Will Online Apps Prevent Consumer Waste Or Embolden Customers To Buy More Stuff?

If Apps using artificial intelligence help us all use less, share more, recycle things to others – then, will this hurt retailers and retailing due to reduced consumption? Will it prevent all the discarded waste, underutilized stuff we buy and own? Many believe it will. Take the sharing economy companies with popular apps; Lift, AirBnB, NetJet, Uber and other such concepts. Many corporations that build or manufacture vacation homes, hotels, automobiles and corporate jets are worried about their future, they see opportunities but also decreased volume, loss of economies of scale, overall "pie" reduction even if they garner a larger piece of that pie (Market Share) in such a future.

If everyone shares cars, aircraft, extra rooms, then of course; fewer rooms will be rented, and aircraft and cars purchased. This has economic implications of course, manufacturing and hospitality jobs for instance. Still, it provides efficiency to consumers, so, less waste, lower costs (due to sharing) and that is a plus positive for quality of life and higher standard of living – no need to buy an expensive car, share a car with others, or buy a corporate jet, share instead. Makes sense (cents) right, no actually it makes dollars.

Indeed the very same new communication technology to bring buyers and sellers together; Artificially Apps also make it easier for consumers to buy, and since consumers enjoy buying, this creates more purchases, more spending, and more consumerism. More consumerism means more redundancy, more waste, right? Sure, when capitalism speeds up its efficiency of exchange through digital money transfer, instance purchases, immediate delivery – we find more abundance due to increase in the ease of trade.

So, on one hand we have a threat to jobs and big changes to industries and certain sectors of our economy due to our new apps and smartphone mobile technology – and, then on the other hand we have a tool to help sell more stuff, faster and make more revenue and less cost, allowing corporations to enjoy increase shareholder's equity and quarterly profits while passing on some of that savings in lower prices to consumers.

When consumers buy more stuff, their homes fill up with more junk and each year a portion of the cluster gets donated to the local Thrift Stores. So, we should see more items that are bought by way of customer rewards programs, and apps from a certain sellers that have perfected that game. Okay so, we should be watching for lots of cheap Chinese made consumer goods showing up in mass at the second hand stores. While larger items like cars, planes, and time shares will decrease in the next couple of decades "IF" these current trends continue. Please consider all this.

Do Alt and Title Attributes Help With SEO?

A highly talked about topic is the SEO world is, “Do Alt and Title Attributes Help with SEO?” Well to help shed a little light on this topic, I did some research and came up with a few good conclusions. I’m not suggesting these are 100% accurate but from my initial research they seem to be right on target. I welcome all other SEO experts to share their opinions on this topic by posting their comments – because as we all know, every little bit of information can help us all.

Well to start, I want to provide a brief introduction of each attribute to help you understand their “intended” purpose.

The alt attribute is, popularly and incorrectly referred to as an alt tag and is commonly misunderstood to provide a tool-tip for an image. Both of these are incorrect. First of all, the alt attribute is an attribute and not a tag. The alt attribute was always intended to provide alternative information about an element and is generally required for image and image maps and is not meant to be used to display a tool-tip. The alt attribute, can be used for the img, area, and input elements to help provide alternative information to users who cannot display that element in their browser. As an example, here is how you would define an alt attribute for an image: <img src=”imagepath.gif” alt=”this is our company logo”>. If the image is not displayed the text, “this is our company logo” will be displayed in the place of the image.

The title attribute, on the other hand, is meant to provide additional information about an element, which is displayed as a tool-tip by most graphical browsers. The title attribute can be used to describe any HTML element except for base, basefont, head, html, meta, param, script, and title.

An excellent use for the title attribute is to provide descriptive text within an anchor tag to let the users know where the link will direct them if they click on it. When the user places their mouse over the link, it will display a small tool-tip displaying the title text that you’ve provided. An example would be

So as you can see the alt and title attributes have different purposes but how do they affect SEO? This is the true question we all want to know and understand. Do they help with SEO or are they simply ignored by the search engines? I tested several different scenarios, all in Google, and after my research I’ve come to the following conclusions.

Alt attributes seem to be picked up by Google, whether or not there was a link within that element. Some SEO experts have mentioned that if there is no link, then the alt attribute would not be indexed… from my research I’ve found this to be false.

Going further, I noticed in one testing scenario, if there was an image with an alt attribute and a link to a completely other site, that other site was also indexed by Google when searching for the text within the alt attribute. It was difficult for me to verify this multiple times but I definitely verified it in one testing scenario.

I also took this one step further and analyzed my results with what Google Images was displaying. I immediately noticed that Google sometimes takes the alt attribute text and provides this text as the description for the image in Google Images, something that is very valuable to know and understand when doing SEO for your website.

In all of my testing scenarios, the title attribute do not seem to be picked up by Google and adding a link to that element did not seem to affect this result at all. If you really think about it, this makes complete sense. Since you can place title attributes in almost every element of a website, it would be very easy for a user to affect the search engines by keyword stuffing throughout their web pages, something that Google and the other major players do not want, hence why title attributes do not help with SEO.

In my opinion, you should use the title attribute to help with your user’s experience and not with SEO. Since tool-tips provide more useful information to the user about images, links, fields and much more, you will help your users to understand what is happening around the web page.

So from my testing I’ve determined that a title attribute is meant to provide tool-tips to the user for user experience, whereas the alt attribute is helpful in terms of providing alternative information to the user when their browser cannot display an image or input element and helping to increase the SEO of a website. My recommendation is to pay close attention to when, where and how you are using your alt attributes. If they help with SEO, then you should pay close attention to what you are adding.

When adding images always be sure to add an alt attribute to the code of each image. If you do not have one, then just specify a blank one, such as alt=”". Also, be sure to add alternative text that is relevant to that image, the content on that page and be sure not to specify an alt attribute greater than 100 characters in length, as this may be perceived as spamming.

I hope you find my brief overview on the topic of, “Do Alt and Title Attributes Help with SEO?” to be beneficial for you and your business. I’m sure one could dive deep into this topic, spending weeks determining the differences between how Google, Yahoo! and the other major search engines handle title and alt attributes with regards to SEO for a website.

I welcome all comments and/or feedback.

How to Select the Best Mobile Payment Application

Mobile point-of-sale (POS) solutions enable merchants to accept credit card payments where it is most convenient for their customers. Mobile payments allow merchants to accept and process credit card payments in the aisle, outside the store or anyplace customers prefer to pay. Small business owners or large enterprise merchants with a mobile sales team or non-traditional storefronts can expand their business and increase revenue by accepting mobile credit card payments using their existing smart phone.

Mobile POS systems are setting a new standard in convenience and are easy to implement and support. Merchants equipped with an iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile or Google Android device can submit, authorize and settle transactions quickly and securely.

Mobile POS systems offer several advantages:

  • Decrease Processing Cost- Merchant can lower their processing cost by using a single merchant account to accept retail and mobile payments.
  • Customer Satisfaction- Improve the customer experience by offering multiple payment options.
  • Flexibility- Mobile transactions allow merchants to take your storefront anywhere you go.
  • Stability and Reliability- Mobile POS software rivals those of the largest e-commerce, trading, and portal Web sites. Mobile POS applications can handle millions of transactions every month.

Lower Entry Cost

Considering that most people would rather lose their wallet than misplace their cell phone, it comes as no surprise that the mobile platform is quickly becoming a new payment option for small business owners. For many, our cell phone never leaves our side. It maintains its place at the dinner table, is easily accessible on your belt clip or in your pocket, and often, somehow it even manages to end up sharing your pillow at night. Today, cost conscience merchants can accept credit card payments without purchase traditional point-of-sale equipment or paying for expensive system customizations.

Market Expansion

Mobile POS solutions are priced for the small business owner and independent sales representative. Merchants can purchase a quality smart phone payment application from $0-$29.95. Questions to ask your mobile payment provider:

· Is the mobile application PCI compliant?

· Does the application support both small and large payments?

· Does the system require a payment gateway service? If so, recognize payment gateways require an additional recurring monthly fee.

· Does the application support swipe and non swipe transactions? Swipe transactions provide lower processing fees.

· What card readers are supported?

· Does the card reader support data encryption?

· Does your system provide online statements for viewing customer transactions?

· What mobile phones are supported?

· Does the system ensure no customer payment information is stored on the cell phone?

· What are all the fees associated with accepting payment?

· How quickly are customer payments funded to the merchant’s bank account?

· What is the license agreement? Specifically can the merchant load the mobile payment application on multiple devices?

We’ll undoubtedly see many mobile application providers come out of the woodwork as the industry matures. However, merchants should look for a mobile payment provider with multiple years of experience in the payment processing industry.

Top Mobile Payment Applications

1. MobileAuthorize (Google Android, BlackBerry, iPhone/iTouch, Windows Mobile)

2. iPayPOS (iPhone)

3. RoadMerchant (BlackBerry)

4. MobileMerchant (iPhone, Windows Mobile)

Be True To Your Finances

Money will never be enough. Whether you earn $100 or more there will always be room for more and more needs and wants in your life. Currently I earn twice as much as I used to earn two Years ago but my expenses are also twice as much. If you do not watch out on the trend you take with your needs and your income, you will get frustrated and think the problem is with money yet you are the one causing the problem.

I prayed for wisdom on how to spend wisely to avoid pitfalls and I got help. I have not reached the peak but so far I am very happy with the way I manage my finances. At this point in time I will give you tips on how to manage your needs and wants in regards to money and avoid going overboard. The secret is to live within your means and this is how

1. Write down your daily needs and wants that you spend on and divide the needs and wants into three categories; Daily, Weekly and Monthly

2. Beside each category write down the needs and wants and how much you spend on them. Be honest with yourself do not underestimate or overestimate, you have to be on point. If you over/under estimate you will not make it. Prices do not change within a short period of time so you will have to go to a grocery shop or supermarket to get the exact price of the commodity you buy daily, weekly or monthly.

3. Find totals for each category, for example, your daily category must be multiplied by thirty for you to know how much you spend in a month and the weekly budget by four. Add up your totals and see how much you spend.

4. If your budget exceeds what you earn, then you have to review your needs and wants and be disciplined enough to reduce your wants at this moment and check whether your needs may also be overboard. If you find that your needs are expensive, then you should find a place where the same needs can be bought less expensive, for example; instead of buying tomatoes or other raw vegetables and fruits from a supermarket try getting them from a local vendor. If the house you are staying in is eating up your money move to a descent less expensive apartment.

5. Stick to this budget and consult it regularly, go back and check whether you are on track or off track. Try this for just a month and you will see a very big positive difference and you will even manage to save money.