Nov 21

Visto Announces New Executive Team with Focus on Driving Innovation in Transparent Ad Tech Solutions

NEW YORK, Nov. 20, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Advertising technology provider Visto today announced several enhancements to the company’s senior management team, reflecting the company’s strong commitment to the development of forward-thinking, technology-driven solutions that address key pain points in the programmatic advertising ecosystem. The announcement follows the news that the company, formerly known as Collective, has become Visto, reinforcing the focus on its flagship product offering, the Vistoâ„¢ Enterprise Ad Hub, an agnostic systems integrator for programmatic technology partners that empowers agencies, media companies and brands.

Appointed as Chief Technology Officer is Jaisimha Muthegere, who most recently led the development of the Visto Hub as a Senior Vice President. With over 25 years global experience directing, delivering and supporting development of enterprise and internet market-driven software products, Muthegere has been a critical driver behind Visto’s push for transparency throughout the ad tech stack. As CTO, he will oversee Visto’s global product and engineering teams, spearheading further innovation and development of the solution that brings brands, agencies and media companies control and visibility into the best path to advertising performance.

Michelle Nathan has been named Chief Financial Officer for Visto overseeing finance, legal and facilities for the company. Nathan was most recently Collective’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations and brings with her an extensive background in corporate finance, financial planning and analysis and strategic planning. With over 25 years experience in leadership roles for companies including Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Cablevision, Hachette Filipacchi Media and market research company the NPD Group, Nathan is charged with driving operational efficiency across the organization while adding strategic business support during this growth stage for Visto.

Visto has also brought on Daryl McNutt as Vice President of Marketing, with responsibility for building the Visto brand as well as the development and execution of growth initiatives for the company and the Visto Hub. With over 20 years experience in leadership roles at innovative startups and technology companies, including Drawbridge, BrightRoll, comScore and Specific Media (acquired by Time, Inc.), McNutt brings to Visto considerable knowledge of marketing, analytics, research and business intelligence for fast-growth digital technology companies.

“With the release of our Enterprise Ad Hub, our branding change to Visto and the debut of our seasoned executive team, we are poised for incredible growth,” stated CEO Kerry Bianchi. “The advertising industry has been ready for a revolution, and we are now ready to be at its forefront. Our mission is to bring transparency to the ecosystem and empower brands, agencies and media companies to gain clear analytics across their vendor stack, coupled with automation and efficiency in activation, creating a virtuous loop that drives performance overall.”

Visto established its reputation for innovation in advertising technology over the past decade. They hold five patents that contribute to the Visto Hub’s unique capabilities for classification, tracking, targeting and reporting. Built as a vendor-neutral platform, the Visto Hub has over 30 integration partnerships and the ability to connect nearly any technology via API. Current clients include: media companies such as Tegna, Viamedia and Hearst; and agencies including Allscope and Swirl.

About Visto
Visto is a technology company dedicated to bringing transparency, interoperability and accountability to digital advertising. The company’s Vistoâ„¢ Enterprise Advertising Hub is a vendor-agnostic platform that unites the complete ad tech stack in a single user-friendly interface. Brands, media companies and agencies benefit from transparency in managing execution partners, optimizing ad spend, measuring performance and leveraging analytics to drive efficiencies and improve ROI. For more information, contact

Press Contact:

Sherry Smith
Clarity PR for Visto

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Nov 20

Arts, craft sector find niche in export market

Matabbeki Mudenda-Binga Craft Centre manager shows some of the craft work which has found a ready market overseas recently

Matabbeki Mudenda-Binga Craft Centre manager shows some of the craft work which has found a ready market overseas recently

Kiyapili Sibanda, Business Reporter
ART and craft sector players have found a niche for export markets through the use of digital media to engage different product buyers.

This emerged during a ZimTrade digital and online marketing programme for arts and craft in Bulawayo on Friday.

Participants at the event said social media platforms have opened an avenue for them to penetrate the export markets.

Lupane Womens’ Development Trust manager, Mrs Hildegard Mufukare, said the use of online media has enabled them to get foreign orders.

She said these platforms were easy to use and affordable hence they have managed to adapt very quickly.

“The use of different internet platforms has enabled us to open foreign exports market. As I am speaking right now October to December we have orders that are close to $25 000 and we should work on those orders before year end,” said Mrs Mufukare.

She later told Business Chronicle that the global village provides many opportunities that local businesses can tap into.

Mrs Mufukare also said the online platforms were helpful in product development as producers can engage with different clients through the internet.

“We are living in a global village so it is now easy to penetrate into the export markets. It cuts travelling costs. For example, if one wants to travel to Europe to market their products. In the global village it is easy to connect with people who can help you develop the products that can meet international standards,” she said

A representative of Femina Garments encouraged art and craft sector players to make use of social media platforms like Facebook as it was cheap and easily accessible.

Meanwhile, ZimTrade associate trainer Mr Steven Mudawarima said embracing new technologies requires entrepreneurs to work with young people to build synergies. – @Kiyaz_Cool


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Nov 18

The winner in Amazon and Walmart’s holiday showdown is you

The holiday season is meant to celebrate peace on earth, but there’s no love lost in cyberspace where an unparalleled battle is shaping up between Walmart and Amazon.

While this is serious business for them, the fun part is that you — the consumer — get to help decide the winner from your smartphone or computer.

Which mammoth e-commerce retailer will get more of your money? This year, it’s more of a toss-up than before.

Through a series of shrewd e-commerce acquisitions and related in-house expansion, Walmart is emerging as Amazon’s most formidable online rival — not only for the year-end buying spree but the foreseeable future.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., during an upbeat Thursday quarterly investor conference call that highlighted a 50 percent surge in the retailer’s domestic e-commerce sales.

Walmart is going to need all the strength and momentum it can muster to beat the always-expanding Amazon at its own game. The Arkansas-based retailer, with dozens of Walmart stores in and around Chicago, is counting on some recent deals to make a huge difference.

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Nov 17

Fake Skin Care Ads That Used Oprah, Joy Behar, Pauley Perrette and More Shut Down, Fined $179

The Federal Trade Commission has taken action against a vast network of internet marketers who misled consumers.

According to a statement obtained by ET from the FTC, three men — Richard Fowler, Ryan Fowler and Nathan Martinez — were allegedly behind the scam, which deceived consumers into believing they were ordering “free trials” of skincare products and dietary supplements. These men control 19 companies, collectively operating as Tarr, Inc.

They allegedly used fake websites (like and that appeared legitimate as a way to conceal their fraudulent conduct. They also used the likeness of a few celebrities to endorse their products without permission, claiming stars like Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Aniston, Eva Longoria, Paula Deen, Christina El Moussa and more used the products and experienced “dramatic results.”

“A vast network of online marketers and the three people behind it have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they sold more than 40 weight-loss, muscle-building and wrinkle-reduction products to consumers using unsubstantiated health claims, fake magazine and news sites, bogus celebrity endorsements, and phony consumer testimonials,” the statement read. “The FTC also alleges that the defendants used deceptive offers of ‘free’ and ‘risk-free’ trials, and automatically enrolled consumers without their consent in negative option auto-ship programs with additional monthly charges.”

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Nov 16

Fake Skin Care Ads That Used Kim Kardashian, Dr. Oz and More Shut Down, Defendants Ordered to Pay

The Federal Trade Commission has taken action against a vast network of internet marketers who misled consumers.

According to a statement obtained by ET from the FTC, three men — Richard Fowler, Ryan Fowler and Nathan Martinez — were allegedly behind the scam, which deceived consumers into believing they were ordering “free trials” of skincare products and dietary supplements. These men control 19 companies, collectively operating as Tarr, Inc.

They allegedly used fake websites (like and that appeared legitimate as a way to conceal their fraudulent conduct. They also used the likeness of a few celebrities to endorse their products without permission, claiming stars like Kim Kardashian, Dr. Oz, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Statham and more used the products and experienced “dramatic results.”

“A vast network of online marketers and the three people behind it have agreed to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that they sold more than 40 weight-loss, muscle-building and wrinkle-reduction products to consumers using unsubstantiated health claims, fake magazine and news sites, bogus celebrity endorsements, and phony consumer testimonials,” the statement read. “The FTC also alleges that the defendants used deceptive offers of ‘free’ and ‘risk-free’ trials, and automatically enrolled consumers without their consent in negative option auto-ship programs with additional monthly charges.”

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Nov 15

Mozilla’s Firefox web browser just got its biggest update in 13 years – here’s what’s new

A man is seen next to a Firefox logo at a Mozilla stand during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 28, 2013.  REUTERS/Albert GeaThomson

  • Mozilla released an upgraded version of its Firefox
    browser on Tuesday.
  • Called Firefox Quantum, the browser is twice as fast as
    the old version and uses 30% less memory than Google’s Chrome
    browser, Mozilla says.
  • It also features content recommendations from the
    reading-list app Pocket.

It’s a good day to be a Firefox diehard.

On Tuesday, Mozilla
launched Firefox Quantum
, a reengineered version of the
nonprofit’s popular Firefox web browser.

It’s the culmination of six years of research and development and
a year and a half of engineering work, according to Mozilla’s
chief marketing officer, Jascha Kaykas-Wolff. And the company
says Quantum represents the biggest overhaul of Firefox since it
debuted in 2004.

The biggest change? It’s twice as fast as the Firefox of just six
months ago.

Mozilla’s engineers rebuilt the core engine, giving it brand new
guts and interacting with more than 7 million lines of code in
the process. Mozilla says Quantum also uses 30% less memory

than Google’s Chrome
browser and is meant for those who surf
the net by rapidly switching among many tabs. So basically

The user interface also got an overhaul, and users will notice
brand-new themes, tab designs, and menu items. The redesign is
part of a larger Mozilla initiative, called Photon, to unify and
modernize the appearance of everything Firefox.

3 new stories in every tab

The name Quantum was the developers’ code name for all the UI
work, but as time progressed they realized that what they were
working on would be a new product and thus needed a new name.

Firefox is an open-source project, and more than 700 people
around the globe contributed code to Quantum, Mozilla says.

Another change in Quantum that users will notice
is the integration of Pocket
, a product Mozilla acquired in
February that lets people save articles and other content to a
personal reading list.

With Quantum, every time a user opens a new tab, they will see
three Pocket recommended stories before they even start
searching. They’re
chosen from the millions of items
users are saving to Pocket
throughout the day. Because of this,
Mozilla says
, “they do a great job of representing what’s
worth reading and watching on the web.”

Mozilla sees the internet as a public resource — and just as
recycling helps the environment, it says, using a browser
developed by a nonprofit helps a free internet.

“You should feel good about using Firefox because it contributes
to Mozilla, which contributes to a healthy internet,”
Kaykas-Wolff said.

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Nov 14

Eastern Panhandle businesses successfully export local products

But Young, a father of three working what he called a low-paying job at the time, found that his household budget couldn’t justify the splurge. So, he began to make his own conditioner.

“I started doing it in my kitchen,” he said.

Today that kitchen experimentation has evolved into a business with 22 people generating $4.5 million in sales of all-natural body-care products for men. The products range from mustache wax to shaving cream and hand salve.

More products from Young’s imagination are on the way. His company, now operating from a commercial space after its third facilities expansion, is planning to hit $8 million in sales by the end of next year.

“It’s just a very hot market right now,” Young said.

His company, Mountaineer Brand LLC in Martinsburg, is among the elite list of successful Eastern Panhandle companies that have joined the global economy by selling their West Virginia-made products around the globe.

Mountaineer Brand sells its products in about 100 boutique retailers across the country, including a shop in Shepherdstown. But it’s over the internet through platforms such as Amazon and eBay, where the company regularly sells it products in countries ranging from Australia to Sweden to the United Kingdom. And thanks to a distributing arrangement with a Swedish wholesaler, the company’s products are beginning to make major inroads in that country.

“The whole business in general just kept bigger and bigger,” Young said.

Over the past 15 years the West Virginia Department of Commerce has annually recognized Mountain State companies selling their products overseas in 179 countries. Several Eastern Panhandle companies are making those international sales:

— Washington Homeopathic Products, in Berkeley Springs, sells homeopathic medicines from Columbia to Serbia to South Korea.

–Schonstedt Instrument Co., in Kearneysville, sells instruments to locate underground pipes and cables as far away as Nigeria and South Africa.

— Dr. B’s Beverage, in Inwood, sells bottled handcrafted teas in Canada.

About four miles from Mountaineer Brand, another Eastern Panhandle stand-out company is selling high-tech loudspeaker systems to many government clients including Japan, Columbia, Australia and the United Kingdom.

Started in a Martinsburg garage by four Eastern Panhandle residents in 1997, Power Sonix Inc. makes and sells compact, but specialized voice amplifier systems used by military, police and public safety departments.

The company’s complete systems, which cost about $10,000 to $35,000 per unit, allow human voices to be heard clearly through disruptive background sounds and distortions, explained Patrick Grady, a co-owner of the company and its vice president of sales and marketing.

Power Sonix’s special technology in speaker systems project human voices loud, clear and far away, Grady said. Its systems are mounted on ships, aircraft and police vehicles. Many of its systems are mounted on helicopters to allow public safety officials to speak clearly through the noise of rotating helicopter motors, Grady said.

“We put more power in a smaller package,” he said.

The U.S. Coast Guard is a client of the company now, but its first client was the Taiwan Coast Guard. Grady said the pool of customers for Power Sonix’s specialized systems is small but spread out across the world.

“We just happen to be in a very specific niche,” he said.

Power Sonix operates with four employees, keeping its staff low by outsourcing the manufacturing of its systems’ parts, which are assembled at the company’s Martinsburg office.

Early on, the company worked with the state commerce department to refine its product systems, Grady said. Afterward, it promoted its products at industry trade shows, before assembling a team of agents to sell its systems in various countries.

Selling online from the start

Another West Virginia exporting success story includes Bars and Inc. in Charles Town. With a showroom filled with 1950s-era nostalgia that stands out on Washington Street, the company builds customized retro-looking diner booths, bars and other furniture and memorabilia. It also refurbishes jukeboxes, vending machines, advertising signs, gasoline pumps and other mechanical items mostly from that same mid-20th period.

Bars and Booth’s clients tend to be affluent people who want top-quality Americana, said G.W. Smith, the company’s founder and owner. His company once sold about 30 restored jukeboxes a year for $7,500 to $15,000 a piece.

“We give them the best quality product we can possibly give them, and we stand behind everything we sell,” Smith said.

Lots of 1950s Americana-themed restaurants around the world have come to Smith for their diner furniture and decorations. He recalled one international order for a New Zealand restaurant that needed $250,000 worth of furniture and retro memorabilia, and another from a dealer in Australia involved a $500,000 sale.

Bars and Booths also furnishes residential kitchens and recreation rooms. Children’s daycare centers, hospitals and hospice homes have used the diner decoration theme to either delight or calm their customers, patients and visitors, he said.

During its first year in business, Bars and Booths sold to its first international customer–a refurbish jukebox for a man in Italy. The company’s second international sale involved a refurbished slot machine for another man in Italy.

Since then, the company has sold to clients in Denmark, Japan, Norway and Saudia Arabia.

Various international customers used to occasionally stop by his Charles Town showroom in person, but the internet has since made such visits much less frequent, Smith said.

Smith started Bars and Booths when the internet was in its commercial infancy. It was before eBay was a force, and before Amazon became an online retail juggernaut.

“When I put the website up, I didn’t even take credit cards,” he said. “People had to mail me checks. I was by myself.

“There wasn’t a lot of (online) competition,” he added of his early pioneering into internet sales. “If you did a search for diner booths, we would come up number one. Those days there was nobody paying (for high-placement internet search positions).”

By the mid-2000s, internet sales drove 90 percent of his business sales volume, Smith said. Today, with greater internet competition and exchange rates boosting the value of the U.S. dollar, that statistic has mostly flipped. Now his company’s sales are mostly in the United States, he said.

And like other Eastern Panhandle companies successfully exporting their products, Bars and Booths would never have succeeded in the first place without a global sales platform of the World Wide Web, Smith said.

Rise of social media

Today, social media is essential to Mountaineer Brand’s marketing efforts, Young said. When his products landed on Amazon’s retail website, that’s when sales took off, he said.

“eBay was the first couple of sales. Then Amazon,” Young said. “Then Amazon got pretty big, pretty fast.”

However, Young said getting Amazon to accept a product to promote is more difficult now than when he first did so. Today, there are more rules and restrictions.

“I don’t know if I could do it again like 2013,” he said. “It was pretty hard then and it’s gotten just more complicated over the past few years.”

Smith said selling and shipping products abroad has become more complicated and bureaucratic. Smith said the exchange rate for the U.S. dollar is an unpredictable affordability factor.

Shipping heavy, bulky products overseas as Bars and Booths does has also become more complicated with additional regulations and security measures, Smith said.

“It’s gotten a lot worse in the last 10 years,” he said.

Once federal homeland security officials visited him to review how his company packs its products for shipping, he said.

“Today, we know what we’re doing,” he said. “Dealing with shipping companies is not an easy deal. … We have this thing down to a science.”

Successful exporting depends widely on the product offered in the country being targeted, Young and Smith agreed.

Grady said the West Virginia Commerce Department has programs that can help reimburse companies in the state for certain exporting-related expenses. But overall, he said, sending new markets overseas to sell isn’t difficult. Products can be shipped to other countries by common carriers such FedEx and UPS, he said.

The most important aspect for any successful exporting is a fundamental one–providing a product, or a better product, that international customers want and can’t easily obtain in their own countries, Grady said.

“You have to have a compelling sales argument that it is worth importing your product over something (customers in other countries) can get domestically or regionally,” he said.

Despite efforts involved, exploring, Grady says exploring the international market may be worthwhile for many Eastern Panhandle companies.

“It’s worth the effort,” he said. “There’s nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

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Nov 13

Films of everyday farm scenes in China may not be Blue Planet but they are taking screens by storm

An uprising is underway in rural China and this very 21st century peasant revolution will definitely be televised.

In its vanguard are hard-working sons of the soil like Li Bo, a farmer in the northeast of the country who has discovered a new and unexpected furrow to plough thanks to a concerted push into the countryside by China’s online broadcasting industry.

The 41-year-old farmer from Wuchang village has unearthed a talent for movie direction, and all he needs is an eye for a story, a bit of imagination and his trusty smartphone.

Recently, when Li spotted a neighbour guiding a group of ducks near his farm, he quickly switched to “movie maker” mode, pulling out his smartphone to video the procession of ducks as they waddled their way into a rice paddy.

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After adding March of the Athletes as background music, he uploaded his one-minute film to a video-sharing app and it quickly attracted hundreds of viewers.

“It made my day. It felt like I was filming Journey to the West,” Li said, referring to a popular Chinese fantasy TV series. “As someone who didn’t even graduate from elementary school, I may not be capable of more complicated tasks, but I can shoot short videos and share them with others. That made me so proud,” he added.

Driven by the emotional rewards, Li shoots videos whenever he can. His subjects have varied from a wedding ceremony in rural China to rice cultivation. “For me, making these videos is not work; it is entertainment,” he said.

And that is music to the ears of China’s online broadcasting industry.

Across the nation, the video-sharing and live-streaming industry doubled in size last year, raking in more than US$3 billion, and the sector is becoming increasingly competitive. More than 100 companies now offer this type of service, and the number of operators is growing. With companies racing for new content and viewers, Chinese villagers like Li are turning heads.

Live-streaming platforms such as Six Rooms and Huajiao have launched marketing campaigns in rural China, painting advertisements everywhere from the walls of village houses to the frames of tractors.

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China’s video-sharing app Huoshan invited a 26-year-old farmer to deliver a keynote speech at its press conference this year. Standing on a stage in Sankuaishi village, Liu Jinyin, the farmer-turned-internet-celebrity, spoke of how live-streaming had helped him make friends and money. Liu said he recently purchased his first air conditioner, thanks to gift money from his fans.

While deep-pocketed city dwellers remain the focus of Chinese live-streaming businesses, “these companies see potential in rural markets,” said Jun Wen Woo, an analyst at global consultancy IHS Markit. “Rural areas hold a larger percentage of the Chinese population.”

A growing number of internet businesses have flocked to the Chinese countryside in recent years. China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba and its chief competitor each aim to reach 100,000 villages by 2020. With more companies targeting rural China, Cuncunle – an advertisement firm specialising in rural markets – was evaluated at US$151 million in 2015, according to Chinese business magazine The Founder.

For video-sharing and live-streaming companies in China, there are many reasons to look to rural markets.

“China’s countryside is famous for folk performance. Performances like temple fairs and crosstalks all come from rural China and they are well received by urban dwellers,” said Liu Yan, the founder of Six Rooms. Liu said suburbs around the northeastern Chinese city of Siping had produced so many top live-streamers that the place was now known as the “Capital of China’s internet celebrities”.

“That’s why we want to tap into rural areas,” Liu said. “We believe Chinese villagers will become our valuable content suppliers.”

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Some users of Six Rooms video farming activities such as drying corns and catching eels. Others focus on the rapid changes of Chinese villages.

But live-streaming is not only fun, it is also about making money. Zhou Sha, 24, an apple grower in Shaanxi province, has watched live-streaming boost her business. Last year, when Zhou participated in a pilot project marrying agribusiness with live-streaming, she got a surprise.

“It turned out more than 7,000 people watched my live video,” Zhou recalled. Within an hour, she had sold more than half a tonne of apples – 20 times what she would usually expect.

“Live-streaming allows customers to see the products with their own eyes, making it easier to address concerns over food safety,” Zhou said. She recalled that when one viewer questioned whether she had coated apples with wax to make the fruit shiny, her co-worker picked one up and ate it on camera. The viewer bought the apples.

But not every farmer enjoys live-streaming. Zhou has tried to convince other villagers to follow suit, with little success. With roughly 282 million farmers migrating to cities for jobs last year, much of China’s countryside is populated by schoolchildren and the elderly. “Some villagers don’t even know how to operate a smartphone, let alone live-stream,” she sighed.

Besides, some middle-class intellectuals view videos by their country cousins as vulgar attempts to attract eyeballs.

Live-streaming companies are aware of the problem. Huoshan has established a committee to monitor videos and rolled out a free training programme.

Li, the rice grower, said he wants to produce more videos with or without training: “It makes me feel a sense of accomplishment because I’m not only making videos for myself but also for other people.”

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