Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Installing a Shout or a Chat Box for a Blog


Do know that one of the most effective means to increase a blog traffic and keep existing visitors to spend more time on your blog is by installing a shout box or a chat box in your blog. A Shout or a chat box will allow your visitors communicate with you while you are online and allow them to find other visitors of your blog. If they the communication works, it means that you make your visitors ti spend some time on your blog. It is a fine strategy in showing to SEO that your blog has dedicated visitors.

How to install a shout box?


Yes. It's a free shout widget. Follow this instruction to install a shout box for your blog:

Open this URL: http://www.shoutmix.com/main/
Click "Create Shoutbox" button. Then a following form will come up.


Fill the form completely and hit "continue" button. Don't forget to check terms of service button before you proceed.

Follow all instructions step-by-step accordingly. It's very simple and easy. After finishing all the steps, still in www.shoutmix.com, go to "Control Panel" tab. Click "Get Codes". A script containing code will appear. Copy the script.

Now, you need to login to your blogger. Click layout tab then choose Page Elements. Click "Add a Gadget" in accordance to which you want to put your shout box. Choose a gadget "HTML/Java Script". Then paste the codes or the script in the gadget. Click "Save".

Now you have a shout box that allow you and your visitors communicate each other.

For Bahasa Indonesia instruction, please click the link below:
Buat Shout Box | By Masdoyok
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A Great Momentum for Mobile Commerce

By Olga Kharif | Businessweek

Mobile commerce is gaining momentum as consumers get comfortable with ordering all sorts of products by cell phone and companies such as Papa John's watch sales climb.


It's never been easy making mobile-commerce predictions. Researchers who tried to forecast how much we would spend on goods and services via cell phone came up with all sorts of projections that were wide of the mark. Early in the decade, published reports cited forecasts that by 2006 more than one-quarter of U.S. cell-phone users would use the device to buy content and physical goods.

Turns out that by the end of the second quarter, only about 7% of U.S. consumers bought goods or conducted financial transactions via cell phone, according to a Nielsen Mobile survey of more than 90,000 people.

Yet, m-commerce may finally be hitting its stride. And some analysts who in recent years became more conservative in their forecasts are now having to make upward revisions. In January, consultant ABI Research projected North American sales of physical goods ordered via cell phone would reach $544 million this year, up from $346 million in 2008. Now, Mark Beccue, senior analyst at ABI, is considering updating his 2009 forecast to $800 million. "I thought hockey-stick growth was going to come in 2010, but it looks like it's already a hockey stick," Beccue says. "Next year, it will double again."


From Ringtones and Apps to Physical Items

Beccue and other industry watchers are becoming more bullish on m-commerce thanks to the experience of companies such as Papa John's International (PZZA). In mid-2008, the pizza chain began letting customers order food and drinks on a Web site tailored to a cell phone's small screen. By December, customers had used their cell phones to order $1 million in Papa John's products. Papa John's says mobile sales now are rising at an annual tenfold pace. "We continue to be amazed at the velocity of growth," says Jim Ensign, a Papa John's vice-president.

Consumers for years have been placing orders right from their cell phones for such downloadable items as ringtones and games sold directly from service providers including AT&T (T) and Verizon Wireless, owned by Verizon Communications (VZ) and Vodafone (VOD). More recently, they've begun using mobile phones to purchase downloadable applications developed by third-party programmers for use on smartphones such as Apple's (AAPL) iPhone and Research In Motion's (RIMM) BlackBerry.

And now, thanks to the growing popularity of smartphones with rich, detailed Web browsers and easy-to-use keyboards, consumers across the country are finally using wireless devices to buy physical items—not just pizzas and sodas, but also books and clothes and the sorts of things typically associated with in-store browsing or online shopping via personal computer. Retailers that make it easy for customers to place mobile orders and purchases stand to gain, assuming they can ensure the security of transactions and information. So do wireless carriers that make Web surfing part of their monthly service bundles—though they need to ensure networks can handle the extra traffic generated by m-commerce.

Retailers Catching On

Much recent m-commerce growth can be traced to eBay (EBAY) and Amazon.com (AMZN), which last year accounted for about 70% of all mobile sales of physical goods. In September, eBay said its iPhone application alone facilitated $380 million in sales this year. The tool lets cell-phone users search and bid on auction items, receive alerts when they are outbid, and to pay for goods via eBay's iPhone application. At Amazon, which doesn't release mobile sales figures, phone shopping "is becoming more popular all the time," says Howard Gefen, director of the Amazon Mobile Payments Service, which lets consumers pay for purchases via mobile.

Other retailers are getting the m-commerce religion, too. By the end of 2009, about half of established retailers may have mobile Web sites, up from less than 20% in 2008, Beccue estimates. "Really, it's us keeping pace with our customers," says Mike Dupuis, a vice-president for marketing at apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), which launched its mobile Web site in September. "We believe this is a critical place for us to focus our attention."

Mobile content stores' sales are rising at double and triple digits as well. Apple's App Store, which began selling games, e-books, and productivity applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch more than a year ago, in September passed the milestone of 2 billion app downloads.

Smartphone Penetration Increasing

Retailers such as Pizza Hut and Starbucks (SBUX) are using apps to goose sales, too. In mid-September, Starbucks debuted an app that lets customers replenish and check their Starbucks card balances and pay by phone at 16 stores in Seattle and Silicon Valley. This and another new app, which allows fans to find the nearest open Starbucks and to browse its menu, were downloaded more than 500,000 times in their first week, says Starbucks Chief Information Officer Stephen Gillett. "We've seen a very, very high interest from customers," he says. The coffee chain is developing applications for Research In Motion's BlackBerry and Nokia (NOK) phones as well.

A big m-commerce driver is increased adoption of smartphones capable of Web browsing. In the second quarter, 28% of all handsets sold in the U.S. were smartphones, up from 19% a year earlier, according to consultant NPD Group. And more Americans will be able to gain access to the mobile Web soon. One-third of consumers without a Web-enabled phone plan to purchase such a device within the next year, according to a survey of 3,305 U.S. consumers conducted in March by comparison shopping site PriceGrabber.com. The site plans to release its own iPhone app by the first half of 2010.

Many consumers use their smartphones for shopping when they are nowhere near a PC or a physical store, such as during the work commute, while waiting in line for a cup of coffee, or while taking the dog for a walk. "It just allows them to do more during the busiest part of their day," says Laura Conrad, president of PriceGrabber.com.

Visa Rolling Out a Mobile App

Others are moving away from PCs. "A large portion of the customer base is totally replacing their online experience with mobile," says Ensign of Papa John's. "We think a lot of the times they were customers of Papa John's [before] but ordered from other restaurants, too. But now there's a new convenience with Papa John's, and we are getting a greater percentage of their purchases."

To succeed at m-commerce, retailers and carriers need to persuade consumers they can be comfortable giving sensitive information over mobile phones. "The biggest hurdle is privacy and security," says Paul Kultgen, a director at consultant Nielsen Mobile. "Consumers haven't embraced supplying their credit card." Many carriers let users charge purchases to phone bills. Payment providers such as eBay's PayPal and Amazon are trying to make mobile purchasing more convenient. On Oct. 5, Amazon introduced its Mobile Payments Service, which helps mobile app developers and mobile Web site owners let customers pay using shipping and credit-card information stored on Amazon.

Credit-card companies are working to make using cards via mobile device more convenient as well. Later this year, Visa (V) will release an app that stores a user's credit-card information on a mobile phone and, when a consumer goes to a retailer's mobile Web site to pay, "pre-populates" the payment field, says Tim Attinger, global head of product innovation at Visa.

Carriers Must Boost Capacity

M-commerce success will also hinge on reliability and affordability of wireless broadband. U.S. wireless carriers' networks are getting overloaded as users adopt bandwidth-thirsty devices like the iPhone. In an Oct. 9 note, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett notes that the iPhone is "morphing into a kind of predator parasite on the wireless network, sucking out the value and leaving networks gasping for air."

AT&T, the U.S. iPhone carrier, has taken steps to improve the reliability of its network. It and other service providers will need to ensure their equipment can continue to handle what's likely to be much greater demand as consumers make more transactions via mobile phone.

------
Kharif is a senior writer for BusinessWeek.com in Portland
Source: Businessweek

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

If US Dollar Crashes ...

By Peter Coy | Businessweek

The financial crisis taught us that markets can drop further and faster than anyone expects. Housing prices, for example, fell for three straight years starting in 2006, even though the conventional wisdom right up until the bust began was that prices would not fall even a little bit.


Let's apply some of our hard-won knowledge to the dollar, which is also supposed to be resistant to a bust. After weakening gradually since 2002, the greenback rose during the financial crisis last year. It has fallen roughly 15% since March as investors moved to higher-yielding currencies. The conventional wisdom is that at these levels the dollar is cheap and, if anything, due for a rebound. "Currencies don't go much more than 20% from their long-term averages in real [inflation-adjusted] terms. We're there already," says Michael Dooley, an economist who is co-founder and research chief of Cabezon Capital Management, a San Francisco investment firm.


But it's worth at least thinking about the possibility of a dollar bust. The reason the housing bust had such devastating consequences was a failure of imagination: Lenders, regulators, credit raters, and others simply couldn't believe that house prices would ever fall the way they did, so they were blindsided.
Bank Blowups Possible

Let's imagine the dollar quickly dropped by a further 25% against each major world currency, roughly parallel to housing's unprecedented 30% decline. That would mean it would take $2 to buy a single euro. On the good side, U.S. manufacturers would find it easier to compete globally, and foreign tourism would boom in the U.S. On the bad side, inflation in the U.S. would zoom because of the rising cost of imported products. Americans would have even more trouble getting a loan as foreign buyers pull out of the debt market.

Abroad, the cheap dollar would make it harder for other nations to export to the U.S., hurting their growth. China could face social unrest. Trade wars could break out. And there could be blowups at overexposed banks whose risk managers were sure no such dollar bust could happen. As investor Warren Buffett once said: "You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out."

Federal regulators are monitoring banks for a wide variety of risks, including the threat of a dollar bust: "We're not looking quarter to quarter, we're looking hour to hour and minute to minute at what those risks are," says one regulator who requested anonymity.

From its spring peak, the dollar is down 11% against the Japanese yen, 16% against the euro, 21% against the Canadian dollar, and about 30% against the Brazilian and Australian currencies, which are benefiting from a commodity price spike. Against a broad market basket of all U.S. trading partners, and adjusted for inflation, the dollar has fallen 15% from its spring high.

Deficits Depress Dollar

Behind the dollar's weakness are near-zero short-term U.S. interest rates. As they once did with yen, investors are borrowing dollars cheaply, then selling them to buy currencies of countries whose stocks and bonds promise better returns. The Federal Reserve is keeping the federal funds rate at a rock-bottom zero to 0.25% to stimulate the U.S. economy and heal the banks, but a side result is the dollar has turned into the preferred fuel for an international speculative play that is weighing down the greenback.


Another force driving down the dollar: continued U.S. trade deficits, which the U.S. is paying for by borrowing from the rest of the world. Some economists and traders believe that eventually the U.S. will be forced to devalue its own currency to make its global debt more affordable. While the trade gap has narrowed to less than 3% of gross domestic product in the second quarter from 6% at its peak in 2006, it is still high by historical standards.

Now, some of the foreign central banks that have propped up the dollar seem to be getting cold feet. Instead of buying just dollars for their foreign-exchange reserves, they're diversifying into other currencies. The countries that reveal the composition of their reserve holdings put 63% of their new reserves into euros and yen in the second quarter, according to an analysis by Barclays Capital (BCS). Says Steven Englander, Barclays' chief U.S. currency strategist: "Their incentive is to try to do stealth diversification, not 'get me out of here at any price.' " (China, with more than $2 trillion worth of reserves, doesn't reveal what currencies in which it holds the funds.)

The Bearish Case

Obama Administration officials don't seem perturbed by the dollar's slide so far. A weaker dollar helps shrink the trade deficit by making American-made goods more competitive in world markets. Drew Greenblatt, owner of Marlin Steel Wire Products in Baltimore, which makes high-tech baskets for assembly lines, says he's winning orders from countries that are better known as exporters. Exults Greenblatt: "We are shipping ice to Eskimos."

This state of calm would vanish overnight, though, if the financial markets got a sense that the dollar's decline was starting to snowball out of control. At that point, the invisible "force field" protecting the dollar would fade away, says Martin D. Weiss, chairman of Weiss Group, a financial data and analysis firm in Jupiter, Fla. Says Weiss: "We would become more like ordinary mortals and more vulnerable to attacks on our currency."

The bearish case for the dollar is that the decline takes on a life of its own. Selling begets more selling. The world's central bankers and finance ministers intervene to prop up the currency, but speculators, having tasted victory, aren't scared off. Princeton University economist Paul R. Krugman once called this the Wile E. Coyote scenario, after the character in the Road Runner cartoons who runs off a cliff but doesn't start to fall until he looks down and sees there's nothing beneath his feet.

Speculation that the dollar is headed for a tumble can become self-fulfilling if traders rush for the exit. Ashraf Laidi, chief foreign exchange strategist at CMC Markets, a London currency and commodity brokerage, says "right now there is around a 30% to 40% chance we are going to see the dollar falling toward a crisis point."

Dollar bulls like to point out that the currency rallied strongly last year during the worst of the financial crisis. But Laidi says that was no show of support for the dollar or the U.S. economy. Rather, he says, investors retreated from all types of risk and put their money into the most liquid, short-term instruments they could find—which just happened to be U.S. Treasury bills, which are held in accounts all over the world. Agrees Barclays' Englander: "It wasn't a long-term bet that the U.S. economy would be the most dynamic in the world."

Inflation Could Emerge Quickly

Currency traders don't put much stock in the statements of support for a strong dollar by Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and other Administration officials. They note that Treasury chiefs dating back to the Clinton Administration have said they support a strong dollar, yet the U.S. has not supported its currency through purchases since 1995.

If the dollar did tumble, import prices might rise faster than most economists now expect. New research by Columbia University economists Emi Nakamura and Jon Steinsson shows that the "pass-through" from a cheap currency to high import prices was underestimated because of poor data. In other words, inflation could emerge more quickly than is commonly believed. It would be disastrous for the economy if the Federal Reserve had to jack up interest rates to cool inflation or defend the currency while growth remained weak. A lower dollar makes Americans poorer by cutting the purchasing power of their currency. And there's no guarantee it would bolster U.S. industry, says David Malpass, president of New York research firm Encima Global. Malpass says the fall of the dollar in the late 1980s hurt rather than helped Detroit by giving Japan the buying power to strengthen its automakers. Says Mallpass: "We can make ourselves poor enough that we can't import very much and we'll have balanced trade. But how would that be good for the U.S.?"

In the short run, the biggest risk would be the failure of some firm that made a highly leveraged bet that was vulnerable to a falling dollar. A dollar plunge would affect not only currency trades but also interest-rate derivatives and credit default swaps. Five big banks accounted for 88% of the credit-risk exposure from derivatives in the entire U.S. banking system in the second quarter.

No one knows whether the dollar is headed for disaster. But assuming the best is perilous.

Source: | Businessweek |

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