SOPA protest goes global
Wednesday January 18th saw Wikipedia and a series of other major websites take part in a 24-hour blackout in protest over the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US.
The free online encyclopaedia claimed that should SOPA go ahead it would limit freedom of speech and hindered open access to information online, while supporters of the legislation claim that it is necessary in reducing online copyright infringement and protecting content from illegal distribution on other sites.
This week’s protests have lead to a backlash from the Motion Picture Association of America, who argued that it was nothing other than and “irresponsible stunt”.
However, major internet merchant accounts have since come out in support of the protest, with president Barack Obama also voicing his opposition.
UK customers ‘willing to pay £4.20′ for online banking
UK consumers who make online money transfers would be willing to pay £4.20 a month in order for web privileges and access to the services, according to a report from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).
As well as being able to make online transfers, security and simplicity of use were ranked highly by banking customers, as well as feeling as if their bank values their custom.
Some two thirds of banking customers also told the PwC survey that they would be willing to pay extra to receive Twitter or Facebook notifications of transactions, as this would allow them to stay on top of their spending and spot any suspicious activity almost immediately.
Online retailers embrace tablet devices
Direct merchant account retail sites are embracing tablet devices in order to drive sales, according to a study from RISNews.com, co-sponsored by Motorola Solutions and RBM Technologies.
A total of 28 per cent of retailers claimed that they were currently testing tablets in their stores, while almost a third admitted that they would be looking to do so this year.
Reasons cited for using tablets included sales floor support, connection to enterprise apps, increasing online shopping sales and updating the store experience.
“Our research reveals that tablet adoption is no longer a question for retailers. They know they are going to deploy tablets in the near term, it’s just a matter of what type of tablets and how they’ll integrate them into the store experience,” claimed Joe Skorupa, editor-in-chief at RIS News.
Cyber hackers threaten to release Symantec source code
Cyber hackers are threatening to release a source code stolen from the Symantec extended network.
The source code for Norton Antivirus is believed to have been stolen, however the online security firm claims that its release would pose no threat due to its age.
Symantec’s code was supposedly accessed after hackers calling themselves Yama Tough broke into servers run by Indian military intelligence and allegedly contains the source code of dozens of companies.
But despite the possible risks, Symantec has since told ZDNet that as it is the 2006 version it is “no longer sold or supported” and should not put businesses at risk.
Almost half of Europeans visiting newspaper sites
Online newspaper sites offering digital content are becoming increasingly popular with consumers in Europe, according to the latest comScore report.
It shows that in November 2011 379.4 million Europeans went online for an average of 27.8 hours each, with 47.8 per cent visiting newspaper sites.
This represents an increase of nine per cent from the previous years, with the Daily Mail continuing to attract the largest audience at 20.1 million unique visitors.
Public sector strikes lead to top online shopping day
The UK’s public sector strikes on November 30th were also the biggest day of the year for online shopping sites, despite the biggest day of the year for retail websites traditionally being the first Monday in December.
Research from BT showed that with one million public sector workers taking the day off transactions on retail websites rose 163 per cent compared to an average day and 45 per cent year-on-year.
“Whether or not people were striking or working from home or simply unable to get to work because of the industrial action, it seems many decided November 30th was a good time to do their Christmas shopping online,” claimed Richard Vining, head of performance at BT.
UK online shopping sales reach £50bn
UK online shopping sales increased by 14 per cent in 2011 to reach more than £50 billion, according to retail comparison website Kelkoo.
This is far higher than the expected rise of 3.65 per cent year-on-year, with online shoppers spending an average of just under £1,500 each on an average of 39 items last year.
The UK was found to have the highest online spending, with other countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Norway also experiencing high digital sales.
Chris Simpson of Kelkoo claimed that online billing solutions accessibility was one of the key drivers of consumer trade, saying: “Over the last five years internet retailing has improved substantially thanks to the use of affordable ‘always-on’ internet connections, simple and secure payment systems and the increasing popularity of mobile devices.”
Olympic ticket site back
The website for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic tickets has now reopened, allowing sports fans to continue to use online payment processing systems to purchase the remaining tickets.
Open until April, the site will also allow people to sell unwanted tickets.
The crisis-hit ticket site suffered from technical problems at the beginning of this year and sparked controversy with its allocation system towards the tail end of 2011.
GAME reassures consumers that hacking claims are false
GAME has refuted rumours that its site has been hacked and that personal and financial data has been compromised.
In a post on its Facebook page, GAME spokesperson Anna-Marie Mason said: “At GAME we guard our customers’ details very carefully.
“We have thoroughly investigated the hacking claims made today by the website Pastebin, and can confirm that they are entirely false.”
Internet merchant accounts ‘should consider social media investment carefully’
Internet merchant account holders have been advised to consider social media investment carefully before embarking on a new marketing channel.
While digital spending is up, Robert Dreblow, marketing communications director at the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), said: “I think they [online businesses] need to understand social more before they really start to put the big budgets behind it.”
A recent survey from WFA showed that digital marketing spend is on the up as internet merchant account holders look to offer a multichannel presence.