Mar 18

Golden eyes expansion with old school playbook

While the glory days of jean jacket vests and “sexy specs” are over, Richard Golden still has some dance left in him.

At 71, the founder of SEE Inc. and former co-owner of D.O.C. Optics Corp., known for his fresh footwork in one of metro Detroit’s most memorable advertising campaigns, isn’t showing signs of fatigue as his stores confront new challenges from online eyewear sellers such as Warby Parker.

Golden oversees 42 designer eyeglass stores — five of which are in Southeast Michigan — in the portfolio of his Birmingham-based company SEE (Selective Eyewear Elements), which he started in March 1998. After selling D.O.C. to eyewear giant Luxottica in 2007 for $90 million, it became his full-time job.

“I’m working as hard now as I was then,” Golden said. “And I thought when I sold D.O.C. I was going to be retired.”

SEE opened its first international store, in Toronto, last October, leading up to the company’s 20-year anniversary. There are plans to open another two or three stores this year. He opened three last year, one in 2016, one in 2015 and four apiece in 2014 and 2013. Golden’s ambitions for large-scale expansion didn’t pan out exactly how he envisioned 10 years ago. By 2013, he had hoped to have 80 stores.

“We opened up at my pace because I wasn’t doing it for the money,” he said. “I wanted to keep it pure. We’re not a business that’s under the gun to hit benchmarks and goals. I do what I want. There’s no hard and fast rule. The business plan changes when I wake up every day.”

Golden, though, has not changed. His image is still as cool as ever — the slick, gregarious merchant with the hippest selection of eyewear. As such, he has little interest in straying from the business blueprint he drew up years ago, even as digital consumer habits continue to morph the retail business.

The U.S. eyeglass industry generated $22.39 billion in sales at the retail level last year, according to the Vision Council, a nonprofit trade association that conducts annual studies on the optical industry. Only about 3.29 million pairs, or 4.4 percent, of all eyeglasses were purchased online, but that number is expected to grow by 6 percent this year and continue to inch up.

Since 1998, SEE has stood by its credo of offering designer-quality products at affordable costs — $169 for entry-level to $399 at the high-end. Only last year, though, did it begin selling online.

“I never thought it was going to be a huge deal,” Golden said about the digital marketplace. “We just haven’t done it. We’ve done a few tests here and there.”

Golden’s father, Donald, who is 99 years old, started D.O.C. in 1946 and was one of the first advertising doctors in the nation, Golden said. He hit the radio circuit and bought advertisements in newspapers and magazines. The momentum continued when Richard joined the company in 1977 after graduating with an advertising degree from Michigan State University and helped create the company’s wildly popular television commercials.

Fast forward to today. SEE spends virtually no money on traditional advertising and very little on digital marketing. It doesn’t make sense for a company of its size to buy TV or radio spots like D.O.C., which had more than 100 stores in Michigan alone during its heyday, Golden said.

Make no mistake, the company prizes its quirky culture and it communicates accordingly with customers through email lists, word of mouth and some social media. Most of the traditional advertising it has done — on storefronts and billboards — was designed to push boundaries, and it often accomplished this purpose.

Take for example a campaign launched at its Manhattan store to stir up attention before opening. Golden put up a poster of a construction worker making an obscene gesture with the caption, “I’ve got your glasses right here!” After it became talk of the town and Golden was pressured to remove it, he swapped the banner out for one of a nun wearing glasses with the caption, “We have SEEn the error of our ways.”

“I thought, geez, you guys can’t have a little fun around here?” Golden said. “It’s Manhattan!”

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Mar 17

Machine Translation (MT) Global Market Report 2013-2018 Forecast to 2023: Growing Volumes of Big Data Across the …

Geographically, the market is expected to witness the fastest growth in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region, mainly attributed to the rapid growth of overseas businesses, lucrative customer base, growing number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), rising income levels, and prevalence of several languages in the region.

The machine translation industry is witnessing significant growth as a result of the growing demand for content localization. Companies are finding more and more reasons to localize their products, applications, and websites. Companies, worldwide, are recognizing their potential to address the market needs and therefore striving towards meeting customer demands outside their local market. Localization aids them to communicate with the target markets in their language and integrate industry-specific aspects with their culture and develop a local appeal. Localization strategy is significant to not only recognize the demand of a company’s product in the target country but also consider the associated benefits and risks before making any decision. Further, it enables organizations to develop effective marketing campaigns.

Some of the key technologies used by both academic and commercial domains to deliver systems and contents are Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), on-demand computing, and cloud computing. Integration of cloud computing with MT technology has emerged as a major trend. In relation to MT, cloud-based MT solutions are gaining acceptance and have the capacity to reduce operational costs as well. Cloud-based solutions improve responsiveness and unification, contributing to the seamless use of MT tools and techniques. Therefore, a significant number of organizations, especially in the developed regions, are shifting their conventional translation apps to the cloud. These extensive operational, strategic, and economic benefits of cloud-based MT are attracting many businesses to adopt these solutions.

SMT technology has been the largest revenue contributor in the machine translation industry and is expected to spearhead the market throughout the forecast period. Cloud computing technology helps SMT to run in an effective manner, as it offers high processing power and enhanced storage capacity to the computer. Moreover, SMT offers various benefits over other MT technologies in terms of customizability, community collaboration, and resource requirement.

Europe is the second largest market for machine translation, and also a forerunner in the development and implementation of MT technology. Because of multilingualism, Europe faces challenges posed by official languages, regional languages, and other minority languages compared to other regions. MT plays an important role in this regard in overcoming these challenges and helping the region to generate more revenue through its businesses. In the European Union, MT is widely being adopted regardless of the size of the organization. Initially, only large organizations could integrate MT services because these services were expensive and labor-intensive; however, recent developments in the field of MT have made these services accessible to the whole spectrum of organizations. Additionally, MT offers a strong export market for European companies, and is also considered as the backbone of the European economy.

Product launches have been observed as a major strategic step taken by the key vendors operating in the machine translation industry to capture a large market share. Machine translation providers are entering into strategic alliances with technology providers in order to combine their expertise and offer best-in-class translation solutions. Some of the major players operating in the market are International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), Lionbridge Technologies Inc., SDL Plc., Google Inc., SYSTRAN, TransPerfect Translations International Inc., PROMT Ltd., Microsoft Corporation, Honyaku Center Inc., and Venga Global.

Market Dynamics


  • Continuous Technological Advancements
  • Combination of TM and MT Systems Leading to Fully Integrated Workflows
  • Migration of Machine Translation to Cloud Services


  • Emerging Demand for Content Localization
  • Growing Volumes of Big Data Across the Internet
  • Impact Analysis of Drivers on Market Forecast


  • Threat from Free Translation Service Providers
  • Lack of Quality and Accuracy
  • Impact Analysis of Restraints on Market Forecast

Key Topics Covered

Chapter 1. Research Background
1.1 Research Objectives
1.2 Market Definition
1.3 Research Scope
1.3.1 Research Scope
1.3.2 Market Segmentation by Technology
1.3.3 Market Segmentation by Deployment Type
1.3.4 Market Segmentation by Application
1.3.5 Market Segmentation by Geography
1.3.6 Analysis Period
1.3.7 Market Data Reporting Unit Value
1.4 Key Stakeholders

Chapter 2. Research Methodology
2.1 Secondary Research
2.2 Primary Research
2.2.1 Breakdown of Primary Research Respondents By region By industry participant By company type
2.3 Market Size Estimation
2.4 Data Triangulation
2.5 Assumptions for the Study

Chapter 3. Executive Summary
3.1 Definition of Market Segment
3.1.1 By Technology SMT RBMT NMT Others
3.1.2 By Deployment Type On-premise Cloud
3.1.3 By Application Military defense Healthcare and life sciences Automotive Travel and hospitality Legal and law firms Banking and finance Electronics IT and telecom services Retail and manufacturing Media and entertainment Others
3.2 MT Process
3.3 Market Dynamics
3.3.1 Trends
3.3.2 Drivers
3.3.3 Restraints
3.3.4 Opportunities
3.4 Porter’s Five Forces Analysis
3.4.1 Bargaining Power of Buyers
3.4.2 Bargaining Power of Suppliers
3.4.3 Threat of New Entrants
3.4.4 Intensity of Rivalry
3.4.5 Threat of Substitutes

Chapter 4. Global Market Size and Forecast
4.1 By Technology
4.2 By Deployment Type
4.3 By Application
4.4 By Region

Chapter 5. North America Market Size and Forecast
5.1 By Technology
5.2 By Deployment Type
5.3 By Application
5.4 By Country

Chapter 6. Europe Machine Translation Market
6.1 By Technology
6.2 By Deployment Type
6.3 By Application
6.4 By Country

Chapter 7. Asia-Pacific Machine Translation Market
7.1 By Technology
7.2 By Deployment Type
7.3 By Application
7.4 By Country

Chapter 8. RoW Machine Translation Market
8.1 By Technology
8.2 By Deployment Type
8.3 By Application
8.4 By Country

Chapter 9. Competitive Landscape
9.1 Recent Activities of Major Players
9.2 Global Strategic Developments of Key Players
9.2.1 Product Launch
9.2.2 Partnership
9.2.3 Merger Acquisition
9.2.4 Other Developments

Chapter 10. Competitive Landscape
10.1 International Business Machines Corporation (IBM)
10.1.1 Business Overview
10.1.2 Product and Service Offerings
10.1.3 Key Financial Summary
10.1.4 Strategic Growth Plans
10.2 Lionbridge Technologies, Inc.
10.2.1 Business Overview
10.2.2 Product and Service Offerings
10.2.3 Strategic Growth Plans
10.3 SDL Plc.
10.3.1 Business Overview
10.3.2 Product and Service Offerings
10.3.3 Strategic Growth Plans
10.4 Google Inc.
10.4.1 Business Overview
10.4.2 Product and Service Offerings
10.4.3 Strategic Growth Plans
10.5.1 Business Overview
10.5.2 Product and Service Offerings
10.5.3 Strategic Growth Plans
10.6 TransPerfect Translations International Inc.
10.6.1 Business Overview
10.6.2 Product and Service Offerings
10.6.3 Strategic Growth Plans
10.7 PROMT Ltd.
10.7.1 Business Overview
10.7.2 Product and service offerings
10.7.3 Strategic Growth Plans
10.8 Microsoft Corporation
10.8.1 Business Overview
10.8.2 Product and Service Offerings
10.8.3 Key Financial Summary
10.8.4 Strategic Growth Plans
10.9 Honyaku Center Inc.
10.9.1 Business Overview
10.9.2 Product and Service Offerings
10.9.3 Key Financial Summary
10.9.4 Strategic Growth Plans
10.10 Venga Global
10.10.1 Business Overview
10.10.2 Product and Service Offerings
10.10.3 Strategic Growth Plans

For more information about this report visit

Media Contact:

Research and Markets
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Mar 16

Megan Mann Appointed Director, General Manager of ClickBank University

“Megan has been instrumental to the success of ClickBank University since it launched in 2014,” said Kevin Strawbridge, CEO of ClickBank. “Her years of experience at ClickBank combined with her comprehensive knowledge of the ClickBank University program and its member’s needs is going to result in empowering new and current members to reach their goals while expanding the courses’ worldwide reach. In addition, we enjoy the opportunity to promote another woman leader to the senior leadership team within ClickBank to truly reflect the balance and diversity of our company.”

As the General Manager, Mann continues ClickBank’s partnership with instructors Justin Atlan, Adam Horwitz and team to consistently fill the online course and other content channels with dependable, reliable and trustworthy business building strategies. With the help of team member Milana Kalimullova, Mann, Atlan, and Horwitz recently released ClickBank University TV, a YouTube Channel focused on bringing free ClickBank University content to the masses.

“I am beyond honored to be the General Manager of ClickBank University,” said Mann. “I am extremely passionate about helping people build sustainable online businesses while finding financial freedom. ClickBank University has worked with over 70,000 members and with the partnership forged with Justin Atlan and Adam Horwitz, we will see membership numbers rapidly increase with the implementation of new strategic initiatives.”

Megan joined ClickBank in 2007 and holds an MBA from Boise State University. During her tenure at ClickBank, she has been an integral member of the Operations and Marketing teams. In her prior role as the Director of Marketing, Megan oversaw the ClickBank brand, planned all business development events, and created engaging marketing programs and campaigns. Megan and partners’ vision to create ClickBank’s first online training course for online entrepreneurs was born in 2014 as ClickBank University.

About ClickBank

Founded in 1998, ClickBank has established itself as a top global internet retailer powered by one of the world’s leading performance marketing platforms for both digital and physical products.  The ClickBank platform meets at the intersection of e-commerce, fintech and adtech, enabling entrepreneurs to drive consumer traffic and sales through a commissioned marketer network. 

With over 200 million customers, six million platform users and distribution in 190 countries, ClickBank’s powerful e-commerce and mobile ecosystem provides entrepreneurs with an easy to use, secure online marketplace to help them sell their products and services.

To learn more, visit


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Mar 15

Internet scam again calls attention to South Portland company

Against her better judgment, Jill Modell-Dion clicked on a Facebook ad in December that promised a free trial of an advanced anti-aging serum from a company called Aurora Bella.

Shortly after receiving the two trial-size bottles of skin cream, Modell-Dion discovered that the internet-based company, which lists its return address as 165 Pleasant Ave. in South Portland, had charged $200 to her credit card. But there is no company named Aurora Bella in South Portland or anywhere in Maine. The address belongs to Ship-Right Solutions, an order fulfillment company whose business dealings with online sellers have sparked more than 250 consumer complaints to the Maine Attorney General’s Office over the past 15 years.

Jill Modell-Dion of Cape Coral, Fla.

“The next time I looked at my (credit card) bill, there were two charges of $99 each,” she said. “I gave no authorization for those charges.”

Modell-Dion, who lives in Cape Coral, Florida, had unwittingly become the latest victim of a growing number of beauty product distributors that use deceptive practices to sell their goods online.

Hundreds of such products – possibly thousands – are being advertised online in a similar manner: They promise a free trial and ask the buyer to provide credit card information to cover a nominal payment for shipping. Two weeks later, the buyer’s card is charged for the full price of the product, usually about $100.

Unless the customer calls to cancel, the seller continues to send another bottle and charge the customer’s card another $100 every month, indefinitely.

Modell-Dion said she called the phone number listed on Aurora Bella’s website to demand a refund as soon as the charges appeared on her card. But by then, the two-week “free trial” period had lapsed. The company canceled Modell-Dion’s monthly subscription but would not refund the $200, saying she should have read the fine print on the website before placing her order.

“They do this very deceiving, short ad – they don’t disclose things clearly and properly,” Modell-Dion said. “It takes you 30 days to figure out what the (expletive) they’re doing.”

As for the products themselves, Modell-Dion said they came in tiny bottles and were about as effective as something you could buy at the local drugstore for $1.50.


Aurora Bella’s listed address for product returns, and the phone number for customer complaints, belong to Ship-Right Solutions, which offers order fulfillment and other services to dozens of different online product sellers on a contract basis.

Jill Modell-Dion said Aurora Bella items she bought arrived without packing slips. South Portland’s Ship-Right Solutions handles returns for the firm, but doesn’t ship its products. Photo courtesy of Jill Modell-Dion

Ship-Right’s business model, which involves not asking too many questions before agreeing to do business with a particular client, has made it the object of many consumers’ anger, including Modell-Dion’s.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office has received more than 250 consumer complaints involving Ship-Right over the past 14 years, according to Assistant Attorney General Brendan O’Neil. Of those, roughly 110 consumers have requested mediation of their complaints by the office’s consumer mediation service, he said.

Over the past two years, the state Attorney General’s Office has procured judicial orders or settlements against three clients of Ship-Right. The targets of those cases were health supplements sellers Direct Alternatives and Original Organics LLC, Better Health Nutritionals and Health Research Laboratories.

In those cases, all of which involved deceptive marketing practices, Ship-Right’s tangential role was noted by the Attorney General’s Office, and the company was not listed as a defendant.

O’Neil said he is legally barred from elaborating on Ship-Right’s responsibility in those cases beyond what is described in the official legal complaints.

“What I can say on the record is, to the extent that consumers have complaints about or relating to Ship-Right Solutions or 165 Pleasant Avenue, our office would be interested in hearing about them,” he said.


Ship-Right President Drew Graham said his company does not actually ship Aurora Bella products like it does for other clients, but that it does handle product returns for the company. Graham noted that Ship-Right is not involved in the production, sales or marketing of Aurora Bella.

“We are a service provider,” he said. “We don’t sell the product. We don’t make the ads up.”

Graham said Ship-Right handles fulfillment for many different companies, including top-tier online retailers such as Wayfair. He said it is difficult to obtain in-depth information about the sales and marketing practices of each business his company works with.

But Graham acknowledged that Ship-Right doesn’t ask too many questions. “This is kind of a volume game, to be honest,” he said. “We don’t overly scrutinize these folks.”

If Ship-Right does learn that a company is engaging in deceptive marketing practices, it tries to steer clear of that company, Graham said. However, he said that as a smaller player in the industry, Ship-Right cannot always afford to be choosy about its clients.

“We’re not a Fortune 500 company,” Graham said. “We have to take some chances.”

Modell-Dion said one of her issues with Ship-Right is that the customer service representative she spoke to refused to give her any information about the company that markets and sells Aurora Bella products.

Ship-Right Solutions at 165 Pleasant Ave. in South Portland. Google photo

“I asked her for the corporate phone number, and she said she wouldn’t give it to me,” she said.

Modell-Dion said that when her beauty products arrived in the mail, the boxes contained no packing slips indicating what she had purchased, the amount she was charged, or how to reach the seller if she was dissatisfied.


Graham said Aurora Bella products are shipped by another company, and that Ship-Right would never ship a product without a packing slip.

“Everything that leaves here has a packing slip,” he said. “I assure you, we’re not the bad guys in this.”

Modell-Dion said she managed to track down the parent company of Aurora Bella by doing her own research online. According to Modell-Dion, the parent company has an office in St. Petersburg, Florida, and operates under a variety of names including Decollage Institute Cream, Decollage LLC, LF Skin Cream, Replenish Your Skin Health and others.

The Better Business Bureau of West Florida gives Decollage an “F” rating with more than 30 customer complaints.

“I wish I would have read the BBB reviews regarding Decollage Institute Cream before purchasing the free trial,” one complaint says. “I was charged $186 for the products because I didn’t cancel within 14 days. I had no idea that I was supposed to do this as the ‘terms’ were listed under ‘Online Support.’ ”

The Portland Press Herald was unable to confirm that Decollage is the maker of Aurora Bella products, because the company refused to answer media questions.

“I’m unable to provide you with any information related to the company,” said a representative who refused to give her name.

Federal Trade Commission attorney Kati Daffan said scams involving free or low-cost trial offers have been around for years. They are particularly prevalent among beauty, health and wellness products, she said, but such scams can be found involving most any product or service.

There is nothing inherently illegal about a free trial offer that triggers an automatic monthly subscription, said Daffan, assistant director of the FTC’s Division of Marketing Practices. But what can make it illegal is the lack of adequate disclosure, she said.

“Unless that’s clearly and conspicuously disclosed, it’s not legal,” Daffan said. She recommended that consumers who believe they have been scammed check their bank card statements carefully and file a complaint with the FTC.

Rachel Vrabel, a Florida-based blogger who runs the website, has been studying beauty product free-trial scams for the past five years. Vrabel has amassed a list of more than 500 products sold online through deceptive practices, and she said there are still hundreds more.

In some cases, the deceptive free trial offers are combined with other shady marketing practices, such as falsely claiming that a product has been endorsed by a major celebrity or featured on a popular TV show such as “Shark Tank.”


Trying to keep up with all the companies offering bogus free trials is akin to playing whack-a-mole, Vrabel said. A product website will pop up on the internet for a few weeks or months, which will be heavily advertised on Facebook, Google and other services before disappearing.

“It makes it impossible for people (who want to cancel their product subscription) to find a phone number or even find the site where they ordered it from,” she said.

Vrabel said her inbox is filled each week with comment after comment from readers about their bad experiences with free trial offers. Ninety-nine percent of products sold via free trials are garbage, she said.

“They’re basically subpar moisturizers,” she said. “Certainly not worth $100.”

J. Craig Anderson can be contacted at 791-6390 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: jcraiganderson





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Mar 14

How Digital Natives Are Changing B2B Purchasing

nicholas blechman for hbr

The cartoon of business-to-business (B2B) buyers depicts gray-haired executives and purchasing agents in meetings, on the phone and lunching with their vendors. Conversations focus mainly on negotiating price and payment terms.

But along with fax machines and long golf games, these features of B2B life have all but disappeared due to the astonishing change in technology over the past two decades. Digital natives who grew up with the Internet and smartphones have transformed the way B2B buyers research purchases, qualify vendors and make purchases—changing the rules of the game for marketers and product managers.

Some 73% of 20- to 35-year-olds are involved in product or service purchase decision-making at their companies, according to a study of “millennial” buyers by Merit, with one-third reporting that they are the sole decision-maker for their department. And about half of all B2B product researchers are digital natives, a number that increases every year, according to a Google/Millward Brown digital survey of buyers. When a company needs a product or service, buyers turn first to research on their laptop or smartphone rather than immediately calling vendors or hosting meetings. More than 70% of searches start with a generic search, such as “CRM software,” rather than a search for specific brands. Contacting a salesperson occurs later in the typical purchase process, and sometimes not at all. By the time a sales rep gets involved, buyers already have a wealth of information about company reputation, product specifications and reviews of successes or failures.

This cohort identifies online search, vendors’ websites, peers and colleagues as the most important sources of information—all more important than salespeople. The youngest in this cohort have a particularly strong preference for social media as a source of information. A 2017 Forrester Research study indicates that digital natives prefer short bursts of information, often in visual formats, and they think phone calls are tedious and disruptive.

Bain Company’s research on what consumers value shows how people benefit in multiple ways from digital technology. It reduces cost, saves time, integrates sources of information, connects, organizes, informs and provides access to previously hard-to-find data and expertise — all “elements of value” that have direct application to both consumer and B2B purchasing and product usage. (Elements of value are fundamental types value delivered by company’s offering in their most essential and discrete forms, which benefit customers in particular ways.) Digital natives have brought their consumer habits to the B2B world, and we are seeing older buyers adopt their ways, too (see our article related HBR article “The B2B Elements of Value”). This shift in behavior has several implications for B2B value propositions.

For one thing, when a salesperson eventually is invited to the table, buyers will have already formed a strong opinion about many aspects of the value expected from a vendor. Vendors’ websites thus need to provide a wealth of information on these types of value, with details on where their products have been successful. Reviews will tell the buyer how a vendor performs on many ease-of-doing-business elements long before the buyer has actual experience with that vendor. So vendors must curate their online content deliberately and constantly, and they should encourage customers who are advocates of the company to provide reviews on relevant sites. Many B2B providers lag on these activities, choosing to invest more in their salesforces than in their online presence.

Second, given that digital natives have researched the functional and reputational aspects of vendors long before they meet, it’s essential for vendors to deliver on these elements of value in ways that younger buyers expect. For example, research at Santa Clara University finds that this group respond favorably to salespeople who evoke feelings of trust, compatibility, and connectedness, in contrast to buyers 50 and older who focus more on business benefits and deliverables.

Finally, many higher-order elements touch on more subjective, inspirational types of value.  Consistent with Bain’s own analysis, the Merit study finds that fully 80% of millennial B2B buyers today (and an even higher share of the youngest millennials) feel that companies’ environmental, social and philanthropic efforts are important when considering them as vendors.

A few companies are delivering on these inspirational value elements. Dental and medical products wholesaler Henry Schein is a good example. Many companies have social responsibility programs, but too often these programs remain unknown to customers. By contrast, Henry Schein serves as a catalyst to organize its customers and industry partners to participate in philanthropic programs. These programs strengthen Henry Schein’s relationships with them and, in part, account for the company’s making Fortune’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list for 15 consecutive years.

First impressions matter as much as ever in B2B markets. Today, though, that first look comes through websites, user forums and quick case studies, not flesh-and-blood sales pitches. The key question for a vendor: Does your online footprint communicate your chosen elements of value?

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Mar 13

MegaPath Wins Multiple 2018 Internet Telephony Product of the Year Awards

a leading provider of voice, data, security and cloud services in North
America, today announced that its Hosted Voice and MegaPath One™
solutions were selected as winners of Technology Marketing Corporation’s
(TMC) 2018 Internet Telephony Product of the Year Award. These awards
recognize the most innovative and highest quality IP communications
solutions brought to market or updated in the past year.

“Hosted Voice and MegaPath One address the industry demand for
all-in-one systems that allow teams to communicate and collaborate more
effectively than ever before, across multiple devices and locations,”
said Dan Foster, COO and President, MegaPath. “MegaPath is continuously
investing in our product portfolio to ensure our customers and partners
have access to high quality communication solutions, and we are honored
to be recognized once again by TMC for exceptional innovation.”

MegaPath Hosted
 provides organizations with more functionality than
traditional phone systems, enabling companies of all sizes to work
smarter and increase productivity. Customers benefit from more than 50 calling
and mobility features
, including Visual Voicemail with
Transcription, CRM Application Integration, Call Recording and Mobility.
MegaPath also offers carrier-grade, cloud-based Call
 solutions to support all call center environments from basic
call distribution, queuing and simple reporting, to advanced call
centers with more complex queuing, reporting and management needs.

 delivers integrated, enterprise-class collaboration tools for
businesses of all sizes. The enhanced unified communications solution
combines IP business telephony with audio and video conferencing,
instant messaging, presence, SMS texting and screen sharing in a single
application that works on desktop, tablet and smartphone devices. The
service also supports an always-on, dedicated virtual collaboration
space that enables users and their external guests to hold conference
calls and take turns sharing their screen within the same group session.

“It gives me great pleasure to recognize MegaPath with 2018 Product of
the Year Awards for its commitment to excellence and innovation,” said
Rich Tehrani, CEO, TMC. “In the opinion of our distinguished judges,
Hosted Voice and MegaPath One have proven to be among the best
communications and technology solutions available on the market. I look
forward to continued innovation from MegaPath.”

MegaPath is consistently recognized for its innovation and industry
leadership. Most recently, MegaPath was named a winner of TMC’s 2018
SD-WAN Leadership Award. To view MegaPath’s complete list of awards,

About MegaPath

MegaPath is a leading business communications and network provider that
helps businesses fully leverage the cloud. MegaPath’s award-winning
service portfolio includes Voice, Unified Communications, SD-WAN, WiFi,
and Internet services, backed by dedicated project management and 100%
US-based technical support. MegaPath is uniquely positioned to deliver
custom managed solutions to businesses that desire a broad range of
high-value services from a single nationwide provider. With over twenty
years of expertise, MegaPath empowers businesses of all sizes to
simplify operations, improve communications, increase productivity, and
lower costs.

To learn more about MegaPath’s leading service offerings, please visit

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Mar 12

How 2 Entrepreneurs Went From Living in a Car to Building a $10 Million Business

If you’re a fan of Shark Tank, you saw Shaan Patel close an investment deal with Mark Cuban in Season 7 for his test-prep startup, Prep Expert SAT ACT Preparation. (I wrote about how his test-prep courses went from $600,000 in pre-Shark Tank sales to over $7 million after airing on the show.)

Now Shaan has partnered with digital marketer Adam Lawrence to launch a new course company, ClearHat Marketing. ClearHat offers 10 HD-video courses on subjects like content marketing, Facebook ads, AdWords, SEO, and webinars. Their goal is simple: to teach entrepreneurs how to use digital marketing to grow their businesses. (For more tips from Shaan and Adam, check out their free online digital marketing class.)

Granted, it might seem odd that entrepreneurs focused on test prep would go into the digital marketing space, but then again, maybe not: Both were frustrated from working with party digital marketing agencies, and when they brought digital marketing in-house, revenues dramatically increased. 

So in time-honored entrepreneurial tradition, they’re leveraging the knowledge they gained. Like Prep Expert, which offers test-prep courses based on Shaan’s experience going from an average score to a perfect score on the SAT, ClearHat offers marketing courses based on their experience going from 0 to $10 million in revenue.

But why call the company ClearHat? 

“Obviously there are two types of search engine optimization,” Adam says. “Blackhat and whitehat. Blackhat SEO techniques are the ‘illegal’ tactics that digital marketers use to quickly get businesses ranked high on search results, but then almost guarantee that your business will get banned from Google results altogether.

“Whitehat SEO techniques are the ‘legal’ tactics digital marketers use to get businesses ranked high on search results. We wanted to go one step further than whitehat, so we chose ‘ClearHat.’ Plus, digital marketing is black box that many entrepreneurs don’t understand, and we’re here to make it clear.”   

Shaan and Adam’s knowledge doesn’t come from a classic digital marketing background. Adam  worked as a bartender in Los Angeles and spent nights sleeping in his car. Shaan’s parents immigrated to the United States with $70; he grew up in their budget motel in Las Vegas.

And they built internet businesses to escape their humble beginnings. “Most great digital marketers wouldn’t work for someone else,” Shaan says. “They would just build their own multimillion-dollar company. That’s us.”

Adam feels that makes ClearHat a company for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs: They applied the teaching methods from the test-prep courses at Prep Expert to their marketing courses at ClearHat, and then spent almost a year creating courses alongside expert teachers.

Of course, the digital marketing industry is incredibly competitive, but Shaan doesn’t see that as a problem. “Test-prep is also an uber-competitive industry,” he says. “I had 100 literary agents and publishers tell me not to enter test-prep because it was too competitive. But if you can build a great product, you can have success in any industry. Too many people focus on what others are doing, rather than focusing on what they themselves should be doing, which only leads to distraction.

“As an entrepreneur,” Shaan says, “competition should never scare you.”

Speaking of competition, I asked Shaan and Adam to share one digital marketing strategy they feel is particularly effective:

  • Implement automated webinars. “Webinars are the perfect way to sell to your potential customers,” Shaan says, “because you get an hour of their undivided attention. And your webinar can be completely automated? We use a platform called Everwebinar: Our automated webinar for Prep Expert has generated over a $1 million in revenue alone.”    
  • Use Facebook Ads to advertise your media articles. “If your business has been featured in a news outlet,” Adam says, “then you should be advertising that article on Facebook. The reach will be much greater than when you share that media article organically. In addition, the cost-per-click on these articles will be very low because users are more likely to click on them than a sales ad — it’s interesting content! This is a great way to have new potential customers learn about your business. One article written about one of our clients has generated nearly $1 million in revenue for that business.”

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Mar 11

What’s holding back the Internet of Things? Power

RFID readers like this one have to be tethered to a power source. (BigStock Photo)

[Editor’s Note: This guest post is by Larry Arnstein, a former Impinj business and marketing executive who is now an entrepreneur in residence at the Intellectual Ventures Invention Science Fund.]

A tether or a battery? The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) is limited by these two unsatisfying options. Have you ever wondered what provides power to all of those hotel room card key locks? It’s batteries that die and have to be changed. Most video surveillance systems are tethered, mobile phones use batteries, RFID readers are tethered, drones usage is limited by battery life, and so on. Why are smart thermostats and doorbells selling so well? It’s because the power supply is already there. Show me a source of power and I’ll show you a great IoT application.

Try to imagine what the world would be like without these constraints. Of course, we’d all love our phones to be fully charged all of the time, but wireless power has implications well beyond that. Imagine lightweight powerful lawn mowers and yard tools that just work; drones that could stay aloft indefinitely; industrial sensors that could be attached to anything, anywhere; or security systems that could be deployed quickly and easily. IoT devices would crop up everywhere, helping us in ways that we haven’t even thought of yet.

There are two ways to deliver power wirelessly in the market today: magnetic induction and electromagnetic waves. Magnetic induction is used in familiar consumer applications like electric toothbrushes, phone charging mats, cooktops, and even cars. The base unit of an electric toothbrush uses wall power to generate a rapidly changing or oscillating magnetic field that in turn causes current to flow in the battery charging system embedded in the toothbrush handle. The energy is being transferred over the air from the base to the handle by the magnetic field. WiTricity is commercializing a magnetic induction method to deliver thousands of Watts of power from a pad placed on the ground beneath an electric car. The fundamental limitation of magnetic induction is that the magnetic field does not travel very far. Anyone who has played with magnets has experienced how the attractive or repulsive force is hard to feel until the magnets get quite close to each other.

In contrast, electromagnetic waves, which include radio waves, microwaves, and light waves, travel much further. RAIN RFID is a less familiar but widely adopted technology for tracking inventory in stores and in the supply chain. RAIN RFID relies on radio waves to transfer power from a reader device to an item that can be up to 15 meters away. Figure 1 shows the power delivery capacity and range for a variety of commercially available wireless power offerings. Note the lack of high power long-range options. Only electromagnetic waves have the potential to fill this hole, but there are some real challenges to overcome.

The main problem with electromagnetic waves is that they tend to spread out, which is good for a radio station that wants everyone to be able to receive their signal but not so good for delivering power to a specific location. KUOW in Seattle pushes 100,000 Watts of power into the air 24×7, but each listener’s radio only gets a tiny fraction of that power, and certainly not enough to do any useful work. For fans of numbers, 100,000 Watts distributed over a 40-mile radius delivers less than a millionth of a Watt per square foot. For comparison, your hair dryer probably consumes about 1500 Watts and a modern bright LED light bulb use only 14 Watts.

To deliver usable power to a device over the air, using electromagnetic waves, we have to concentrate the power. There are two ways to do it: with lasers and with focusing. Lasers produce light in which all of the waves are moving in the same direction. Whichever way you point the laser, that is where the energy goes. The waves do not diverge or spread out. Aside from some loss due to interaction with the air, all of the energy that leaves the transmitter ends up in the same place, presumably at the receiver. The other option is focusing. Using a lens or specially designed antenna, electromagnetic waves can be directed to converge at any desired location (the focal point) beyond which they diverge. If you have ever used a magnifying glass to burn a hole in a leaf, then you’ve experienced this phenomenon. Technology to focus electromagnetic waves on distant receivers in motion is an active area of development with many trade-offs between size, range, and efficiency. Success in those efforts will leave us with two other problems that could stand in the way of commercial-scale wireless power delivery: interference and safety.

When using electromagnetic waves for communication, everyone tries to use the least amount of power needed to get the message across. The less power everyone uses to communicate, the more communications can happen at the same time. On the other hand, wireless power delivery is for, well, delivering power. So the “least power possible” principle does not apply. Fortunately, unlike at a dinner party where everyone is speaking and listening in a fairly narrow range of frequencies making it difficult to have many simultaneous conversations, electromagnetic waves work across an extremely wide range. Receivers can tune out waves that are not of interest no matter how loud or strong those other waves happen to be, just like car radios. Long range, wireless power transfer can coexist with communication systems.

Safety is the final consideration. We are exposed to electromagnetic waves all the time, in the form of radio, visible light, and even microwaves from our Wi-Fi routers, and yes, our microwave ovens. There are well-known dangers associated with intense visible and especially near-visible UV light exposure. But, because of their lower energy levels, radio waves and microwaves do not cause the kind of damage that higher energy waves like UV, and x-rays can. However, radio waves and microwaves in high concentrations can cause indirect damage to tissues through warming where the waves are absorbed. Systems that can quickly detect and respond to obstructions between sender and receiver could make high power, long-range systems safe for widespread use.

The FCC is the government agency charged with regulating radio and microwave transmissions for interference and safety. The FDA is the agency responsible for regulating light exposure. Any company hoping to commercialize wireless power technology will have to satisfy one of these two agencies, which maintain stringent exposure limits. We can speculate about all of the amazing things people will do once they are freed from the shackles of big batteries or tethers, but we will still be surprised when we get there. Are the economic and quality-of-life benefits for advancing the Internet of Things into the world of wireless power compelling enough to drive the private investment and regulatory adaptation that is needed? Ask Energous, WiCharge, and Ossia all of which are making progress on product development and the regulatory compliance.

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