PayPal endorsed Bitcoins and revealed yesterday that they will allow merchants to accept bitcoins otherwise known as Virtual money, as a payment method through their PayPal payments Hub Service.
This is a bold move from the Payment Processor Giant, does that mean going forward you can buy goods and services by using virtual currency?
Bitcoins, what is it?
Bitcoins otherwise known as Virtual Currency was developed by an unknown person using an alias named Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 . The currency is generated by a process called “mining”. They are generated by a competitive and decentralised process using specialized hardware by miners and in return being rewarded with bitcoins.
Bitcoins are traded via bitcoin market places called ‘Exchanges’. There is no tie to a region or any country. There are no fees or charges on exchange or transactions. Users can trade or send bitcoins using mobile apps or web. Transactions can be anonymous, logging only the bitcoin id. Once you purchase bitcoins, they can be stored in a digital wallet either on the cloud or in your computer.
Bitcoins are not insured by FDIC
Paypal announced yesterday that they will be allowing merchants to accept bitcoins via its Paypal Payments Hub Service. Paypal announced their initial plans to offer this service to North American merchants selling digital goods such as games, music files, eBooks and apps. Other companies who have announced similar plans to accept bitcoins are: Overstock.com, Expedia, Dish Network etc
How ever in the announcement, there is no mention of eBay allowing bitcoins in their marketplace.
As bitcoins are getting more and more popular, will bitcoins one day replace paper currency?
Lot of traditional Bankers and Financial analysts calls bitcoins not as a currency, at least for now. Even IRS agreed with them by concluding bitcoins legally as a property rather than a currency. As more and more mainstream businesses and media embrace this currency form, it will eventually get commercialized and accepted world wide.
One major advantage: it eliminates the risk of credit card fraud. Another one: bitcoins allow you to make micropayments. It is near impossible to transact payments less than a dollar even to few cents, in todays banking system’s gargantuan charges and fees. Bitcoins can currently handle down to 8 decimal points after the dot. The biggest of all, International transactions can be made easy via bitcoins opening borders for commerce without the chains of Banking systems.
Bitcoins grew so fast, that today almost no country’s regulatory systems for banking and payments have proper guidelines on Bitcoins. Majority of the countries have either legalized or banned trade of Bitcoins. Here is a list of countries that accepts or legalized bitcoins trade http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_Bitcoin_by_country
From Our desk: I am as every one is excited about the growth of bitcoins. Once regulatory reforms are passed and implemented, I see bitcoins growing into a legalized Digital currency one day where we can trade with REAL digital money. Without Borders. Without Limits!
I have been asked so many times about re-marketing/re-targeting and if re-marketing techniques work? I decided to write a blog about it to answer some of your questions.
Re-marketing also known as Re-targeting is a newly coined web advertising technique that is slowly gaining traction in the world of PPC (Pay per click advertising). Google being the ring master after their acquisition of Double Click, being a leader in PPC advertising.
So what is Re-marketing or Re-targeting?
Well it is a new form of advertising mechanism to show your ads to visitors who visited your website at some point, but now while they surf the web on other sites. So in essence if some one visited your site looking for ‘drill bits’, while they are on other sites surfing; your ‘drill bits’ ad will follow them around. Now this is becoming incredibly successful for advertisers lately.
Technology behind Re-targeting:
Re-targeting is a cookie based technology, adopted by website owners. These website will drop a cookie on the visitor’s computer every time a user visits their site. Now armed with this cookie information, when these users visit or browse other sites the advertiser show them ad’s related to what they were looking for by following them around.
Is it effective?
Conventional site traffic does not always convert. Roughly around 5-7% converts on the first visit depending on the site. So the rest of the traffic flows out if you cant convert them on the initial visit. So re-targeting is an attempt to showcase your product in front of bounced traffic trying to lure them back to your site for the sale. So it is a very effective technique to increase your conversion rate. Re-targeting does not increase traffic to your site, how ever it is effective to increase conversion on lost traffic.
Who are the major players?
Google Adwords, Adroll, Retargeter, Rakuten and Rocketfuel are few big players in the re-targeting
Based on our experience and results for our clients, below are few pointers
1) Do not stalk the user. Set conservative impressions rate (how many times an ad is shown to the user). I myself get frustrated when drill bits shows up everywhere for the next 30 days on all my Google results.
2) Fine tune your campaign to have Ads targeted based on relevance of keywords.
3) Make sure the graphics are high Quality and are relative to the product they looked at.
4) Use any data available to fine tune the campaign – like Geo filter etc…
Paper or Email: Sounds like the old Paper or Plastic question when bagging your groceries at the store…Digital receipts are now popping up on every major retailer cash registers/Checkout process. Few of the National chains like Home depot, Office Max, Best Buy etc are now giving this option to customers to email their receipts instead of traditional paper receipts while checkout?
We are exploring the pro’s and con’s of this new marketing strategy from our CEO’s desk.
Many online retailers have now started to offer to email the receipts to consumers during checkout at the register, instead of printing a paper receipt the traditional way. When I first encountered this at best buy, I was a bit surprised. Because the register was cumbersome to type in my email. The store associate at the cash register helped me type it in. How ever I am like rest of america, is in the process of going digital on all my transactions from bank statements to grocery list. So why not store receipts. But there is one problem, the store registers are not upgraded in many of these retail stores to have a fancy touch panel. We are way spoiled by the late Steve Jobs at apple, and the Google guys who gave us android, that we demand every device be swipe gesture sensitive and touch keyboard for data entry. So unless most of these storefront registers are equipped for easy data entry, I see this as not yet catching up. How ever there is a start for everything. From the consumers stand point, that is one less paper we have to keep it safe for returns or expense tracking. And in the process saves few trees! With advanced email services like gmail and Bing, finding that receipt is easy as a google search!
The retailers and the think tank at the marketing helm of these chains, have I suspect something else in mind. Collecting customer email has always been a problem for them. Now this opens up a clever way to collect the email of the unsuspecting random customer in a hurry to checkout. When your inbox gets flooded with offers, you realize what you have done. We sincerely hope the retailers use this captured data wisely, otherwise next time during checkout when you see the message ‘Paper of Email, consumers would be in a hurry to hit the ‘Paper’ button. We interviewed few consumers in Jonesboro, AR how they felt about the new option at the checkout counter. Their responses have been mixed. Most younger generation preferred an email receipt, rest still preferred a paper receipt. We think this trend is just a start. We will see more and more businesses in future offering this service. Businesses can use this piece of information for further marketing. So with the hope that the businesses will use caution in using this information, we feel going green is a good idea, at least for now. Let’s save some trees and build a greener planet for our generations to come!
Target Data Breach & Security: Since the Target data breach incident and now with Neiman Marcus confirming that their customer payment card information was stolen, it exposes serious threat of POS malware and botnets and PCI compliant issues. If you own/manage a business that processes customer payment information, then you need to be aware of the below standards to protect sensitive customer data.
From our CEO’s desk, we encourage all our partners and clients to re- evaluate their security policy and make necessary steps to fix any holes, if found. If you need immediate assistance, please call us and we will walk you through in securing customer data and advise you in the right direction. Ace One has designed, architected and managed over 250 e-commerce sites over the period of 5 years and we understand all of the data compliancy issues and risks. Below are few steps you can take to secure your site and protect consumer data.
First and foremost you need to make sure your e-commerce site is PCI-DSS compliant. PCI DSS stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, this serves as a first step towards data security. PCI-DSS standards are created and managed by credit card issuers such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB. Any website or business who accepts payments or processes credit card data online or via a reader are required to follow these standards. Most banks requires you to be PCI compliant or else you will be subjected to fines and penalties if found non compliant. More over if a data breach happens you could be subjected to lawsuits, insurance claims, fines and a myriad of other issues. So what does these standards include ? Here is a brief overview of a few of the requirements:
a) Sensitive card holder data must be encrypted and protected when it’s stored and when it’s transmitted across public networks.
b) NEVER store CVVs, even if they’re encrypted.
c) NEVER send unprotected PANs (Primary Account Numbers) by end user messaging technologies like email, instant messaging or chat.
d) Keep your e-commerce software updated to the latest version in order to maintain the best possible security.
e) Limit access to cardholder data. Only staff members who require it to do their job should have access. Assign a unique login ID to each member of your team so you can monitor individual activity within your e-commerce software.
Now compliance with PCI-DSS can bring major benefits to your business on top of data security. PCI DSS compliant means, your site and systems are secure and customers can trust you with their sensitive credit card information and shop worry free. This earns Trust and wins customer confidence. That means returning customers and referrals which results in increased sales.
Now if you are unclear on how to achieve this or need help or have additional questions, please feel free to call us at 870-738-9433 or email us at email@example.com and we would be glad to help you out.