Next steps toward more connection security

Chromium Blog

News and developments from the open source browser project

Thursday, April 27, 2017

In January, we began our quest to improve how Chrome communicates the connection security of HTTP pages. Chrome now marks HTTP pages as “Not secure” if they have password or credit card fields. Beginning in October 2017, Chrome will show the “Not secure” warning in two additional situations: when users enter data on an HTTP page, and on all HTTP pages visited in Incognito mode.

http not secure

Treatment of HTTP pages in Chrome 62

Our plan to label HTTP sites as non-secure is taking place in gradual steps, based on increasingly broad criteria. Since the change in Chrome 56, there has been a 23% reduction in the fraction of navigations to HTTP pages with password or credit card forms on desktop, and we’re ready to take the next steps.

Passwords and credit cards are not the only types of data that should be private. Any type of data that users type into websites should not be accessible to others on the network, so starting in version 62 Chrome will show the “Not secure” warning when users type data into HTTP sites.

 

non secure in incognito mode

Treatment of HTTP pages with user-entered data in Chrome 62

When users browse Chrome with Incognito mode, they likely have increased expectations of privacy. However, HTTP browsing is not private to others on the network, so in version 62 Chrome will also warn users when visiting an HTTP page in Incognito mode.

Eventually, we plan to show the “Not secure” warning for all HTTP pages, even outside Incognito mode. We will publish updates as we approach future releases, but don’t wait to get started moving to HTTPS! HTTPS is easier and cheaper than ever before, and it enables both the best performance the web offers and powerful new features that are too sensitive for HTTP. Check out our set-up guides to get started.

Posted by Emily Schechter, Chrome Security Team

Spearhead Multimedia gas very inexpensive solutions to make your site secure.  Find out here…

Copyless Paste, a feature that provides Context-Based Text Input Suggestions, is coming to Chrome

Despite the fact that Google’s Chrome browser is the market leader in Internet browsers, Google is always working to bring additional features to millions of users in order to stay competitive. Scroll anchoring is one such feature that, after nearly 10 months in testing, was finally released to end users. But even if it takes Google months to officially release its experimental features, users can go to chrome://flags to try them out right now. Just recently we showed you how to enable the new Custom Context Menu feature in Chrome Dev or Chrome Canary, for instance. This time, we wanted to talk about a potentially exciting feature that Google is working on called copyless paste.

Copyless Paste

This new feature can be found in Chrome versions 59+, meaning users on the Chrome Dev or Chrome Canary channels can access it. All you have to do is paste the following text into your address bar: chrome://flags#enable-copyless-paste.

Just based on the description of this flag, it seems like a really smart change to potentially integrate Google Chrome with the rest of the apps on our device. The feature promises to provide suggestions for text input based on recent web browsing context, and as an example it states that if you are looking at a restaurant’s website and switch to the Google Maps app then the keyboard would display that restaurant’s name as a search suggestion.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that this flag actually works yet. I’ve tried going to numerous restaurants’ webpages and then opening the Maps app, but I never saw the text input suggestions in Gboard that the feature promised. I’ve also asked a friend running Android O to try to get this feature to work, but to no avail.

We’ve heard rumors of this feature being worked on before Android O was officially unveiled, and based on the description of the “Copy Less” feature that was exclusively provided to VentureBeat at the time, we have strong reason to suspect that this Chrome flag and the rumored feature are one and the same.

I am not exactly sure how this feature actually works under the hood (any experts in Chromium are free to chime in), but I do know that it is currently in active development and testing so it may take some time for this feature to actually start working.

We’ll be following the development of this feature to see how it pans out, and will update you if/when it starts working.

By Mishaal Rahman

The best thing about Samsung’s new Galaxy S8, aside from the design

Galaxy S8 Review
April 19th, 2017 at 11:15 AM

With just two days to go until the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are released, the verdict is in: Samsung’s new flagship smartphones are fantastic. I published my full in-depth Galaxy S8 review on Tuesday morning, and my feelings on the new flagship were quite clear. Samsung has actually managed to out-design Apple with new smartphones that not only look better than the iPhone 7 and the 7 Plus, they feel better as well thanks to Samsung’s smart curved design, which helps the phones sit more comfortably in the hand.

Of course, the new Galaxy S8 is much more than just a pretty face. It also offers a new 10nm processor and software optimizations that come closer than ever before to matching the iPhone’s performance (closer, yes, but the gap is still quite wide), as well as a ton of nifty features users will appreciate.

While the design is clearly the best thing about Samsung’s new phones, there’s plenty more to look forward to — and the best thing about the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ aside from the design is actually something people were complaining about ahead of the phones’ unveiling.

If you haven’t already read our full Galaxy S8 review, you should definitely check it out ahead of this Friday’s launch. We also followed up the review with two supplemental posts that pitted the Galaxy S8 and S8+ against their top rivals, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. In those posts, we covered 5 ways the Galaxy S8 is better than the iPhone 7 and 5 ways the iPhone 7 is better than the Galaxy S8.

There’s one terrific Galaxy S8 feature that wasn’t covered in either of those two supplemental posts, though, and it might come as a surprise to some smartphones fans.

Ahead of Samsung’s Galaxy S8 announcement last month, all of the phones specs leaked before being confirmed by Samsung. We learned that Samsung’s new flagships would be powered by next-generation 10nm processors, we learned they would have huge new Super AMOLED displays with QHD+ resolution, and we learned about everything else Samsung had in store for the new phones. Among those details was the revelation that the Galaxy S8 and S8+ would feature the exact same 12-megapixel Dual Pixel camera as the Galaxy Note 7 and the year-old Galaxy S7 and S7 edge. A number of Android fans were upset by the news.

When it comes to flagship smartphones, we’ve been trained to expect improvements each year in every key area. We want better displays, more powerful processors, bigger batteries, and of course better cameras. But in 2017, Samsung decided to use the exact same camera hardware that it has been using for the past year.

If Samsung’s flagship phones had a camera that was not on par with comparable smartphones from rival vendors, this would probably be a huge problem. But as anyone who has ever owned a Galaxy S7, S7 edge or Note 7 knows, that’s not the case at all.

Samsung’s Dual Pixel camera was one of the best in the world when it first appeared on the S7, and it’s still one of the best cameras in the world today. In fact, I would argue that its only real competition comes from the Google Pixel and the iPhone 7, both of which were release long after the Galaxy S7. Among these three phones, I think it’s impossible to name a clear winner. Also of note, Samsung says it has made several updates on the software side to help with things like low-light performance (which, by the way, was already quite impressive on the S7 and Note 7).

I’ve been carrying the Galaxy S8+ with me ever since I received my review unit last week, and I’ve been using it almost exclusively to take photos. I am thoroughly impressed. I’ve snapped all sorts of images, from outdoor shots in great lighting, to indoor close-ups, to portraits, and everything in between. Of course, I’ve also taken plenty of pictures of my dog.

Alongside battery life, the camera is obviously one of the most important features of a smartphone. Most people don’t even own a dedicated camera anymore because there’s really no reason to… especially if you have a Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8+. The Infinity Display design is definitely the best thing about Samsung’s new flagship smartphones, but the camera truly is a close second.

Are you tired of your inbox filling with spam?

too much spam

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could also filter email you want to read later, but not have it clutter your inbox?

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After a few years of use, I recommend Spamdrain.  It captures 99% of the spam I would otherwise have to deal with on all of my devices.  I’ve tried numerous spam filters over the years and this, is by far, the best, hands off, automated system I’ve found.

It also holds as “Marketing/Newsletter”, email I may want to read later like ads from companies I like and information I may want to see at another time.

You get all of this for $16.99 annually.

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Google is fixing a Chrome flaw that makes phishing easy

Luckily, Internet Explorer and Safari are already immune.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

As we’ve seen in the past, a strong password doesn’t automatically make people safe online. Often, a specially-crafted email is all that it takes for someone to hand over their digital life to a malicious third party. Although email services are doing more to filter phishing emails before they reach your inbox, a decades-old unicode technique is making it hard for users to determine whether a destination is legitimate. Fortunately, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer and Safari are immune and Google is just days away from patching the flaw.

Thanks to something called Punycode, phishers are able to register bogus domains that look identical to a real website. Take this proof-of-concept from software engineer Xudong Zheng, where apple.com won’t take you to a store selling Macs, iPhones and iPads. The real website is actually https://www.xn--80ak6aa92e.com.

The xn-- prefix tells browsers like Chrome that the domain uses ASCII compatible encoding. It allows companies and individuals from countries with non-traditional alphabets to register a domain that contains A-Z characters but renders in their local language. For example, the domain “xn--s7y.co” would appear as “短.co” in Chinese browsers.

The issue was first reported to Google and Mozilla on January 20th and Google has issued a fix in Chrome 59. It’s currently live in the Canary (advance beta release) but the search giant will likely make it available to all Chrome users soon.

Firefox users, on the other hand, may have to take things into their own hands. Mozilla is still undecided as to whether it will implement a dedicated patch. For now, users can plug about:config into the address bar and change the network.IDN_show_punycode attribute to true. That enables Firefox to show international domains in their Punycode form, making it easier to detect whether a website is phony.

From Engadget  https://www.engadget.com/

Leaks reveal the 10 most exciting new features coming to Samsung’s Galaxy S8

While Apple fans still have about six months of thumb-twiddling left to endure before the hotly anticipated new iPhone 8 is finally revealed, Android lovers are now just two weeks away from Samsung’s official Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ unveiling. Of course, BGR already exclusively unveiled the Galaxy S8 earlier this month, albeit unofficially, and there really isn’t much mystery left at this point. In fact, a series of recent leaks have already detailed nearly all of the most exciting new features coming to Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ flagship phones, and in this post we’ll run through what are shaping up to be the 10 hottest new features we can expect from Samsung’s new Galaxy S handsets.

Design

Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will boast what is unquestionably the most elegant and impressive smartphone design we’ve seen thus far. The oblong home button will be removed from the front of the phones, and the bezels above and below the screens will be narrowed significantly. As a result, the S8 duo will come closer than any widely available phones ever have to achieving the all-screen design we’re all waiting for.

Display sizes

Beyond the fact that the screens will take up more of the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ faces than any previous-generation models, they’ll also be substantially bigger without increasing the overall footprints of the devices themselves. The smaller Galaxy S8 will have a 5.8-inch screen stuffed into a phone that’s just a bit larger than Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone 7, and the Galaxy S8+ will cram a massive 6.2-inch display into a phone that’s roughly the same size as the 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus.

You can see size comparisons right here.

Display resolution

So we know the designs are impressive and we know the displays will be larger, but there’s more good news: both phones will reportedly pack WQHD+ resolution. That means Samsung is cramming a whopping 2960 x 2400 pixels into its new flagship smartphones.

Curved display on both models

One last bit about Samsung’s new Super AMOLED screens — they’ll both be curved this time around. Everyone loves the rounded front and back on Samsung phones like the Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy S7 edge, but last year Samsung included a flat display panel in the smaller Galaxy S7 model. In 2017, that will no longer be the case.

Iris scanner

Another very cool feature coming over to the Galaxy S8 lineup from the Galaxy Note 7 is the iris scanner, which will allow Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ users to unlock their phones with a quick eye scan. The S8 duo might also include the Note 7’s secure folder, so the iris scanner will likely be able to grant users access there as well.

Upgraded cameras

Samsung’s Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy Note 7 all shared the same rear camera in 2016, and it was one of the best cameras that has ever appeared on a smartphone. This year’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are expected to include even better 12-megapixel Dual Pixel rear cameras, and the front-facing 8-megapixel cameras are rumored to offer improved low-light performance as well.

Desktop mode

Samsung’s new Galaxy phones will include a nifty new feature that allows users to plug them into a dock in order to power a new desktop experience. When connected to a monitor, users will be able to run Android apps on the big screen and multitask to their heart’s content.

This is an interesting one, since a similar feature on another smartphone has completely failed to draw any attention whatsoever. Of course, that other smartphone was the Windows-powered HP Elite x3, and we established a long time ago that no one wants Windows on a smartphone.

New processors

The Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will be the first new smartphones from a big-name vendor to be powered by next-generation 10nm processors. In the US, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 will run the show, and the international S8 models will be powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 8895 chipset. We can expect more power and better efficiency than we’ve ever seen in any Samsung smartphone to date.

Beast mode

Speaking of power, the new Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ will reportedly include a special new mode that cranks up the juice and delivers maximum sustained performance when the user wants more power at his or her fingertips.

Better battery life

Last but most certainly not least, we can expect bigger batteries (reports say 3,000 mAh in the Galaxy S8 and 3,500 mAh in the S8+) as well as  faster charging from Samsung’s new flagship phones, in addition to better efficiency from the new 10nm processors.

Ten Simple Ways to Improve Any Blog Post in Minutes

Posted By Ali Luke 9th of March 2017 Writing Content 13

Ten Simple Ways to Improve Any Blog Post in Minutes | ProBlogger

Are your blog posts as good as you want them to be?

Perhaps you don’t seem to get many comments or shares. Or maybe your recent posts are great, but you feel like your older ones are lacking something.

You don’t need to rewrite each post from scratch to improve it. Often, a few small tweaks can make a dramatic difference.

Here are ten of my favorites to try out today:

1: Make the Title Stronger

Some bloggers have the knack of writing powerful titles; others struggle. If you find yourself going with the first title that comes to mind, it might need a bit of work.

Good titles grab attention and make a clear promise to the reader. Compare:

Write Better Blog Posts – not specific enough, doesn’t make it clear what the reader will gain from reading this post

Ten Ways to Improve Your Blog Posts – better, though still a little too generic

Ten Simple Ways to Improve Any Blog Post In Minutes – much more specific, makes a clear promise, appeals to readers who want quick and easy solutions rather than lots of theory or detail!

2: Shorten the Introduction

When you’re drafting a post, it’s easy to let the introduction drag on a bit too long, as you get into the swing of writing. That’s absolutely fine … but you don’t need to leave everything you’ve written in place!

Is your introduction gripping and engaging? Does each sentence draw the reader into your post, maybe by giving them a vivid picture of the problem they want to move away from – or a  promise of what’s about to come?

If your introduction seems to ramble a bit, cut it down. Readers rarely need to know exactly where the inspiration for a particular post came from, for instance.

3: Add More Images

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a blog post that had too many images! A large image at the start is always a great way to draw the reader’s eye … but you can also use images along the way to break up the text and to add useful information (e.g. screenshots, book covers).

If you’re struggling to find good images to use, check out Where to Find Free Images Online for links to lots of great sites.

4: Create More White Space

“White space” is all the stuff around the words of your post. It might seem an odd thing to think about when you’re trying to improve the post itself – but white space makes it easier for readers to engage with your actual words.

You can add more white space by:

  • Writing in short paragraphs.
  • Using bullet-pointed lists (like this one!)
  • Including quotes (see #5)
  • Using subheadings (see #7)

If the text on your blog seems a little cramped or difficult to read in general, consider increasing the font size and/or the spacing between lines. You can do this by switching to a different WordPress theme, by adjusting your theme options (for some premium themes), or by editing your Style.css file.

5: Include a Quote

Quotes from other people can help support the points you’re making in your post. You might use a quote to kick-start your post, or you might include one part-way through.

Normally, quotes are set in “blockquote” formatting, which will often be indented on the left-hand side – creating extra white space.

For lots more on using quotes in your posts, check out The Why, How and When of Using Quotations on Your Blog.

6: Add Links to Other Posts

Have you written about a related topic in the past? Include a link – either part way through your post, where it’s relevant, or at the end of your post in a “Further Reading” or “Next Steps” section. This is a great way to draw people further into your blog – and it can be very handy if you want to cater for readers of different ability levels; you can link to basic information and definitions for beginners and/or to more advanced posts for experienced readers.

Of course, you can link to other people’s posts too: this provides just as much value to your reader and also helps you build relationships with other bloggers (who’ll almost certainly be delighted by the link)!

7: Use Subheadings as Signposts

Like it or not, most readers will not read every word of your carefully crafted post. They’ll scan through for the parts that are most relevant to them.

Subheadings are very helpful for these readers: they “signpost” what’s coming up. If you haven’t used subheadings, or if yours aren’t very clear, go through and make sure that each key section of your post begins with a subheading that explains, briefly, what you’re about to cover. (In this post, for instance, each item in the list begins with a subheading.)

8: Add a Conclusion

Is your post rounded off nicely … or does it just stop? Your conclusion is just as important as your introduction: it ends your post neatly, giving readers a sense of completion – and it also often prompts readers to take action.

If you’re not sure how to finish your post, you could:

  • Invite comments (“Do you have any tips to add? Leave a comment below!”)
  • Encourage readers to implement what you’ve written about. (“Try just one of these ideas this week…”)
  • Offer extra resources (“Click here to download my .pdf on…”)

9: Proofread Carefully

One very simple way to improve your posts is to proofread them – carefully. It’s so easy for typos to sneak in, and your spellchecker won’t necessarily catch all of these. If, like me, you tend to leave [notes to self] when you’re drafting, do make sure you’ve gone through and filled in any blanks!

If you’ve written a particularly important post (perhaps a guest piece for a large blog or a post that you’re going to be sending a lot of traffic to), then it might be worth asking another blogger to help proofread: sometimes, fresh eyes can spot mistakes that you missed.

10: Categorize it Correctly

This might seem like a small thing, but it can make quite a difference to readers: make sure you’ve categorized your post correctly. Definitely avoid using “uncategorized” as a catch-all default – this tends to look haphazard and unprofessional.

Not all blogs use categories as navigational tools, but if your does, it’s particularly important to check that you’ve put your post in a sensible category. That way, people interested in that particular aspect of your topic can easily find past posts that are relevant to them.

 

Improving your blog posts doesn’t have to mean spending hours rewriting them: a few little tweaks can really make them shine.

You don’t need to do all ten of these for every single post on your blog, of course. Instead, pick one or two that you’re going to try out this week (either when you work on a new post or when sprucing up an old one).

If you’ve got any quick blog post fixes to add to the list, too, drop a comment!

Reddit
About Ali Luke

Ali Luke blogs about the art, craft and business of writing at Aliventures. She has two free ebooks on blogging, Ten Powerful Ways to Make Your Blog Posts Stronger and Ten Easy Ways to Attract Readers to Your Blog … And Keep Them There : to get your copies of those, justsign up for her weekly e-newsletter (also free!) here.

Google Gives A Ranking Boost To Secure HTTPS/SSL Sites

google-ssl-https-secure

Google Gives Secure Sites A Ranking Boost

Google has announced that going HTTPS — adding a SSL 2048-bit key certificate on your site — will give you a minor ranking boost.

Google says this gives websites a small ranking benefit, only counting as a “very lightweight signal” within the overall ranking algorithm. In fact, Google said this carries “less weight than other signals such as high-quality content.” Based on their tests, Google says it has an impact on “fewer than 1% of global queries” but said they “may decide to strengthen” the signal because they want to “encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

Google also said based on their tests for the past few months, the HTTPS signal showed “positive results” in terms of relevancy and ranking in Google’s search results.

As you may remember, at SMX West, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of search spam, said he’d love to make SSL a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm. Well, less than five months after that announcement, and while he is on an extended leave, Google is making it a reality.

SEO Concerns With Going HTTPS

Should you be concerned when switching from your HTTP to HTTPS site for SEO purposes? Not so much. Google has been telling webmasters it is safe to do so for years. But you need to take the proper steps to ensure your traffic doesn’t suffer. That means make sure to communicate to Google that you moved your site from HTTP to HTTPS. Google promises to release more documentation in the future, but for now has provided the following tips:

  • Decide the kind of certificate you need: single, multi-domain, or wildcard certificate
  • Use 2048-bit key certificates
  • Use relative URLs for resources that reside on the same secure domain
  • Use protocol relative URLs for all other domains
  • Check out our site move article for more guidelines on how to change your website’s address
  • Don’t block your HTTPS site from crawling using robots.txt
  • Allow indexing of your pages by search engines where possible. Avoid the noindex robots meta tag.

Google has also updated Google Webmaster Tools to better handle HTTPS sites and the reporting on them.

One last thing: You will want to make sure to track your HTTP to HTTPS migration carefully in your analytics software and within Google Webmaster Tools.

Postscript: Google webmaster trends analyst John Mueller is also answering some questions about the change here on Google+.

Spearhead Multimedia offers multiple choices for SSL Certificates.  Get yours here today.

From http://searchengineland.com 

Selling Older Customers Short

Marketing to baby boomers

A recent television commercial for Esurance introduces viewers to Beatrice, a gray-haired woman with oversized glasses and an unfashionable scarf who is identified as an “offline over-sharer.” Beatrice brags to two friends that she saves 15 percent in 15 minutes on her car insurance– as well as “a ton of time” posting her vacation photos on her “wall” rather than mailing them. She actually has taped snapshots all over her living room wall.

When one friend counters that she saves more than that in half that time (presumably from Esurance), Beatrice is miffed. “I unfriend you,” she blurts out.
” That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works,” groans her friend, before the narrator introduces Esurance and the company’s slogan: “Welcome to the modern world.”
Get it? Though 28 million people over 55 already subscribe to Facebook and boomers buy twice as much online as younger adults, according to Forrester Research, cranky, befuddled Beatrice can’t fathom social media.
Responding to complaints about the spot, Ellen Hall, a blogger for Esurance (which vows in its mission statement to make “people’s lives a little better– by valuing our customers”), wrote in a post that the ad’s intent “is to show that it can be difficult to keep pace with technology these days (no matter your age).”.
Negative stereotypes.
But the company’s underlying message is that your elders are idiots, so buy our product to be cool and not like them. The campaign amounts to a self-inflicted wound, given that consumers over 50 buy nearly five times as many new cars (which require insurance) than does the prized 18-to-34 demographic.
Chuck Schroeder, 71, founder of Senior Creative People, a consulting firm that specializes in communicating with mature consumers, worries that many advertisers depict older adults as decrepit Luddites “still looking at their VCR flashing ’12,’ on and off.”.
As an example, he cites Taco Bell’s new spokes-codgers, Harold and Lenny, who evoke Statler and Waldorf, the grumpy Muppets in the theater balcony.
” Today they’re eating Waffle Tacos, tomorrow they’re loitering,” warns Taco Bell’s schlubby pitchman. Of course, he sits on a park bench and wears a hearing aid. Meanwhile, attractive millennials eat “next-generation” breakfast sandwiches nearby. Restaurant industry analyst Technomic Inc. estimates that nearly 1 out of 5 of the fast food chain’s regular customers are 55 and older, but never mind them.
Brainwashed by the culture.
Taco Bell and Esurance are outliers; far more advertisers commit sins of omission, ignoring the 50-plus demographic. “Older people are kind of written off by advertisers, as if these people are not important and don’t buy anything,” says Dilip V. Jeste, associate dean for healthy aging and senior care at the University of California, San Diego. “It’s unfortunate that older people themselves buy into it.”.
The 50-plus market that many advertisers ignore or insult is not big: It is enormous. According to a Nielsen study, by 2017 boomers will control 70 percent of the country’s disposable income. From 2007 to 2010– tough economic times– retirees were one of the few demographic groups to experience stable or rising incomes. Nearly 60 percent of homeowners over 65 are not weighed down by mortgages, compared with just 11 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds. And boomers account for 80 percent of America’s luxury travel spending.
While boomers and the “greatest generation” watch more live television than younger viewers, many older adults unsurprisingly tune out ads; more than half of older adults surveyed by the advertising firm GlynnDevins do not believe ads portray them as “people to be respected.”.
Paltry marketing budgets aimed at older consumers reinforce the perception that aging consumers lack value. The Nielsen study revealed that “less than 5 percent of advertising dollars” target adults ages 35 to 64, and cites age 49 as the “cut-off,” when many marketers stop courting customers. When boomers reached middle age, says Lori Bitter, president of The Business of Aging, a consulting firm in Alameda, Calif., advertisers decided “they weren’t relevant.”.
Call it the Ponce de León Effect– the obsessive search for a fountain of youthful consumers. Bitter, who characterized the lack of respect for older buyers as “bizarre,” recently advised a major company in the packaged-goods industry. The company had copious data proving that its customer base is between 47 and 70. Nevertheless, Bitter’s client worried that targeting that market would make its brand look old. “We are a youth- and beauty-focused culture,” Bitter says. “We sort of culturally brainwash ourselves.”.
Brazen ageism.
Nearly two-thirds of companies, according to a 2005 survey, “had no specific plans for targeting boomers or 50-plus consumers in their product development, marketing or advertising.”.
Aside from entrenched societal ageism, reasons for this include outdated assumptions that older consumers are cheap and so brand-loyal that they are immune to advertising. And many agencies have no place for older creative talents.
In 2012, Ad Age asked Nancee Martin, director of talent for TBWA Worldwide, to assess job opportunities for older copywriters. She was dismissive. “There’s a commonly held conception that to be a creative, you need to know what’s hot, what music is cool, what website is all the rage– and with age you become less aware of those things.”.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median age of advertising employees is 39.3– about three years younger than all workers. But many creatives at big ad agencies feel career prospects waning by their mid-30s.
Rob Baiocco, 50, cofounder of the Baiocco and Maldari Connection, recalls working on the coveted Captain Morgan rum account in his 30s while an executive creative director at Grey Advertising, but “then I got a little bit older. Some of the people that were looking at the brand probably thought, ‘You know, let’s get some younger guys.’” Baiocco sensed pressure and resigned the account. Big agencies, he says, often force out aging creatives or assign them “less sexy” accounts like pharmaceuticals.
Boomers spend– and change brands.
Agencies often associate success with award-winning spots that sway young people, says Bob Hoffman, author of 101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising. “Nobody in the advertising business and very few people in the marketing business ever built a career on successfully talking to 60-year-olds.”.
Despite the youth worship at many ad agencies, Ken Dychtwald, CEO of the consulting firm Age Wave, believes many marketers live in the past. Lifetime brand loyalty “was once a reality, but now it’s just a myth,” he says. Previous generations often selected a brand between the ages of 15 and 25 and never switched. That became the target age for advertisers.
But that has changed. A study in 2007 found that 70 percent of boomers would change home appliance brands and slightly more would switch clothing preferences. Brent Bouchez, 56, cofounder of the ad agency Bouchez Page, calls boomers “brand-promiscuous.”.
A 2014 survey by Adroit Digital found most millennials had roughly the same level of brand loyalty as their parents. In fact, the survey found that 24 percent of respondents expressed more brand loyalty than their parents.
Nielsen’s study, a collaboration with the ad agency BoomAgers, debunks the myth that older people are tightwads. Boomers, it says, “were born into a post-war culture of affluence and optimism.” With no firsthand experience of the Great Depression, boomers have always spent freely and are not stopping now. “Boomers make the most money and spend what they make,” concludes the study.

A tale of two vodkas.
Some innovative companies, including Apple, understand that. Boomers account for 41 percent of people who buy Apple computers, notes Nielsen, and commercials for the iPad reflect this. Its campaign stars the device and a diverse supporting cast using it. “There was a baby and there was a 70-year-old man,” says Lori Bitter, pointing out an admirable strategy that “doesn’t disown anyone.” The message “is timeless and ageless.”.
Older adults might want to be youthful, “but they don’t want to be like young people,” Bob Hoffman says. “People over 50 have their own idea about what being youthful is– and it’s not like being Miley Cyrus or Justin Bieber.”.
Brent Bouchez concurs. He offers two liquor ads as neat examples of strategies that attract or repel the more than 1 of 4 vodka drinkers over 55. Ketel One’s “Tonight” ad shows attractive twentysomethings at a party– plenty of carousing and bro hugs set to a rocking soundtrack. “Beautiful ad,” he allows. But older viewers, he bets, “don’t want to go to that party.”.
Grey Goose, on the other hand, invited a broader range of consumers to its 60-second party. Its “Discerning Taste: Oysters” commercial is set on a sailboat. Close-ups show hedonistic vignettes– legs intertwined, massages, the cracking of lobster, the clinking of icy glasses. “You get glimpses of people; I can’t tell you how old they are,” Bouchez says. “The 50-year-old goes, ‘Man, that’s my life now,’ and the 25-year-old often says, ‘OK, that may not be my life, but I want to get there.’ You can target older and bring younger along. Whereas, if you target younger, you probably won’t bring older along.”.
Several recent campaigns actually venerate aging. To celebrate Cole Haan’s birthday last year, the shoe company commissioned glamorous portraits featuring icons born in 1928, when the company was founded. Dodge followed suit to mark its 100th year in business, with an online commercial that offers snippets of unconventional wisdom from centenarians. The ad uses the tagline, “You learn a lot in 100 years.”.
Swiffer’s sell.
Chuck Schroeder of Senior Creative People praises the popular “Swiffer Effect” campaign, which follows a couple in their 90s, Lee and Morty Kaufman, as they clean their tidy Valley Stream, N.Y., house. The advertisers, says Schroeder, “are not making fun of Morty and his wife; they’re living with Morty and his wife.” A spokeswoman for Swiffer, Elizabeth Ming, says the ad resonates with Americans of all ages because many consumers “aspire” to have a similar loving, enduring relationship. Schroeder sees the Swiffer ad campaign as evidence that older consumers may be starting to get the respect they deserve. He predicts more companies will decide that “they have to sell stuff to the people who have the money to buy– and that is going to be the major overhaul in what we see.”.

From our marketing partner at: http://boomermediaagency.com

How to Protect Your Company’s Reputation on Social Media

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Posted: February 6, 2017 | Social Media Marketing

Warren Buffet once said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it.” It’s true, many brands invest valuable time and resources into building their online reputations over the years, but sometimes it takes just one foolish mistake for it to come crashing down. From account hacks to controversial statements, brands often struggle to recover from embarrassing social media blunders.

In fact, social media marketing requires a lot of patience and maintenance. Once you’ve established your social media presence and are generating engagement and measuring your ROI, the most important stage is to protect your hard work. Companies well-versed in social media marketing have taken all these steps to grow and establish their brand’s online presence, but are they doing enough to protect it? Monitoring and protecting your social media presence from decline or extinction is just as pivotal as demonstrating it in the first place.

Every company that engages in social media marketing needs to uphold a strong and credible reputation while looking for ways to continuously improve it. Controversial posts, account hacks, and inadvertent mistakes are all examples of threats that could harm your brand’s reputation. Luckily for marketers, many of these troubling factors are avoidable or correctable. To protect your social media reputation, you must have a careful eye for potential problems, a plan for handling crises, and a team you trust to write and manage the content. Here are three common mistakes that plague social media marketers and the best ways to avoid them:

1. Unsupervised Content Publishing

Imagine a situation where multiple employees have access to your corporate social accounts and one member accidently posts an image with poor taste that was meant to go on their personal profile. If you have a large and distributed social media team, an incident like this is more likely to occur and will require major damage control. In fact, something very similar happened to US Airways when their employee inadvertently tweeted an inappropriate image as a response to a customer complaint. This reply went out from the company’s official Twitter account, and worse, it stayed up for over an hour before being deleted! By the time US Airways apologized, it was too late and the damage had been done.

One way to prevent this from happening is by controlling the roles and permissions of your social media accounts. For example, Facebook allows you to assign different roles to different employees including admin, editor, moderator, advertiser, and analyst. Simply go to your Facebook Business Manager page and follow the steps listed. For Twitter, you can use the “Teams” feature on TweetDeck to control who can be granted access as an owner, admin, or a contributor. For LinkedIn, another popular social platform, there are limited options for managing team roles—either you’re an admin or not—but you can avoid posting mishaps by only granting admin roles to select members in your team.

 

If you’re looking to take the level of security a step higher, consider adopting a social media management platform that will allow you to manage highly distributed social media teams and protect your data. This way, you’ll ensure that each employee has the level of access necessary for their role (e.g. administrator, contributor, or editor) and prevent employees from posting content that falls outside of corporate guidelines.

2. Controversial Content

Even if you’ve avoided personal content from being shared with your company’s followers, there’s still a possibility that controversial content will slip through the cracks. For example, if you’re using artificial intelligence, then things can get ugly. This is a lesson that Microsoft quickly learned after their newly launched A.I. bot “Tay” was shut down after making offensive and racist statements.

But since a situation like this isn’t likely to happen to everyone, it is, at the very least, imperative that social media managers understand right from wrong when it comes to writing and posting content, which should not be offensive or incite a damaging reputation. Those who manage social media should also be trained on handling negative mentions, aggressive commenters, or unhappy customers so they are prepared for whatever comes their way. It’s also a good idea to create a social media escalation policy to indicate who should respond and how for these unique situations.

3. Account Hacks

Online hacking has become a sharper reality on social media. It can also have adverse effects on all strides a company has made in trying to portray a positive brand image and engaging potential and existing customers. That’s why you need to tightly guard your social accounts by implementing some of these simple tricks:

  • Keep your passwords complex and frequently change them. This is especially important after an employee who had access leaves the company. A simple trick to creating robust passwords is to turn letters into look-alike numbers or symbols, for example ‘O’ can become the number ‘0’ and an ‘a’ can become an ‘@’ sign.
  • Review social media platforms’ privacy settings. Keep an eye out for blogs published by Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook to stay on top of their new updates.
  • Turn on notifications to be alerted about suspicious activity. Implementing a system like LogDog will ensure that your Facebook and Twitter profiles are constantly monitored for suspicious activity such as hacking or identity theft. In case something does happen, they will immediately alert you so you’re ready to take action.

Following the general guidelines of a smart social media strategy will help you create safe content that engages your audience, leads them to a solution you’re offering, and forges the essential relationship for generating sales. The founding rule of social media marketing is to expand your reach and communicate your company’s core message. By sticking to these values and implementing an effective strategy, you can protect your social media reputation and ensure it doesn’t decrease or spin out of control.

Have you ever had a social media crisis? How did you recover? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

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