Case study: Ridgeway revitalises HMV’s ecommerce store- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Following their acquisition by Sunrise Records in February 2019, HMV has been working with Ridgeway as their digital agency to upgrade their existing ecommerce solution and provide a more streamlined user journey. The upgraded website went live in November 2019 in time for the peak season of Black Friday and the Christmas period.
Ridgeway has worked in partnership with HMV since 2015 when the home of entertainment launched its very first ecommerce store. The online store has gone from strength to strength with traffic, transactions and revenue increasing year on year.
Process
The new solution has been built in the latest version of Kentico, V12, which provides the team with enhanced features which have been carefully crafted to deliver content to users quickly. Stocking over 61,000 products, the new platform is built using the latest tech stack which provides improved performance and reduced load times, with pages responding in less than 0.105 seconds. With over 80,000 pages Kentico offers hmv an ideal, technically robust platform to cope with a site of this size while delivering great site speed and performance.
In addition to the platform upgrade, HMV needed a more streamlined checkout journey, particularly for mobile users. The Ridgeway team have designed and built a faster checkout which shortens the journey from up to four to just two steps. The new checkout also features a summary banner and a delete option.
Results
Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for the hmv team and this year was no exception. The site seamlessly handled over 150,000 users on the day itself with a peak of 1,440 concurrent users. On average the site was handling over 6,000 users per hour and achieving an ecommerce conversion rate of 3.75%. The HMV solution is hosted with Microsoft Azure to ensure a flexible and functional solution allowing the site to manage these huge peaks in traffic with ease.
Terry Roffey, retail and ecommerce applications manager, said: “Performance plays a major role in our success. Having a high-performing site is vital to engage and retain our customers. The upgrade to Kentico V12 has meant we are able to provide the fast, smooth online experience our users expect.”
Simon Cole, managing director, Ridgeway, said: “It has been a pleasure working with the hmv team over the last five years and see their ecommerce site go from strength to strength. The latest version of Kentico will provide even more opportunity and the team are reaping the benefits already.”
The HMV team will continue to work with Ridgeway on lots more exciting developments in 2020. Check out other client projects or get in touch with the team to see how they can help you.

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Google Play Store will no longer notify users when an app has been updated – Blog – 10 minute

What just happened? In a bid to reduce notification spam, Google has quietly decided to do away with Play Store notifications that let users know when an app has been updated. From now on, they will only see a notification for an app update being installed, which will disappear automatically after the process is complete.
Despite the wealth of granular controls for managing notifications on our smartphones, the tiny bits of information and alerts can still get overwhelming sometimes, requiring plenty of unnecessary swipes from the user.
Google has taken another step in reducing this clutter and will no longer display Play Store notifications that inform users of when an app has been updated. Apparently, the change had been undergoing testing since November, leading several users to believe that it was a bug, irrespective of their preference for auto or manual app updates.

Google Play now hides app update notifications
While the notifications did come back later in December, they disappeared again this week. The confusion was addressed recently by Google when it officially reached out to Android Police to confirm that the change was, in fact, an intended feature and not a bug.
Google’s decision would ultimately result in a fewer number of notifications. However, users who like to be particular about app updates and the associated information (changelog, improvements) will need to dig slightly deeper by manually going to the ‘My apps & games’ section in the Play Store.

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Epic Games Store attracts more than 100 million users in first year – Blog – 10 minute

In brief: The Epic Games Store had a solid first year as the developer revealed on Tuesday. The digital video game storefront now has 108 million PC customers that collectively spent $680 million over the course of 2019, $251 million of which was dedicated to third-party PC games.
The developer further revealed that it has fully funded over $23 million in coupons and discounts.
The most popular titles on the platform, in no particular order, include World War Z, Borderlands 3, Metro Exodus, Satisfactory, Dauntless, Untitled Goose Game, The Outer Worlds, Control and The Division 2.
Free game offerings are also popular on the Epic Games Store. Since its inception, there have been 73 free offerings totaling $1,455 in value that have been claimed more than 200 million times. And they’re not usually crap games, either, as the average user score across the freebies is 80 percent.

Best yet, Epic announced that its weekly free game program will be continuing throughout 2020. Each week, you’ll be able to score a free game from the store and once it has been claimed, it is yours to keep forever.
The Epic Store is off to a great start but it has a long way to go before it rivals Valve’s Steam. In 2017, Steam generated a whopping $4.3 billion, half of which came from just 100 games.

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Cartier launches store on Tmall to connect with ‘young and sophisticated’ Chinese audience- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Luxury brand Cartier has partnered with Alibaba to launch an online store on its Tmall Luxury Pavillion platform.
Cartier, which first launched an online store in China in 2015, has opted to also open an online store on Tmall, citing a new online audience that is hungry for innovation.
Guillaume Alix, Cartier China’s chief executive, said: “In China, Cartier has the privilege to engage with a young and sophisticated audience that is used to experiencing online journeys as much as offline ones. It is critical for them to have the opportunity to interact with our Maison through a rich variety of touchpoints. Starting from the launch on Tmall, Chinese clients will be further empowered to explore the Cartier’s creations and services in more convenient and innovative ways.”
To launch the shop, the brand has launched exclusive products for Tmall, including the Juste un Clou small model bracelet with diamonds and a new Guirlande chain wallet bag. The Tmall shop will have Cartier’s full range of products and offer personalisation services, according to the brand.
Mike Hu, general manager of Tmall Fashion, Luxury and FMCG, said: “Alibaba is committed to unlocking new value for brands. In today’s luxury landscape, it is critical to engage with both Gen Z and classic luxury consumers, and providing consumers with the most personalized experience is a crucial step for the growth of luxury brands. As such, Cartier’s Tmall flagship boutique will adopt the new Tmall Flagship Store 2.0 model, providing a virtually perfect brand experience for its targeted consumer groups. Looking forward, we will help Cartier leverage Alibaba’s Business Operating System to further upgrade its digital strategy.”
The store will officially launch with a ceremony alongside Tmall’s Super Brand Day in February, with content being teased across Weibo using the hashtag #Let’sCartier.

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App Store spending hit record levels during the 2019 holidays – Blog – 10 minute

In a nutshell: Apple on Wednesday revealed that customers spent a record $1.42 billion in the App Store between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve 2019, an increase of 16 percent year over year. On New Year’s Day alone, sales shot up 20 percent to $386 million, good for a new single-day record.
To date, the App Store has helped developers earn over $155 billion. That’s pretty incredible, really, considering the App Store didn’t even exist until 2008. What a difference a decade makes!

Apple also shared key engagement numbers with some of its other popular services. For example, Apple Music now offers over 60 million tracks across 115 countries and Apple Arcade has more than 100 titles in its catalog. Apple News, meanwhile, attracts over 100 million monthly active users from Australia, Canada, the US and the UK while Apple Podcasts now stocks over 800,000 shows available in 155 countries.
Despite Apple’s generosity in sharing the new statistics, the company stopped short of revealing truly intriguing numbers like subscriber counts for some of its newer services such as Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade. With any luck, perhaps those will come down the pipe as part of Apple’s next earnings report in early February.

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Hinge opens merch store stocked with Hingie garbs and ‘delete day’ goods- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

The dating app Hinge has opened a merch store for newly entwined hearts to mark the day they deleted the app with Hingie memorabilia.
The dating app first introduced its fluffy, accident-prone mascot back in August. Until that point, Hinge had been low key on the number of campaigns it launched.
To act out its self-defeating tagline – ‘Designed to be Deleted’ – in 12 playful scenes, every time singles hit it off, Hingie meets its demise – from burning in a campfire to being attacked by pigeons.
The ad campaign proved to be a hit, increasing Hinge’s monthly downloads by 47%, with an 18% increase in users deleting the app because they found love. It also earned the app 153,000 more Instagram followers.

An extension ‘Designed to be Deleted’, The Hingie Shop offers customers to chance to either celebrate Hingie or destroy him.
Among the online goods, recent deleters or Hinge current users can buy a Hingie pinata, a Hingie bath bomb and a Hingie ring box.
The products also celebrate relationship milestones, where customers can buy a ‘Delete Date’ necklace with their delete day date on a 14-carat gold necklace with real diamonds. All for the price of $500.

There is also Hingie apparel. Fans can buy $120 Hingie branded Vans, a $25 Hingie hat and a $25 pocket tee.
“The Hingie Shop is a response to the overwhelming amount of love Hingie has received since his debut in August,” said Nathan Roth, chief marketing officer at Hinge. “With the success of ‘Designed to be Deleted’, we wanted to provide members with their own way to rep or destroy Hingie, and continue getting people off the app and onto real dates.”

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3 Google Play Store Apps Exploit Android Zero-Day Used by NSO Group – Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Watch out! If you have any of the below-mentioned file managers and photography apps installed on your Android phone—even if downloaded from the official Google Store store⁠—you have been hacked and being tracked.
These newly detected malicious Android apps are Camero, FileCrypt, and callCam that are believed to be linked to Sidewinder APT, a sophisticated hacking group specialized in cyber espionage attacks.
According to cybersecurity researchers at Trend Micro, these apps were exploiting a critical use-after-free vulnerability in Android at least since March last year⁠—that’s 7 months before the same flaw was first discovered as zero-day when Google researcher analysed a separate attack developed by Israeli surveillance vendor NSO Group.
“We speculate that these apps have been active since March 2019 based on the certificate information on one of the apps,” the researchers said.

Tracked as CVE-2019-2215, the vulnerability is a local privilege escalation issue that allows full root compromise of a vulnerable device and could also be exploited remotely when combined with a separate browser rendering flaw.

This Spyware Secretly Root Your Android Phone

According to Trend Micro, FileCrypt Manager and Camero act as droppers and connect to a remote command and control server to download a DEX file, which then downloads the callCam app and tries to install it by exploiting privilege escalation vulnerabilities or abusing accessibility feature.

“All of this is done without user awareness or intervention. To evade detection, it uses many techniques such as obfuscation, data encryption, and invoking dynamic code,” the researchers said.
Once installed, the callCam hides its icon from the menu, collects the following information from the compromised device, and sends it back to the attacker’s C&C server in the background:

Location
Battery status
Files on device
Installed app list
Device information
Sensor information
Camera information
Screenshot
Account
Wifi information
Data from WeChat, Outlook, Twitter, Yahoo Mail, Facebook, Gmail, and Chrome.

Besides CVE-2019-2215, the malicious apps also try to exploit a separate vulnerability in the MediaTek-SU driver to get root privilege and stay persistent on a wide range of Android handsets.
Based on the overlap in location of the command and control servers, researchers have attributed the campaign to SideWinder, believed to be an Indian espionage group that historically targeted organizations linked to the Pakistani Military.

How to Protect Android Phone from Malware

Google has now removed all the above-mentioned malicious apps from Play Store, but since Google systems are not sufficient to keep bad apps out of the official store, you have to be very careful about downloading apps.
To check if your device is being infected with this malware, go to Android system settings → App Manager, look for listed package names and uninstall it.
To protect your device against most cyber threats, you are recommended to take simple but effective precautions like:

keep devices and apps up-to-date,
avoid app downloads from unfamiliar sources,
always pay close attention to the permissions requested by apps,
frequently back up data, and
install a good antivirus app that protects against this malware and similar threats.

To prevent yourself from being targeted by such apps, always beware of fishy apps, even when downloading from Google Play Store, and try to stick to the trusted brands only. In addition, always look at the app reviews left by other users who have downloaded the app, and also verify app permissions before installing any app and grant only those permissions that are relevant for the app’s purpose.

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Google allows ToTok, the app accused of being a UAE surveillance tool, back on its store – Blog – 10 minute

In a nutshell: ToTok, a popular messaging app removed from the Google and Apple storefronts last month after it was accused of being a UAE spy tool, is back on the Play Store following a two-week absence.
In late December, a report by the New York Times that cited United States intelligence officials claimed ToTok was a surveillance tool that can track every conversation, movement, relationship, appointment, sound, and image of those who install it–information that ends up in the hands of the United Arab Emirates government.
ToTok had become very popular in the Middle East, where many messaging apps are blocked or partly blocked, following its launch a few months ago. It briefly became the most downloaded social app in the United States, too.

Computer security experts’ analysis suggested the firm behind ToTok, Breej Holdings, is most likely a front company affiliated with DarkMatter, an Abu Dhabi-based cyberintelligence and hacking firm that contracts directly with the Emirati government.
Before the Times’ report was published, the app was removed from both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. While it’s still not available on the App Store, Google has quietly allowed it back.
A Google spokesperson declined to tell The Verge why the app was originally removed and why it’s been reinstated. ToTok has repeatedly denied the accusations, stressing that user privacy and security have always been its priority. In a statement last month, the company said it valued “openness, honesty and transparency,” and that it would eventually return to both app stores.
“A technical analysis by a former NSA employee has concluded ToTok ‘simply does what it claims to do, and really nothing more… no exploits, no backdoors, and no malware,’” wrote the company’s co-founders.

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Ubisoft’s ‘Steep’ and two special editions of Darksiders are free on the Epic Games Store – Blog – 10 minute

Why it matters: Epic knows it’s hard to say no to free stuff and that’s why it has been giving away a free game daily for nearly two weeks now, alongside heavy discounts for the Holidays Sale. The company’s ’12 Days of free games’ promotion – now in its 14th day – is finally coming to an end with not one, but three free games: THQ’s Darksiders Warmastered Edition, Darksiders II Deathinitive Edition and Ubisoft’s extreme winter sports game, Steep.
The Epic Store continues to tempt and add more players to its platform with eyebrow-raising discounts and giveaways. The company’s Holidays Sale became a decent alternative to Steam’s annual Winter Sale, and the daily freebies over the past few weeks have only sweetened the deal even further.
While previous giveaways lasted for 24 hours, Epic is ending the promotion with a trio of games, all of which can be claimed until next Thursday. These include two remastered titles from the Darksiders series and an open-world snowboarding sports game from Ubisoft.
The Darksiders games are both special editions of the base titles, sporting enhanced graphics and textures, with the sequel packing in all DLC for over 30 hours of additional content.
The game’s latest installment, Darksiders Genesis, a spin-off to Darksiders III, was praised for its combat and visuals. With Epic’s giveaway of two prior releases of the game, it now looks like a great time to experience the entire franchise, even if playing all the parts in order isn’t necessary for connecting the dots of the hack and slash action game.

Epic’s third freebie is Steep, an extreme winter sports game from Ubisoft where players ski, paraglide, snowboard and fly in wingsuits across the Alps.
Steep’s DLC includes the X-Games Pass, additional modes, and regions from Alaska, Japan, and Korea, though this current giveaway only includes the game’s base version.
The free games can be claimed in-browser by going to the Epic Store website or by downloading the desktop launcher.

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The direct to consumer department store Neighborhood Goods has raised $11 million – gpgmail


Neighborhood Goods, the direct to consumer department store hawking brands like Rothy’s, Dollar Shave Club, Buck Mason, Draper James and Stadium Goods, has new cash to expand its storefront for e-commerce juggernauts.

The company has raised $11 million in a new round of financing led by Global Founders Capital, with participation from previous investors Forerunner Ventures, Serena Ventures, NextGen Venture Partners, Allen Exploration, Capital Factory and others.

The Dallas-based startup has raised $25.5 million to date and is expanding into a new location in Austin to complement its stores in Plano, Texas and a location in New York, opening soon, according to the company’s chief executive and co-founder Matt Alexander.

The Neighborhood Goods concept, providing a brick and mortar outlet for online brands, is one that dovetails nicely with backers like Global Founders Capital and Forerunner Ventures, which are both longtime investors in direct to consumer startups.

“As we expand our network of brands, we’re so thrilled to have Neighborhood Goods as a core element of our portfolio for them to test, assess, explore and learn about the impact of physical retail as they grow,” said Global Founders Capital investor Don Stalter.

As the company expands its geographic footprint, it’s also experimenting with different online features, like online browsing of in-store collections and the option for physical, in-store pickup of digital orders. Neighborhood Goods also said it will begin offering an analytics back-end for brand partners to provide data on activations and branded events at the company’s stores.


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