Friday News Bytes: Google, Greenbacks, Salaries, and more

InvestorBlogger’s newsbytes for this week. We’ve been plugging our new download for several days. I have no idea yet how many downloads there are (I should be tracking that I guess… but I didn’t!). Anyway, we’re up with other news.

First, some great stories since my last newsbytes on the 17th.

Now, I’m making a big think about my new poll: Which of the blogs would you like to see included? To vote or find out more just read the post. Don’t forget you can add another website! I’ll conclude the vote when I have enough votes!

In other news, yesterday’s Taipei Times reported these interesting stories:

Google Reports Flat Ad Clicks

Hah! Well, knock me over with a feather… But when you alienate your advertisers, your web publishers and your bloggers, all within a few months, … it’s hardly surprising that you should begin to feel the effects on your bottomline within a few months. It’s not rocket science, is it? This is a quote that I wrote on a popular forum last night:

While Google may do as they wish with their own index, it seems that their actions are beginning to have a negative effect on their stock price.
Earnings fell short; Adsense has a lot of competition now; Yahoo and Microsoft together could bring significant synergies; PR has caused a huge stink; publishers are up in arms about their cataloging of books without permission; cell phones companies are now watching closely…
The lesson is quite simple: you can’t rub so many people’s noses in **** without their being payback at some point.
Recently Google has looked like it owned the Internet (at least in the eyes of the people who work there), but in reality, Google is just another BEHEMOTH company that has to answer to its shareholders first and foremost. And now the pressure’s on them… hehehe.

Greenback drops below NT$31 (Finally)

And let me say it again… FINALLY. The local government has been holding the exchange rate here at about NT$32.5 to bolster exports by making Taiwan’s products cheaper for the export market. However, this is really stoking inflationary pressure in Taiwan, as commodities (wheat, oil, etc.) are all usually priced in US Dollars.

I bought a loaf of wholemeal bread from 7-11 last month at $35 for a half-loaf. I just got sticker shock today, when I saw that the price had now risen to $45 in nearly one go. Watching the TV news on TVBS or similar stations, prices for many staples are jumping: eggs, noodles, rice, cooking oil, bread, … Unfortunately, for many employees, stagnating salaries are now butting into rising consumer prices, increasing interest rates, and slowing export growth.

So why aren’t we getting salary increases?

Part of the reason is that employers themselves are facing increasing costs and employee-related expenses as Labor Insurance, National Health Insurance, and Pension Costs have all risen in the last few years. Although employers and employees ‘share’ the contributions, everyone knows that this is a ‘fiction’.

Employers’ contributions are simply budgeted differently, and ultimately come out of the same pile of cash as every other expense: their revenue. Since companies need to make a profit, there is simply less money left over for salary increases as the money originally ‘earmarked’ for employees as a salary increase gets paid to the government coffers. It may be ‘accounted’ for differently, but that’s the harsh truth.

And, it seems, people are worried, if the story in the China Post is to be believed.

The majority of office workers in Taiwan are worried about their finances as their earnings are eroded by inflation, according to the results of a survey released yesterday by 1111 Job Bank.

While these facts may be true, the survey also recorded 40.45% of the respondents classed themselves as ‘being in debt’. Wow! With interest rates generally rising in Taiwan, this is not an enviable situation to be in. To help manage their expenses, I’d suggest them to start looking at ways to cut the owed debt, the interest rate, and repay as much as possible as quickly as they can. That tack alone would help to alleviate some of the pressure, and free up additional funds for lifestyle requirements, investing, or other purposes.

In Blog News

I took on a consultancy role this month, helping add a web 2.0 life to a static affiliate-based website by adding a blog. It’s been a whirl, and I’m still waiting to see the outcome. In short, though, I had to set up the initial blog, tweak the settings, choose the plugins, upload the themes, create and add content for the blog (including a blog carnival, posts, and more), create an initial statistics basis for the blog, and begin simple online marketing of the blog. You can take a look at the blog yourself, but I couldn’t get an entire screenshot in. I only had about a dozen hours to work on the blog in the month, but I was surprised by how much I could do in that time, as well as how much work setting up blog actually takes. The focus of the blog has been credit cards and much more .


InvestorBlogger, Plugins and a slowdown!

I’ve also restored the Twitter Plugin from Alex King, which you can see below. I’m trying out several other plugins in right now, but the blog loading times are slowing down. I guess you can take the survey I put out on Payperpost Boards about the number of plugins installed in a typical WP install. I think with 20 or more Investorblogger needs a little trimming again. And the amount of JavaScripts in the sidebar is also similarly increasing. What to trim?

And that’s it for Friday, 29th February. Have a great weekend.

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