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Internet Stardom

There used to many ways for people to have their 15
minutes of fame, but the days of tabloid kiss and tells or an embarrassing  X Factor style audition are over as we are
introduced to new internet stars daily.

As 2012 became the year that a YouTube video broke the 1bn
views mark, we thought we’d take a look back at some of our favourite internet
stars from the last year.

  • Schoolgirl Martha Payne became an online sensation this year and can even class
    celebrity chef Jamie Oliver as a fan after she began blogging about her school
    dinners. She received a surge of support from the general public after the nine
    year old was told to take her blog down by the local council.

    With the help of her new fans,
    Martha not only raised awareness of the UK school dinner system, but she was
    able to raise £125,000 for Mary’s meals; a charity which runs school feeding
    projects in communities where poverty stops children from gaining an education.

  • It was in March that a film from filmmaker’s Invisible Children was released. The
    film urged the US government to arrest Ugandan war criminal Joseph Kony. The
    film, entitled Kony 2012, reached 100
    million views just six days after it was released. A total of 3.7million people
    pledged their support and this relatively unknown war criminal became the 9th
    most searched for person on Google.
  • A real heart-warming story came to light when a three year old girl caused
    supermarket giant Sainsbury’s to rebrand their popular tiger bread products. The
    supermarket happened to agree with the comments they received from Lily
    Robinson aged 3 ½ whose letter asked ‘Why is tiger bread called tiger bread. It
    should be called giraffe bread?” After a massive Facebook campaign started by Lily’s
    mother who posted the company’s response letter which stated that the bakers
    who made it a ‘looooong time ago’ were ‘a bit silly’, the supermarket renamed
    their popular loaf as giraffe bread.


  • Our list of last years’ internet stars could only be completed by Korean pop star
    PSY and his surprise musical hit Gangnam style. The first ever YouTube video to
    pass 1bn views, the song became number 1 in charts across the globe and even
    won Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards.

“The internet has become a powerful marketing tool with
people using it to become famous almost overnight. Equally, businesses can use
the internet to rapidly spread the word about their products and services if
they know how,” comments Greg Poulson of Freetimers who work with companies to
develop websites which help to grow and drive their business forward.

Digital sales break £1bn barrier

The number of music, film and game downloads reached £1bn
last year, making 2012 the most profitable year for the digital entertainment

The gaming sector dominated the market with a massive
£552m spent on downloads, whilst music came second with £383m. Although the
lowest share of the market with £98m, film downloads saw the biggest growth
from 2011 (20%).

Overall, download sales increased by 11.4% last year
meaning that one quarter of entertainment market sales is now digital.

“The increase in downloads combined with the massive
popularity of gaming comes as no surprise to those of us who work in the IT
industry,” comments Greg Poulson of Freetimers. “Unfortunately, whilst this is
good news for the digital industry, there are casualties such as high street
retailers and national chains like Blockbusters.”

Freetimers’ New Website Design Site Now Live!

Coinciding with the end of the world (21/12/12), we launched our all new website, focusing specifically on website design.  It’s a lovely site, with a great portfolio that really shows the quality of the work we do.  Starting initially on web design Northampton Milton Keynes and Bedford, our intention is to position the site to rank for web design nationally.  So watch this space!

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 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.”

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.”

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