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June 2011

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.com,.net,.org? .goodbye

.com,.net,.org? .goodbye

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has this week announced that it will allow web address names to end with any word in any language including a brand name. So say goodbye to .com and say hello to .coke!

The additions to the existing 22 suffixes (.com, .net, .org) will begin to appear in 2012. It's like to cost brands around £115,000 to register their domain name with a £15,000 annual subscription charge. There is also some general suffixes planned such as .bank or .hotel. Some critics say this move with only cause confusion for consumers and huge costs to brands as they will have to extend their keywords and optimise their search. Whereas one digital brand consultancy with global brands as clientele has said they expect 92% of their clients to opt for a branded suffix. Although we expect many brands will buy their branded suffix but only change their domain name if it really takes off.

The official line from Icann's president is "we have opened the internet's naming system to unleash the global human imagination. We hope this allows the domain name system to better serve all of mankind." Hmmm...not sure we're wholly convinced yet, but the possibilities for what this could mean, are endless.

Created on Wednesday June 22 2011 03:41 PM

Tags: brand-suffix new-domain branded-suffix

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Focus are hiring....

These are busy times in the Focus studio, so we're after two new people to join the team - an experienced web developer and an account manager! Both roles are full time and based at our Bristol office....

Web Developer

We're looking for a web developer to work in our central Bristol office. Preferably we're after someone with experience of the Ruby on Rails framework but we're also happy to hear from applicants with strong skills in other MVC frameworks and PHP programmers looking to get into Rails and we're happy to provide training.

You'll be working throughout the project lifecycle - meeting clients to confirm requirements, writing specifications, coding (front and back-end), testing and some minimal sys admin work.

Back-end, we're focussed on Ruby on Rails, which we use for all our sites - there will definitely be front-end XHTML / CSS work too. We mainly use Macs for development, but are flexible if you're a Linux or Windows die-hard.

You'd need either some Ruby on Rails or strong skills in another MVC framework. Commercial experience is a plus, but we'd also like to talk to you if you've been doing Rails in your spare time and are looking for your first commercial Rails gig. Your XHTML and CSS is expected to be solid, and you'll hopefully have good Javascript chops too - we use jQuery, so that would be ideal. You should know your way around a database (ideally MySQL), have some experience of version control, and be comfortable working from the command line.

Salary for this role between £25k and £30k dependent on experience.

To apply please send a CV and covering email to:

If you have a relevant blog, or code samples, they would also support your application.

Account Manager

We're looking to recruit an experienced Account Manager to help provide proactive services to our wide range of clients.

Key responsibilities of the role include:

 - creating effective and innovative solutions and digital strategy for our range of clients.
 - provide a day to day point of contact for multiple accounts, responding to work requests and scheduling work within the studio.
 - developing relationships with key individuals to generate work and revenue.
 - using Google Analytics to track web site goals and objectives.
 - search strategy including optimisation and PPC campaigns.
 - assisting with marketing and new business sales.

A full job specification is available. 

Ideally we're looking for someone with experience in a similar agency environment, with excellent communication and organisation skills and a flexible approach to manage multiple accounts.

For more details or to apply please send a CV and covering email to:

If you have a relevant blog that would also support your application. 

Salary for this role between £25k and £30k dependent on experience.

For both roles - strictly no agencies


Neil Smith

Created on Friday June 17 2011 09:37 AM

Tags: web-development ruby programming

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Google's first foray into social media

Google's first foray into social media

Google’s +1 feature has gone live, that means you can now add the +1 button to your site for people to recommend it to their Google email contacts when they use Google search. We’ve been left thinking “um yeah, so....what’s the point?” According to Google the +1 button is meant to be short hand for “this is pretty cool” or “you should check this out”....sorry isn’t that what the ‘like’ button has been saying for the last few years? Or did we miss something?

In order to use +1s you need a Google profile once you have one your ‘+1’s are available to everyone and connections to your email address will be able to find them easily. The thing is, I already have a Facebook account, a twitter account, a LinkedIn account etc, I have a lot of usernames and passwords to remember as it is, so what will signing up to yet another one do for me? Well it seems like not a lot, you will at most occasionally see +1s from email contacts when you search on Google, however it will do a lot for Google. It’s their chance to get some interest data which so far they have been lagging behind in. This is Google’s attempt to move into the ‘social web’ space, which hasn’t proved very successful for them previously. Those in the know are very critical of the development as Happy Cog founder Jeffrey Zeldman puts it: "Google trying to be Facebook is like Yahoo trying to be Google, and we all remember how that worked out." 

It’s a tough market to crack for Google but I’m sure, knowing their online real estate they will have us all using the term ‘+1’ as a verb before we know it. Perhaps though their time would have been better spent coming up with a unique product, for example a ‘-1’ button that would allow us to tell people what we don’t like online and weed out the spam - everyone loves a rant after all!

Created on Wednesday June 15 2011 04:23 PM

Tags: google +1 social-media

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Connexions West Website Success

Connexions West Website Success


With one in five 16- to 24-year-olds out of work we're very proud to be working with Connexions West to maintain their great online tools to help young people get into employment.

The site advertises apprenticeships and work experience opportunities to young people whilst offering them advice on how to make the best choices for their education and future careers. It also includes the facility to create and build a professional CV online. A feautre which has been used by 1,647 south-west teenagers so far this year. 

The CV builder is an impressive bit of kit which we developed and launched for Connexions last September. It allows users to create an account and enter their education, previous work experience and skills information which is then turned into a professionally formatted PDF document for the user to download. The user has the option to log back in to their account at a later date to edit their CV if they need to. It's a great tool for giving young people the best start to their career.


Created on Thursday June 09 2011 09:35 AM

Tags: focus connecions-west cv-builder

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Settling in at the new office

After a stint in serviced offices we're back in our own space!

From 1st June our new address is:

66 Queens Road

Phone number and email addresses all unchanged!

We look forward to seeing you all in the new office.

Simon Newing

Created on Thursday June 02 2011 04:00 PM


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The humble beginning of the world wide web

The humble beginning of the world wide web

It's 20 years since the web became a publicly available service on the internet. So I thought it would be interesting to take a look into the humble beginnings of a service which now has over 200 million websites, over 1 trillion unique URLS and 1.6 billion users.

The web was created by the british engineer and computer scientist Tim Berner-Lee in the late 80s early 90s whilst working at CERN in Geneva. Believe it or not this was the first ever web site published by Berner-Lee in 1991 and almost a year later this was the first photo ever published online to advertise the CERN music club.

At the beginning the web was slow to catch on with only scientists publishing pages, in 1993 there were only 130 websites. Amusingly one of the first uses Cambridge University scientists found for the incredible tool they now had at their disposal was to set up a video capture board that took a picture of their coffee pot in the kitchen every second, so they would know if it was worth leaving their labs and walking down 3 flights of stairs for a break. But that did lead to the birth of the web cam, so maybe we should be grateful! 

We've all recently lived through the next evolution of the web - the use of broadband and high speed internet connections. Five years ago only 7% of us had a broadband connection now that is 95.1%, which means more multimedia content has been able to take off - hence YouTube's recent spike in popularity in the last 5 years. 

And what about the future of the web? Well we'll have to wait and see, but at the moment there are still 9 million people in the UK alone who've never used the web. Race Online 2012 and BBC Connect are working to try to change that but we can all help to share the amazing resource Tim Berner-Lee created so that it can keep getting bigger and better!


Created on Wednesday June 01 2011 04:19 PM

Tags: website digital uk

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