those differences should not be ignored by investors.

By understanding the unique circumstances of China’s internet market, you can be a more worldly (and profitable) tech investor.

Source : http://www.investmentu.com/article/detail/53183/why-our-online-services-sector-fails-in-chinese-market#.WHCrVFV95dh

Categorized in Market Research

Middle-aged people who consider themselves tech-savvy are a prime target for internet fraudsters, according to research by the insurer Aviva.

More than a million over-45s have fallen victim to an online scam, even though two thirds call themselves “tech adopters” who embrace new devices.

Aviva’s Real Retirement Report found that those aged between 45 and 64 were more likely to be conned than those between 65 and 74 and are almost as at risk as the over-75s.

The survey showed that 6 per cent of over-45s with internet access had been victims of scams, compared with 4 per cent of 65 to 74-year-olds and 8 per cent of over-75s.

Author : Philip Aldrick

Source : http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/business/internet-fraudsters-take-aim-at-savvy-over-45s-qmp7jwrmh

Categorized in Internet Privacy

The CRTC promises high-speed connections to the rural areas lacking it, but their plan has holes

Going home for the holidays is always a welcome escape from school and the everyday hustle and bustle of life. However, ‘back home’ for me is the boonies, the sticks, the country. While the slower pace is nice, I always get a little more slow than I bargain for. Slow Internet, that is.

Sometimes, it’s slow enough to be deemed unusable. The idea of Internet in the bush is more of a symbol or an idea, a technological feat to strive for, than an actual service. With the United Nations declaring the Internet a basic human right in today’s technology-minded world, it’s astonishing that some rural areas still don’t even have basic access.

I’m not just a millennial with a socially acceptable addiction to being connected: the Internet is essential and crucial to functioning in our current society. So, it’s about time the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s (CRTC) decided to treat broadband Internet access as a “basic telecommunications service,” which means it’s finally time for them to give us in the countryside all the Internet.

They report that they hope to reduce the 18% of Canadian homes without adequate Internet to 10% in the next five years, and eradicate it entirely within the next 10 or 15. They’re also requiring service providers to put money into a fund — projected to grow to about $750 million worth — to facilitate these changes.

This may translate to increased prices on services to compensate. With no regulation on rates accompanying the new mandate, consumers are in a tight spot: if the CRTC makes service providers pay more money, those providers will take it straight from our pockets, and without proper policies in place, there’s no telling whether or not we’re going to be charged fairly.

The overall goal is to be able to offer high-speed Internet services to rural areas, with only the hope that they will be affordable. This isn’t good enough. This doesn’t equate to providing adequate Internet to all citizens, not when that access might itself be unfairly inaccessible for financial reasons. This lack of foresight demonstrates a real failure to provide the fundamental human right. What, exactly, is the CRTC doing?

The CRTC has come under fire for being stuck in the past and an obsolete regulator, but in spite of those flaws, it’s still the only credible Canadian regulator which is separate from government. While policing the Internet has always been frowned upon, financial regulation done in the interest of providing it for everyone at an affordable price would be in the best interests of Canadians.

The Internet has become key to meeting our most basic human needs. Newspaper classifieds have gone the way of the dodo. Finding a job, finding a place to live, and, not to mention, socializing is all done via a broadband connection. Even inmates have the right to access the web. Providing Internet service to all at a respectable speed is imperative, but not the final goal — it needs to be at a reasonable price, and we need to do more to ensure that.

Canada is ranked only 33rd in the world for Internet speed. If the CRTC is going to be relevant in our expanding technological society, it needs to work harder to protect the ‘public interest,’ even if the regulations and policies necessary to truly accomplish that are at the expense of the companies which provide Internet services.

Author: Kendra Nelson
Source: http://www.the-peak.ca/2017/01/stronger-internet-needs-to-come-with-stronger-policies

Categorized in Science & Tech

It was the biggest bout of 2016 in the digital economy: MakeMyTrip (India) versus Union of India & Ors on September 1 in Delhi High Court. The largest travel website in India had filed a writ petition against the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence (DGCEI).

In January 2016, the tax authority arrested a MakeMyTrip (MMT) employee after searches at its Gurgaon premises.

The alleged offence — revenue loss to the government because hotels listed on MMT had not paid service tax. Just six months before this, MMT had been warding off price competition from Ibibo Group, backed by South African conglomerate Naspers; Oyo Rooms, backed by Japan’s Softbank; venture capital-backed Yatra and older nemesis, ClearTrip

Then, suddenly, there was solidarity among travel aggregators, which the high court noted. "There is a common pattern emerging in both cases (MMT and Ibibo) and… the scope of powers of DGCEI requires to be examined." 

Every hotel aggregator was claiming it had more than 25,000 hotels listed on its website (Yatra claimed 36,000). There had been DGCEI searches at the Gurgaon offices of Ibibo and Yatra on January 13 and at ClearTrip’s in Mumbai.

Each company responded with writ petitions claiming the authority’s overreach. One secret all tax advisors know is that the government loves ecommerce to bits. 

At no expense to the government, companies battle each other to build better technology platforms, bringing the informal sector—hotels, taxis, restaurants, single screen cinema halls, shopkeepers—to the digital economy. This helps the government form a money trail that didn’t exist.

Predictably, thus, DGCEI lost the high court case. But it was able to counter MMT’s claim of agreements with more than 30,000 hotels. DGCEI said the website possessed PAN details of only 3,922 hotels, "of which 1,728 were not even registered with service tax authorities."



Though its effort to make MMT liable for listed hotels’ tax losses was wrong, as the court ruled, DGCEI had managed to trace a money trail to less than 2,000 hotels in the informal economy using just one travel website.

The DGCEI offensive was a surprise for online travel aggregators (OTA) in India, which regrouped against the government— and won.

When MMT chairman Deep Kalra spoke with ET recently, he reflected on that phase. "Had we (OTAs) had an association at that time, we could have taken an even stronger stand. When a serious issue hits you, an association can help a company because it has that credibility."

Lack of such a body or think-tank is ailing India’s consumer internet industry, which is estimated by RedSeer Consulting to have brought $45 billion worth of goods and services online last year. (More than 30 per cent of this is because of Indian Railways’ online bookings and the OTAs.)

More remarkably, in a departure from China, the local landscape has both size (331 million internet users) and diversity for customers. This means myriad types of companies and ideologies.

While Google and Facebook dominate their mainstay search and social network business, Google browser Chrome is battling Alibaba-owned UCWeb from China for the Indian smartphone user.

Can internet industry based in metros and diversified across sectors find a cohesive voice?

In etail, Amazon vs Flipkart isn’t the two-horse race it’s often billed as. Even Snapdeal, ShopClues and Paytm users shop online and Alibaba has just launched operations. Since 2010, less than $20 billion has gone into creating online category battles involving more than 3,000 startups.

Even as foreign investors such as Sequoia, Accel, Tiger Global, Alibaba and Softbank increased their India exposure like never before, the industry that was born competed aggressively to build technology and bring informal sectors online.



"Entrepreneurs are yet to come together. They have fallen short in finding that unified purpose," said a venture capital investor in Bengaluru, who requested anonymity.

There were murmurs of Flipkart cofounder Sachin Bansal starting a separate ecommerce body last year but not much has come of it. The think tank vacuum is as conspicuous as the local market is globalised.

Even as late as in 2013, the industry counted on Google’s Rajan Anandan to bring legitimacy to fashion portals from India, such as Myntra. It didn’t matter that Anandan was born in Sri Lanka, or that he is managing director of America-bred Google’s South East Asia and India operations.

For fashion and apparel companies and sellers, a Google guy’s endorsement at Myntra conferences brought credibility to a nascent sector, also because he was then chairing industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

It still isn’t rare for the affable Anandan to be a keynote speaker at developers and software-as-a-service conferences in India, as he was part of the September 2015 launch of ed-tech portal Udacity’s launch in India.

He has invested in almost 50 startups in this region, a testament to how Anandan —and, by extension, Google—is culturally entrenched in India. But fissures are beginning to show. Is Anandan a messiah or mercenary? "Google makes money out of the digital economy which Rajan champions," noted the Bengaluru VC investor quoted earlier.

His larger point was, "We need that one guy who people value and respect as an independent voice, who connects and has the concern and a sense of mission-mode to emerge as a leader for the industry."

Can internet industry based in metros and diversified across sectors find a cohesive voice?

Considering the scale, velocity and size of the industry, the time and effort required is huge. "That person has not emerged," said the investor. It has to be a full-time pursuit, as in the case of the late Dewang Mehta for Nasscom (IT industry), Tarun Das (Confederation of Indian Industry) and, more recently, Sharad Sharma at iSPIRT (software product industry). In Delhi’s lobbying circles, the internet industry is seen as a spoilt brat.



Sample a couple of perceptions — the money is drying but entrepreneurs’ capabilities haven’t gone up dramatically. Second, this is a two-sided market where buyers and sellers are getting subsidised for market share. 

"They (Ecommerce companies) should all sit in a room — if one company decides to stop such subsidies, others need to agree as an ‘association,’ that they won’t allow contrary practices because they are anti-competitive. Right now, ‘Indian vs American’ or ‘Chinese vs Indian’ is an outcome of lack of unity, which no current industry association can fix," an industry observer in Delhi explained. 

The view from Bengaluru is a study in contrast. It is put down to a divide between the cities. "It’s almost like you have to be in Delhi to be influential, which means a significant amount of entrepreneurs’ time has to be spent in the National Capital to be influential," the VC investor said.

In 2014, Nasscom carved out the Internet, Mobile and Ecommerce Council (NIMEC), chaired by veteran Sanjeev Bikhchandani, who founded online classifieds company Info Edge, best known for jobs website Naukri.com. 

NIMEC is co-chaired by Kunal Bahl, cofounder of Snapdeal. There are also nine members and two special invitees (chief executives of Yepme and Zomato). Of the nine, five are CEOs of companies headquartered in Delhi (MMT, Paytm, PolicyBazaar, Jaypore and Google India). 

In all, nine of the 13 companies in the council representation are headquartered in Delhi. The rest are Latif Nathani of eBay (Mumbai), Murugavel Janakiraman of Matrimony.com (Chennai) while Bhavish Aggarwal of Ola Cabs and Amit Agarwal of Amazon sit in Bengaluru. If the industry representation is by category, there are four online retail companies and then a spate of aggregators (classifieds, travel, food tech, payments and so on).

But NIMEC is not a true mirror of the representation or influence of Bengalurubased companies, where most of the capital has been infused. Bengaluru as a market too has a record of high volume of users and fast uptake of internet services. 

This reflects in employment generated by Bengaluru companies, notably Flipkart. Bikhchandani countered this, saying the current 11 members do not restrict the agenda.



"All discussions are with the larger set of companies that is directly affected," he said by email. For instance, there have been goods and services tax (GST) discussions with every ecommerce member of Nasscom, including Flipkart. Payment inputs have been taken from Visa, Mastercard and Flipkart, among others who are not council members. 

There have been policy discussions on connectivity with Nasscom members who are not on the council, even emerging but key internet businesses from Bengaluru like UrbanClap (local home services) and Practo (healthcare appointments). 

"This is a diverse industry," said Bikhchandani."Ecommerce spans sectors — transport, travel, retail, pharma or payments — with different needs and focus areas. Even in the same sub-sector, we have had differences (say in etail) but finally, they come together to a common set of recommendations." 

Bikhchandani cited the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Press Note 3, which spelt out guidelines for FDI in ecommerce. Similarly, Nasscom inputs went to the recent Ratan Watal Committee to review the digital payments framework. 

"The internet industry has strong internal competition. However, cohesive voices do emerge," said Bikhchandani, adding that both Nasscom and IAMAI are effective industry bodies. Another Nasscom official noted that perceptions vary across generations, with two stark extremes.

"Bikhchandani, now in his 50s, has been through a number of phases, including a job and the early days of the internet. On the other hand, you have very, very young startups–take the other extreme of a Rahul Yadav, who co-founded Housing.com right after IIT and is the bad boy of the startup world," he explained.

There are far lower levels of patience among founders of new age internet companies. IAMAI and Nasscom measure themselves by government action on their policy recommendations — with, say, Telecom Regulatory Association of India (Trai) and DIPP — not high-decibel statements to the media.

"We are business associations in the vein of CII, Ficci or Assocham," said Subho Ray, IAMAI president since 2006. "But yes, a think tank is required to focus on the impact of internet . As business associations, we may lack the correct representation when it comes to assessing technology impact." 

A think tank will call on industry players to go beyond their companies and individual interests and drive neutral policy. Lack of such a think tank is showing in how ‘additional factor of authentication,’ an RBI stipulation of payment gateway for internet companies, is applied for local companies and global competitors who have payment gateways outside India. 

"The reality in aspects like two-factor authentication, which is a massive issue in digital payments, is that companies are actually disadvantaged," MMT’s Kalra told ET, calling for a level playing field.

The software product industry has a think tank in iSPIRT, run by Sharad Sharma. The digital industry is still looking for that voice, even as public sector behemoths like State Bank of India challenge Paytm’s credentials because it is seen to be less of an Indian company owing to its Chinese investors. 

As OTAs have discovered, in a diverse and even divided field, it takes a government hand to push the internet industry toward unity.

Author: Kunal Talgeri
Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/internet/can-internet-industry-based-in-metros-and-diversified-across-sectors-find-a-cohesive-voice/articleshow/56302210.cms

Categorized in Science & Tech

THE Internet has become such an integral part of life that it’s hard to imagine how we all got by without it not so many years ago.

It has changed the operations of industry, the way we conduct our daily lives, our social and family relationships and the delivery of public services. In a sense, it has redefined who we are.

Now that the digital revolution has become so entrenched, where does it go from here?

Special segment

For one thing, the Internet has broken down into special interest segments with new players entering all the time. That trend is certain to continue. Concurrently, the giants of the Internet are flexing their muscles in more directions to safeguard their market domination.

While the growth of China’s web users has been moderating, the numbers of smartphone users have been rising steadily. That creates new opportunities for a wide range of relatively small but viral mobile Internet services, such as live-streaming and audio streaming.

The state-backed China Internet Network Information Center said Internet penetration rate was 51.7 percent at the end of last June, up 1.4 percentage points from the start of last year. Mobile Internet users accounted for 92.5 percent of the online population, up 2.4 percentage points in the six months.

Brand producers and online retailers are using Internet tools like live-streaming to reach young adults or target audiences like gamers, travelers or fashion lovers.

Credit Suisse estimates that China’s live streaming market size in 2016 exceeded 25 billion yuan (US$3.6 billion), nearly double a year earlier. Annual growth this year is expected to moderate to about 5 percent, for a market valued at 33 billion yuan.

Ma Yuan, head of BOCOM International’s Internet research center, wrote in a research note that the demographic dividend that once propelled China’s Internet industry is already fading, while new growth potential will come from more segmented areas.

“Investors should pay more attention to cross-segment innovations, such as payment systems, online education and financial services, “ she noted.

An increasing number of companies are expected to adopt new technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality to enhance interaction for online users.

Internet giants are continuously trying to make inroads into rival turf. Alibaba’s online retail site Tmall is moving into the online grocery sector, while its payment affiliate Alipay is seeking to add more interactive elements to take it beyond just being a digital wallet.

In late December, Alipay unveiled an augmented reality feature in its smartphone application, allowing use of physical objects as landmarks to send or receive digital “red packets.”

WeChat’s payment service, on the other hand, is quickly catching up with Alipay in terms of daily volumes. According to Bocom International’s research, Alipay’s overall mobile payment size was 3.3 times that of WeChat’s in 2015. The gap narrowed to twofold in 2016 and is expected to be 1.9 times this year.

Video blogging

Wu Xiaobo, a writer and producer in the business and economics realm, predicted video blogging would re-emerge as a hot-button item this year and live-streaming services would become a mainstream function adopted by almost every online player.

“The younger generation of online users spends much more time watching videos than previous generations,” he said. “Not only entertainment shows, but also educational and information-based video bloggers will emerge.”

Wu told the recent Tencent Tengyun Think Tank forum that Internet infrastructure, including payment systems and audio and video streaming, is now fully developed and users are more willing to pay for such digital content than they were in the past.

His own online video channel on iQiyi.com has a collective viewership of more than 100 million since mid-2014, and his for-fee audio programs spanning nearly 300 episodes have been played more than four million times on the Shanghai-based online audio streaming application Ximalaya FM.

Sandy Chen, a senior director at Kantar TNS China, said more independent social networking services targeting specific online user groups will emerge.

“Internet services are moving very fast, and a lot of investment is still willing to go into sub-divisions of e-commerce or social networking areas as long as these services have a unique selling point,” she told Shanghai Daily.

Real money

Indeed, there’s some real money to be made from Internet services nowadays.

Online subscriptions for paid audio-programs reached 50 million yuan during a campaign last month by Ximalaya FM.

And there’s no sign of a let-up in consumer enthusiasm toward online shopping. During Alibaba’s annual 24-hour shopping spree on “Singles Day” in November, sales soared 32 percent from a year earlier to a jaw-dropping 120.7 billion yuan.

China is expected to unveil a new e-commerce law early this year. It’s currently under review by the National People’s Congress. Industry insiders predict that individual online sellers may be subject to tax regulations and business licensing requirement may be instituted.

China’s online retail sales in the first eleven months of 2016 surged 26 percent from a year earlier to nearly 3.75 trillion yuan, outpacing the 10.4 percent growth in total retail sales.

The booming sector also comes with a host of problems and loopholes that make supervision and regulation relatively difficult. For example, some online vendors have faked transaction records or strong-armed consumers to write good reviews about their products.

According to the 13th Five Year Plan for national informatization released by the State Council last week, China aims to expand e-commerce transactions to more than 38 trillion yuan, up from 21.8 trillion in 2015 and online retail sales is expected to maintain an average 20.8 percent annual growth through 2020.

Cao Lei, director of the China E-Commerce Research Center, has called for a preferential tax rate for individual online sellers in order to protect smaller players.

“But business license registration for online vendors could help e-commerce platforms and government agencies better regulate the industry and make transaction data more transparent,” he said.

The retail industry as a whole has its fingers crossed that sales will continue to climb amid a backdrop of moderate GDP growth.

In the first 11 months of 2016, retail sales of consumer goods rose 10.4 percent from a year ago to 30 trillion yuan, with online sales comprising 12.5 percent.

Chu Dong, deputy secretary-general of the China Chain Store and Franchise Association, said both online and offline retailers should place more emphasis on better serving consumers in terms of product innovation and distribution. Brand retailers and manufacturers should link up more closely.

Industry watchers are also expecting online and offline retailers to build more integrated inventory management systems as purchasing lines through both channels begin to blur.

Author: Ding Yining
Source: http://www.shanghaidaily.com/business/benchmark/Internet-becomes-abusiness-kaleidoscope/shdaily.shtml

Categorized in Business Research

Nothing may have had as bad of a year as the Internet.

The Internet has been hit with an onslaught of criticism and suffered several setbacks in 2016: from relinquishment of American control over web address management, introduced surveillance measures in the United Kingdom, social media backlash for users’ hate speech and terrorist affiliations, to censorship and fake news.

The Obama administration let a contract with an American corporation expire at the very end of September, so that a central portion of Internet governance control could be handed over to an international bureaucracy.

Now countries like China, which have vastly different perspectives on freedom of speech than America, will have a say in how Internet addresses will be managed.

In October, a large portion of websites were shutdown for the majority of the Northeast in America. Now that power has been shared with other countries, such attacks could be harder to overcome and thus could become a severe and regular problem for America’s internet infrastructure, which is absolutely critical for a number of things like the country’s electoral process, national security and commerce.

The U.K. passed a surveillance bill in November that significantly expands the government’s spying powers, namely over the Internet. The Investigatory Powers Bill is considered so expansive, it’s informally called the “snoopers’ charter.” The European Union’s top court ruled the measure was illegal because it calls for the “general and indiscriminate” retention of people’s online web traffic, but it remains to be seen if the ruling will ultimately matter.

“The U.K.’s new Investigatory Powers bill sets a chilling precedent for surveillance and online free speech in the West,” Ryan Hagemann, technology and civil liberties policy analyst at the Niskanen Center, told the The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Americans should definitely be concerned about the expansion of surveillance authorities in Europe, especially with the rising tide of ethno-nationalism and right-wing populism throughout much of the continent.”

Tech platforms like YouTube and Twitter have engaged in censorship by removing accounts such as ones associated with the alt-right — going against the companies’ usual mindset of being absolutely for free speech.

In fact, there are a number of instances of Silicon Valley burying conservative news, from Facebook’s trending list, to Google’s search engine.

These same tech companies have been sued over the past year by a number of people, including the family members of the victims of the Orlando Night Club shootingthe Paris attacks, and Palestinian bombings. The plaintiffs in these cases argue that tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are complicit with terrorists because such evildoers use the platforms they offer, thus providing “material support.”

Several legal experts and lawyers told The Daily Caller News Foundation that such legal actions are unsubstantiated and misguided because of multipleexplicit laws already on the books.

“Those lawsuits are going nowhere. Service providers can’t be held liable just for providing accounts to bad speakers who would use the accounts to convey bad messages. See, e.g., Fields v. Twitter,” Eugene Volokh, professor at the UCLA School of Law, told TheDCNF.

Yet, several parties are still suing these tech companies, potentially harming the sanctity of freedom of speech on the Internet.

Along with first amendment concerns, there were heated battles between law enforcement and tech companies over encryption, which touches upon the Fourth and Fifth Amendment, amongst other principles.

The FBI demanded that Apple unlock the iPhone 5c of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two San Bernardino shooters. A federal court at the time agreed and ordered that Apple do so, which CEO Tim Cook said would require creating a new technological tool.

Cook called it “unprecedented” and “chilling” since “building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a back door. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”

Cook states that if it had created such a tool, encryption, the process of encoding data so only the authorized parties can see it, would have been compromised, thus significantly harming people’s online privacy.

And there’s the fake news dilemma, where people are worried that uncorroborated stories are becoming too available for people to see on the Internet. People have called on Facebook to fix the problem since it’s a social media platform where news is disseminated.

Mark Zuckerberg named Snopes, a media outlet, as one of the entities that will help them in labeling stories as “fake news.” This will likely lead to subjective censorship of conservative viewpoints, since Snopes almost exclusively employs people who are left-leaning.

So while the bleakness for the Internet in 2016 was fairly apparent, what does 2017 have in store?

While Hagemann says its always difficult to make predictions, he thinks because of “the battles over encryption here in the U.S., the passage of the Investigatory Powers bill in the U.K., and the year-end focus on fake news, the Internet isn’t the electronic frontier it used to be.”

“The reality of politics and policy have crept into cyberspace. I think 2017 will be the year the last vestiges of cyberfrontier life finally wither away,” Hagemann explained.

So as the Internet becomes increasingly pervasive in society, so too will the questioning of its role.

“In the end, the Internet is just a reflection of the real world, warts and all. In the short run, I’m sure we’ll continue dealing with issues like fake news, terrorist recruitment through social media, and concerns over government surveillance. In the long run, however, I’m definitely optimistic for the future of humanity, in both the real world and the world of atoms,” Hagemann concluded.

Author: Eric Lieberman
Source: http://dailycaller.com

Categorized in Science & Tech

Nothing may have had as bad of a year as the Internet.

The Internet has been hit with an onslaught of criticism and suffered several setbacks in 2016: from relinquishment of American control over web address management, introduced surveillance measures in the United Kingdom, social media backlash for users’ hate speech and terrorist affiliations, to censorship and fake news.

The Obama administration let a contract with an American corporation expire at the very end of September, so that a central portion of Internet governance control could be handed over to an international bureaucracy.

Now countries like China, which have vastly different perspectives on freedom of speech than America, will have a say in how Internet addresses will be managed.

In October, a large portion of websites were shutdown for the majority of the Northeast in America. Now that power has been shared with other countries, such attacks could be harder to overcome and thus could become a severe and regular problem for America’s internet infrastructure, which is absolutely critical for a number of things like the country’s electoral process, national security and commerce.

The U.K. passed a surveillance bill in November that significantly expands the government’s spying powers, namely over the Internet. The Investigatory Powers Bill is considered so expansive, it’s informally called the “snoopers’ charter.” The European Union’s top court ruled the measure was illegal because it calls for the “general and indiscriminate” retention of people’s online web traffic, but it remains to be seen if the ruling will ultimately matter.

“The U.K.’s new Investigatory Powers bill sets a chilling precedent for surveillance and online free speech in the West,” Ryan Hagemann, technology and civil liberties policy analyst at the Niskanen Center, told the The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Americans should definitely be concerned about the expansion of surveillance authorities in Europe, especially with the rising tide of ethno-nationalism and right-wing populism throughout much of the continent.”

Tech platforms like YouTube and Twitter have engaged in censorship by removing accounts such as ones associated with the alt-right — going against the companies’ usual mindset of being absolutely for free speech.

In fact, there are a number of instances of Silicon Valley burying conservative news, from Facebook’s trending list, to Google’s search engine.

These same tech companies have been sued over the past year by a number of people, including the family members of the victims of the Orlando Night Club shootingthe Paris attacks, and Palestinian bombings. The plaintiffs in these cases argue that tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are complicit with terrorists because such evildoers use the platforms they offer, thus providing “material support.”

Several legal experts and lawyers told The Daily Caller News Foundation that such legal actions are unsubstantiated and misguided because of multipleexplicit laws already on the books.

“Those lawsuits are going nowhere. Service providers can’t be held liable just for providing accounts to bad speakers who would use the accounts to convey bad messages. See, e.g., Fields v. Twitter,” Eugene Volokh, professor at the UCLA School of Law, told TheDCNF.

Yet, several parties are still suing these tech companies, potentially harming the sanctity of freedom of speech on the Internet.

Along with first amendment concerns, there were heated battles between law enforcement and tech companies over encryption, which touches upon the Fourth and Fifth Amendment, amongst other principles.

The FBI demanded that Apple unlock the iPhone 5c of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the two San Bernardino shooters. A federal court at the time agreed and ordered that Apple do so, which CEO Tim Cook said would require creating a new technological tool.

Cook called it “unprecedented” and “chilling” since “building a version of iOS that bypasses security in this way would undeniably create a back door. And while the government may argue that its use would be limited to this case, there is no way to guarantee such control.”

Cook states that if it had created such a tool, encryption, the process of encoding data so only the authorized parties can see it, would have been compromised, thus significantly harming people’s online privacy.

And there’s the fake news dilemma, where people are worried that uncorroborated stories are becoming too available for people to see on the Internet. People have called on Facebook to fix the problem since it’s a social media platform where news is disseminated.

Mark Zuckerberg named Snopes, a media outlet, as one of the entities that will help them in labeling stories as “fake news.” This will likely lead to subjective censorship of conservative viewpoints, since Snopes almost exclusively employs people who are left-leaning.

So while the bleakness for the Internet in 2016 was fairly apparent, what does 2017 have in store?

While Hagemann says its always difficult to make predictions, he thinks because of “the battles over encryption here in the U.S., the passage of the Investigatory Powers bill in the U.K., and the year-end focus on fake news, the Internet isn’t the electronic frontier it used to be.”

“The reality of politics and policy have crept into cyberspace. I think 2017 will be the year the last vestiges of cyberfrontier life finally wither away,” Hagemann explained.

So as the Internet becomes increasingly pervasive in society, so too will the questioning of its role.

“In the end, the Internet is just a reflection of the real world, warts and all. In the short run, I’m sure we’ll continue dealing with issues like fake news, terrorist recruitment through social media, and concerns over government surveillance. In the long run, however, I’m definitely optimistic for the future of humanity, in both the real world and the world of atoms,” Hagemann concluded.

Author: Eric Lieberman
Source: http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/01/2016s-assault-on-the-internet-was-brutal-will-2017-be-worse

Categorized in Science & Tech

Many of you after reading the title will be like “Okay Google is number 1”. Well yes it is and will be the top search engine for many more years to come. So why this post of best search engines in the world?? Well as a blogger and an SEO Analyst its always important to keep track of the things around you, specially the things which have a direct impact on you and your work.

I would also like to include stats from one of my website for which I even haven’t even done Google Webmasters !! But know what !! I am making 1000$ every month from that site and all of the traffic is organic !! Not from Google but from 2-3 other search engines.

Now don’t ask me why not Google !!!  I will still answer it.

  • Because the Competition on Google is really high and it’s not easy !!
  • The search engines I am working on are getting equally good searches for the same keywords.
  • And yes Google is not everything for me.

So… Should I begin with the list ??

Before that I would also would like to give you all a small homework. Once you read this post, do a research on the ranking factors of the different search engines. Yes, some of them will be just based on Google’s factors but I can assure you that few of them are completely different in their working.

Why Should we Know about Google Alternatives ?

“Don’t do Evil” – Google

But !!! Yeah it can be seen that Google has very well started doing many activities that are quite unwell for website owners.

They added various new features to search which resulted in a huge decline in traffic of numerous websites. The introduction of “Google Knowledge Graph“ is something that many of the webmasters are angry at.

And as it looks, Google is trying to give answers to all user queries in the knowledge graph itself which ultimately leads to lesser number of clicks from search. Here’s an example:

Google knowledge graph

There are many more reasons that explains this anger of webmasters and online business owners.

Best Search Engines List: Top 10

Again let me tell you that apart from Google, other search-engines also provide millions of queries to users daily. So there are plenty of search engines out there which can serve you both as a user or as a webmaster ( in terms of generating traffic+revenue)

Here’s the list of best and most popular search engines (as of 2016).

1. Google

To be honest, Google search engine is the best and the most advanced search engine. Over 70% of online searches are done via Google which clearly shows its dominance in the industry.

google search engine

It has many advanced options and features that helps users to get their desired result at the earliest. Features like calculator, calendar, flight tracking, currency convertors, stock market numbers, Sporting schedules etc on the result page itself gives users the best searching experience.

2. Youtube

Believe it or not,  Youtube is the second largest search engine !! Well yes I have listed it here, Youtube gets searches more than the combined of Bing, Yahoo and AOL.

youtube search engine

As per the report on socially stacked, YouTube processes over 3 billion queries a month which is more than Yahoo, Bing, ask and Aol combined.

By this one thing is clear, Engaging and visual content will always be the top preference of internet users worldwide.  So if you are planning to start a blog on something, pause for a moment and think of starting a youtube channel. Do think of it. 

3. Bing

Although Google rules the industry of online searches, Bing still has a good hold in the market. Around 10-15% of searches from United States are performed on BING search Engine.

bing search engine

Talking about Bing’s homepage, it changes daily with super high quality pictures. Also like Google, Bing also started giving direct results to multiple type of queries like calculations, conversions, tracking, sporting etc.

4. Yahoo

A portion of online users still prefer using yahoo for their daily search queries. One important reason for this is due to the homepage of Yahoo which itself is a complete news website with daily news, updates and happenings being displayed. This is why many users still use Yahoo !!

yahoo search engine

Another impressive offer by yahoo is its Yahoo answers which provides users answers to all their questions. However since the launch of Quora, there has been a big decline in activity at yahoo answers.

5. Ask.com

Originally named as Ask Jeeves, ask.com is still very much the first choice for a lot of users in the USA. It accounts for 3% of the total search market. The quality of search results are still not well enough to satisfy the user.

ask.com search engine

It’s more of a question answer based engine where users themselves can answer the questions asked by others.

6. Baidu

Google is still not the dominant force in China as Baidu rules the search industry with over 70% market share. Baidu is ranked 4th in Alexa worldwide and is the number1 1 site in China.

baidu search engine

Moreover as per the reports from China internet watch website, Baidu is ranked 2nd in the total net search ad revenue beating Microsoft and Yahoo with a revenue of 7.18 Billion in 2015.

china-search-engine-baidu-sougou

7. Aol

A US based company with a search engine market share of 0.15% according to netmarketshare. Here’s a look AOL.com homepage.

aol search engine

8. Yandex

We have seen a Chinese search engine (Baidu), now this is a Russian founded search engine. Yandex has become quite popular search engine in Russia and in many parts of Europe. It has a 55-65% market share in the Russian Search market.

Yandex search engine

9. DuckDuckGo

I really love this one !! Well many reasons, firstly it has a very clean interface !! Something which Google is not very good at.

Moreover DuckDuckgo never tracks you or your activities !! yes surf anonymously !!  Moreover you don’t have to move onto other pages, duckduckgo offers infinite scrolling in a very user friendly manner.

duckduckgo search engine

10. WayBack Machine

This again is not really a search engine, it’s rather an engine that allows you to look over the history of any page on the internet. It claims to contain the history of over 480 billion pages on the internet.

I have added this into the list because as a SEO person this site is something we all visit to learn about the history of pages.

Here’s how it shows for iftiSEO.com

wayback machine

Moreover for your future reference, it also allows you to save your page at any particular instant of time.

11. Lycos

One of the oldest search engines which was founded in 1994 and was quite common in the past. It currently has only 0.01% desktop search engine market share.

Here’s a snap from the search engine:

lycos search engine

Other Search Engines List

So we have already shared 11 search engines above, but it still doesn’t cover a lot of engine. Here are few more search engines that you must be knowing about.

So I have added plenty of top, best and popular search engines of 2016. But I guess you still will be using the same Google  Right !! Do comment on any more search engines that you wish to get added in this list.

Author : Iftekhar Ahmed

Source : http://www.iftiseo.com/2016/02/top-search-engines-list.html

Categorized in Search Engine

Sadly, it was a good year for misogyny, Editorial Dec. 28

Unfortunately misogyny is not limited to politics. As Status of Women Minister Patty Hajdu said, it exists in public spheres and online. The anonymity of the Internet encourages misogynists to spew out hatred unchecked and with greater ferocity. However, the minister should enforce the law when threats of violence or death are aimed at elected politicians.

Politics has become a war zone where women are the enemy to those who desire power. If Justin Trudeau is sincere about equality, he needs to speak to and end the vitriol.

There are many good men out there, who are equally disgusted by the maltreatment and violence towards women. If only they would speak up. It’s time.

Author : Diane Sullivan

Source :  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editors/2017/01/01/internet-anonymity-fueling-misogyny.html

Categorized in Online Research

The meme that 2016 has been the “worst year ever” has certainly had a lot of material to work with in these last days before 2017 arrives.

But while many have found Internet culture in 2016 to be irredeemable, this past year wasn’t all bad on the Internet for us as individuals. So I asked some of my colleagues to send me stories about where, personally, they found the good on the Internet this year, for one last look at some of its small bright spots, before we get on with the task of finding 2017 to be even worse.

Self-care lists

In the midst of a 2016 that bombarded us with wave after wave of hate and fear, Tumblr’s self-care master lists were my refuge. Even just seeing the tips in numbered order , helpfully suggesting different self-soothers, felt calming in its own way. “Put on comfy clothes.” “Drink some water.” “Play with a pet.” “My personal favorite: this master list of master lists . Even if you can’t change the world, a bath bomb can. Or more accurately, maybe someone nice on Tumblr can, gently reminding you to indulge in some bath bombs. “You deserve it” — sometimes I wish I could wrap those three words around me forever. — Julia Carpenter 

The country of New Zealand 

Somehow, among all the churning badness of Twitter culture, I managed to make a friend on the platform. That friend is a dairy farmer in New Zealand, whom I had to contact in February to confirm that he did, in fact, send a picture of his dog to someone to have it rated on a scale of 1-10 (it’s a long story; digital culture is a weird beat). He replied with a beautifully-told email in response to what was, essentially, a random reporter asking him for a couple of fact confirmations.

See all those likes and retweets? Those came mostly from New Zealanders, because what followed was a long-lasting absorption into “New Zealand Twitter,” which has been mostly delightful. For months, Twitter’s algorithm decided (correctly) that those tweets were ones I’d like to see again:

Making a friend on the Internet isn’t a monumental achievement, but for me, in this year where we’ve learned a lot about the real-life consequences of the worst parts of Internet culture, it helped to remind me of what I used to like so much about being online in the first place. — Abby Ohlheiser

Goldendoodles

Most days, scrolling through my Facebook news feed can feel like an assault on my peace of mind. As has been well-documented this election cycle, Facebook has become deeply partisan, emotional and vitriolic — and yet every day, I return. Yes, it’s partially because it’s my job to be on Facebook. But I’ve also discovered the most wonderful community on Facebook in the form of a public group somewhat inelegantly named “Goldendoodle’s friend and family!!” or GFAF, as I’ll call it.

GFAF is composed of nearly 6,000 goldendoodle owners and lovers who literally post pictures of their dogs cuddling with teddy bears, riding in the passenger seat of cars, or running around the house fresh from a bath. Members also exchange food recommendations, behavioral challenges and tips for combing through doodles’ matted hair.

For the uninitiated, goldendoodle owners are a bit … obsessive. But you can’t blame them. Goldendoodles, a designer dog mix of a poodle and a golden retriever, are truly the most perfect form of animal. They possess the poodle’s intelligence and the retriever’s allegiance. Their eyes are deeply emotive, and they look like giant teddy bears. Also, they’re hypoallergenic.

Doodle owners know this, and in GFAF, they’ve found their people. It’s a full-throated and elated celebration of these dogs who are just so darn cute. GFAF members live all over the country and undoubtedly hold myriad political beliefs, but in this group, they can all agree on this one thing. It’s a welcome break from the rest of the Internet — even for those of us without goldendoodles. — Alex Laughlin

Ron Lehker, the 90-year-old Redditor

Nearly every day this year, a now 91-year-old man living in Washington, D.C., has slowly climbed the stairs to his third floor attic, set his cane aside, and sat down in front of Reddit.com. Ron Lehker’s grandson first got him hooked in January. He posted a photo of his white-haired, blue-eyed grandfather on the “Ask Me Anything” thread.  “I Am 90 Years Old — An officer during WWII, a retired educator, and more engaged with society today than I’ve ever been before. AMA!” More than a thousand questions flooded in.

Hi! If you would want everyone to know one thing, what would it be?

How much porn do you watch?

Would you say your love for your new partner is the “same” as the love you had for your wife of 43 years?

Ron carefully reads each inquiry, then leans back in his chair and thinks deeply about what his 91 years have taught him.

“OMG! I love the new social media,” he wrote to the person who asked about his love for his wife. “Such a fascinating way to connect, yet so sterile in its ability for us to get acquainted …”

It’s been nearly a year since people started asking questions, and Ron’s AMAs are buried deep in the mountain of nonsense on Reddit. But all that matters to him is that every person who reached out to him gets a response, even if no one else reads it. Ron provides wisdom on love and loss, religion and politics, living and dying.

He is the Internet in its purest and best form: connecting people who need each other, even if they’ll never meet. — Jessica Contrera

Group chats

2016 has been a pretty weird year for anyone who likes to spend time online. This year, however, I’m thankful for a corner of the Internet in which I’ve found solace: group chats.

To be clear, there is nothing new about group chats. I discovered them like I discover most popular things: late and then aggressively. There’s a good chance you’ve been in a group chat if you’ve ever used GroupMe, WeChat, Gchat, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Kik or Instagram DMs. They’re actually hard to avoid.

The particular chat that rekindled my love with the Internet happens to be a Facebook Messenger chat with some friends from college.

Some of them still live in our college town, others have moved, and it spans a couple of graduating classes. While we were all friends in college, we weren’t any sort of tightknit group at the time. The chat itself started sometime last February as a forum to discuss Kanye West’s then-new album “The Life of Pablo,” and, well, we never stopped. We still discuss music, but the conversations have meandered into television, sports, employment, unemployment, “graduate school?” and the general aspirations and fears of 20-somethings on the precipice of “real” adulthood. We roast each other. We coach each other up before job interviews. We have inside jokes. We go into the settings and change each other’s display names (in November, they were all Thanksgiving related; this month, they’re all Christmas puns). Mostly, it’s very friendly, and we’re all pretty positive and supportive with each other.

People’s online personas don’t always match with who they are in real life. I’m a reserved person IRL, and I tend to steer toward the more performative, less personal social networks like Instagram and Twitter. It’s been nice to have a closed-off platform, with people I trust, where I can relax and be the big ol’ goofus I am. There’s an element of trust in a closed group, and it’s a stark contrast from virtually every other second I spend on the Internet. — Ric Sanchez

The Teens 

Source: GiphyThe teens never asked for much.

And yet, they are benevolent bunch, giving us so much when we’ve given them so little in return. Considering what we have gifted them — melting polar ice caps that threaten our way of life and a national debt well into the trillions — you’d think the teens wouldn’t be so generous. But it is their altruism, as evidenced by their ceaseless production of the purest memes, that I am most thankful for this year.

Whether I’m scrolling through my Instagram Explore tab or checking Tumblr, I know the boundless creativity of the teens will always greet me, pulling me out of whatever spiraling sense of despair I’ve found myself in. Be it their PSAT memes , their enthusiastic support of their peers , their ability to create a cultural phenomenon out of a frog on a unicycle that once appeared in a physics textbook or their array of viral challenges , the teens are creating some of the most wholesome content on the Internet.

I — we — need the teens now more than ever. In a country plagued by increasing divisiveness and less-than-wholesome political discourse, I fear that the only people capable of bringing us together are the teens and their memes. — Tanya Sichynsky

Author: Abby Ohlheiser
Source: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/these-were-our-bright-spots-on-the-internet-in-2016/ar-BBxLMmV

Categorized in Science & Tech

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