Man shot dead in Lucknow after train blast in M.P.

first_imgA day before the last phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh, nine persons were injured in a blast in the general coach of the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train near Jabdi in Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday.Hours after the incident, three terror suspects each were arrested in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and Saifullah, a suspect holed up in a building in Lucknow, was killed after an encounter lasting several hours. Police were trying to secure two of his associates, Azhar Khan and Ghous Md. Khan.A source told The Hindu  that the module was inspired by the Islamic State (IS) and the accused were getting directions from their handler who is not from India. The module was under watch for several months.Also Read Police on terror trailAn unidentified person interviewed the passenger who: “There was a loud explosion and I could see people falling on each other. The impact of the blast was great as the train caught fire and the roof was badly damaged.”Earlier, Uttar Pradesh DGP Javeed Ahmed told The Hindu, “We have cornered one extremist who is linked to the group involved in the blast. We are trying to arrest another suspect who is armed and holed up in a house in Thakurganj area of Lucknow. [He was later killed].”However, he said, the blast was not linked to the Kanpur train accident that claimed over 140 lives. The Bihar police had then claimed that the train was derailed in Kanpur at the behest of Pakistan’s ISI.The National Investigation Agency is investigating the claims and is yet to conclude the investigation.The Union Home Ministry has sought a report from the Madhya Pradesh police.Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi briefed Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who represents Lucknow in the Lok Sabha, on the explosion.According to residents in Lucknow, over 30 policemen started vacating the houses in the locality at around 3.30 p.m. to corner the suspects.(With inputs from PTI) IM style attackA senior Madhya Pradesh police official described the train blast as a terror attack. He said an improvised explosive device (IED) that was planted on the upper berth was a “pressure pipe bomb,” that was once used by the now defunct Indian Mujahideen (IM).The official said the bomb was planted around 8 a.m. when the train started from Bhopal. The two people who planted it were arrested by the M.P. police following a tipoff from central intelligence agencies. “The bomb was prepared in Lucknow and it’s a mystery to us why the accused went all the way to Bhopal to plant it. It was a low intensity bomb and was made from gunpowder,” said a top intelligence official.Those arrested are: Danish Akhtar, Syed Meer Hussain and Atish Muzaffar (all from Madhya Pradesh); Mohammed Faisal Khan, Mohammed Imran and Fakre Alam (all from Uttar Pradesh). They are in the age group of 25-35. Officials said most of them were well educated but unemployed.“The explosion took place in the general coach around 9.45 a.m. when the train was running between Jabri and Kalapipal stations,” the Railway Ministry tweeted. At 11.33 a.m., the Ministry posted a video of a passenger narrating the events surrounding the blast. 8 injured in Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train blast People attend to an injured person after a blast in the Bhopal-Ujjain passenger train near the Jabdi station in Shajapur district óf Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday.  | Photo Credit: PTI last_img read more

Rabri Devi, Tejashwi Yadav, others get bail in IRCTC hotels case

first_imgA Delhi court on Friday granted bail to former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi, her son Tejashwi Yadav and others in a corruption case related to the grant of maintenance contracts for two IRCTC hotels to a Patna based firm allegedly for a consideration.Special Judge Arvind Kumar granted bail to them when they appeared before the court on a summons isuued by it.Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad, who is also an accused in the case, was exempted for the day as he is currently in Ranchi jail serving a sentence in the fodder scam cases. However, the court issued a production warrant for him for October 6.Besides Prasad and his family members, former Union Minister Prem Chand Gupta ; his wife Sarla Gupta; Additional Member of the Railway Board B.K. Agarwal; the then managing director of the IRCTC, P.K. Goyal; and the then IRCTC director, Rakesh Saxena, were also named in the charge sheet.last_img read more

U.S. Tech Firms File Lawsuit Against Tighter H-1B Visa Rules

first_imgSeveral technology staffing firms sued the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on May 1 over a policy memo they claim could put bigger restrictions on companies that outsource workers who have H-1B visas, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Saying that the visa program could become unusable for them, the companies seek a temporary restraining order obstructing the enforcement of the memo.“Congress has consistently shown the public policy is to increase access to IT professionals, and not increase burdens on U.S. companies to retain this resource,” the lawsuit filed in a federal district court in New Jersey stated, the Mercury News reported.The policy memo, which was issued by the USCIS in February with immediate effect, puts tighter requirements on firms outsourcing employees. The memo states that subcontracting firms will have to sketch out specific work requirements for the H-1B holder. They will have to present proof that the visa holder will be doing a specialty occupation and will also have to show that the employee will have the same contract for the duration of the H-1B visa.In the lawsuit, two companies as well as a consortium stated that the USCIS did not have the authority required to make the changes in the rules and impose H-1B restrictions. The lawsuit claims that the overreach is in violation of the U.S. Administrative Procedures Act, and says that the Labor Department should fix who would be counted as an “employer” as per the H-1B program.The groups that have filed the lawsuit include the Small and Medium Enterprises Consortium, NAM Info, and Derex Technologies, all of which have offices in India and New Jersey. Derex also has facilities in San Jose and Canada.Claiming that the new H-1B requirements will “choke out” their work by rejecting them H-1B visas and visa extensions, the lawsuit said that “without sufficient employees to meet their clients’ needs, Plaintiffs will suffer irreparable harm to reputation and ability to compete.”These companies see the memo as an existential threat, Jonathan Wasden, the lead attorney for the group, was quoted as saying by San Francisco Chronicle. “They see that this policy has the really real likelihood of ending their business model—it is do or die,” Wasden said.USCIS, however, said that the memo is another measure taken to protect American jobs, as per the report. The immigration agency did not comment on the lawsuit. Related ItemsH-1B visaUnited Stateslast_img read more

PBA commissioner: No precedent to suspend Mark Barroca on groin hit

first_imgLOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial during the 2018 PBA Draft Combine. photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netMANILA, Philippines—PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial warned Magnolia guard that a suspension is imminent if he repeats his roughhousing in the2018  PBA Governors’ Cup finals.Marcial said Barroca could be suspended if he merits a flagrant foul penalty 2 or an unsportsmanlike foul in the last three games of the title round.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Mavericks bow to Suns in Dirk Nowitzki’s return View comments Barroca was caught punching Alaska point guard Chris Banchero in the groin area in the final three minutes of Game 4, a match the Aces won 90-76 to tie the series at 2-2, on Wednesday.READ: Mark Barroca fined for groin hit, Alex Compton penalized for referee remarksFEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefBarroca earned a P50,000 fine for the blow but was able to dodge suspension since, according to Marcial, there was no whistle blown during the incident.“We reviewed the tape and it was a non-call so we don’t see a precedent to suspend Barroca,” said Marcial Thursday at Gatorade Hoops Center during the PBA Draft Combine. Marcial said Dacanay failed to see Barroca’s punch, resulting in a missed call.“Dacanay was the one nearest to the incident, he’s the one assigned to spot any lane violation, but he looked at the ball instead of keeping his eyes on the players,” said Marcial. “If he was able to see it and blow and call a foul then there wouldn’t be a problem, there will be a suspension.” SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Hotel management clarifies SEAG footballers’ kikiam breakfast issue PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? MOST READ “I warned him that if he does that again or he merits an F2 or an unsportsmanlike foul then he’ll be suspended.”Marcial added that a similar case to Barroca’s happened before when TNT forward Don Trollano punched San Miguel forward Arwind Santos during the Commissioner’s Cup on June 16.READ: Mark Barroca downplays ‘punching incident’ with Chris BancheroAlthough there was a scuffle in that previous incident, no calls were given against Trollano and Santos.And if Barroca wasn’t immediately given a suspension for his punch, referee Rolando Dacanay was slapped with an indefinity suspension.ADVERTISEMENT TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: 2019 budget delay due to P75-B House ‘insertion’last_img read more

FIFA World Cup 2018: Croatia ends Russia’s fairy-tale in a closely fought match

first_imgAdvertisementDomagoj Vida and the Croatian squad celebrates after winning the penalty shootout. Photo Credits: FIFA via Reuters.Tonight’s match in Fisht Stadium, Sochi saw hosts Russia take on Croatia in what turned out to be one of the most gruelling and heart-wrenching matches we’ve seen in this tournament.A wild 1-1 match after 90 minutes saw each team score again in extra time, with penalty kicks deciding consecutive matches for both teams.But it was Croatia who sealed a ticket for themselves in the semi-finals after France, Belgium and England when they beat Russia 4-3 in penalty shootouts.The match seemed to be pretty boring in the first few minutes of the first half but soon changed its complexion when Denis Cheryshev fired a 25-yard shot in the top-left corner of the Croatian net which shocked Danijel Subasic.However, their lead was shortlived as shortly afterwards in the 39th minute Andrej Kramaric equalised for Croatia.The teams then went back and forth in regulation, and neither could find the winner, sending the game into extra time. Both teams went 30 extra minutes in their round of 16 clash, with Russia beating Spain and Croatia beating Denmark. Read also: FIFA World Cup 2018: The English take another step forward in ‘bringing it home’ And in the extra-time, it looked like Croatia was well on their way to the victory and could avoid the penalty shootouts as Domagoj Vida headed home from a corner kick in the 101st minute for the 2-1 lead.With just five minutes to go when Croatia thought they had the match in their pockets, Mario Fernandez equalized for Russia with a glancing header to make it 2-2.And in the penalty kicks, the Russians lost their poise. Fyodor Smolov tried a cheeky lofted shot to open it, and Subasic read it well to save it. Fernandez went from hero to villain, missing the goal completely on his opportunity, as Rakitic sent his team into the next round.One can’t help but feel sorry for Russia. They were the lowest ranked team in the World Cup and were mostly written off by football pundits and their fans alike before the World Cup began. But the way they fought their way through the group stages and reached the quarter-finals has won hearts and is worthy of praise.The semi-finals are now set as it’s Belgium vs. France on Tuesday, and England vs. Croatia on Wednesday.Highlights of the match: center_img Advertisementlast_img read more

PBA: Tautuaa carries NorthPort past Phoenix to get back on track

first_imgMoala Tautuaa carries NorthPort. PBA IMAGESMANILA, Philippines–NorthPort put a halt to its four-game slide at the expense of Phoenix, 80-70, Saturday night at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.Mo Tautuaa fire 16 points and plucked down nine rebounds to lead Batang Pier and put them back in the thick of the race for a playoff spot.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Duterte calls himself, Go, Cayetano ‘the brightest stars’ in PH politics NorthPort will try to sustain its sharp form when it goes up against Grand Slam-seeking San Miguel Beer on Oct. 23.Phoenix, which slipped to 2-5 in the conference, faces Columbian next on Oct. 25.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ Ethel Booba on SEA Games cauldron: ‘Sulit kung corrupt ang panggatong’ View comments Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:11Makabayan bloc defends protesting workers, tells Año to ‘shut up’03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games01:38‘Bato’ to be ‘most effective’ CHR head? It’s for public to decide – Gascon02:07Aquino to Filipinos: Stand up vs abuses before you suffer De Lima’s ordeal01:28Ex-President Noynoy Aquino admits contracting pneumonia00:45Aquino agrees with Drilon on SEA games ‘kaldero’ spending issue “We just have to keep playing. I want to be more of a leader to this team. That’s what my team needs,” the big man said in a television interview.Paolo Taha put up 14 points to go with import Mychal Ammons’ 12, while Garvo Lanete chipped in 11 more to help NorthPort improve to 2-4.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGreatest ever?SPORTSFormer PBA import Anthony Grundy passes away at 40SPORTSBecoming his own man“Maganda ‘yung galawan, maganda ‘yung depensa. Sana magtuloy-tuloy lang,” coach Pido Jarencio said in the post-game presser.Alex Mallari had 15 points for the Fuel Masters while Eugene Phelps 14 and Jason Perkins 10 in the losing effort. Becoming his own man Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. This jewelry designer is also an architect Matteo Guidicelli had saved up for Sarah G’s ring since 2014? Drilon apologizes to BCDA’s Dizon over false claim on designer of P50-M ‘kaldero’ DTI creates Marahuyo, a luxe Filipino fashion brand for global buyers Canadian vaping study details danger from ‘popcorn lung’ chemical PVL: Motolite makes quick work of BaliPure, nears semislast_img read more

Vote for Startups, Safaris & 360i in the SXSW PanelPicker

first_imgSXSW Interactive is one of the most celebrated new media conferences of the year, with more than 3,200 sessions currently competing for a spot at the March 2013 show. The SXSW PanelPicker plays a significant role in determining the programming for this highly competitive event – and it’s now open for public voting.Our sessions include Ingenuity: Startups Must Stand Out or Head Home, led by David Berkowitz, VP of Emerging Media, and On the Hunt? Navigating the Idea Safari, led by our VP of Insights & Planning, Lee Maicon. Check out the sessions below and vote to see them at SXSW next year!Ingenuity: Startups Must Stand Out or Head HomeScale. Service. Management Team. While all important factors to determine the success of a startup, they are not as critical to the long-term development as say that of value, applicability, prominence and, last but not least, ingenuity.To cut through the clutter and gain a competitive advantage over what is increasingly becoming a saturated market, startups must adopt ingenuity to solve challenges that come their way. Without this flexibility and creativity to identify and implement unique solutions to everyday obstacles, startups won’t be able to differentiate themselves among the pack.This session will briefly discuss what it takes for a startup to be successful – and deep dive into how ingenuity is critical to the sustainable growth of a newly found business. Best practices and actionable steps to learning how to implement ingenuity will be shared along with examples of companies that have adopted it successfully to solve real problems.5 questions this session will answer–What makes for a successful startup?What does ingenuity really mean when applied to a startup and/or an emerging technology?What can a startup do to ensure it embraces creativity and ingenuity to solve problems and overcome challenges?What are some examples of startups where ingenuity is embedded at their core?When is ingenuity not as important? When can startups get away without it? When is it overplayed and/or overhyped?Here’s David to tell you more. On the Hunt? Navigating the Idea SafariPicture this: Your client or your boss asks you for a Big Idea – one that will forever alter the course of your company or client’s brand and generate tangible business value as a result. However, although clients and agencies often seek a Big Idea, they don’t always have a clear or shared sense of what they’re “hunting.” Enter: The Idea Safari.This session will provide a universally applicable model to bridge the gap between what clients and others need and what agencies and others deliver for generating creative ideas that actually can thrive. To succeed in today’s fluid creative economy, the quest for ideas requires a focus on the right vision, language and tools to solve the right problem at the right time. While sharing best practices and prime examples of successful implementations, the Idea Safari will help define your prey: chameleons (tactics), gorillas (platforms/series of tactics), lions (campaign ideas) or elephants (transformative business ideas).5 questions this session will answer–What are the marks of a successful Big Idea?How will we know if we’re all focused on the same business challenges?How can we be certain that those amazing and inspiring creative ideas are right for me or my business?How can I determine if what I’m hunting for is the right type of idea for my client – be it tactic, program, campaign idea or transformative business idea?Enough theory! Can I see creative work or ideas that are the result of the successful navigation of the adventure that is the Idea Safari?Here’s Lee to tell you more.Please note: To vote for sessions, you’ll need to create a SXSW account if you don’t have one already.last_img read more

6 Successful Money Habits We Can Learn from U.S. Immigrants

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related Our country was built by successive waves of hungry, hard-working immigrants determined to create a better life for themselves.Immigrating to a new land – whether yesterday’s Pilgrims arriving in New England or today’s immigrants taking up residence in the United States – requires real ambition and a desire to get ahead.It should come as no surprise, then, that immigrants tend to perform well on many financial metrics.A study by the Fiscal Policy Institute demonstrates that 18% of small business owners in the U.S. are immigrants – a share that exceeds their proportion of the population by a whopping 50%!Other studies suggest higher savings rates amongst immigrant populations, as well as lower debt burdens.We’ve identified the habits of settlers that made America great – the core features of the “immigrant money mentality” that you can use to improve your finances today.Make Wise Educational ChoicesWhile the world will always need artists and political scientists, these are two majors unlikely to find ready employment at a wage that justifies the high cost of the education.On the other hand, an immigrant cousin of mine who studied air conditioning repair at a low-cost junior college now owns a large air conditioning repair business earning him hundreds of thousands of dollars per year and employing 15 others.If you get into Stanford, by all means, go! But understand that not all universities (or majors) yield the same return on investment.Know the Value of Each DollarImmigrants often come from countries with simpler standards of living – places where two-car households, new technology every year, and frequent meals out are not the norm.So, you’ll often see immigrants shopping at lower-cost ethnic grocery stores, choosing to share vehicles or commingle resources by having many family members live under one roof.You don’t need to do each –or even any – of these things to get at the underlying principle: Every dollar you don’t spend on more expensive food or housing is money that can be put toward another bill or savings.Over time, this adds up in significant ways. Even shaving $5/day off your budget and investing it could result in hundreds of thousands of dollars at retirement.Is that worth using public transportation or bringing your own lunch to work? We think so.A Day Job May Not Cut ItImmigrating to a new country means hard work building a life with limited resources, and our ancestors often put in much longer days.Even today, you’ll often find immigrants working two jobs to get ahead.It’s that sort of anything-it-takes mentality that enables them to save more money than many of us with cushy office jobs. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you should work yourself to death or neglect family and other important responsibilities.But it does mean you should try to find additional sources of income — whether it’s by freelancing a bit on the side, babysitting, or even selling your hobby crafts on Etsy.com.The bonus: Each additional dollar you make is a dollar more than you spend now to maintain your lifestyle. That means it can be readily saved or used to pay off debt.Debt? What Debt?The Pilgrims didn’t have credit cards, mortgages, or car notes — neither do most recent immigrants, for that matter. They lived without debt by necessity, and managed to secure most of their needs successfully.Today’s immigrants often don’t have access to as much credit as long-time U.S. citizens, do either, yet they still manage to get by.They rent for longer periods of time, put down larger down payments on cars or homes, and choose lower-cost educational alternatives, rather than take on heftier loads of debt.Build it YourselfWhether it’s building a home with your own bare hands or starting a successful new tech start-up, immigrants often understand the need to be enterprising and resourceful.The recent recession, too, has taught us to rely on ourselves.We can seek ways to become more self-reliant, whether by building a second income stream, planting our own vegetable gardens, or repairing our own cars.Pool ResourcesHave you ever noticed that the South Asian family who owns several small businesses in the area collaborates on just about everything?Immigrants who have limited access to credit will often pool resources to get ahead. Mother, father, uncle, brother, and sister all work tending shop or pitching in their savings to buy a new business.The power of many amplifies your drive and helps make your ambition a reality.Consider pooling resources with family and close friends or accessing crowd-funding options, such as Kickstarter.com, rather than taking on debt.As the daughter of immigrants, I saw my parents work two jobs each in order to save, pay for cars in cash, and help fund our future.Unfortunately, I too, got seduced by the promise of student loans, credit cards, over-consumption, and other poor financial habits of modern America.I thought my parents’ insistence on cash payments and avoidance of credit were a result of provincial attitudes — of not knowing any better.Now I realize the error of my ways, and try harder to emulate their immigrant money attitudes. When combined with the opportunities this great country affords us, it’s a powerful combination.Janet Al-Saad is the founder of personal finance website, the FiveTenTwentyClub.com. The site features expert advice, tips, and special deals to teach you how to transform your financial future on as little as $5 a day. Post navigationlast_img read more

Top Countries With the Best Customer Service

first_imgDid you know that when it comes to customer satisfaction, the United States falls short of the top 10, behind Russia, Poland and Chile?That the worst industry for service is social media? Or that the worst time to contact customer support is after 6 p.m.?Well, now you do.The findings come courtesy of Zendesk’s latest report on customer satisfaction, which measures service across 6,000 companies and 125 countries to determine the best and worst countries, industries, and even time of day for customer support.The research paints a bleak picture for American consumers, suggesting that we’re often ignored when we ask a company for help. But it doesn’t have to be that way.Let’s hit a few highlights of the Zendesk data.For those of you who don’t know Zendesk, it’s an app and website that helps companies handle service requests, so it’s in a position to know who is getting the best service — and who isn’t.Here are the top 12 countries for customer service:1. Canada2. Australia3. Russia4. Norway5. Denmark6. United Kingdom7. Israel8. Poland9. Chile10. Sweden11. United States12. BrazilWhich industries deliver the best service?(Social media ranks dead-last, at number 17, in case you were wondering).1. Information technology2. Government/nonprofit3. Education4. Real estate5. Web hosting6. Health7. Manufacturing8. Web apps9. Software10. Marketing11. Travel12. Business supportAnd then there’s the timing of your complaints.Zendesk reported that support tickets submitted outside of normal business hours have the slowest first-reply time.The process speeds up when tickets are submitted around 9 a.m., after the tickets submitted from the night before have been processed, but before the tickets from the day have begun to accumulate.The worst time to call the support desk?Around 6 p.m., when much of the support staff leaves for the day and non-urgent tickets may have to wait 12-14 hours before the next fully-staffed shift begins, the process tends to be at its slowest.So what does all of this mean to you?I asked Sam Boonin, Zendesk’s research lead, to break it down for consumers.Time of day is very important“If you go through the day, you can see that companies are very responsive to their customer requests at the beginning of the work day,” he says.So if you want to contact a company, the early bird gets the worm. If you can get your support request in by lunch time, you’re likely to get a fast response.The longer you wait, the longer you’ll wait.Pick up the phoneCalling tends to yield better results than using social media or other communication channels.Many companies field their customer support requests via social media, but for pure speed, nothing beats a voice call. “Our data shows that the phone is the happiest channel,” says Boonin.Having a direct conversation leads to the most satisfaction. (Note: this doesn’t eliminate the need to keep a careful paper trail on some more complex requests.)Do your homeworkChoose the company you do business with based on its ability to give good service. “It’s easy to choose the cheapest company,” Boonin says. “But the best bet for consumers is to choose companies that value you through your entire lifecycle.”We spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out how to find those “best” companies, but a good place to start is the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which ranks companies based on their service scores.So, time your service calls. Remember that not all companies — or industries — value good service equally.Christopher Elliott is a consumer advocate who blogs about getting better customer service at On Your Side. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook or send him your questions by email. Post navigation Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Relatedlast_img read more

Are You a Revolver or a Transactor? The New Way Credit Bureaus Report Your Data

first_img“Hello John. Last week, for the first time in many years, I pulled a copy of my credit reports from all three of the credit reporting agencies. It looks considerably different than it did in 2006 but I thought most of the differences were cosmetic. I was wrong. I see that they credit bureaus are now reporting the exact amount I paid on my credit card bills for each month going back several years.  Is that new?”Time Series Payment DataIt’s relatively new, yes. What you’re referring to is called Time Series Payment Data or, in English, historical payment data.If you pulled your credit reports a few years ago you didn’t see it.  If you pull your credit reports today, it’s all over the place. As it pertains to balances, traditionally the credit bureaus only reported the balance on your account and the past due amount, if any.The balance wasn’t real time, meaning it wasn’t actually your balance as of the date of your credit report.Instead the balance was accurate as of your prior month’s statement.So, the balance on your most recent statement was also the balance that ended up on your credit reports.Of course by the time your statement showed up the balance was already outdated.You may have made a payment, charged something new, had interest or fees applied, or received a credit for returned merchandise.This limitation made it hard for anyone reviewing your credit reports (lenders and credit scoring models) to tell if you paid your balance in full and re-used your card or if you carried a balance from the prior month.The new “Amount Paid” data eliminates that problem.Now it’s very easy for anyone or anything reviewing your credit report to quickly tell if you are what’s referred to as a “revolver” or a “transactor.”A revolver is someone who pays less than the full balance and carries some amount of his or her balance over to the next month.A transactor is someone who uses his or her credit card but pays it in full before the due date.The only reason a transactor has balances month after month is because they use their cards month after month.Why is this important?You should be aware of this new data and especially how it will likely be used.It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that people who pay their cards in full each month aren’t as risky as those who revolve a balance.In fact TransUnion, one of the three major credit reporting agencies, quantified the value of the information in a study last year.They found that people who carry a balance on their cards are 3 times as risky on newly opened credit accounts and 5 times as risky on existing credit accounts compared to those who do not carry a balance.And while the historical payment history data is not being considered by today’s credit scoring models yet because it’s too new, it’s really just a matter of time.According to a TransUnion spokesperson, “We are now just coming out with credit scores that do incorporate the information, and we find that they have massive predictive power improvements over traditional credit scores.”What this means for you is there’s another reason to not carry a balance on your credit card.Not only is it likely to be the most expensive debt you’ll ever carry but now it will end up lowering your credit scores.John Ulzheimer is the Credit Expert at CreditSesame.com, and a credit blogger at Mint.com, CreditCardInsider.com and the National Foundation for Credit Counseling.  He is an expert on credit reporting, credit scoring and identity theft. Formerly of FICO and Equifax, John is the only recognized credit expert who actually comes from the credit industry. The opinions expressed in his articles are his and not of Mint.com or Intuit. You can follow John on Twitter here.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) Related Post navigationlast_img read more

Using Rebuilding Credit Cards to Rebuild Your Credit Score

first_imgFrom the Mint team: Mint may be compensated by some of the links that appear in this article. Our partners do not endorse, review or approve the content. Any links to Mint Partners were added after the creation of the posting.  Mint Partners had no influence on the creation, direction or focus of this article unless otherwise specifically stated.How do you start to rebuild your credit when you can’t get approved for a line of credit in the first place?Let’s use this as a scenario: A consumer takes out a reasonably-sized loan. Maybe it’s for school, maybe for a house, maybe to start a small business. They make their payments on time and their debt slowly starts to dissolve.Then, something bad happens.Whether it’s a medical emergency or some other personal disaster, the borrower is no longer in a position to make their payments. They scrape and scramble to pay what they can, but their credit score continues to tank. When the dust settles, they can’t even get approved for a credit card.This story is all too common, and the way forward isn’t always clear.But a secured credit card might be able to help.Whether you have a rocky credit history or have yet to establish one, a secured credit card is a great way to safely raise your score over time. Here’s what you need to know about how they work and how to use them.Use the links below to skip ahead or read end-to-end for a comprehensive take on secured credit cards.What Is a Secured Credit Card?How Can I Make the Best Use of a Secured Credit Card to Build My Credit Rating?Where Can I Get a Secured Credit Card?Do all banks offer secured credit cards? Takeaways: Secured Credit CardsWhat Is a Secured Credit Card?A secured credit card is halfway between a traditional unsecured credit card and a prepaid debit card. The main difference between the two is that issuers who provide secured credit cards require a cash deposit to act as collateral before giving out the card.The deposit must usually be the same amount as the credit limit. For instance, if you get a card with a $200 credit limit you’ll have to deposit $200 of your own money. Sometimes you might qualify for a card with a deposit less than the credit limit, but it’s not very common.Just like a security deposit pays for any damages you might incur while renting an apartment, a secured credit card deposit reassures the credit card company that you won’t run up a balance and then default on your payments.Borrowers typically take out secured credit cards because their credit isn’t good enough to qualify for “normal” credit cards, or because they don’t have any credit history. A normal or unsecured credit card generally requires a score of 600 or more, and a score of 700 or higher is usually necessary for a first-rate cash back or travel rewards card.Keep in mind, there are many options you can take advantage of if you’re still building your credit (in addition to secured credit cards). Student credit cards for example, are credit cards offered to current college students generally at lower credit limits and interest rates than a regular credit card.How Can I Make the Best Use of a Secured Credit Card to Build My Credit Rating?Building a credit score can be a bit of a catch-22. To build your credit, you need to apply and be approved for credit—but to be approved, you need good credit already.That’s where secured credit cards come in. They report your activity to all three credit bureaus, allowing your credit to improve as you use the card. Since card providers ask for a deposit, they’re protected in case you stop making payments. It’s a win-win for everyone.Many consumers get prepaid cards and secured credit cards confused with one another, but they act very differently. Prepaid cards are more like gift cards or debit cards than credit cards, and using them won’t help you establish a solid credit history like secured cards do. Prepaid cards also tend to charge excessive fees when you reload the card, withdraw cash, or pay your bills online.Building credit with a secured credit card isn’t difficult. All you need to do is make one or two transactions on it every month, pay off the balance when the bill comes, and watch your credit score rise.Here’s an easy way to use a secured card responsibly: pick a recurring monthly bill that doesn’t make up more than 30% of your credit limit and put it on the secured card. As long as you don’t use the card for anything else, this will keep you consistently under the 30% credit utilization limit needed to improve your credit score.For example, if you have a $200 credit limit and your monthly cell phone bill is $50 a month, that’s below the 30% mark. Pay your cell phone bill with the secured card every month and wait for the billing statement to be issued. Then, pay the secured card bill.After a few months of paying your bills on time, the credit card issuer may automatically offer you a traditional credit card and return your deposit to you. You can also call and ask them to convert the card to a normal one. Depending on your previous credit history, this may only take a few months.Once you get a normal credit card, continue the same pattern. Pay a few bills with it, wait for the statement to come, and then pay off the total balance.To see if the secured card is working, check your credit score once a month. You can find your credit score for free through your Mint account, and you can request a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – through AnnualCreditReport.com. You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year, so most experts recommend checking your credit report every quarter with one of the three credit bureaus.Some secured credit cards provide a free credit score as a special feature, including Capital One and First National Bank.Where Can I Get a Secured Credit Card?If a secured credit card seems like a viable option for your financial situation, you’ll be glad to know you have plenty of choices when it comes to finding credit cards for rebuilding credit. Many major banks offer secured credit card programs including:Bank of AmericaCapital OneCitiDiscoverUSAAU.S. BankWells Fargo Do all banks offer secured credit cards?Not all banks offer secured credit cards, but those that do all have their own way of structuring their card agreements—so it’s important to know how to compare your options.How to Compare Secured Credit CardsLike normal credit cards, every secured credit card has its own fees, interest rates, and perks. Here are the criteria to use when comparing different secured cards.What kind of charges will there be?Interest rate or APREach card has a unique interest rate or APR that can vary depending on your credit history. Secured cards usually have higher APRs than traditional credit cards. The interest rate only matters if you don’t pay off the entire balance when it’s due, so ignore this if you’re a responsible borrower.Annual feeSome secured cards will charge you a nonrefundable annual fee, ranging from $29 to $99. Not every card has an annual fee, so if possible you should apply for ones that don’t.Late feeEach card has its own schedule, but most fees are between $25 and $35. You can avoid these easily by paying on time every month or setting up auto-pay.Foreign transaction feesIf you love to travel, you probably know that using a credit card abroad can result in unnecessary fees. Before you sign up for a secured card, check their policy on foreign transaction fees. Most charge the standard 3% foreign transaction fee, but a few, like Discover it® Secured, don’t.Other factors to considerCash-back or other rewardsAlmost every credit card these days offers cash-back or points when you use the card. It’s less common for a secured card to provide perks, but a few offer cash-back, like Discover it® Secured. Most secured cards at least give free travel accident insurance, rental car coverage, and fraud protection.Security depositThe required security deposit is unique for each card. Most ask that you put down an amount equal to the credit limit, but some cards give you the option of putting down less. This special option is only available if you don’t have a terrible credit history. The security deposit will be returned when you close the account unless you’re behind on payments.Credit limitThe credit limit on secured cards is generally low, usually with a max of $200 to $300. There are exceptions to the rule, such as the First National Bank Secured Visa® Card with a $5,000 credit cap.Takeaways: Secured Credit CardsWhether you’re looking for credit cards for rebuilding credit or cards that will help you establish a credit history in the first place, secured credit cards are a great option to consider. When comparing secured credit card offers, be sure to review each credit agreement to ensure you’re making a decision that makes the most sense for you.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedFall Into These Good Credit HabitsOctober 16, 2018In “Credit Info”Credit Card Reviews: Best Credit Cards for StudentsJuly 2, 2019In “Student Finances”What You Should Know About Student LoansApril 25, 2019In “Student Finances” How to Compare Secured Credit CardsWhat kind of charges will there be?Other factors to considercenter_img Post navigationlast_img read more

Swapping Parking Spots for Bike Lots Can Transform India’s Cities

first_imgSmall Changes for Bigger ImpactBut perhaps what’s most exciting about Seeds for Change—and tactical urbanism more broadly—is the potential for success and replicability.This technique brings about miniscule pop-ups that are striking and easily noticed by people, yet do not disturb daily life with large-scale changes. It also doesn’t require a huge amount of financing.The project includes all stakeholders since the conception. The process of implementing a tactical urbanism project brings people on streets to experience its dynamics. They take charge of designing their environment, and feel responsible for its success and maintenance. Each stakeholder may have an individual solution, which can be synchronized in one design.And finally, there’s a complete focus on place-making. While Gurugram has several private buildings like the Signature Tower and Gateway Tower as its landmarks, it lacks public spaces such as a Connaught Circle of Delhi or a Times Square of New York. Seeds for Change gives identity to the spaces around the city, creating an image and allowing people to identify with it. This brings a sense of belongingness to the public spaces that are accessible to all.Seeds for Change can start the conversation on cities’ prioritizing people over cars. Citizens will identify with city corners, and will become responsible for them. This makes it more likely for vibrancy and greenery to increase, transforming formerly car-centric areas into safe spaces. And throughout India, the tactical urbanism movement can become an example of urban renewal via small-scale interventions. One city in India is swapping its cars for bikes.WRI India and Nagarro Software, in partnership with Udaan NGO and NASSCOM Foundation, recently launched the Seeds for Change project in Gurugram, India, reclaiming four car parking spots to make space for 40 bicycles. The initiative, modelled after the country’s car-free “Raahgiri Days,” plans to replicate the pilot project in other parking lots throughout the city over the coming months.By swapping car parking spaces for the humble cycle, Gurugram has taken a step toward a more sustainable future. While it’s a small step, this is the country’s first “pocket parking” initiative, which could lead to bigger changes in city planning.A big deterrent to cycling, apart from safe streets, is safe spaces to park, as most spaces are taken up by car and motorcycle parking. The re-imagining of parking space for bikes will not only sensitize people towards walking and cycling, but will pave the way for creating cities for people rather than vehicles.Fewer Cars, Better CitiesRoughly 300,000 cars enter Gurugram every day, and an equal number exist within the city. With more than 600,000 cars on the streets, traffic congestion is an obvious byproduct.So are air pollution and road traffic crashes. All these cars are one reason why the city has seen a severe to very unhealthy air quality index and records around 450 road traffic deaths per year.The Seeds for Change initiative is part of a larger concept known as “tactical urbanism.” It allows stakeholders and locals to work on new concepts without substantial political and financial commitments. The actions can be temporary or permanent, depending on the need of the location. Across the world, this movement is also referred to as “city repair,” “guerilla urbanism,” “pop-up urbanism,” or “DIY urbanism.”While Gurugram is the first city in India to pursue tactical urbanism to shift transport from cars to cleaner transport modes, it’s already proven successful in other cities around the world. Car-shaped racks were installed at a parking spot in Buenos Aires to reclaim space for 10 bicycles; they then caught the attention of authorities, who increased the initiative to include 40-such cycle parking spaces. The city of Sao Paulo, Brazil made permanent mini public parks from parking spots along the roadside, providing a safe space for cyclists and walkers. City authorities in San Francisco designed some areas with sharp corners as seating spaces with planters. One NGO in Mexico introduced similar mobile parks, or “parklets on wheels,” to create safe public spaces.The Seeds for Change project in Gurugram, India, reclaimed four car parking spots to make space for 40 bicycles. Photo by Amit Bhatt/WRIlast_img read more

This Man Wants to Pull 60,000 Rwandans Out of Poverty by Planting Trees

first_imgLet’s consider Jean Baptiste again. The only way to reach the worldwide commitments of restoring 160 million hectares is to empower thousands of champions like him and replicate good ideas many thousands of times. What if he, and millions more in similar positions, had access to funds?In the case of Karangazi, Jean Baptiste needs around $13,000 for the first two years of his project: Compagnie Agricole Environment (CAE), his charity, organizes environmental clubs for local kids, then outfits them with trees to plant (To start, they’re receiving hardy Grevilleas). CAE holds weekly meetings with the children to discuss how to keep the trees alive, supplying them with the knowledge and resources to restore the land they live on.WRI is addressing this in a crowdfunding trial to channel funds to those advancing small-scale restoration, the farmers and local champions. We have teamed up with CAE to help him help his local community, and to show others that success is achievable. In the future, WRI hopes to bundle projects together to attract larger investors. This approach is already leading to benefits for farmers and the land, as well as profit, in the world of restoration. Kenyan timber supply company Komaza, for example, is purchasing timber from—and thereby providing jobs for—more than 9,000 small farmers.We encourage you to join us on this journey. If you are interested in sharing Jean Baptiste’s story or donating, please visit here. You can follow the story of his campaign at #Money4Trees. If the bank doesn’t bite this time, Jean Baptiste doesn’t know where he will turn. He waves to students in the nearby school, who play football on the dusty, red earth. Probably he will return to evangelizing his cause on his travels.”I see that it’s possible to change it,” he says.Seeking Shade in KarangaziTrees are sparse in Karangazi, and crops limited to maize, sorghum and potatoes. Eastern Rwanda has suffered a recent series of devastating droughts, resulting in the death of livestock and crops, and resides in an area of medium-to-high overall water risk, according to the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.”Because of drought,” Jean Baptiste explains, “Villagers cannot grow enough to eat; they cannot grow crops or keep cattle alive.” His words are evident in Karangazi. Land degradation has stripped the land of its native trees such as Ficus, Vernonia and Erythrina.If trees flourished here, their shade would protect the water supply for cattle and the soil from extreme weather, boosting crop harvests. Their leaves would provide food for farm animals. Avocadoes, mangoes, guavas and papayas, fruits that grow on trees, would improve nutrition for villagers reliant on mainly maize and beans.Planting a Grevillea tree. Trees would help the area adapt to the climate change by improving food security and make it more able to withstand the kinds of droughts that afflicted it in 2016. “The first thing [that motivates me] is that I see climate change becoming a problem,” Jean Baptiste says.Worldwide, Small Projects to Plant Trees Face Funding GapThere are millions of others like Jean Baptiste, trying to breathe life back into land worldwide, land lost to forest clearance, overgrazing and droughts brought on by climate change. Around 2 billion hectares of land – an area twice the size of China – is now degraded, affecting people with some of the lowest incomes and costing the world $6.3 trillion per year.Governments have committed to restore 160 million hectares, including through initiatives such as AFR100 (which aims to bring 100 million hectares of African land into restoration by 2030). There is increasing investment in restoring land too.Despite governmental pledges, the sector still faces a massive funding gap of around $300 billion per year. Moreover, the funding that does exist is not reaching those heralding change in their communities. Many restoration projects are too small to be attractive to institutional investors looking to invest a minimum of $50 million.Teaching children to grow trees is a key part of the restoration strategy in Karangazi.center_img Jean Baptiste Mutabaruka is on the road to the local bank, again. When he gets there, he will inquire once more about raising money for an idea he thinks will reduce poverty in his small farming community of 60,000 in the province of Eastern Rwanda.For 10 years, Jean Baptiste has journeyed through the parched villages of the Karangazi Sector, even in soaring heat, to champion the planting of trees, which he sees as a potent antidote to widespread poverty in the region.According to research conducted by WRI, he is right. Planting and protecting trees would likely lead to increased land productivity, as well as improving food and water security. The Tigray region of Ethiopia halved its poverty level through restoring land over the last 20 years.But the bank has not been able to fund him on a regular basis. He will have to find the money to buy the seedlings, to plant and protect trees as they grow, to support students to help, to purchase the tools for his work, somewhere else.Jean Baptiste Mutabaruka.last_img read more

Even My Cab Driver Uses Social Networks

first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Aug 20, 2008 9:15:00 AM, updated October 01 2019 This weekend I took a flight out of town, and took a cab to the airport.  I have an odd hobby of chatting with cab drivers to get a feel for what is going on wherever I am and get a different perspective on the world than I usually get from the web2.0 and business crowd I usually hang out with.  But this conversation was not what I expected.  This cab driver was all over social networking and web2.0.  Let me share some pieces of our conversation. Web 2.0 Quotes from a Boston Cab DriverI got a new 3G iPhone because I am in my cab all day and it is like a laptop for my cab.I use Classmates.com a lot to catch up with people from school and find old friends.I forgot my phone today and I am going crazy without it.  Usually I am chatting on MSN with my friends all day.The new Apple store in Boston is beautiful, I love it.  I love everything Apple does.Have you heard of Hi5? I am from Cape Verde and all my friends are on it.  I have also met new people there.  It’s great.  Have you gone to AppleRumor.com?  I always check it out to find out what new stuff Apple might e doing.I can live without TV.  I cannot live without the Internet.  I am addicted to it.I am not totally sure what this means from a marketing perspective.  But, I think one thing that it means is that more of your target audience is online and using social networks than you think.  Many marketers might assume that if you are targeting cab drivers that you would not use social networks, blogs or search engines to target them.  I think my cab driver would disagree.Have you found any unexpected people using social networks?  Who are they?  Leave a comment below. last_img read more

5 Creative Ways to Recycle Content

first_img Originally published Oct 14, 2011 1:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Topics: Content Types During a time when being eco-friendly and “going green” is the concern of many, how can marketers make sure they’re also doing their part? Easy! R-E-C-Y-C-L-E. Recycle content, that is.Download 195+ visual marketing design templates to use for social media posts, infographics, and more.  Okay, so you won’t exactly be saving any trees or anything (unless you quit it with all that direct mail you’re doing, which we recommend anyway), but you’ll still be making your marketing more efficient. And saving time and effort is still saving something, right?Here are 5 great ways you can recycle your content and get more traffic and leads for your content creation efforts.1. Use Ebook Excerpts for Blog Articles, and Vice VersaHurting for blog content? Grab an excerpt from one of the ebooks you’ve published, and repurpose it as a blog post. Recycling ebook content is a great tactic for pulling together a quick post in a time crunch, and it’s also a fantastic way to promote your ebooks again. Similarly, you can use the same concept when creating ebooks. Have a series of already-written blog articles on the same topic that can be bundled into an ebook? Even if you have just one article that can make up a section of the ebook you’re creating, you’ll save some time and effort.2. Update Old ContentLet’s face it: things change. Could some of your older posts use updating? If there is a new development or new advice you can share on a topic you’ve written about in the post, take the old post, make some adjustments and additions, and publish it as new. The core of the post will likely still be valuable; it may just need a few tweaks to appeal to today’s audience. Another trick is to do some analysis to identify your top-performing blog articles. If you notice that a blog article isn’t as up-to-date as it could be but is still generating a ton of traffic, leads, or is even ranking very highly for a competitive keyword for your business, don’t update it and publish as a new post. Instead, update the content within that particular post using the existing URL to keep hold of its SEO value, and promote that. Some blogging platforms will even allow you to change the publish date, enabling you to keep the URL but show it on your blog as a brand new post.You can do the same thing with ebooks. Is an ebook you published a year ago somewhat outdated now? Updated it, and re-promote it! This will save you the time of creating a blog post or ebook from scratch while still affording you the benefits of a new article or lead gen offer.Also considering adding updated calls-to-action to articles that are still generating a lot of traffic to pump up their potential to generate new leads.3. Promote Evergreen ContentSome of your existing, older content may not need any updating at all and can be re-promoted as is. This evergreen content can be re-shared in social media and linked to in your other content as well. Chances are, if you’re regularly publishing content, not everyone will see every new post as it’s published. Additionally, newer subscribers of your content likely won’t have seen some of your older content, so your evergreen content will actually still be fresh and new to many!4. Archive That Live Webinar, and Turn it Into an EbookDid you host a live webinar on an educational topic in your industry? Don’t let it go to waste! First, make sure you take the recording and turn that “Register for the Live Webinar” landing page into a “Download the Archived Webinar” landing page so you can continue to generate new leads from people who missed the live event. Then, consider using that webinar content as the basis for an ebook. It will give you a great starting point, and repurposing your webinar content in text form will appeal to an audience that is less visually inclined.5. Republish a Guest Post on Your Own BlogIf you’re already leveraging guest blogging opportunities to increase your off-page SEO, why not see what else you can get out of that piece of content you’ve created? Talk to the individual owners of the blogs where your guest posts were published, and ask them if they’re okay with you republishing the post on your own blog. Many blog authors will be okay with this, as long as they’ve had the ability to publish it first and you include a note that the post was originally published on their blog, with a link back to it.In what other creative ways can you recycle your marketing content?Image Credit: chrissatchwell Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

Answers to the Top 5 Press Release Optimization Questions

first_img Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Earlier this week, HubSpot and PR Newswire hosted “The Science of Press Releases,” a webinar that attracted nearly 8,500 registrants curious to learn how to engineer effective press releases. During the webinar, we received a ton of thought-provoking questions not often discussed in the industry. Without further ado, here are answers to your top 5 questions about press release optimization.1. What is the difference between viewing a press release and engaging with it?The meaning of viewing a press release is pretty straightforward. But what does engagement mean? Put simply, engaging with a press release refers to taking some action besides viewing the content. It could mean forwarding the press release, sending a tweet about it, or clicking on the call-to-action in it. In that sense, engagement as a metric carries more weight than views in determining the success of a press release. 2. What’s the number one way my press releases can get more views and engagement?Photos are the number one factor that positively influences both views of your press releases and engagement with them. “There is no reason why you should publish a press release without a photo,” said Dan on the webinar. Images help you tell a better story, thus making your content much more interesting and attracting journalists to talk about your press release. 3. When should I be sending my press releases for maximum views and engagement?Interestingly enough, the best practices for sending your press releases can slightly vary depending if you measure success by total views or engagement. While Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are best performing days for getting the most views of your press releases, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday perform better in terms of most engagement. The overlap here is Sunday, so you can start experimenting with that day and see how it performs compared to your previous activities. 4. Why should I include digits in my press release title?Dan’s research showed that including digits in the headlines of your press releases can lead to positive results. “When people are on the web, they are looking for specificity,” Dan said. In this context, data points help you cut through the clutter of vague content online and convey a strong message. Interestingly enough, this tactic can also be applied to other marketing channels, such as blog posts and emails.5. Where can I find some examples of successful press releases?Visit PR Newswire and look at the most popular press releases, as they are the most read and visited. There is a lot to be learned from looking at what is popular and identifying common patterns. For instance, you may see that some press releases are linking to news hooks, or events that are happening right now and are very timely.Want to learn more press release optimization tips? Check out the on-demand webinar, and view the slides! Public Relations Originally published Nov 3, 2011 9:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016last_img read more

Targeting Email Marketing by Persona Improves Clickthrough Rate 16% [New Data]

first_imgiscovered that those with only one list had a lower average click-through rate (7.3%) than those that segmented their overall email database into 2 to 6 lists (8.3%). We give you an intuitive database that integrates with your existing software and platforms, and lifetime training to help new employees get up to speed quickly. Topics: Personalizing emails is more than customizing the first sentence to include the recipient’s first name. True, valuable personalizations cater every marketing message to the right person at the right time.Last summer, we began experimenting with persona-based segmentation. Personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. They are based on real data pertaining to customer demographics and online behavior as well as educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.After looking at the results of this persona-based switch to email segmentation, we learned that targeting emails by persona increases email clickthrough rates 16%.In order to see similar results, you need to have personas for which you can segment your email communication. Let’s review how to develop your personas so you have enough information to effectively split your lists for segmented email communication.How to Develop Your Buyer PersonaBuyer personas are created through research, surveys, and interviews with your target audience. This audience includes a mix of customers, both “good” and “bad” prospects, and those outside of your contact database who might align with your target audience.You’ll collect data that is both qualitative and quantitative to paint a picture of who your ideal customer is, what they value, and how your solution fits into their daily lives.To help guide your research, let’s take a look at the 10 key components of a persona so you can organize the information you collect correctly for persona creation.Each of these components are organized in our free PowerPoint template for creating and presenting buyer personas, so feel free to download the template and follow along, starting at slide 10! Ideally, you’ll be following these steps more than once in order to create your core personas, which you can then use to segment your email lists for better communication.10 Key Components of a Buyer Persona 1) BackgroundThis should encompass the basic details of a persona’s role, key information about the company the persona works for, as well as any relevant background information, such as education or hobbies. For this post, let’s say we’ve identified our persona as Sample Sally.2) DemographicsWhen examining your target demographics, be sure to consider vital information about your audience, including gender, age range, household income (consider a spouse’s income, if relevant), and location.3) IdentifiersIdentifying persona information includes the buzzwords they use frequently or the mannerisms by which they operate. We could say Sally has a calm demeanor and an assistant screening her and that she asks to receive collateral printed.4) GoalsWhat are your persona’s primary and secondary goals? This list could include goals such as keeping employees happy or supporting finance team goals.5) ChallengesWhat are the primary challenges your persona faces? Secondary challenges? This could include being short-staffed for all the work needed to get done or needing help in rolling out major department changes to the entire company.6) How We HelpThe “we” in this situation is your business. How is your company solving the aforementioned challenges or helping achieve the previously stated goals? Let’s pair our example goals/challenges with example solutions:Persona goal: Keeping employees happy –> Your Business Solution: Make it easy to manage all employee data in one place.Persona goal: Support finance team –> Your Business Solution: Integrate your team and the finance team’s system of operations.If you’re following along in our PowerPoint persona template, you’ll notice we just completed slide 10:7) Real QuotesInclude quotes from interviews you conduct or surveys you ran during the information collection period of your persona development. A good quote from Sample Sally could be, “I’ve had to deal with so many painful integrations with other departments’ databases and software.”8) Common ObjectionsIdentify the most common objections your persona will raise during the sales process. For our running example, this could be, “I don’t want to have to train the entire company on how to use a new system.”9) Marketing MessagingWhat is the core message that will resonate with your persona? How should you describe your solution to your persona? Getting the right message across to them is very important to catch their interest.10) Elevator PitchBeyond the core message, think about how you want to describe your solution. For Sally, this pitch could be: “We give you an intuitive database that integrates with your existing software and platforms and lifetime training to help new employees get up to speed quickly.”Once you have all this information pulled together, you’ll find you likely have at least two different personas you’re catering to. Ultimately, this information can help you segment your email messages properly moving forward.If you start seeing some changes in your email CTRs, feel free to come back and share them with us in the comments! Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Oct 11, 2013 8:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 those with only one list had a lower average click-through rate (7.3%) than those that segmented their overall email database into 2 to 6 lists (8.3%). Buyer Personas We used this collected data about our various personas to segment our emails messages to cater to the specific needs and interests of the personas. We found that targeting emails by persona increases overall email clickthrough rates.last_img read more

What Is an Inbound Link? [FAQs]

first_img Topics: For example: There are many wedding rings on the market. If you want to have a wedding, you will have to pick the best ring. You will also need to buy flowers and a wedding dress.”Google understands the context of a link — so more generic “learn more” and “click here” anchor text can be just as valuable as keyword-optimized anchor text.How Do I Build My Inbound Links?Because good inbound links require an authoritative source, you can’t just ask your little brother to link to you on his fishing blog. Here’s a post that teaches you 32 ways to build inbound links. Just don’t do any of the five B’s of Bad Link Building: Borrowing, Begging, Bartering, Bribing, or Buying.Want to learn more about link building in general? Check out this post on the anatomy of a link. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack If you’re new to inbound marketing, you’ve probably heard that one way to grow traffic is to get more links … but did you know that there are actually several different types of links you can have? Learn how to run more impactful, measurable marketing campaigns.We bucket links into three different categories: internal links, outbound links, and inbound links. All are important to have, but the most sought-after are usually inbound links. But what exactly are inbound links? And how are they different from the other types of links?Let’s clear this all up. In this post, we’ll talk about the definition of inbound links, why we need them, what a good one looks like, and how to get more of them.What Is an Inbound Link?An inbound link is a link coming from another site to your own website. “Inbound” is generally used by the person receiving the link. For example, here’s an inbound link to our co-founder Dharmesh’s blog. Dharmesh could say, “I received an inbound link from HubSpot.”Outbound links are links from your website to another website. The link to Dharmesh’s blog we talked about earlier is an outbound link on HubSpot’s blog, and an inbound link on Dharmesh’s blog. Internal links are links on a certain website or blog post that links to another page on that same website. That’s the basics. If you want, you can learn more about the differences between these three types of links here.Why Do I Need Inbound Links?Reason #1: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)Websites that receive many inbound links can be more likely to rank higher in search engines. Basically, inbound links tell site crawlers that your website is an authority on a certain subject — so the more inbound links you have from high quality, high authority sites, the better your website can rank in search engine results pages (SERPs).Search engines don’t treat all inbound links the same and inbound links isn’t the only ranking factor they consider.Reason #2: Referral TrafficIf someone posts an inbound link on their website or blog, people who see that link might click on it, and you’ll benefit from that referral traffic. For example, many of you who clicked the link to Dharmesh’s blog up there may not have visited his blog otherwise. The volume of traffic you get from a referral traffic depends, of course, on how much traffic that blog or website receives in the first place.What Does a Good Inbound Link Look Like?A good inbound link:Comes from authoritative website.Uses proper anchor text.What’s all this anchor text stuff about? Anchor text is the text copy that is hyperlinked, like this. (The anchor text there is “like this.”) Good inbound links not only have anchor text, but they also have natural anchor text. Here’s what Google says is unnatural:”Links with optimized anchor text in articles or press releases distributed on other sites.center_img Link Building Originally published Jul 10, 2014 2:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017last_img read more

Lewis Hamilton wins Brazilian Grand Prix as Mercedes take constructors’ title

first_imgLewis Hamilton won the Brazilian Grand Prix on Sunday, helping his Mercedes team to take the constructors’ title for the fifth year in a row.Hamilton won his 10th race of the season and 72nd of his career.Hamilton, who had already sealed his fifth Formula One title, started from pole position and finished less than two seconds ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen completed the podium at Interlagos.Hamilton’s 10th victory in the season was helped by Force India’s Esteban Ocon, who collided with Verstappen on the 44th lap when the Dutchman led.Verstappen managed to stay in the race and get closer to Hamilton in the final laps, but it wasn’t enough for him to get his second consecutive victory.Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel finished sixth.last_img read more

Struggling With Impostor Syndrome? 9 Ways to Deal With It (Before It Hinders Your Success)

first_img Topics: Originally published Jan 27, 2016 6:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Career Development “I got lucky.””I don’t belong here.””I’m a fraud, and it’s just a matter of time before everyone finds out.”Sound familiar?Most of us have experienced feelings of doubt and unworthiness at some point in our lives. But when your accomplishments are a result of your own knowledge, hard work, and preparation and you still feel inadequate … you’re probably suffering from impostor syndrome.Where do you see yourself in five years? Take our free quiz here to figure out the next step in your career.People who suffer from this syndrome often feel like frauds — despite being smart, skilled, capable professionals who actually deserve whatever commendations and praise they’re given. Rather than celebrating their accomplishments, they worry that they’ve somehow tricked people into thinking they’re good enough. As a result, they live in fear of being “found out” or “exposed.”Impostor syndrome is actually fairly common: Researchers believe that up to 70% of people have suffered from it at one point or another. But that doesn’t make it any less damaging to a person’s confidence and career growth.So if you feel like you’re suffering from impostor syndrome or something like it, know that there are ways to curb these feelings in a healthy, proactive way. Here are 11 tips to help you get started.9 Tips for Coping With Impostor Syndrome1) Know the signs.We often overlook the signs of impostor syndrome that come up in our day-to-day lives. However, recognizing these signs is the first step toward overcoming them.You might suffer from impostor syndrome if:You feel like you “got lucky” when you actually prepared well and worked hard.You find it hard to accept praise.You apologize for yourself when you didn’t actually do something wrong.You hold yourself to incredibly — sometimes impossibly — high standards.You find the fear of failure paralyzing.You avoid expressing confidence because you think people will see it as overcompensating or obnoxious.You’re convinced you’re not enough.Pay attention to your language choices, both when you’re talking to other people and when you’re talking to yourself — especially when it comes to talking about work. If you find your own success or the praise others give you uncomfortable, do some reflective thinking on where those types of thoughts came from and what it means in your professional life.2) Know you’re not alone.When you have impostor syndrome, some of the most important encouragement comes from realizing how many hugely successful people, both male and female, have built amazing careers even while regularly coping with it.Which highly accomplished people have spoken about their impostor syndrome? Here are some quotes from The New York Times and Forbes:Author, Poet & Civil Rights Activist Maya Angelou:I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.'”Chief of the World Health Organization Dr. Chan:There are an awful lot of people out there who think I’m an expert. How do these people believe all this about me? I’m so much aware of all the things I don’t know.”Actor Don Cheadle:All I can see is everything I’m doing wrong that is a sham and a fraud.”Actress, Writer & Producer Tina Fey, from her book Bossypants:The beauty of the impostor syndrome is you vacillate between extreme egomania and a complete feeling of: ‘I’m a fraud! Oh God, they’re on to me! I’m a fraud!’ So you just try to ride the egomania when it comes and enjoy it, and then slide through the idea of fraud.”3) Distinguish humility and fear.There’s taking humility in your hard work and accomplishments, and then there’s feeling overcome with fear because of them. Sometimes, simply being good at something can cause is to discount its value. But as Carl Richards wrote in a New York Times article, “After spending a lot of time fine-tuning our ability, isn’t it sort of the point for our skill to look and feel natural?”It all boils down to feeling unworthy. I like how Seth Godin put it in a blog post: “When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw.”But it is possible to feel worthy without feeling entitled, and overcoming impostor syndrome is all about finding a healthy balance between the two. Godin goes on to write, “Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending our territory. We don’t have to feel like a fraud to also be gracious, open or humble.”4) Let go of your inner perfectionist.I recently wrote about how perfectionism, while helpful in certain contexts, can be a major roadblock for productivity. Turns out it can be a major roadblock for overcoming impostor syndrome, too. Many people who suffer from impostor syndrome are high achievers; people who set extremely high standards for themselves and are committed to doing their best and being the best.But perfectionism only feeds into your impostor syndrome. When you feel like a fraud, it’s usually because you’re comparing yourself to some *perfect* outcome that’s either impossible or unrealistic.Not only can no one do everything perfectly, but holding yourself to that standard can actually be super counterproductive. At some point, you need to take a step back and ask yourself: When is good enough good enough? Read this blog post to see what a formula for “good enough” might look like. And if you need further encouragement, read this article from The Guardian.Bottom line? While striving for perfection is certainly noble, it’s usually not realistic — and often, it’s counterproductive and will only make you feel more like a fraud.5) Be kind to yourself.Impostor syndrome often manifests itself as a voice in our heads, berating us with negative messages like “you’re not smart enough” or “you’re a fraud.” Negative self-talk is a bad habit, and it can heavily influence our stress and anxiety levels. “Being kind to yourself” simply means changing the way you talk to yourself in your head by practicing positive self-talk. Not only can it help you become less stress and anxious, but it can also help you build the courage to do things that’ll bring you greater rewards.Maria Klawe, the president of Harvey Mudd College, suffered from what she called “impostoritis” for most of her career. While she found it hard to silence the negative thoughts completely, she practiced hard to add positive thoughts to her inner voice. “Now I wake up most days with a voice on the left side of my head telling me what an incredible failure I am,” she wrote. “But the voice on the right side tells me that I can change the world — and I try to pay more attention to it.”First, try to catch yourself whenever you have a negative thought. Then, turn around and challenge your own claim. For example, if you find yourself thinking, “I just got lucky,” challenge that by thinking, “What steps did I take and what work did I put in to get to this point?” Then, you can answer your own question using affirmations, which are short, focused, positive statements about a goal you have. In this case, one might be as simple as, “I worked hard – and I always work hard.”Psychologists have found that repeating affirmations like this can improve stress and anxiety levels, perhaps because these positive statements build a bridge into your subconscious mind.6) Track and measure your successes.When you feel like an impostor, one of the hardest things to grasp is how much of a role you have in your own successes. You might default them to luck or others’ hard work, when in fact, your own work, knowledge, and preparation had a lot to do with it.To help show yourself that you’re actually doing well, keep track of your wins in a private document. There are a lot of different ways to track these successes, and the metrics you use will depend entirely on your job. If you’re a blogger, you might keep track of your posts’ monthly average page views and watch them go up, or compare them to the team average. You might also keep a separate tab to paste kind words people have written to you via email, Twitter, blog comments, and so on.In the same vein as keeping track of your success metrics, keep a file on your computer of wins and positive reinforcement both at work and in your personal life. One of the best things I’ve done is created a folder on my personal Gmail account called “Happy,” where I’ve stored everything from my college acceptance email to praise from my colleagues and bosses. Whenever I need a lift, I open that Gmail folder and scroll through them.You can create an email folder for these emails like I did, or create something like a “swipe file” (i.e. a digital file) on your computer or phone to store screenshots of emails, tweets, dashboard metrics … whatever makes you feel good about your hard work and preparation.7) Talk about it with a mentor and your manager.No one should suffer in silence. Sharing your thoughts and experiences with someone else will make you better equipped to deal with your impostor syndrome. We recommend sharing them with both a mentor and your direct manager.Your mentor will be able to help you talk candidly about your struggles with impostor syndrome, while giving you a more objective point of view — especially if they work on a different team or at a different company. When you share your experience with them, you might ask if they’ve ever felt that way, or if they know someone who has. The best mentors are forthcoming about the struggles they’ve gone through and the mistakes they’ve made in their careers, and you may find that they have some helpful stories or advice for how to deal with what you’re feeling.We’d also suggest that you talk with your direct manager about your experiences, too. Why? Because they’re more likely to have the knowledge and tools to help you overcome your impostor syndrome in the context of your current job. For example, you might ask them to help you find a system for tracking your successes, or figure out which metrics you should measure. Knowing what they know about both you and your role, they may also help you seek out more opportunities to shine and gain visibility on your team or at your company in general.Speaking of opportunities …8) Say “yes” to new opportunities.It’s impossible to say “yes” to everything, especially when you’re feeling stressed or spread thin. But it’s all too common for people who have impostor syndrome to turn down career-making opportunities because they don’t feel like they’d do a good job.When you’re presented with a new opportunity, it’s important to distinguish between the voice in your head saying you can’t do it because you’re not worthy and the one saying you can’t do it because you have too much on your plate. The former is your impostor syndrome speaking.But remember: Taking on challenging new work and doing well at it can open a lot of doors for you. Don’t let your inner impostor turn down these game-changing opportunities. They can do wonders to help you learn, grow, and advance your career.Keep Richard Branson’s famous quote in mind: “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later.” While it might be intimidating to take on a role you’re not sure you can succeed in, know that you were asked to do it for a reason, and there’s nothing wrong with learning new things and asking questions along the way.9) Embrace the feeling, and use it.It’s really hard to get rid of impostor syndrome completely — especially if you’ve had it for years and years. The fact that hugely successful people like Maya Angelou and Don Cheadle feel that way after all they’ve accomplished is evidence that it can sometimes be a lifelong condition. That’s why the best angle from which to tackle your impostor syndrome isn’t getting rid of it completely; it’s stopping it from hindering your success.I like the way Richards put it: “We know what the feeling is called. We know others suffer from it. We know a little bit about why we feel this way. And we now know how to handle it: Invite it in and remind ourselves why it’s here and what it means.”Richards says he’s been invited to speak about his work and career all over the world, and yet he still hasn’t been able to get rid of his impostor syndrome. What he has learned to do is think of it “as a friend.” Whenever he hears that negative voice in his head, he pauses for a minute, takes a deep breath, and says to himself, “Welcome back, old friend. I’m glad you’re here. Now, let’s get to work.”What tips do you have for overcoming impostor syndrome? Share with us in the comments.last_img read more