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If you ever wanted to feel truly bad about the future of humanity, just visit the YouTube comments section. The YouTube comments section has had a well-deserved horrible reputation for a long time.

But now YouTube is trying to change that.

YouTube is rolling out some new features that are designed to improve conversation in your comments section and also filter out the comment trolls.

Here are six YouTube features you can use to clean up your comments section to help increase engagement

1. Pinning Comments

Similar to how you can pin tweets to the top of your timeline, YouTube now lets you pin a comment to the top of your feed. You can promote any one comment you want from your feed.

“This lets you highlight great engagement from your fans or share information with your audience,” according to YouTube.

2. Giving a Heart to Great Comments

Whenever you see a comment you like, you can give it some love. YouTube now lets you give a heart to comments.

This works the same as on other social platforms (Twitter, Instagram, etc.) – it’s all about rewarding comments with the goal of encouraging more engagement (and better comments).

3. Highlighting Your Username

YouTube is adding what it calls a “pop of color” around your user name whenever you post a comment on your channel.

This is “so your viewers can easily tell that the comment is coming from you,” according to YouTube. “If you are a verified creator, you will still have a verification checkmark appear beside your name.”

4. Opting in to YouTube’s Comment Algorithm

YouTube is testing a new opt-in moderation setting that will algorithmically hold potentially inappropriate comments for review. Though YouTube acknowledged that the feature won’t be perfect at first.

“If you choose to opt-in, comments identified by our algorithm will be held and you have the final decision whether to approve, hide, or report these comments,” according to YouTube. “We recognize that the algorithms will not always be accurate: the beta feature may hold some comments you deem fine for approval, or may not catch comments you’d like to hold and remove.”

5. Creating a Blacklist

Want to block certain words or phrases (or even links) from appearing in your comments section? You can. All you have to do is add them to your Blacklist.

Any comments containing or closely matching the specific words you’ve added to Blacklist will be held for your review.

6. Choosing Moderators

Since June, YouTube has let creators assign multiple moderators to a channel. Any user with a YouTube channel can become a moderator.

These moderators can flag comments for removal. Flagged comments remain in a “Held for Review” queue until the creator approves or deletes it.

Source : searchenginejournal

Categorized in Research Methods

Now’s the time to see if you’re being underpaid.

LinkedIn wants to help its users compare their salaries to their professional peers.

On Wednesday, the social network for the professional opened up access to its new salary tool to its users in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. Now, professionals can look up aggregate data about the salaries of other users with the same job and in the same location to see how their own pay measures up.

“One of the things in our research that has become quite obvious is that salary is a big part of how people make career decisions,” LinkedIn director of product management Dan Shapero told Fortune.

When users input their profession and location, LinkedIn’s tool shows them a breakdown of others’ compensation. Users can then filter by years of experience, education level, and other criteria. According to Shapero, these filters can help LinkedIn’s users get a better sense of how they measure up. For example, they might discover that peers with more experience or a relevant graduate degree are consistently paid more. In turn, this might give them guidance as to how to achieve the compensation level they want.

One filter notably absent from the salary tool is gender. Studies have shown that women are often underpaid for doing similar work to male counterparts. Some companies have also begun to do away with compensation negotiations for new recruits as some studies have shown that women don’t negotiate as aggressively for higher salaries as men.

However, it would have been difficult to collect this data as gender is not included in the profile LinkedIn users fill out.

“I think our goal is to facilitate conversations and help people make good decision,” said Shapero when asked about the lack of data by gender. Moreover, because LinkedIn aggregates salaries of both genders, it could help women get a sense of whether they’re being underpaid if the median pay is significantly higher than theirs, he explains.

To get a start on its new salary database, LinkedIn LNKD -0.33%  reached out to 1 million of its users across various locations and jobs and asked them to submit data about their compensation. Now that the tool is available to all LinkedIn users, they’ll be able to freely access results for one salary search, but will have to contribute their own salary to the database if they want to continue exploring the tool. LinkedIn Premium users can access the data without sharing their own. And while the data only covers jobs in the U.S., U.K., and Canada for now, users in other countries will be able to access it. This can come in handy if an engineer in Germany is considering a job in California, for example, and wants to get a sense of the market.

To ensure it has accurate data, LinkedIn has figured out that roughly 10% of data submitted by its users isn’t entirely reliable, so it discards it from the data is shows users.

 

LinkedIn plans to eventually work closely with universities to tailor its salary tool to the needs of students as they plan their careers. It also plans to add suggested coursework from Lynda.com, an online education company it purchased last year for $1.5 billion, as a way to help users work toward the compensation level they want, when applicable.

“We believe people would invest in themselves more if they knew the certain R.O.I. [return on investment],” said Shapero.

Of course, LinkedIn is far from the only company to provide this type of salary tool. For example, Glassdoor, a popular service for looking up reviews of companies from employees, recently debuted its own.

Source : fortune

Categorized in Social

Virtual Private Network, or VPN for short, is a secure network connection through which you can safely connect your device to public networks.

It is widely used by large corporations, educational institutions and government agencies.

It is also used by individuals who care about staying anonymous on the internet for various reasons.

In countries where governments are blocking access to certain websites, people use a VPN to get around these walls of censorship.

Another reason people use VPN’s is to gain access to web content restricted to certain countries; this is particularly the case with some YouTube channels, like Vevo and similar.

In countries where downloading torrents is heavily monitored, like the USA for example, people use VPN to hide their internet activity and IP address from ISPs and from the torrent source.

This is similarly the case for streaming, the use of streaming services like Kodi is exploding lately and the movie studios are not at all happy about so they are now suing users.

Kodi (formally XBMC) is a media center platform where developers have made thousands of plugins that deliver the latest movies, TV series, pay per view sport, porn, documentaries etc. for free to your device.

It is like having access to every single video media out there, and not all of it is pirated content but a large selection of it is.

Because of the rapid growth of streaming on Kodi and other similar service like Popcorn Time, the movie studios have started to employ lawyers and are suing thousands of people around the word for downloading and streaming pirated content.

anonymity tools

You can really get hit with a massive fine for doing so if they can find out your IP address. This is where a VPN can save you a fortune.

Most VPN providers require payment, but there are some that offer a trial version, and a couple of them offer free limited versions.

Be aware that the free VPN’s are usually shit and slow, especially if you try to stream video.

Why is Tor not enough for Deep Web Anonymity?

The Onion Router, or Tor, is a network of volunteer computers (routers) that provide secure and anonymous connection to the Internet.

The data which user sends from his computer to the destination and vice versa are being encrypted in each of the three routers which stand in-between user’s computer and the destination.

It is used by governments, journalists, bloggers, whistleblowers, but also by drug dealers who are selling illicit drugs at the so called darknet markets.

The fall of the Silk Road, the first and the largest darknet market; the arrest of Ross Ulbricht; the affairs of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden – who were all using Tor for their anonymity and various other reasons caused the general trust in Tor to decrease.

Some evidence suggests that a great deal of Tor nodes are being controlled by the NSA.

Once the node is controlled, the process of revealing one’s identity is easy and straightforward.

This has been proven by a group of hackers who previously hacked Play Station Network and Xbox network; after these attacks, the group announced that they are going after Tor Network, which they considered a huge challenge.

In just a couple of weeks hackers managed to take control of 3000 routers, and they revealed more than 95% of users’ identities!

The fact that Tor’s exit nodes (routers) are having some security issues is also admitted by the founders of Tor network, and it was the main reason why Agora, once a well-knowndarknet market, has stopped their operation.

Another more recent example of the tor Network being cracked is in 2015 the FEDS cracked Tor with the help of a University computer science department to catch users on the darknet markets.
They did this effectively and ended up catching tons of people doing illegal activities on the Deep Web who were then prosecuted.

This is an example of what can happen if you only rely on Tor for anonymity on the Deep Web.

How is VPN used?

If you are browsing the deep web using Tor, the best solution is to use both, Tor and VPN.

You should use Tor namely because it is the only browser that can access hidden services of the deep web and .onion URLs; VPN should be used for security reasons.

VPN is very useful even if you are not using Tor, and you are concerned about your online privacy and safety.

Tor and VPN can be used in two ways.

1. The first and less safe way is to connect your computer to the VPN and then start Tor. This way, the target website has no means to learn your IP address but your ISP will know that you are using a VPN, which doesn’t have to be a bad thing; however, if you are suspicious to the authorities for any reason, the VPN provider would have to disclose your log files.

So, your connection will look like this: Computer –> VPN -> Tor -> Internet

2. Another way to do this is to let Tor encrypt your connection towards the VPN server first; from the VPN your connection returns to Tor; then once again to the VPN and finally to the Internet.

This way, your ISP has no idea that you are using a VPN, and your VPN provider also has no record of your activities; your target website doesn’t have access to your exit node and you have the maximum level of protection!

So, your connection looks like this: Computer -> Tor Encrypted VPN -> Tor -> VPN -> Internet

3. There is another way that is really for the paranoid that offers insanely good anonymity and privacy.

You need a special router with DD-WRT firmware installed on it (you can buy these pretty easily) and then you have the VPN running on this so all of your internet connected to it is encrypted from the beginning, then you use tor and then you use your desktop VPN client to further encrypt in a separate location.
VPN Router (location 1) -> Computer-> Tor -> PC VPN (location 2) -> Internet.

On what devices can you use a VPN?

Most VPN providers have made their products available for multiple devices.

So, they support PC and Mac, and also smart devices; some can even work on routers.

However, there are some VPN services that can work only on a limited set of devices.

Benefits of using a VPN

Using a VPN has a lot of advantages, even if you are not a Deep Web visitor.

1. Browse the Deep Web with much better anonymity and security than just Tor.

2. Stream and download anything without LE or your ISP knowing and logging.

3. Access blocked content like YouTube, Facebook, Google, Twitter and Gmail etc. in countries where they are blocked.

4. Hide your Tor usage from your ISP. This helps so when they see you are using Tor they log your usage. LE can then use this to link you to activity on the dark web as they make a profile for you like a digital fingerprint.

5. Use to access GEO blocked content like different versions of Netflix, HULU, HBO NOW, BBC, Spotify, Pandora Radio.

6. You will be safer while browsing the internet; your IP address will be hidden, and hackers, malware, and other attackers will have a hard time getting information about you and probably won’t be able to get anything unless you give it on your own.

7. If you’re running a network, you have a reason more to use a VPN, since it won’t protect just one computer, but a whole bunch – together with your valuable documents, all your hard work will be protected.

8. VPN has no access restrictions, therefore, you will be able to browse all your favorite web applications including email and chat clients, etc.

As a bonus, if your country doesn’t have access to certain web content, VPN will enable them for you by default.

This is particularly handy in China, for example, where various services and websites are blocked by the government: Gmail, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, even Google itself shows selective results.

9. ISPs are cooperating with NSA and FBI and other LE agencies, and if your web behavior becomes suspicious, by any particular reason, most probably you are going to be monitored.

Privacy is the biggest benefit of VPN. If you choose a VPN that doesn’t keep logs, you will be able to hide all your internet activity from your ISP and therefore are able to browse safely. Not only that, but you will also be able to download whatever you like, even torrents.

10. Another benefit is that all your connections will be encrypted and even if someone obtains some information about your online activity, it will unreadable.

Drawbacks of Using a VPN

In comparison to benefits, there aren’t many drawbacks of using a VPN; but without listing the little drawbacks that exist, you wouldn’t have gained an objective picture.

And besides, there ARE some disadvantages.

Speed is probably the biggest drawback, especially if you live in areas where you have a bad connection already.

A good VPN will not slow down your connection dramatically.

The free versions of VPN’s are usually the slowest and to be honest, shit house.

Some free VPN’s like HOLA VPN were found out to even steal your internet and sell it off to others who then used it to spam people!

Encryption will also slow things down, but you shouldn’t look at encryption as something bad, even if you have to wait a second or two more for the page to load.

Another big drawback is that you won’t be able to use PayPal with VPN – PayPal simply doesn’t allow it.

What’s more, if you keep trying despite the warnings, your account might get suspended! So, you’ll have to find some alternatives to PayPal if you want to do some online deep web shopping.

What to Look for in a VPN?

VPNRatings_Blog_WhattoLookforVPNVPN providers have different packages and different prices and opting for the right one isn’t always easy.

So, here are some tips that will hopefully help you to determine which VPN suits your needs best.

1. The most important thing you want to know about your VPN provider is whether they keep logs or not.

Most of them claim that they are not, but it is known that VPN providers, such as HideMyAss, forwarded the log files to the LE at least on one occasion even though they claimed that they were not keeping logs.

You must know that none of these companies are willing to lose their business just because you have done something illegal. So, be very mindful of this.

2. The other important thing to consider is whether they have a kill switch or not. The kill switch will disconnect you from the internet if you lose connection with the VPN and your privacy won’t be compromised at all.

3.When speaking of privacy, if you want to stay truly anonymous on the web, along with using tools such as VPN and Tor, you will also need to purchase your VPN anonymously, and the easiest way to manage this is by using bitcoins.

So, your ideal VPN provider should accept bitcoins as payment. Bitcoins are ideal cryptocurrency for staying anonymous since they cannot be traced and they are not connected to your bank account.

4. One of the crucial things is whether the VPN of your choice is the Tier1 (aka. Top Tier) provider or not. This means that they own and manage their own servers and network. There are hardly any of these providers on the market.

If they are not a Tier 1 provider then they rent rack space in hosting companies to run their VPN’s and they outsource their server maintenance and upkeep to the hosting company, this means they can not 100% guarantee they integrity of the severs and say they are not being tampered with. How could they? They don’t know because they don’t even see the server.

If you want to learn more about VPN and see the list of the best VPN providers, please visit https://topvpnsoftware.com.

Please note that the purpose of this article is not to encourage anyone to download anything illegal from the internet or engage in any illegal activities online; the purpose of this article is purely informative.

Source : darkwebnews

Categorized in Internet Privacy

What tools do you have in your toolkit to help you find prospects? LinkedInTwitter,Facebook, an email subscription list, etc.?

All of these are great, but wouldn’t it be good to automate the process, and bring in more targets?

Of course it would!

Basic tips to increase leads

Before investing into tools, make sure you have some basic things in order:

  • Make sure your pages are super fast. A slowly loading page is one of the most frequent reasons for a bounce. Use Page Speed tool to find what’s slowing your site down.
  • Make sure your pages are hosted reliably. Downtime means your site will not even have a chance to convert. Use Uptime Report that monitors uptime on major hosting platforms
  • Make sure your site is mobile-friendly. Most of your visitors are likely to load your pages from a mobile device. Use Mobile-Friendly Test tool from Google.

Tools to generate more leads

These are the 10 tools that will help you do it (and know what to do with those leads when you find them).

ClickMeeting

ClickMeeting

Webinars have been found to be one of the most effective ways to collect leads.

ClickMeeting is the webinar hosting platform which is simple to use and has API for just about any other lead management software you are using.

ClickMeeting is surprisingly affordable and truly reliable. You can also use polls and surveys during your webinar to better engage your audience.

Leadformly

Leadformly

We all know one of the best forms of lead generation: information from the target themselves. Forms have been a staple for marketers for ages, but they took a bit of a sag online when they became too cumbersome, and were asking too many questions.

Leadformly creates sharp, well made forms that actually convert. No more struggling to come up with questions that can actually help you make a sale; this tool will guide you through the process, and use their expertise to generate questions that work for you. They start at just $49 per month, which has 250 leads per month.

But if you’re willing to pay a little more, you can get more than 100,000 leads per month with their Team package. Be sure to check out their webinar.

Found.ly

Found.ly

There is a serious lack of useful, easy to use B2B prospecting platforms out there. This one on the top of the list as one of the best. Found.ly is simple, has a ton of features, and it generates a lot of leads between businesses that you might have missed with other tools.

Don’t let the 12 minute explainer video fool you, anyone can use this tool without any fuss. Right now it is in beta release, so it will probably have a couple of bugs and issues.

But the foundation for the service is solid, and there will be future feature releases to come in later versions. It is worth requesting an invite and becoming an early adopter.

LeadGenius

LeadGenius

LeadGenius isn’t about generating a lot of leads, it is about generating better ones. It targets the best possible prospects, and gets accurate, up to date contact information for them.

Then it helps you best engage with each one, so you are using a more snappy, effective form of interaction that leads to better results.

I see this as a great tool for influencer marketing in particular, since it helps you to gauge the best targets out of the millions of people floating around cyberspace.

Ringostat

Ringostat

While emails, forms, chatbots and social media are all important sales and customer engagement tools, phone calls still remain the number one point of contact.

Many people would prefer to make a call than speak to someone in a chatroom, because it allows them to interact more freely. Likewise, sales agents can upsell or snag initial signups better over the phone than they can online.

Ringostat works to get more people calling from your website. They claim this can improve conversions from your site by up to 50%.

Unbounce

Unbounce

You have probably heard about this tool before, but if you have never used it I cannot recommend it enough. Landing pages are an important lead generator, especially pre-launch as you are in the hyping stage.

Unbounce is a landing page creation platform that helps you to make gorgeous, professional tier pages, even if you have never made one in your life. You don’t need to be a graphic or web designer; they lead you through the process step by step, and give you everything you need. All with a focus to convert, not just inform.

Engageform

Engageform

This is another form generator, but with a twist. It’s specialty is online quizzes, surveys, and polls. Have you ever seen those quizzes on Facebook that ask what member of FRIENDS you are, for example?

Given the common aesthetic of those tools these days, it was probably made using Engageform.

It is super quick and easy to use, attractive, and effective. Whether you are making something fun to engage your customers and connect to their social media profile, or you are asking them for valuable feedback, you can do it with this tool.

Turnstile

Turnstile is super basic, and that is its strength. You select your email provider, and it will generate contact information for people you want to connect with. That is it, no frills, but all the data you want.

Still need more? They allow you to create custom HTML protocols that can mine for more. But they point out that the most important details are already included.

Marketo

Marketo

Marketo is a five-part platform. It covers lead generation, email marketing, mobile marketing, customer based marketing, and consumer marketing. All five of these tasks are automated, and that is a big plus.

Manual prospect mining is among the most tedious, exhausting tasks in sales. Anything that makes it easier and faster is going to be a must have for anyone in the business sector.

When you look at the happy customer list, which includes MyFitnessPal, Glassdoor, and Curves, you see how their features can really be put into practice.

Segment.io

Segment.io

Do you have a multi faceted employee team, such as separate departments for sales, help desk, and social?

If so, Segment.io is the perfect tool to get them all on board and operating together. It captures customer data at every set point, and send it to everyone who needs it.

Have a tool you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comments!

Categorized in Others

A year after Google launched their mobile-friendly testing tool, Bing has launched their own similar version, the Bing Mobile Friendliness Test Tool.

Bing announced the release of their mobile friendliness test tool today. This was promised to us back in May 2015, when Bing told us they were working on a mobile-friendly Bing ranking algorithm. It was actually expected in the late summer but was delayed.

The tool evaluates a page to check if it is mobile-friendly based on these criteria:

  • Viewport and Zoom control configuration
  • Width of page content
  • Readability of text on the page
  • Spacing of links and other elements on the page
  • Use of incompatible plug-ins

Here is a screen shot of the tool in action. As you can see, it shows a preview of the site on the right side:

sel-bing-mobile-friendly-test-700x600

Bing has not yet announced the launch of their mobile-friendly algorithm; that may come soon.

Bing’s blog post does include a lot of detail on why a website might fail any of the above criteria, so check it out. You can access the tool at this URL.

Google launched their mobile-friendly testing tool just about a year ago today.

Source : http://searchengineland.com

Categorized in Search Engine

 

Columnist Jordan Kasteler notes that strong search performance requires more than just ranking well in organic results. The tools listed here can enhance your existing listings and help you to appear in other places on the search results pages.

 

It’s no secret that Google is in a constant state of change. The “ten blue links” that used to comprise a search engine results page (SERP) are diminishing in importance, and new features are becoming more essential with every passing month. From image results and local packs to site links and knowledge panels, Google is reshaping search marketing.

Clearly, focusing only on your website is no longer effective. Ranking higher than your competitor in Google’s organic rankings is less meaningful if that competitor is displayed in, say, an answer box. The current name of the SEO game is acquiring as much page real estate on the SERPs as possible.

For example, a best-case scenario for search would be to do well in AdWords results, land a featured snippet, get a spot in a local pack and rank high in the organic listings. It also helps to have a presence in the Knowledge Graph and be seen in video snippets, images and news feeds that show up on Google.

To really create a competitive edge in this changing SEO landscape, don’t hesitate to get a little help from some friends — and by friends, I mean tools that help you leverage SERP features.

Here are a few such tools that can sharpen your SEO sword:

1. Yotpo’s Search Enhancements

Do you work in e-commerce? If so, you’ll definitely want to look into Yotpo, which focuses on integrating reviews into your website for greater SERP visibility. Its helpful, SERP-enhacing features include:

  • inline SEO: Includes reviews as part of a website’s content. The goal is to give an online store fresher content and a wider variety of potential keywords to rank for.

yotpo inline seo

  • Google Product Listing Ads with product ratings: Yotpo can help your Google Shopping and search results display product ratings, which can make your listing stand out from the competition.

Google Product Listing Ads

  • rich snippets: Yotpo helps an online business become more visible on SERPs through review and rating rich snippets.  

Yotpo Rich Snippets

2. Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool

Structured data is one element that really revs up today’s SEO. Because it labels a website’s data to make the website look better to Google, structured data boosts visibility and helps skyrocket traffic. Although Google doesn’t consider it mandatory for high ranking, using structured data is certainly recommended.

Are you using structured data effectively? Are there any errors that need to be fixed in your schema markup? The good news is that you don’t even have to ask these questions. Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool will tell you if anything is out of place, making it easy for you to fix any issues.

Google structured data testing tool

3. Data Highlighter

This ultra-handy webmaster tool “teaches” Google about how you structure your website’s data. It lets you quickly and easily tag your site’s data fields so Google can better display your website in as many SERP features as possible.

Google Data Highlighter

4. Schema-friendly WordPress themes

To really make your SEO activities much easier, do yourself a favor and take advantage of the manyfree WordPress themes with schema markup built right in. There are schema-friendly themes for many kinds of industries, formats and blog platforms. When creating a blogcompare blog sites to know the best fit for you.

mythemeshop seo wordpress themes

 

 

5. Schema markup WordPress plugins

Also, as you may have suspected, several schema markup plugins are available. A few of them include:

  • Schema App Structured Data: This tool allows you to edit your WordPress site’s schema markup directly, even if you have zero coding knowledge.

schema wordpress plugin

 

 

  • WP Rich Snippets: This is an excellent plugin to explore if you run a review site. It helps you mark up your content so your site will be as accessible as possible to Google.

Wordpress rich snippets

 

 

All in One rich snippets

6. Moz Pro’s Advanced SERP Feature Tracking

Moz offers an excellent tool to help you stay aware of the vast SERP feature environment. They market their Advanced SERP Feature Tracking tool as containing the most comprehensive data set on the market.

This tool provides analysis of featured snippets, image packs, in-depth articles, local packs, knowledge cards and knowledge panels, site links and more.

Moz SERP features

 

 

7. Rank Ranger’s Google SERP Features Tool

Rank Ranger’s SERP Features Tool tracks the presences of various SERP features over time. How often is a particular feature appearing? Is its presence within the SERPs generally increasing or decreasing?

According to Range Ranker:

This free research tool can be used to benchmark and explore the presence and trending of Knowledge Graphs, Ads, Images, Local Pack, News Pack, Related Search and Organic Results counts, plus special page indicators (e.g., breadcrumbs, events, HTTPs, ratings, notable online, image and video thumbnails, search box, sitelinks, Twitter pack, etc.)

Rank Ranger SERP features

Rank Ranger also provides a helpful guide to all the existing Google SERP features, including visual examples of each, here.

8. STAT

This is an excellent tool for discovering if any of your keywords trigger SERP features such as answer boxes. STAT tracks 20,000 websites and 218,000 consumer products daily.

STAT tool

9. SEMrush

SEMrush is useful when you need competitive data. Use it to find out if the keywords your competitors rank for trigger any SERP features like featured snippets, local packs, Knowledge Graph panels, Google News and so on.

SEMrush tool

Don’t go it alone!

Effective marketing has always been a complex endeavor, and Google’s constant innovations don’t make things any easier. But with change and innovation comes progress.
Scott Lazerson

Staying current with SEO best practices will only give you a competitive advantage, and that’s where these tools come into play.

To be the best SEO practitioner, always be on the lookout for valuable tools that can make you more proficient. Experiment every day, use the apps that work for you, and know when to abandon the ones that aren’t improving your processes. Just like a good mentor, new tools can help you reach higher levels of success.

Source : http://searchengineland.com/

 

 

Categorized in Search Engine

Amazon is introducing Amazon Vehicles, a site that potential car shoppers can use to get information about automobiles a la Kelly Blue Book. (Amazon.com)

The Seattle e-commerce juggernaut is launching Amazon Vehicles, a place on its online store that will house car specs and reviews for shoppers to research car purchases. They can’t buy vehicles there, though.

Amazon.com now wants you to shop for vehicles on its site — except it won’t sell you a car.

On Thursday, the Seattle e-commerce juggernaut is launching Amazon Vehicles, a destination on its online store that will house car specifications and reviews to help shoppers research car purchases on Amazon.com, just as they do when they lust after a fancy coffee maker.

But vehicles, in most states a highly regulated retail industry, are not for sale there. Nor are there links or special offers from car dealers, at least for now.

It’s more an information resource such as those provided by Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds.com, except the purpose seems to be to draw customers to the Amazon Automotive store, a part of the company’s retail empire that sells parts and accessories. 

The move rides on Amazon’s growing role as the de facto search engine for products.

“More and more customers are turning to Amazon for researching products, and now we’re enabling that experience for vehicles — which is one of the most important, research-intensive purchases in customers’ lives,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.

Those in the market for a new ride can just type the model they’re curious about as they would for any other item. They also can browse by year, make, model, fuel economy or even customer rating.

Most important, they can pore over thousands of customer reviews and ask questions about a specific model.

Motor vehicles that need registration are one of the rare product lines, along with tobacco, assault weapons and other regulated items, that aren’t sold at on the Everything Store.

Dealers have long defended state laws that steer the buying and selling of most vehicles to franchised dealerships.

That doesn’t mean Amazon hasn’t tried. In 2000, the company backed Greenlight.com, a car-buying service that promised a “superior car-buying experience” without haggling, through a network of dealers.

The service was accessible through Amazon’s online store. But the experiment was short-lived; Greenlight was later acquired by CarsDirect, a service that connects shoppers with dealers.

Amazon to donate Kindles to schools


Amazon.com has launched the Kindle Reading Fund, an initiative to donate e-readers, tablets and digital books to libraries, schools and nonprofit organizations around the world.

The move was announced Wednesday in a blog post by Dave Limp, the head of Amazon’s devices business. It’s the latest high profile philanthropic initiative unveiled by the Seattle tech and retail giant, which seems to be finding its ground as a more vocal corporate benefactor.

“We recognize that not everyone has access to the books they want or need,” Limp wrote in the post. 

The fund has a Web page where groups can request donations from Amazon.

Source : http://www.seattletimes.com/business/amazon/amazon-launches-car-browsing-tool/ 

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