Economy

Wearable trash… Click fraud rampant… Space tourism… WA cafes go to Africa… Flexible bosses win

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Making cool stuff out of old stuff

Melbourne company Haul is making cool fashion items out of the detritus of consumer society – old billboards, car licence plates and truck inner tyres.

Old billboards make a ready-made source of sturdy and unique material for bags of the satchel, bean and punching varieties. Number plates are the perfect size for wallets and purses, while truck inner tubes become sturdy, Matrix-esque backpacks. Guilt-free fashion, and snazzy too.

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Click fraud a growing problem

Pay per click fraud is a growing problem for advertisers, who pay for their ads based on the number of clicks. The global average rate of fraudulent clicks in the three months to June 2007 was 15.8%, up from 14.1% in 2006 and 14.8% in the three months to March 2007.

There are a lot of Australians clicking on online ads for things that they have no intention of purchasing or setting up botnets to generate false clicks.

Australia has the fourth highest level in the world, according to figures collected by Click Forensics and reported by Webpronews. Australia is responsible for 3% of all fraudulent clicks originating from outside of the United States, behind France (5.1%) and China (3.2 %).

About a quarter of clicks on pay per click advertisements in search engine content networks, including Google AdSense and the Yahoo!, in the three months to June 2007 were fraudulent, according to Click Forensics. That is an increase on the 21.9% recorded in the March 2007 quarter.

Traffic from botnets in the second quarter doubled in the June quarter, which Click Forensics says was a significant factor in the increased click fraud rates. “A significant percentage of today’s click fraud traffic can be attributed to two growing areas of concern for search advertisers – traffic that comes from botnets and from parked domains or made-for-ad sites.

Advertisers running campaigns on content networks are especially vulnerable as they are increasingly targets of this growing pool of savvy fraudsters,” Tom Cuthbert, president and CEO of Click Forensics, says.

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Space tourist prices skyrocket

Space travel is getting pricey. The cost of flying to the international space station on a Soyuz capsule in Russia’s “Space Adventure” program has doubled: the trip will now set you back $US30 to $US40 million dollars, up from $US20 to $US25 million.

According to Xinhua and news agencies, Soyuz TMA-13 and TMA-14 have had places booked for space tourists, with TMA-13 due to launch in 2008 and 14 due to launch in 2009. Around a dozen multi-millionaires are trying to become the next paying space tourists, so take your place in the queue.

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WA franchise expands to Africa

West Australian drive-through coffee franchise Muzz Buzz Gourmet Coffee, which has about 20 franchised coffee outlets, is expanding to South Africa by master franchising. Up to 60 outlets will be opened over the next five years under the agreement, according to a report in the West Australian newspaper.

Muzz Buzz executive chair, Warren Reynolds, says Indian Ocean Capital has been appointed to advise on future options for the business, which could include a trade sale or sharemarket float. Reynolds said he is also in negotiations with two parties over the British master franchise.

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If you love them, let them go

Bosses who give their employees flexibility and control over their working hours are rewarded with loyalty and hard work, according to a new report.

Juliet Bourke, a partner at organisational change consultancy Aequus Partners, will today release a survey of 3400 employees at Insurance Australia Group that finds that “employees who feel they have job flexibility are the same employees who have more trust in and more commitment to the organisation” she told The Australian newspaper.

The adage “give them an inch, and they will take a mile” doesn’t necessarily hold true.

She said the research showed Australia should shift its negative thinking about work and family life being in conflict to a recognition that finding a balance can be a positive experience. “Securing flexibility and control over your work can improve both work and family life. It is not a zero sum game,” she says.

Of the IAG staff who said their work flexibility was “highly effective”, 74% rated their personal well being as high. By contrast, only 56% of those who did not have flexibility reported high well being, the survey found. In terms of satisfaction with their work-life balance, the numbers were starker; 75% to 45%.

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SmartCompany Quote of the Day

“Get place and wealth, if possible, with grace; If not, by any means get wealth and place.”
Alexander Pope

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