Customer Paradigm Blog

  • The Internet has transformed the world economy, and Net Neutrality is a major reason why.

    September 13, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Net Neutrality is important; this is the response written by Jeff Finkelstein, founder of Customer Paradigm, as filed with the FCC during their public comment period: I cannot state strongly enough that bifurcating the Internet into a slow lane and a fast lane will dramatically reduce competition and limit consumer choice in the marketplace. One of the amazing realities of the Internet is that any company that puts time and effort into building a website – big or small – can aggregate people, interests and purchasing, regardless of geography. The Internet has allowed small companies, started by a single person, to compete on a global scale. Creating jobs, and more consumer choice in the marketplace. In 2002, I founded a Website development company, Customer Paradigm (http://www.customerparadigm.com), based in Boulder, Colorado. We’ve worked with some of the largest brand names in the country. But honestly, I prefer to work with smaller organizations in a lot of ...
  • Magento not sending emails to an exchange server? DNS records to the rescue.

    September 12, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    I’ve seen this happen a couple of times this week, so I thought I’d briefly write about it. A Magento storefront is taking orders, but the emails aren’t coming into the the company’s corporate email system. Usually it’s an Exchange account, but not always. Email gets through to a Yahoo email address or a Gmail account, but not to a corporate email account, or to their customers who are placing orders on the Magento Enterprise or Magento Community site. If this is happening to you, here’s where to start the troubleshooting process: 1. Make sure that the email that you are sending from is from the same domain that the Website is using. For example, if your Magento site was www.CustomerParadigm.com, you’d want to make sure that the email addresses for the store are something @ customerparadigm.com. 2. Make sure that your Website actually has permission to send out emails on behalf of your domain. ...
  • Internet Explorer Shutting Down Old Versions

    September 5, 2014

    Erin Tran

    Internet Explorer 9 Logo Internet Explorer has supported many of the old versions of their browser for years on end with plenty of people unaware of how outdated their browsers are. The current version available is IE 11 but the one with the most market share is IE 8, which came out 5 years ago. All of the other browsers like Mozilla and Chrome regularly phase out old versions as soon as the new one is released. Internet Explorer Catching Up Finally, IE decided to phase out older versions of their browser. However, this will not happen until January 12, 2016. Why IE decided to give themselves a year and a half to do this is not immediately clear but possibly they need to figure out departmental changes. With so many old versions available, lots of developers have dedicated their time to patching up bugs, something many people using old IE may not realize. Often, the ...
  • Half Moon Over Boulder, CO

    September 3, 2014

    Customer Paradigm

    Tech specs: Canon 5D Mark III, 1600 mm, f/22, ISO 100, 1/30 second w/ mirror lockup.    
  • Godaddy Hosting Servers Appear to be DOWN

    August 27, 2014

    Customer Paradigm

    FYI, on August 27, 2014 – 12:00 noon – Godaddy’s Hosting servers appear to be DOWN for FTP users. They are aware of the issue, if you call in. UPDATE: This appears to have been fixed…
  • Magento Cron – How to list all cron entries for all Linux users

    August 27, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Our Magento Programming team here at Customer Paradigm was trying to figure out why a cron was not firing for a Magento Enterprise site. Cron is a system that tells a Magento site to start specific events at specific times.  For example, if you want to have a coupon that gives free shipping for all users, cron might invoke a script that runs and updates the site.  Crons are also used to help with the daily maintenance of the site, including rebuilding caches and indexes for Magento. The issue was that there were no cron tab entries listed under the usual root user on the site.  And there were a ton of users in the system.  How can you find out which user had an entry into the cron? Our Magento Programming team used a stack overflow article, and modified it to work for our needs. Basically, it loops through all of the various ...
  • Customer Paradigm’s Magento Code Audit… now working on Nexcess Shared Servers

    August 19, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Magento Code Audit Tool Updated… We’re now on our fifth release of our Magento Code Audit Tool. We re-built it to work specifically with shared hosting platforms, including the ever popular Nexcess shared hosting Magento product. We had to go back to the basics to re-engineer how the system looks at the different code bases, especially in a locked-down environment. But it’s made a difference, and allows more people to check the overall health of their Magento site. The Magento Code Audit tool is Free as a download, and is available here.
  • Marketing Case Study: How to reach an elusive client at their time of greatest need?

    August 19, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      One of our customers came into the office recently. He wanted some online marketing ideas to help him reach his potential clients. We used our Customer-Centric Decision Branching process to drill down, and get inside the head of the end customer: I listened carefully, and then decided we needed to go old school to accomplish the goal. Yep, direct marketing, sent via snail mail. Read more below >> Marketing Case Study: How to reach an elusive client at their time of greatest need? Some background: ...
  • Google Boosting SSL-Encrypted Sites in their search results

    August 13, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      Last week, Google announced that sites that use the lock (SSL) for secure, encrypted content will start to outrank ones that don’t. What does this mean for sites? And why is Google doing this? Read more below >> Why Does Google Want All Sites to Use SSL? According to an official blog post, Google is boosting SSL-encrypted sites in their search results. But secure pages are slower. It’s because encrypting pages takes processor power – both on the server end and on the end user’s browser. And speed matters. Google ranks pages that load more quickly much higher. So why would Google encourage something that could make the end user experience slightly slower? Google says that they want ...
  • Magento No Longer Supporting Magento Go and ProStores

    July 9, 2014

    Erin Tran

    Magento Logo - Customer Paradigm Companies using Magento Go and ProStores have less than a year to start transitioning over to another e-commerce platform because Magento is not going to support them starting February 1, 2015. Owned by eBay, they are shutting down these two products in favor of focusing on better solutions that support merchants and equip them with the tools necessary to adjust to the ever-changing e-commerce world online. In other words, Magento is going full-speed ahead towards bigger businesses. Go and ProStores were targeted towards small to mid-sized businesses. Magento is also working on development of the next generation. Other E-Commerce Platforms to Use Magento isn’t just dumping 10,000 merchants on the streets next February, thankfully. Previously, they were trying to migrate ProStores customers to Go as ProStores was an older product. The three options that they suggest you migrate to are: Upgrade to Magento Enterprise Edition Upgrade to Magento Community Edition Bigcommerce Those transitioning to Bigcommerce will be ...
  • How Google Perceives Images for SEO

    July 8, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      For everyone in the US, I hope you had a wonderful 4th of July. I was able to photograph the fireworks here in Boulder, Colorado… and of course that led me to think about how Google "perceives" images. Here’s one of my favorite images from the evening’s fireworks show: This was taken with 4 second exposure @ f/8, ISO 2,000, 17 mm, with a tripod and a shutter release cable. How does Google "Understand" the contents of an image? When you add an image to a website, Google often has many ways to understand what is in the image, including: The image name – example: "fireworks-2014.jpg" The image directory you might place the image – example: "/images/fireworks/" ALT Text on your image – example: "July 4th Fireworks in Boulder, Colorado" Words that surround the image – example: "I took this image during the ...
  • Google My Business Features

    June 27, 2014

    Erin Tran

    Google-My-Business Google has once again changed their Places/Local/Pages/Business/Maps/Plus features. This time, they are trying to make it easier for people to integrate their business across internet rather than harder. In the past, Google Local and Google Places were seemingly the same, yet different, and caused a rift in whether or not you showed up in search properly. Google+ Places came along and confused things even more. Google My Business Clears Things Up Google My Business states that it is a way to get your company to: Show up on the web Get on the map Stand out in Google+ Share the right info And be found across all devices For those who already use Google+, Google My Business is added to the navigation of Google+ where you can quickly share a status update, look at reviews, check out your insights, look at Analytics, and join a Hangout all in one place. Helping You to Understand Your Customer The specific benefits are: Google+ ...
  • Facebook Decreases Business Page Views to Followers

    May 30, 2014

    Erin Tran

    Find us on Facebook Logo Many businesses are noticing that their Facebook pages are reaching less and less people compared to before. In fact, many businesses are protesting and even shutting down their Facebook pages. Eat24 wrote a breakup letter to Facebook on March 27th and shut down its account, which had over 70,000 followers. Buying Facebook Likes Businesses and users alike are feeling more deceived by Facebook. First, they were suggested to buy Facebook likes for long-term investment. It turns out many of the likes came from Click Farms that paid $1 per 1000 likes and your likes would come from out of country such as from India, Egypt, and the Philippines. At first it seems cool that your business page is getting international attention, until you realize these are fake accounts or people just out to make a buck. Back in August 2012, Facebook did delete 83 million fake accounts but that didn’t prevent more from ...
  • Body Image & Photoshop: How to Turn Your Teacher into a Supermodel

    May 29, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

    Yesterday, I went into my older daughter’s fourth grade class to teach how most images that kids see online and on the cover of magazines are not real – they’re manipulated. The class was studying body image, and how comparing themselves to images of supermodels could make them feel upset, because they cannot possibly ever achieve perfect skin, teeth and eyes. Instead, I turned their teacher (and principal, too) into supermodels, using a live photo demonstration. I walked them through how real people look (the before images), and what we can do with Photoshop and other tools (the after images). I set up a black background and used an Einstein 640 studio light umbrella to capture these images. The camera (Canon 5D Mark III, with a 50 mm f/1.4 lens) was tethered to my laptop, so as soon as I snapped a photo, it showed up on the projector in front ...
  • Magento Enterprise: How to Use Customer Segmentation

    May 29, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      One of the big themes from the Magento Imagine show was personalization. (And beyond just mail-merging in your name). The idea is to personalize a site, based on information you have from a user, so that their user experience is not like everyone else’s. There are three reasons personalization isn’t widely adopted: Personalization technology can be difficult to implement The "creative" costs of personalization (you have to decide what to do) What happens if you personalize a site, and it annoys end users? I’ve been passionate about personalization. In 2000, I attended a conference in New York called "The Personalization Summit." Industry guru Seth Godin was a keynote speaker. Fourteen years later, very few sites are actually doing much in the way of personalization. I do see this changing, but slowwwly…. Magento Enterprise – Customer Segmentation. Built into the Magento Enterprise code base is ...
  • Magento Imagine 2014 Conference – Recap in Photos

    May 20, 2014

    Jeff Finkelstein

      It was so wonderful to see so many people at Magento Imagine 2014 conference in Las Vegas last week. You might have seen me walking around with a camera during the conference; I’ve put together a summary of what I learned at the conference, using photos to help me remember. The theme this year was "Transform," and how eCommerce is in the midst of a massive transformation. Bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell ("Blink") gave an amazing keynote, as did Michael Dart, author of The New Rules of Retail. I didn’t attend all of the sessions (just the ones that I found personally interesting). But here is my compilation of Magento Imagine 2014, in photos and text: Key Themes from Magento Imagine 2014: Customers Are Mobile & Love Speed: Responsive sites – the new standard. A site that works well on ...
  • The Future of Content Marketing

    May 12, 2014

    Erin Tran

    YouTube Screenshot of CrashCourse - Content Marketing As content marketing is quickly evolving and shaping due to Google standards and real people standards, the ability to churn out high-quality content that caters to the limited time and the desire for more in-depth information can be difficult. However, dedicating a decent budget will be necessary as Cisco Visual Networking Index says by 2017, global video traffic will be 69% of consumer Internet traffic. Taking the time to plan out, develop, film, and edit videos can be time consuming and doing it properly also takes more time. People are at a point where technology and content ought to be entertainment meets education. There’s plenty of education out there and there’s plenty of entertainment, combining the two makes for a more lasting impression. Why Videos? Internet marketers know the value of strong imagery and the ability for it to grasp someone’s attention quicker than text. Appealing to visual learners, images are quicker to ...
  • The Future of the Internet

    May 7, 2014

    Erin Tran

    Brain Implant - Joshua R. Smith holding a sensor The internet is so interwoven with our daily lives that it’s hard to imagine life without it. It’s increased connectivity, there’s global access and education, and less ignorance about the world. However, the internet is just over 50 years old and it’s revolutionized humans faster than our history could comprehend. The first computers were made in the 1950s and the concept of the internet did not arise until the 1960s where ARPANET was one of the first packet network systems available and also the first to use an Internet Protocol. Commercial Internet Service Providers (ISP) were finally available in the late 1980s. The world-famous novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, first published in 1977 as a short story, predicted much of the internet and technology as we see it today (email, instant messaging, tablets, early techniques of SEO and influence with personalities and blogging). The internet really didn’t kick off to ...
  • SEO for Ecommerce

    May 5, 2014

    Erin Tran

    Ecommerce SEO - Shopping Cart with Presents Ecommerce websites require a lot of ongoing maintenance and SEO to function properly and keep customers interested. The biggest focus with ecommerce SEO is usability—everything revolves around it. If people can’t easily load your site and shop around, they’re going to leave. According to KISSmetrics, 40% of shoppers abandon websites that take longer than 3 seconds to load and 79% of dissatisfied shoppers are less likely to buy anything from that site again. Companies depend on repeat buyers to last so making sure their online experience goes well is crucial to a healthy business. There are three areas to focus on when it comes to websites, and especially so for ecommerce SEO: technical, content, and social. Technical Health In order to have a functional website that runs smoothly, the technical health of a website must be addressed first. There are various aspects when it comes to technical health that contribute to the overall experience ...
  • Why is Amazon.com so Successful?

    April 28, 2014

    Erin Tran

    Amazon.com Logo Amazon.com is named after the River, one of the largest rivers in the world, possibly as a goal to be one of the largest ecommerce stores in the world. The website started out in 1994 by Jeff Bezos as an online bookstore and within 2 months, saw sales rocketing up to $20,000 per week with markets throughout the US and overseas. Operating on the 4 Pillars of Success: Customer Centricity, Continuous Optimization, Culture of Innovation, & Corporate Agility, I’d say their pillars are quite strong. Choosing a name that represents strength and brevity and also starts with the letter “A” for when search results were listed alphabetically like in phone books. As a way to understand what the service desk experiences, every employee gets to work 2 days every 2 years answering calls. As a way to branch out on products, Amazon developed their own private label brands: Pike Street, Pinzon, and ...
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