Wisnefski, a seasoned Entrepreneur and the founder / CEO of WebiMax, announced that merchants and consumers will rely heavily on social media platforms during this year’s black-Friday mad dash. As 2011 is projected by analysts to be the most successful black-Friday yet, information is king when trying to take advantage of the most deals possible.
“For the consumer looking to have a successful black-Friday shopping experience, they need to have the most updated information all-day long. This includes staying close to social media platforms Facebook and Twitter while on the move”, states Wisnefski.
Industry research firm comScore states that 72.2 million Americans accessed social networking sites and blogs on mobile devices, a 37 percent upsurge over 2010.
“At WebiMax, we represent over 100 retailers that will be leveraging social media in the days up to and including black-Friday in order to generate buzz for their special ‘deals’, announcing products, pricing and inventory information, and most importantly updating consumers as the day progresses”, states Wisnefski. “For example, I expect hashtags #blackfriday, #shopping, #deals and more to fill Twitter from 5:00am to the closing of stores Friday evening”, concludes Wisnefski.
Given the current economic conditions and the rise in price of commodities over the year, consumers are going to rely even more on securing deals on black-Friday. The success of those deals, however, is ensuring they have the most up-to-the-minute information. In comes social media.
Cyber Monday is traditionally the day in which consumers kick-off the holiday buying season with online purchases. Cyber Monday however may become Cyber Weekend 2011, as Kenneth C. Wisnefski, founder and CEO of WebiMax announced “online retailers and merchants have largely invested in E-commerce, online ads and ramping up their website infrastructure in 2011. We’re seeing these merchants committed to making it a weekend-long buying experience versus confining the mad-dash to just one day”.
A year ago, Thanksgiving Day online sales rose 14% and Black Friday online sales were also up 15.9% over 2009. Cyber Monday saw an increase year-over-year but not nearly as dramatic as online sales stretching over the weekend. Is Cyber Monday becoming a weekend-long buying experience?
“Last year alone, we saw a significant increase in online purchases during the holiday season”, states Wisnefski, who leads WebiMax as the top rated search engine marketing and E-commerce solutions firm. “Considering the fact that businesses are increasing their online advertising 29% through 2011 and devoting an average of 14% more resources on E-commerce solutions, I expect online buying to start on Thanksgiving Day and extend through the end of ‘Cyber’ Monday. I also expect online merchants to offer weekend-long deals”.
The proof is in the pudding when Google recently posted a 33% Q3 revenue spike, 23% of which was due to online ad-spending. WebiMax, who maintains roughly 100 E-commerce clients, also reported revenue is up 400% over 2010 in large part due to companies investing more resources into search engine marketing, E-commerce and improving website infrastructure to handle increased traffic. In mid-September retailer Target, Inc. experienced a website catastrophe when their website crashed because they could not handle the amount of traffic stemming from huge demand to buy Italian designer apparel. Companies have learned from this and have devoted more resources to improving their website infrastructure to handle increased traffic during the 2011 holiday buying season.
“Given the statistics and interacting with representatives of major online retailers, I expect Cyber Monday to be a part of the past while ‘Cyber Weekend’ is the more appropriate term. Furthermore, 2011 is set to be one of the most successful online buying years that we have ever seen”, concludes Wisnefski.
President Obama introduced the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace Plan in April, 2011. The new plan calls for a proposed single authentication system that acts as a sole online identity for consumers. The plan, however, may inversely increase the extent of fraud committed against Americans. Essentially creating a master key to ones online identity can have extensive ramifications if the single key is lost.
Over the past 2 years, an estimated total of 11.7 million Americans were victims of some sort of identity theft. Over a 5 year period, this number is increasing at an average rate of 1.1 million Americans, representing 10.1 million victims per year. (Statistics according to the Federal Trade Commission).
As staggering as these numbers are, there are aggressive steps that can be taken to combat identity theft. The plan outlined by The President, however, may not effectively and efficiently solve the problem. The plan calls for a single identity to be used in online transactions. Creating a “master key” presents the opportunity for a skilled hacker to bring down the whole ship by stealing one single authentication. Emphasis should thus be placed more on securing the perimeters around our cyber security systems to keep hackers out, and educating consumers in how to be proactive about protecting their online identity.
Enhanced security methods can include controlling communications between servers (protecting the exchange of information through secure gateways), limiting the amount of users on a network to those with proper credentials, encrypting secure data, and continuously backing it up to a protected environment with restricted access. Consider this statistic; 65% of data breaches are conducted by disgruntled employees within the workplace. When these basic fundamentals are in place, consumers are less likely to have their online identity stolen. An additional contributing factor to online identity theft is negligence by the consumer. People may make insecure transactions online on phishy websites. Not using a secure socket “https”, improperly discarding personal documents, and leaving their credit card on file on web servers are just some examples. People are not being proactive enough to set up a wall around their identity each time it is used. Educating the consumer can help to correct carelessness. Vigilance in the workplace can help against both internal and external breaches.
Currently, web users have multiple username / passwords they use to make transactions online. The Plan calls for one single password that will be used for all dealings. Failure to diversify your online identity will lead to more problems. The hacker simply has to obtain the one password that controls all. Not only is that unsafe (putting all your eggs in 1 basket) it further motivates the hacker because the rewards for cracking it are endless.
Although the intention of the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace Plan is clearly well-considered, it could actually end up causing more harm than good. As if recent stock market declines haven’t taught us the value of diversifying. Attention should therefore be given to securing the online networks and servers already in place, in addition to educating consumers how to be proactive in self-protection.
About the Author: Kenneth C. Wisnefski is founder and CEO of WebiMax, the #1 rated SEO firm in the United States and Australia. Mr. Wisnefski regularly appears in media outlets as expert commentary in various topics relating to Entrepreneurship, Small Business, the Economy, and Online Marketing. Follow Ken on Twitter @KenWisnefski
–to request to submit a guest blog please contact John Borkowski at JBorkowski@webimax.com.
Kenneth C. Wisnefski, founder and CEO of WebiMax, the #1 rated online advertising and search engine optimization firm in the United States (by TopSeos.com), is a well-regarded expert in social media. Wisnefski has followed the situation closely and states “Facebook is trying to do so much right now to fix a problem that doesn’t need to be fixed. I believe the new features have overloaded users and the majority of them are dissatisfied with the changes”.
Google+ was launched earlier this week and is the first real threat to take “social media market share” away from Facebook. Google+ functions include video chat, integrated search, and “hangout”, all of which are features that Facebook lacks.
“It seems Facebook has announced their updates to take the light away from Google, who has owned the media this week with the launch of Google+ in addition to CEO Eric Schmidt’s antitrust hearings on Capitol Hill”, states Wisnefski. “Facebook users feel overwhelmed with the amount of new features including a real-time scrolling list of Friends updates (comparable to Google+ ‘circles’), enhanced News Feed (information overload), and the ability to create their own Facebook Newspaper”, concludes Wisnefski.
Earlier this year, the White House introduced a plan called the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace. Kenneth C. Wisnefski, founder and CEO of WebiMax the leader in search engine marketing and ecommerce, announced that the plan may have some “significant disadvantages” and further states “I caution this will open the door to more devastating methods of identity theft”.
The plan was first introduced by President Obama in April 2011 and aims to create an enhanced online identity and bolster confidence in e-commerce amongst Americans. It calls for a single authentication system that can be used for significant transactions placed online, including Social Security, I.R.S. services, banking, and even buying a home. The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) indicated that through the first 6 months of 2011, there were 130 significant breaches, revealing over 9.5 million personal records.
“The new plan proposed by Washington has the right idea, however, the product may increase the extent of fraud committed against others”, states Wisnefski, an expert in internet security. “Essentially creating a master key to your online identity can have extensive ramifications if the single key is lost”.
Wisnefski was recently interviewed on FOX News discussing new Pentagon Cyberwar Guidelines. The video can be found here (courtesy of FOX news).
ITRC states that hacking is the leading cause of identity theft. They also disclose that half of all 2011 data breaches are against businesses, versus government, medical, and financial services.
“Since a security breach through the use of hacking is the leading cause of identity theft, the White House should instead propose a plan to enhance the encryption of secure documents and unique log-in credentials that consumers use online”, furthers Wisnefski. “The majority of stolen personal information comes from a lack of encryption that skilled hackers can easily navigate through. What we need is an increase in protective barriers around the perimeter of our systems in addition to the strength of our keys within the system”.
There are considerations, however that the plan does not correct for, including negligence and carelessness when consumers leave a checkbook or a cell phone in a public area, including restaurants. Instances like those can only be corrected with enhanced awareness by consumers.
“At WebiMax, we’ve seen a substantial increase in the amount of companies that implement an ecommerce component to their website, as it means your company is open for business 24/7/365. In addition to strengthening the perimeters around our online systems, educating consumers as to the dangers and effects of online identity fraud can be two important remedies that are being overlooked. If a consumer loses his master key to his online identity, as outlined by the proposed plan, the thief can have access to the bigger picture”, concludes Wisnefski.
Kenneth C. Wisnefski, a serial web Entrepreneur, discusses the American Jobs Act and its role in helping to curve the 9.1% unemployment rate. Wisnefski, a small business owner, leads WebiMax as the #1 rated search engine optimization firm in the United States. He defends the Act stating “President Obama is taking necessary steps to force congress to act now before America continues its downtrend in economic uncertainty”, and further states “businesses both small and large are reluctant to head forward due to their hesitancy to adapt to change”.
President Obama, in a speech to a joint session of congress and a struggling nation, called upon legislators to start acting now, before the country slips into further economic uncertainty. The proposed $447 billion jobs package offers tax incentives to small businesses that hire and provide raises to their personnel. The Act also discusses the vital role that small businesses and Entrepreneurs play in the recovery.
“Small businesses and the private sector can help lead the United States back to lower unemployment”, states Wisnefski, an Entrepreneur on his 3rd profitable startup since 2001. “As a small business owner, we all have the duty to continue to hire U.S. citizens and keep American workers at home”.
There are some additional roadblocks, however, that Wisnefski states hinders many businesses from hiring.
“Many small businesses have not adapted to change and wonder why their revenue is falling”, exclaims Wisnefski. “Social Media is replacing traditional communication and marketing tactics. Online advertising and pay per click management services are replacing outdated methods of advertising on a billboard. Who is growing faster, AT&T, or Facebook?”
Innovating and adapting are the most crucial elements to growing a business at present.
“At WebiMax, we saw the change in dynamics several years ago and leveraged search engine optimization, social media, ecommerce, and other online marketing services to launch off our pad in 2008 to become one of America’s fastest growing companies. Our revenue is up 15,000% since our inception in 2008 and we employ over 150 staff (up from 4 at start), all because our products are in high demand by companies adapting to the change”, states Wisnefski.
President Obama also stated that the Act will cut payroll taxes in half in 2012 for small businesses that hire. In addition, he stated that the Act will provide a jolt to an economy that needs to be restarted.
“I applaud The President’s intent and willingness to do what he can but ultimately this requires much more. The ‘jolt’ that the U.S. economy needs is also for Entrepreneurs and small business owners to focus on what they can do internally to grow their business. At WebiMax, we took highly skilled and talented candidates and trained them in to the roles that we needed filled. Although the American Jobs Act certainly provides financial incentives to businesses, I feel companies need to continue to evaluate how they can improve their position, innovate, and push forward”, concludes Wisnefski.