Category Archives: Miscellaneous

This blog is moving, please join me on the other side


My lovely company, Wild Orange Media, is almost two years old, so we’ve had a bit of a revamp and have being tying up some loose ends.

I’ve been blogging across various platforms since 2003 but this is the last post I’ll be making to this personal site. From tomorrow, all new posts will be landing on our shiny, new self-hosted site at



If you follow this blog on the website or through WordPress Reader or an RSS reader like Feedly or Digg Reader, you’ll need to update your reader subscription so it points to

If, however, you have subscribed to receive email updates from this blog, you’re all set to go. We’ll automatically transfer your subscription over to the new site so your emails will continue like magic!

Thanks for your support over the years, see you on the other side!

A Tech-Free Festive Break

The Christmas and New Year festivities are almost upon us. And, as I pull down the shutters on another year of trading, I’m looking forward to switching off from the bustle and hustle of business life at Wild Orange Media and spending some quality time with family and friends.

I’ll also be making a conscious effort to spend less time thinking about what’s likely to happen in our digital future, and more time living in the present, enjoying the here and now.

And you might like to also. Technological progress and computers of all shapes and sizes have transformed large parts of our world. But they will never be a credible substitute for human-to-human interactions and the simple joy of spending time with others. That’s why I’ll be switching off as much as possible, to make time and space for some other, more precious stuff to fill my days.

Whatever you’re doing this holiday season, have a wonderful, relaxing time, and recharge those batteries. I suspect we’ll see things in 2014 that will be faster, smaller, more astonishing, more awe-inspiring than anything we’ve seen before.

To you, dear reader, thanks for all your support and encouragement in 2013. See you in the New Year!

Merry Christmas.


Introducing Internet Safety School for Parents and Carers

Our mission here at Wild Orange Media has always been to help everyone benefit fully and safely from all the good things that our digital world has to offer.

Yet one of the greatest threats we see in our internet-fuelled world today is to the safety and wellbeing of children.

Left unattended, with unrestricted access to the internet, a child has little hope of protecting their innocence. It’s only a matter of time before they are exposed to scenes that used to be kept firmly out of the reach of prying young eyes. The internet is wonderful thing, but very little of it is truly suitable for children.

That’s why our company citizenship programme is firmly focussed on making the online world a safer place for children. But instead of working directly with children, we’ve chosen to give our time to educate parents and carers about the dangers their children may face online. Over the years we’ve given dozens of talks at schools and community venues and we’re really pleased to now share some of the slides we talk through at our brand new ‘Internet Safety School.’

But there’s one thing we’d like you to do to help. If you understand how parental controls and restrictions work on popular devices like PCs, Macs, smartphones and gaming consoles, why not help out a friend by giving them advice or offering to set things up for them? Or how about simply having a conversation with someone you know to find out if there’s more they could do to keep their children safe online? Your help could make a huge difference to a child’s life.

If you’d like to know more about our ‘Internet Safety School’, please visit our company page in LinkedIn. Just hit this link:

Don’t get SWAMmed–How LinkedIn is Fighting Spam

Swimming-and-SwammedEarlier this year LinkedIn quietly introduced a new featured called S.W.A.M. designed to reduce the volume of spam and unsolicited sales pitches on their platform.

S.W.A.M. is short for Sitewide Auto Moderation and, in a nutshell, means that if one LinkedIn Group Manager blocks a person from their group, all future posts from that person to any other group will be placed into a moderation queue and not automatically published to group’s members.

While this is great news for the fight against spam and other misconduct in LinkedIn groups, it can be painful if a group manager decides to block someone who inadvertently breaks a rule. Group managers therefore should only use use block group members as a last resort; a simple reminder email about the group rules might have more desirable results.

For individual group members who find themselves the subject of a block it can be a painful and time-consuming exercise to ensure that future posts will be seen by other group members. Currently the only course of action is to contact the manager of each group to which you wish to post content and request that they unrestrict your posting permissions for their group. You’re unlikely to find out which group manager blocked you because LinkedIn never discloses details of which groups have blocked an individual. Your only recourse is to contact group managers one by one to request reinstatement of normal auto-posting status.

In summary: Group Managers should only block group members as a last resort and Group Members should take great care to ensure they play by each group’s rules. A SWAM block is a painful penalty for innocent mistakes, but a welcome new weapon to help reduce the volume of spam and other unwelcome behaviour in group discussions.

You can read more about SWAM on the LinkedIn Help Center.

100km In The Dark for Macmillan Cancer Support

Allister's-Ridiculous-Charity-Cycle-RideIn around seven weeks’ time I’ll be attempting to cycle 100km (62 miles) overnight around the cold, dark streets of London to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. My nan died last month after battling cancer for much of her life so this feels like a nice way to remember her and help others who need help.

I’d be so grateful for your support and any small donation you can make. The donation page is open now at; every penny goes straight to charity.

My training is now underway although this has mostly consisted of playing with my new bicycle bell and wondering why padded cycling shorts make me look so absurd. I need to get some serious miles under my belt over the next few weeks; if you see me wheezing along the road near you give me a wave.

Thank you for your support, wish me luck!

The Worrying Truth About Cart Abandonment

Abandoned trolley

Cart abandonment, where an online shopper adds items to their basket but then fails to complete the checkout process, is one of the most common and frustrating issues facing ecommerce retailers. Carrying out a forensic investigation into why potential buyers leave before completing their transaction can yield valuable insights to streamline the shopping process and increase conversion to sale. Or, if getting forensic sounds too complicated, here are some research findings that may help.

Earlier this year LivePerson Inc released the findings of a study into online attitudes and behaviours and the results provide a sobering reminder of how high consumer expectations have risen in a short period of time. Nearly 6 in 10 people say they would like more options in how they connect with brands and more than 8 in 10 said they needed some form of support during online shopping visits.

Tougher still on hard-stretched businesses, 71% of online shoppers expect to be able to access help within five minutes, with almost one in three now expecting this support to be instant. And the cost of failing to give speedy support is high, with almost half of all online shoppers claiming they would shop elsewhere or abandon their purchase altogether.

The top reason given for cart abandonment is Unexpected Delivery Costs, as cited by 70% of respondents. If you still hide your delivery charges until the shopper moves to the checkout phase now would be a good time to fix this! Other common bugbears that consumers continue to see too often on ecommerce sites are a lack of product information (56%), security concerns about the website (50%), site navigation problems (46%) and overly complicated registration or login processes (38%).

The message for online businesses is emphatic: give your shoppers the speedy support they demand or expect to see shoppers walking out of your virtual store empty-handed.

But which are the most demanded support channels? The good old telephone number tops the list with 61% of people asking for it, but was closely followed by email and live chat tops also receiving votes from around 6 people in 10. Site FAQs remain popular (51%), followed by click-to-call (34%) and live video chat (7%).

The key takeaways for brands? Find out what your customers and target audiences expect from your website. You may be missing some simple tricks like making FAQs and offsite Help Forums easy to access during the shopping process. Explore some of the latest generation of live chat and instant response tools. If you have customer service teams working during peak times it’s often quite easy to redeploy some of their time to monitoring online requests for help. And remember, not everything that matters happens on your site; chatter within social media and other online discussion environments may be just as crucial in oiling the buying process, so be sure to consider these channels too.

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