Monitoring Your Employees’ Performance While Maintaining Healthy Working Relations

When your small business takes on employees, you’ll soon begin to realize that there’s an extremely thin line between being overly strict and overly familiar with your staff. Veering over into either of these categories can make things extremely difficult and unproductive in the workplace. Think about it. If you’re severe and unfair with your staff, they will feel under appreciated, and as though you lack faith in their potential, performance, and professional abilities. This will result in the loss of staff to competitor companies and low morale in your workplace. Your company may also begin to gain a bad name for itself as an employer. On the other hand, if you are too lenient with workers, they may become overly comfortable and start using work time as play time. They will respond negatively to warnings or other forms of management, either not taking them seriously, or claiming you are being unjust for expecting certain levels of respect. So, how do you monitor your employees’ performance in the workplace without making them feel spied on while ensuring that everyone doesn’t run riot? Read on to find out!

Establishing an HR Department

If your company is large enough to take on employees, it’s large enough to have some form of HR department. This can be managed by you, a single designated employee, or (if you expand sufficiently) a dedicated HR team. Making it someone’s job to manage and handle employee relations means that people are more likely to take resource and employee issues seriously. You should also ensure that your HR department has the necessary equipment and software to monitor staff members’ records. Specialist hr management software streamlines people management, allowing HR members to accurately manage absences, plan shifts, and store and access employees’ personal records. This means that trends in behavior and performance can be identified and addressed, whether positive or negative.

Reward Rather than Punish

Punishing employees for failing to meet targets or over perform is a negative approach to take. At the end of the day, as long as they are fulfilling the terms of their contract, you can’t expect anything more. Punishment can negatively affect your staff members’ self-confidence and loyalty towards you as an employer. They are also likely to make less effort to achieve. So avoid scolding or shaming your workers. If problems arise, take the time to consult them and get to the root of the problem. Chances are that things can easily be rectified. Remember that it is your role as an employer to reward particularly positive behavior. If an employee goes beyond the call of duty, or receives a positive review or recommendation from a customer, show them your appreciation. This can be something as simple as a word of thanks, or perhaps you can give them some sort of small bonus. A little goes a long way. This also gives staff an incentive to work harder! If they see a colleague being rewarded, they are likely to start trying to exceed expectations too.

Remember, your workers are the backbone of your company. So make sure that they feel appreciated for all of their efforts. However, avoid becoming overly soft. You need to maintain your role as a manager and leader in the workplace in order to maintain control and see positive results.

customer retention

The Need For Focus When it Comes to Customer Retention Strategies

Every marketer and business owner is keen to develop their skills when it comes to customer retention. Business owners and marketers the world over have been developing ways that they can retain customers. Of course, the customer is hard to acquire but all too easy to lose. You need to make sure that you are developing and honing a strategy that keeps your clients firmly with your company.

Developing the Customer Retention Strategy

As a business, you need to make sure that you are giving the customer what they want. You need to make sure that their needs are met with a consistent approach. All of this should tie in with your company ethos and projected image. After all, if you are not concentrating on offering consistent service, you are sure to lose customers.

You also need to focus on cross-selling strategies too. In what way can you make sure that you are maximizing revenue from your customers? But, you also need to make sure that you are not bugging people or coming across as too ‘sales-y’. One of the most important things that a customer can do is giving you an excellent review. What are you doing to keep their loyalty and to make sure that they are giving you a glowing review? You need to start thinking like a customer in order to gain their unbridled support. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes.

Beyond the Customer: Using Data

When you are in the process of honing and deploying your customer retention strategy, you need to go beyond the customer and use the tools within your disposal. This means that you need to take advantage of your company data. What data can you use to ensure that you are maximizing customer loyalty but also reducing your overall spends? Could you implement offers and discounts? Could you find out what appeals to the customer demographic within a particular area? You need to think about the data that you have contained within your marketing arsenal. How can this data improve your marketing and sales techniques? Can you find out more about the customer and their likes by using this?

Of course, it’s easy to suggest that data is the way forward. You need to make sure that you are using any information from previous campaigns. This is to maximize client loyalty in the face of competition.

Monitoring Transactions and Repeat Customers: Implementing Software

Analytics and software are a mainstay in business. You need to focus on these as part of your customer retention strategy. Using your company’s data is vital as every sale counts. This means monitoring and tracking the information as it comes through. With software, it is easier to determine who is buying your products and using your services. This means that you can have a deeper insight into the customer and what they are buying. If they are repeat customers, you need to analyze the data that you have to find out more. This insight into your company means that you maximize your ROI and guarantee customer retention.

Please let us know your own customer retention strategies and what tools do you use? Leave us a comment and share your experiences with us.


Tips for ecommerce website owners

Top Tips For New eCommerce Website Owners

If you’ve just started a new online eCommerce business, you’ll have to spend a lot of time thinking about all the different elements of your web design before the official launch. Unless you have qualifications or experience in this area, you should probably call in the experts to deal with the hard work, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a clear idea of what you want and need from them. At the end of the day, most reputable web design firms are more than capable of giving you great advice, so you should listen to anything they have to say. However, you’re the only one who understands exactly how to intend to brand and market your new venture, so it’s vital you explain your requirements properly.

Am I some kind of expert in this field? Not exactly, but I do currently run two successful eCommerce sites from home, and that’s how I earn the bulk of my income. I’ve been doing this for the last five years, so you’re pretty safe to assume that I know what I’m talking about. With that in mind, take a quick scan through this article and see if you find any of the information useful.

Keep it simple

While you might think that empty space makes your pages look unfinished, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many potential customers will find this appealing as it will mean there’s less clutter and the buying process will seem a little more straight forward. Just take a look at some of the most successful eCommerce sites in the world. Most of them have a simple logo at the top of their pages and tend to look neat and smart.

Provide secure payment methods

There are millions of different viruses that can affect computers these days, and hackers are always on the lookout for a way of making some more money. For that reason, most people will refrain from entering their bank details into a website unless it has a secure payment method they recognize. Considering that, it would be sensible to incorporate PayPal and all the other major service providers into your website design. Of course, you could have your own shopping cart solution created, but we’ll discuss that a bit more in a moment.

Use a reputable digital specialist

While there are plenty of web design agencies out there eager to win your custom, it’s usually a little cheaper to opt for a company that deals in magento ecommerce development. Not only will you receive the attention of expert developers, but firms like this tend to offer an all-round package that also includes SEO and some basic marketing. That means you could kill three birds with one stone as it were.

So long as you follow all that advice and use some basic common sense, your new eCommerce site should go from strength to strength over the next few months. I wish you the best of luck, and I’ll see you back here soon!

Online Classifieds In Truly Different Way

Not long ago searching classified advertisements for electronics or home meant picking up a copy of the paper and flipping through pages and pages of tiny boxes in a newspaper or magazines. Internet has changed this upside down. India classifieds section is using this opportunity to take the pain away from the users and save time which use to be spent in searching those tiny little boxes in newspapers.

Lots and lots of online classified sites have emerged but their penetration inside India wasn’t good enough. OLX on the other hand read the market very well and have planned their strategy around television ads to promote and share their ideas.


TV ad campaigns were conceptualized so the ads are funny and sell the ideas straightaway. Now, OLX is operating in more than 15 countries, in 40+ languages surely online classified sites like these are here to stay.

How Things Have Changed

Soon after the initial round of updates, these online classified sites have realized that they need to offer more than just brief description. They have started adding, images, videos, reviews and other decision making stuff which helped the consumers. Soon dealers across the country saw the value of online classifieds and began to shift the money they were spending on newspaper classifieds to online.

Now, internet is primary source of information to all net savvy people across India. OLX helped the customers to compare different makes and models of products, without clicking back and forth between different websites. They helped seller meet the buyer where seller post the product and consumer searches and buys the product by contacting seller. This direct communication is one of the key behind the success of their model.

How To Use

Although, you can post an add without registering but posting from a registered account is better since it gives you control to edit your classified later. Signing up is pretty easy and hardly takes few minutes of your time. Once you have an account in OLX you can start selling or shopping, cool isn’t it.

We would love to know your experiences and views about this site. Please leave us a comment and let us know.

How Google-Motorola Deal Will Change The Tech Industry

Google’s $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility will go down as one of the most important events in tech during this era. Other deals, such as AT&T’s $39 billion buyout of T-Mobile USA, are worth more money, but none of them will have as big of an impact on the tech industry (and as much fallout) as the Google-Motorola deal. Google Motorola is 2011’s most important acquisition in the technology space since the HP-Compaq $25 billion deal a decade ago.

Here are the top four ways that Googlerola will change the course of the tech industry.

1. The Android patent wars are over

Before Google bought Motorola, the Android ecosystem was in real danger of having innovation stymied by litigation. Microsoft, Oracle, and Apple were all bearing down on Google as well as Android partners Samsung and HTC over patent infringements. Motorola hadn’t entered the fray yet, but with its long history in the wireless business there was the potential that it could use its treasure chest of patents to pile on to its chief Android rivals, Samsung and HTC. On August 11, my ZDNet colleague James Kendrick posted, “If Motorola turns its patents on other Android phone makers the platform will implode.” And, that was on top of the overall intellectual property issues with Android itself, which affects all of the Android device makers. The problem for Google was that it didn’t have enough mobile patents to fight back. That’s the way these things usually work. One big company typically says to another big company, “Yeah, we might be infringing you there, but you’re infringing us over here” and then it turns into a draw. With Motorola’s 17,000 patents on its side, Google has essentially put an end to the Android patent wars. There will still be some final skirmishes, but don’t expect much carnage.

2. Vertical integration has won

While Google is pledging to keep Android an open ecosystem and claiming that it will run Motorola as a separate business, it’s pretty clear that Google also wants to have the option of producing its own hardware devices so that it can build prototypes, concept hardware, and leading edge devices to demonstrate its vision and point its ecosystem partners in the right direction. Google wanted to do this with the Nexus One smartphone and we also saw Google’s hardware itch in the CR-48 laptop running Chrome OS. Of course, Google didn’t have the expertise or infrastructure in place to handle the hardware business. With the Motorola Mobility acquisition, it will add over 19,000 new employees with supply chain, customer service, and hardware development skills. When Google wants to do its next leading edge Android device like the Nexus One, Nexus S, or Motorola Xoom, we have to assume that it’s going to use its new hardware division to build it so that it can deliver exactly the device it wants and get it to market much more quickly. With Apple’s continued success in mobile, BlackBerry’s large (albeit fading) market share, HP’s new hardware/software unification with WebOS, and now the Google-Motorola deal, it’s becoming clear that vertical integration is winning in mobile. Going forward, look for the latest, greatest, high-end devices to all be vertically integrated, while many of the low-cost, copy-cat devices will come to the market later and be made by mass market manufacturers like Samsung.

3. Mobile consolidation has begun

Over the past couple years, the arrival of new mobile platforms and the expansion of mobile vendors have given buyers lots of new choices in smartphones and now tablets. However, even in a fast-growing market like mobile, the good times can’t last forever. In 2011, we’ve already seen BlackBerry and Nokia drastically losing momentum, Windows Phone 7 and WebOS struggling to gain market share, and Android and Apple increasingly hogging the spotlight. Even within the Android ecosystem itself, there have been lots of new upstarts recently, including LG, Lenovo, Acer, and ASUS. All of them have been grasping for a piece of the expanding Android market, which has been dominated by the big three — HTC, Samsung, and Motorola. However, leading up to the Google deal, Motorola was the only one of the Android vendors that lost market share in the smartphone market in Q2. Obviously, that’s likely to change if and when Motorola morphs into the Google-branded Android devices. Nevertheless, Motorola’s Q2 struggles are a sign that the Android market itself is already beginning to whittle down to fewer big players.

4. Google has to grow up

As a company, Google is only a little over a decade old. Despite its recent kerfuffles with government regulators and its dust-up with China, the company has lived a bit of an idyllic, Peter Pan existence. Its offices are like college campuses with free food, free transportation, and free personal services (cleaners, barbers, etc). Its employees are loosely organized, don’t have to deal with a bunch of overbearing middle managers and bean counters (in most cases), and even get the ability to use work time to dabble with some of their own pet projects. Because Google’s search engine has been such a major cash cow, it has given the company freedom to hire lots of engineers and computer scientists and loosely organize them in this unique environment. However, with search under greater pressure than ever from the social web, it could finally be time for Google to grow up and act like an adult company that has to closely manage expenses and account for the value that each of its employees brings to the organization. The Motorola acquisition could hasten the process, since it will add over 19,000 employees to a Google that currently has 29,000, and Motorola is a much more established company with traditional organizational standards. Of course, Google will talk about wanting to maintain its startup-like culture, but it will be interesting to watch and see if Motorola influences Google to become more of an accountable, grown-up company.

Source: techrepublic

Apple Unveils new iPod and Play For TV Market

Apple Inc has introduced a new version of Apple TV that allows audiences to rent series such as “Glee” and “Modern Family” for 99 cents, hoping to extend the popularity of its sleek devices to the living room.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, at a presentation to reporters and investors on Wednesday, also rolled out a completely overhauled lineup of iPods and the latest version of iTunes, with a brand new logo that does away with the outdated image of a CD.

The biggest shift to iTunes is the introduction of a feature called Ping, a social networking function designed to take advantage of the popularity of websites such as Twitter and Facebook.

“It’s Facebook and Twitter meets iTunes. It’s a social network all about music,” Jobs said.

But the centerpiece of Jobs’ presentation on Wednesday was Apple TV, a device the company introduced in 2006 but which never became a blockbuster hit.

Jobs once referred to Apple TV as a hobby, but made clear that the company is now ready to seriously focus on marrying the Web to TV, a combination that so far has been a minefield for the world’s most creative and deep-pocketed companies.

“They’re beginning to shift the paradigm for a very entrenched behavior,” said Altimeter analyst Michael Gartenberg who attended the event. “TV viewing hasn’t changed that much in 50 years. They’re trying to shift that behavior the way they shifted phone behavior.”

The new $99 Apple TV is a quarter of the size of the previous version — it looks like a square hockey puck — and will allow users to rent TV shows for 99 cents or first-run movies for $4.99 each. Apple has also struck a deal with Netflix Inc that enables viewers to stream content from the video rental site.

Unlike Apple devices that feed off iTunes, content on Apple TV cannot be purchased, only rented.

“What they showed was an improvement from what they had before, but it’s not as far reaching as it could have been,” said analyst Daniel Ernst of Hudson Square Research.

Rival Google Inc is taking a different path with its latest offering of Google TV, which allows viewers to search and watch programs, DVR recordings and the Internet in one fell swoop.

Some new TVs will come Google TV-ready, though the plans are in the works to market a separate stand-alone device in the fall. Google is working with the cable and satellite distributors.

Apple, for its part, said it has struck rental deals with Walt Disney Co’s ABC and News Corp’s Fox. Jobs said, “We think the rest of the studios will see the light and get on board pretty fast.”

Still, some analysts, including Vijay Rakesh of Sterne, Agee & Leach, said the new music players and the Ping social network element to iTunes would capture consumers’ attention more than Apple TV.

“It will be the shuffle and the nano, the touch and Ping that will draw people in,” he said, noting that Ping would bring iTunes customers “deeper and deeper into the Apple ecosystem.”

Jobs, unveiling a snazzier line of its iPod, said the company has sold about 275 million iPods to date.

Still, while Apple’s iPods dominate the music- and media-player market, sales growth has moderated in recent years. Jobs has turned his attention toward the iPhone and more recently the iPad, which became an immediate success when it was launched in April.

As a result, the company has revamped its product line ahead of the key holiday sales season. Jobs called it the “biggest change in the iPod lineup ever.”

But Rodman & Renshaw LLC analyst Ashok Kumar said the new products wouldn’t stop his expectations for iPod sales to stop growing after this year as they will be cannibalized by sales of devices such as iPad and iPhone.

“We think this year the iPod category will peak and then start to decline,” Kumar said.

The revised iPod shuffle has been updated to include playlists and buttons to navigate the volume, and is smaller than the previous model. He said it would play 15 hours of music, and would come in five different colors at a price of $49.

The nano, another model, now includes FM radio and can hold 24 hours of music. It will be priced at $149 for the 8-gigabyte version or $179 for the 16-gigabyte model, Jobs said.

A third revised iPod model, the touch, will include a front camera and is thinner than the current model. It will be priced from $229 to $399 depending on storage, and will be available next week.

“Most everything that people were expecting came to be at least a portion of what was expected,” said Colin Gillis, director of research for BGC Partners, Inc. “We got an update to iTunes but we don’t have cloud-based iTunes. With Apple TV, we got a good price point on it, but it’s really more evolutionary than revolutionary.”


Top 10 Firefox Addons For Web Developers

Web developers often require tools to test, analyze and benchmark their web pages and to do so they use various web development products for different purposes.

Those who are familiar with Firefox and use it extensively knows that Firefox browser supports added extensions/addons which can be freely downloaded from the Firefox addon site.

Firefox community is constantly working and adding new addon’s all the time they are even upgrading their addon’s to stay in touch with the time. There is a huge list of Firefox addon’s related to web development still i am presenting you a list of top 10 Firefox addons for web Development.

1. Firebug

Firebug is an extremely popular Firefox addon widely used by the web developer community. You can edit, debug, and monitor CSS, HTML, and JavaScript live in any web page. Extremely popular addon and can be said as the king of all web development Firefox addons.

2. YSlow

YSlow is typically a performance measuring Firefox addon to analyze and benchmark website performance. YSlow works on yahoo’s performance metrics and analyze live pages for speed, load and other parameters.

3. HTML Validator

HTML Validator does one thing and does pretty well. It Validates and adds HTML Validations inside Firefox. Web Developers can easily concentrate on the number of errors marked by these extension.

4. GeaseMonkey

GreaseMonkey is a cool Firefox Addon which allows you to customize the way a webpage displays using small bits of JavaScript.

5. CSS Viewer

CSS Viewer With this extension you can view CSS properties of related page elements. Very handy, when You got large CSS file with styles overlapping each other, to analyze why something is not displayed in the way You wanted.

6. JavaScript Debugger

JavaScript Debugger gives you the flexibility of debugging live pages on Firefox and Mozila based browsers.

7. FireShot

FireShot is a Firefox extension that creates screenshots of web pages. Unlike other extensions, this plugin provides a set of editing and annotation tools, which let users quickly modify captures and insert text and graphical annotations.

8. Font Finder

Font Finder is a very handy tool to get all CSS styles of selected text in Firefox / Thunderbird. Just highlight and right click to see all of the styling information you could require including font-size, font-family, color (in both hex and RGB), line-height, letter-spacing, and much much more.

9. Server Switcher

Server Switcher is a navigational help tool for web developers. It allows you to easily switch between sites on your development (hosting the temporary version you are currently working on) and live servers, so that you can immediately see the differences.

10. Selenium IDE

Selenium IDE is an integrated development environment for Selenium tests. It is implemented as a Firefox extension, and allows you to record, edit, and debug tests. Selenium IDE includes the entire Selenium Core, allowing you to easily and quickly. Why Selenium is best for web app testing?. Read the quick guide to selenium IDE.

So, what’s are your favorite Firefox plugins? Please leave us a comment and share your view with us.

Top Reason To Use Linux On Your Netbook

Why would you need Linux as an operating system in the era of Microsoft products? Well, even though Microsoft brags about their software’s to be the best with excellent user experiences and ease still there are lots of things which are pretty annoying. Following is a list of top reasons why you need Linux as your Netbook operating system.

1: Hardware of Netbook is so close to run Linux perfectly.
Microsoft lover’s use to argue that netbook hardware where you can play games etc. is built to run Microsoft operating system but it’s not entirely true. Linux with Eeebuntu OS installation can easily run games, photoshop and other prime softwares.

2: Security for Netbooks
If you are using Windows XP on an ultraportable piece of hardware, you are a mobile risk for viruses. And you won’t be installing Norton’s or McAfee on your netbook — especially if you are using a flash-based storage netbook. With Linux, you won’t need those tools in the first place. Your Linux-based netbook can travel anywhere you want and you won’t have to worry about picking up viruses or spyware like you would with a Windows-based netbook.

3: Better Improved Interface
If you have limited screen real estate, why not use a desktop interface designed for that real estate? Instead of using the standard desktop metaphor, the Eeebuntu Netbook Remix desktop introduces an interface that is perfectly suited for the desktop size offered by netbooks. This interface makes the netbook experience far more efficient than any Windows interface. Sure, it’s not what you’re used to. But it’s cleaner, faster and more user-friendly, and it will soon become familiar to you. And this interface isn’t different just for the sake of being different. It’s obvious that the interface was well thought out and aimed at the new PC user as well as the new netbook user.

4: Your netbook can be more than just a slow laptop
When I purchased my last netbook, one of the first things I did was install Eeebuntu (over the purchased Xandros Linux). Why did I do this? Because Xandros is a limited operating system, whereas Eeebuntu is a full-blown Linux distro that happens to install on an Eee PC. When using Eeebuntu on a netbook, you really feel like you have the power of a full laptop at your fingertips. You can even install a full-blown LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) server on your netbook if you like.

5: Low Cost
One of the reasons why netbooks are so popular is that they’re cheap. Where, other than eBay, can you find a PC for near or under US$300? And soon, the magical US$200 price tag will be reached when Freescale releases its Linux-only ARM-based netbook. Remember, Linux is open source, so any software you are installing will be free. Because of the cost of the Linux operating system, the cost of netbooks can continue to fall. If Microsoft were to attempt to use Vista or Windows 7, the cost of your average netbook would not fall. And any extra software you want to install — or any antivirus or firewall software you’ll want to use when you’re running a Windows operating system on your netbook? You’ll pay for it.

6: Linux offers more flavors to choose from
There are plenty of Linux varieties to choose from. Even with netbooks, you can go with the basic Xandros or even try the full-blown 3D Elive+Compiz — yes, even on a netbook! I have witnessed the 3D goodness of Compiz running on a netbook and it’s impressive. Of course, it’s not for everyone. But that’s OK, because there really is a Linux distribution for everyone. Just be careful when you make a choice: some of the distributions (such as Eeebuntu and OpenGeeeU) include the array kernel, which has wireless for netbooks built in by default. Some of the others will require you to take a few extra steps to build in wireless support. And with some of these distributions, there are different sub-variations. Eeebuntu has the standard release, which is just like a standard Ubuntu desktop, along with the Netbook Remix, which is a special desktop designed with the Eee PC user in mind.

7: Speed
I have used the same netbook running both Windows XP and Eeebuntu, and there is no comparison. The Eeebuntu desktop was noticeably snappier than the Windows XP. The web browser and mail clients opened nearly twice as fast on the Eeebuntu install than they did on the Windows XP install. Of course, there are differences between the various Linux flavours. For instance, the Xandros distribution is slower than the Eeebuntu distribution, but the Xandros is noticeably faster than OpenGeeeU and Elive.

8: Faster upgrades and Improvements
Just like any software in the open source community, the Linux netbook operating systems will continue to improve at a much faster rate than the Windows operating systems for netbooks. For one thing, more people are working to improve the experience. It is well known that open source bugs are found and fixed far faster than Windows bugs. This will help improve the Linux netbook OS far faster than anything Microsoft can manage. Open source users are more apt to submit bug reports, and open source developers implement patches faster. These patches and bug fixes will not come in the form of Service Packs (as they do in Windows), which are released infrequently and in large chunks. Because of this you are less likely to fubar your network when updating a Linux-based netbook.

9: The next version will work
Are you sure Windows 7 will work on your Eee PC? And if it does, how well will it work? You can be sure the next release of Eeebuntu will work on your Eee PC because it was made for that hardware. From release to release, you never know what a Windows operating system will work on. Vista was a total bust on the netbook. Windows 7 has yet to be released or to even prove it can work well on the netbook hardware. And XP is eventually going to meet its demise. So why take a chance on purchasing hardware that Microsoft will make irrelevant with its next release? Instead, rest assured your Linux OS will continue to work whenever you upgrade it.

10: Support is better (believe it or not)
Finding support for a Windows-based netbook isn’t as easy as it is for a standard laptop or desktop. The nice thing about the Linux netbook community is that the developers are interested in making sure the OS works well and are quick to listen to their users. So you know if you have a problem with your Linux-based netbook, a quick search on Google will most likely find a simple solution to your problem. And if you don’t find an answer on Google, you can go to the website of the distribution developers, where they’ll either have a support forum or a contact form (or email address). Getting help on your Windows-based netbook will require a call to the company that sold you the netbook or a call to Microsoft — or you’ll have to hope your problem has already been reported and fixed so you can find it on Google.

Leave me a comment and share your experiences of using Linux as an operating system for your netbook with us. Don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS to receive email newsletter delivered to your mailbox.

Microsoft And Yahoo Collaborated Against Google

Microsoft and Yahoo have signed a search engine deal to merge their search technology and advertisement operations. This move is highly inspired by Google 70% market share and now these two giants are trying to break their way into Google’s territory.

he 10-year deal gives Microsoft an exclusive license to Yahoo’s search-engine technologies, which it will be able to incorporate into its own search platforms. The plan is for Microsoft’s Bing to become the search engine for Yahoo’s sites. Microsoft will pay Yahoo 88 percent of search revenue from traffic on Yahoo’s own sites, with revenue guarantees worldwide for 18 months.

Now, that bing is making headlines with a surge of 8% unique visitors to the page and 28% rise in page impression, it looks like the competition is on.

Yahoo have announced that they will save $200m (£120m) a year on capital expenditure and increase its annual cash flow by around $275m a year, with a $500m benefit to annual income overall. Looks good for Yahoo which was shutting its many services and even planning to shut Geocities where thousands of loyal people will be hurt. Microsoft on the other hand is not talking about how much they are expecting this deal to bring in but they are certainly looking for a market share rather than profits.

Google currently owns the search engine and advertising market and expert feels that monopoly needs to be broken, this deal will put Microsoft back on track but still they have long way to go.

Leave me a comment and share your thoughts on this deal. Also please Subscribe to our RSS for latest tips, tricks and examples on cutting edge stuff.

Even Twitter Is Not XSS Safe

The Recent XSS attack on Twitter shows that even big site like twitter are not safe from XSS attack. Twitter is gaining popularity and so malicious users are trying to break it. Mike Mooney a 17-year-old teenager started playing with it as he got bored. After finding a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the Twitter application, he altered the code on four Twitter accounts to leverage the new-found vulnerability. Once set up, it was just a matter of waiting, kind of like fishing. Finally someone viewed the profile web page belonging to one of his Twitter accounts and through the magic of a drive-by dropper proudly became the first victim. Finding more victims got a lot easier after that as the worm started propagating using the following steps:

  • Each newly-infected Twitter application starts sending unauthorized Twitter messages (tweets) with malicious links to all available contacts found in the compromised Twitter account.
  • The flagged Twitter users start receiving tweets from a supposedly trusted contact (social engineering part).
  • The tweet asks them to check out a micro-blogging service called (hence the worm’s name).
  • As soon as the link is clicked, the Twitter application on that computer becomes infected with the worm.

It’s easy to see how the number of victims grows rapidly. Especially if some of the initially infected Twitter accounts have large contact lists.

To make matters worse, users who haven’t received a malicious tweet can also become infected just by looking at a compromised Twitter profile page.

Several strains

The explanation I gave above is the generic overview as there are at least four versions that have surfaced, each exhibiting slightly different social engineering techniques. To Twitter’s credit, they have been able to remove the problem each time, but the underlying Twitter application still appears to be vulnerable to XSS attacks.

How to remove

Even though the developers at Twitter have somewhat rectified the problem, there are still the infected profiles. Here is how you can play safe:

  • Clear your browser cache and empty all of your cookies.
  • Log out of TweetDeck or any external applications you are using.
  • Check the URL and location areas of your profile (in Settings/Account on for evidence of any malicious scripts. It’ll be obvious — something you haven’t added to these areas yourself. If you find anything, remove it.
  • On, change your password.
  • Log back in.
  • Go back and delete any tweets sent by you recommending StalkDaily. This is important.
  • Report @stalkdaily in a tweet to Twitter’s @spam account as follows: @spam @stalkdaily.

How to prevent this

Twittercism also has an excellent blog post that talks about how to prevent worms like StalkDaily and Mikeyy from infecting your Twitter profile. I thought I’d share a few of the more important points:

  • Use a Twitter client. It appears that the infection takes place while visiting the profile page, which is easy to do when using the Twitter web interface. To avoid accidentally opening profiles use a Twitter client like TweetDeck.
  • Avoid visiting user profiles on This refers to active links that are advertised in Tweets or email alerts about new followers.
  • Be wary about clicking on shortened URLs. URL shorting also comes with SPAM overhead, so use it wisely.

Another big help in fighting this worm as well as other malware is to turn JavaScript off. That may not be possible for many though. If not, I’d recommend using Firefox with the NoScript add on.

Although, XSS attack is pretty common and we will see more exploits in the recent years. Let me know if the above steps help you in resolving the issue. If you’ve got any thoughts, comments or suggestions for things we could add, leave a comment! Also please Subscribe to our RSS for latest tips, tricks and examples on cutting edge stuff.