Big news from Google, Christmas shopping and mobile web design have all be topics of discussion this week. Here are the five stories that got us talking around the water cooler.

Consumers hate non-mobile sites.


It’s official – consumers hate websites that aren’t mobile friendly.

A study of 2,000 smartphone users aged 16-70, carried out by the Internet Advertising Bureau, found that 69% of adults are “frustrated” by websites that are not optimised for mobile devices.

Despite huge increases in smartphone adoption and developments in responsive design, more than half of those surveyed had landed on a site that was not optimised for mobile in the last month.

The study found that 81% of adults browse the internet via a smartphone at least once a day, although this figure reaches 90% for people between the ages of 25 and 34.

The research also found that for 16-34 year olds, mobile is now the top source for finding product information, with 41% preferring mobile compared with 35% desktop and 7% in-store.

Remember, remember; 25th of November

online retail warehouse

Retailers should be preparing themselves for a flurry of activity on November 25th, according to Adobe.

That is when the company predicts the first ‘spike’ in online Christmas shopping will take place, with Brits expected to spend around £208m – around 51% more than an average day’s online sales.

“Cyber Monday” falls on December 1st this year, with sales projected to surpass £281m.

But for bargain hunters, the time to be alert is the beginning of December, which is when the biggest discounts on stocking fillers are to be had.

Adobe claims that the average product is marked down 15% at the beginning of December, compared with 10% during November. Discounts increase to 25% on December 24th, although getting them delivered in time for Christmas Day is probably going to be a struggle.

Matt Cutts extends leave into 2015

matt cutts

Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s Web Spam team, has decided to extend his leave from the company “into 2015” – and there are suggestions that he may not return at all.

Cutts, who has lead Google’s spam team for 14 years, has been on leave since July in order to spend more time with his family.

This week, he announced that he will continue his leave into the New Year. He commented on how well the web spam team has performed in his absence, adding that he was uncomfortable at being a “lightening rod for unhappy black hat SEOs” - a statement that has increased speculation that Cutts won't return to his previous role.

Twitter to open office in Hong Kong


Despite being banned in neighbouring China, Twitter is preparing to open up an office in Hong Kong.

Twitter has been banned in China since 2009, amid fears that the service could be used to organise protests against the ruling Communist Party, but will move to the Chinese governed territory in the first quarter of 2015.

Whilst Hong Kong has more relaxed rules on internet censorship than mainland China, Twitter claims that the decision is to “pursue strategic opportunities in Greater China, such as China export advertising market and Hong Kong and Taiwan advertising markets”. It will be Twitter’s fifth office in Asia-Pacific, after Singapore, Sydney, Seoul and Tokyo.

Google launches ‘soft paywall’ survey network.


Google is offering another option for publishers to monetise their content, launching the Google Consumer Surveys publisher network.

The network allows publishers to hide their content behind a short survey, similar to the system currently used by publishers such as The Wall Street Journal. Users will be asked to answer a few questions before they are allowed to view the remainder of a given article.

Companies that create the surveys will pay 10¢ per survey completed, with 5¢ being paid to the publisher.

The system is effectively designed to be a ‘soft’ paywall, allowing publishers to monetise their content without asking their audiences to hand over their cold, hard cash.

The system is currently available for US publishers – expect it to open up in the UK to follow soon after.

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