Vol 2, #11, March 16, 2010
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March 16, 2010


Buy.com to re-launch Canadian web site with new hire
Canada's first online community for parents by parents
Siteminis launches brand-friendly, profitable mobile commerce web
Zaio launches appraisal-based social network
Douglas Chow joins Cohn & Wolfe Montreal
absentFriends.com offers global network for people dealing with grief
Unani.ca personal electronic health record now available
Media professionals across the globe are flocking to Fixedia
Publish press room content directly to web with just one click

Buy.com to re-launch Canadian website with new hire

Leading online retailer Buy.com announced that Tim McMahon has been appointed vice president of sales and general manager for Canada. McMahon will be based in Toronto and heads brand strategy and development, web site traffic growth, and advertising and vendor relationships for the company's Canadian operation.

McMahon joins Buy.com with more than 15 years of sales experience in technology and information services. Most recently, he served as vice president and general manager for ypOne Publishing, a provider of yellow pages shopping directories in the United States and Canada. Prior to ypOne, McMahon worked in sales development for major IT service companies including Xerox, Ingram Micro and CDW.

Buy.com recently re-launched its Canadian shopping Web site on a new technology platform and with a new design. The company continues to offer shoppers the best online deals with free shipping on the latest consumer and technology products. Local operations enable Canadian shoppers to take advantage of Buy.com's low prices on consumer electronics and technology goods with speedier delivery and customized product information. Buy.com will also sell its products through eBay Canada.

"Tim's hire demonstrates our commitment to enhancing our offerings in Canada," said Neel Grover, Buy.com CEO and President. "His extensive experience in the technology sector is a significant asset to our Canadian operations." Top of Page

Canada's first online community for parents by parents

Canadian parents don't have to feel alone when navigating parenthood with the launch of WhereParentsTalk.com, Canada's first online community created for parents by parents. The cornerstone of the website is WhereParentsTalk TV - online webisodes where award-winning parenting DVD producers Lianne Castelino and Andrea Howick feature interviews, recipes and tips in digestible morsels for today's busy parents.

"We understand the challenges that come with raising children and that's why we created a multi-faceted website that would serve as the ultimate parenting resource," says Andrea Howick, mother of three and co-founder of WhereParentsTalk.com.

Chock full of the latest news, trends and parenting information in multi media platforms, WhereParentsTalk.com assists parents of babies to teens and includes advice from medical and child-care experts, recipe demonstrations and a section devoted to dads.

"I see parents in my practice daily who are looking for advice, guidance and reassurance that they're making the right decisions as parents," says family therapist Vikki Stark, M.S.W. "An all-encompassing website like WhereParentsTalk.com will be a lifeline for parents who might not have access to other resources."

WhereParentsTalk.com was created by Castelino and Howick, co-founders of The Liandrea Company and producers of a series of award-winning parenting DVDs, nutrition books and a parenting radio show.

"With the emergence of social media and the internet being the ultimate reference tool, the timing is right for an online parenting community," said Lianne Castelino, mother of three and co-founder of WhereParentsTalk.com. "We're enabling parents to connect, exchange and share their stories, without ever leaving their house." Top of Page

Siteminis launches brand-friendly, profitable mobile commerce web

Companies looking to turn mobile phone “browsers” into buyers can now turn their mobile Websites into brand consistent, fully functional m-commerce destinations without losing control or profits to third parties — regardless of the type of cell phone or carrier their customers use.

After more than three years of extensive research and development and testing with major retailers, Siteminis – a developer of Web-based mobile commerce software – has announced its’ patented Mobile Web Solution, one of the first mobile platforms that allows companies to easily deploy one site instead of multiple sites for each type of phone.

The mobile web solution allows a complete and consistent shopping experience on mobile, regardless of the type of cell phone or carrier their customers use.

Siteminis’ mobile-optimized sites offer the perfect solution for major retailers, entertainment and sporting events, as well as travel providers who are looking to ensure their mobile marketing strategies are managed profitably with their mobile commerce strategies. The platform offers customers who wish to purchase merchandise, tickets or make reservations  a convenient shopping experience, allowing them functionality not previously available to them before and the ability to view a consistent mobile Website regardless of their wireless phone carrier or type of web enabled or smartphone operating system.

Before Siteminis developed this distinctive mobile-optimized solution to ecommerce, companies had to use a complex integration strategy to deploy multiple mobile sites, each designed and seen differently over different wireless carrier networks and phone Internet browser platforms.  This resulted in a variety of brand design and functionality experiences for users of each type of mobile platform – playing havoc with companies’ efforts to present a consistent brand image to consumers across Microsoft Windows Mobile, Palm, iPhone, Nokia, Android and Blackberry platforms.

Unlike existing mobile Websites today, Siteminis Mobile Web solution simplifies a company’s mobile Web strategy by:

  • Allowing IT administrators and Web designers to easily deploy and manage multiple site configurations into one site across several platforms.
  • Lowering the cost – they need create only one site versus multiple sites
  • Removing reconfiguration of mobile Web sites with each new phone operating system
  • Recognizing every smartphone platform, as well as all Web-enabled cellphones
  • Working across all wireless carriers
  • Turning cell phone shoppers from browsers into buyers
  • Allowing the same consistent design and brand to be viewed regardless of phone or wireless carrier.

“Today’s tech-savvy consumers want to shop as well as browse on their phones,” according to Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis.  “Siteminis’ mobile-optimized sites are customized to provide retailers and service providers with marketing and branding solutions that keep the brand design consistent, regardless of the cell phone browser or carrier. No savvy mobile consumer is left out.”

Technology Challenges Overcome

Using Siteminis Mobile Web Solution, companies can now simplify the implementation with one mobile optimized site, one URL and one mobile redirect which automatically detects the user’s browser and cell phone type and delivers an optimized mobile commerce site with a consistent design and functionality, no matter what carrier they use or what cell the site is viewed on. By establishing a new platform directly into your existing website, Siteminis’ Mobile Redirect detects the mobile device and instantly and invisibly redirects the browser to an adjacent, mobile-optimized website with your own URL, eliminating the need for a third-party host server.

Most mobile web sites today have been built on device-specific platforms or the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP), an antiquated platform created in 1997 that has constrained user interface capabilities. WAP sites require separate activation and additional fees for data support and data access licenses. All of these barriers to access and added costs are eliminated with SiteMinis.

Many wireless carriers sold their WAP services as "open;” however, they also made sure that the first page which clients accessed was their own "wireless portal,” which they controlled very closely. While there are a small number of mobile-configured websites that can accept payment transactions, most either charge a fee to a third-party vendor, or simply add the charge to the consumers’ cell phone bills.  In this process, the browser is redirected from the retailer’s website to a third-party host’s URL.  With its proprietary Mobile Redirect technology, SiteMinis eliminates the need for a third-party host.  The software, which is configured into the client’s existing website, allows retailers to offer their consumers a fully functional mobile marketplace, along with the convenience of making purchases and other transactions through a secure mobile portal on their own website which can be easily maintained by the organization. Top of Page

Zaio launches appraisel-based social network

Zaio Corporation is pleased to announce the release of a new consumer website which connects homeowners with their neighbours next door, and with local appraisers assigned to their area. The website at www.zaio.com is now a Social Network with viral marketing attributes that take advantage of Facebook(R) Connect. The new website presents an aerial view of homes in a neighbourhood and offers homeowners a dynamic communication tool to build community spirit, reduce crime and enhance or promote their community in the market, thereby supporting and possibly improving individual property values. The website utilizes the company's photo database and empowers homeowners to improve their community while helping them understand and track property values at the same time.

Zaio differs from all other online valuation services in that values are produced and supported by local appraisers rather than computer algorithms. Real appraisals are far more accurate than an automated computer valuation. While membership to the site is free, appraisals will be sold on a one-time basis or on a regular subscription.

Brad Stinson, CEO of Zaio Corporation said, "Connecting directly with homeowners increases our market power, promotes our brand and establishes a local marketing program we can deliver today, as the National Valuation Database is being developed and marketed by local appraisers. Not only will Zaio and affiliated appraisers be delivering a game-changing appraisal service, but the new social network will allow us to help our lending and real estate clients connect with their homeowner-customers too."

The new website is being released in Beta form as the company expects to enhance the offering as market acceptance may dictate. The site will also function in many countries around the world, which will expand the company's reach and marketing potential.

Zaio would like to invite its investor community to experience the website first-hand by joining the free service, and introducing it to their own community.Top of Page

Douglas Chow joins Cohn & Wolfe Montreal

Mélanie Joly, managing partner for the Cohn & Wolfe | Montréal public relations firm, is pleased to announce that Douglas Chow has joined on as Senior Consultant, Digital Communications.

A graduate of the Concordia University Master of Arts Media Studies and the University of Ottawa Honours Communications programs, Douglas counts on more than 13 years experience as a PR consultant specializing in corporate and marketing communications, investor relations and public affairs.

Prior to arriving at Cohn & Wolfe | Montréal, Douglas worked for Molson Coors Canada, where he led strategic planning, product launches and digital community relations. He was also employed at Telefilm Canada for five years, as Deputy Director of Strategic Communications, as well as at VIA Rail Canada as Interim Internal Communications Manager.

Douglas will provide his expertise to counsel Cohn&Wolfe clients on communications issues related to Web strategies and relations with social media influencers. Top of Page

absentFriends.com offers global network for people dealing with grief

People dealing with the loss of a loved one can find support by visiting absentFriends.com, a social media Web site that brings together those sharing the grieving experience. On the site, visitors will find practical tools and emotional outlets for their grief.

absentFriends.com helps the bereaved understand the grief process, express their own grief, find assistance in funeral planning and set up a free memorial site to commemorate a loved one. "We wanted to create a single Web-based source - with global reach - where the millions of people dealing with grief can virtually interact with others going through similar emotional challenges," notes co-founder Jane Bourke. "Our breakthrough site is a valuable source for the bereaved, whether their grief is occurring because of a pending terminal situation, a recent death or an ongoing sense of loss."

On the "Wall," those dealing with the death of a family member or close friend can express their thoughts in an interactive forum reaching thousands across the globe. "It's common for friends of the bereaved to say they know how their friend is feeling, but in reality they do not," Bourke points out. "That's why the Wall is so integral to healing - it puts people in touch with others who really do understand the pain because they are experiencing it themselves."

An online memorial can be created on absentFriends.com to keep the spirit of a loved one alive across the miles. Photographs, shared memories, tributes, music and quotations are just some of the elements of an ongoing memorial, accessible from around the corner or around the globe. Similarly, funerals can be coordinated from a distance through the directory of funeral service providers, and webcasts allow for remote attendance, particularly comforting for those who are housebound or unable to attend the service in person.

"We envision absentFriends.com as the premiere social network built around death and grieving," states Bourke. "Grieving a loved one is an important part of the healing process and until now it was a lonely process for too many. absentFriends.com provides a truly valuable - and valued - service for the bereaved." Top of Page

Unani.ca personal electronic health record now available

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) announced today that anyone with an Internet access and a desire to manage his or her health and well-being can now subscribe to Unani.ca. Co-developed with Quebec-owned Medical.MD, Unani.ca is the first consumer-minded personal electronic health record (PEHR) in the Canadian marketplace that combines the expertise of a world-class academic health centre with that of award-winning information-technology developers. The launch of Unani.ca 1.1 comes on the heels of a successful beta test undertaken in July 2009.

"As one of the world's foremost academic health centres, the McGill University Health Centre's mission is to treat complex medical conditions and carry out research and teaching that will have a meaningful impact on people's quality of life," said the Hon. Arthur T. Porter, MUHC Director General and CEO. "With Unani.ca, we bring a new dimension of support to the general population. Whether a person is healthy, managing a chronic condition such as Diabetes or helping a family member make a positive lifestyle change, Unani.ca provides a user-friendly Web-based platform where health and lifestyle information can be aggregated, tracked and shared."

Unani 1.1 is easy to navigate thanks to an interface that even the most novice of computer users would find straightforward, an integrated step-by-step tutorial, intuitive menus and shortcuts. Distinct from medical electronic health records being implemented by government or hospital medical records, Unani.ca is a lifestyle tool designed from the ground up with the consumer in mind.

"The MUHC's vision and collaboration have been indispensable as we've developed and refined this unique product," said Pierre Ducros, Chairman of the Advisory Board at Medical.MD. "We are proud to have had the support of world-class health experts to bring this first version of Unani.ca to the market, and look forward to a continued relationship as we add new and exciting features in the coming months."

Unani.ca 1.1's features include:

  • Multilingual user interface allows subscribers to switch instantly between English and French.
  • Medical data allows lists of health conditions, medications, allergies, intolerances, vaccinations, therapies, life style choices and family history information to be compiled and cross-linked.
  • Charting provides an at-a-glance view of a person's vital signs over time.
  • Document storage is a secure repository for any type of document, from medical imaging and lab results to a fact sheet.
  • Fax allows subscribers to receive a document by facsimile directly to their account.
  • Agenda offers an address book for contacts, a calendar to manage appointments and a journal for personal notes.
  • Print allows subscribers to format data, medical or other, into a single document that can either be sent via e-mail or printed on paper.

"I believe that a more informed person is a healthier person," said Dr. Jeffrey Barkun, Director of General Surgery and Chief Clinical Officer of the Informatics Transition at the MUHC. "Historically, that information has come from sitting down with a physician, however, the times have changed. It's important for individuals to also take a leadership role and Unani.ca offers them that opportunity. Rather than telling their physician what's ailing them from memory, people can bring a digital snapshot of their health to the table and even make lifestyle changes before a physician's intervention is required. That's significant!" Top of Page

Media professionals across the globe are flocking to Fixedia

Fixedia’s unique social network is attracting professionals from more than 130 countries around the globe. The U.S. and Europe are so far the biggest markets with users in Asia and the Middle East also proving to be early adopters of the niche network.

Created by London based start-up company Fixedia Group Ltd, Fixedia.com is a networking site for professionals working across a range of media industries. Users are provided with a free social space to build their professional brand through showcasing a portfolio of work. They are able to build a global contact list, exchange ideas and discuss topics impacting the industry. Active conversations on the site currently include the challenges facing traditional media and the new skills-sets required to engage with audiences online.

This week , Fixedia Group Ltd launched Fixedia Unlimited, a low cost platform for media companies to raise their profile within the industry, conduct research and recruit professionals within the Fixedia network. Companies will also have the ability to list their clients, display a body of work and link employee profiles on Fixedia to their dedicated company page.

What sets Fixedia apart from other popular networking sites is its link to sister-site Fixfeeder. The soon to be launched site is an online marketing tool for businesses to target their press releases and twitter updates to the media professionals on Fixedia. The link between Fixfeeder and Fixedia also extends to media companies. Publishers and content producers registered on Fixedia Unlimited will be able to network with potential sponsors, advertisers and ad fund partners on Fixfeeder.

“The concept of Fixedia is to connect individuals and companies in different parts of the world working in diverse, yet interconnected media industries. The feedback so far has been extremely positive. We will continue to maintain dialogue with our users to ensure Fixedia evolves into an indispensible resource and networking platform for media professionals worldwide”, says Managing Director, Suki Johal. Top of Page

Publish press room content directly to the web with just a click

Nomadesk, developer of the easiest and most secure on-demand file sharing software, launched a breakthrough widget technology to fuel PR and marketing agencies with the ability to easily share created content with media and analyst constituents. It allows users to propagate folders of rich content to a website or blog through a team file manager with unlimited storage. In addition to a new widget feature to MyNomadesk.com, the new Nomadesk release builds in added security and optimizes FileLink and FolderLink.

With just one click of the mouse, the newly improved FolderLink and FileLink allow users to more easily and securely share complete folders containing large files, photos, presentations or videos publicly through an email link, even if the recipient is not a Nomadesk user -- this is particularly beneficial to PR and marketing agencies. The new widget technology allows users to collaborate, backup, synchronize, encrypt and store files in one secure place.

Creating a Press Room with a Click
By accessing your team file server through MyNomadesk.com, users can quickly and easily update rich content directly to a website and offload the storage requirements to Nomadesk's file server, which gives users unlimited storage capacity. Simply create a "Press Room" folder containing press releases, high-rez photos, presentations, pdf files, logos and videos on your Nomadesk team file server. Right click on the folder when accessing it through MyNomadesk.com. A simple pop-up window will prompt you to name the widget, choose your view and determine the size. Then you simply "click" on the create button and you will receive HTML code to copy and paste into your content management system. When you refresh the website page, you will have a neat file manager window appear with all of your Press Room folder content. It's that simple! Users can also choose to have an "upload" capability for an advanced FTP site.

"We have been advising clients for over a decade on what content to include in their Press Room section of their website, as well as how to graphically represent the content and navigate to it," said Cathy Sperrazzo, Managing Partner, Eye-To-Eye Communications, Inc. "With Nomadesk's widget, we can easily take over the management of this function directly for each client, ensuring them their content will always be updated, taking over the responsibility from their in-house staff and offloading the content storage to a Nomadesk file server."

What Nomadesk Technology Does
Millions of people risk losing their unprotected, critical data every day. As the amount of unprotected data stored on multiple devices increases, it becomes harder to synchronize and easier to lose. Nomadesk allows individuals and teams to secure, sync, share and backup data with no limits or change in behavior, giving them access to their files when working online and offline. Nomadesk's virtual drives act just like a hard drive, storing important documents in one place with remote access. Users simply drag and drop their docs into the virtual file server, and files are immediately encrypted, backed up and available for file sharing. For added protection, Nomadesk's TheftGuard technology protects content stored on mobile devices, allowing users to remotely shred important docs in the event of theft or lost hardware while keeping the data neatly tucked-away in the Cloud, in addition to tracking stolen or misplaced devices on Google Maps.
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