Archive for January, 2009

PuddleDuckers Out and About

This is the first in a series of photos of PuddleDuckers enjoying the great outdoors. Our first set of photos come from Noelle Doohan of Tory Island, Co. Donegal, showing her children Ríonnach, Caoilte and Cobhlaith out and about on the wild Atlantic coast of Donegal.

march-breeze

March Breeze on Tory Island

On the ferry to Tory Island

On the ferry to Tory Island

Thanks Noelle for allowing us to show off your great photos.

If you have any photos you’d like us to include in future posts, please email us at [info AT puddleducks DOT ie]

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Tuesday Push: IGOpeople – Networking for the Real World

The Tuesday Push is back. I was a spectator when it was running last year and it’s great to take part this year. The Tuesday Push is a way to highlighting innovative Irish tech startups and giving exposure to their service or product.

igopeople

Today’s push is for IGOpeople – a social network made up of Individuals, Groups and Organisiations. I have joined for PuddleDucks as an organisation and I’m looking forward to some open engagement with customers. I think IGOpeople has the structure to support extended conversations with you communities.

I also have a Facebook Fan page for PuddeDucks. I prefer the IGOpeople interface for engaging with people who sign up for your network. I also preferthe terminology. I am a little embarrassed at having to call people “Fans” on Facebook – joining your network on IGOPeople or being Followers is much more grown-up.

As I say i have joined as PuddleDucks as an Organisation. I also think I should join as an individual so I can join in the chat without carrying the business responsibility on my back.

Overall I am impressed with IGOpeople and would advise anyone to join. After all, the more the merrier – the larger the community, the better the debate.

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Irish Blog Awards Nominations

iba09-nominated

The nominations for this year’s Irish Blog Awards were released last week. I was surprised and pleased to see that the PuddleDucks Blog had been nominated in two categories – Best Blog of a Business and Best Newcomer. We are delighted to be in these lists with all those excellent blogs. I’ve only been blogging since last year and I’m still getting the hang of it but I must say that blogging has been an overwhelmingly positive experience for me. As well as the benefits for PuddleDucks from blogging, I have also met lots of interetsing, supportive and generous people in the blogging community in Ireland.

I know this is not the short list, it is not even the long list but even so, it’s great to be included in the list and I’d like to say a big thanks to whoever nominated us. 

 

Best Blog of a Business – Sponsored by RedCardinal.ie

Argolon: http://argolon.com
Bobby Buckley Gardens: http://bbgardens.ie/blog
Beautifuljobs.ie: http://beautifuljobs.ie/articles
Denise Cox’s Blog: http://newsweaver.co.uk/emailnewsletters

Ice Cream Ireland: http://icecreamireland.com
No More Art Notepad: http://nomoreart.co.uk/notepad
Moore Groups Blog: http://mooregroup.wordpress.com
Declan Shalvey: http://dshalv.blogspot.com
Cully And Sully: http://cullyandsully.com/news
The Cycling Blog: http://worldwidecyclesblog.com

Tast.ie:: http://tast.ie
Weddingdates.ie: http://weddingdates.ie/blog
IIA Blog: http://blog.iia.ie
Curious Wines: http://curiouswines.ie
Limerick Business Blog: http://onesolution.ie/blog

Nice Day Designs: http://nicedaydesigns-ruth.blogspot.com
Echolibre Blog: http://blog.echolibre.com
Ifoods.tv: http://ifoods.tv/blog
Pure Play: http://bohanna.typepad.com/pureplay
Developing EWrite: http://ewritecork.com/blog
Robin Blandford: http://bytesurgery.com/blog

Krishna De: http://krishnade.com/blog
Peter Donegan Landscaping Weblog: http://blog.doneganlandscaping.com
Keith Malone Wedding Films: http://blog.keithmalone.ie
Sabrina Dent: http://sabrinadent.com
Security Watch: http://bhconsulting.ie/securitywatch
Argus Car Hire: http://blog.arguscarhire.com

Contrast | The Blog: http://contrast.ie/blog
The No Nonsense Blog: http://blog.nononsense.ie
Puddleducks Blog: http://blog.puddleducks.ie
Find a Conference Venue Blog: http://ciarafeely.wordpress.com/
Blacknight Blog: http://blog.blacknight.com
Brightspark Consulting Dublin: http://brightspark-consulting.com/blog

Weeno Blog: http://weeno.ie/blog
Cybercom: http://cybercom.ie

Best Newcomer – Sponsored by Teamworkpm.net

Teknovis: http://teknovis.eu/blog
Robert Franics Wine – http://www.robertfranciswine.ie/wordpress/

Happiness Machine: http://thehappinessmachine.blogspot.com
Digitology: http://digitologynow.blogspot.com
The National Lottie: http://thenationallottie.com
Mymunster.com: http://blog.mymunster.com
Alan Costello: http://www.alancostello.com
Circa: Now!: http://ciarandryan.blogspot.com

This Is What I Do.: http://darraghdoyle.blogspot.com
Ninth Level Ireland: http://9thlevelireland.wordpress.com
Ciaran’s Blog: http://ciaran.ie
Trust Tommy: http://trusttommy.com
Kanchi Blog: http://kanchi.org/blog
Joe Scanlon: http://joescanlon.net

Contrar.ie: http://contrar.ie
Fireworks And Mash: http://fireworksandmash.com
Stony River Farm: http://stonyriverfarm.blogspot.com
Every Day Is Election Day : http://everydayiselectionday.com
The Sexy Pedestrian: http://thesexypedestrian.blogspot.com
Gaelick: http://gaelick.com

Blog Of Revelations: http://wordpress.hotpress.com/petermurphy
Red Lemonade: http://redlemonade.blogspot.com
Greenme Home Page : http://greenme.ie
Kyle Tunney Photography Blog – Ireland: http://blog.kyletunney.com
Maxi Cane: http://maxicane.com
Turbotricity – Domestic Wind Turbines: http://turbotricity.com

Outsidein: http://irishtimes.com/blogs/outsidein
Mikemaunsell.net: http://www.mikemaunsell.net
Looseville: http://looseville.org
Rattlebags: http://rattlebagswriter.blogspot.com
I Have Grave News: http://johnniecraig.wordpress.com
Messy Chef: http://messy-chef.com

Story-lah? Half-irish, Half-singaporean, Half-cut: http://sarahgostrangely.blogspot.com
Cheapeats.ie: http://cheapeats.ie
Glitter See, Glitter Do: http://glitterseeglitterdo.wordpress.com
Lidl Treats: http://lidltreats.com
Cool Sites: http://coolsites.ie
themiseducationof: http://themiseducationof.wordpress.com

Lee Munroe’s Blog: http://leemunroe.com
Guess List: http://guesslist.ie
Garibaldy Blog: http://garibaldy.wordpress.com
Clasheen By Nicola Brown: http://clasheen.wordpress.com
Ophelia Ford: http://opheliaford.blogspot.com
Puddleducks: http://blog.puddleducks.ie

The Daily Squee!: http://thedailysquee.wordpress.com
TheSexyPedestrian: thesexypedestrian.blogspot.com
Nick Thinks: http://nickthinks.wordpress.com
Northern Notes By Gary Mckeown: http://garymckeown.blogspot.com
Chancing My Arm: http://chancingmyarm.blogspot.com
Developing Ewrite: http://ewritecork.com/blog

Mentasms: http://mentasms.wordpress.com
Northern Notes By Gary Mckeown: http://garymckeown.info
The Irish Economy: http://irisheconomy.ie
Annette Dunlea Literary Blog: http://ajd8.wordpress.com
Mum Lives On: http://MumLivesOn.com
Toast: http://toastonline.net

Russellmcquillan.com: http://russellmcquillan.com
Colm Brophy: http://colmbrophy.com
The Irish Sentinel: http://irishsentinel.com
The Unemployed Blog: http://theunemployedblog.wordpress.com
Darrenbyrne.com: http://darrenbyrne.com/wordpress

The Anti-room: http://theantiroom.wordpress.com
Bloom Blog: http://bloom.ie/blog
Swear I’m Not Paul: http://swearimnotpaul.blogspot.com
Worth Doing Badly: http://tinman18.wordpress.com
Katyboo’s Weblog: http://katyboo1.wordpress.com
Party Down And Go Fuck Yourself: http://duderay.blogspot.com

Rosemary Mac Cabe: http://rosemarymaccabe.wordpress.com
Reverting To Type: http://sineadkeogh.wordpress.com
Profoundly Superficial: http://profoundlysuperficial.blogspot.com
Fitzys Cloud: http://fitzyscloud.blogspot.com
Ronster Munch – Blog: http://theronster.co.uk
Politics: http://irishtimes.com/blogs/politics

Le Craic: http://lecraic.com
Sinful Origami Paper: http://sinfulorigamipaper.wordpress.com
Who’s That Girl?: http://curious-very-curious.blogspot.com
Ten Lizard Tongues: http://tenlizardtongues.blogspot.com
Mediavirgins.com: http://mediavirgins.com
Beyond The Boardroom: http://btbtraining.com/blog

An Cathach: http://ancathach.com

The Blog Awards (like the Web Awards) are the brainchild of Damien Mulley, the kingpin of the Irish blogging community. The awards ceremony takes place in Cork on February 21st. I’m really looking forward to attending (sure it’s only down the road!) and meeting some great people there.

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How to do Business Online – Securely

I attended an interesting seminar on Online Security on Thursday last in Dublin. The seminar was organised by the IIA and had speakers from AIB Merchant Services, Realex, IPSO, MasterCard and TrustWave.

Rather than going through the presentations one by one, I’ll list the 3 main issues and topics I took away from the event.

1. PCI Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS)

PCI DSS is a security standard that lists requirements for security management, policies, procedures, network architecture, software design and other critical protective measures. The standard is intended to help organizations proactively protect customer account data. It is a standard that all online retailers need to educate themselves about as they will need to comply with the regulations in the near future.

There are 4 levels of online merchants – measured on the number of card transactions they process annually. We fall into level four.  All retailers in levels one to three should be compliant by now, as the deadlines have passed. There is currently no deadline for level four merchants. But talking to experts at the seminar, the opinion is that the deadline will be set around September 2009. So it is the responsibility of online merchants to get to know about the standard and become compliant with it. My view is that it is better to be compliant sooner rather than later.

To become compliant the merchant needs to get assessed by a PCI Qualified Security Assessor (QSA). There are a number of QSA’s in Ireland – see here for the worldwide list and search on Ireland. Rather than wait for the deadline, we plan to get assessed and passed as soon as possible and publicise the fact that we are PCI-DSS compliant. This will give potential customers even more added assurance that we are a secure shopping site.

combination-lock

2. 3d Secure

3D Secure is an extra validation step in the customer’s purchase process that the card merchants are encouraging online retailers to implement. I have used it myself when shopping with some sites. The issue I see with 3D Secure is that it has some benefits for the retailer but very little for the online shopper. We were also told at the seminar that the extra step of inputting the 3D Secure password can cause up to 15% of customers to abandon their purchase – as they are confused by the extra requirements for further validation information. We (at PuddleDucks) simply cannot afford to lose 15% of our potential sales so we will not implement 3dSecure for the time being. We will wait until it becomes more widely available and an advertising/education campaign is undertaken by the card providers.

shopping_cart

3. Chargebacks

Chargebacks are reversals of credit card transactions back to the retailer e.g. if a fraudulent (e.g. stolen) card is used online, the transaction is approved and the merchant (like us) dispatches the goods. Once the card is reported to be stolen the card issuer (the bank!) then comes back to the merchant and will recoup the transaction amount along with a processing charge. Luckily we have never had a chargeback imposed on us. The main thing for online retailers is to be vigilant regarding unusually large orders, strange selection of items, overseas orders, orders at unusual times, an order where the card is issued by a bank in once country and the customer is located in another country, etc. The number one rule is to be very careful – even if the transaction is approved by the bank this is not a guarantee that you will get the funds. And I learned that you can get chargeback up to 180 days after the date of the transaction.

Overall an interesting and informative seminar. Thanks to Irene at the IIA for organising it.

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Prize Draw on our Facebook page

We now have 40 fans signed up to our Facebook fan page. I’m using the page to update folks about offers, news and new stuff on the site. I like it so far and I plan to use it more in the future to get some discussions going and offer some special products to fans.

facebook

To encourage more people to join we are running a prize draw at the end of January for a €50 gift coupon to use on the PuddleDucks site. We are also currently offering free shipping within Ireland to all our Facebook fans. All you have to do is to go over to the page and join.

I am going to do some reaserch on how other business use their Facebook fan and group pages, see what works for them and what does not work and I’ll post my findings here.

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Our January Sale

Pop over to the PuddleDucks webite now for some great January Special Offers.

Included in the offers is a special introductory offer for the new Extra Tough Jacket and Dungarees Sets for €49.99.

Extra Tough Set

Extra Tough Set

The offers are valid until the end of January.

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Looking forward to 2009

Last week I wrote a post looking back at 2008. Now to look forward and set goals for the New Year. I hope I’m not too late as over 5% of the year has passed already.

  • Expand the PuddleDucks range. Include more of the products that are successful and remove products that are not so popular with our customers.
  • Review enable the site. Allow customers to enter reviews on the site and by text.
  • Expand the number of shops, schools and creches we supply.
  • Create more professional looking newsletters. Maybe change email supplier from Constant Contact.
  • Blog more often. Find an audience – write content that appeals to the demographic of our customers i.e. parents of young children.
  • Try Ebay again – I have experimented not very successfully with Ebay for selling single items. I’d like to try it again and maybe create an Ebay store this time
  • Improve performance and Return on Investment on  Online Advertising with Adwords and Facebook.
  • Get better organic Google results by concentrating on website content.
  • Find opportunities to get coverage by creating and sending interesting Press Releases.
  • Create a number of surveys and send results of at lease one in a Press Release.
  • Expand our Facebook Fan page, get some interaction going, give fans reason to be fans and provide offers and one-off deals to members.

If I get all that done then I’ll be happy.

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