Morpeth Company’s New Product Launched by Kylie Minogue

Morpeth Company’s New Product Launched by Kylie Minogue
Pop singer Kylie Minogue has helped launch a new product sourced from spring water in Northumberland. The Australian singer attended the launch of Glaceau Smartwater, which is being manufactured at Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) factory on Coopies Lane Industrial Estate, in Morpeth.  The factory is already home to Schweppes Abbey Well water. The singing star attended a photocall in London for the new drink.

Soft drinks giant Coca Cola announced earlier this year that it was investing £3.5m in Northumberland with the launch of the bottled water. The move saw a £3.5m investment in local manufacturing, including updates to production lines and the introduction of new water treatment processes at the site.

Coca Cola also invested in staff at the Morpeth site by funding a training and development programme for existing employees to help them develop career skill.

Marketing industry sources had suggested that the company was also considering the actress to also promote the product launch in the UK, but it was the Aussie star who eventually clinched the deal.

The production of the electrolyte-enhanced water in Morpeth sees the UK become the first European market to introduce it.

Pete Smith, operations director at Coca-Cola Enterprises Morpeth, said: “This is an exciting new development for Morpeth. The factory already has a proud history of producing high quality water for consumers across Great Britain.

“At CCE, we are dedicated to supporting local manufacturing across the country and the investment in our staff at Morpeth, as well as new equipment and production technology, is a statement of our commitment to this region.”

Service Sector Growth Slows in Latest Quarter

Service Sector Growth Slows in Latest Quarter
Service sector business growth slowed in the three months to August, according to a survey from business lobby group, the CBI. Growth in business volumes in consumer services was the slowest since last year, they added.

However, optimism among consumer services firms is strong, with 48% of companies more upbeat than three months ago, and only 4% less optimistic. In addition, more firms in the sector were planning to take on employees.

More than a quarter of consumer services firms – which include hotels, bars, restaurants, travel and leisure firms – had plans to increase investment in vehicles, plant and machinery.

“The slowing in the pace of growth and profits in the service sector reflects our view that momentum in the economy will ease in the second half of the year,” said Katja Hall, CBI deputy director-general. “But this doesn’t necessarily mean a gear change in the recovery. It’s encouraging that our service sector firms continue to feel upbeat, especially when looking ahead to the next quarter.”

Professional services companies – including accountancy, legal and marketing firms – told the CBI that their business levels were as expected, but that volumes were likely to be more robust next quarter.

Growth in the numbers employed in the business and professional services sector reached its highest rate in almost seven years.

Expectations for employment growth in the next quarter reached a record high. However, a shortage of professional and clerical staff is expected to act as a brake on growth.

Benefits of Shopping Online

Benefits of Shopping Online
Online shopping websites such as the Home and Gift shop offer almost everything for the home and garden, including items such as traditional bed linen through to gifts for the family or pet. Plus, the home wares and clothing available from these type of online store, are often designed to provide you with unique answers to your everyday needs assisting you to live an independent life.

Many people look to shop online nowadays as a convenient way to shop and will often find it offers them the opportunity to save money. By choosing to shop online you will be able to enjoy many benefits, some of which are self explanatory, others that are not quite so apparent. So what are just some of the benefits of shopping online:

Lower Prices
The Internet provides access to millions of retail outlets with details of the product you are searching for, often at lower prices than the high street, and – many online stores will often offer the money saving benefit of what are often referred to as the “Online ONLY” deals. These online deals will often offer extensive discounts and savings only to those who purchase specific items online.

Greater Choice of Product or Services
Access to a huge range of products or services, with all the information provided online enabling you to compare and make an informed decision. Plus, as more traditional homeware products such as cellular pure wool blankets or flannelette duvet bedding becomes ever more difficult to find, the Internet offers unrivalled access to items such as these.

Convenience
The Internet has enabled online stores to be open for business around the clock which lets you shop entirely at your convenience, and for those who perhaps have mobility issues then, many will find online shopping a very convenient way to shop. Finding the right furniture and contents for a home can often prove a difficult and time consuming task. The choice in many large high street stores and out of town retail parks around the UK is often limited and replicated from store to store. This is where online shopping can offer true convenience for all shoppers. Lower prices, a wider selection of products or services, and the convenience of shopping at a time that suits you are just a few of the many reasons more and more people are turning to online shopping.

Shopping for home furnishings and gifts can also be more exciting and productive when done online. Select the product, click on an image and discover the product or gift that best suits the shopper’s requirements.  Maybe you have just bought a new house or are ready to make some changes to make your interior design more current or reflective of your current lifestyle. Whatever your goal, be it an entirely new home décor or a revamp of your present home, you can add passion, colour and style by indulging yourself in some of the many home furnishings, home essentials and garden furniture.

Stores such as the Home and Gift shop offers all kinds of gifts for the home and garden including kitchen gifts, bedroom furnishings and much more. If you have not joined the ever growing population of online shoppers, this is your opportunity. With online shopping, you save money, time, and effort all with the click of a mouse.

Google Removes 12 BBC News Links in Right to be Forgotten

Google Removes 12 BBC News Links in Right to be Forgotten
Google has removed a total of 12 BBC News stories from some search results since controversial EU “right to be forgotten” laws came into force in May. The stories range from coverage of a court case on bomb-making in Northern Ireland 13 years ago to a dispute over a lost dog. Google notified the BBC of each of the removals, but it did not disclose who had made the removal requests.

The stories will no longer appear in the results of certain search terms.

Only searches made in Europe are affected under the law.

Previously Google said it had been inundated with requests from individuals to remove web pages since the ruling by the European Court of Justice three months ago. Last month the search giant told regulators that it had received more than 91,000 requests to remove a total of 328,000 pages from its search results. It said it had approved more than 50% of those processed, but did not say how many had been processed so far.

The “notices of removal” issued to the BBC by Google said the web pages would not appear in the results returned for “search queries for names or other personal identifiers”.  “Please note that in many cases, the affected queries do not relate to the name of any person mentioned prominently on the page,” the notices continued. “For example, in some cases, the name may appear only in a comment section.”

Of the 12 BBC pages removed by Google, four include comments sections, including a blog by the BBC’s then-business editor Robert Peston, which was removed in July. Others typically feature court cases, including one dating from 2001 which involved three men accused of possessing bomb-making equipment in Northern Ireland.

Two stories relate to the high-profile case of a British woman found guilty of running “one of Europe’s biggest prostitution rings” in 2003.

Other stories taken down covered a wide range of incidents. Google removed a 2002 story concerning a dispute between two Somerset families over the ownership of a wire-haired terrier called Wellie.

Another removed story concerns a car thief branded an “idiot” by his own barrister, while yet another features an 18-year-old Bristol student convicted of drink-driving after crashing his Mini into the steps of his university campus.

World’s First ‘Smartphone’ Celebrates 20 Years

World’s First ‘Smartphone’ Celebrates 20 Years
Never judge a phone by its cover. This chunky, black box was in fact the world’s first ‘smartphone’. The IBM Simon went on sale to the public on 16 August 1994 and combined mobile phone technology with a wide range of computing features.

IBM Simon

To mark the 20th anniversary, London’s Science Museum is putting it on display in its new Information Age gallery.

“The Simon wasn’t called a smartphone back then,” said curator Charlotte Connelly. “But it had a lot of the features we see today. It had a calendar, it could take notes and send emails and messages and combined all of this with a cell phone.”

Weighing in at 500g (1.1lb), the Simon was not exactly pocket-sized. However, Ms Connelly insisted the design was ahead of its time. It looks like a grey block but it’s not as big as you’d imagine,” she said. “It had a stylus and a green LCD screen, which is similar in size to the iPhone 4. In fact, it’s not a bad looking thing.”

IBM’s pioneering product was also the first mobile phone to feature software apps and could be linked up to a fax machine. It was only available to customers in the United States, operating within a 15 state network and sold around 50,000 models.

The device was particularly popular with members of the business community, who craved a transportable phone that doubled up as a mini-computer. However, a hefty price tag and limited battery life contributed to its eventual disappearance from the market around two years after its launch. “It only had an hour’s battery, it was $899 and there was no mobile internet at the time. So it wasn’t very successful,” said Ms Connelly.

The Simon will go on display this October as part of the Information Age exhibition – the first permanent gallery in the UK dedicated to the history of communication and information technology.

More than 800 objects will be on display, illustrating how far communication has come over the past 200 years.

Ms Connelly said the exhibition also acts as a reminder of a different era, free from constant connectivity. “It does remind us of that time. I definitely enjoy getting away from things and deliberately disconnecting myself,” she said. “There’s something quite nice about that.”

UK Economic Growth Revised up to 3.2%

UK Economic Growth Revised up to 3.2%
The UK economy grew by 3.2% in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, slightly higher than the original 3.1% estimate. But the Office for National Statistics’ second estimate of growth in the April-to-June period left the quarter-on-quarter figure unchanged at 0.8%.

The construction sector performed better than previously assumed.

The figures confirm the UK economy saw its best economic performance for six years and has passed its 2008 peak. The services sector, which accounts for around 78% of UK economic activity, grew 1% in the second quarter, the ONS added.

In June alone the services sector expanded by 0.3%. compared with May. The annual growth rate in the sector, 3.6%, was also its best performance in just over six years.

The ONS preliminary estimate is based on about 40% of UK economic activity. The second estimate gives a more complete picture of economic growth.

Construction was flat in the period but this was an improvement on the original estimate that it had contracted by 0.5%. On an annual basis construction was estimated to have expanded by 4.8%. Construction accounts for 6.3% of economic activity in the UK.

Meanwhile, the services sector saw “widespread growth” the ONS said, with increases in each of the four main sub sectors: business services and finance; distribution, hotels and restaurants; transport, storage & communication; and government and other services.  The services sector is now 3% above its previous peak in the first three months of 2008 suggesting the UK’s economic recovery is still being led by consumer spending. In contrast UK manufacturing output is still 7.5% below its pre-recession peak.

Separately, the ONS said business and financial services expanded by 4.3% in June, distribution, hotels and restaurants increased by 4.8, government and other services grew by 1.9% and transport, storage and communication increased by 3.4%.

Chris Williamson, economist at economic forecaster Markit, said the ONS data combined with more recent economic surveys pointed to economic growth of 0.7% in the third quarter – which would suggest an overall expansion of 3.5% in GDP in 20154 overall. He said the Bank of England showed “no signs” of risking “killing off the recovery, by raising interest rates, anytime soon” adding that with interest rates tied to age growth it was likely that the first rise in interest rates would be delayed until next year.

Promoting Property Maintenance Services in the North East

Property Maintenance Services in the North East
Direct Submit are now working with North East based GC Property Maintenance Services to help promote their range of property management services, specialising in all types of building repair and facilities maintenance. They have extensive experience and a reputation for providing a professional service to businesses at competitive rates.

As with many other clients, Direct Submit will be looking to utilise the major Search Engines, Social Networks and other Internet resources to help get the Northumbria website noticed.

If you would like to speak to one of our SEO technicians about how we can help make your website work harder for you, then why not give us a call now on 0845 2722350 or visit the Direct Submit website.

Amazon Release Debit and Credit Card Reader

Amazon Release Debit and Credit Card Reader
Amazon has released a smartphone and tablet add-on that can be used to swipe debit and credit cards to allow payments. The Local Register device is targeted at small businesses as an alternative to a cash-register system.

The US firm plans to take a 2.5% cut of swiped transactions from next year, but is offering a discounted rate of 1.75% in the meantime. Both charges undercut Square and PayPal, which offer similar gadgets. Square Register charges 2.75% per swipe, while the PayPal Here service charges 2.7%.

All of the firms must deduct interchange and assessment fees imposed by the credit-card companies and banks involved, which account for the bulk of the cost passed on to the device owners.

According to analysis by Fast Company magazine, on a $100 (£59.86) transaction, Square passes on $1.82 in fees to other financial firms and keeps 94 cents itself.

One analyst suggested that Amazon’s entry into the market would prove a serious challenge to the firm that had pioneered the idea. “There is still a sizeable window for big brands to exploit in this space, and Amazon will be seeking to leverage the consumer trust it has to offer what is effectively a cash register to the small business market,” said Windsor Holden, research director at the Juniper Research consultancy. “Given the size and scale of the company relative to Square, Amazon is in an exceptionally strong financial position. Square may now find itself struggling to compete on an equal basis.”

According to a report by the Wall Street Journal in April, five-year-old Square has yet to turn a profit and has used up more than half of the $340m (£203m) it had raised from investors.

A spokesman for Square commented: “We’ve long been focused on building a complete register service for local businesses. This reinforces our mission and shows the demand for all of our services.”

At present the Amazon Local Register card reader is only being made available to customers whose billing addresses are in the US.

The device plugs into a tablet or phone’s headphone socket and costs $10, but buyers are reimbursed the sum in processing fees when they first use it. It works with recent iPhones, iPads, Samsung Galaxy S handsets and Kindle Fire tablets. However, Amazon’s recently launched Fire phone is not listed among the compatible devices.

Rather than credit the user’s bank directly, the company instead adds the sum to their Amazon Payments account – a system originally created for third-party merchants to receive payments for goods sold via the firm’s various websites.

Local Register also offers the ability to create reports about sales trends, allowing users to see how specific product categories performed over a designated period.

The card reader is the latest in a series of recent hardware launches from the firm, including the Fire TV set top box and Dash grocery-ordering gadget that scans barcodes and accepts voice commands.

Some analysts have expressed concern at the pace of that new services are being rolled out, bearing in mind the company posted a $126m loss in its last quarter. The firm’s stock is trading about 18% lower than where it started the year.

SEO and Why Email Matters for Your Business

SEO and Why Email Matters for Your Business
Everyone these days has email: your children, your friends, even your 90-year-old grandmother. They and all the other people in your area who have email very likely have either an Internet-based account through Outlook, Yahoo or Gmail, and as a result of using those email providers, they also spend a fair amount of time using the associated search engines – Bing, Yahoo and Google respectively – to conduct general information searches and as a starting point for their online shopping.

If you own a local business and think this talk of email and search engines has nothing to do with you, think again: “online shopping” is more than making actual purchases online. It also means “shopping” for new products and services which can be purchased locally by researching businesses such as yours and all the options available to them before they ever set foot in your shop – or decide to pass you by.

If your business has a website, Facebook page and/or Twitter feed, brilliant! But content matters, and it needs to be specific. If you haven’t taken the time to get inside the minds of your potential clients and consider the types of Internet keyword searches that might bring your business to their attention, then chances are your website and social media accounts aren’t bringing in enough business to justify the time and money you spend keeping them up.

To really make these online resources worth your while, you need to invest in an effective search engine optimisation, or SEO, marketing strategy. The way SEO works is simple: you generate content for your website and other online resources that makes use of keywords and key phrases that are relevant to your business and that you expect your potential clients to use when searching for businesses like yours.

The benefits of SEO are by no means limited to Web-based businesses or international firms: the world is a much bigger place than it once was, and consumers often don’t know where they can go in their own city or town for products and services they need without first doing an online search. And if your potential customers already have Gmail accounts, then a one-time investment in an effective SEO marketing campaign can pay off in spades if your company ranks high within local search results on Google. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

Direct Submit Internet Marketing is committed to providing on-target SEO and other local Internet marketing services for UK-based organisations of all sizes. Our expert Internet marketing consultants will work with your company to develop online content that will increase your company’s online visibility and help your business skyrocket. Contact us today to find out just how easily we can bring your clients to you!

For more information on the benefits of SEO marketing for your local business, call us today on 0845 272 2350 or visit www.directsubmit.co.uk

EE Introduces Queue Jumping Charge

EE Introduces Queue Jumping Charge
Mobile phone company EE has introduced a charge for jumping the queue on customer service calls. Callers are invited by an automated message to use the priority service for a flat fee of 50 pence.

Some customers, especially those who have been with the company for years, are unhappy that calls are not treated equally.

But EE said that they had set high standards for their customer service operations.

One customer – Andrew Griffiths – told BBC Radio 4?s You and Yours that he would consider switching if EE was the only firm to do this. It added that the “small charges” for certain services contributed to the investment in this side of the business.

The priority answering system is similar in some ways to queue jumping charges at airports and theme parks.

The service has been available for a week to customers on pay monthly on Sim-only plans.

“I thought it was a bad idea for a company to offer to provide what really ought to be a standard level of customer service for a fee,” he said. “It makes you think that perhaps they might not be trying too hard to answer the non-prioritised calls.”