Latest industry insight

Interest in Pinterest reaches a fever pitch

Unless you’ve been hiding under a stone for the last few months, you’re unlikely to have missed the buzz circulating around the content sharing site, Pinterest. Less generally well known is the part it’s starting to play in driving e-commerce conversion uplift. Social search has been trumpeted as the future of search for a while now, even Google are trying to get in the act with +1. But the fact that Pinterest is currently out-trumping other social networks is where this starts to become really, really interesting. Why might this be? I suggest the secrets lie in its user base with above average income size and dominant audience types (fashion, arts and wine) being particular call outs!

Mobiles to replace credit cards? O2 Wallet goes live in UK

O2’s electronic wallet launch must surely herald the start of a true transition from money towards electronic as the dominant payment type of the future. With various forms of alternative payment methods starting as far as back as 1990s with Mondex’s  Swindon trial (anyone remember that?), the time is now right to optimise the true benefits this technology can provide. As the demand curve for mobile and smart technologies show no signs of abating any time soon, the future’s bright, to borrow that memorable phrase from a leading international mobile operator. O2’s app is multi-device friendly (making Barclaycard’s recent effort of providing a sticky label for Visa holders to apply to the back of their mobile, look positively primitive). In addition to the usual (or should that be come to be expected) features, the mobile app also includes price comparison functionality, enabling users to scan a barcode and search for items to see if they can find them cheaper elsewhere.  With Debenhams and Tesco counting amongst the 100 or so stores covered by the tool.

9/10 of Amazon.com’s bestsellers are now digital

With Kindle and e-book sales busting Amazon’s first quarter sales, electronic books are firmly here to stay. That’s not just over here, but on both sides of the pond. Whilst Kindle Fire has been blazing a trail state-side, Kindle readers have been spreading like wildfire over here and continue to occupying the number one sales position in the UK. Amazon also interestingly revealed that it has e-book exclusivity across a range of 130,000 new in copyright offerings and that these so-called “store exclusives” currently account for 16 of its top 100 best-sellers. Electronic wallets, e-readers, there’s a kind of ubiquituous theme building here. Paper manufacturers, take note.

Google Drive

So Google’s now got in the Cloud act, rubbing shoulders with the likes of existing incumbents Dropbox and Microsoft’s SkyDrive in the process. Google Drive, offers gmail account holders the ability to securely store a range of different document formats online for free (upto 5GB to be precise) and includes Windows and Mac desk applications options, a-la Dropbox. As well as offering the obvious benefits which come with cloud based storage solutions, it also offers users  application feature benefits. For example the ability for users to open Photoshop files, whether they have Photoshop installed on their PC or not. But enough of this, as I’m starting to sound like a sales pitch and Google really doesn’t need any more help on this one!

Hackers outwit online banking identity security systems

First there was phishing. Hackers sending unsolicited emails to unsuspecting account holders trying to lure them to fake banking sites off the back of account administration and validation email requests. Dual security layers came next, with banks providing account holders with additional chip and pin style card reader technology to provide an additional layer of security. Well, of course the hackers haven’t been lying idle, rather they’ve been finding new ways to outwit bank security systems. The hackers latest response takes the form of something called a “Man in the Browser” (MitB) attack. Here the malware lives in the web browser and can get between the user and the website, altering what is seen and changing details of what is being entered. In a recent test the majority of web security software on standard settings did not spot that a previously unseen piece of malware created in the software testing lab was behaving suspiciously. The threat effectively lies dormant until the user visits particular websites. Damn those crafty hackers! Forearmed is forewarned...