Aug 28

Web.com to Host Small Business Summit to Help Greater Boston Area Small …

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug 28, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) —

Web.com

WWWW, -1.13%

a leading provider of Internet services and online marketing solutions for small businesses, will host a free Web.com Small Business Summit designed to help small business owners in the greater Boston area learn how to successfully increase their business’ visibility and better market themselves online. The Web.com Small Business Summit will take place on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 at TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts. Through Web.com’s agreement with the PGA TOUR and as umbrella sponsor of the Web.com Tour, Web.com developed the Small Business Summit as a benefit to small business owners in communities across the country.

“Entrepreneurs and small businesses continue to lead the Greater Boston area in job growth and economic success and this event will offer these upcoming leaders an opportunity to build on their successes,” said Mike Antolini, tournament director for the Deutsche Bank Championship. “To stay competitive in today’s marketplace, it is important for small business owners to build an online presence and learn the ins and outs of what it takes to be successful online. With the help of our corporate partner, Web.com, we are pleased to help local small business owners continue to prosper and grow while also having the chance to enjoy the Deutsche Bank Championship experience.”

Justin Leedy, director of marketing at Web.com, will lead the discussion at the Web.com Small Business Summit, and will share information and tools that small business owners can use to improve their business performance; increase their online visibility; and optimize their online marketing efforts.

Topics and content at the Web.com Small Business Summit focus on ways small business owners can achieve a successful Internet presence, including the elements of a great website, how to determine if their website is working for them, increasing traffic to their website and business, mobile marketing and decoding how to efficiently market their business on Google, Facebook and Twitter.

“As part of our commitment to give back to the communities we serve, we are pleased to offer this event which is focused on helping small business owners improve their business model,” said Leedy. “Every day, Web.com helps millions of business owners address the challenges of building and maintaining an effective online presence that allows their businesses to grow. We expect a lively dialogue covering a range of key, timely topics that small business owners face when tackling this increasingly important digital opportunity.”

Event Details:

  • Where: TPC Boston, Norton, MA – Parking for this event is located in the VIP Blue Lot at the Xfinity Center, 885 S Main Street, Mansfield, MA 02048
  • When:Wednesday, September 2, 2015; registration, continental breakfast and networking 9:00 a.m.; presentation will start promptly at 10:00 a.m. and will conclude by 12:00 noon.
  • Cost: Attendance is free, but advanced registration is requested at smallbusinesssummit.web.com
  • Social media: Twitter: @webdotcom / Facebook: Web.com / Hashtag: #SmallBizSummit
  • All attendees will receive a complimentary ticket to the Deutsche Bank Championship

For the schedule of all 2015 Web.com Small Business Summits or for more information about this Small Business Summit, go to the Web.com Small Business Summit website, or contact smallbusinesssummit@web.com, or call 800-862-8718.

Attention Editors/News Directors: Click here to view a brief video on what it’s like to attend a Web.com Small Business Summit event.

About Web.com

Web.com Group, Inc.

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provides a full range of Internet services to small businesses to help them compete and succeed online. Web.com is owner of several global domain registrars and further meets the needs of small businesses anywhere along their lifecycle with affordable, subscription-based solutions including website design and management, search engine optimization, online marketing campaigns, local sales leads, social media, mobile products, eCommerce solutions and call center services. To get more information, visit web.com; follow Web.com on Twitter @webdotcom or on Facebook at facebook.com/web.com. For additional online marketing resources and small business networking, please visit Web.com’s Small Business Summit.

About PGA TOURThe PGA TOUR is the world’s premier membership organization for touring professional golfers, co-sanctioning more than 130 tournaments on the PGA TOUR, Champions Tour, Web.com Tour, PGA TOUR Latinoamérica, PGA TOUR Canada and PGA TOUR China.

The PGA TOUR’s mission is to entertain and inspire its fans, deliver substantial value to its partners, create outlets for volunteers to give back, generate significant charitable and economic impact in the communities in which it plays, and provide financial opportunities for TOUR players.

Worldwide, PGA TOUR tournaments are broadcast to more than 1 billion households in 225 countries and territories in 32 languages. Virtually all tournaments are organized as non-profit organizations in order to maximize charitable giving. In 2013, tournaments across all Tours generated more than $134 million for local and national charitable organizations and in early 2014 the TOUR’s all-time charitable contributions surpassed $2 billion.

The PGA TOUR’s web site is PGATOUR.COM, the No. 1 site in golf, and the organization is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Note to Editors: Web.com is a registered trademark of Web.com Group, Inc.

 CONTACT: Media Contact: Ashley Clontz Golin for Web.com 972-701-6974 AClontz@golin.com 

Copyright (C) 2015 GlobeNewswire, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Aug 27

Rand Internet Marketing Announces Product Photography as New Service Offering

Aug 27, 2015

(Newswire)

​​Rand Internet Marketing, an award-winning website design, web development and internet marketing company, announced their newest service offering, Product Photography. Based on the significant growth of the company in their Magento e-commerce development services, the company has identified the need for high-quality yet affordable product photography as a void that needs to be filled within the e-Commerce ecosystem.

“Due to increased demand for our e-Commerce services, we have identified this as a must-have service for our clients,” said Seth Rand, Founder and CEO of Rand Internet Marketing. “We have noticed increased conversion rates for our clients with higher quality product photography. When researching options in the marketplace, we noticed a wide variety of quality and costs for photography services. We partnered with one of the top product photographers in South Florida to offer high-quality product photography services at affordable rates to Rand’s e-commerce clients.”

This new service will allow clients to quickly and easily get their own products photographed and delivered directly to their home or business, without having to deal with the hassles of hiring an independent photographer or purchasing stock photos online. All clients have to do is to mail-in their products, specify their requirements, and then wait for the allotted amount of time to receive their images back. While most photographers charge by the hour for such services, customers will only have to pay per product, based on the volume and difficulty of the project. In addition to this, the service will allow for clients to receive their photographs via e-mail, Dropbox, WeTransfer, WeSendIt, and additional methods based on the preference of the client.

Rand Marketing has partnered with Chuck Tocco, a product photographer who has over 15 years of experience, specializing in creative product photography in the areas of jewelry, food beverage, cosmetics, and still life. Tocco has already worked with some of Rand’s long-term clients, including Announcement Converters which is a wholesale supplier of specialty paper supplier located in the Miami area.

About Rand Internet Marketing

Rand Internet Marketing, a division of Rand Business Services, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, offers a full line of design and marketing services including logo design, graphic design, website design, responsive web development, search engine marketing, and social media marketing. Rand specializes in professional responsive web design and development including WordPress websites and Magento eCommerce websites, mobile site design and development, search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) marketing. Rand also offers video production, video marketing, full color printing, reviews and reputation management, product photography, merchant services and a variety of other professional business services. Rand Marketing has been named one of the Top Web Design Development Firms, a Top Advertising Agency, and one of the Fastest Growing Tech Companies in South Florida by South Florida Business Journal. Rand Marketing was also named a Google Partners All Star.

If you are in the market for a new website, or looking to generate more leads and sales through internet marketing, let the Rand Internet Marketing team help you design an integrated strategy that will help your business succeed.

For more information, call 888-707-RAND or request a consultation online athttp://randmarketing.com/request-consultation/.

###

Rand Marketing Newsroom

Original Source: http://www.newswire.com/press-release/rand-internet-marketing-announces-product-photography-as-new

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Aug 26

These 5 companies are making Chicago a global leader of the Internet of Things

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The Internet of Things (IoT), an umbrella term for the technology that enables one smart object to communicate with another smart object (think FitBit relaying the data it’s collected to your smartphone), is perhaps the single most auspicious trend in tech at the moment.

I’d describe it as “disruptive,” but that word — in its current, hackneyed sense — doesn’t quite capture the sheer potential that IoT has brought to the tech world.

In short, IoT could change everything.

Smart shoes for counting steps and calories burnt. Smart frying pans that monitor surface temperature and cooking time to prevent burning. Smart umbrellas and smart baseballs and smart dog bowls. Smart everything in a world driven by connectivity and data.

To get a better view of the current IoT landscape, we sat down with five Chicago companies who lead the pack in terms of IoT innovation. They explained the cutting-edge tech behind their businesses — and how Chicago is setting itself up to be the global leader of the Internet of Things.

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Trustwave

Trustwave helps businesses fight cybercrime, protect data and reduce security risk. With cloud and managed security services, integrated technologies and a team of security experts, ethical hackers and researchers, Trustwave enables businesses to transform the way they manage their information security and compliance programs.

What makes the technology behind your IoT work innovative?

“Securing the Internet of Things requires continuous security testing of IoT devices and the ecosystem surrounding them,” said John Amaral, senior vice president of product management at Trustwave. “This includes all networks, applications and databases that connect to IoT devices in even the smallest capacity. Trustwave offers those kinds of testing services — whether through automated vulnerability scanning or deep-dive, hands-on penetration testing — both of which are performed by the company’s elite threat intelligence team that includes ethical hackers, malware researchers, forensic investigators and incident responders. The intelligence gathered through IoT testing is then fed into Trustwave’s customers’ security programs so they are continuously up to date and staying ahead of the latest threats.”

How can Chicago emerge as the leader in IoT technology?

“Chicago is quickly becoming a leading nationwide hub for technology and innovation,” said Cas Purdy, vice preseident of corporate marketing and communications at Trustwave. “Between new startups and already existing enterprises that planted roots in the city decades ago, more companies than ever before are focusing on the booming tech industry – which includes the IoT phenomenon.”

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Gogo

Gogo is a leading global aero-communications service provider that offers in-flight Internet, entertainment, text messaging, voice, connected aircraft services and a host of other communications-related services to the commercial and business aviation markets. Gogo has partnerships with 11 major commercial airlines and is now installed on nearly 2,400 commercial aircraft. More than 6,800 business aircraft are also flying with its solutions, including the world’s largest fractional ownership fleets.

What makes the technology behind your IoT work innovative?

“At Gogo, we started this business by connecting passengers in-flight,” CEO Michael Small said. “Today, we’re the industry leader for passenger connectivity and in-flight wireless entertainment. As Gogo has evolved, we’re getting beyond passenger connectivity and enabling the IoT in flight. We envision a future where Gogo’s services connect every aspect of the plane, improving the airline experience as a whole. This includes providing applications for the flight crew, airline operations and the aircraft itself.”

How can Chicago emerge as the leader in IoT technology?

“Gogo is super excited to be part of a thriving technology scene in Chicago. But, Chicago is much more than a growing technology hub. It has a stable of industry leading companies and is a transportation hub to the world. We are developing technologies to bring the IoT to the sky with neighbors like Boeing and United and other industry leaders. We are also powered by top universities and organizations like 1871, Built In Chicago, and the Illinois Technology Association. In other words, the diversity of thinking in Chicago is second to none and is a real competitive advantage. Gogo is extremely proud to call Chicago home.”

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Uptake

Founded by Brad Keywell, Uptake is a rapidly growing predictive analytics company whose platform transforms massive data sets into actionable solutions for high-value problems. Uptake’s software is empowering businesses to make data-driven decisions that optimize performance across the enterprise.

What makes the technology behind your IoT work innovative?

“Collaborating with our customers — iconic industry leaders — allows us to create solutions based on their most critical problems,” said Natalie Bauer Luce, a spokesperson for the company. “We deliver a platform that analyzes multivariable data (in real-time; coming off of machines, sensors, and operations), discovers actionable insights, and presents those insights to the right person at the right time. Driven by advances in data science, Uptake’s platform creates ever more accurate predictions as we integrate findings discovered from patterns in data across a wide array of industries.”

How can Chicago emerge as the leader in IoT technology?

 

“Chicago and Uptake are uniquely situated to be leaders in the race to harness the power of the Internet of Things,” she said. “Our partnership approach means we’re working with major industry powerhouses in our own backyard. Pair that with a good solid dose of Midwestern work ethic, and you’ve got a combination that’s tough to beat. Industry fueled this city’s economic engine to make it the global force it is today, and it is positioned to do so again by embracing the power of data. Uptake will be at the forefront of that movement.”

 

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TempoIQ

TempoIQ is the IoT application platform that saves time. Their platform is streamlined and focused on results, offering a no-code composer for quickly creating IoT data visualizations, real-time analytics and alerts, dashboards, and reports, augmented by ready-to-use application templates for web and mobile. Their modular, 4th generation CODA architecture allows customers to choose only the data collection, analysis, and storage features they need, and extend the platform at any time with a powerful REST API. They use a unique agile approach to IoT application development, guiding customers through a series of weekly sprints that enable application launch in as little as four weeks.

What makes the technology behind your IoT work innovative?

“IoT is the most important advancement since the Internet and will disrupt our businesses and our world as we know it,” said Steve Subar, TempoIQ President and CEO. “We’ve been solving the most complex connectivity, data, analytics, and visualization challenges of the Internet of Things for four years, and our fast, flexible 4th generation IoT application platform reflects our expertise and leadership.”

How can Chicago emerge as the leader in IoT technology?

“The Internet of Things is fundamentally about creating new, valuable connections between an incredibly diverse set of technologies and industries,” said TempoIQ co-founder Justin DeLay. “To unlock that value, the Midwest, and Chicago specifically, must play a leadership role in IoT. Our region is home to some of the most important businesses and organizations across transportation, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare and beyond. These industries need vision, coordination, and leadership to transform their products, their processes, and their businesses to capture the value of IoT. Chicago has already emerged as a Smart City thought leader and stands at the intersection of these foundational industries, positioning our city as the IoT hub where these crucial connections can be made.”

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Aeris

Aeris is a pioneer in machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, an integral part of the Internet of Things. Through their M2M-dedicated technology and services, they strive to fundamentally improve businesses — by dramatically reducing costs, improving operational efficiency, reducing time-to-market, and enabling new revenue streams. Aeris said the IoT industry is expected to reach over $10 trillion by 2022, driven by the more than 50 billion devices that will be connected.

What makes the technology behind your IoT work innovative?

“The Internet of Things is absolutely the most exciting domain of this decade, and we are working with the latest and most exciting technologies,” said Drew Johnson, VP of Engineering at Aeris. “For example, we are creating telematics services for the automotive industry using cloud architectures, non-SQL data-stores, and the latest big-data stacks.”

How can Chicago emerge as the leader in IoT technology?

“We at Aeris believe there are several reasons why Chicago will emerge as an IoT leader,” said Marc Jones, Chairman and CEO at Aeris. “First, Chicago is the focal point of the Midwest. Second, there are many world-class universities in the Midwest, which are turning out great technical, marketing and entrepreneurial talent in the Chicago area. Third, IoT is a global activity, and entrepreneurs around the world will want to come to Chicago to establish their businesses. After all, Chicago has something that will appeal to everyone as it has a diverse population and world-class restaurants, museums and educational institutions. Lastly, Chicago is a direct flight away to virtually any city either domestic or international.”

Have a tip for us or know of a company that deserves coverage? Email us via tips@builtin.com.

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Aug 25

Annapolis-based Link Labs raises $5.7 million to grow ‘the Internet of things’

Investors are backing Annapolis startup Link Labs with a $5.7 million round of venture capital to help it compete in a young but growing market for attaching wireless sensors to everything from fuel tanks to air conditioners to soil beds, an industry known as “the Internet of things.”

Link Labs is targeting business customers who it says are looking for ways to wirelessly monitor things like fuel levels, energy usage and environmental conditions and to automate responses. The number of Internet-connected devices is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years.

'Beta City' event will showcase Baltimore region's entrepreneurship

“Fortune 500 companies have been looking for this and have been ready for this,” said Christopher College, managing partner at TCP Capital Ventures, one of Links Labs’ new investors. “They just have never had the technology to be able to do it.”

Link Labs is one of the few entrepreneurial ventures to sprout from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, better known for its government contracting work.

Its technology would serve the continuing push to use wireless technology to improve efficiency, cut labor costs and, in some cases, to help other companies sell more products. It places wireless sensors on a variety of devices or even just passive surfaces and allows for two-way communication, not just monitoring.

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For example, the technology could provide a notification when a field needs watering and turn on sprinklers. Or it could more passively track the location of a valuable asset.

Link Labs CEO Brian Ray declined to disclose sales figures but said monthly revenue has doubled in the past six months.

The company’s products already have been designed into five products by U.S. companies that are hitting the market next year and, as a result, it expects to be shipping 100,000 radio modules a month by the end of next year, Ray said in an email. While he declined to disclose customers, he said its sensors are being evaluated by more than 100 customers in 19 countries

Baltimore fostering thriving, emerging industry of education technology firms

Baltimore fostering ‘thriving, emerging’ industry of education technology firms Scott Dance School districts spend millions of dollars a year training teachers in ways to improve instruction. School districts spend millions of dollars a year training teachers in ways to improve instruction. ( Scott Dance ) –>

The company said its technology provides wireless signal footprints much larger than traditional Wi-Fi hot spots while using less power than wireless devices that tap cellular signals.

“It’s really not cost-effective to use cellular technology to just know if something is on or off or where it is,” said Bob Proctor, principal at Blue Venture Investors, one of Link Labs’ earliest investors.

About 10 billion objects were among “the Internet of things” in 2013, and that number was expected to grow by as much as 20 percent each year through 2020, according to consultant McKinsey Co.

The company plans to devote the latest investment to research, development and manufacturing of new sensor devices and to boost marketing efforts, Ray said. The company doesn’t expect to grow its staff rapidly, adding another two or three people over the next year and a half, Ray said.

Columbia-based TCP led the recent investment round, joined by the Maryland Venture Fund, a state government investment arm; Blu Venture, a Northern Virginia-based firm that focuses on the Mid-Atlantic; Inflection Point Partners, a Toronto-based investor; and some angel investors.

Link Labs is just the second company to gain the support of TCP’s 2-year-old fund dedicated to companies run by military veterans. Though College said TCP has met with about 300 veteran-run startups, Link Labs joins Baltimore information security software firm RedOwl Analytics as the Veterans’ Opportunity Fund’s only portfolio companies.

College said he was attracted to the company’s technology and market opportunity, as well as its leadership team. Five of Link Labs’ 15 employees are veterans, including CEO Ray and the core of its management team. Ray is a U.S. Naval Academy alumnus and served as a submarine officer in the Navy before leading a team at the Hopkins lab and serving a stint as an executive at Canton network security company Lookingglass Cyber Solutions.

“The fund has an investment thesis that veteran managers are able to manage better than the general population, and because of that we’re going to get higher returns,” College said.

Ray and other executives’ ties to the Hopkins lab also give the technology a pedigree. The company is not officially a lab spinoff because the technology isn’t derived directly from the communications and geolocation projects Ray and others worked on there.

When it comes to technology transfer, most of the lab’s focus is on licensing technology that government customers paid it to develop. In the federal fiscal year that ended last September, 77 such licensing agreements were executed, while six companies were created based on technology developed in the lab, according to Hopkins data.

But lab officials nonetheless support Link Labs and similar entrepreneurial efforts.

“We’re quite pleased when some of them get an entrepreneurial bug and want to go off and do something to contribute to the economy,” said Tim Galpin, the Hopkins lab’s chief strategy officer. “We’re not a natural path to do that.”

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

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Aug 25

Significant role in success of your SEO USA


Significant role in success of your SEO USA by red martin

AddThis Social Bookmark Button To get complete knowledge about SEO USA could be a terribly difficult and long method. You would like to first perceive all the fundamentals associated with it and then only you’ll get a much better understanding concerning this method. SEO USA Is basically a Search engine optimization process. This can be divided into several divisions through which one can get better understanding of matter concerning the complete SEO procedure. These divisions embrace the summary, the meaning of SEO and varied kinds of equivalent types. As everybody knows, whenever you type any key term on the search engines and outcome that you get from it is referred to as the search results. Whenever any SEO process is carried by the SEO Company USA, the foremost vital parts they concentrate are the Keywords or phrases. It’s invariably preferred to use phrases rather than one key term because most of the individuals hunt for phrases instead of the only term. It’s conjointly important that the term that is employed by you must seem as a result even for alternative relevant searches. So, the utilization of right key phrase plays a significant role in success of your SEO USA. After understanding the importance of key phrases, you would like to maneuver towards a broader thought that is SEO. Search engine optimization abbreviated as SEO is a combination of assorted processes to enhance the page ranking of your web site. Many folks and researchers have understood this method in different ways and results that they need earned thus varies. Primarily SEO service USA is getting used for mentioning the rank of your web site amongst the top search result outcome. Also, there are many ways through which the SEO USA method is being administrated. It primarily consists of on-site optimization and off- site optimization. In on-site optimization; the process is done through any web site and it may embrace the modification of the content that presently exists yet the other new content may even be additional by you. The most vital step for implementing the SEO USA method, involves the fixing of domain problems. After it is finished, complete page improvement of many Meta tags and title tags if being done. Apart from that, the off-site optimization refers does not involve any direct modification associated with any site however even then it’s an have an effect on ranking of that specific web site. The two major things concerned within the off- web site improvement includes the link building and social media optimization. All the above things comprise the SEO USA method; however, still there are several minute problems and processes associated with this that you would like to grasp only through a SEO Company USA.

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Aug 24

Online photo service Shutterfly posts a 16% increase in Q2 sales

Sales to businesses increased 40%, as sales to consumers rose 14%.

Shutterfly Inc., an online provider of photographic product and services to businesses and consumers, posted a 15.5% increase in revenue for the second quarter, to $183.88 million from $159.15 million a year earlier. Although most of its sales are to consumers, its sharpest revenue growth continues to be in business-to-business sales.

Shutterfly sells marketing materials to businesses as well as photography products and services to consumers through Shutterfly.com and other sites including ThisLife.com, WeddingPaperDivas.com, TinyPrints.com. It also operates a photography equipment rental site at BorrowLenses.com. About 93% of its sales are to consumers, but a stepped-up focus on business customers in recent years has resulted in sharp increases in B2B revenue—what the company refers as “enterprise revenue”—generated by Shutterfly Business Solutions.

The company posted $12.61 million in enterprise revenue for the quarter, up 40.1% from $9.00 million a year earlier. It posted consumer sales of $171.27 million, up 14.1% from $150.15 million

In the company’s second-quarter earnings call with stock analysts, CEO Jeffrey Housenbold cited as an example of Shutterfly’s momentum in B2B sales a “multi-year, nine-figure” contract signed in the quarter with a Fortune 50 company. He declined to name the client, but said it had responded to Shutterfly’s increased investment in technology and services designed to help companies more efficiently produce marketing materials and to use web analytics to evaluate the impact of those marketing materials.

“We are very excited about this,” Housenbold said in the earnings call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “This is proof that the investments we are making in the enterprise technology platform are the right ones that will allow us to broaden our set of services that we are offering Fortune 1000 companies to manage their marketing collateral more efficiently.”

Shutterfly’s B2B sales are comprised primarily of four-color marketing materials ordered online and manufactured for business clients, including such companies as satellite TV provider DirectTV and hotel chains Starwood Hotels and Best Western International Inc. Shutterfly produces customized photo-enhanced marketing materials and offers a multichannel marketing platform that enables clients to manage coordinated campaigns through one or more channels including web ads, mobile text messaging, and targeted e-mail that uses a personalized web address that can include a customer’s name in the e-mail’s URL.

Shutterfly Business Solutions also provides data-management services that help business clients segment and analyze data on their targeted customers’ past buying patterns, responses to marketing campaigns and other information to manage marketing campaigns. “The same attention to detail that has made Shutterfly the choice of millions of customers is what your business will receive with SBS,” Shutterfly says.

Shutterfly also reported for the second quarter ended June 30:

● Gross profit of $87.23 million, up 15.1% from $75.81 million a year earlier;

● A net loss of $23.78 million, narrowed from $27.05 million.

For the six months ended June 30, it reported:

● Net revenue of $343.86 million, up 16.1% from $296.25 million a year earlier;

● Consumer revenue of $320.06 million, up 14.0% from $280.77 million a year earlier;

● Enterprise revenue of $23.80 million, up 53.8% from $15.47 million;

● Gross profit of $152.50 million, up 11.7% from $136.57 million.

Shutterfly is No. 50 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, which ranks companies on their annual web sales.

Sign up for a free subscription to B2BecNews, a weekly newsletter that covers technology and business trends in the growing B2B e-commerce industry. B2BecNews is published by Vertical Web Media LLC, which also publishes the monthly business magazine Internet Retailer. Follow B2BecNews editor Paul Demery on Twitter @pdemery.

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Aug 23

A new design for South Florida DCOTA

Take a walk through the Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA) in Dania Beach and it quickly becomes apparent that the complex has evolved from the bustling design hub it was pre-recession into a mixed-use complex that aims to house nearly as much office space as high-end furnishings and accessories showrooms.

With the announcement earlier this month that Chiquita Brands International is moving its banana division into 14,500 square feet in the complex, DCOTA has moved closer to an office occupancy that can sustain the amenities and maintenance costs at the sprawling center.

The center, built in 1985 and made up of three large buildings along I-95, suffered when Florida’s real estate market collapsed. Some design showrooms closed shop, others pared back, and some even moved into less expensive warehouse space nearby in an area of Hollywood that has become known as another design cluster.

While there still remains substantial vacancy, owner Charles Cohen said that eventually the 775,000-square-foot complex will house about 300,000 square feet of offices in its A and B buildings and the rest will be showrooms. New York-based Cohen Brothers Realty Corp. continues to lease the showroom space; however, the owner has hired commercial broker Cushman Wakefield to aggressively attract office users with advertised rents ranging from $28 to $30 a square foot (compared with $36 to $50 a square foot for advertised rents for showroom space). DCOTA’s largest office tenant is Chewy.com, an online pet supply company that signed a five-year lease for 48,000 square feet in August 2013.

After buying the property a decade ago, Cohen, who owns design centers in Manhattan, West Hollywood and Houston, said he realized that the South Florida destination needed to shift its focus. “It was overdeveloped for the design industry by about 200,000 to 300,000 square feet. The area just doesn’t have enough high-end showrooms to fill the capacity. We realized we needed to position it marketwise to the office user who wants the amenities of a country club type environment.”

Cohen has invested more than $30 million upgrading the center with better landscaping, lighting and improvements to common areas. The atrium in Building C is under renovation at this time. A small on-site restaurant is open on the lower level, parking is plentiful, and Cohen said he plans to add a fitness center.

Some of the office users at DCOTA now include Empire Estate Holdings, an Internet marketing firm, Avis Budget Group, the law firm of Behar Gutt Glazer, and Magic Leap, an augmented reality company with 11,500 square feet that recently announced that it is consolidating the majority of its Florida workforce into a former Motorola facility in Plantation. (The company declined to comment on what would become of its DCOTA space, but Magic Leap does have an eight-year lease that runs through 2021.)

Don Ginsburg, owner of Realty Masters Advisors in Fort Lauderdale, said DCOTA is achieving respectable office rents on par with the downtown Fort Lauderdale market. He attributes its central Broward location and ample parking to its appeal.

Cohen said newly signed leases for showroom and office space show DCOTA is moving in the right direction. Still, empty showrooms are visible throughout the complex and about 200,000 square feet of space remains vacant. “We are going to trade shows, meeting with prospects. … We are the largest owner of design showrooms and we have got the right people who know the right resources,” Cohen said.

Dedon, manufacturer of woven outdoor furniture, will become one of the new showroom tenants. The company, new to South Florida, has signed a lease for 5,300 square feet in DCOTA and will open a showroom in Building C in November. Drew Duncan, Dedon’s Southeast regional sales manager, said his company had considered going into the Miami Design and Fashion District but chose DCOTA because rents were about a third of the cost. “We’re a luxury brand so it was important we go into a luxury building,” Duncan said. Sharing space with office tenants wasn’t a concern: “It’s better to have a full building and see people in the building,” Duncan said. “Plus, the more tenants, the more it helps to keep the building maintained.”

Wilton Manors-based designer Louis Shuster, president of Shuster Design Associates, said he no longer visits DCOTA regularly as he did in the 1990s when it was in its heyday and had a certain cachet. Shuster said the interior decorating business has changed with more online shopping, and buying direct from out of state vendors, making a trip to DCOTA less necessary. “It’s just not as conducive for designers to shop there. Of course, there are favorites we love and are loyal to, but many of them have gotten smart and said, ‘We will come to you.’”

Jeff Howard, president of Howard Design Group in Miami, agreed with Shuster that the South Florida design industry has changed. Where DCOTA used to be one-stop shopping for designers, the industry has become spread out with showrooms scattered in Hollywood, Miami and its Wynwood neighborhood, he noted. “To do what I used to do in three hours in DCOTA, I now have to go three places. If I get a big job, it’s easier to go to the Los Angeles Design Center, where there are more showrooms and I can see them all in one day.”

Cohen said the commercial and residential interior design business always will be a tactile experience where decorators and clients come to a showroom to touch the product. With this in mind, his staff is trying to attract design tenants from his design centers in other cities. In the meantime, Cohen will continue to pursue office leases to fill vacancies: “I think it’s validating for us to be able to conclude lease transactions with Class A office tenants. For us, business is good and getting better.”

DCOTA

Design Center of the Americas (DCOTA)

Year built: 1985

Original developer: Marvin Danto

Sold to: Charles Cohen (Cohen Brothers realty) in 2005; modified its $185 million mortgage in 2012

Location: 1855 Griffin Road, Dania Beach, I-95 and Griffin Road, close proximity to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport

Size: 775,000 square feet on four floors

Renovated in phases: Buildings A in 2010, Building B in 2012, building C in 2015

Designer showrooms: 60

Large design tenants: Judith Norman Collection, Kravet, Donghia, Sutherland

Large office tenants: Magic Leap, Chewy.com, Mako Surgical Corp., Avis Budget Group, Chiquita Brands International (new)

Current occupancy: About 74 percent

Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/a-new-design-for-south-florida-dcota/

Aug 22

Donal O’Conghaile: Shepherd of Free Samples

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Permanent link to this article: http://homebiz2bizreview.net/internet-marketing/donal-oconghaile-shepherd-of-free-samples/

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