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  • Playstation Store For PSP Opens

    Playstation Store For PSP Opens

    You can now buy PS1 and PSP games via your computer and download them directly onto your PSP.

    read more | digg story
  • How to Install Wikipedia on Your iPod

    How to Install Wikipedia on Your iPod

    Yes that’s right. You can now have the entire Wikipedia encylopedia on your iPod. Clocking in at only 1.7 GB of space, it is a very handy tool if you have the sudden uncontrollable urge while out at the shops to discover the capital of Mongolia or the mating habits of eels

    read more | digg story
  • Microsoft Has a Broken Home

    Microsoft Has a Broken Home

    Microsoft has warned users of its new Windows Home Server that the device could corrupt data when saving files from certain applications. The results could ruin family photos, small-business records or anything else users save on the system. The problem is the latest of three significant quality-control fumbles Microsoft has committed this year, said analyst Michael Cherry.

    Leading entrepreneurs like Hugo Burge of hereorthere.com recognize that: "The right domain name is the difference between success and failure. On the Internet your domain name is your real estate." Thousands of business owners like Burge rely on BuyDomains.com to secure high-performance domains.

    Consumers hoping to safeguard their holiday memories by storing pictures on their Windows Home Servers (WHS) may instead want to save those files on their PCs' hard drives. A post made on Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT) WHS blog warns users that WHS contains a heretofore undiscovered file corruption bug.

    Although engineers are busily trying to solve the problem, Microsoft said, users are advised not to edit and then save WHS stored files using any of several Microsoft and third-party software applications.

    "A few people in the Community Forums have reported data corruption when saving files from applications including Windows Vista Photo Gallery, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Microsoft Office OneNote 2007, Microsoft Office OneNote 2003, and SyncToy 2.0 Beta. Additionally, some applications, like Microsoft Money and Microsoft Outlook, do not support storing files on shared folders," the WHS Team wrote on the product's blog.

    "The Windows Home Server team closely follows the threads on the Community Forums to get real-time feedback. Data integrity is of the utmost importance; Windows Home Server team tackles issues around file or data corruption with extreme seriousness and urgency. Our development team is working full time through the holidays to diagnose and address this issue," the post continued.

    A Sharing Problem
    Announced at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show, the bundled WHS hardware and software package went on sale in November. It's aimed at consumers and small businesses, and it's available from manufacturers such as HP (NYSE: HPQ) .

    A Microsoft support article appears to point the finger for the issue at the WHS system's shared folders. The software maker advises WHS users to make sure they have a backup copy of any important program files before storing files on a machine running WHS.

    "Until an update for Windows Home Server is available, we recommend that [WHS owners] not use the programs listed in this article to save or edit program-specific files that are stored on a Windows Home Server-based system," Microsoft suggested.

    A Testing Issue
    The file corruption bug is a very serious problem for both WHS owners and Microsoft.

    "File corruption on a server simply shouldn't happen," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. "They haven't determined why yet, and given the Windows Home Server is a spin on an existing enterprise class server platform, it probably has to do with a unique situation that exists in the home.

    "This product was beta tested by me and others, and we didn't see this, but most of us were focused on media serving and backup, not on using it like you might use a server in a real small business," he continued.

    For Microsoft, this is the third product the company has rolled out this year that contained significant flaws in its code, said Michael Cherry, lead analyst at Directions on Microsoft. Problems with the Xbox 360 will cost the company US$1 billion to correct, and a bevy of issues with its Windows Vista operating system has frustrated early adopters of the software.

    These marks on its track record suggests that the software giant needs to overhaul its pre-release testing practices, especially "when you promote a device for storing photographs, but it doesn't do that very well," he said.

    "On one hand, I doubt it's a huge issue, because I suspect they haven't sold very many of them. It's a brand new product and there are other ways to accomplish it. It will be limited by the fact that [the WHS] has only been out about a month. So to a certain extent that may limit any issue."

    The problems, however, are nothing to ignore. Microsoft, Cherry said, has rolled out three products recently in which testers were unable to spot major problems prior to widespread release.

    "When you look at Vista and some of the problems it is having, you might be able to conclude that quality really doesn't matter, and Microsoft just wants to get the product into the channel at a certain time in the sales cycle, and that basically any problems they are finding they will either downplay their importance or claim they only occur in really rare circumstances," Cherry told TechNewsWorld.

    The fundamental claim that quality is their No. 1 priority and that customers tell Microsoft when quality is good enough cannot be the case, Cherry stated, because customers do not want their photographs destroyed.

    Confidence Game
    The Xbox, Vista and Home Server cases have already started to undermine confidence in Microsoft's products, Cherry continued.

    "The undermining has already started. The evidence of that is that this just feeds the wait for the service pack, so that people are starting to say, 'We really shouldn't have bought this home server until there was home server Service Pack 1," Cherry said.

    Cherry acknowledged that writing software is a tricky business and that there are bound to be some mistakes -- particularly when it has to interact with third-party software. "But we're talking about things that are so fundamental to the product [that testers should have been able to catch the mistakes].

    "It's even things like Vista's photo tools are corrupting, so their own main product doesn't work with this thing," he stated.

    "Given most of the products listed are Microsoft's, I think it should have come up in the in-house testing, and it will be interesting to learn why it didn't," Enderle noted. "Often when a product hits the market, combinations of things folks never thought to test showcase problems that were undiscovered -- probably goes to why the advice is to avoid first-generation products is so widely followed."

    With its next several releases, Microsoft will have to demonstrate that it is testing its software thoroughly.

    "They have to show that they really are testing across a wide enough [spectrum] of cases and scenarios and that they are adequately insuring that their products are ready to ship," Cherry suggested. "It might be a longer beta period. Sometimes you might be better off with a smaller beta with people who really use the product, instead of one with a million beta testers who never report a problem.

    "But these are problems their own internal testing should have found, which says they are setting the bar wrong," he added. "Someone needs to resolve why these products are getting out into the public and then being found with major problems that should have been detected before the release. They show a bigger systemic problem with how Microsoft is testing its products."

    If Microsoft does not correct its testing practices and repair its reputation, the initial consequence will be a significantly protracted adoption period for new products, he stated.

    "It will make people reluctant to be early adopters of their products. No one wants to pay full retail to be the guinea pig," Cherry said. "[People will] just pick an alternative and eventually it will have an impact on [Microsoft]."

    Next Article in Servers: Tech Sector Outlook 2008, part 1

    We have a positive fundamental outlook on the systems software sector as we enter 2008. Our positive outlook reflects our view of continued robust PC sales, driven by stronger expected growth in laptop, consumer and international markets. Although enterprise adoption of Vista has been slow, we expect the adoption rate to accelerate after Microsoft releases Service Pack 1, which we think will occur in the first half of 2008.

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    Technology stocks have had a nice run in 2007, largely thanks to healthy demand for PCs with new software products, and exciting new gadgets like Apple's (AAPL) iPhone. The sector moved up in the first half of 2007, then retreated during the summer and autumn, along with many other sectors, amid worries about the U.S. economy caused by the subprime mortgage meltdown. So far this year, through Dec. 13, the Standard & Poor's Information Technology index gained 15.9 percent, handily beating the 4.9 percent rise in the S&P 500-stock index.

    Standard & Poor's Equity Research has an overweight opinion on the information technology sector and an associated positive fundamental outlook. We believe technology companies and stocks should benefit from healthy domestic spending from enterprises and on consumer electronics, strong international demand and new product and upgrade cycles.

    We also see valuations as attractive, especially on a price-earnings-to-growth basis. Moreover, we believe many technology companies are rightly focused on delivering shareholder value, and are employing buybacks, strategic mergers and acquisitions, and restructuring/realignment efforts to provide it.

    Here's the first of a two-part rundown of our IT analysts' outlooks for tech subindustries and stocks, covering semiconductors, chip equipment, computer hardware, storage, electronic manufacturing services and systems software. Part 2 on Sunday features outlooks on application software, Internet software and services, home entertainment software, IT consulting and data processing services, and telecommunications services and communications equipment.

    The Semiconductor Industry
    Analyst: Clyde Montevirgen

    We have a positive fundamental opinion on the semiconductor industry. Although strong unit demand in 2007 was balanced by less favorable average selling prices (ASPs), plant utilization rates rose and inventory levels burned off, providing a good starting point for the industry, in our view.

    We see memory chipmakers reducing manufacturing equipment orders and microprocessor producers benefiting from server and higher-end notebook demand, leading to better ASPs ahead. We expect sales to increase by 5 percent in 2008, moderately above the estimated 4 percent in 2007, and believe that this acceleration, combined with more favorable operating leverage, will lead to relatively high earnings growth, compared to that of other S&P industries.

    However, unlike 2007, when we saw various supply and inventory problems, we are somewhat concerned about the demand side of the equation. Economic risks stemming from the credit and housing markets could possibly limit enterprise and consumer spending ahead. Although we project sales advancing at a faster pace next year, our growth projection is lower than it was a few months ago due to higher economic risks we foresee and limited end-market demand visibility. Because of our increasing risk view, we have a more cautious opinion on the industry's relative valuations.

    We are positive on companies we think will be able to advance in the face of possible economic headwinds by gaining market share in their respective segments, or on companies with very attractive valuations and solid growth prospects. We currently have buy recommendations on Intel (INTC; US$26), Broadcom (BRCM; $26), Cypress Semiconductor (CY; $35), On Semiconductor (ONNN; $8) and Volterra Semiconductor (VLTR; $12).

    Semiconductor Equipment
    Analyst: Angelo Zino

    Our outlook for the S&P semiconductor equipment industry is neutral. We envision a decline in semiconductor equipment spending in 2008, based on our opinion of unwillingness by chip manufacturers to increase capital expenditures during a period of uncertainty for the global economy. We think depressed prices of computer memory chips, known as "dynamic random access memory (DRAM), and poor end-market demand visibility will also contribute to our projection that orders will remain weak over the next several quarters.

    We have a more favorable outlook for the second half of the year, as we see fundamentals improving for the industry. The rebound, in our opinion, will be driven by the steady transition to faster and more efficient semiconductor devices, a stabilization of memory chip prices, and an increase in capacity by customers, as utilization rates are near peak levels. Additionally, we see significant growth opportunities from solar technology, the flash memory market, and higher demand for flat-panel displays.

    Although we expect fundamentals to deteriorate in the near term, we view investor sentiment as low, and believe most of the weakness is already reflected in stock prices, as semiconductor equipment stocks fell substantially during the second half of 2007. We view valuations for the industry as attractive, based on price-to-earnings multiples, applying our 2008 earnings forecasts.

    We have a strong buy recommendation on Teradyne (TER; $10), and it is our only such recommendation in the subindustry. Despite Teradyne recently reaching a four-year low, we see valuations nearing a trough, expansion into the high-growth flash memory test market, potential for market-share gains, and a recently announced $400 million stock repurchase program as compelling reasons to buy the stock. We expect sales for test equipment to increase 7 percent in 2008, outperforming the overall semiconductor equipment market.

    Computer Hardware
    Analyst: Tom Smith

    We have a positive outlook for the computer hardware subindustry for the next 12 months, based on our projection for personal-computer unit growth of about 10 percent for 2008. This would represent a slower pace than the 12 percent we estimate for the not-quite-finished year of 2007, but nevertheless would be a solid year for the industry.

    We see PC sales driven by the ongoing rollout of updated operating systems from Microsoft (MSFT; $35) and Apple, consumers' desire to upgrade to notebook PCs from desktops, and the usual need to upgrade a PC within a three- to five-year period merely to avoid creeping obsolescence and breakdowns.

    The trend toward notebooks, in order to gain advantages of portability, access to new WiFi networks, and to simply lose the tangle of wires around the house, is a welcome one for the PC industry, as it encourages sales of higher-end products. Another side of a push toward higher-end PCs is consumer interest in multimedia PCs used for video, audio and telephony purposes in addition to computing.

    Thinking about this trend toward more variety in usage patterns for PCs, we like computer peripherals maker Logitech (LOGI; ranked strong buy; $35), as it makes the accessories that permit personalization of PC setups.

    Among the PC makers, we expect the lively battle for market share to continue in 2008. A key question for the industry is whether Hewlett-Packard (HPQ; buy; $52) can continue to gain market share over Dell (DELL; hold; $24). We view HP's revitalization as further along and delivering results better than Dell's, and we think that trend will remain intact in 2008.

    That said, should Dell succeed in reaching consumers effectively through new distribution channels including major retailers, while keeping its margins under control, it has a chance to deliver one of the more dramatic comeback stories of the industry.

    Apple also has a shot at improving its market share, based in part on additional store traffic spurred by rising customer interest in the iPod and iPhone products. The effects of consolidation should also weigh on the industry, with Acer becoming a bigger player since having acquired business from Gateway in the U.S. and Packard Bell in Europe during 2007. Lenovo remains a major player, and one eager not to lose share to Acer and the others.

    We similarly see a good year for server sales in 2008, based on ongoing global economic growth in most major markets, with perhaps a stutter in server sales in the U.S. related to weakness in the housing market and related industries, including finance. We like the prospects for industry heavyweight IBM (IBM; strong buy; $107), which we believe is using its global scale advantages in hardware, software and services, and is likely to continue a big share buyback program that should support per-share results.

    Computer Storage
    Analyst: Jawahar Hingorani

    We believe storage continues to be a priority for IT managers at companies of all sizes, and is increasingly becoming a consumer need due to the creation of large amounts of personalized digital content (audio and video) on various social networking sites. Our outlook is tempered slightly by the weakness we perceive in the U.S. market, and the likely effect it will have on spending on storage hardware in some important verticals such as financial services, manufacturing and the U.S. government.

    However, we think that in 2007, hardware has decreased proportionately in terms of overall storage spending relative to prior years, and we are seeing a rise in the amount of software shipments as a percentage of total revenues for many storage systems vendors.

    The advent of virtualization as a major trend in storage stems from the need to manage the secure access to increasingly complex applications and data, as well as to improve data center efficiency, by reducing server footprint and lowering energy consumption. The drive to be "green" is accompanied by very real cost savings, making virtualization attractive to enterprises.

    The reduction in server count is offset by the need for richer, more robust servers across all price ranges, increasing the need for components and network infrastructure. The trend in increased demand for software for storage replication and archiving/hierarchical storage management (HSM) reflects the increasing importance of business continuity/disaster recovery strategies.

    These, in turn, are driven by the compliance and risk-management needs for a long-term storage strategy for certain types of information, particularly in data mining , analytics and reuse in the context of archiving. We also see the spread of broadband wireless services and infrastructure driving the need for additional storage infrastructure build-out.

    One company in this group that we favor is Seagate Technology (STX; $28), on which we have a strong buy recommendation. We believe Seagate, the largest maker of hard-disk drives, has been reaping the benefits of size and scale and, along with a history of strong execution, growing revenues and profits. Following its acquisition of Maxtor in 2006, the company has succeeded in rationalizing costs and expenses to gain production efficiencies, while maintaining its position as the leader in the hard-disk drive industry.

    Together with its rival, Western Digital (WDC; buy; $29), Seagate is benefiting from strong demand, stable pricing trends, and tight inventories, and has structured its operations to remain profitable. We think past investment in technology and product development, and a strong balance sheet position Seagate to stay on top of emerging trends in the disk-storage space, and to take advantage of new opportunities for growth and investment.

    We also have a strong buy recommendation on EMC (EMC; $19). As the leader in the external-disk storage systems market, EMC has continued to grow sequentially through the first three quarters of 2007, while some of its rivals have struggled. After trading at a 52-week high of over $25, EMC shares have pulled back considerably without a significant change in fundamentals, in our view.

    We think EMC's content management and security offerings complement its storage products, and we believe having its finger on the pulse of developments in the fast-growing virtualization space, through its 86 percent ownership in industry leader VMware (VMW; $95), gives it a competitive advantage.

    In our opinion, the shares are undervalued relative to peers, based on the company's growth prospects and what we view as its history of strong execution. We believe a strong balance sheet and majority ownership of VMW are additional reasons for investors to own the stock.

    Electronic Manufacturing Services
    Analyst: Tom Smith

    We have a neutral outlook for the electronic manufacturing services (EMS) industry for 2008. The industry should see moderate growth ahead, based on global economic growth and the continued adoption of the outsourcing model by manufacturers.

    We see advantages for industry participants that can deliver scale advantages, including global sourcing and delivery, low production costs, and a broad production skill set so that customers can get one-stop shopping advantages. We believe Flextronics (FLEX; buy; $12) gained ground toward successfully working the big-player role in 2007 by its acquisition of Solectron.

    For EMS players outside the top tier by size, the key to success in 2008, in our view, will be the development of skills in a niche market or geographic area. Medical equipment is one such niche, where experience with FDA and other regulatory standards can help expedite production and product approval. We anticipate midsize and small EMS companies to be able to have occasional success within niche categories, but to have a harder time competing in non-niche businesses over the years ahead. We believe the trend toward consolidation in EMS will continue in 2008 and beyond.

    Systems Software
    Analyst: Jim Yin

    We have a positive fundamental outlook on the systems software sector as we enter 2008. Our positive outlook reflects our view of continued robust PC sales, driven by stronger expected growth in laptop, consumer and international markets. Although enterprise adoption of Vista has been slow, we expect the adoption rate to accelerate after Microsoft releases Service Pack 1, which we think will occur in the first half of 2008. We see additional growth coming from the growing prevalence of mobile devices such as smartphones. Increased demand in PCs and mobile devices outweighs our concern of a possible slowdown in the U.S. economy.

    We believe one company that will benefit from strong PC sales is Microsoft, which is ranked strong buy. We believe the company is in the midst of a faster growth stage, driven by stronger sales of portable computers and in emerging markets including Brazil, Russia, India and China. Sales should also benefit from a product upgrade cycle that includes Windows Server, SQL Server, and Visual Studio scheduled to be released in February 2008.

    We also think Microsoft is executing better. We project that the Entertainment and Devices Division will become profitable and online advertising revenue will increase 30 percent in fiscal year 2008 (June).

    Another company we rank as strong buy is Citrix Systems (CTXS; $37). We expect Citrix to benefit from increased worker mobility, which requires remote connectivity from home and mobile devices. We believe the company significantly increases its market opportunity with the acquisition of XenSource, a provider of server virtualization software.

    Its main product allows servers to run multiple operating systems, thus enabling enterprises to reduce infrastructure costs. We believe the server virtualization market is in its early stages of growth and forecast it to increase 30 percent per year for the next three years. We also like that Citrix derives almost half of its revenue from international operations and should benefit from further weakness in the U.S. dollar.

    Stay tuned for Tech Sector Outlook 2008, Part 2!
  • Wal-Mart Abandons Online Movie Downloads

    Wal-Mart Abandons Online Movie Downloads

    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has closed an online movie download service it launched less than a year ago.

    The retreat for Wal-Mart, which accounts for about 40 percent of all DVD sales, follows the company's 2005 decision to abandoned efforts to build an online DVD rental service. The world's largest retailer instead turned its rental service over to Netflix Inc.

    Wal-Mart still operates a music download service and continues to sell CDs and DVDs at retail stores and over the Internet for shipping by mail.

    A message on Wal-Mart's video download Web site said the store closed Dec. 21. The Web site said customers who already have bought movies could continue to watch them.

    more...
  • Zune, iTunes Sites Get Christmas Day Traffic Boosts

    Zune, iTunes Sites Get Christmas Day Traffic Boosts

    Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)'s Zune Web site increased its traffic by 299% on Christmas Day compared with Christmas Day last year, as new owners signed up for accounts and downloaded software, according to Hitwise.

    Traffic to the site increased 392% on Christmas Day compared with Christmas Eve, according to the online intelligence firm.

    Apple iPod owners also flocked to iTunes to give Apple's music Web site six times the traffic Zune received. Traffic for iTunes soared 339% from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day, and the Web site's market share reached 0.68%, Hitwise reported. Zune's market share reached 0.009%.

    The Nintendo Wii and the Australian women's shoe called Ugg topped the list of popular product search terms to send traffic to shopping and classifieds sites the week ending Dec. 22.

    "Although the Nintendo Wii was the most-talked-about product during the holiday season, MP3 players were also very popular as Christmas gifts," Heather Dougherty, director of research at Hitwise, said in a prepared statement. "This year the Zune has captured interest from music listeners with a new line of redesigned players and discounted older models, while the popularity of iPods continued to drive traffic to the Apple Store and iTunes Web site."

    more...

  • Retail Stores' E-Strategy

    Retail Stores' E-Strategy

    Shopping and technology finally merged this year (and I'm not talking about online purchases). Big-box stores were forced to upgrade their technology to wow customers, and they made some interesting improvements. Here's a list of some of the innovations that happened this year. Any cool upgrades not on this list that you've been digging at your local brick-and-mortar?

    more wired...
  • Online Holiday Sales Rising At 19% Clip, Just Short Of Views

    Online Holiday Sales Rising At 19% Clip, Just Short Of Views

    Free shipping and product discounts have kept consumer PCs busy, though the e-tail growth rate this holiday almost surely won't match recent years.

    U.S. online retail sales hit a record $26.2 billion from Nov. 1 through Dec. 21, up 19% from the year-ago period, says ComScore Networks. ComScore didn't issue an outlook, but Jupiter Research and Forrester Research (NASDAQ:FORR) had forecast 20% and 21% growth, respectively.

    U.S. retail sales overall had been expected to rise 4% to 6% this holiday season. But retailer Target (NYSE:TGT) TGT on Monday said it expects its December same-store sales to be up 1% to down 1% vs. last December.

    ComScore says online sales from Nov. 1 through Dec. 17 last year rose 25% to $20.1 billion.

    As the dollars rise, some slowing growth is expected. Still, many online sellers report robust sales.

    "At least 30% of our sales come in the last quarter, and probably half of that is off the Internet -- and that's going up year after year," said Carolyn Beem, manager of public affairs for outdoor clothing seller L.L. Bean.

    This year, L.L. Bean offered free shipping on all orders from Sept. 28 through Friday. "We think it paid off," Beem said.

    Amazon.com AMZN, the Web's No. 1 online retailer, on Saturday said five of the top 10 items on its electronics best-seller list are Apple AAPL iPod players. Apple shares Monday rose 2.5% to an all-time closing high of 198.80.

    Amazon rival Buy.com (NASDAQ:BUYY) reports strong sales of Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) MSFT Zune and SanDisk's (NASDAQ:SNDK) SNDK Sansa players.

    Discounts, in many cases, are fueling the sales, says Jeff Wisot, Buy.com's vice president of marketing. "A lot of these manufacturers will let us discount the price," he said.

    Even with a slowing growth rate, the dollar amounts are rising in the billions, points out Ron LaPierre, chief executive of PriceGrabber.com, one of the largest comparison-shopping sites.

    "The fact that e-commerce can generate $4 billion more in sales than it did this time last year is very promising," he said. "I'm sure (e-commerce growth) numbers are going to be significantly above retail as a whole."

    The overall retail market has been sluggish, with fears of recession sparked by the subprime mortgage mess and rising oil prices. Retail sales dipped 0.4% in the week ended Dec. 15 from the year-earlier period, says ShopperTrak.

    And remember, e-tail still has some first-time users to pick up, says LaPierre. "The Internet is still acquiring new users and new shoppers," he said.

    E-tailers are taking steps to keep consumers shopping longer. Fossil, an apparel seller, is providing free next-day air shipments. Electronics retailer Best Buy BBY provided free shipping for all its online digital cameras sales.

    Such offers seem to be driving more consumers to search for deals online, says Fiona Waslander, director of the YHOO Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) Shopping comparison-shopping service.

    "The traffic growth last week (ended Friday) was stronger than what we expected," she said.

    Traffic to Pronto.com, a comparison service owned by InteractiveCorp (OTCBB:IACPP) (NASDAQ:IACI) IACI, also has risen in the last week as consumers take advantage of its free shipping offers, says Dan Marriott, Pronto's chief executive.

    "We have seen volumes to our retailers start to die late in the second week of December, but we have had strength even in the third week," he said. "That is surprising."



    Newstex ID: IBD-0001-21882899

    Originally published in the December 26, 2007 version of Investor's Business Daily.

  • Best Buy Still Using Secret In-Store Website With Higher Pricing [Update]

    Best Buy Still Using Secret In-Store Website With Higher Pricing [Update]

    Even after being slapped in the face with a suit by a Connecticut attorney general, Best Buy is still having an internal bestbuy.com website that offers higher prices than the actual bestbuy.com. The only thing Best Buy promised to do is place a notice on the website to indicate that these are in-store prices, which may not be the same as the prices seen online. The point? Bring a printout or a browser-capable cellphone (don't use their Wi-Fi) so you can show employees the price you saw online, which they're supposed to honor. [Consumerist]

    Update: A Best Buy employee sheds light on why this is happening:

    Our tipster says that the site is used to give employees "a place where they can order large purchases that are shipped to home and the sale shows up on the store's sales report." It's also used to honor in store only prices, and will let them ship stuff to customers without a raincheck.

    However, the stores aren't obligated to match the online prices, because different regions have different pricing structures, whereas their website has one price for everyone. The only time they have to honor prices, he claims, is if it's in the weekly circular ad.

    Thanks tipster!

    more Gizmodo...

  • Blog SEO - it's all in the META

    Blog SEO - it's all in the META

    a push in the right direction...


    'Inventory Overture Keyword Selector Tool' is one of the best-known
    services for helping you choose the right keywords. Use 'Inventory
    Overture Keyword Selector Tool' to find what people are actually
    typing in to the search engines.

    http://inventory.overture.com/

    Word Tracker. Their report of the most
    popular searches is published each Tuesday and distributed to over
    30,000 subscribers.

    http://www.wordtracker.com/
  • Top Online-Offline retail performers 2007

    Top Online-Offline retail performers 2007

    Criteria - To be on the list companies had to:

    - Have ‘07 revenues more than $50 million
    - Revenue should have grown more than 15% in the year
    - Should have their own offline and online stores

    Here are the winners (in random order)




  • U.S. online retail sales disappoint

    U.S. online retail sales disappoint

    NEW YORK — Economic woes have dumped a lump of coal on U.S. online retailers, which, like their brick-and-mortar rivals, have struggled with an uneven holiday business following a strong official start to the season.

    ComScore Inc., an Internet research company, reported Sunday that online sales from Nov. 1 through Dec. 14 rose 18 per cent from the same period a year ago to $22.67-billion, but that's less than the 26 per cent growth rate seen last year and the 20 per cent projection for the season. And while online merchants are stepping up promotions even more and offering free shipping upgrades to extend the season, it's clear that e-retailers are as vulnerable to the economic challenges as their rivals with physical stores.

    The current economic realities are forcing customers to “pick their spots, and they are waiting for the deals,” said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. “I think it is possible that they are procrastinating longer than a year ago.”

    Mr. Fulgoni noted that the subprime mortgage meltdown, slumping housing values, higher gasoline prices and an uncertain stock market are affecting shoppers at different income levels. But he noted that consumers in lower-income segments appear to be the most hurt, as reflected by the sluggish growth in their rate of online spending.

    ComScore's analysis of data shows that while households earning at least $100,000 have increased their online spending 28 per cent versus a year ago, households making less than $50,000 have increased their spending by just 10 per cent.

    more...

  • ComScore: Online sales heat up this week

    ComScore: Online sales heat up this week

    As Christmas approaches, online shoppig picks up, and the beginning this week has seen online spending increase 33 percent over the same days last year

    U.S. buyers shopped aggressively online on Monday and Tuesday of this week, spending significantly more than they did on the comparable days last year, according to comScore.

    Online retail spending hit $700 million on Monday, up 33 percent from last year, and $670 million on Tuesday, up 25 percent, the Web-monitoring company said Thursday.

    During the first 48 days of the holiday shopping season -- Nov. 1 to Dec. 18 -- U.S. shoppers have spent almost $25 billion in online retail purchases, up 19 percent from the same period last year, according to comScore.

    As Christmas day approaches, the intensity of online shopping will ease up, although late-shipping deals, in-store pickup options and price reductions should keep growth rates strong in the remainder of the holiday season, comScore said.

    The company expects online spending during the holidays to reach $29.5 billion, which would represent a 20 percent increase over the 2006 season.

    Meanwhile, Nielsen Online said Wednesday that a majority of online shoppers it surveyed reported being either "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with the customer support they received from online shopping Web sites.

    Nielsen Online's survey found that of the 46 percent of respondents who had posted or planned to post reviews about their online shopping experience, 88 percent said those reviews were, or would be, positive.

    Netflix topped the survey's customer satisfaction list, having been rated "very satisfied" by 90.3 percent of respondents, and was followed by comparison-shopping site NexTag.com (87 percent), giant e-tailer Amazon.com (86.6 percent), Yahoo Shopping (84.3 percent) and Kohls.com (84.1 percent). Rounding out the top 10 were Barnesandnoble.com, HomeDepot.com, Circuitcity.com, eBay.com, and JCPenney.com.

    more...

  • Rockstar Games Rock Direct2Drive

    Rockstar Games Rock Direct2Drive

    You can't get a good Rockstar down. Games such as Max Payne 2: The Fall of Max Payne, Manhunt and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas are all available at IGN's Direct2Drive, marking Rockstar's entry into digital distribution.

    Direct2Drive, IGN Entertainment's digital retail store, announced today that it has added Rockstar Games titles to its catalog. This include titles from the Grand Theft Auto, Max Payne, Manhunt, and Midnight Club series. More information can be had at direct2drive.com/zones/rockstar.

    "Rockstar Games has one of the most celebrated collections of AAA titles available to gamers today and we're proud to add the Grand Theft Auto series and the entire Rockstar catalog to our world-class library of content," said Sutton Trout, VP of digital content for IGN Entertainment. "By providing our customers with the ability to easily download these popular titles immediately, Direct2Drive continues to solidify its spot as the gaming industry's premiere digital retail store."

    "We are excited to be opening our archives," said Rowan Hajaj, Head of Finance and Corporate Development of Rockstar Games. "For the first time, fans will have the chance to explore our catalog of original, groundbreaking PC titles at the press of a button." more...

  • Online retail sales reaching new heights

    Online retail sales reaching new heights

    Online retail sales look set to break records this Christmas, with a wave of statistics showing that online shopping is reaching new heights among consumers keen to avoid the high-street crush.

    Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that sales rose 0.4% in November to lift annual growth in online sales to 4.4%.

    And the growth in e-retail is even more marked than that, according to figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-retail sales index.

    The index calculated that consumers spent £5.4bn in November, up 22.5% on October and 65% high than the £3.2bn in recorded online sales in November 2006.

    The report said improvements in ordering, fulfilment and deliver had boosted consumer confidence in shopping online, prompting many to turn to the internet this time around to buy Christmas gifts.

    Jo Evans, IMRG’s managing director, said the online figures for December were likely to be even higher.

    Last month price comparison specialist uSwitch.com said UK online retail sales would hit £40bn this year – and predicted e-retail would more than quadruple to £162bn by 2020.

    It said a total of 13.5 million UK consumers are now shopping online.

    more @ computerworld uk...
  • Protexis' Fifth and Sixth Patents Approved, Further Expanding Its E-commerce IP Portfolio

    Protexis' Fifth and Sixth Patents Approved, Further Expanding Its E-commerce IP Portfolio

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Protexis, the leader in digital content distribution for retailers, today announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued U.S. Patent No. 7,200,760 to Protexis, as well as approved the claims of a forthcoming patent that expand the company's patent holdings surrounding its product activation-based system of copy protection, digital rights management, electronic licensing, and e-commerce services for software and digital content. Four other patents covering fundamental aspects of the Protexis platform have already been issued, with eleven additional patents pending.

    "U.S. Patent No. 7,200,760 covers persistent encryption of software data to control the operation of an executable. The approved claims in the forthcoming patent cover additional unique product activation technology for publishers of digital content to market and license their software," said Karl Hirsch, CEO of Protexis. Users also benefit from this technology which affords simplified and efficient real-time digital packaging of multiple protected items and decryption of these items.

    more...

  • Retailers' big fear: 35M procrastinators

    Retailers' big fear: 35M procrastinators

    Attention shoppers: 17% of Americans haven't started buying gifts. What they do in the next week will be key to stores' 2007 season.


    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Some 35 million Americans have yet to start shopping for holiday gifts - meaning that the next seven days could make or break many retailers' Christmas season.

    The National Retail Federation (NRF) said Tuesday that 25 million consumers, or 11.7 percent of shoppers, have completely finished their holiday shopping.

    That leaves 35 million consumers, or 16.5 percent of shoppers, who said they haven't even started yet. That number is up from 33 million procrastinators at the same point last year.

    more...

  • CMC Magnetics Signs Qflix Technology Licensing Agreement With Sonic

    CMC Magnetics Signs Qflix Technology Licensing Agreement With Sonic

    Producing Qflix DVD Media to Enable Secure Recording of Digitally Distributed Entertainment

    NOVATO, Calif., Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sonic Solutions(R) , the leader in digital media software, announced today that CMC Magnetics Corporation (TSEC: CMC), a leading optical storage manufacturer, has signed a Qflix(TM) technology and IP licensing agreement. CMC is beginning production on Qflix DVDs, which enable the secure, on-demand recording of digitally distributed entertainment with the same protection as commercially mass-produced titles. CMC is currently taking orders for two versions of Qflix media expected to be in broad use next year. The first type will be employed by duplication system operators providing custom DVD publishing services to retailers. The second type is designed for use in retail movie kiosks as well as in the home, where they will enable consumers to legally record premium entertainment downloaded from the Internet.

    "CMC is a key partner helping to deliver a critical component of the Qflix ecosystem," said Jim Taylor, senior vice president and general manager of Sonic Solutions' Advanced Technology Group. "Along with other partners in the consumer electronics, entertainment distribution, and PC industries, CMC will help create a cost-effective way to digitally deliver content that consumers can own and view in the entertainment venue of their choice, including the living room and anywhere else they play DVDs."

    more...
  • Social Media meets the Software Market

    Social Media meets the Software Market

    It’s beautifully simple:

    Research | Rate | Review & Earn

    Search for a product feedback, read an unbiased review, or listen in on a blog before purchasing. Rate reviews, products, and experiences in order to make sure that only the best are rewarded. Share your unbiased expertise with others and earn dollars for your honesty and respect earned in the community.

    This is the premise with which Bright Hub is poised to rock the software retail industry, soon.

  • Gamemaker treading a new path

    Gamemaker treading a new path

    Wim Stocks says his game-publishing start-up, Elephant Entertainment, offers opportunity in online gaming for both players and retailers.

    Last update: December 16, 2007 - 11:35 PM

    Minneapolis-based video game publisher Elephant Entertainment is charging trunk-raised into the fast-growing, competitive online game market.

    Though small, the startup has ambitions that suit its outsized name -- Elephant Entertainment aims to clear a path that affords retailers, who have largely been bypassed as the music industry thundered online, a spot at the digital watering hole.

    The idea, according to founder and president Wim Stocks, is to have retailers promote online titles that Elephant Entertainment publishes to customers in their stores. The retailers, in turn, get a share of the recurring revenue that Elephant Entertainment receives from game developers.

    "The one thing about an online game that a retailer gets nervous about is they sell the box version in their stores but then there's all this recurring revenue that accumulates on the backside that they never see a penny of," Stocks said. "Our model is that we're sharing that recurring revenue with the retailer."

    Besides producing games, developers typically manage online gaming platforms and communities. Publishers get a cut of the recurring revenue that developers derive from online gamers, who can pay subscription-like fees to access premium service levels or one-off charges to get a special object or asset to use in game play.

    "We had a lot of philosophical discussions about the wisdom of [sharing revenues with retailers] ... but we believe our game is connecting with a consumer of theirs. ... There's no bigger value added than the job that they're doing leveraging their brand to help us sell one of our products to their audience."

    The practice is well-established in such markets as the cellular phone industry, where carriers pay retailers for signing up new subscribers. But it's new to gaming, Stocks said.

    So far the fledgling publisher's approach has won over retailing behemoths Target, Best Buy, Wal-Mart and GameStop, which account for 85 percent of the U.S. computer and video game market, Stocks said.

    Overall, the gaming industry racked up more than $7 billion in retail sales in 2006, according to the Entertainment Software Association, an industry trade group based in Washington, D.C.

    In its first 12 months of operation, ended in October, Elephant Entertainment tusked its way to revenue "north of $6 million," a figure the company projects will at least double in 2008, according to a statement.

    Elephant attracts attention

    "The potential is great, and is getting full attention from retailers even at the upper levels of the organization," Stocks said. "If anything, we're probably getting more attention than our volume would indicate because it's such an important realm that they're trying to figure out."

    Stocks, a gaming industry veteran, left his post as executive vice president of Atari, the legendary but struggling gamemaker and publisher, to launch Elephant Entertainment in June 2006. His experience -- he oversaw sales, marketing, distribution, licensing and operations at Atari -- and contacts among retailers and game developers were critical in spotting the opportunity and starting his company.

    "We've grown up with so many of these people when they were buyers, and now they're in senior positions at retailers," said Stocks, who self-financed the start-up. "Also, on the content side, there are lots of connections that were enabled by virtue of my background and my group's background.''

    Stocks tries to operate virtually wherever possible. His offices are within those of Compass Marketing, which also provides administrative support. Third parties handle manufacturing, logistics and distribution. Partners for content and online platform management include K2 Network and Oberon Media.


  • second Monday in December is the heaviest online spending day of the season !

    second Monday in December is the heaviest online spending day of the season !

    Online Retail Spending Surges on “Green Monday” and Sets New Record with $881 Million in Sales, Up 33 Percent Versus Year Ago


    RESTON, VA, December 13, 2007 – comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released an update of holiday season e-commerce spending for the first 41 days (November 1 – December 11) of the November – December 2007 holiday season. More than $20 billion has been spent online during the season-to-date, marking a 19-percent gain versus the corresponding days last year. “Green Monday,” a term recently coined by eBay to describe the second Monday in December as the heaviest online spending day of the season, may well live up to its lofty billing as U.S. online retail spending on December 10 reached $881 million (up 33 percent versus last year), setting a record as the heaviest online spending day in history.

    2007 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2006

    Non-Travel (Retail) Spending

    Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases

    Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

    Source: comScore, Inc.

    Billions ($)

    Holiday Season to Date

    2006

    2007

    Pct Change

    November 1 – December 11

    $17.22

    $20.49

    19%

    Thanksgiving Day (November 22)

    $0.21

    $0.27

    29%

    “Black Friday” (November 23)

    $0.43

    $0.53

    22%

    “Cyber Monday” (November 26)

    $0.61

    $0.73

    21%

    ”Green Monday” (December 10)

    $0.66

    $0.88

    33%

    * Corresponding Shopping Days, Not Calendar Days

    “Online spending is following the pattern it first established last year, namely an accelerating growth rate as the season progresses,” said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. “Consumers are clearly responding positively to the enticing promotions and discounts being offered by retailers this year, and spending is currently on track to meet our forecast of $29.5 billion for the season.”

    Top 5 Online Spending Days for Holiday Season-to-Date

    Through the first 41 days of the online holiday shopping season, three individual shopping days have surpassed $800 million in sales, led by Monday, December 10 (“Green Monday”) with $881 million, followed by Tuesday, December 11 with $819 million and Thursday, December 6 with $803 million. Wednesday, December 5 came in just shy of that threshold with $798 million in spending.

    Top 5 Online Spending Days to Date

    Non-Travel (Retail) Spending

    Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases

    November 1 – December 11, 2007

    Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

    Source: comScore, Inc.

    Day

    Dollars Spent

    ($ Millions)

    Monday, December 10

    $880.8

    Tuesday, December 11

    $818.6

    Thursday, December 6

    $802.6

    Wednesday, December 5

    $797.7

    Tuesday, December 4

    $776.2

    comScore 2007 Retail E-Commerce Forecast

    Online Non-Travel (Retail) Holiday Consumer Spending

    Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases

    Total U.S. – Home/Work/University Locations

    Source: comScore, Inc.

    Billions ($)

    2006

    2007

    Pct Change

    January – October

    $77.5

    $93.6

    21%

    Holiday Season (Nov-Dec)

    $24.6

    $29.5*

    20%*

    *comScore forecast

    About comScore

    comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world. This capability is based on a massive, global cross-section of more than 2 million consumers who have given comScore permission to confidentially capture their browsing and transaction behavior, including online and offline purchasing. comScore panelists also participate in survey research that captures and integrates their attitudes and intentions. Through its proprietary technology, comScore measures what matters across a broad spectrum of behavior and attitudes. comScore analysts apply this deep knowledge of customers and competitors to help clients design powerful marketing strategies and tactics that deliver superior ROI. comScore services are used by more than 800 clients, including global leaders such as AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo!, BBC, Carat, Cyworld, Deutsche Bank, France Telecom, Best Buy, The Newspaper Association of America, Financial Times, ESPN, Fox Sports, Nestlé, Starcom, Universal McCann, the United States Postal Service, Verizon, ViaMichelin, Merck and Expedia. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com.

    Contact:
    Andrew Lipsman
    Senior Analyst
    comScore, Inc.
    312-775-6510
    press@comscore.com

  • Online Retail Spending Surges on 'Green Monday' and Sets New Record With $881 Million in Sales, Up 33 Percent Versus Year Ago

    Online Retail Spending Surges on 'Green Monday' and Sets New Record With $881 Million in Sales, Up 33 Percent Versus Year Ago

    RESTON, Va., Dec. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- comScore, Inc. , a leader in measuring the digital world, today released an update of holiday season e-commerce spending for the first 41 days (November 1 -- December 11) of the November -- December 2007 holiday season. More than $20 billion has been spent online during the season-to-date, marking a 19-percent gain versus the corresponding days last year. "Green Monday," a term recently coined by eBay to describe the second Monday in December as the heaviest online spending day of the season, may well live up to its lofty billing as U.S. online retail spending on December 10 reached $881 million (up 33 percent versus last year), setting a record as the heaviest online spending day in history.
        2007 Holiday Season To Date vs. Corresponding Days* in 2006
    Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
    Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
    Total U.S. -- Home/Work/University Locations
    Source: comScore, Inc.
    Billions ($)

    Pct
    Holiday Season to Date 2006 2007 Change

    November 1 -- December 11 $15.94 $20.49 19%
    Thanksgiving Day (November 22) $0.21 $0.27 29%
    "Black Friday" (November 23) $0.43 $0.53 22%
    "Cyber Monday" (November 26) $0.61 $0.73 21%
    "Green Monday" (December 10) $0.66 $0.88 33%

    * Corresponding Shopping Days, Not Calendar Days

    "Online spending is following the pattern it first established last year, namely an accelerating growth rate as the season progresses," said comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. "Consumers are clearly responding positively to the enticing promotions and discounts being offered by retailers this year, and spending is currently on track to meet our forecast of $29.5 billion for the season."

    Top 5 Online Spending Days for Holiday Season-to-Date

    Through the first 41 days of the online holiday shopping season, three individual shopping days have surpassed $800 million in sales, led by Monday, December 10 ("Green Monday") with $881 million, followed by Tuesday, December 11 with $819 million and Thursday, December 6 with $803 million. Wednesday, December 5 came in just shy of that threshold with $798 million in spending.

        Top 5 Online Spending Days to Date
    Non-Travel (Retail) Spending
    Excludes Auctions and Large Corporate Purchases
    November 1 -- December 11, 2007
    Total U.S. -- Home/Work/University Locations
    Source: comScore, Inc.

    Dollars Spent
    Day ($ Millions)

    Monday, December 10 $880.8
    Tuesday, December 11 $818.6
    Thursday, December 6 $802.6
    Wednesday, December 5 $797.7
    Tuesday, December 4 $776.2
  • CTI 2007: Game On Panel

    CTI 2007: Game On Panel

    The online game development market has never been more lucrative and more complicated than it is right now. What qualities does it take to make an online game successful and innovative? What defines an online game anymore? These are the questions the "Game On" panel at the recent Consumer Technology Innovations 2007 considered and debated. The panelists included several veterans in the industry -- John Blakely, VP Sony Online Entertainment, Nick Earl, Senior VP & Group General Manager for Electronic Arts, Dave Williams, Senior VP & General Manager for Addicting Games & Shockwave at MTV Networks and Susan Wu, Partner at Charles River Ventures.

    Williams tipped his hat to the mass market power that the Nintendo Wii has brought to the table, but added, "Using Facebook to develop an audience is big." Wu, an apparent champion for the power of social media, pointed out a single example of what the social networking market can accomplish. "Over 3.5 million users within the last three and a half months (for the Vampires and Werewolves game on Facebook). Never before has such a thing been possible (in the online space.)."

    more by Paul Philleo...

  • Mobile Digital Media Named Exclusive Retail Publisher and Distributor for Atkins™ Carb Counter

    Mobile Digital Media Named Exclusive Retail Publisher and Distributor for Atkins™ Carb Counter

    Premier provider of mobile solutions, Mobile Digital Media (MDM), today announced the upcoming exclusive retail release of Mobile Lifestyles' Atkins™ Carb Counter mobile application. Perfect for today's hectic schedules, the Atkins™ Carb Counter allows those who use the Atkins Nutritional Approach™ to conveniently manage their plan right from their personal mobile device or smartphone.

    Mobile Lifestyles is very excited to be working with Mobile Digital Media as our exclusive retail publisher and distributor for the popular Atkins™ Carb Counter mobile product

    Milpitas, CA (PRWEB) December 13, 2007 -- Premier provider of mobile solutions, Mobile Digital Media (MDM), today announced the upcoming exclusive retail release of Mobile Lifestyles' Atkins™ Carb Counter mobile application. Perfect for today's hectic schedules, the Atkins™ Carb Counter allows those who use the Atkins Nutritional Approach™ to conveniently manage their plan right from their personal mobile device or smartphone. With the Atkins™ Carb Counter, customers have complete control and can easily track and monitor their carbohydrate intake anytime, anywhere. The Atkins™ Carb Counter provides features essential to a successful Atkins Lifestyle™, including an extensive food database with information on thousands of foods, Atkins™-branded products and menu items from Starbucks, TGI Friday's and other popular restaurants; useful reports that lets users track their progress right from their handheld's screen; an alarm that notifies users when they've reached their daily maximum net carb intake; inspirational hints and tips and much more. "We're thrilled to be the exclusive retail publisher and distributor of Atkins™ Carb Counter," said Katie Phillips, CEO of Mobile Digital Media. "Atkins™ Carb Counter provides top-notch features and information, and makes it nearly effortless to successfully integrate the popular Atkins Nutritional Approach™ into one's busy lifestyle."

    more...



  • Graffiti Entertainment Signs Distribution Agreement With Navarre Distribution Services, Inc.

    Graffiti Entertainment Signs Distribution Agreement With Navarre Distribution Services, Inc.

    Graffiti Entertainment Signs Distribution Agreement With Navarre Distribution Services, Inc.

        REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Signature
    Devices, Inc. (http://www.signaturedevices.com) (Pink Sheets: SDVI) and
    their wholly-owned video game development and publishing subsidiary,
    Graffiti Entertainment, LLC (http://www.GraffitiEntertainment.com)
    announced today that they have signed an agreement with Navarre
    Distribution Services, Inc. for the distribution of video games and PC
    software.

    Kenneth Hurley, Signature Devices' Chief Executive Officer stated, "We
    are pleased that Navarre, a leading distributor of PC software, console
    games and DVD movies has decided to move forward with us. Through our
    partnership with Navarre, we expect that market visibility for products
    will increase significantly as thousands of retailers throughout North
    America will include our video games and PC software on their shelves and
    e-commerce websites. The distribution agreement allows us to tap into
    greater than 6,300 stores and over 100 million people per week that visit
    these stores. This is great exposure for our products."

    About Signature Devices, Inc.:

    Based in Redwood City, Calif., Signature Devices, Inc.
    (http://www.signaturedevices.com) (Pink Sheets: SDVI.PK-News) creates,
    develops and manufactures advanced information technology, including
    computer systems, software and electronics products. One of the company's
    premiere technologies includes a blend of hardware and software for Image
    generation technology used in video games and simulations. Signature
    Devices also owns Graffiti Entertainment, LLC
    (http://www.GraffitiEntertainment.com) a publisher of interactive
    entertainment software for advanced entertainment consoles.

    About Navarre Distribution Services

    Navarre Distribution Services, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of
    Navarre Corporation and is a distributor of home entertainment and
    multimedia products, including PC software, DVD video, video games and
    accessories. Navarre has established distribution relationships with
    customers across a wide spectrum of retail channels which includes mass
    merchants, discount retailers, wholesale clubs, office and electronic
    superstores, military sales and e-tailers nationwide. Navarre was founded
    in 1983 and is headquartered in New Hope, Minnesota. Additional information
    is available at http://www.navarre.com.

    Forward-Looking Statements: The information in this press release
    includes certain "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the
    Safe Harbor provisions of Federal Securities Laws. Investors are cautioned
    that such statements are based upon assumptions that in the future may
    prove not to have been accurate and are subject to significant risks and
    uncertainties, including the future financial performance of the Company.
    Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in its
    forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that
    such expectations or any of its forward-looking statements will prove to be
    correct. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these
    forward-looking statements that speak only as of the date of this release,
    and the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly any
    forward-looking statements to reflect new information, events, or
    circumstances after the date of this release except as required by law.



    SOURCE Signature Devices, Inc.
  • Analysts Speculate IT Tech Trends for 2008

    Analysts Speculate IT Tech Trends for 2008

    hat are the experts predicting for tech trends in 2008? At the
    recent Gartner Symposium/ITxpo held last October in Orlando, more
    than 6000 senior business and IT strategists from virtually all
    major industries gathered for the industry's largest conference
    to gain the latest advice on driving profits and performance
    with IT. Attendees rely on the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo for their
    annual planning and to gain insight into how their organizations
    can best use IT to address business challenges and improve
    operational efficiency.

    Reflecting Gartner's very latest research findings, the analysts
    projected the 10 technologies likely to play a 'strategic' role
    in 2008. Gartner defines a strategic technology as one "with the
    potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next
    three years." In addition Gartner also looks at "high potential
    for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar
    investment, or the risk of being late to adopt."

    more...
  • Video Games Becoming Social/Family Activity, says NPD

    Video Games Becoming Social/Family Activity, says NPD

    According to the latest NPD report, 63 percent of the U.S. now plays video games and most prefer to play as a family or as a group.


    The NPD Group's new report, Expanding the Games Market, has taken a look at the various gaming attitudes among different gamer demographics. The online survey, which polled over 5,000 members of NPD's online consumer panel in October, found that heavier gamers are more inclined to play alone, but both heavy and light gamers "are equally inclined to enjoy playing games as a family, group or as a party activity, and both groups value gaming as a way to bring their families closer together." Most gamers ages 15-65 also cited stress relief as an important reason to play.

    NPD found that gaming is becoming more prevalent in the U.S. as well, with 63 percent of the population playing some kind of video game (whether console, portable, PC, cell phones and iPods, or "kid-oriented systems"). 30 percent said that they are spending more time gaming this year than last year too; however, another 30 percent said they're actually spending less time and nearly 40 percent said they are spending about the same amount of time.

    more...

  • Top 50 Web Rankings For September Issued

    Top 50 Web Rankings For September Issued

    Yahoo Sites remained the top US web property as Wikipedia Sites and New York Times Digital moved up within the top 10 sites, while political, sports, retail and religion sites gained overall, according to the comScore Media Metrix monthly analysis of activity at top US online properties in September 2007.


    1. Top 50 U.S. Web Properties
    2.
    Top 50 Ad Focus Rankings (ad-supported sites and ad networks)
    3.
    Top 10 gaining web properties (unique visitors)
    4.
    Top 10 gaining categories (unique visitors)


  • Wikipedia Sites and New York Times Digital each gained one spot in the rankings, capturing positions 8 and 10, respectively.

  • ESPN jumped 16 positions to number 24, with more than 24 million visitors.

  • CBS Corporation moved up seven spots to number 17 with more than 30 million unique visitors.

  • iVillage.com: The Women’s Network, NFL Internet Group, EA Online, and Dictionary.com Sites all entered the top 50 rankings.

  • The September data released by comScore:

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