This week the battle for the hearts and pockets of SMBs between Microsoft and Google continues with Microsoft offering Bing marketing for SMBs and Google upgrading its Places. SAP offers businesses that want it a cheap way of doing e-commerce, while new research shows that many SMBs are not ready for web traffic spikes.
Microsoft Offers Bing
There’s nothing like a Microsoft-Google tit-for-tat in the SMB space and that’s just what we have here this week. The first piece of news comes from Microsoft, which appears to have been looking at Google Places and decided to do one of its own. Obviously, because it’s Microsoft, it had to be around Bing.
This came in the shape of a new Business Portal, which is still in beta, but which you can still have a look at, offering SMBs a way of promoting themselves on Bing, in much the same way they might if they had signed up with Google Places.
With the new Bing Business Portal, SMBs can enhance their listing on Bing, giving them a chance to push themselves in their own locality to Bing users.
It replaces the existing Bing Local List Center and promises business that, by using it, they will be able to more easily update their business listing as needed through a “select key search” category, which SMBs will populate depending on where they want their listing to appear.
In addition, the listings don’t have to be standalone and can be linked to social media applications such as Twitter and Facebook pages and can offer customized content that can be promoted on Bing PC, Bing Mobile and Facebook.
There’s no sign of pricing anywhere, but if it is taking Google Places into account, it probably won’t be a lot. If you’re interested in more, take a look.
Google Upgrades Places
Ok, so that’s the Microsoft side. However, on the Google side -- and this doesn’t look even the smallest bit sneaky -- it announced that it was updating Places, in the days just before Microsoft did its Bing thing.
According to Google’s blog post, Google has added Local Product Availability on Google Place Pages that brings your offline catalog to the web and lets customers have a look at your wares before they have any contact with the business.
It does this with the addition of a section called "Popular products available at this store" that enables businesses to list five popular products, as well as their pricing and availability. Customers can also search by specific items to see if a particular item is in stock nearby.
To display local product availability on your Google Place page, users first share local availability data with Google through a Merchant Center account and then set up a Google Place page, if there isn’t one already.
While this may, as Google says, stop the heartache of having to drive around on a Saturday looking for suitable outlets, the fact that it makes shopping a whole lot easier, and SMBs a lot more productive with their marketing budgets, probably won’t endear them to anyone over at Bing.
Cheap E-Commerce for SMBs from SAP
SAP partners ePages GmbH and HONICO eBusiness GmbH are launching a cloud-based e-commerce solution for SMBs running the SAP Business All-in-One solution.
The solution sets up an SMB with an e-commerce site that is hosted in the cloud, with Web orders processed alongside traditional sales channels in the SAP back end.
The offer is available to SAP Business All-in-One customers in the US as well as Western Europe in two versions. The base version, US$ 539, supports up to 10,000 products in a maximum of 1,000 categories.
With the “flex” version, US$ 949, customers can sell up to 200,000 products in up to 2.000 different categories.
Companies that run SAP Business All-in-One can order the new software packages ePages Base for SAP Business All-in-One or ePages Flex for SAP Business All-in-One online and either install it themselves or have a partner such as ePages do the setup and configuration. A company manages the online shop via the user interface of SAP Business All-in-One.
Are You Ready for a Traffic Spike?
Internet infrastructure vendor Neustar has announced the findings of a survey that reveals 73% of SMBs would be unable to handle a 200% spike in online traffic without changes to their website.
The number jumps to 93% in the case of a 300% increase in traffic. The survey, part of a study conducted in March and April, makes for uncomfortable reading for any SMB that is hoping to drag people onto its website for business.
One key factor in this equation is DNS management, which every online visitor relies on to engage with a business on the Internet.
In fact, 38% of the respondents say they use the DNS service provided by their ISP, while another quarter, 24%, rely on a "do-it-yourself" setup, and 16% count on a free hosted option. Many firms have become accustomed to free services with limited capabilities, and this becomes a serious problem when they need to scale up in a hurry.
EScan’s Security Upgrade
Finally, eScan has announced the launch of version 11 of its eScan Corporate Edition and eScan SMB Edition security software.The latest version of the software provides protection across networks to counter developing security threats.
The new versions include technology to prevent network outbreaks, data theft and identity theft, and also introduce security violation notifications.
eScan says that the solution will help reduce costs through more integrated security management, automatic patching of Windows OS vulnerabilities, File Reputation Services, ADS integration and Support for VMware.
In the Version 11 of the eScan Corporate and SMB Editions, eScan says it has factored both the threat and infection methods of current as well as future breeds of malware and has packed it with technologies that can stop them.