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Once VMware is free from Dell, who might fancy buying it?

April 18, 2021 No Comments

TechCrunch has spilled much digital ink tracking the fate of VMware since it was brought to Dell’s orbit thanks to the latter company’s epic purchase of EMC in 2016 for $ 58 billion. That transaction saddled the well-known Texas tech company with heavy debts. Because the deal left VMware a public company, albeit one controlled by Dell, how it might be used to pay down some of its parent company’s arrears was a constant question.

Dell made its move earlier this week, agreeing to spin out VMware in exchange for a huge one-time dividend, a five-year commercial partnership agreement, lots of stock for existing Dell shareholders and Michael Dell retaining his role as chairman of its board.

So, where does the deal leave VMware in terms of independence, and in terms of Dell influence? Dell no longer will hold formal control over VMware as part of the deal, though its shareholders will retain a large stake in the virtualization giant. And with Michael Dell staying on VMware’s board, it will retain influence.

Here’s how VMware described it to shareholders in a presentation this week. The graphic shows that under the new agreement, VMware is no longer a subsidiary of Dell and will now be an independent company.

Chart showing before and after structure of Dell spinning out VMware. In the after scenario, VMware is an independent company.

Image Credits: VMware

But with VMware tipped to become independent once again, it could become something of a takeover target. When Dell controlled VMware thanks to majority ownership, a hostile takeover felt out of the question. Now, VMware is a more possible target to the right company with the right offer — provided that the Dell spinout works as planned.

Buying VMware would be an expensive effort, however. It’s worth around $ 67 billion today. Presuming a large premium would be needed to take this particular technology chess piece off the competitive board, it could cost $ 100 billion or more to snag VMware from the public markets.

So VMware will soon be more free to pursue a transaction that might be favorable to its shareholders — which will still include every Dell shareholder, because they are receiving stock in VMware as part of its spinout — without worrying about its parent company simply saying no.

Enterprise – TechCrunch

Extra Crunch Partner Perk: Get 6 months free of Zendesk Support and Sales CRM

October 23, 2020 No Comments

We’re excited to announce an update to the Extra Crunch Partner Perk from Zendesk. Starting today, annual and two-year Extra Crunch members that are new to Zendesk, and meet their startup qualifications, can now receive six months of free access to Zendesk’s Sales CRM, in addition to Zendesk Support Suite, Zendesk Explore and Zendesk Sunshine.

Here is an overview of the program.

Zendesk is a service-first CRM company with support, sales and customer engagement products designed to improve customer relationships. This offer is only available for startups that are new to Zendesk, have fewer than 100 employees and are funded but have not raised beyond a Series B.

The Zendesk Partner Perk from Extra Crunch is inclusive of subscription fees, free for six months, after which you will be responsible for payment. Any downgrades to your Zendesk subscription will result in the forfeiture of the promotion, so please check with Zendesk first regarding any changes ( Some add-ons such as Zendesk Talk and Zendesk Sell minutes are not included. Complete details of what’s included can be found here.

Enterprise – TechCrunch

Leveling the playing field: Ahrefs’ free product to help content creators compete in Google

October 2, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Google antitrust, the market cases you need to know.
  • Google’s featured snippets do not payback content creators.
  • How to make content discoverable — no matter the marketing budget.
  • Tim Suolo, Ahrefs’ Chief Marketing Officer explains how they intend to level the playing field for smaller players.

While Google faces lawmakers with antitrust cases, it continues making billions from search result ads. Big players invest heavily in professional SEO tools and expertise to help get their content found in Google. Small businesses, nonprofits, and educational institutions struggle to get the organic traffic that their websites deserve. Today Ahrefs, an SEO toolset for digital marketers, releases a new free product – Ahrefs Webmaster Tools – to make SEO more accessible for website owners and help improve the discoverability of valuable content in Google.

Google’s antitrust case: What you need To know

Google faces antitrust issues for its dominance in web search, digital advertising, and smartphone software. Making $ 160 billion per year from ads in their search results, Google leaves online businesses struggling to get the free organic traffic that their websites deserve.

Travel antitrust crackdown of 2019

In 2019, Expedia Group Inc. saw its biggest revenue drop for 14 years, and TripAdvisor Inc. for two years. This is largely thanks to Google inserting its “Flights” feature into the search results for relevant travel queries.

Ahrefs example of Google's antitrust case

Back to 2016: Warner’s staff reduction

In 2008, Brian Warner launched to detail celebrity financial information. He hired a team of 10+ people to research the data, maintain its accuracy, and publish the investigations.

In 2016, a Google representative contacted Warner for permission to scrape his data. Warner declined but found his data in Google’s freshly-launched “Featured snippets” nonetheless. As a result,’s traffic dipped 65% within a month. This led Warner to cut staff by half.

SERP features scrape your content with no payback

Google’s featured snippets aim to answer a user’s query instantly. Since users get their answers directly from the search engine, they no longer have to click through to pages. However, these features pose a problem for businesses that invest heavily in their content.

SERPs scrape your content without any return

Google produces no content of its own. The answers for the SERP features come from existing content on websites, like Wikipedia. Google conveniently takes content from publishers and other websites and uses it in their SERP features.

In 2019, Rand Fishkin published the study confirming that less than half of Google searches now result in a click. This is a problem for content creators as they lose out on traffic from Google and, therefore, potential sales.

Budget is no longer crucial: Quality content will be found

Big players invest vast budgets in professional SEO tools and expertise to dominate organic search, making it difficult for small and medium businesses to compete in search results.

Omid Ghiam, Content Marketing Manager at Webflow said,

“In an ideal world, great content would show up at the top of search results. In reality, the lack of basic SEO knowledge makes the quality content unheard.”

To level the playing field for content creators, Ahrefs releases a free product – Ahrefs Webmaster Tools.

The initiative aims to improve the discoverability of valuable content from nonprofits, educational institutions, small businesses, and others who can’t yet afford to hire SEO specialists or invest in professional SEO tools. Dmitry Gerasimenko, CEO and Founder of Ahrefs explains,

“Our goal is to facilitate the infrastructure of the free and independent web, where everyone has an equal opportunity at getting discovered online. The competitive advantage should lie in the utility and quality of the information you produce, not in the knowledge of optimizing it for search engines.”

How does Ahrefs webmaster tools work?

A completely free SEO tool, Ahrefs Webmaster Tool (AWT) allows website owners to get deep and actionable insights to improve their website’s performance in search.

AWT scans any verified website for 100+ technical issues that might hinder its search performance, highlights what they are, and explains how to fix them.

It also shows website owners their backlinks, most linked pages, keyword rankings, and estimated monthly organic search traffic.

To get started, all users need to do is sign up. Then, upon registering for a free account, users will need to add and verify ownership of their website(s) via Google Search Console.

Ahrefs new webmaster tool to help content creators fight in the Google SERPs

Once done, users get access to two tools: Site Audit and Site Explorer.

Site Audit lets users scan their website(s) for 100+ SEO issues that could be hurting their performance in organic search. It also shows a breakdown of the most critical issues, how to fix them, and the affected URLs.

Ahrefs site audit report

Site Explorer shows website owners important SEO data, including their backlinks, keyword rankings, most linked pages, and more.

This data will help make better SEO and marketing decisions.

“Great content always needs to be the starting point. However, any result beyond the first page won’t get found. Through our current SEO strategy, we’ve seen traffic increases up to 62%, and Ahrefs’ toolset has been a key part of that,” says Fergus Taylor, an SEO specialist at Typeform.

Ahrefs Webmaster Tools provides website owners with the data and insights they need to outrank big players with deep pockets for free.

Tim Soulo is Chief Marketing Officer at Ahrefs. He can be found on Twitter @timsoulo.

The post Leveling the playing field: Ahrefs’ free product to help content creators compete in Google appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

Digital Startup Alley exhibitors: Tune in tomorrow for free media training

August 12, 2020 No Comments

Tomorrow’s a big day for early-stage startup founders preparing to exhibit in Digital Startup Alley at Disrupt 2020. We’re kicking off the first of three exclusive, interactive webinars to help exhibitors make the most of their Startup Alley experience.

Tune in tomorrow, August 12 at 1 p.m. PT/ 4 p.m. ET for The Dos and Don’ts of Working with the Press. Presenting your company to the media is both a skill and an art form. It takes thought and practice — and media training can help you craft a compelling story. Hundreds of journalists from around the world will be on the lookout for compelling stories at Disrupt 2020, and this workshop can help you catch their eye.

Positive media exposure is essential for early-stage startups. It can drop a spotlight on your business, help attract potential customers and jumpstart your funding. Or, as Luke Heron, CEO of TestCard and veteran Startup Alley exhibitor puts it:

“Coverage is the life blood of a startup. Cash at the beginning of the start-up journey is difficult to come by, and an article from a credible organization can help push things in the right direction.”

During tomorrow’s media training, TechCrunch writers and editors Greg KumparakAnthony Ha and Ingrid Lunden — experts at interviewing startup founders — will discuss best practices when it comes to talking with the press. You’ll learn what journalists look for and how to avoid pitfalls that could tank an interview.

If you’re still on the fence about exhibiting in Startup Alley, consider this: Disrupt 2020 spans five days and it’s the biggest, longest Disrupt ever. You’ll be able to network with thousands of attendees from around the world. And if you purchase your Disrupt Digital Startup Alley Package today, you can attend tomorrow’s media training.

You’ll also be able to attend two more webinars exclusively for Startup Alley exhibitors later this month. Check ’em out and mark your calendar now!

  • August 19 — COVID-19’s Impact on the Startup World with panelists Nicola Corzine, executive director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurship Center, and Cameron Stanfill, a VC analyst at PitchBook.
  • August 26 — Fundraising and Hiring Best Practices with panelists Sarah Kunst of Cleo Capital and Brett Berson of First Round Capital.

Got your Digital Startup Alley Package? Then tune in tomorrow for The Dos and Don’ts of Working with the Press and get ready to make your best possible impression with the press at Disrupt 2020.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at Disrupt 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

Startups – TechCrunch

A New Hotline Offers Free Anonymous Support for Gamers

August 5, 2020 No Comments

The Games and Online Harassment Hotline launched Tuesday as a resource for anyone to talk about the emotional issues that emerge all over the industry.
Feed: All Latest

How To Navigate Google Optimize – A Free Website Optimization Tool

July 16, 2020 No Comments

This post explains basic navigation, features, and setting up tests in Google Optimize, a free website optimization tool.

PPC Hero

Tracking Your Free Google Shopping Ads

June 26, 2020 No Comments

Tracking for Surfaces Across Google clicks in Google Merchant Center leaves something to be desired. The step-by-step process in this post is an alternative.

PPC Hero

Free resources to grow your business during lockdown

May 20, 2020 No Comments

30-second summary:

  • Lockdown and self-quarantine are causing consumers to spend more time online. 
  • To encourage growth, companies may need to pivot the way they interact with customers or the goods and services they supply as demands change. 
  • Organizations need to optimize their SEO strategy, website and online presence to stay relevant among competitors. 
  • Several free resources are available to analyze SEO and websites. You can use them to make changes and improvements so that during lockdown your business continues to grow. 

The Coronavirus outbreak is changing life as we know it. As billions of people shelter in place, they’re spending even more time online. This is good and bad news for businesses. 

The good news is that there are more consumers online, more of the time. The bad news is that they have time to be more discerning in their choices and that your rivals are looking to capitalize on this and grow their companies just as much as you are… 

Getting ahead without crunching your pocket

To ensure your business stays relevant in this strange new world, you’ll need to up your game. This involves interacting with customers in novel ways, creating attractive campaigns and special offers, and possibly pivoting the goods and services you offer to meet new consumer demands. 

Digital marketing and SEO have always been cutthroat, and they’re even more so in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown. The changes that you make to your company – to ensure it survives and even thrives during this time – may mean that your current marketing strategies are no longer optimal. 

With all that in mind, updating your organization’s website and general online presence is crucial. Reviewing and refreshing these should always be a regular habit, but as the world’s economy and demands are changing so much, it’s especially important right now.

Luckily, there are several resources to help you with such updates. A lot of them cost money, but there are some excellent free options if you’re looking to cut back on expenses. Some of the top free tools that can perform tasks like checking if your pages are indexed by Google, analyzing onsite SEO efficiency, and evaluating content are listed below. 

1. GTmetrix

Search engines (Google included) are increasingly giving preferential treatment to sites that load content quickly and putting them higher in their search results. GTmetrix analyzes sites’ load speeds, identifying the specific features that make a site too big, too slow, and satisfactorily fast. It also supplies a list of practical suggestions for you to speed up your load times.  

Enter a URL into the tool, and you’ll get a thorough report highlighting the areas that need improvement. 

Free resources GTmetrix

2. Linkody’s Free Google Index Checker 

As a big part of your site’s health and growth is impacted by Google crawling it, you need to stay on top of indexing. With this free index checker, you can determine whether a specific page or an entire domain is indexed. All you need to do is enter your URL and Linkody alerts you about the current index status. Not indexed can indicate that Google hasn’t crawled a page or site yet, or that a page is considered low-quality or even worse, a site as a whole is de-indexed. Indexing problems happen to the best of us (looking at you, Linkedin) so a basic check should be part of your SEO routine. 

Linkody's Google Index Checker free resources

3. Ahrefs Academy’s: Blogging for Business 

The video tutorials on Ahrefs Academy are informative and easy to understand, making them great resources. Blogging for Business is no exception, and includes sections on everything from basic principles of blogging to growing companies, to creating content that promotes itself. Scroll down the site and watch all of the short videos in order, or jump to the section you’re interested in. 

4. Harmon Brothers University Script Challenge

Marketing masterminds Harmon Brothers are offering a free resource, a 14-day Video Script Challenge, where they’ll give you everything you need to write a video script that will successfully sell a product or service. The step-by-step instructions are scalable so they can be implemented no matter how big business grows. 

5. Shopify’s 90-Day free trial

As part of Shopify’s COVID-19 response, the multinational ecommerce company is offering several informative free webinars and giving new clients a free 90-day trial of its services. Businesses can sign up and create their virtual stores in just a few minutes, complete with attractive themes and customizable responses. 

6. Chrome’s SEO Ruler

SEO Ruler is a free Chrome extension that provides over 25 tools in a single package. Link Tools, OnPage Copy Tools and SERP Page Tools help to maximize your SEO, while OnPage Viewer, Schema Viewer, and Quick Google options enhance user experiences so that they search for – and find – much more. 

7. SEOAURA’s website responsive test

Search engines have also started to prioritize websites that look good across all platforms, regardless of their orientation or size. In other words, if your site is equally attractive on desktop, tablets and smartphones, you’ll rank higher on the SERPs. 

SEOAURA free resources

Make sure your website’s looks and functionality are perfect on every device by putting it through the SEOAURA Website Responsive Test. If your site doesn’t pass muster, consider updating it yourself or consulting a professional designer. 

8. SERPerator by MobileMoxie

MobileMoxie offers a range of tools that enable companies to analyze their mobile websites and improve their traffic, which ultimately boosts revenue.  

The tools can all be tried free for a period of seven days, and the SERPerator SERP test is available for five runs per day at no charge. Just enter the business details, the search term, the search engine and the phone language and run the SERP test for two mobile devices of your choice. 

9. Free courses from Moz Academy

Software as a Service (SaaS) giant Moz offers exceptional software and educational materials on SEO. Now you can access a lot of their online courses for free to help you take your marketing strategy to the next level. Until May 31, 2020, check out the full course content for Page Optimization, Backlink Basics, and all their other subjects, which usually retail for over $ 100 each. 

10. Moz Local

One of the top SEO products that Moz offers is its Moz Local, which helps companies check their local business listing, automate online deletions, and optimally manage their profiles in real time. Various plans are offered for different prices, but you can perform the simple task of checking business listings’ online presence by heading to the Moz Local page, selecting the Check My Online Presence button, and entering the company’s physical address. 

11. Scout Suggest

This keyword tool allows online marketers to find phrases, synonyms and modifiers for your keywords to use for any subject. Simply enter a keyword, select the region that you’re interested in, and run the tool to get a report with thousands of related terms, phrases and questions. You’ll also get N-grams which groups related keywords into clusters that make it easier to plan for your next content piece. 

12. Calendly’s Virtual Meetings Integration

Finally, to keep companies and marketing campaigns on track all involved stakeholders have to meet regularly. But these meetings don’t have to be physical, and at the moment they can’t be. Calendly offers free GoToMeeting and Zoom integrations until the end of June 2020. Everyone who works remotely can stay on track with projects and, just as importantly, connect with co-workers and clients too. 

Closing thoughts

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, no one is sure what the final fallout will be. While waiting for the dust to settle, you might need to pivot your business several times if you want to continue its growth. Reviews of its SEO performance should be conducted whenever you make changes – and at regular intervals, as a matter of best practice.

The post Free resources to grow your business during lockdown appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Search Engine Watch

Free tool helps manufacturers map where COVID-19 impacts supply chain

April 13, 2020 No Comments

Assent Compliance, a company that helps large manufacturers like GE and Rolls Royce manage complex supply chains through an online data exchange, announced a new tool this week that lets any company, whether they’re a customer or not, upload bills of materials and see on a map where COVID-19 is having an impact on their supply chain.

Company co-founder Matt Whitteker, says the Ottawa startup focuses on supply chain data management, which means it has the data and the tooling to develop a data-driven supply chain map based on WHO data identifying COVID hotspots. He believes that his is the only company to have done this.

“We’re the only ones that have taken supply chain data and applied it to this particular pandemic. And it’s something that’s really native to our platform. We have all that data on hand — we have location data for suppliers. So it’s just a matter of applying that with third-party data sources (like the WHO data), and then extracting valuable business intelligence from it,” he said.

If you want to participate, you simply go to the company website and fill out a form. A customer success employee will contact you and walk you through the process of uploading your data to the platform. Once they have your data, they generate a map showing the parts of the world where your supply chain is most likely to be disrupted, identifying the level of risk based on your individual data.

The company captures supply chain data as part of the act of doing business with 1,000 customers and 500,000 suppliers currently on their platform. “When companies are manufacturing products they have what’s called a bill of materials, kind of like a recipe. And companies upload their bill of materials that basically outlines all their parts, components and commodities, and who they get them from, which basically represents their supply chain,” Whitteker explained.

After the company uploads the bill of materials, Assent opens a portal for the companies to exchange data, which might be tax forms, proof of sourcing or any kind of information and documentation the manufacturer needs to comply with legal and regulatory rules around procurement of a given part.

They decided to start building the COVID-19 map application when they recognized that this was going to have the biggest supply chain disruption the world has seen since World War II. It took about a month to build it. It went into beta last week with customers and over 350 signed up in the first two hours. This week, they made the tool generally available to anyone, even non-customers, for free.

The company was founded in 2010 and has raised $ 220 million, according to Whitteker.

Enterprise – TechCrunch

Facebook Messenger provides governments, agencies with free developer tools to combat COVID-19

March 23, 2020 No Comments

Big tech has been making a huge effort to mobilize its power to help people work better together to battle the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — whether it’s creating search and information portals, making sure the most authoritative voices are surfacing above the noise or gathering compute power to supercharge research efforts to find vaccines.

Today, it is the turn of Facebook: the company announced a number of initiatives around Messenger, its messaging platform with 1.3 billion users, to help use the service to facilitate better communication around the coronavirus outbreak. It is now partnering with developers to provide free services to government and UN health organizations to create better information tools for people to use; and it’s launching a virtual (online) hackathon to see how developers can create messaging solutions to help promote some of the important aspects of fighting the virus, such as social distancing and more general information services.

The moves come at a critical time. Facebook hasn’t had the best couple of years when it comes to public opinion. Many users are increasingly concerned about their privacy and data protection on the platform and are more aware of how it can be used as a tool for manipulating public opinion. But for now, there’s been a stay put on that whole mess.

Facebook has identified and been working hard to battle misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic on its site, and it has also emerged as a helpful platform when it comes how ordinary people are using it to manage communication during the coronavirus pandemic. Many communities are turning to Facebook, and other tools that it owns like WhatsApp, to coordinate communication to help those who are self-isolating. It is also helping people looking for advice on how to work, live, educate and take care of themselves in these unprecedented circumstances.

The distancing measures that are getting put in place in many cities and countries — which includes closing schools, restaurants, theaters and other places where people congregate, and extend also to fully locked-down quarantines with people staying in their homes — are an unprecedented disruption of our daily lives, and that’s putting a lot of focus on communication platforms like Messenger and the internet to keep us connected.

“As is common in any crisis, people are using digital channels like Messenger to stay connected and get information from trusted health authorities that are on the front lines fighting this global pandemic,” writes Stan Chudnovsky, the VP of Messenger.

While there is no charge to put such services on Messenger at the moment, developers might normally charge organizations to build these experiences, which could include bots with automated responses to questions, or guidance on how to use Messenger to broadcast information and updates more effectively, or how to switch from automated response bots to direct conversations with live people when needed: that is the part that Facebook has now negotiated to be done for no charge.

The services are already being used by UNICEF, Pakistan’s Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination (NHSRC) and Argentina’s Ministry of Health, which is working with to answer questions from the public about the coronavirus, including advice.

As for the hackathon, it’s being organised with Devpost, and while it may sound like fun, these are often amazing testbeds to surface innovation. Yes, you might think that the most important innovation right now has to be on the drug research side, but innovation in messaging is also of huge importance as we look for ways of both keeping people informed and calm.

“Participants will be encouraged to build both global and local solutions and will receive unique access to Messenger-related content, including Facebook Live tutorials with product experts and a range of educational materials to support innovation,” Chudnovsky notes. Winners will get mentoring from Facebook engineers to help make these solutions a reality. They’ll also receive invitations to attend F8 2021, including flights and accommodations, and will be given the opportunity to participate in the F8 hackathon, he added.

Social – TechCrunch

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