Can Printed Money Be Replaced by Digital Payments?

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Digital payments are quickly becoming widely accepted. A recent report by Juniper Research suggests digital payments will increase by $ 2.2 trillion over the next five years. The results of the study are especially pertinent for e-commerce sites as the largest percentage of increased digital spending will occur through the virtual purchase of consumer goods. More advanced methods of virtual payment such as Bitcoin promise increased security and reliability. However, e-commerce sites might not see widespread acceptance of crypto currency in the next year or two.

Challenges Associated With the Acceptance of Bitcoin

Bitcoin resembles cash transactions in numerous ways. Unlike credit card purchases, the transactions are anonymous and irreversible. Consequently, it is conceivable that Bitcoin could be used for everyday in-person purchases as well as virtual purchases. Vendors do not have to worry about challenges associated with accepting credit cards including lag time between transactions and acquisition of funds, disputed transactions, and traditional swipe fees.

Successful merchants typically follow one rule. It is important to make it as easy as humanly possible to allow customers to complete transactions, regardless of payment method. Currently, numerous shoppers are not familiar with Bitcoin, and unfamiliarity poses a challenge. The nation of Australia only started to recognize Bitcoin transactions as taxable, and other governing agencies struggle with the concept of accepting crypto currency as “real” currency. Until there is widespread acceptance of crypto currency, it is unlikely that successful merchants and vendors will be able to eliminate cash transactions. However, the transition from printed money to digital payments is viable given time and continual education.

Will Bitcoin Become a Widely Accepted Payment Method?

Widespread acceptance of new payment methods historically has taken decades. For example, Visa was launched under its current name in 1977, and MasterCard was launched under its current name in 1966. Both credit card giants took a several decades to become mainstream payment methods in the United States. E-commerce sites are highly competitive, and the success of individual sites is heavily reliant on positive user experience.

Currently, e-commerce sites and mobile app purchases introduced consumers to one-click purchasing on a broad level. Similarly, e-commerce sites such as Groupon sell experiences in real life rather than merchandise, and transactions are instantaneous. The dynamic nature of mainstream e-commerce makes the concept of an online crypto currency economy likely in the foreseeable future.

Concerns About Standalone E-Commerce Sites and Consumer Trust

Consumers want protection against various types of fraud on e-commerce sites. One proposed solution is to create a standard portal which supports all e-commerce activity. Regulation of all e-commerce activity would be an enormous undertaking, which additionally might not be particularly sustainable. Currently, credit card companies, banks, and merchants suffer substantial fiscal loss due to credit card fraud online. Additionally, numerous consumers risk identity theft. Experts attribute the rate of fraud and theft to numerous variables, including undereducated webmasters and merchants. However, theft and fraud is often unavoidable no matter what payment method is used.

Common Risks and Rewards Associated With Credit Card Transactions

Consumers are aware of risks associated with credit card use, but customers are also aware of benefits. Unlike stolen cash or bitcoins, stolen funds from a credit card can be refunded by the financial institution backing it. In the Catch-22 scenario, financial institutions and merchants have to suffer fiscal losses in lieu of customers.

E-commerce transactions that use bitcoin are irreversible, and they are similar to cash transactions. If cash is given away and an item is not received, buyers have to work directly with vendors or e-commerce platforms to resolve the issue. However, consumers currently find working directly with e-commerce giants than credit card companies is a more efficient way to solve issues associated with virtual transactions. Plus, buyers have additional identity protection when using crypto currency as a primary payment method.

Customer Service Can Make Bitcoin Mainstream

Surprisingly, major e-commerce sites with a strong focus on customer service such as Amazon do not focus marketing efforts on customer service options for buyers. Similarly, eBay has increased its focus on being a buyer-friendly platform over the past several years, but numerous buyers are unaware of the change. The responsive nature of major e-commerce platforms can make bitcoin transactions viable for buyers and merchants. After all, few buyers or merchants want to complete transactions on a platform that is not viewed as trustworthy or responsive. Merchant and buyer trust is integral to adopting new payment methods, and successful e-commerce sites typically function like successful big box stores in order to build and maintain positive reputations.

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The Possibility of In-Person Transactions Without Cash

Small cash transactions pose a substantial issue for brick and mortar storefronts. For example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported over 5,000 bank robberies took place in year 2011, and over $ 38,000,000 in cash was stolen. In the age of mobile technology, it makes sense to emulate cash transactions and eventually replace printed money for individuals that can suffer small personal losses that are nearly impossible to recoup as well as larger businesses.

Increasingly, merchants use apps to swipe credit cards for small purchases in order to better serve customers. Additionally, merchants have recognized the value of virtual transactions via smartphone as funds are not lost. The use of crypto currency can better streamline routine purchases by immediately transferring funds rather than forcing merchants to wait for bank transactions to complete on banking days. Replacing printed money with digital payments is not as farfetched as it might sound. After all, a lost smartphone with funds attached could be similar to a lost wallet. However, smartphones have additional security measures. Wallets do not.

What Experts See in the Near Future for Merchants and Consumers

Bitcoin has gained recognition as taxable currency by first-world nations, and numerous experts speculate that crypto currency will make printed money obsolete in the near future. The transition away from printed money will likely be gradual. Over half of Americans own smartphones. In order for smartphones to truly replace wallets, the percentage of Americans that own mobile devices needs to reach over 90 percent. In order to better put things in perspective, information recently leaked that the iPhone 6 will be a wallet. Is it happenstance, or has tech giant Apple predicted the future of digital payments?

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Was The World Digital Economy on Cloud 9 In the Year 2013?

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: VPS / Dedicated Servers

So, the world is digitizing – fact. However, there is a digital divide rather a digital gap between countries who seem to be the best and the worst, as ICTs. Since the last 16 years, the captive audiences of technology … Continue reading

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Was The World Digital Economy on Cloud 9 In the Year 2013?

Posted by: Admin  :  Category: VPS / Dedicated Servers

So, the world is digitizing – fact. However, there is a digital divide rather a digital gap between countries who seem to be the best and the worst, as ICTs. Since the last 16 years, the captive audiences of technology … Continue reading

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)

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Digital Erasers: The Next Big Money Maker

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If I were making investments, I’d invest heavily in tattoo removal. No one has figured out a perfect removal process, but when someone does it will make millions. And robotexting: when is someone going to invent a robotexting app that will text my wife/mother/brother so I don’t have to? “Sure, Honey! I’d be happy to run to the store for you. Txt me the list.” I don’t have time to be polite via text: robotexting better get here soon before my relationships fall apart. Digital erasers? Now there’s an investment: every kid growing up five years ago to now and far into the future is going to need one when they start applying for jobs or graduate school. What lucky programmer is going to write the code that will crawl the entire Internet, deleting embarrassing content for 20-somethings who were imprudent teens? That software will easily make millions, maybe even billions….

Digital erasers weren’t even a thought in people’s minds until the absolute folly and imprudence of youth appeared drunken, sometimes illegal and certainly offensive in places like Facebook, Twitter and every social media outlet teens frequent. It used to be when you were young and acted stupid, it didn’t go beyond your local town, neighborhood or school district. If you got an unsavory reputation, the problem could be solved by moving away, thus wiping the slate clean. Very few of us have unsullied memories of our teen years: what are the teenage years for anyway, if not for carousing, rebelling and testing limits?

But what if all the folly of your youth followed you into your job search? Studies show that 91% of employers use social networking sites to screen potential employees. What if it showed up on your applications for graduate school or housing? Online indiscretions and bad reputations are not easy to shake—certainly not as easy to leave behind as an offline and physically, not electronically, situated troubled teenage period.

Whatever! It’s apparent that no matter how many teens ruin their reputations (or get arrested!) by posting drunken/nude/foolish photos of themselves on the Internet, others do not take warning or see any cause for caution.

Texting

By Alton via Wikimedia Commons

Understanding this problem, California enacted the Digital Eraser Law in September. It’s a nice effort, with a noble goal: to protect minors by prohibiting online merchants of adult-only goods from advertising to minors and by making it mandatory for any “Internet Web site, online service, online application, or mobile application” containing a minor’s information to remove that information at the request of the minor or any third party. In regular language, that means children in California have a right to delete any information they have published on the Internet, the right to digitally erase any content they have created as children.

Great idea, California, but practically impossible to pull off.  “Embarrassing photos spread virally, and internet archives automatically create copies of nearly every piece of information on the web,” TechCrunch reminds us. This is problem #1: even though teens have the right to erase content on sites where they originally posted the content, they may not know how many copies of the content exist on other sites.

“From my reading, the second someone reposts anything you share, you lose control of it,” the Daily Mail reminds us. Once a picture is re-posted on another site, the person who originally posted it is not the only owner of the information and therefore cannot delete it. SnapChat is a popular app with teens and the assumption is that pictures sent via SnapChat disappear, but in reality those pictures can be captured by the receiver and live on forever once re-posted on the Internet. The illusion of protection via automatic picture deletion is just that: an illusion.

Education about the reach of online posts and information is another problem: teens and children have limited, if any, knowledge of copyright and certainly don’t imagine the ways in which their information/posts can be re-posted and used by people unknown to them. Privacy settings? Why should they care?

According to one study by the Pew Research Center, of the teens active online:

  • 59% have deleted or edited something that they posted in the past
  • 53% have deleted comments from others on their profile or account
  • 45% have removed their name from photos that have been tagged to identify them
  • 31% have deleted or deactivated an entire profile or account
  • 19% have posted updates, comments, photos, or videos that they later regretted sharing

So they do care…enough to remove some content. Critics of the Digital Eraser Law have suggested that it could backfire by reinforcing bad habits and removing the consequences of bad choices and actions. How will children learn from their mistakes if they are guaranteed erasure of them when they turn 18? Will teens assume that they can magically clean up their online reputations when they reach the age of adulthood so feel they have no reason to curb their behavior online?

The digital eraser idea is a great one–golden!–but the fact is, it doesn’t work. Not yet. Deleting yourself from the internet is still harder than you imagine. The million dollar idea is not just that teens need a digital eraser: adults need help managing their reputations online, too. Especially famous adults. Politicians and celebrities make mistakes on Twitter and social media, but online reputations are also ruined by gossipy bloggers and comment trolls. X-pire, released by German software designers, is a new “digital eraser” software that will delete pictures after a specified amount of time, but this requires foresight and only deletes the pictures where they were first posted: it doesn’t crawl the Internet to find re-posts and wouldn’t be effective if you haven’t put it in place before posting. And, let’s be honest, if we all thought about it before we posted something unwise online, we probably wouldn’t post it.

For now, those with heavily damaged online reputations attempt to trick search engines with the help of “Online Reputation Managers“:  paid technologists who make it their job to manage, maintain and salvage people’s Internet lives.  Julia Allison, former dating columnist for Time Out New York magazine whose reputation was damaged by unsavory posts and pictures on Gawker, “compares the scar to her online reputation to a large tattoo: ‘Technically, it’s possible to remove it, but it’s painful and expensive. Plus, there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever remove it 100 percent.’”  The ill-advised tattoo and the offhand, offensive Facebook post bear striking similarities: each functions as a rite of passage with painful consequences. The removal tools for both remain ineffective and yet give a false sense of security.

Looking for your next million? Tattoo removal and digital eraser software. You heard it here first!

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Google Panda 4.0: Web Savior or Digital Bully?

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There’s a new sheriff in Webtown, aimed to clean up the place, and if shooting first and asking questions later is needed to clean up the web, then so be it, according to some of the victims. Other digital townspeople sleep better at night, knowing Panda is out there, standing on the internet wall, guarding the virtues of clean content, safe links, copyrighted material, and less, but better advertising.

Panda 4.0 is not exactly new, having been around since 2011, which is eons in internet time, and after about two dozen updates, it has become a beacon for search ranking, but to some, it’s the classroom snitch, just waiting to ruin things for web sites sitting quietly in the digital schoolroom.

“Black Hat” and “White Hat” SEO

Computer Cowboy

Oddly enough, in keeping with the old west theme, the terms for clean and dirty SEO practices are known as “White Hat” and “Black Hat” SEO. Black hat SEO is best defined as anything that is meant to please search engines first, and human readers or visitors second. Examples of commonly used black hat SEO techniques would include invisible keyword text, keyword stuffing, and heavy link usage. Panda is out to eliminate these practices.

White hat SEO techniques are, allegedly, the opposite practice. These techniques can be aimed at both search engines, and human readers. White hat SEO relies upon original content. Some who write about white hat SEO refer to this original content as “well-researched” and “immensely readable.” What exactly does that mean and what are the parameters of research that keeps your site with a white hat, and keeps you from being flagged by Google?

While it is generally agreed that Google’s Panda updates shocked the world of SEO, causing site owners to change the practice of link-building and keyword-based efforts for a “focus on quality content.” But, can there be “well-researched” and “quality content” without giving credit where credit is due by linking back to the sources of that research? Are those links considered “weak” or “black hat?”

The most frightening thing to many is the threat of “penalties” from Google Panda.

“What penalties?” asked one commenter on an article about Panda. “Is this financial, or will Google try to wipe sites from the internet?”

Some web owners are reporting that they have received messages that threaten, “to avoid Google penalty simply remove ALL links to (web site name) from your site.”

The penalties named in these emails, it seems, may only be a scam from people who are either competitors looking to knock down another site’s SEO through the use of links, or from people who are looking to sell you SEO services in light of the new “Panda 4.0 rules and regulations.”

Always check out the source of any message you may receive regarding the breaking of Panda 4.0 rules, just as one would ignore the millions of dollars for a bank transfer from dead Nigerian royalty.

Google is King!

Cartoon King Idea

It’s no secret that Google wields great power as a top search engine. After the competitor Bing started advertising about the superiority of their searches vs. Google, some thought there would be a digital mob war with binary bodies turning up in web rivers and fields on the electronic. Like it or not, Google knows their stuff and if Panda has become the new standard for proper web ethics, you will need to play by their rules to survive and succeed.

Naysayers of Panda may be those who develop their sites on the fringe of professionalism, or are just cheap and won’t or can’t hire the proper content creators, social media managers and web designers/developers. So, will the new rules limit businesses who can safely and effectively have a proper web site?

Panda has dropped some site’s rankings by half or more overnight. To stay on the straight and narrow, no matter what your business is, your site should strive to adhere to these new guidelines:

Best Content

  • Keep your content original and helpful to readers, rather than advertorials for your services. Many businesses desire ads for themselves written as content and posted on other industry-specific sites.
  • This is also meant to kill off “content mills.” These are the sites that offer blocks of articles you can purchase for your site, rather than paying for original content.

The con of this rule is: Independent authors often count on reprint fees for their articles, hoping one article can be reprinted several times on different sites. Panda may lower the income potential of freelance content creators.

  • The loss of content mills leaves smaller businesses without content for their sites. Does repeat content really negatively impact the web and society?
  • Will your site’s RSS feed become illegal in Panda’s eyes? Some sites rely on their RSS feed to improve their traffic.

Duplicating Pages for Targeted Keywords

  • Some sites use duplicate pages to spotlight one keyword (New York West Side Hotel). Panda wants to thin these out.

The con of this rule is: Some sites are specific and content about different New York West Side Hotels may be their specialty. If THAT is what you want, will Panda reduce your choices of content?

High Ad to Content Ratio

Throw a few articles in with a whole bunch of ads and people who search out that content will see all of your ads, increasing click thrus, right? That’s something Panda wants to prevent. There isn’t really a con to that rule unless you want to see a bunch of ads for skateboards or such.

Empty Web Pages

  • An older and multi page site can end up with a lot of empty pages (404), usually from bad maintenance of internal search functions as well as the use of keywords that aren’t tied to actual content. Panda is on the lookout for such pages and ready to slap the site owner with penalties for such problems.

The con of this rule is: If this is just accidental, you need to learn to clean up your site. Panda won’t be as kind as your mother was when you kept a messy room!

Buying Popularity

  • There are people who buy Twitter and Facebook followers and those who purchase inbound links, using money to replace quality content for search results. Panda makes these a prime target. Google, as with any search engine, doesn’t like to be fooled and if you try it, prepare to face the wrath of Panda!

There are no cons to this practice.

Confused?

Cartoon Boss Confused

It all seems fairly clear — Google wants an honest web where the best of the best comes to the top of search engines and  better ranking cannot be bought or stolen. Still, people have their concerns, mostly about making a mistake and receiving Panda penalties and losing search results. Here’s some comments from several articles about the new Panda SEO:

“It’s got to be more than that! My website has 2,200+ pages of original content written by experts, minimal ads (in a narrow right column), NO duplicate pages, NO purchased links, NO empty pages. But, still, Panda took my traffic from 22,000 visitors on a good day to 8,000 on a good day. Killing my revenue and losing me my expert contributors. Doing everything I can, but NOT recovering. VERY discouraging!”

“I’m always confused of what counts as a purchased link. If you pay a writer to write a guest post on another website, is that a paid link, especially since without the payment you might not have gotten a link? What about sites that actually charge you to have a guest post on their site, or to have links in their guest post? It seems with that situation, the one who gets the link gets penalized instead of the one collecting the revenue.”

“So cute, so furry, so deadly. Why can’t they just call it Piranha or something? I’ll never look at bamboo shoots the same.”

“Panda is Google’s attempt to apply machine learning to determine the quality of content.”

“This isn’t just good for Google’s SERP quality, it’s good for users too. The only ones that really need to worry are the people that try and game the system.”

“I’ve found it’s best to focus on increasing other traffic methods, and not to rely on SEO. In my opinion, referral traffic and social traffic are much more reliable and sustainable than SEO. Any traffic method which make you lose all your hard work, is like building your house on sand. You need a solid base, and focusing purely on SEO is not it. However, you still need to ensure you have quality content, and that your site content comply to the basic SEO rules. If you use WordPress, install a SEO plugin for the basic SEO to be in place.”

It seems to me that the best way to stay in Google’s good graces is to build and manage your website as if Google didn’t exist.”

With all of this in mind, it will be interesting to see how sites like Buzzfeed fair with content drawn from other sources. As for your site, keep it clean, fresh, content rich, and watch those links… which is why I’m not going to include any links to suggested articles on the new SEO for Panda.

Images ©GL Stock Images

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Digital Optical Network Carrier Infinera Names VP of Global Professional Services

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February 21, 2012 — Infinera announced on Tuesday it has named Todd Hanson its VP of global professional services. A digital optical network model is a network architecture for hosts and service providers that allows them to reach more customers, more cost-effectively, offer better network performance, unify network architectures, and simplify their overall operations.


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