Archive for March, 2015

Petrobras independent director to quit

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Mauro Rodrigues da Cunha frustrated over government’s handling of problems at the oil group

To Send (or Not to Send) an After Hours Email, That Is the Question

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

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Should you send employees emails after work hours?

As entrepreneurs, our minds are always on our businesses and we tend to be in a hurry about everything, so it seems only natural to fire off an email about work the minute something comes to mind. That could be at 9 p.m., midnight or 2 in the morning. For your employees, however, receiving emails from the boss after work is likely to be seen as intrusive and can even make them downright angry, a new study shows.

The study identified two kinds of employees: Integrators and Segregators.

Segregators, who like to keep their work and their personal lives separate, got particularly upset by receiving work-related emails after hours. They felt the emails interfered with their personal lives.

Even integrators, who don’t mind mixing work with their personal lives, got annoyed by after-hours emails. Their curiosity about what was going on at work often outweighed the anger, if the emails were brief and/or positive — but the good feelings didn’t last long.

Not surprisingly, both groups of employees got angry when receiving emails that were negative or required work to be done after hours, interfering with their personal lives in a more significant way.

You may not be able to avoid sending the occasional email after hours these days. But the study suggests some steps to make the communications less intrusive, and keep your team happier.

  • Set boundaries for when and when not to send emails. In general, you might want to restrict work-related emails to between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., or some time frame that makes sense with your business and the hours most of your team works. Of course, this rule might vary based on departments or roles. For instance, you and your key managers may want to email at night because it’s the only time you can get work done. That’s fine, as long as you’re not emailing subordinates.
  • Provide training in good email communications. Writing clear subject lines and keeping emails short will lessen time needed to read and respond to them. The study found brief emails that convey positive news (“Great job”) are least likely to cause negative emotions. Try to use positive, encouraging language, and don’t forget to be polite. Saying “Hello,” “Please,” “Thank you,” or “I appreciate all your hard work” can help emails come across as more positive.
  • Know what subjects are better discussed in person. Sensitive topics such as reprimanding an employee, delivering bad news or anything that’s likely to be misinterpreted should wait until you can talk face-to-face. Don’t send cryptic emails like “We need to talk about this tomorrow,” which will likely have your employee up all night worrying.
  • Set expectations. If you do send an after-hours email that doesn’t require action, let the recipient know it doesn’t need an immediate response and can wait until morning.

Email in Bed Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “To Send (or Not to Send) an After Hours Email, That Is the Question” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Captured Turkey Prosecutor Dies of His Wounds after End of Hostage Drama

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Two suspected members of the outlawed DHKP-C group have been killed in an operation to free a captive Turkish prosecutor on Tuesday in Istanbul.

The prosecutor, however, has also died after being seriously injured during the operation that led to his rescue.

After six-hour-long negotiations over the phone, security forces reportedly had to intervene after hearing “gunshots” on the other end of the telephone, according to Istanbul Police Chief Selami Atlinok, cited by H?rriyet Daily News.

A media blackout had been imposed by the government while talks were ongoing.

The leftist organization DHKP-C had demanded that police officers who fatally wounded the boy named Berkin Elvan during the 2013 street protests (Elvan died 269 days later after having been in a coma all the time own up to the “murder”.

Prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz had been in charge of the case.

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Fashion disaster

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

SOME things are just too good to last. China’s seemingly insatiable appetite for luxury—which has been powering the industry’s profits for over a decade—is, it seems, one of those things. Prada, an Italian luxury fashion group that also owns brands such as Miu Miu and Church’s, has become the latest firm to see the country’s diminishing appetite reflected in their bottom line.

On March 30th Prada announced that profits for 2014 had dropped by 28% from the previous year, to just €451m ($484m). It is the first time that the firm has reported a drop in annual profits since it was floated on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2011. Sales of leather goods, a category with particularly high profit margins and which accounts for over 60% of net sales, fell 5%.

There were some gains for the group, notably in Prada’s menswear offerings and for the group as a whole in Japan and South Korea. But these were overshadowed by the effects of tough conditions in the Far East, particularly in Hong Kong and Macau.

Officially the Chinese government’s anti-corruption drive began in 2012 when President Xi Jinping took office, but it is only…Continue reading

Facebook Wants Your Businesses On Messenger

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

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Your small business may already use Facebook to keep in touch with customers.

And the ubiquitous social media platform is getting ready to introduce a way for your business to contact them there directly in all new ways.

Facebook recently unveiled Businesses on Messenger. It’s set to be formally launched soon, the company’s website reports.

The Businesses on Messenger app will allow your company to contact customers in a variety of ways — and in a place where they’re clearly spending a lot of time.

On the company’s official Developers blog, Facebook Product Manager Lexy Franklin writes:

“Businesses on Messenger enables things like the following: during the checkout flow on a business’s site, a person can choose to start a conversation with a business, receive updates from that business on things like order confirmations and shipping status updates, and ask the business free-form questions about the order, receiving quick responses.”

Franklin also writes that there are now 600 million users on Messenger.

The chances that some of them are your customers are pretty good.

It’ll be a few weeks until Businesses on Messenger is officially launched but until then, here’s how Facebook is telling us it will work:

If someone makes a purchase on your website, they can opt to receive notifications of the transaction through their Facebook Messenger app. That includes shipping updates, too.

This allows you to connect with your customers in a one-on-one way. And Businesses on Messenger keeps each conversation organized. That way, you and your customers can maintain that one-on-one connection.

Businesses on Messenger allows you the ability to customize those types of messages. The message that initially connects your business to your customer can showcase the item they purchased, the size or style, and the cost.

Future updates can track the shipment until it arrives at its destination and eventually when it arrives to your customer’s door.

These personalized notifications are sent right to your customer’s Messenger app and come from your business.

Normally, your customers would get confirmations on orders and shipping from third-party apps, and would have to manually check shipping statuses.

Businesses on Messenger is going through a trial phase with two of Facebook’s first partners in this venture, Everlane and zulily.

Facebook is also working on partnering with live chat platforms. Currently, the social site has a deal in place with Zendesk. This allows your business to have one-on-one conversations with prospective customers, too.

Through this and future partnerships with live chat providers, Businesses on Messenger will allow companies to send and receive text messages and photos with customers.

Even more, Businesses on Messenger can be set to send push notifications to a customer’s mobile device. These are the notifications that overlay any current activity on a user’s smartphone, even their lock screen.

These types of notifications will put your business’s interactions your customer front-and-center and impossible to miss.

Right now, Facebook is recruiting businesses that want to use Businesses on Messenger. On the service’s main page, there is a sign-up form for those interested in participating.

Image: Facebook

This article, “Facebook Wants Your Businesses On Messenger” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Bulgaria Registers BGN 250 M Budget Surplus for First Quarter of 2015

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

According to preliminary data of Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry, the country will register a budget surplus of BGN 250 M for the first quarter of the new year.

This will be the first surplus recorded in the first quarter of the year since 2009, the ministry’s press service reports.

This is a significant improvement compared to the same period in 2014, when a deficit of BGN 874.7 M was registered.

The improvement is largely due to the higher revenues, with BGN 340 M worth of incomes registered by the revenue administration only in the last two days of March.

The revenues to the consolidated fiscal programme by the end of March are estimated to be BGN 7 780 M, which represents a nominal increase of 18.3 % compared to the same period in 2014.

The payments, which were restored by the European Commission under certain operational programmes, have also contributed to the improvement.

The expenses under the consolidated fiscal programme by the end of March are projected to be BGN 7 530 M, which is close to the value, which was registered in the same period last year.

 

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A New Code of Conduct for Affiliate Marketing

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

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This is a live blog post from the Affiliate Management Days Conference in San Francisco.

Affiliate Management Days is an educational event for affiliate managers and those responsible for performance marketing programs within their organizations. It is a place where the thought leaders of the performance marketing world gather to exchange thoughts about the advancement of their performance driven campaigns.

Following are the key takeaways from Keynote Ben Edelman, Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School.

Key Takeaways: from A New Code of Conduct for Affiliate Marketing

Why Affiliate Marketing?

  • Creativity.
  • Reach.
  • Attractive pricing model, low risk model — “I’m thrilled to pay x% commission for anyone who can bring in a sale. I can’t lose!”
  • Affiliate marketing fixes paying for placement on low quality sites, invisible banner ads, and large volume click fraud.

Challenges

  • Difficulty managing and monitoring high volumes of affiliate partners you’ve never met.
  • Many and divergent incentives: merchant, network, affiliate program manager, affiliate.

Affiliate Earns Commission If

  • User browses the affiliate’s Web site,
  • User clicks affiliate’s link to merchant, AND
  • User makes a purchase.

Question: If that’s the case, can the merchant partner with anyone?

What Can Go wrong?

  • Complacency.
  • “Strategic behavior” — doing something that perhaps you would not like that helps them earn more money.
  • This impacts affiliate behavior, affiliate network behavior, and affiliate manager behavior.

You can use network tools and forensiq.com to help you monitor and catch fraudulent behavior in order to keep your program as clean as possible.

There are legal case examples of “what can go wrong” working with affiliates, per Ben Edelman‘s website.

Affiliate Networks

  • Can decide “how hard” to look for this stuff. If they are not taking responsibility or accountability for affiliate bad behavior, they will still earn revenue from it. They need to consider what happens if they find a problem and how it will affect their revenue.
  • How will merchants respond if they find problems?

Affiliate Managers

  • Can decide “how hard” to look for this as well. Especially when they get paid $60,000  plus 10 percent of year over year affiliate program growth, as an example. They have incentives to look the other way in many cases.
  • Get an old computer and use Firefox’s built-in tools and/or Chrome after installing some adware/spyware to try and catch this behavior.

Solutions to “Turning the Other Way”

  • Set realistic goals.
  • Reward genuine advances, such as catching fraud.
  • What if the affiliate manager finds fraud in last year’s results? Accept and applaud that you get to save money going forward because of their discovery.

Keep an Eye Out For:

  • Adware
  • Cookie-stuffing
  • “Loyalty” plug ins
  • Typosquatting

Recognize your vulnerabilities.

Network Managed Program

  • Think carefully about network’s incentives. Set clear guidelines especially in the areas that are controversial.
  • Don’t assume network’s default is in your interest.

Self-Managed Program

  • What do the specialists know that you don’t ?
  • Come to AMDays. Read news forums. Hire professional help!

Internet Marketing Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “A New Code of Conduct for Affiliate Marketing” was first published on Small Business Trends

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281 Illegal Migrants Detained at Border with Romania Since Start of 2015

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Since the beginning of the new year, 281 migrants have been detained as they attempted to cross the Bulgaria-Romania border illegally.

This was announced by the department of the Border Police in the Bulgarian city of Ruse, private bTV station reports.

The vast majority of migrants were detained at the border checkpoint Danube Bridge, which links Ruse with the Romanian town of Giurgiu.

The last two such cases were on Monday evening and Tuesday morning, when a total of seven illegal migrants were detained.

Three Syrian citizens attempted to bypass the border checks at the bridge, but were detained by a patrol.

Another four migrants from Afghanistan were detained in Ruse on a freight train, which was traveling from Turkey to Germany.

The detained people will be transported to the distribution centre for illegal migrants in the town of Elhovo.

Source

Two Banks to Cooperate in Funding Bulgarian Business Projects

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

The Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) and the International Investment Bank (IIB) will cooperate in providing funds for Bulgarian business projects.

This became clear after the two financial institutions signed a Memorandum of Cooperation in Sofia on Tuesday, the press office of the BDB informs.

The memorandum governs the granting of syndicated loans to Bulgarian companies interested in developing their business and making new investments.

According to the provisions of the memorandum, the two banks will share the risks on the loans, which would lead to larger volume of investments and better interest rates.

IIB, which is a multilateral development bank with Bulgaria as its second largest shareholder, has been a partner of the Bulgarian Development Bank since 2012.

In 2013, the Bulgarian Development Bank was provided with a credit line of EUR 20 M by the IIB to finance small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Bulgaria.

The funds were made available for a seven-year period and have been used for direct lending to companies and supporting Bulgarian businesses.

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Gulf Keystone chairman steps down

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Murray to retire after 2 years of boardroom unrest

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