Archive for July, 2013

Big online player says Australian businesses must adapt to digital or perish

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

The CEO of one of Australia’s biggest online real estate advertising companies says businesses in the country need to adapt to the digital future in a hurry or risk being shut out by international competitors who are further ahead.

Greg Ellis, CEO of REA Group, said companies in all sectors in Australia are struggling to adapt to the digital economy and will lose market share to international rivals if they did not change their management ­strategies.

“On a bigger scale Australia needs a damn big wake-up call,” he told a Melbourne Press Club luncheon last week. “We’ve got some material competitors coming who could take a significant percentage of market share and jobs away through the strength of their digital offering.”

He said managers needed to better tap into the talent in their organisations, saying the best workers found in companies such as his were 30-year-olds familiar with the digital economy.

“There is a significant shortfall of skills to transform Australian business in the digital economy,” Ellis said. “At REA when we bring people in we have to effectively de-program from the historical techniques they have used to manage people. It’s the preparedness to push the responsibility of the decision-making down to the people below you who have the expertise.”

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The Fetch returns great success

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

The Fetch, an online community for professionals to share and discover what’s happening in their city, has been going strong since Kate Kendall started it in Melbourne in 2011.

It has now expanded to include 10 cities from around the world.

“I still classify it as a start-up in beta mode, so I guess it’s been fairly flexible and it’s grown quickly,” says Kendall of The Fetch.

Kendall now runs the business alternating between Melbourne and Silicon Valley in the USA.

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Yotpo social review plugin now available for WooCommerce

Monday, July 29th, 2013

Yotpo, the free social networking review plugin for ecommerce sites, is now available for WooCommerce sites.

Yotpo sends automatic emails to your customers a certain number of days after their purchase and prompts them to review the product. On average, Yotpo claims to convert 8% of customers into reviewers, which may not sound like much, but is a ot higher than the industry average of just 1.2%.

Yotpo also makes it easy for reviewers to share their reviews on their social networking accounts, which in turn drives traffic to the sites using Yotpo.

Unlike other plugins that promise to drive traffic to your site but don’t actually prove it, Yotpo has its Campaigns feature, which lets you keep track of exactly how what Yotpo has done for your site.

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Solid supply chain better bet for online retailers than fancy websites

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Online retailers with extensive experience have proclaimed that it is the delivery system and not the fanciest new technology or the flashiest website that will lure Australian customers to shop at Australian online businesses.

Paul Greenberg, a pioneer in Australia’s online retail sector as co-founder of the DealsDirect Group in 2004, has said that customers want their orders delivered in a timely manner and if Australian businesses can that, they will likely prosper.

“The battleground has shifted to the supply chain,” he says.

This seems to be the philosophy of online fashion retail giant The Iconic, which placed a tremendous amount of importance on getting people their orders as quickly as possible, regardless of the cost. The Iconic has recently been in the spotlight for having to jettison a number of jobs and also for taking big losses in its first two years of operations. But all that is now said to have been a planned growth strategy. Investors ploughed a further $28 million into the business late last week.

As it becomes increasingly more difficult to keep fickle online shoppers happy, fast and reliable delivery is where many online retailers are hoping to set their businesses apart. However, Greenburg notes, that is not easily done, as a distribution network that hums like a well-oiled machine also tends to drive up costs and online retailers will have to make sure that they generate enough revenue to cover those costs.

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Huawei denies spying allegations

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies Co. has denied allegations of spying for the Chinese government levied at it by an ex-CIA director.

Former CIA director Michael Hayden made the remarks to the Australian Financial Review, prompting an email statement from the Chinese company that said it is a “proven and trusted” information and communications technology company. The statement came from Huawei spokesman Scott Sykes.

Huawei has been banned from bidding for work on Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) and other government-run projects in various countries. The company continues to fight concerns over cyber security after intelligence agencies and security companies traced web attacks to China and Huawei came under strong suspicion.

Contractors in trouble

In other National Broadband Network news, contractors associated with the project continue to be dogged by executive and money losses due to the project.

Amid industry speculation that Silcar has suffered millions of dollars in writedowns while building the network, its NBN project director, Dan Birmingham, has left the role.

Industry sources say Silcar has lost millions of dollars trying to hit NBN Co’s rollout targets.

Birmingham led the contractor’s efforts to connect the NBN with homes and businesses in New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland as part of a 2011 deal worth up to $1.12 billion. He is the latest in a series of high-profile departures from the project.

Earlier in July NBN Co’s long-standing chief executive, Mike Quigley, said he was leaving the company. Key contractor Service Stream’s chief executive Graeme Sumner stepped down in April.

Silcar is equally owned by German engineering giant Siemens and construction contractor Thiess, which in turn is owned by listed contractor Leighton Holdings.

Silcar chief executive Peter Lamell quit his post two months ago.

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National Broadband Network’s future awaits Australian election outcome

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

The fate of Australia’s National Broadband Network, which aims to bring internet access to the country’s farthest flung outposts, will not be known until the outcome of the country’s federal election is known.

The Labor government and conservative Liberal-led opposition have vastly different plans for the A$37.4 billion for the network (NBN).

A Liberal-led coalition election victory would drastically alter the way the NBN is rolled out, says Melbourne-based RMIT University electrical engineering expert Mark Gregory.

“There will still be activity, but there will definitely be winners and losers,” Gregory says.

While Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Labor government initially promised to deliver Internet speeds of up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) to 93% of premises by 2021 using fiber-optic cables, with the remaining remote locations served by satellite and fixed wireless, those goals have been steadily scaled back.

The project has also been plagued with problems and in-fighting among the companies tasked with building the network.

Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott, on the other hand, promises a A$30 billion fiber-to-the-node network. Under this plan, high-speed fiber would be laid to streetside “nodes” but the final connection to homes and businesses would rely on Telstra Corp Ltd’s ageing copper wires, with much slower download speeds than fiber.

The Liberal Party says this would provide 25 Mbps minimum by 2016 and 50 Mbps for the “vast majority of households” by 2019.

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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Small and medium sized businesses in Australia or from overseas can now adopt a sub-domain name under

Australian domain name rules outlined by the .au Domain Administration prevent anyone but Australian businesses or companies from owning or domains.

But the opening up of to subdomain names means that overseas businesses who want to do business in Australia can now have a local domain name.

Local private people, contractors, business owners and incorporated or unincorporated businesses can also have an online presence on the premium domain for a low weekly rental.

Greg Rogers, from Faxts Media which runs, said that applications are now open anyone in Australia or overseas to apply for a domain.

“AuDA rules are strict. An Australian business name or ABN is an essential requirement to own a domain name,” Rogers said. “I checked with AuDA myself and there are no restrictions on sub domains if the main site is owned by Australians”

“Netregistry owns a .com domain They have been selling and hosting websites as which are sub domains of, for years. There are 1000′s of them. is Australian and perfect for any business.”

“ will allocate sub domains on a first come first served basis. We will not allow trademarks to be used unless the applicant has permission or is the holder of the trademark.”

To apply for a domain name with, email

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WooCommerce introduces 7 more extensions

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

WooCommerce has recently introduced another seven exciting extensions for everybody’s favourite online store creator.

They are:

  • Payment Gateway – This is a plugin to extend Woocommerce, allowing you to take payments via the Hipay payment service.
  • US Export Compliance – Makes your shop compliant with the US Export regulations.
  • Group Coupons – Allows you to link coupon validity to WordPress users.
  • ConstantContact Integration – Allows you to build Your Constant Contact email list with WooCommerce.
  • Recommendation Engine – Allows you to offer Netflix/Amazon style product suggestions to your customers.
  • InterFax Integration – Integrates your WooCommerce site with InterFax, which enables you to fax the order details to your customers and yourself on every completed purchase.
  • Composite Products – With “Composite Products”, WooCommerce allows you to create sophisticated, dynamic product kits by compositing existing products.

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Australian businesses rapidly adopting 4G technology

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Australian businesses are quickly jumping on the 4G train as, Vodafone became the final of the big three telecommunications companies to launch an LTE network last month. The latest generation mobile technology provides faster speeds and makes more efficient use of wireless spectrum capacity.

Telsyte analyst Foad Fadaghi said 13 per cent of all mobile connections in Australia — including consumer, business and M2M — are 4G, and the percentage specific to business penetration is likely consistent.

While 13 per cent may not appear large at first, it shows rapid adoption considering that Telstra has only had a 4G network for 18 months, Optus for only 12 months, and Vodafone has just launched, Fadaghi said.

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Jumbo Interactive celebrates successful expansion to Germany

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Brisbane-based Jumbo Interactive saw its stock price jump by 15% recently on news that it has been granted licenses to sell lottery tickets via web and mobile throughout Germany.

The company estimates the online lottery ticket market in Germany will be worth $2 billion in five years.

Jumbo also operates the popular gambling site, among other lottery and game sites, where customers buy lottery tickets with Jumbo acting as an agent and earning a portion of sales. This online lotto-agent business has high margins and may still grow following the incredible success of the last 10 years, in which net profits grew from a net loss to nearly $7 million for the 2012 financial year.

Jumbo Interactive also has business interests in Mexico and the USA.

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