Freetimers Blog » 2012 » November

115 million visits to online retail sites predicted for Cyber Monday

Global information services company Experian predicts that
Monday 3rd December 2012 will be the busiest online shopping day pre-Christmas.
UK consumers are likely to spend 375 million hours shopping online in December
2012.  Furthermore, Experian predict that
Christmas 2012 will be the biggest and busiest ever for online retailers in the
UK.

Visits to UK retail websites are expected to exceed 100
million on 3rd December – known as the UK’s Cyber Monday.  ‘Sales creep’ is also likely to start earlier
in the UK this year, with Experian predicting a lift in sales searches from
15th December onwards.

“Whilst 2011 broke all records for online retail, this
Christmas is shaping up to see a further significant rise,” comments Greg
Poulson of Freetimers. “Amazon and eBay account for almost 30% of online retails
sales but there are also plenty of opportunities for smaller online retails to
improve their market share if they have the right offering and the right online
presence.”

Google fights to protect the open internet

A meeting of the International Telecommunication Union on 3rd December has
motivated Google to create its ‘Take Action’ microsite www.google.com/takeaction to
protest against and educate web users about the dangers of a government
regulated web.

Google has always been at the forefront of the fight for a free and open
internet. Google co-founder Sergey Brin explains why: “The kind of
environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to
develop a search engine, is the web was so open. Once you get too many rules,
that will stifle innovation.”

The Take Action microsite explains: “A free and open world depends on a
free and open Internet. Governments alone, working behind closed doors, should
not direct its future. The billions of people around the globe who use the
Internet should have a voice.”

Greg
Poulson of Freetimers comments: “When we first set up Freetimers in 1997, the
internet was much like an empty street – not much traffic and it was easy to
get people’s attention. Now, search engine optimisation is a vital part of site
development and maintenance, and the most important search engine by far is Google.  Sadly, Google appears to many to be quite hypocritical when it talks about a free and open internet.  Presently Google, more than any other single organisation, is the one imposing rules on everyone else.  It whimsically throws its weight around like the monopoly it is.  Whilst for our part, we would agree with the open internet idea, it would be nice to see Google take a bit of its own medicine, and stop its concerted and continuous attempts to forceably segment online markets in its own interests, specifically to make SEO too difficult to maximise its Adwords income. These ‘fiddles’ Google undertakes are actually against everyones’ interests, except for Google itself.”

Improvements to rural broadband connections to commence after state funding approved by European Commission

Nearly a year after initial plans were submitted for a £530m project to bring faster internet to the UK countryside, the European Commission has finally approved the scheme. The plan to improve rural connections was part of the coalition government’s goal to give the UK the best broadband network in Europe.

BT will be carrying out the work, starting in Surrey and Wales first, with Cumbria, Rutford, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire to follow.

Cultural Minister Maria Miller MP said: “Britain is in a global race today. To succeed in that race we must have the infrastructure to match our aspiration, providing people who work hard with the tools they need to get on and prosper; this green light will benefit both businesses and communities across the UK.

“Our broadband plans are hugely ambitious – to connect 90 per cent of homes to superfast broadband and ensuring the rest have access to at least 2Mbps. The Government will not allow parts of our country to miss out on the digital age.”

48% of U.S. children want an iPad this Christmas

The
annual festive holiday survey by Nielsen has revealed that the iPad has risen
in popularity by 17% since 2010, allowing Apple to claim four out of the top five
most wanted Christmas presents.

At
39%, and coming in second on kids’ wishlists is Nintendo’s latest offering; the
Wii U. However, with the iPod Touch and the iPad Mini joint third at 36% and
the iPhone coming in fifth with 33%, it is safe to say that Apple have
dominated Christmas lists this year.

“Apple’s
dominance in the US Christmas market looks likely to be replicated in the UK
this season as the company’s popularity and product range increases,” comments
Greg Poulson of Freetimers.

Will Microsoft break the smartphone market?

Microsoft’s latest foray into the smartphone market begins as the Windows
Phone 8 goes on sale. Whilst reviewers and the relative few who bought the
Windows Phone 7 praised the product, sales were slow despite the fast growing
market.  Even with more features and
improvements on the original, it would seem that many people are reluctant to
stray from their iPhone or Android counterparts.

The story of Microsoft having a great product that fails to impress the masses
sounds strangely familiar to Microsoft’s venture into the gaming market. X-Box
was first launched back in 2001, but until recent years has always been placed
behind Nintendo and Sony in the market. After some necessary tweaks, and the
launch of X-Box Live, the X-Box is now a very close second behind Sony’s
Playstation3.

The big pull for the Windows Phone 8 will be Microsoft itself; with software
provided by Microsoft Office, Skype and Windows 8, it would seem that just like
Apple and Google, Microsoft is building an eco system of gadgets that will work
harmoniously together. Speaking about Windows Phone and Windows in a video
Blog, Bill Gates said, “It’s evolving, literally, into being a single
platform.”

“The signs are that many users will to migrate to Windows 8 over the next
few years,” comments Greg Poulson of Freetimers. “If this happens, it looks
possible that the Windows Phone 8 could prove considerably more successful than
its predecessor.”