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11
Jul
2016

Digital News Continues To Erode Traditional Media Strength

by Bill

Americans are increasingly turning to mobile devices for their news, which shouldn’t come as much surprise to anyone with a smartphone and an internet connection, but the pace with which print newspapers are losing ground according to new polling data is eye opening.

A new study released by The Pew Research Center detailed a recent acceleration in the use of mobile devices for news over the last three years as the segment of society getting at least some of their news from their mobile devices reached 72% in 2016 which is a massive leap from the 54% mark established in the previous 2013 study. That number also includes 36% who responded that they get news from their mobile device “often” as well. By comparison, only 20% of adults claimed to get their news from print newspapers often, compared with 27% from the older study.

This is a trend that is sure to gain strength over time because of the generational gap in the data. A mere 5% of the 18-29 age group responded that they “often” read newspapers, while 48% in the over-65 age group still do. That gap becomes especially important when one considers that these different demographics are getting news from completely separate sources and that in fact each group may be getting different or contradictory news from the other as well.

The Pew report is based on a two-part study that queried 4,654 US adults from January 12th to February 8th and then used 14 short online surveys administered in February and March to a total of 2,078 participants. The stated margin of error for the full sample was estimated by the research team to be +/- 2.4%.

What this means for website owners and marketers is that a sales pitch or advertising campaign can now be calibrated to differently to match the world view of varying demographics based on where their news is coming from, or that advertorial content embedded in many of these newer news outlets online may soon allow marketers to entrench their own narrative in the mind of potential customers in ways that lead consumers to believe they found a product, rather than the more factual truth that the product or service was expertly advertised to them in ways too subtle to be noticed and too powerful to be ignored.

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07
Jul
2016

NationalNet is hiring a Marketing Manager

by Bill

NationalNet, an Atlanta-based leader in the Web Hosting industry, is seeking a Digital Marketing Manager. With a fast-paced work environment that also places an emphasis on having fun, our culture is one of positive energy and entrepreneurism. The company takes very good care of its team members with opportunities for salary and career advancement while rapidly expanding service offerings and creating innovative service models.  The company seeks people with a “can do” attitude, and encourages those people to bring their innovative ideas to the table.

For close to 20 years (a dinosaur in this industry) NationalNet has fueled its growth mainly through word of mouth and referrals by evangelical customers.  The customers overwhelmingly stay for many years due to the great service and support that are offered.  Recently, NationalNet has acquired a number of smaller web hosting brands that need the talents of a top notch marketer to tell that story to the world.

As the Marketing Manager, you will be a one-person team that will report directly to the CEO of this privately held company.  The plan is for you to build a department that is so critical to the long term success of the company that you will eventually hire your own staff and take on a Directors level position.  You will have a diverse scope of responsibilities that range from the daily management of an aggressive social media outreach program to the creation and management of online sales campaigns along with tracking their performance. Additional responsibilities could include the analysis of opportunities related to media, special events and corporate sponsorships.

NationalNet’s motto is: “Work Hard. Play Hard.” The company is very supportive of its team members and provides excellent benefits including health insurance with company contribution, 401k with matching funds, paid time off (PTO) and an Extended Illness Bank (EIB).

Salary: Commensurate with job and the previous experience and capabilities the candidate brings to the position.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Plan and execute all web, SEO/SEM, email, social media and display advertising campaigns
  • Maintain all social media presence and redesign as needed
  • Measure and report performance of all digital marketing campaigns, and assess against set goals (ROI and KPIs)
  • Identify trends and insights, and optimize spend and performance based on the insights
  • Brainstorm new and creative growth strategies
  • Plan, execute, and measure experiments and conversion tests
  • Collaborate with internal and external teams to create landing pages and optimize user experience
  • Utilize strong analytical ability to evaluate end-to-end customer experience across multiple channels and customer touch points
  • Instrument conversion points and optimize user funnels
  • Evaluate emerging technologies. Provide thought leadership and perspective for adoption where appropriate
  • Monitor and provide updates regarding the online activities of key competitors

Candidate Requirements

  • BS/MS degree in marketing or a related field (or equivalent practical experience)
  • Proven working experience in digital marketing
  • Demonstrable experience creating and managing SEO/SEM, email, social media and/or display advertising campaigns
  • Highly creative with experience in identifying target audiences and devising digital campaigns that engage, inform and motivate
  • Experience in optimizing landing pages and user funnels
  • Experience with A/B and multivariate experiments
  • Solid knowledge of website analytics tools (e.g., Google Analytics)
  • Working knowledge of ad serving tools (e.g., AdRoll)
  • Experience in setting up and optimizing Google Adwords campaigns
  • Working knowledge of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript development and constraints
  • Strong analytical skills and data-driven thinking
  • Up-to-date with the latest trends and best practices in online marketing and measurement

 

These talents get your resume moved to the “top of the pile”

  • Understanding of Web Hosting
  • Be Google Certified
  • Moderate design skills
  • Understanding of an Affiliate Sales Model

To apply send your resume including your salary requirements along with a cover letter explaining why you are the perfect fit for this position to hr@nationalnet.com

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06
Jul
2016

Researchers Sue US Government Over Anti Hacking Law

by Bill

A law that was put in place to make hacking illegal decades ago may be preventing researchers from preventing algorithmic discrimination, and the researchers are fighting back. The law is known as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and it makes it illegal for anyone to scrape websites for data that is already available to the public or to sign up for a free user account to do so.

Researchers who focus on this type of discrimination, which is thought to be especially prevalent on job search sites and real estate sites, could get arrested and charged through this act, because they need to test these websites to see if discrimination is present in their algorithms. While most charges for violating a site’s terms of service bring on civil charges which usually have a financial penalty, this act is one of the few that could bring criminal charges, meaning jail time. On your first offense, you can get up to a year in prison, and a second offense will land you up to ten years in the clink.

Because of this, the researchers have filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice, because in their eyes, creating the fake profiles they need to use in order to ascertain the level of discrimination on certain websites falls under the free speech act of the first amendment. One of the researchers, Christopher Sandvig, says that “Being able to run socially beneficial studies like ours is at the heart of academic freedom.”

However, in the past, this law has been helpful in finding ways to prosecute online bullies who created fake online social media accounts in order to bully people, which often leads to hardship and even suicide. While this law could be positive in certain cases, it’s clear that researchers need to be able to access website in a way that will allow them to observe what is happening and prevent discrimination. It’s yet another round in the enduring debate about data security, privacy and our increasingly powerful ability to analyze massive data sets in ever decreasing amounts of time.

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22
Jun
2016

China Pulls Further Ahead in the Supercomputer Race

by Bill

China has recently created the most powerful supercomputer in the world. It has surpassed what is now the 2nd most powerful supercomputer, which was also made by Chinese scientists, to become #1. It’s quite a machine, as you could imagine. It has 10,649,600 cores to power it’s 125 petaflop theoretical peak performance and 1.31 petaflops of memory. To give you a comparison, your computer at home probably uses four cores. If you haven’t even heard of a petaflop, don’t worry, it’s nothing like the gigabytes and terabytes we are used to dealing with when searching for consumer based technology. It’s actually a calculation that is based on how many operations a computer can perform in one second. Yes, that’s a whole lot of calculations!

 The new computer is called Sunway TaihuLight and it furthers China’s superiority in the computational “arms race” to build the best super computer. In the beginning of the race, China lagged far behind, with no supercomputer powers, but now, they have the most supercomputers and the three fastest. The most impressive thing about the Sunway is that it is also made with Chinese made computer chips and components signaling an end to their reliance on US tech from firms like IBM.

China will be on top – at least until 2018 when US companies expect to produce a machine that will range from 150-250 petaflops. Many industry analysts believe that is more than enough time for China to surpass this goal easily, given their advanced place in this particular segment of the industry. The makers of TaihuLight plan to use this computer for earth-wide weather forecasting, and analyzing big data, proving that having the most powerful computer is more than just a title, it is actually useful for things that can help everyone in the world.

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15
Jun
2016

Wired Magazine Shines A Spotlight On Carrier Hotels

by Bill

You might be surprised to learn that most of the internet lives in a series of digital hotel. It’s not a lavish environment and there is certainly no room service, but these places are known as Carrier Hotels and NYC photographer Peter Garritano recently went to five unique locations to do an expose on some of the physical embodiment of the web at the deepest levels. Before doing the project, Peter had an idea of what these large data storage and connection centers would be like, but visiting them and photographing them has given him a new perspective on what the internet is and how it is constructed one fiber at a time.

What is a carrier hotel exactly? Wired Magazine sheds some light on the subject in their article on Garritano’s project. It’s a place where “AT&T’s network can hook up with Verizon’s network. Verizon’s network can connect with Google’s network” and far beyond. Originally carrier hotels were for hooking up big internet providers, but more and more these days large tech companies are creating their own networks in order to run apps and programs that use a lot of data like AI and deep learning programs. Other internet companies, including hosting companies like NationalNet tie in to these trunks and end users reach their data through a mind-boggling number of portals simultaneously.

Unsurprisingly, these locations are kept securely under lock and key with a great deal of privacy about their locations. Garritano had to work hard to get entrance into these places, and even then he was subjected to high security screenings. There are biometric security checkpoints and even traps to contend with when you enter one of these facilities, in addition to the more usual security guards and cameras. It’s nice to know that companies like Telx and Zayo really have the internet’s security in mind. Once you get past all that security, it’s pretty mundane inside, as Peter’s photos will show. Miles of cable, large cooling devices, and a security escort making sure that the internet maintained its status quo as Garritano photographed its inner workings. It’s a fascinating look from an outsiders perspective with visual depictions of the Internet unlike any you are likely to have seen elsewhere.

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01
Jun
2016

Encryption Fight Intensifies as Apple Rehires Security Pro

by Bill

Ever since a terrorist attack in San Bernardino, California created a problem for the federal government, encryption has been on everyone’s mind, specifically in relation to Apple devices and other mobile technologies. The attacker had an iPhone 5 that was locked with a passcode, and the federal government wanted in. They couldn’t crack the code and wanted to force Apple to create a “backdoor” into the iPhone that would allow them to try an unlimited number of four digit combinations to try to get into the phone where they would hopefully find some helpful information.

Apple refused, very publicly, to create such a technology, insinuating that such an idea would be harmful to all iPhone users. So, the government had to turn to an outside firm to create the technology to crack the phone. Inside, it’s alleged that they didn’t find much.

Perhaps in reaction to this initial fight, Apple has rehired a security pro who specializes in cryptography to make their consumer devices even more secure and better encrypted. The expert is John Callas, who worked for Apple in the 90’s, and from 2009-2011. When not working at Apple, he has founded many secure communications companies, including Silent Circle, which created the Black Phone – a very secure and fully encrypted smartphone.

Previously Mr. Callas has designed ways to keep information stored on Apple Computers safe, but so far Apple is mum about his new role at the company. Mike Janke, who cofounded Silent Circle with Callas has some insight as to why he would go back to Apple: “It has always been Jon’s dream to bring the most secure products possible to a bigger population,” he told Reuters.

This could be the start of an intensified battle between consumer product companies and global governments about private, secure and protected communications as the world struggles to balance individual liberties and public safety concerns globally.
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24
May
2016

Quality Hosting And Connectivity Are Becoming Life or Death Resources

by Bill

Way back in 1999 there was a story that circulated online about General Motors CEO Jack Welch responding to a Bill Gates presentation at COMDEX. The fable claimed that Welch had said something to the effect that “If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars that crash twice a day and every time they repainted the lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car” among other quips and jibes. The story itself has been proven false by Snopes, but the meaning behind it is becoming truer each year as technology continues to evolve.

Just this week, the NFL unveiled a new type of robotic practice player that is being tested during Pittsburgh Steelers minicamp. The devices, developed at Dartmouth by Dan Rooney (one of the owner’s sons and his team), can “run” the 40 yard dash in five seconds or less on grass and will soon be upgraded to run specific patterns for players to practice without tackling each other or risking injuries.

Simultaneously, in an unrelated story, Uber is now experimenting with their first wave of driverless cars in Pittsburgh as well. Designed to always be on, handle consumer traffic and fully automate one of the more mundane activities people have been engaging in for decades – getting from point A to B via their car.

As the world begins relying on cloud computing for tangible real-world products and services that can cause collisions, damage or loss of life – the need for reliable, secure and persistently maintained hosting is becoming even more important.  Whether it’s an airplane looking for a landing strip, a car deciding whether the traffic light is red or green, a tackling robot calculating how far away a player is and how much force to exert upon impact – data loss, hacks or failed connections are becoming too dangerous to overlook.

It’s one thing to need to reboot your iPad because Angry Birds isn’t playing properly. It’s something entirely different, to be figuring out what went wrong when a two ton vehicle crashes because it lost signal, or received erroneous information from a source it trusts.

National Net continues to make every effort to improve and secure your online connectivity each day. Whether you want to use your server to drive a car, or drive traffic to a landing page, we understand the importance of getting every packet of information to its destination safely and expediently, because whether you want to kick a field goal from the 20 yard line or the 50 yard line, your form and approach need to always be the same if you want to succeed.

 

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17
May
2016

Google, Facebook & Bing Continue To Ban Ads Without Regulation

by Bill

In what is quickly becoming one of the most interesting developments in recent Internet memory, the major platforms are continuing to flex their muscles by denying entire verticals the ability to advertise effectively online. Google announced the decision to ban advertisements via Google Ad Words that would promote payday loans and high interest emergency because the company feels some of those businesses are engaging in predatory loan practices. Bing recently banned ads for third party tech support services, which can sometimes also be fraudulent, or may prey upon people feeling vulnerable to viruses or other digital threats, and Facebook has also jumped in to join Google in banding ads from anything remotely ‘adult’ on its platform.

While many argue that they are private businesses and since they own the platform they should be able to do as they please with it, there is also a countervailing viewpoint emerging with some merit. Google dominates the Search marketplace to levels that at least border on antitrust infringements, and in collusion with Bing and Facebook have the power to not only curtail but to outright destroy the ability of entire verticals to make their products or services available to the public. While you may agree with some or even all of the things they have banned so far, it is important to take into account that these edicts are being issue unilaterally with zero regulation or oversight from any outside entity.

What happens when Google decides not to allow sporting goods to be advertised because they may lead people to engage in activities that can result in concussions? The number of items these monolithic companies may decide to ban are endless, and the fact that few are speaking up when some that are subjectively unsavory to them go by the wayside only fuels the likelihood that the emboldened moralistic forces within tech today will eventually overreach to an even wider degree.

It’s simple to say that consumers can go and choose a competing brand more inline with their own points of view, but that comment holds less and less weight as these companies take measures to further secure their primacy. Recent court decisions granting Google wide leeway to republish segments of entire books without the consent of the authors, lobbying efforts aimed at leading regulatory efforts rather than reacting to them, and 10 figure war chests to engage in legal battles, legislative battles or to buy out would-be competitors are compelling reasons to look a lot more closely at the editorial decisions now being made by today’s most powerful media outlets.

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10
May
2016

DNA Technology: Microsoft Investing Heavily In Biological Storage

by Bill

Scientists have been working on data storage in smaller and smaller silicon chips. Now a breakthrough has been found that allows data to be stored and accessed using biological DNA, and Microsoft is funding further research by purchasing ten million strands of DNA from a biotech firm.

According to the preliminary research, the possibilities are very promising. Just one gram of DNA can hold one zettabyte (yes, that’s one billion terabytes) of data. The other promising thing about this technology is that DNA is probably even more faithful than your old hard drive, as DNA can be sequenced and identified from specimens that are thousands of years old.

This might sound like some kind of evil scientist experiment, but the applications are actually mainly benevolent and helpful to humankind. Scientists hope to create custom genetic material that can be inserted into microbes that will allow them to perform helpful tasks, mainly producing chemicals that could be nutrients. Thus, there are a lot of medical applications for this technology.

The company that spearheaded this technological effort is known as Twist Bioscience and they have the cost already down to .10 per strand of DNA, but they want to get it down even further, to .02 per strand, to make these efforts even more affordable to others. The overhead costs of this type of technology have already dropped from billions of dollars in the 90s and early 2000s to just thousands of dollars today.

It seems that Microsoft is hoping to be on the cutting edge of using life itself as high fidelity data storage. According to the company, trials with Twist have proven that the data on the DNA can be fully retrieved and thus, could be a great option for long term data storage once the technology is even more affordable and widely accepted.

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04
May
2016

Mobile Encryption Is Now Becoming Standard With Simple Settings Changes

by Bill

Encryption is becoming more and more of a hot button issue, with people who don’t want anyone to listen in on their communications. How can you make sure your mobile device communications stay private? There are a few things you can do.

First of all, there are some apps which offer greater security. Chat and call apps Fiver and WhatsApp have recently implemented encryption so strong that even these companies themselves are unable to hack it. The two apps have a wide user base of 1.7 billion between them, and are now providing highly secure methods of communication that are setting a new standard for consumer privacy in the digital world.

However, using an app with a high level of encryption is just not enough according to some security analysts. You must also take a few extra measures to make sure people don’t get into your devices. One thing you can do is to enable “fingerprint verification.” A fingerprint is a unique key that is given to any user of one of these chat apps. You must configure the settings of your phone to let you know when a user’s fingerprint has changed. It might just mean that they restarted their phone, but it could also mean that there is a third party listening in or some other interceptor in action.

The other key component of encryption is denying any attempts by third parties to backup your data to cloud based services, because while your phone may be encrypted those cloud services assuredly are not. In fact, the big celebrity account hack, in which hundreds of private celebrity photos were released by hackers, happened only because the images were allegedly stored in the cloud. The downside to not backing up to the cloud is that your data will be lost if you don’t back it up to some other drive or computer.

All through the move toward Mobile, consumers have continuously traded away their own privacy and data security in exchange for modern conveniences. Now it appears that pendulum is starting to swing back the other way, with many of your potential customers now more interested in keeping their data safe than in having it readily accessible to anyone, anywhere, with or without their consent.

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NationalNet, Inc., Internet - Web Hosting, Marietta, GA
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