Monthly Industry Roundup: March-April, 2014


Extensions that don’t meet the updated requirements will be removed from display on Magento Connect starting April 28, 2014. If applicable, developers whose extensions are delisted on April 28, 2014, can resubmit their extensions once they’ve made updates to meet the criteria, and they’ll even get to keep their existing ratings. Read the full story.

Online retailers are struggling to unearth the reasons why shoppers abandon their sites without converting. A staggering 73% of the companies surveyed admit that they are unaware of the abandonment reasons. Explore How eCommerce sites can cater for the ‘just browsing’ shoppers.

One change in the law that took effect last September has proved to be a boon for many eCommerce companies. ECommerce companies raise funds with new approaches. Check how?

The eCommerce platform a merchant chooses can impact success. Fortunately, in 2014 there are many excellent eCommerce platforms to choose from, and the real challenge is picking the one that is best for your business right now. Know more!


ASP.NET Scaffolding is a new feature recently included in Visual Studio 2013. ASP.NET Scaffolding is a code generation framework for ASP.NET Web applications. Visual Studio 2013 includes pre-installed code generators for MVC and Web API projects. You add scaffolding to your project when you want to quickly add code that interacts with data models. Using scaffolding can reduce the amount of time to develop standard data operations in your project. Learn more about the it in detail on Microsoft ASP.NET’s official website.

Final version of ASP.NET Identity 2.0 released. The main focus in this release was to add security and account management features as well as address feedback from the community.

Recently at the Build conference, Microsoft Azure announced a number of great new improvements coming to SQL Databases on Azure including: an improved 99.95% SLA, support for databases up to 500GB in size, self-service restore capability, and new Active Geo Replication support. Watch this video!

Azure Updates: Web Sites, VMs, Mobile Services, Notification Hubs, Storage, VNets, Scheduler, AutoScale and More.

  • Web Sites: SSL included, Traffic Manager, Java Support, Basic Tier
  • Virtual Machines: Support for Chef and Puppet extensions, Basic Pricing tier for Compute Instances
  • Virtual Network: General Availability of DynamicRouting VPN Gateways and Point-to-Site VPN
  • Mobile Services: Preview of Visual Studio support for .NET, Azure Active Directory integration and Offline support;
  • Notification Hubs: Support for Kindle Fire devices and Visual Studio Server Explorer integration
  • Autoscale: General Availability release
  • Storage: General Availability release of Read Access Geo Redundant Storage
  • Active Directory Premium: General Availability release
  • Scheduler service: General Availability release
  • Automation: Preview release of new Azure Automation service


What’s new for web designers? Freebie: Flat Icon Set! This set of round icons was thoroughly designed by the creative team at Roundicons. This freebie contains 60 icons that have been designed in both round and flat styles, and can be used for free without any restrictions and serve various design purposes. Feel free to modify the size, color or shape of the icons, and use the icons in your commercial as well as your personal projects.


Last December, Google Adwords introduced +Post ads to a limited number of advertisers as a new way to amplify content and create conversations across the web. Now, +Post ads are available to all advertisers who meet a minimum threshold of Google+ followers. Google adwords is also piloting two new features – promoted Hangouts on Air and automatic post promotion – to help you create compelling ad experiences and make it easier to extend the reach of your social content. Read More!

Google Adwords announces that you can now create and manage your Shopping campaigns at scale with the AdWords API. They are working with external agencies and search management platforms to add support for Shopping campaigns.

The TrueView format has enabled advertisers to break free of time constraints, grow view count with opted-in views and only pay when people choose to watch their video ads. Google Adwords recently announced an improvement to make TrueView both simpler and more capable. The experts have chosen to go from three TrueView formats to two: TrueView in-stream and TrueView in-display. This will effectively combine the in-search and in-display formats into one format called TrueView in-display. In addition to simplifying campaign creation and management, this change offers the following:

  • Organizes TrueView around how a user interacts with the ad (either by viewing as a pre-roll video or clicking on a thumbnail) rather than where the ad appears.
  • Tell us where you want your ads to appear at the campaign level – YouTube videos, YouTube search and the Google Display Network – and all ads within that campaign will run on your selected networks.
  • Deliver more relevant ads on the YouTube search page. Just as you can use in-stream ads to reach different demographics or audiences, now you can tailor in-display ads running on YouTube search pages to these same parameters, in addition to keywords
    Read the official announcement!


Google recently announced new features for its mobile ad platform AdMob at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The new features are powered by Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Google Analytics is fully available in the AdMob interface on a new Analyze tab. App developers now have a one-stop way to measure success and adjust their earning strategies based on what they learn. On the other hand, Google enabled content experiments: an easy way to set up and run experiments to change anything from in-app promotions to menu layout. With Google Tag Manager you can modify app configuration for existing users without having to ship a new version. Check out the official announcement!

The recent study is a must read for all seeking business through apps – roughly 90 percent of the mobile internet time being spent there, according to Nielsen. However, if companies’ apps don’t engage users quickly and effectively, they may churn — never to return. Read in detail.

TechCrunch last month, citing “multiple sources”, talked about ‘Facebook Audience Network’. It reports:

It will offer both simple and custom ways for advertisers and other developers to harness the power of Facebook’s ad targeting data across the mobile app market…
Facebook will also bring the ad targeting muscle, allowing advertisers to reach people based on biographical and interest data, and likely with cookie-based retargeting, too.

“Cisco predicts that the number of mobile users will to rise to 4.9 billion in 2018 from 4.1 billion in 2013 as consumers in emerging markets come online. By 2018, mobile video will represent 69% of mobile traffic, up from 53% last year.” – Here’s a report on how mobile traffic will continue to rise as smart devices take over the world.


One of the biggest stories to shock the SEO world in March was the penalizing of MyBlogGuest, one of the most famed and used guest blogging network tools. Unfortunately for MyBlogGuest’s users, or those with links pointing to their site that originated through from the site, invalid link notices began appearing in their Google Webmaster Tools accounts. Read the full story. Soon, in the following month – April, 2014, Google has hit another guest blog network. Google’s Matt Cutts confirmed via Twitter that action was taken against PostJoint, Which is the second major guest blog network that Google has penalized this year.

Google has announced they’ve added “more precise” data for the Index Status reports in Google Webmaster Tools. Specifically, Google is now reporting each indexed URLs for each protocol, specifically both for HTTP and HTTPS, as well as for verified subdirectories. If you mix and match HTTP and HTTPS content on different pages, you will notice a change in your Index Status reports. Read More.

Users of IE8, still the most popular version of the Internet Explorer browser worldwide, are being sent to unsecure search on Google. The move to send users to Google regular servers instead of secure servers is related to Google seeming to work through how it deals with people still using the older browser. Webmasters may notice referrer data from IE8 visitors coming from Google turning on and off as a result of this work. Users of other IE versions are still sent to secure search. Know more

Google has confirmed that there are some GoogleBot user agent spiders not properly passing verification protocol. Now Google is working on a fix, but you should not have to worry about blocking a real GoogleBot at this time. Know in detail!

Watch a video on why and when Google will ignore your title tag and use something else for the snippet title in the search results. Know what criteria does Google use to change the title it shows in the SERPs depending on the query? Does schema influence that? Maybe headings (h1, h2…) have more weight? And more!


The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 5.4.27, PHP 5.6.0beta1 and PHP 5.5.12 (source: ). These releases add new features and encouraged PHP users to use upgraded versions. The release of PHP 5.6.0beta1 adds new features and fixes bugs and marks the feature freeze for the PHP 5.6.0 release! PHP 5.6.0beta1 comes with a number of new features, including:

  • A new method called fread() to the SplFileObject class
  • A new static method called createFromMutable() to the DateTimeImmutable class
  • A new function called hash_equals()
  • Support for marks to the PCRE extension

Vulnerability in OpenSSL —officially dubbed the “TLS Heartbeat Read Overrun” issue and unofficially named “Heartbleed” by the firm that found it—allows attackers to scrape the memory of Web servers, grabbing up to 64 kilobytes of the last data communicated. The software library used to secure communications on the Web, has undermined the security on hundreds of thousands of Web servers and services and has left online companies scrambling to close the security hole. The vulnerability puts users’ passwords at risk, but also could reveal the private keys used in the encryption that secures the Secure HTTP, or HTTPS, protocol. Read about this threat in detail Here.

The forking of OpenSSL is a direct response to the Heartbleed vulnerability. The open-source OpenBSD operating system community has now officially forked the OpenSSL code and is building its own version of an open-source cryptographic library called LibreSSL.


Soon, you’ll be able to tag photos of people on Twitter. They’re also allowing you to add up to four photos per tweet and tag 10 people per photo, so you could conceivably embarrass 40 people in just 140 characters. See How to tag people in a photo?

Twitter announced that a new profile design is coming to everyone’s favorite 140 character social media site very soon and has already been made available to a small group of users. What You Should Know About the New Twitter Profile Layout!

LinkedIn introduced two tools to help make your social media marketing a bit smarter: Content Marketing Score and Trending Content. One tool will help you measure your company’s success and the other will give you insight into what successful content looks like, giving you much more context into being successful on LinkedIn than was previously available on the platform. Read the full story.

Now Google +Post ads are available to brand pages with over 1,000 Google+ followers that have also opted into the shared endorsements feature on Google+. If you meet those requirements, you could promote a simple text update, photos, videos, Hangouts, and as of today, Hangouts on Air — basically anything you can post on your brand’s own Google+ page. Read more…

Now Facebook seems to be directly targeting marketers that are overusing particular marketing strategies, similar to how we’ve seen Google make changes to their algorithm target and penalize SEO tactics that moved from an acceptable tactic to a spammy tactic. Now the social network is planning to crack down on these calls to action, calling the practice “like-baiting.” Now, if a business or website asks for likes, shares, or comments, it will be much less likely that Facebook will show the post in the users’ News Feeds. Read more!

Facebook rolled out a new feature called Nearby Friends that you can choose to turn on. Nearby Friends helps you discover which friends are nearby or on the go. If you turn on Nearby Friends, you’ll occasionally be notified when friends are nearby, so you can get in touch with them and meet up. Read full story.


Google Analytics launched Remarketing with Google Analytics, in August, 2012, which enabled advertisers to create sophisticated remarketing lists using Google Analytics’ 250+ dimensions and metrics. Lately, Google Analytics announced a deeper remarketing integration between AdWords and Google Analytics. A single set of tags can now power both Google Analytics and Dynamic Remarketing on the Google Display Network using the Google Merchant Center.  Check the official announcement!

For loyal Google Analytics users asking for better TrueView reporting, Google Analytics announced a new Google Analytics Video Campaigns report that focuses on your TrueView ads. With this new report rolling out over the next few days, users can now see the detailed effects of their TrueView campaigns on their website traffic and revenue. You can access the new report under Acquisition > AdWords > Video Campaigns. Know more!

Introducing: Smart Lists with Google Analytics. Smart Lists are built using machine learning across the millions of Google Analytics websites which have opted in to share anonymized conversion data, using dozens of signals like visit duration, page depth, location, device, referrer, and browser to predict which of your users are most likely to convert during a later visit. Based on their on-site actions, Analytics is able to calibrate your remarketing campaigns to align with each user’s value.

Google Analytics announces a series of asset sharing tools within the platform. To spread all your innovative solutions and assets even easier, permalink solution was introduced later in April, 2014 that is a simple to use and privacy friendly way to share Google Analytics configurations across your organization, and beyond. Know more.


LinkedIn announced plans to open the content platform to all members. Soon 25,000 members were given the ability to publish content on LinkedIn; but, over the course of the next few months, that ability will be granted to each and every member in 200 countries and 19 languages. The content will be linked to each individuals profile and shared with his/her network when posted. Additionally, members are now able to “follow” other members without being connected to them. Read full story!

Basic website analytics can give you an idea with time-on-site and bounce rate metrics. If you just tell readers how many minutes it will take them to read your article, they’ll be more likely to read it. It’s psychology at work. That, in turn, works in your favor. What you need to know about estimated reading times online: where they came from, why to use them, how to calculate them and when to avoid them. Here’s a recent study on How Estimated Reading Times Increase Engagement with Content.

Most Marketers are still unaware of what is Native Advertising. According to Copyblogger’s 2014 State of Native Advertising report, a whopping 73 percent saying they have no idea or hardly a clue about what native advertising is. Just 9 percent said they or their companies have budgets dedicated to native advertising, and 91 percent spend less than $100 of their ad budgets on native advertising. Certainly part of the confusion comes from the vast number of ad types that can be crowded under the native advertising umbrella. Advertorials and sponsored content are the genesis for just some of what is called native advertising. Read more.

Some more recent updates and studies on Content Industry –

A recent content marketing study conducted by Nielsen revealed consumers are more likely to be influenced by third-party expert content over branded content and user reviews when making buying decisions.

Emerging platforms editors are the next generation of the mobile editors that publishers have begun adopting in recent years to optimize content for mobile readers. After all, 66 percent of tablet or Smartphone owners regularly consume news from their devices. Many mobile editors are now being called emerging platforms editors as every publication attempts to figure out ways to innovate and explore new avenues of communication that extend beyond just mobile to Google Glass, and eventually, virtual reality. Know more!

Upcoming – Industry Roundup, May, 2014


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