Posted in Jobs on 17 April 2014

Are you a talented mobile applications developer focused on native iOS applications that wants to help Zendesk revolutionize the mobile customer service experience? Can you develop native applications that will be widely used by our 30K plus customers? Do you want to work in a company that has a strong focus on design excellence and creativity alongside the belief in the importance of coding disciplines and modern agile development techniques?

What you get to do every day:

  • Design native apps for the iOS platform that empower our customers to drive customer success
  • Work with smart people who have a strong sense of ownership and thrive when they see their work being used by Millions of daily users
  • Liaison with product management and dev teams both locally and in our HQ in San Francisco helping to define mobile product features and the evolution of Zendesk’s iOS offering

What you bring to the role:

  • Bachelor's degree in Computer Science degree or equivalent and a Minimum of 1 year of native iOS development experience - experience with other mobile platforms or SaaS is a plus
  • 3+ years development experience in a high level language, preferably Objective C
  • Experience working in an Agile development setting
  • Able to solve problems and make pragmatic engineering decisions quickly

With your application, please make sure to send us your GitHub / Bitbucket account
Zendesk is the leading provider of proven, cloud-based help desk software. For growing organizations, Zendesk is the fastest way to enable great customer service. More than 40,000 Zendesk customers, including Adobe, Sony, OpenTable and Groupon, trust Zendesk with their most valuable assets: their customers, partners, and employees. Founded in 2007, Zendesk is funded by Charles River Ventures, Benchmark Capital and Matrix Partners. Learn more at
Individuals seeking employment at Zendesk are considered without regards to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, marital status, ancestry, physical or mental disability, veteran status, or sexual orientation.



Posted in Jobs on 17 April 2014

Our Client is currently looking for an experienced Web PHP Developer for a permanent position at their development office in Dublin. Below is an outline of the role for you to look over. If you are happy to be represented and be put forward for this role (or would like more information) please send me an email back or call me (T: 01 2449520), indicating if you wish to be represented by Solas Consulting Group. 

Key Points: 

  • Based in Dublin
  • Permanent Full time role
  • Cutting Edge Technologies

My Client are looking for a suitable candidate to help create, extend and optimise their database(s) as well as enhance the company’s core products with innovation and problem-solving skills. The ideal person will have excellent technical skills, strong written and verbal communication skills and will be a pro-active, self-motivated individual who can work to tight deadlines. 

Desired Skills: 

  • Experience working with large databases
  • OOP PHP 5 (previous experience of Ruby would also be an advantage)
  • XHTML, CSS, Javascript, JQuery and AJAX
  • WordPress
  • Familiarity with Apache and Unix/Linux
  • Building & maintaining RESTful Web-Services
  • Experience developing and / or working with APIs and MVC framework are a distinct advantage
  • Should be comfortable working with ticketing systems (Assembla/Asana), Version Control (GIT/SVN) etc.


Java Developer

Posted in Jobs on 17 April 2014
We are currently looking for a Java Developer to join our team so if you are interested in progressing your career, this position represents a great opportunity to join our company at an exciting stage in its development and expansion 

Main Responsibilities: 
  • Take responsibility for developing new components 
  • Implement, test, and bug-fix functionality 
  • Produce reasonable estimates for tasks and meeting project schedules 
  • Deploy and provide support to the latest releases of software 
The successful candidate will: 
  • 1 to 2 years plus Enterprise Java experience. 
  • Experienced with SQL (Oracle database preferred). 
  • Experienced in developing UI components for the web in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. 
  • Delivery experience within an agile development framework. 

    Key Skills (in order of priority): 
  • Java 
  • Grails (or similar MVC frameworks such as Spring MVC, Ruby on Rails) 
  • SQL (Oracle, MySQL) 
  • HTML 
  • CSS 
  • JavaScript 
  • jQuery 
  • Linux (Redhat, Ubuntu) - setup and configuration 
  • Oracle Database - setup and configuration 
  • WebLogic 
  • Tomcat 
  • Subversion



Six Tips to Improve Your Online Shopping Store

Posted in Tips on 17 April 2014
Image courtesy of (arztsamui)/
There is immense potential in online shopping and hence lot of analysis involved in this area. Many firms are in the race of getting more customer attention and knowing what exactly will work for the firm can help. The climate is increasingly competitive, and it is imperative to know what can get you on the right platform and build a solid reputation. We have analyzed and listed six tips that can help improve performance of your online store.

Tip 1: Three-Second Test

The first impression is very important. People form a first impression on others within the first seven seconds. The same applies for online shops also. It is simple, you just have to ask two questions to yourself:

  • Can the shoppers find out what the website is selling?
  • Will the shoppers trust the website and use their credit cards on the site?

These are the pain points of a website, and after this, there is engagement, interaction and sales conversion.

Tip 2: Multiple Layouts

It is important to know which pages can convert more customers. Different approaches, items and aesthetics can help the visitors be turned into shoppers. It is also important to find out what works well and will help in the long run. Take a test and see the outcome of various layouts on various customers after seeing the conversion trend. Take an example of website selling rock-climbing supplies, trying to promote new shoes. In such a scenario, pictures can be used with attractive text, in another format; they may use a video explaining the effectiveness of the shoes and hands on experience of a climber who has used the shoes.

A third form can be Flash display that gives out key features and descriptions once the user mouses over. The store can test on these three different strategies to see which one has helped most to generate revenue.

Tip 3: Display of Price and Shipping Clearly

The aim remains to get rid of the pain points and help in better sales. It is important to examine the fear involved in the process of shopping and removing that fear from the mind of shopper. Some shoppers may hesitate to buy a product because of the hidden costs involved. Shipping is one such example. The website should make sure that the prices are inclusive of all charges and are clearly displayed.

Such an approach can generate understanding and confidence among the buyers.

Tip 4: E-mail Subscriptions

The buyers may like purchasing from your website, but it is important that they get devoted to your website. This will happen by mode of social media, word of mouth and e-mail marketing. The e-mails can prove to be a direct from of interaction between the product and the customer. The customers are directly linked to the brand by this mode.

You can use some java-enabled pop-ups to get the customer to your site and then give them attractive first-time deals to stay with you. Future communications will also be facilitated with the help of this mode.

Tip 5: Social Media Integration

Word of mouth is now spread on social media.  Fellow consumers can be a good source of information or product review. The trust factor comes in place when we talk about recommending or appreciating a product. You can include the share button on your product page so that the presence of your product is felt by everyone. With lot of sharing and suggesting, the brand will be improved and will be included in the conversations in social media.

Tip 6: Contact Information

It is of great help to have a human face behind your business relationship. You must offer all contact information in a straight-forward form. This will lead to better answers to any customer questions and better decisions made by the customers. Overall, your company will have a reputation of one that cares. If the customers can access your website directly and get the information they want, this will give them better knowledge of exchanges, returns, etc. This will involve some cost, but it will be worth considering the consistent brand reputation that is built as a result.

An online store can help figure out what struggles are faced by customers and finding any new possible opportunities. Correct contact information can help build lot of trust. Make sure customers can contact you via e-mail. Also, try integrating social media to improve your reach. By helping the customers, you can improve your image, income and outlook.


Skill Levels Are the Greatest Hiring Challenge for Start-ups

Posted in News on 17 April 2014


Bing Home Page Gets a Little Dose of Cortana’s IQ

Posted in News on 17 April 2014

Bing’s homepage is getting a whole lot smarter thanks to Cortana, Microsoft’s first ever voice-activated digital assistant.

The software giant has debuted a set of personalized cards on the Bing homepage to help users keep track of items that are important to them such as weather, news or stocks.

To have Cortana remember the items, users simply sign in to their Microsoft account and set up their interests in Bing settings.

Bing 2

“When it’s appropriate, Bing will let you know if for example your stock changes or flight is delayed,” the company said in a blog post.

“The best part? As long as you’re signed in, Bing will remember your interests and notify you, as appropriate, across a range of Bing-powered Microsoft services, such as Cortana and the Bing Sports app.”

Cortana which recently debuted in beta in the U.S., was designed to be like a real personal assistant.

“Cortana is the only digital assistant that gets to know you, builds a relationship that you can trust, and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something,” said Operating Systems group corporate vice-president Joe Belfiore during the product’s unveiling April 3.

“She detects and monitors the stuff you care about, looks out for you throughout the day, and helps filter out the noise so you can focus on what matters to you.”

Bing 3

The first time users interact with Cortana, she will learn their name, how to pronounce it, and ask for some personal interests. The digital assistant uses the answers to curate content that would be of interest.

“To develop Cortana, we talked to a number of real personal assistants. One technique these assistants spoke about was keeping track of the interests and preferences of their bosses in a notebook,” Belfiore said. “We thought… what a great idea! So all the stuff Cortana curates for you is stored in Cortana’s Notebook. This information enables Cortana to be proactive and helpful throughout the day.”


Facebook to Enter E-Money Service Fray: Report

Posted in News on 17 April 2014
Image courtesy of (arztsamui)/


Facebook is gearing up to enter the world of mobile-payments by offering remittances and electronic-money services on the social media site.

According to a Financial Times report, Facebook is awaiting approval from Ireland’s central bank to debut a service that would enable site members to store money on their accounts which could be used for Web and mobile transactions. The e-money could be used for purchase throughout Europe through a process known as “passporting,” the report said.

Sources told the Financial Times Ireland is “only weeks away” from giving the service the green light.

The social network, apparently, has also talked to three London companies that offer online money transfer services about partnerships, the sources said. The companies are TransferWise, Moni Technologies and Azimo.

Facebook will have an uphill battle in the e-wallet market. PayPal is already a force to be reckoned with and Google is pushing its own service, Google Wallet.

A Facebook spokesperson has declined to comment on the report.


Twitter Acquires Social Data Firm Gnip

Posted in News on 17 April 2014

Twitter is buying social data partner Gnip to make its data more accessible to third-party companies and organizations.

The micro-blogging site is also likely to use Gnip’s data to attract more brands and companies and, in turn, reassure shareholders worried that Twitter has not done enough to boost revenue.

“As Twitter has grown into a platform that delivers more than 500 million Tweets per day, Gnip has played a crucial role in collecting and digesting our public data and delivering the most essential Tweets to partners,” Twitter said in a blog post.

“We believe Gnip has only begun to scratch the surface. Together we plan to offer more sophisticated data sets and better data enrichments, so that even more developers and businesses big and small around the world can drive innovation using the unique content that is shared on Twitter.”

Gnip CEO Chris Moody said the acquisition will enable his firm to collect data more quickly and deeply.

“We’ll be able to support a broader set of use cases across a diverse set of users including brands, universities, agencies, and developers big and small,” Moody said in a blog post. “Joining Twitter also provides us access to resources and infrastructure to scale to the next level and offer new products and solutions.”

Aside from Twitter, Gnip analyzes data from other social companies such as Facebook, Foursquare and Tumblr.

Neither company has said if such data collection will continue. Gnip did say, however it would deliver “new offerings with Twitter.”

Financial details of the deal were not divulged.


8 steps to clean up your online reputation

Posted in Tips on 11 April 2014
Sean McGinnis recently wrote an interesting post about online reputation and how he ended up in porn.


One day, he Googled himself to discover an adult movie called "The Fluffer" had been released and the star character’s name was none other than, you guessed it, Sean McGinnis.

An SEO expert and Web strategist, he set about to take back the rights to his name on Google.
As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy.

Negative reviews, untrue comments, and trolls are pushing their way to the top of search rankings so, when someone Googles you, they find all of these negative things said about you online that might be 100 percent false.

Cleaning up your online reputation is now a very real thing—and just one person, or one movie, can ruin for you fairly quickly.

The proper process goes a little like this.

Conduct an online audit

Likely you already know what’s there, but it doesn’t hurt to do a Google search, see what is being said, and where it lands in search results (second listing, first page or third listing, second page).

Do this both logged into your Google account and logged out (or you can open an incognito window in your browser without having to actually log out; do this in Chrome by going to “file” and then click on “new incognito window”).

Logged-in results will show you what your friends, colleagues, peers, and clients will see, and incognito results will show how the rest of the world perceives your online reputation.

It’s important to have both.

Use terms such as “I hate COMPANY NAME” or “COMPANY NAME sucks.”

Also, do searches on key employees or executives at your organization.

Create an online reputation strategy

Based on what you learn from the audit and what internal and external implementation resources are in place, put together the company’s online reputation strategy—and make sure it’s tied to your goals.

The very first thing you should do (if you haven’t already) is set up Talkwalker alerts to let you know when someone says something about you online—positive, neutral, or negative. 

Then write down what it is you’re trying to accomplish (push one review from the first page to the second or fill the first page of search results with positive information about your organization) and get to work.

Create a clean-up list

With the online reputation audit complete and your strategy in place, now comes the clean-up.

As you create the list, read the reviews, read the comments on blogs and in discussion forums, and read all other negative things people are saying about you.

Aggregate all of that information into one place to help you decide if your products need to be tweaked, your customer service needs to be enhanced, or your operations need some work, particularly if there are negative comments about the same things over and over again.

More often than not, people just want you to respond to them. They want to be heard. When they post something and it goes unanswered, their fire is fueled.

As you create the list of things that need to be cleaned up, make a list of sites where your team should respond to complaints.

You will want to create some pre-approved messages for your team to use when responding—such as, “I am so sorry to hear about your troubles with our company. If you’ll privately send me your phone number or email address, I’ll be glad to help you offline.”

What this does is show anyone else who reads the complaints that you are responsive, but takes the conversation offline where you can be helpful.

In the best cases, the person will go back to the site after you’ve helped them and post how grateful they are for your help.

Assign a person or a team to do the work

They will need usernames and passwords, branding guidelines, sign-off on copy/images, and the power to make changes without a laborious approval process.

The one thing you should think about when you assign a team to do the work, particularly for those who are responding to customer complaints, is that these people are representing your organization in a very public forum.

Just like you’d only send experienced people out to meet with high-profile clients or to close a big sales deal, you want your clean-up representatives to have enough business experience to make informed decisions.

That’s not to say an intern or a young professional who has great social media expertise can’t help—they can.

You just want those people to be supervised by someone who has the expertise to make the right decisions devoid of emotion and defensiveness.

Begin the clean-up

Some of this is painful because you’ll need to work with the social networks’ customer service departments to reset login data, delete a profile, or take down an untrue review.

This could take weeks.

According to the social networks, you are guilty until proven innocent. They assume you’ll say and do anything to take down negative reviews…especially if they are true. You have the burden of proof on you and they’ll make you jump through a gazillion hoops to make sure you’re telling the truth.

Be patient. Follow the messaging outlined above. Create compelling content that is written both for humans and robots. The negative reviews will move.

Build your online reputation through social media

There was a time when social media didn’t make sense for every organization. Now, though, it is the best and most efficient way to connect with your customers and prospects.

There is one social network every organization should be on, no matter what you sell: Google+.

Not only does Google rank you higher if you use their social network to promote your content, it helps to push down the negative content if it has been shared on Google+.

Google also now allows you to connect your social networks to your analytics so you can see not only the biggest drivers of traffic to your site, but what keywords they used to find you, what conversations (or pictures, or links) drove them to you, and what they did once they arrived.

Content is prince

Like McGinnis, you may find a fictional character has your name. Or you may find untrue reviews, blog posts, or stories.

But many of you will have negative reviews that are, unfortunately, true.

The very best way to manage these is to create content that is interesting and valuable, and something people want to share.

You cannot delete the negative information. The best you can do is push it off of page one results.

Implement the strategy

Once you’ve cleaned up the organization’s online reputation and figured out how you’re going to use content to build a strong reputation, it’s time to put your strategy into action.

You’re about to become transparent.

In the past, we had the perception that we are in control of our reputation even with an issue or crisis.

The curtain has been pulled back now, and the only way to participate in the conversation is by being transparent: You’re opening yourself up to criticism and feedback.

  • Allow employees to talk about your products or services publicly.
  • Establish a one-to-one communication channel where customers can engage and converse with you in real time every day.
  • Proactively ask for feedback.
  • Don’t hide criticism: Address it publicly.

Once you’ve decided to be transparent, honest, authentic, and human in your online conversations, the content, brand ambassadors, influencer marketing, customer reviews, and a solid product or service will help you cross the marathon finish line.

Warren Buffett famously said: If you lose money for the firm, I will understand. If you lose reputation, I will be ruthless.

An organization’s online reputation, today, is only as good as its search results.



Calling a journalist? Avoid making crucial mistakes

Posted in Tips on 11 April 2014
Contrary to what many texters, chatters, tweeters, and emailers would like us to believe, reports of the demise of the phone call have been greatly exaggerated. 

For PR professionals (and those who profess to be), those coveted reporters and editors we try so hard to reach might offer a lesson: It is dead. At least it is in the sense of picking up the phone, calling a reporter, and pitching away. 

As someone who has been in PR for a "few" years—long enough to remember when the phone pitch really was king, before email, and way before social media—I have learned through many firsthand experiences how important it is to continually modify my approach. 

If I am trying to get a reporter on the phone, I almost always begin with an email, conveniently tagged with a read receipt. If the journalist and I have a great relationship but I don't want to include the pitch by email, I typically say I have a story idea that I think warrants consideration and then ask about talking briefly on the phone. 

A great reporter here in the Washington, D.C., area is WTOP Radio's Neal Augenstein, who is also a prolific tweeter—now well upward of 17,000 tweets. I couldn't help but "LOL" today when I read this tweet from him, leading to the following exchange: 

Not long ago you could make a general determination on when a "good time" would be to call a journalist. Daily newspaper reporters used to have one or two hard deadlines each day. They had one job then: They wrote for the newspaper. 

Today, they still do that, but they also blog, tweet, post, and even capture video for a story. They are on deadline all the time, and they cover far more territory than they used to. Having a "beat" is a veritable luxury that no longer exists for many reporters. 

So getting a cold call from a PR pro, even if there’s a good relationship in place, is not high on the list of how journalists want to be pitched. Don't get me wrong: They still want and may very much need to talk to you. 

Reporters won’t hesitate to hunt you down to respond, if needed. Understanding the pressures they are under and reaching them first with email or some other written communication—which can provide much-needed context and the chance to digest it when they are focused—can help them to sort out whether it's newsworthy. 

Am I saying you should never call a reporter? Of course not. 

Before you dial that phone, especially before you ring that cell phone number that a reporter gave when working on a previous story of yours, stop and think—and send a quick email first. Maybe even a second email, in case the reporter was on the run and just couldn't reply. 
If you don't hear back, then call. At least then the journalist will know why you're calling. Ultimately, you'll be a lot more successful when pitching your news. 



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