In their book Write Your Business Plan, the staff of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. offer an in-depth understanding of what’s essential to any business plan, what’s appropriate for your venture, and what it takes to ensure success. In this edited excerpt, the authors discuss the whys and hows of conducting market research.

Market research aims to understand the reasons consumers will buy your product. It studies such things as consumer behavior, including how cultural, societal and personal factors influence that behavior.

Market research is further split into two varieties: primary and secondary. Primary research studies customers directly, whereas secondary research studies information that others have gathered about customers. Primary research might be telephone interviews or online polls with randomly selected members of the target group. You can also study your own sales records to gather primary research. Secondary research might come from reports found on the websites of various other organizations or blogs written about the industry. For your plan, you can use either type of research or a combination of both.

The basic questions you’ll try to answer with your market research include:

Who are your customers? Describe them in terms of age, occupation, income, lifestyle, educational attainment, etc.

What do they buy now? Describe their buying habits relating to your product or service, including how much they buy, their favored suppliers, the most popular features and the predominant price points.

Why do they buy? This is the tricky one, attempting as it does to delve into consumers’ heads. Answers will depend on the product and its uses. Cookware buyers may buy the products that offer the most effective nonstick surfaces, or those that give the most pans in a package for a given amount of money, or those that come in the most decorative colors.

What will make them buy from you? Although some of these questions may seem difficult, you’d be surprised at the detailed information that's available about markets, sales figures and consumer buying motivations. Tapping information sources to provide the answers to as many questions as you can will make your plan more convincing and your odds of success higher. Also, the business plan software programs have detailed research included and online research available. Utilize this functionality if you're using such software, and add additional data you find elsewhere. The reason to add some of your own unique material is that everyone using the software program is tapping into the same database and you want your business plan to differ from that of the last entrepreneur in your field.

You can also find companies that will sell you everything from industry studies to credit reports on individual companies. Market research isn't cheap. It requires significant amounts of expertise, manpower and technology to develop solid research. Large companies routinely spend tens of thousands of dollars researching things they ultimately decide they’re not interested in. Smaller firms can’t afford to do that too often.

For companies of all sizes, the best market research is the research you do on your own. In-house market research might take the form of original telephone interviews with consumers, customized crunching of numbers from published sources or perhaps competitive intelligence you’ve gathered on your rivals through the social media. You can gather detailed research on customers, including their likes, dislikes and preferences, through Facebook, and use Google Analytics to sort out the numbers as they pertain to your web visitors. People are researching and making their opinions felt through their actions on the web, so you can gain a lot of marketing insight by looking closely at what is going on electronically.

You'll also want to do your due diligence within your industry. When looking at comparable businesses (and their data), find a close match. For comparative purposes, consider:

1. Companies of relative size

2. Companies serving the same geographic area, which could be global if you are planning to be a web-based business

3. Companies with a similar ownership structure. If your business has two partners, look for businesses run by a couple of partners rather than an advisory board of 12.

4. Companies that are relatively new. While you can learn from long-standing businesses, they may be successful today because of their 25-year business history and reputation.

You'll want to use the data you've gathered not only to determine how much business you could possibly do but also to figure out how you'll fit into and adapt to the marketplace.

Follow these steps to spending your market research dollars wisely:

1. Determine what you need to know about your market. The more focused the research, the more valuable it will be.

2. Prioritize the results of the first step. You can’t research everything, so concentrate on the information that will give you the best (or quickest) payback.

3. Review less-expensive research alternatives. Small Business Development Centers and the Small Business Administration can help you develop customer surveys. Your trade association will have good secondary research. Be creative.

4. Estimate the cost of performing the research yourself. Keep in mind that with the internet you should not have to spend a ton of money. If you’re considering hiring a consultant or a researcher, remember this is your dream, these are your goals, and this is your business. Don’t pay for what you don’t need.

Source: This article was published entrepreneur.com

Categorized in Market Research

Google’s share of the US search market has seen incremental increases month over month. The company’s overall share of the of the US search market, across all devices, is growing. However, the same cannot be said for its competitors. This is according to August 2016 data from StatCounter.

Month-Over-Month US Desktop Search Share

Here is a comparison of August 2016 vs. July 2016, with the previous month’s numbers in parentheses:

  • Google: 79.88% (79.17%)
  • Bing: 9.9% (10%)
  • Yahoo!: 8.34% (8.87%)
  • AOL: 0.84% (0.88%)
  • DuckDuckGo: 0.41% (0.43%)
  • Other: 0.62% (0.65%)

As you can see, desktop search market share is down for all search engines except Google. Now let’s take a look at overall search market share, including desktop, mobile, tablet, and console.

Month-Over-Month Combined US Search Share

Here is a comparison of August 2016 vs. July 2016, with the previous month’s numbers in parentheses:

  • Google: 85.82% (85.38%)
  • Yahoo!: 6.58% (6.99%)
  • Bing: 6.39% (6.39%)
  • AOL: 0.46% (0.46%)
  • DuckDuckGo: 0.35% (0.37%)
  • Other: 0.4% (0.42%)

Google’s overall share of the US search market is growing incrementally. However, the same cannot be said for its two closest rivals, Yahoo and Bing, which are declining and flatlining respectively. 

Here’s one more comparison, illustrating month-over-month US mobile search market share.

Month-Over-Month US Mobile Search Share

Here is a comparison of August 2016 vs. July 2016, with the previous month’s numbers in parentheses:

  • Google: 94.53% (94.02%)
  • Yahoo!: 4.07% (4.48%)
  • Bing: 1.01% (1.08%)
  • DuckDuckGo: 0.23% (0.24%)
  • Baidu: 0.04% (0.05%)
  • Other: 0.13% (0.13%)

It’s clear that Google is again the only search engine gaining market share in this category, while mobile searches on competing search engines are either declining or staying flat.

Does that mean Google is growing in search volume at the expense of its rivals? That’s just speculation at this point, but the numbers sure paint an interesting picture.

Author : Matt Southern

Source : https://www.searchenginejournal.com/august-2016-search-market-share/172078/

Categorized in Search Engine

Dr Irengbam Mohendra Singh

Technological breakthrough is always fun as everyone gets his or her deserts in due course, like Eastern Indian Railways are coming to Manipur by 2020 after 149 years, while driverless cars will be on the global market by 2020. Self-driving computerised cars with artificial Intelligence, especially with “deep learning” (ability of computers to use logarithms to solve problems) are taking humans out of equation. Artificial Intelligence provides the autonomous cars with real time decisions and human perceptions to control actions, such as acceleration, steering, brakes, stopping at traffic lights and changing lanes.

Western scientific innovations will continue, altering the world we live in. Driverless cars will take over any jobs that require drivers, such as taxi driving, public transportation, long-haul trucking. In the US, ‘Peloton Technology’ (automated vehicle linking for safety and fuel efficiency) is working with freight companies to ensure fleets of lorries can travel as if connected by a digital tow bar.

UK has invested millions of pounds in its own research, including trials of driverless pods (small vehicles) to see how the technology interacts with the environment and other road users. In October 2016, Britain had its first driverless car tested at Milton Keynes. More trials will be conducted later at various locations in the UK. The tests will last for about 20 months while analysing the legal and insurance applications. Volvo of Sweden is planning to test a fleet of 100 semi-autonomous vehicles in Gothenburg in 14 month’s time. In America normal sized cars have been tested by Google in California.

This new revolution has followed in the heels of electric cars in the UK. By October 2016, more than 63,00 electric cars have been registered. These cars are small and batteries have to be charged at charging stations along the route. It’s suggested that the driverless car revolution will give the world economy a massive boost. As an indication, about 30% of congestion levels in the cities are caused by people looking for parking spaces. With full automaton parking in coordination with infrared sensors in parking bays, the location of empty spaces will be determined instantly, and cars being parked undamaged in tight locations.

As the technology gets cheaper, driverless cars will increasingly become a reality. The challenging problem at the moment is not about technology but about liability: who will be responsible if the car crashes or kills a pedestrian? The manufacturer, the computer software maker or the owner? And what happens if the car or car system is hiked? There ‘s also the problem of cyber warfare against autonomous vehicles that are linked to each other via the internet.
The insurance firms understand 90% of car accidents are caused by human error rather than mechanical faults, and insurers in the UK pay out £27 millions everyday in motor claims. It has already shown from data collected by Motor Insurance Repair Research Centre that adopting of autonomous emergency braking in conventional vehicles cuts collisions by 15% and injuries by 18%. The first fatal crash involving a driverless car but with a driver in it, using the Autopilot system, occurred in May 2016 when a driver was killed at the wheels of his Tesla car. All test drives has a driver in it, just in case the car is not behaving.

Technological advances even in conventional cars have also unbelievably progressed with ingenuity that was unthinkable when I bought my Lexus 10 years ago. Two days ago I was travelling in my friends BMW 6 car series (same as Mercedes E 250). The car engine stops itself at traffic lights or in traffic jams as your brake it and starts again when you release (to save energy). It has energy saving electromechanical power steering ie power steering only operates when the wheel is being turned. It parks itself at tight parallel parking bays after helping to find a parking space in the first place. It has night vision to help spot people, and large animals on the road in low light. It’s equipped with new brake energy regeneration system ie a mechanism which slows the vehicle converting its kinetic energy into a form which can be either used immediately or stored until needed. The BMW-7 series (2016) can park itself in a parking bay or into a garage and out, by pressing a button on the key fob, while the driver stands outside.
There are other novelties such as Vogswagon’s (Golf or Passat – cheaper cars) that has “City Emergency Braking system” that can reduce accident severity and even avoid a crash. When the speed is under 18mph, it uses its laser sensor to detect the risk of an impending collision and automatically primes the brake to make them more sensitive. If the driver does not brake and a collision is imminent the system applies brake automatically.

Google is a multinational company based at Stanford University, with its headquarters situated at Mountain View, California. It’s a research project, started in 1996 to organise the world’s information service that will be available universally. Google X is a part of its project to develop technology for mainly electric cars. Its team developed robotic vehicle in 2005.

Google announced plans to create a driverless car that had neither a steering wheel nor pedals in 2024 and unveiled a fully functioning prototype in December of that year that they planned to test on San Francisco Bay roads, beginning in 2015. Google plans to make these cars available to the public in 2020. Legislation to allow testing driverless cars with Google’s experimental driverless technology has been passed in four states and Washington DC.

Google had test driven a fleet of cars consisting solely of 23 Lexus SUVs by June 2015. The team had then driven 1,600,000 km (1,000,000 mi). During that period there had been 14 collisions, of which other drivers (of conventional cars) were at fault. However in 2016, there had been a crash due to the error of the software.

The project team at Google has also fitted a few cars with the self driving equipment, such as Toyota Prius, Audi TT, and Lexus RX450h. The equipment per car costs about $150.000. The car drives at the speed limit it has stored on its maps (it can drive only on routes that are available on its map), and maintains its distance from other vehicles using its distance sensors. So far, according to law, the system provides an overdrive that allows a human driver to take control of the car by stepping on the brake or turning the wheel just as in normal cars.

The self-driving car has eight sensors. The most important technology is the rotating roof-top mounted Lidar – a camera that uses an array of 32 or 64 lasers to measure the distance to objects to build a 3D map at a range of 200m, letting the car see hazards, such as the edges of roads and identify lane markings by bouncing pulses of light off the car’s surroundings. Video cameras detect traffic lights, read road signs and keep track of other vehicles nearby. They also look out for pedestrians and other obstacles.

The car can successfully identify a bike and understand that if the cyclist extends an arm they intend to make a manoeuvre. The car slows down and gives the bike enough space to operate safely. Bumper-mounted radar keeps track of vehicles in front and behind the car. Radar sensors (not new) dotted around the car monitor the position of vehicles nearby. The car has rear-mounted aerial that receives geolocation information from GPS satellites. An ultrasonic sensor on the outer rear wheel (depending on left or right hand drive) that monitors the car’s movements to detect position of the car relative to 3-D map.

Other technological companies are also competing with Google. Tesla (TSLA), an American motor company based in California that specialises in electric cars, plans to produce autonomous cars by 2017. Uber Technologies (San Francisco), an American world online and on demand transportation network company in more than 50 countries, has beaten Google by launching in September 2016, autonomous (though each has a driver behind the wheel to intervene in sticky spots) web-based ride car service in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Uber has been beaten up in driverless car service by the Singapore startup nuTonomy by launching the first driverless cars in August 2016. It’s easy for Singapore as it is a small city. Baidu Inc (BIDO), Beijing – the Chinese search engine website service company has recently announced a partnership with BMW, with a huge potential market as Chinese has 20% of world’s population.

The development that gives the car ability to change lanes is the most complex part. But already, Telsa electric car EV has Autopilot with the capacity to change lane at motorway speeds using the autonomous cruise control. All you have to do is turn on the indicator. It will automatically steer itself to keep its position in the middle of the lane. It will also slow you down if the car in front changes speed.

Automated car will give drivers more time for leisure or work. It’s estimated that within 10 years there will be a lot of driverless cars on the road and there will be less air pollution and less carbon footprints.

Author:  Irengbam Mohendra Singh

Source:  http://www.thesangaiexpress.com/google-driverless-cars-will-be-on-the-market-by-2020

Categorized in News & Politics

NEW DELHI: Category specific digital advertising in India is expected to grow three times to $1.2 billion, while the online job market looks set to double by 2020, according to a new study by Google and KPMG.


The next phase of growth of digital classifieds will be driven by e-services, real estate and automobiles, a report based on the study titled 'Digital Classifieds in India' said.


As per Google, search trends reveal that local searches across these categories have grown four times in the past four years, led by non-metros including Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Kochi, Coimbatore and Jaipur.


Within e-services, classifieds for vertical dining, auto rentals, relocation services and home services such as beauty services, repair, tutoring and personal trainers are the most popular sections.





"The ecosystem is ripe for the emergence of digital classifieds. Spurred by the smartphone penetration, online users are expected to grow to a whopping 650 million by 2020," said Nitin Bawankule, industry director, Google India.


The report said horizontal classifieds — or advertising across industries and the general public — will continue to lead with about 30% market share of the total digital classifieds in 2020. It said 63% consumers will access eclassifieds by 2020.


Bengaluru, Mumbai, NCR and Hyderabad are the top-ranked cities for online job searches, with 'sarkari naukri'' (government job) being one of the top searched Indic terms. "As the digital classified segment undergoes a rapid transformation, it is facing a few challenges like unverified listings and low customer loyalty," said Sreedhar Prasad, partner, ecommerce and startups at KPMG India.


Author:  ET Bureau

Source:  http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/

Categorized in Market Research

when Amazon, Twitter, PayPal, Spotify and other major websites were rendered inaccessible on Friday, thousands of Americans learned firsthand what a DDoS attack feels like.

DDoS — distributed denial of service — is an unsophisticated form of attack that overwhelms sites with spam traffic so legitimate users can’t get through. DDoS is a war of economics: whoever has the most computing power, defender or attacker, usually wins.

This makes DDoS a useful tool for censorship of small and mid-level publishers, but major sites usually have defenses in place and aren’t susceptible to these attacks. However, Friday wasn’t business as usual. The series of attacks that took out Dyn, the DNS service that provides the backbone of many major sites, were powered in part by a botnet of hacked DVRs and and webcams known as Mirai. Mirai first emerged several weeks ago during a DDoS against Brian Krebs, a cybersecurity journalist who runs his own publication KrebsOnSecurity.com.

The DDoS attack on Krebs, the scramble for protection that followed, and Friday’s massive attack mark a new chapter in DDoS. More and more websites are being forced to seek shelter behind a shrinking number of powerful DDoS protection providers. But that centralization means that, as potent botnets like Mirai become stronger, larger sections of the internet can be knocked offline during attacks.

Mirai is irritating for the American internet users who couldn’t access their favorite websites Friday, and a thorn in the side of companies that are now forced to recall their easily hacked IoT devices — but the botnet is also influencing the market for DDoS protection.


The Krebs attack

In late September, Krebs’ website was hit with a DDoS attack of unprecedented scale. The content delivery network Akamai had protected KrebsOnSecurity from more than 250 DDoS attacks over four years, but it struggled to withstand this record-breaking onslaught of fake traffic and, after several more attacks, booted Krebs from its service.

“It was the biggest attack we’d ever seen. We were protecting someone for free and it was taking a lot of resources,” Akamai security advocate Martin McKeay told TechCrunch. “That was when the decision was made — this was a customer who we were protecting for marketing reasons but it was taking too much of our resources to make this a viable thing longterm. He looks into criminals who do DDoS, who do carding and skimming. It just was not worth the good will for us to protect someone who was thumbing their nose at the bad guys.”

But Akamai’s decision wasn’t just about conserving its human and technological resources. The DDoS attack was so large that it was overloading surrounding internet infrastructure, McKeay said. The attacks had the potential to cause slowdowns for the company’s paying customers. Many of the attacks that had hit Krebs’ website previously were sending 3-4 gigabits per second, but the Mirai attacks were in the 500 – 600 gbps range.

Still, Akamai tried to stick with Krebs. The company asked some of its paying Prolexic customers to temporarily turn off the service to make more bandwidth available in the Krebs fight, and to avoid issues on their own websites. Such requests often come during maintenance, according to Akamai, and shouldn’t cause alarm. But TechCrunch is aware of at least one Akamai customer who was shaken by the request — the company contacted a competing DDoS protection service days later.

However, Akamai says it lost no customers due to the Krebs DDoS. “After having successfully protected Krebs’ site during the attack, his was the only site that was then transitioned to another solution,” Akamai spokesperson Jeff Young told TechCrunch. “It’s common to proactively notify customers anytime we perceive the possibility of unexpected traffic flows. The vast majority of notifications sent are welcomed by the customer.”

When the news broke that Krebs was leaving Akamai, other DDoS protection services swarmed, offering their services. With the massive DDoS attack making headlines and Krebs without protection, it was the perfect opportunity for another provider to make a name for themselves.

DDoS protection services protect against online attacks that use large networks of computers to spam a site with junk traffic, ultimately knocking the site offline. Claiming Krebs as a client would be a powerful marketing moment for a DDoS protection provider, enabling the company to say they stood up to the strongest DDoS attack the internet had ever seen. Several free and paid DDoS services approached Krebs in the days following the attack on his site.

In the end, Krebs went to Project Shield, a Google-backed DDoS protection service that works exclusively with journalists, human rights organizations and elections monitoring sites. Cloudflare’s Project Galileo, which protects public interest websites that feature political or artistic content, also made a bid to protect Krebs. An unnamed company offered two weeks of free protection, followed by services that would cost $150,000 – $200,000 per year, Krebs reported.

Krebs wrote that Akamai gave him just two hours to migrate off its network, and Akamai later told the Boston Globe that the attack could have ended up costing the company millions of dollars. “We made a business decision to no longer keep this customer on our platform and prioritize our resources on our paying customers,” Young told the Globe.

Krebs wrote:

I do not fault Akamai for their decision. I was a pro bono customer from the start, and Akamai and its sister company Prolexic have stood by me through countless attacks over the past four years. It just so happened that this last siege was nearly twice the size of the next-largest attack they had ever seen before. Once it became evident that the assault was beginning to cause problems for the company’s paying customers, they explained that the choice to let my site go was a business decision, pure and simple.

Protecting Krebs is a big win for Project Shield, a project run by Google’s humanitarian think tank Jigsaw. In the DDoS arms race, Project Shield has the advantage of being backed up by Google’s massive network. “Shield is a reverse proxy,” project lead George Conard explains. “We run virtual machines in the Google Cloud Platform that are doing the reverse proxying.”

Project Shield had to go up against competition from Cloudflare’s Project Galileo to win Krebs’ business. Galileo, like Shield, is a free DDoS protection service that aims to protect sensitive content from being knocked offline.

However, getting Krebs on Project Galileo was a long shot to begin with, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince says. Prince and Krebs butted heads at the Black Hat security conference in 2013, when Krebs criticized Cloudflare for allowing DDoS attackers to take refuge behind the company’s paid DDoS protection service. If Cloudflare kicked them out, Krebs argued, they would be taken down by DDoS themselves. Prince, who was in the audience, jumped on stage to defend his company. The ensuing debate was painfully awkward to watch, and likely cost Prince the chance to take over Krebs’ DDoS defense after the massive attack.

Prince says he offered Galileo’s protection to Krebs, but Krebs declined, claiming that accepting Cloudflare’s help after criticizing them would feel hypocritical. (Krebs did not respond to a request for comment from TechCrunch.) “During the first 24 hours, Google was struggling to keep it up,” Prince said of Krebs’ website. “We would have stopped it, absolutely.”

The competitive feeling runs both ways. Asked about Project Galileo, a Jigsaw employee demurred, “As I’m sure you know, competition drives innovation.”

“We want a little competition on the side of people building the services, because a lot of people are figuring out how to take down websites,” the employee added.


Protecting the worthy

Because DDoS is an unsophisticated yet effective means of censorship, independent journalists like Krebs often become high-profile targets. Companies like Google, Cloudflare and Akamai have a good-will interest in protecting them, but protecting someone like Krebs is also good marketing. The message is: If we can handle this massive attack on this worthy publisher, we can handle whatever scary mess the internet hurls at your enterprise.

For Project Shield, the calculus is a little different. Unlike Cloudflare and Akamai, Google isn’t selling DDoS protection.

But Google is working hard to sell its reputation as a neutral party that can be trusted with the news. As it puts its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) head-to-head against Facebook’s Instant Articles, Google needs to prove it’s a company that’s on the side of publishers against censorship and avoid the missteps Facebook has made with Trending Topics and deleting newsworthy content.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared to acknowledge this during a February speech in Paris, when he announced the official launch of Project Shield in tandem with AMP. “There are times when news content is impossible to get to, not because the page loads slowly but because you’re under attack,” Pichai said, explaining that Shield would “provide a more sustainable news ecosystem.”

Google’s mission of organizing the world’s information and making it accessible is fundamentally in line with the mission of journalism. “We’re in the same business, Google and the news. The more news organizations, the better the internet is,” a Jigsaw spokesperson told TechCrunch.

The chance to protect Krebs came at an opportune time for Project Shield, which has worked hard this year to regain trust from journalists and human rights defenders abroad. Shield has to overcome the perception that Google is part of the American surveillance state.

“We’ve definitely encountered that,” the Jigsaw spokesperson says of the distrust. “Our philosophy is to be transparent about what data we collect, what data we never collect, why we collect, when it will be implemented and how. We let them explore if it is in their best interest. Never is it in our interest for someone to sign up for Shield more than it would be in their interest.”

Since its beta launch several years ago, Project Shield has worked to expand its presence. The service officially launched in Europe after Pichai’s speech, where it protects a few hundred sites, and in Latin America about a week ago. “It’s a tool that requires explanation,” Conard says. “We’ve learned how best to reach the people for whom this matters. We have learned a lot more about the threats these organizations are facing, how often they are DDoSed and how seldom they know why or from where.”

The expansion has come with opportunities to build trust — Project Shield now protects John-Allan Namu, a Kenyan investigative journalist who works on Africa Uncensored, and project engineers spent time in Kenya during the 2013 election to learn about the DDoS protection needs of journalists and election monitors. Jigsaw employees also stress that, as the Project Shield team collects information about the websites it protects, none of that data is shared within Google.

However, Project Shield notably misstepped in 2014, when it offered DDoS protection in partnership with Cloudflare to the Hong Kong pro-democracy website PopVote but then pulled out of the deal just 24 hours before an important referendum. Along with journalists, Shield also protects elections monitoring sites and PopVote, which faced a DDoS attack from the government, seemed like the perfect candidate.

Deciding who does and does not deserve DDoS protection is a difficult process for Google and other companies that provide the service. For Akamai, Krebs was worthy until he spent too much time “thumbing his nose” and became too expensive to protect. Cloudflare’s all-inclusive approach for its paid service was partially responsible for the debate between Krebs and Prince, and when it comes to Project Galileo, the company is similarly hands-off. Cloudflare chooses not to weigh the worthiness of Project Galileo candidates at all, instead outsourcing the decision to an external cohort of human rights and free press organizations.

“It’s really important that our whims on good and bad content don’t come in,” Prince explained. “We’re not picking winners and losers.”

Although Google abandoned the PopVote project, Project Shield is trying to take a more inclusive approach these days. Conard says Project Shield doesn’t discriminate against media outlets based on content, pointing out that it protected pro-Russian and pro-Ukrainian publishers during the Crimean conflict. “DDoSing someone is never a legitimate or reasonable thing to do. I am happy to protect people we disagree with,” Conard told TechCrunch. “In general, because we don’t think there’s a legitimate use case for DDoS, I feel relatively good about taking an inclusive approach here and keeping information accessible.”

Individuals who want to put their sites behind Project Shield’s protection go through an application process and are vetted by the Jigsaw team. Jigsaw runs publishers and organizations seeking protection through an internal screening process that includes checking them against a terrorist watch list, and says it would stop short of protecting a publication like Dabiq, the online magazine published by the Islamic State. “That’s an organization that we’re not by law allowed to provide service to,” Conard says.

As enormous DDoS attacks become more common, charitable protection programs will be faced with challenging questions about who deserves protection from censorship and who doesn’t. While the propaganda arm of the Islamic State clearly falls under the U.S. definition of a terrorist group, the Chinese government might categorize an organization like PopVote in a similar way — and controversy-shy tech companies will have to decide whether they want to stand up to governments that DDoS their own citizens.

DDoS as a service

The Mirai attacks haven’t just been an opportunity for protection providers to make a name for themselves and expand their client list — there are also clues in the attacks that suggest Mirai has been good for the DDoS business.

The attack on Krebs’ website may well have been an act of censorship, intended to silence his reporting. But Cloudflare’s CEO Prince argues that Krebs might also have been targeted because taking down his site was a good way to advertise a new DDoS service. What better way to get out the word about your botnet than to take down the site of the preeminent voice on DDoS attacks? Mirai does seem to be for hire. “The targets have been really random,” Prince explains. “Attack lengths are in five-minute increments,” he added, which suggests that attacks are priced in a tiered way.

When the source code for Mirai became public, Cloudflare analyzed it and found that five percent of the code was written to get around the company’s defenses — indicating that the botnet was designed with more than just Krebs in mind.

But Akamai’s security advocate McKeay dismissed the idea that the attack on Krebs was intended as an advertisement for Mirai. “I don’t think it’s a reliable theory,” he explains. “You could have been a lot quieter in the attacks and not drawn the law enforcement attention that the attacks on Brian’s site have done. You have to know that if you are making the biggest attack ever seen, your botnet is not going to survive that. It’s going to draw law enforcement action globally.”

Rather than publicly knocking down major websites and grabbing headlines, a safer DDoS business model is the extortion-based attacks that have been on the rise over the last year, in which attackers threaten to DDoS a site unless they receive payment.

But the Mirai attacks have been huge and public, making the intentions of the attackers unclear. “You can’t launch an attack this big and not get arrested,” Prince says.

It’s possible that the attacks are meant to send a message to the DDoS defenders themselves. “It’s going to make companies that provide protection think twice,” McKeay says. “If you are a company that provides a terabyte of protection worldwide, you are really going to have to think twice about providing DDoS protection. If it’s a secondary product line, they are going to have to think about the large attacks. This is just a precursor of what we’re going to see over the next few years. You have to think about investing a lot more in infrastructure, or decide it’s not worth the investment and get out of DDoS. A lot of smaller providers are going to see these attacks coming and get out of the business.”

As smaller providers shut down, it clears the way for larger players like Cloudflare, Akamai and Google. But, as the Dyn attack demonstrated, that centralization can be dangerous.


Source : techcrunch

Categorized in Internet Technology


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A former Yahoo and Amazon employee, and current marketing VP at mobile ad exchange Inneractive, has published an analysis of the Chinese mobile publishing and advertising market in TechCrunch. The article touches on the market’s competitive landscape, the ambitions of local players, and the opportunities for international firms. In particular, the author highlights growing demand for Chinese publishers to monetize traffic overseas, creating a golden opportunity for Western ad tech firms to lend a helping hand.


  • China’s online oligopoly. Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, together referred to as BAT, account for 73% of the Chinese online ad market, according to an eMarketer analysis cited by TechCrunch. Baidu registered 667 millionmobile users for its search engine in June, Alibaba mobile active users is at 427 million, and Tencent’s WeChat and QQ apps have806 million and 667 million users, respectively. Analogies may be drawn here between Facebook and Google's dominance in the US, although a choice between three parties always trumps a duopoly. 
  • Eyes on the horizon. Chinese publishers are eager to expand beyond the mainland, partly because of the difficulty of competing against the BAT triumvirate, which retains the majority of user traffic there. Digital companies are therefore venturing overseas in search of riper opportunities. Southeast Asia accounts for most of Chinese publisher traffic, but companies are pushing harder for share in North American markets, where there are higher value users. CPM rates in western markets are typically 10 to 20 times higher than n Southeast Asia. This is driven by thelower spending per person in APAC, which is at $15 per capita, compared with $165 in the US and $95 in Europe.
  • Journey to the West. The search for high value users has caused some publishers to bypass their home market entirely, electing instead to launch in the US or Europe. Popular millennial app Musical.ly, which is partly-owned by Beijing-based Cheetah Mobile, was developed and launched in the US in 2015. Apus, an Android launcher for personalizing a mobile OS's UI/UX has more than 900 million downloads, 30% of which emanate from the US and Europe. Marketing products in the US also plays into recent migration flows. China was the leading country of origin among 1.2 million immigrants counted in the US in 2013,according to Migration Policy.
  • Utility apps over content. Chinese app publishers tend to focus on the utilities category – like Android launches, keyboard apps, memory and battery optimizers, and so on. This is a sensible strategy given the wide usage of these apps. Utility apps accounted for nine of the top 25 mobile apps in the US by unique visitors, according to the ComScore. Chinese developers have largely avoided releasing content-based apps in the US because of the language disadvantage, but are increasingly moving into this space, and into the gaming space too. For example, last year Tencent bought Riot Games, which publishes the popular League of Legends franchise.
  • A window for Westerners. Chinese publishers’ aims to be present in the US and Europe creates an opportunity for international firms to support these ambitions. The relationship can be two-way, with foreign firms guiding a Chinese partner through Western markets, and a Chinese firm providing an anchor for a Western firm to establish itself in Greater China and APAC. More specifically, the article mentions that there are large opportunities for ad tech companies specializing in native, video, and customized programmatic environments across a network of vetted, private marketplaces. With that said, not all Western firms have fared favorably in China. To begin, the major platforms – including Google, Facebook and Twitter – are all blocked in the mainland. Meanwhile, China has been a sluggish market for advertising giant WPP, which posted negative year-on-year growth in the region when it announced its interim results last month. 

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Source : http://www.businessinsider.com/

Categorized in Market Research


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