I recently completed a Certified Ethical Hacker course and gave a presentation to Fubra staff about some of the things I thought we should be aware of with regards to online security.  Paul and Jorge were kind enough to let me share some of the details in a public blog post so here it is…

Authenticating

Choosing passwords

Password crackers use sophisticated tools that can do dictionary attacks.  These aren’t limited to just words in a regular language dictionary.  These dictionaries contain common passwords (such as ‘qwerty’, ‘123456’) and the tools can try variations on words (such as ‘pa55w0rd’) and combinations of words, numbers, symbols, etc.

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Most businesses have been there – you start up small, in a tiny team, with several key people doing just about everything, from admin to sales and (last, but not least) even office cleaning. The ball starts rolling, and more people come on board internally, when suddenly it dawns on everyone – we can’t continue shouting at each other across the office ‘It’s Jane on the phone calling about that contract, remember her?’

Fast forward this by a couple of years, and businesses think they know so much more about their customer than just their name and an email address, and that there are so many great ways of managing that data. In fact, in the digital age there is so much data out there that consumers seem to be more measurable than ever before.

There are bits and pieces of acquired data about the aforementioned Jane scattered all over the place – in the company’s internal support system as she has emailed before, in the list of newsletter subscribers, on a piece of PostIt note as she has rang up a few times, in the company’s Twitter followers list as she has retweeted one or two tweets, her name and phone number is in an old CRM system that the sales team uses, and she might also be registered as a user with the company’s online store but with her maiden name! Jane is essentially providing more and more data about herself and her behaviour. How can you capture all this and store it in an intelligent and cost-effective way?

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At the end of 2012 we started building Narrowcast, a simply powerful CRM that allows you to focus on what’s at the core of your business, the customer. Whether it’s a support ticket, a tweet or a sales opportunity we wanted a single inbox that would give you access to all your customer conversations in one place.

Alongside this Narrowcast will integrate your customer data with email marketing tools so you can create more effective, profitable and relevant marketing campaigns from the relationships you’ve built with your customers.

Take a look at some working designs for Narrowcast’s CRM

The Narrowcast way

The underlying concept of Narrowcast is to centre the marketing process around the individual and their identity rather than around mass audiences. To us this really made sense, as we can offer advertisers a better way to target their market whilst at the same time displaying advertising that customers are more likely to be interested in and care about.

If you work in the marketing world you’ll have likely heard of concepts such as Big Data and Single Customer View. As a company with lots of customers subscribed to our online products we could see how beneficial it would be to compile all our customer data into a single, individual profile for each of our customers. It means we can know the entire picture when communicating with a customer and not having to waste time sifting through old emails and jumping between varying systems.

Why we’re building Narrowcast…

Let me tell you a story about The Little Big TV Company, they specialise in selling very large TV’s and are typical of many small to medium sized businesses who are busy maintaining a steady cash flow, managing the needs of their employees, dealing with suppliers and growing their business.

These TV’s can be pretty pricey to repair so the company decided that it would be a great idea to contact existing customers whose manufacturers warranty is soon to expire and offer them an additional warranty.

The Little Big TV Company however, didn’t have a database or CRM of their customers and was unable to follow up with those customers whose warranty was about to end, missing a big opportunity to make generate sales as well as spare their existing customers from the possibility of spending a small fortune in gigantic TV repairs.

Although The Little Big TV Company is a fictional company, the story behind it is true and it’s stories like this that drive the Narrowcast project to provide businesses with the tools to know their customers and give them the ability to react based on that knowledge. Ultimately with an effective CRM system the The Little Big TV Company would have been able to provide a much higher level of service that was more personal to it’s customers and in-tern inspired customer loyalty whilst generating sales.

Here’s where we’re at…

Our current focus is on getting Narrowcast up and running with its CRM functionality so we can start using it internally to support our own customers as well as get some user feedback to develop the product.

Looking to the future we’ve got our sights set on releasing this to businesses as a stand alone product. There’s lots of scope to integrate new features that will make Narrowcast everything a business needs to build and utilise the relationships it has with its customers.

£10,000+ Monthly Revenue – Taxi Ads:

I’m very pleased to announce that revenue from adverts on the transfers pages of our Airport Guides network (http://www.heathrow-airport-guide.co.uk/taxi-transfer.html) has now reached in excess of £10,000 a month.

We’ve been very close to this target for a few months now so it’s a great personal achievement to finally surpass this figure.

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We are really excited to announce that earlier this week, after lots of rigorous testing, we launched AffJet v2. We have given both the application and the AffJet website a complete facelift, to make it really simple and intuitive to use.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with AffJet, it’s an application for affiliate marketers which aggregates all of your affiliate marketing statistics in one place for easy network analysis and bigger profits.

Below are some screenshots of the new designs, and you can read more about the changes we have made, or try it our for yourself at AffJet.com.