YouTube Launches Paid Channel Subscriptions

Along with the anticipated YouTube One Channel, which is a redesigned channel layout that will be rolled out to all users on June 5, the video streaming network is also introducing exclusive paid content from big entertainment brands such as Sesame Street and National Geographic.

The new paid subscriptions will not affect content that is already available on YouTube for free. Additionally, all paid channels will offer a free trial period, allowing users to preview paid content before committing to a monthly subscription. For the time being, most paid channel subscriptions cost a low monthly fee of only $1.99; however, some subscriptions will include access to multiple paid YouTube channels, and offer users the option of paying monthly or annually, so prices will vary.

Paid content is currently available on Xbox 360, most Android & Apple devices (not including Apple TV), and smart TVs equipped with YouTube apps. Additionally, some content may be restricted based on user location. If a paid channel is not available in a given country, users from that country can still access free video previews and read the channel description.

Independent artists, filmmakers, and others aiming to break into the entertainment industry have already monetized channels through advertisements; however, due to ad-blocking programs used by many YouTube viewers, this effort to earn money through YouTube video views is not always successful. While paid channels are only available to select brands at this time, the video streaming company has stated they will be giving independent content creators access to the paid subscription program in the future.

     

Facebook Adds Trusted Contacts to Password Recovery Process

This week, Facebook launched a new featured called Trusted Contacts in an attempt to discourage account hacking. Unfortunately this additional feature hasn’t necessarily addressed the aspects of their password recovery service that are the most susceptible to hacking.

The goal of the newly added Trusted Contacts is to implement an extra layer of security between strangers and personal data on Facebook; however, it still remains all too simple for savvy users to take advantage of the “Forgot Password” tool. Once a user indicate that they’ve forgotten their Facebook password, the site offers three password reset options: via Google account, email, or phone. Unfortunately this is where the effectiveness of Facebook’s security measures ends.

 

A user simply has to indicate that they no longer have access to the Google account, email address, or phone associated with their account, and they’ll be prompted to supply a new email address with which to reset the account. Only at this step in the account recovery process does the new Trusted Contacts feature come into play.

If a user cannot recall the answer to their custom security question, they only need to name one of the listed Trusted Contacts to proceed to the next part of the process. This grants access to the full list of Trusted Contacts, meaning that anyone who has reached this screen has the means to obtain the necessary security codes for recovering a Facebook account that may or may not belong to them.

While Facebook works out the kinks and drawbacks to this new security feature, those wary of appointing Trusted Contacts may be better off avoiding the feature entirely for the time being. The password recovery feature prompts users to answer their custom personal security questions only if no Trusted Contacts have yet been listed. This extra layer of security is an additional comfort to many members of Facebook which, despite its popularity, has done little to improve its reputation for questionable account security and privacy control.

     

Happy 19th Birthday BOTW! Celebrate with New ProListings

As the Internet’s oldest directory, we understand the importance of a fresh product that adapts and rises to the challenges presented in the ever-growing realm of cyberspace. That’s why we’re inviting you to join us in celebrating 19 years of success, and rolling out a brand new product to commemorate the occasion.

The All-New BOTW ProListing
A ProListing is a standard BOTW Directory listing that has been enhanced with featured content. You can now submit ProListings or upgrade an existing listing to ProListing status for less than $20 each month along with your annually-recurring listing fee. This allows you to add up to three sublistings as featured content on your standard BOTW listing. The sublistings appear directly beneath the existing directory listing, giving you the opportunity to highlight key pages of your business website and keep your listings relevant with fresh and eye-catching content. These sublistings can be modified at any time through your BOTW account.

In addition to introducing ProListings to the BOTW Directories, Best of the Web is cutting prices in half, for one day only, as a birthday gift to customers. Join us in celebrating our 19th year spent as your ultimate source for guidance on the web by taking advantage of our biggest discount of the year!

Today only, submit an annually-recurring BOTW listing for just $74.95, and make it a ProListing for an extra $9.85 per month! Simply enter the promotional code PRO50 when prompted during the submission process to obtain these savings. You can also take advantage of this discount to sponsor a category in the BOTW Directory for only $24.95 per month (after a 30-day free trial for first-time sponsors), and enhance your brick & mortar business listing in the BOTW Local Direcotry with Premium status for only $4.95 per month ($49.95 at the annual rate).

     

The New Google Places Dashboard

Google recently announced that they would be making significant updates in the Google Places user dashboard, but so far, the attitude shared among businesses on Google Places is generally unimpressed. Unfortunately for Google Places users and developers alike, it seems to be too early to judge whether or not the changes can be considered an improvement. While the verdict remains undecided, here are a few things you should keep in mind when exploring the updated Google Places dashboard:

The updated dashboard is immediately available to newly created and newly verified business locations in the United States. Existing users will have to remain patient for the updates to be rolled out to older verified listings.  For the time being, availability is limited to locations within the United States.

This new dashboard has severely improved the relationship between Google Places and Google+ Local listings. Now data from your Google Places listing is fed directly into the Google Knowledge Graph, making it easier to manage across Google apps. At the same time, Google is advising businesses to not merge their Google Places and Google+ Local pages just yet. The plan seems to be to eventually implement an “Upgrade” option to make the merge and data migration as simple as possible.

The new dashboard interface advises users with tips for completing the fields of their listing; however, there has also been a decrease in number of overall fields, meaning less options for customization. On the other hand, Google is adding new listing options for service area businesses for the first time.

All updates made through the new Google Places dashboard should be reflected live within 48 hours; however, anticipate photo updates to take longer, and users will now be required to use a personal Google+ account in order to add video content to their listing.

A bone of contention among users who already have access to this new dashboard is that the analytics reported on Google+ listings are still weak and in need of improvement; however, search engine experts are advising patience. It seems as though this is just the first phase of SEO-friendly updates being rolled out by Google, and users should anticipate greater improvements over time.

     

Diving into Spring Premieres with Mobile Apps

It looks like brands aren’t the only things focusing on mobile development this year. With the third season premiere of the acclaimed HBO series, A Game of Thrones, just around the corner, fans can now delve even deeper into the world created by author George R. R. Martin with a mobile application: A World of Ice and Fire

This app, developed by Random House Digital, Inc., serves as an official companion to help fans of the television show and book of the same name stay on top of their favorite characters, important events, and plot developments throughout the series. The launch of the Android version of this app has expanded on the iOS version that was released last Fall; Apple device owners have been told to anticipate an app update soon.

Although A Game of Thrones is not the first television production to try to integrate mobile apps, it is unique in its effort to build a mobile presence exclusively for a show that does not take viewer feedback, unlike a reality or competition show. For the first time, fans can reconcile visuals from their favorite TV show with additional details from the book in one place. The interactive element of the app has the potential not only to engage existing fans, but also to lure in new ones who might have otherwise been intimidated by a long novel or complicated script.

This app may mark the start of a new trend in entertainment: interactive apps to keep fans engaged with the story even when it’s off the air. Soon it may become standard that every prime-time TV show includes a mobile companion app. After all, Internet and social media marketing have already proven that user engagement can often lead to long-lasting relationships. Time will tell if this also holds true in a more traditional marketing medium like television.

     
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