It’s Not Just Facebook. Ways You Are Giving Up Your Privacy

facebook privacy
facebook privacy

It has been referred to as a “breach” and misuse of private information. It has been the buzz of social media and it may have long-lasting impact, particularly in the United States. We are talking about Cambridge Analytica’s use of information it retrieved from Facebook and Facebook users. This data was apparently used to target political ads to influence the American election.

Before we get too far into the weeds on the subject, it should be noted that the purpose of all political advertising is to influence voters. This should surprise no one. It should also be noted that this information was gathered within Facebook’s own guidelines. If there was a breach, it was, in fact, the “breach of trust” Mark Zuckerberg referred to in the interviews he gave following the news. People trusted Facebook with their information. That being said, Zuckerberg made his fortune gathering information from users and selling his “audience” to companies wanting to target certain groups and individuals. Internet privacy is to a great degree, an illusion. We’ve all had that startling experience of searching for a topic or service and all of a sudden we are seeing ads for that product on our social media. Where did we think this information was coming from?  We were, and are, providing this wealth of data ourselves, and doing so willingly.

The Evolution of “Mailing Lists”

In pre-internet days, magazine companies would sell their subscriber lists to companies who saw value in targeting people interested in the content of a particular magazine. Just by having your name and address, and knowing the types of magazines you subscribed to, marketers could do a surprisingly effective job of reaching target audiences for decades. As time progressed, people became a little more comfortable filling out paper surveys and polls,  giving their opinions and more private information. They were often rewarded with an entry to win a prize in a drawing or by getting a free sample.  Soon, digital loyalty cards began stockpiling data on consumers with the promise of saving 25 cents on a box of detergent or a package of frozen peas. The internet and social media then really opened the floodgates.

Privacy, the Internet, and Social Media

You have read every page of every term of use you have agreed to on the internet, correct? We didn’t think so.

Software companies, gaming sites, social media platforms, search engines, and others have become adept at concealing their intended use of your personal data in extensive terms of use forms. Some of the very websites that have been critical of Facebook are participating in the same consumer data gathering strategies Facebook uses. While they will often say these terms of use protect consumers from misuse, it actually protects them. It demonstrates users have granted them permission to use this personal data for their own purposes.

What social media added to data gathering is the ability to connect friends and family. In the case of the Cambridge Analytica situation, not only was information gathered about users who volunteered it, but additional data was gathered from those who were connected to those users. The very platforms promising to “connect us” are connecting us with those who want to influence our product and services choices and even our political opinions.  The more information gathered, the better we could be targeted and we’ve been freely giving it up in droves.

Smartphones, GPS, Apps, and Siri

There are those who believe that deleting their social media accounts will help protect them. While it may slow down the train, it has already left the station. Search engines know what you are looking at and the subjects of interest to you. GPS devices know where you are and can even predict where you are going. Smartphones know more about you than your spouse. Then we invite digital assistants like Siri and Alexa into our homes to gather information audibly. We do it so willingly, in the name of convenience, or to have access to discounts or “loyalty points”.

Why are so many apps free? Because the value of the data being gathered far exceeds any monetary gain these companies could otherwise realize. The real eye-opener is when these activities are combined from various vendors it creates an even more complete dossier of your searches, purchasing and travel habits, and relationships. We won’t even get into facial recognition and fingerprinting data that is a increasing part of our everyday activities.

Nobody is suggesting that going back to flip phones is the answer. At least not yet. But we can benefit from knowing how we are making our personal data so available. We can minimize access to our info by choosing providers who have no or little interest in acquiring personal data. You can make the move to an eco web hosting solution provider that is more interested in the providing superior customer service than gathering your information. We invite you to learn more about OrangeWebsite.com.

The Privacy Benefits of Using OrangeWebsite.com

Look, we’ll be honest. We have absolutely no interest in your private information. If you are looking for anonymous web hosting, we are your provider. We make our money from building a worldwide base of website hosting customers who want a 99.9% uptime, anonymous sign-up, and no government interference. Customers appreciate our willingness to accept payment by Bitcoin, cash by mail, PayPal, and wire transfer. We are based in Iceland, an Internet-friendly country with internet and freedom of speech regulations. We also happen to have a stable government and an excellent digital infrastructure. We offer 24/7 technical support.

We view ourselves as a landlord, offering our worldwide customers rental space on our servers. We want to make sure you are comfortable and if you have an issue, we are accessible. As long as we have a valid email address to contact you and a way to receive timely payments, the rest is up to you. If you are becoming more conscious of your personal data and how providers may be using it to compromise you, choose OrangeWebsite.com. Secure. anonymous, and guaranteed.

The Growth of Digital & Virtual Assistants

Virtual Assistants
Virtual Assistants

The Growth of Digital & Virtual Assistants

They are referred to by various names including digital assistants, virtual assistants, voice assistants, and most recently smart speakers. Odds are you or someone you know has or soon will have one in their home. You may already use one on your phone. It is another in a series of digital advances designed to either make your life more convenient, find out more about you or potentially both.

Rather than having to undergo pesky typing into a digital device, users can simply make their request by speaking out loud into or at least near enough to the device so it can “hear”. They are in smartphones, televisions, computers, and in our automobiles. While this article will begin with a general look at the technology involved, we will ultimately focus on in-home voice speakers and their amazing growth in popularity in recent years.

The History of Speech Recognition

Many don’t realize how long speech recognition technology has been around. It was first introduced by Bell laboratories with a simple device named “Audrey” in 1952. Audrey could recognize numbers spoken by one voice. In 1962, IBM introduced “Shoebox” that could recognize 16 English words. Slowly, speech recognition improved through the 1960’s where it included more and more vowels and consonants in a variety of languages.

In the early to mid-1970’s, the United States Defense Department got involved and the technology made great strides. “Harpy” resulted in a system that could mimic the vocabulary of the average three-year-old. Eventually, Bell Labs introduced a system that could recognize multiple voices.

The next advances in voice recognition were accomplished through predictive voice recognition, where words were recognized on patterns of speech. In 1987, a doll named Julie could mimic speech and was marketed as “…the doll that understands you.” If that sounds a bit creepy think about what we are placing in our homes today.

In the 1990’s, voice recognition became much more available for consumers as computer speeds advanced. It was often cumbersome, however, and software frequently had to be trained to the user’s voice. Systems were frustrating due to misunderstandings between the users and the software. Early phone editions were particularly aggravating as callers would have to repeat themselves incessantly to get the software to “understand” what they wanted.

With the growing popularity of the internet, Google helped the technology take a huge step with its Google Voice Search App for the iPhone in the 2000’s.

Other milestones in the development of voice assistants was in 2011 when IBM’s “Watson” appeared on Television’s “Jeopardy” program and Apple introduced Siri. Microsoft responded with Cortana in 2013 and in late 2014, Amazon introduced Alexa and The Echo. The Assistant from Google made its debut in 2016 as did the Echo Dot. Later that year, Google Home was launched.

Virtual Assistants

The Growth of Voice Speakers in the Home

So, here we are now, over 65 years after Audrey recognized spoken numbers and 55 years after Shoebox was demonstrated at the World’s Fair, Through that time, interest has been shown from everybody from doll makers to the US Department of Defense. It has been employed in our phones and our cars. Now, however, it is reaching a new level of convenience and/or voluntary intrusion, depending on your perspective.

Estimates are there are about 30 million Google Home and Amazon Echo voice speakers in American homes. Penetration is expected to reach 55% within the next four years. There are a growing number of companies like Lenovo, LG, Harmon Kardon, and even toy maker Mattel who have set out to grab a share of this rapidly growing market. What’s behind this growth, how is it impacting us, and what is next?

Convenience Trumps Privacy

Voice speakers or as some are now calling AI voice speakers are another example that people are not only willing to trade personal information and privacy for convenience but will actually pay for the privilege. Convenience is king and technology-based companies like Amazon and Google fully understand that. It also affords them something even more valuable than just the sales of these devices. The real value to these tech companies is the consumer data and insights they provide.

It is not unlike the sales of cheap printers in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Consumers were lured in by cheap printer prices and convenience, They may not have been aware of the expensive replacement cartridges that awaited them. Companies promoting voice speakers may, in fact, be making these devices more and more affordable to gain access and insight into consumer behavior and information.

What This Means for Marketers

So, if all of this history and growth in voice recognition and ultimately AI voice speakers is interesting, what are the practical aspects for those with websites who want to sell more of their products and services? It starts with understanding that much of these activities are search related. “Alexa, find me a local rock and roll radio station.”, “Siri, who has the best pizza near us?” or “Google, what is tomorrow’s weather going to be?” are basic searches, initiated by voice rather than typing. There are already over one billion searches conducted by voice every month. By 2020, just two years from now, it is predicted about a third of all searches will be conducted without a screen. More and more people are joining the voice search option and feeling more comfortable with it, including those using voice speakers. This may help you craft verbally friendly SEO efforts along with written keyword strategies.

Why You Should Choose Orange Website

OrangeWebsite.com is an Icelandic-based web hosting solutions provider committed to the growth of our customers. We are in an internet-friendly country that respects the privacy of internet users. We provide a variety of hosting plans that can be paid through private secure and private payment options like Bitcoin and cash through the mail. Learn more by visiting OranageWebsite.com and get started today.

The Eleven Most Important Reasons to Choose a Web Hosting Company

Web Hosting Company
Web Hosting Company

The Eleven Most Important Reasons to Choose a Web Hosting Company

The factors surrounding your choice of a web hosting company will likely depend on your specific goals, needs, and budget. For most, however, there are certain qualities they seek in a web hosting solutions provider. Before you make a choice, consider these eleven important factors in your selection.

  1. Uptime – One of the biggest factors in the selection of a web hosting company is its reliability. A hosting services provider should not just boast of their uptime, they should be able to guarantee it. Server reliability and backup systems have improved tremendously through the years. Today, you should expect near 100% uptimes that are guaranteed.
  2. Customer and Technical Service – Costumer service and technical support often go hand in hand when considering a web hosting company. This is the “human” component of web hosting which is so important when you need to have a problem resolved. If you have an issue, you should be able to connect with someone in a timely manner. You should be treated as a valuable customer with every contact.
  3. Choice of Hosting Plans – Not every website is equal or has the same requirements and not every web hosting company offers the same services. You’ll want to make sure the hosting provider you choose can accommodate the traffic, software, and applications important for your website’s functionality. Finding out your hosting company is inadequate after you have made your choice can be problematic.
  4. Security – Today, more than ever, security should be a concern when selecting a web hosting company. Two factor authentication methods for client logins, server SSH logins, and other security features can help ensure the security of your websites. Not asking questions regarding security can be asking for problems.
  5. Location – Location can be a factor for several reasons. The location of a data center can not only affect how quickly users can access its servers, but you’ll want a hosting company in a country that is stable politically. It should be an Internet-friendly country that embraces freedom of expression and has regulations that protect web-related freedoms. Its location should have a solid technical infrastructure adding to reliability.
  6. Environmentally Friendly – As the world begins to have a greater understanding of how much energy is consumed by data centers and how they contribute to pollution,  finding “green” or organic web hosting solution providers has increased in importance. These eco web hosting companies take steps to use energy efficiently, often passing savings onto their clients. Using a “green” hosting company also provides marketing opportunities for companies who want to appeal to this market.
  7. Pricing – While pricing isn’t necessarily at the top of the list, it would be naive to think it isn’t a significant factor. You certainly don’t want to pay for more than you need and you want to get what you pay for.
  8. Testimonials – This shows how current and previous customers view a web hosting company matters. Look for a web hosting company who is willing to share testimonials from real customers about their services.
  9. Payment Options – More payment choices and payment flexibility can make working with a web hosting company more convenient. There are plenty more options available out there than credit cards.
  10. Anonymity – For many companies, anonymity can play an important role in a choice of a web hosting company. If this is important for you, make sure to inquire about the steps a web hosting solutions provider takes to keep you anonymous.
  11. A Satisfaction Guarantee – You’ll want to select a hosting company that has enough confidence in its products and services to guarantee them with a money back guarantee. If a service doesn’t back its services, consider your other options.

Not all web hosting companies are the same. When you consider all of the above, we think you’ll discover why more and more companies of all sizes from all parts of the world are are choosing OrangeWebsite.com as their hosting services solutions provider.

How OrangeWebsite Measures Up

OrangeWebsite meets and exceeds expectations. We have a 99.9% uptime guarantee that is backed with 24/7, knowledgeable technical support. We serve customers in over 100 countries in time-zones across the globe. We have a variety of hosting plans to suit almost every budget and every technological need. Plans can be paid for by using BitcoinPayPal, wire transfers, and even cash by mail. We are an ultra-secure hosting provider located in Iceland, considered one of the safest hosting countries in the world. We have quick load times to both Europe and North America. Iceland obtains almost all of its electricity from renewable energy sources like geothermal and hydroelectric, helping us achieve our status as an eco web hosting provider. Because of our climate, we use much less air conditioning to cool our data center servers, using less energy. OrangeWebsite provides our clients the ability to place a selection of “Green Seals” on the pages of their websites. These easy to install digital labels indicate that your organization cares enough about the environment to use an eco-friendly hosting provider. We take steps that protect your anonymity and offer a 30 day money back guarantee. View our testimonials online and learn more about getting started today.

Choosing a web hosting service provider is an important decision. Choose wisely. We invite you to discover the benefits of OrangeWebsite.com.

Organic Web Hosting

Organic Web Hosting
Organic Web Hosting

Organic Web Hosting

The word “organic” means “from the living”. Organically grown foods have become increasingly popular across the globe because they are thought to be healthier for humans and the planet. Organic foods are grown without the use of chemicals and pesticides and the word itself has come to be identified with being “natural”. The word has become so widely accepted its use has spread beyond agriculture and is now even used in technology. Organic search engine rankings, for example, are non-paid rankings. They are generally achieved through search engine, algorithm-friendly tactics like pertinent and timely content and keyword and keyword phrases. There is another form of organics growing in popularity in the tech sector. It is that of organic web hosting.

What is Organic Web Hosting?

Organic hosting is web hosting that is accomplished using environmentally friendly, or “green” tactics, strategies, and facilities. While energy is obviously a critical part of powering data centers, organic hosting uses it in a more responsible manner. There can also be other elements to organic hosting like the use of efficient servers, minimized use of cooling equipment, and more. To understand the need for organic hosting options, one should first understand the significant use of electricity being used to power data centers.

Data Center Energy Use

We tend to forget that for every web page that is visited, email that is sent or online video that is viewed, energy is being consumed in a data center somewhere. It may be in a small closet-style server room or in a large facility but for every digital action, there is an electrical reaction. But it is more than just the energy to power servers that are using up massive amounts of energy. It takes significant cooling and air conditioning and power backup systems.

While some data centers have improved their energy efficiency, it is still estimated that 85% of data centers across the globe are using far more energy than is necessary. The challenge is, many data centers are located in located mild or temperate climates where air conditioning may be needed to cool them year round. In addition, some web hosting companies have their customer base largely in just a few time zones. Servers operate and use energy 24/7 but they may not be heavily accessed for a full third of the day. Web hosting companies may also be powered by electricity produced using fossil fuels which are anything but an “organic” way to operate.

Data tracking energy use from data centers was not even gathered in the United States until 2008. While indications were that energy use would flatten out due to the use of more efficient servers being deployed, the U.S. Government still estimates that 10% of all the energy it uses goes to powering data centers in the country. That is the equivalent of energy used in of millions of homes.

When it comes to energy consumption and pollution, data centers have been compared to the steel mills of the 1950’s and 1960’s. While they may not be responsible for huge amounts of air pollution, data centers are using an increasing amount of energy and contributing to the use of fossil fuels. The answer is more eco web hosting and organic web hosting solution providers.

Organic Web Hosting

Choosing OrangeWebsite.com as Your Organic Web Hosting Provider

OrangeWebsite.com provides organic web hosting solutions you can feel good about. With data centers located in Iceland, the use of air conditioning is minimized, saving energy. Not only does OrangeWebsite.com save energy with its Icelandic location, but the country produces virtually all of its energy from renewable sources like geothermal. With a location between North America and Europe, our clients are in a large number of time zones. In fact, we have web hosting clients in over 100 countries worldwide. We even support green initiatives like the worlds biggest beach clean up and have most of our employees work from home to minimize travel, energy use, and to we create less traffic. But organic web hosting is more than just a “feel good” option. It can be good for business.

Growing Your Business with Organic Web Hosting

Businesses should choose an organic and eco web hosting solutions provider because it is the right thing to do. But it also can be a way to grow your business. Organic web hosting appeals to a growing market who wants to be associated with environmentally-friendly companies. We make a variety of easy to install digital “Green Seals” available to our customers. When placed on the pages of your website, these seals validate you as a company who utilizes “green” initiatives. It demonstrates your desire to operate in a more environmentally responsible manner.

One of the best aspects of organic web hosting with OrangeWebsite.com is that there are no sacrifices to be made. We offer pricing that is extremely competitive along with a variety of hosting solutions to suit a wide range of companies. Our 24/7 support is responsive, knowledgeable, and available. We are located in a country that values its privacy and has some of the most internet protective policies in the world. With OrangeWebsite.com, you have our guarantee of a 99.9% uptime. We are an ultra-secure web hosting company and we accept multiple payment options from Bitcoin, altcoins to credit cards to cash by mail. Signing up with us is anonymous and we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.

If you are in search of an organic, eco web hosting solutions provider, we encourage you to learn more about OrangeWebsite.com.

Web Hosting for Dummies: What is a 503 Error?

what is a 503 error

WHAT IS A 503 ERROR

what is a 503 error

It is not uncommon for website users to encounter error messages when browsing. Error messages are an important way for users and hosting providers to help determine where an issue may lie. One relatively common error message is the 503 error. In encountering a 503 error message, users may not understand what is happening. More importantly, those hosting the site may not understand a 503 error or how it is resolved. In this edition of our web hosting for dummies, we will take a closer look at these 503 errors.

HTTP Errors Explained

Your digital device likely uses one of the five most popular web browsers to “surf” through the internet. These include:

  • Google Chrome
  • Firefox
  • Internet Explorer
  • Opera
  • Safari

Each of these browsers uses HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) when sending a request to retrieve a file (webpage, image, photograph, etc.) from a server on the internet. These are noted by the “HTTP” that precedes “www.” in web addresses. The vast majority of these requests result in the expected display of the desired file or webpage within the browser, usually fairly promptly. On occasion, however, an error will occur and an error message may be displayed.

Each error message is designed to give the viewer and host reasons the requests could not be completed. These error codes are group into triple-digit groups, starting with 100 numbered codes up through the 500’s. Error codes that begin with a “5” are server-side errors, meaning the problem is not with the browser or digital device of the user but with the server the website is hosted on. A 5xx error is not only an indication the problem is with the server, it tells us the server recognizes it has a problem.

What Then, is a 503 Error?

Your browser will display a 503 error when a server where the desired website is experiencing an issue retrieving your requested image or page. In the case of HTTP errors, the message seen by a user can be customized by the web host, so it may be communicated back to the user in a variety of ways. Common variations of the displayed error message include:

503 Error
503 Service Unavailable
503 Service Temporarily Unavailable
HTTP Server Error 503
HTTP 503
HTTP Error 503
Error 503 Service Unavailable

This means either the server is receiving too many requests for it to handle at once, or that it may be undergoing maintenance. What is interesting about the 503 error is that it is actually an indication that the server is operating fine. It is just deferring requests intentionally until either traffic slows or maintenance is completed.

what is a 503 error

How to Resolve 503 Errors

Users can resolve 503 errors easily often by refreshing a page or by clicking on the F5 or Ctrl+R keys. If this doesn’t resolve the issue you can try again later or take the time to reboot your device and/or modem.

For those hosting a site or sites, getting 503 errors can be more concerning. It could likely mean you are getting more traffic than your server is designed to handle. For most, this is good news but you will need to react. If you have your own on-site server or servers, a simple reboot may resolve the issue. It may also be an indication you need to increase your bandwidth or overall system resources. If 503 service errors last for more than a few minutes or become common, you will want to consider an upgrade or contact your web hosting solution provider to see if perhaps there are routine maintenance issues. They can also guide you to increased server capabilities that could also resolve the issue.

It is important for both those hosting websites and for consumers to be aware that if a 503 error is encountered in the middle of a financial transaction, multiple purchases may result. This is just one of the reasons you want to minimize downtime. It can also be helpful to note that 503 errors can be seen on a variety of digital devices including mobile ones.

The Importance of Uptime

To minimize the display of 503 errors, uptime is critical when choosing a web hosting solutions provider. At OrangeWebsite.com, we are pleased to offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee backed with 24/7 customer service. Customer service and technical requests generally get a response within minutes. This exceptional service is available worldwide as OrangeWebsite hosts websites from over 100 different countries. Users not only appreciate our reliability and quick response times but our anonymous sign-up process and acceptance of Bitcoin, cash by mail as well as credit cards.

Our data centers in Iceland give us easy and quick access to internet users in North America and Europe. Our location also allows us to provide eco web hosting solutions through the use of 100% renewable energy sources like geothermal. Users have free access to use of our Green Label for their hosted websites, demonstrating environmentally conscious initiatives. Our Icelandic location provides us with more moderate weather and minimal air conditioning costs that result in lower costs for our customers. Iceland is also a country that values its internet freedom of speech and privacy. We offer a variety of hosting and co-location services and packages to serve your expanding needs. Learn more about our green hosting solutions by visiting OrangeWebsite.com. We look forward to minimizing the errors your customers encounter when visiting your websites.