Archive for May, 2014

Bulgaria’s Balakov to Attract German Golfers to Local Courses

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Bulgaria’s legendary 1994 World Cup midfielder Krasimir Balakov is working on attracting German golfers to Bulgaria.

The Stuttgart football player turned Litex Lovech coach has already organized a week of events for German businessmen at the golf resorts near Bulgaria’s Black Sea town of Kavarna, Dnevnik reports.

“I am very happy that we were able to realize an old idea of mine and to show the high qualities of Bulgarian golf courses to German business representatives. They were very pleased with the courses and the infrastructure,” said Balakov.

The goal of the former midfielder is to develop German golf tourism in Bulgaria in order to establish business contacts with local golfers.

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State of Emergency Declared in Siberia Over Floods

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

State of emergency has been issued in the Republic of Altai and Khakassia over floods caused by torrential rains in the past four days.

Rescue teams of the Russian Emergencies Ministry and local authorities have organized evacuation of the population from flooded houses with 119 people taken to temporary shelters and 406 relocated, Itar-Tass reports.

The floods have destroyed 12 bridges, thus transport communication with eleven villages has been disrupted, the Ministry said.

Two Ilyushin Il-76 planes were sent to Siberia carrying rescue equipment, KAMAZ trucks and boats. Rescue operations involve 693 people, 147 vehicles and a Mi-8 helicopter.

Besides, an alert regime has been announced in Tuva and Buryatia. The flood may develop into Yakutia and partly into the Amur region.

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On World No Tobacco Day – 2 M Bulgarians Are Active Smokers

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

More than 2.1M Bulgarians, or about 30% of the population, are active smokers, according to a survey of the World Health Organization on occasion of May 31, World No Tobacco Day.

Some 40% of Bulgarian men and 19% of the women are smokers. Men smoke about 40 cigarettes a day, while women – 24 cigarettes, according to the statistiscs of WHO on tobacco smoking in Bulgaria for 2013.

Almost half of all chain smokers are aged between 25-65 years. Just 50 percent of Bulgarian men and 70 percent of women are non-smokers.

According to a research by health experts, due to the complete smoking ban in enclosed public places, about 1,600 fewer heart attacks were registered in Bulgaria in 2013, Darik news reports.

A total of 84 percent of Bulgarian citizens approve of the complete smoking ban, while 12% of people insist on relaxing the restrictions, and only 4% are against it.

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20 Military Men Killed in East Ukraine’s Special Op – Defense Min

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

Over 20 Ukrainian army personnel have been killed during the special operation in the east of the country, Ukraine’s acting Defense Minister Mykhailo Koval said.

According to Minister Koval, the standoff has claimed the lives of two helicopter crews, and several paratroopers, Russian Ria Novosti informs.

Twelve people died near the town of Slaviansk in eastern Ukraine after pro-Russian separatists shot down a military helicopter, Thursday.

According to the acting Defense Minister, Ukrainian forces are planning to continue the special operation in southeastern Ukraine until they reach a complete stabilization in the region.

In mid-April, Ukraine’s interim government launched a special operation to crack down on federalists, but failed to gain control over the self-proclaimed independent republics in the eastern part of country. Moscow has described the operation as a punitive act.

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Bulgaria Braces for 10 More Days of Thunderstorms, Hail

Saturday, May 31st, 2014

The heavy rains and the large hail that hit Bulgaria in the last week are expected to continue for ten more days, according to the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology.

The bad weather has brought thunderstorms and torrential rains throughout the country. Dozens of vehicles, houses, orchards and roads have been damaged due to the large hail.

The river levels across the country are expected to rise in the next days mainly those of Iskar, Vit, Osam and Yantra.

Earlier this week, Code Yellow for potentially dangerous weather due to thunderstorms and torrential rains was issued for nine regions in Bulgaria.

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Top Stories: Canada Beckons, So Do New Payment Options

Friday, May 30th, 2014

reading on the beach

Opportunities for U.S. entrepreneurs now include moving north to Canada. And new options for business transactions continue to multiply. These are just some of the important stories the Small Business Trends editorial team has chased down for you this week. Here is our roundup of the top news of the week.

Entrepreneurship

Move Your Tech Startup to Canada, Get 80 Percent of Salaries Covered. It’s no joke! At least one small tech firm has already done this. Mighty Cast created the NEX Band. It’s a smart charm bracelet that allows you do everything from customize your social media interaction to play video games.

Verizon Brings FiOS High Speed Internet to Philly Incubators. A recent survey says 89 percent of small business owners and business managers surveyed in Philadelphia list high speed Internet as their most important tech tool.

This Guy Built a Business by Outsourcing the Sales Team. This week we shine the Small Business Spotlight on Mansfield Sales Partners. The 33 employee business serves as an outsourced sales team for small businesses and startups.

Young Designer Wows the World of Women’s Business Attire. Creating women’s pants probably doesn’t sound like the most exciting business venture. But professional women might also notice a lack of options when it comes to different styles and types of dress pants. Entrepreneur Eunice Cho noticed this void in the market.

Transactions

Dwolla Touts Digital Payments for 25-Cent Fees – Or Free. Dwolla founder Ben Milne reportedly came up with the idea for his digital payment transaction service to solve a problem he faced in a previous business. Milne tells entrepreneur Jason Calacanis of This Week in Startups that at one point credit cards were costing his eCommerce company $55,000 a year in fees.

Intuit Will Acquire Check App, Deal is Worth $360 Million. Intuit is already known for a variety of consumer and business financial tools. Small businesses probably know Intuit best for its popular accounting software Quickbooks.

Groupon Launches Gnome (“Gee Nome”) for Local Merchants. Groupon, known to 200 million people as a place to get valuable deals, also has a mission to serve the small businesses providing those services and products to consumers. According to Kartik Ramachandran, vice president and general manager of Merchant OS at Groupon, the vision is to “build an operating system for local merchants.”

Finance

Peer-to-Peer Lending Club Fine-Tunes Small Business Loan Program. If you are looking for a loan for your small business, there are other places to consider besides the traditional option of your local bank. One of these is peer-to-peer lender Lending Club. The company steps in when banks are reluctant to make small loans to their customers.

How Personal Credit Affects Small Business Borrowing. Unlike the CEOs of major public companies, whose personal financial situation has little effect on their companies’ borrowing, if you are a small business owner, your personal credit is a major factor influencing your company’s access to capital.

Franchises

Stay At Home Mom Launched $24 Million Franchise in her Living Room. When Shannon Wilburn hosted a consignment sale for friends in her living room in 1997, she didn’t know it was the start of a $24 million dollar business.

What’s The Scoop on Ice Cream Franchises? Ice Cream franchise executives must have to work really hard these days. It’s got to be pretty challenging to try to win the hearts and minds of today’s frozen treat loving consumers…the ones who are getting hammered every day with marketing messages from the over 35 different frozen yogurt franchise concepts that are currently up and running.

Social Media

Make Your Business Look Spiffy, Customers Can Soon Put Video on Yelp. If the lighting in your little bistro or coffee shop strikes your visitors just right, it might inspire a video. And a smartphone might capture a few fleeting seconds if the music on your sound system creates just the right vibe.

Facebook Now Recommends App Developers Turn Off Automatic Posting. Automatically posting your Spotify and iTunes listening history to Facebook used to be cool (maybe?), but by now it’s grown kind of (really) annoying. And apparently Facebook’s caught on.

Receive Custom Social Content for Your Small Business With Emphatic. We just tested out a new service, Emphatic, which creates custom social media content for small businesses.

Tech Trends

Glip Enters Crowded Collaboration Space, Creates Conversation Streams. The creators of Glip know that the team collaboration platform market is filling up fast. But they say that Glip is designed to make small business owners operate more effectively.

Adobe Voice: Use Your iPad to Make Presentations Using Your Own Voice. When people think of Adobe, they probably instantly think of the Acrobat Reader we use to view PDFs, or perhaps the popular Photoshop graphics software. But Adobe has a large suite of products and online platforms, especially for those who create. And now Adobe has released something for the creator in all entrepreneurs — a remarkable new iPad-only app called Voice.

HP Did Better Than The Market on PC Sales, But Mum About Mobile. Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, said in the latest quarterly earnings conference call that the market for personal computers is “in a slow decline.” Yet, she said, HP “outperformed the market pretty dramatically this quarter.” In other words, even though the market for personal computers is declining, HP did not decline like the market.

Dropcam, The Easiest Security Camera for a Small Business. Dropcam is just what the name sounds like, if you think about it a moment. It’s a video surveillance camera that you can “drop” anywhere to get started. When it comes to setting up, operating and preserving footage from a security camera, Dropcam has got to be one of the easiest systems you will ever come across. It is a do-it-yourselfer’s dream. The price is right, too.

Success Stories

Business Fills Same Niche for Over 100 Years. Businesses often start by fulfilling a niche need and then eventually grow beyond that need to offer other products or services as they grow. Think of how Google started as a way to organize the Web with its search engine.

This African Entrepreneur Creates 3-D Printers Out of E-Waste. West African entrepreneur and inventor Kodjo Afate Gnikou didn’t have access to a lot of tools and resources for building new technology. But he wouldn’t let that stop him from creating cutting edge devices. Instead, he frequented local scrap yards and put together what is believed to be the first 3-D printer made from e-waste.

Professional Development

A Quick Guide to Local Search to Ease Any Confusion. There is a lot of information out there about local search and SEO, but the first step is, of course, understanding how it all works. If you wanted a quick and easy guide to give you an overview and send you in the right direction to learn more, this one’s for you.

How Digital Influences Your Retail Store’s Sales. The online and offline worlds are rapidly merging, especially when it comes to shopping. A new study from Deloitte Digital, The New Digital Divide, sheds some light on how consumers’ use of computers and mobile devices is affecting their in-store purchases.

A Good Sense Of Humor is Great For Your Sense Of Life and Business. How do you express your sense of humor without going overboard, off the edge, or over the top? It’s sometimes really hard to do, but it can work wonders for building likeability and memorability at networking events, conferences and meetings.

Reading Photo via Shutterstock

The post Top Stories: Canada Beckons, So Do New Payment Options appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Skype Translator Makes You Understood in Other Languages Almost Instantly

Friday, May 30th, 2014

translator app

Just imagine it! You jump on a Skype call with a distributor or customer in Bangkok, Shanghai or Madrid. You can’t speak their language. They can’t speak yours. Yet, in minutes, Skype is translating their speech into words you can understand and vice versa.

This is the promise of Skype Translator which Microsoft (Skype’s parent company) has promised to have available by the end of 2014.

In a recent post on The Official Microsoft Blog, Gurdeep Pall, Corporate Vice President of Skype and Lync explained:

“Today, we have more than 300 million connected users each month, and more than 2 billion minutes of conversation a day as Skype breaks down communications barriers by delivering voice and video across a number of devices, from PCs and tablets, to smartphones and TVs. But language barriers have been a blocker to productivity and human connection; Skype Translator helps us overcome this barrier.”

Here’s a peak at Skype Translator in action from Microsoft Research:

At the recent Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella unveiled the new feature with Pall demonstrating (pictured above, top of page).

In the demo, Pall and a German colleague talk about Pall’s impending move from Seattle to London.

Pall speaks in English and his colleague speaks in German. After a moments hesitation, Skype translates each of the speakers’ comments into the others language and repeats it back to the listener allowing them to respond.

For small businesses, in particular, the implications seem huge. Tools like Google’s “Translate” have been around a while to internationalize your website’s content.

But Skype Translator, if delivering as promised, could have you collaborating with companies all around the globe either doing business with them as service providers or serving them as clients. And all this could be done despite lack of a common language.

Look for Skype Translator as a Widows 8 beta app before the end of the year.

Image: Microsoft

The post Skype Translator Makes You Understood in Other Languages Almost Instantly appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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Ukraine and Russia gas talks go to wire

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Negotiations break up without agreement but the two sides will meet again on Monday after Kiev tries to defuse crisis by making $786m payment

Total to sell Azerbaijan gasfield stake

Friday, May 30th, 2014

The agreement makes the French oil major the second to have sold a stake in the Shah Deniz gasfield in Azerbaijan in less than a year

How Do You Properly SEO Discontinued Products on Ecommerce Sites?

Friday, May 30th, 2014

seo discontinued products

Products go out of stock or become discontinued all the time, but it’s tough to know what you should do with that webpage when the time comes. Sometimes these product pages rank well in search results and are bringing in traffic to your site. Should you keep the product page, show a 404, or redirect users to a similar product that isn’t discontinued? Furthermore, should your decision be based upon how many discontinued product pages you have?

This was the latest question posed to Head of Google Webspam Matt Cutts, which he discussed in this video:

He explained that how you handle this problem really depends upon the size of your site.

How to Respond to Discontinued Product Pages Based on the Size of Your Company

Below offers some quick advice about handling discontinued product pages or pages where a product is out of stock based on your company size.

A Small Ecommerce Site

Size: A small eCommerce site should have less than 100 pages.

Avoid: Do not use a 404 page. Chances are you don’t have many product pages.

Solution: Instead, show those who click the link to a related product that might interest them. This is a good way to make sure all the work you put into your first product page isn’t lost.

An Average Ecommerce Site

Size: An average eCommerce site should have hundreds or even thousands of pages.

Solution: For this size company, a custom 404 page is recommended. Cutts’ reasoning was that you don’t want to be the product site that always has everything out of stock. This can be just as frustrating as when no results are found at all. Create a custom 404 that has links to your homepage or similar products so that people are directed back.

Avoid: Do not 404 pages if the products are only out of stock temporarily because you don’t want to lose those rankings. If it’s only out of stock for a few weeks, it’s important that when it comes back you have those rankings intact. Let your visitors know it’s a temporary situation, and the frustration might go down a little bit.

A Large Ecommerce Site

Size: Sites with thousands and hundreds of thousands of pages. Cutts gave the example of Craigslist.

Solution: There is a special Meta tag you can use to tell Google when the page is no longer available (and therefore shouldn’t be indexed). This tag allows you to put a deadline on it to tell Google when to stop indexing the page. The tag is called the ‘unavilable_after’ tag and looks like the following:

<Meta Name=”Googlebot” Content=”unavailable_after: 20-Mar-2014 8:00:00 PST”>

Avoid: This tag should only be used on content that expires, so classified listings and time sensitive content work well. If something is just temporarily unavailable, you can go back to the 404 method (but for such a large site, this is more unlikely).

In the end, it all depends upon the size of your company more so than the number of discontinued product pages you may have. For example, if you are considered a small eCommerce site with a lot of discontinued product pages, chances are you still don’t have enough to move to some of the suggestions Cutts gives for an average website.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Shopping Photo via Shutterstock

The post How Do You Properly SEO Discontinued Products on Ecommerce Sites? appeared first on Small Business Trends.

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