Simona Bostan

Simona Bostan

Simona is coming from a financial background, finishing her BA in Banking and Finance. She started to get into the Igaming World as a Customer Care Agent with Unibet in 2007.

Always seeking to optimize her work she left Unibet and joined Freespin Casino as an Affiliate Executive where she learned all the tricks of the trade.

With her move to B3W in 2010 she used her accumulated knowledge and designed a custom made Affiliate System for B3W.

She has a vast knowledge in SEO and Optimize Affiliate Marketing for Clients, bring new Affiliates to the Client, negotiate deals, motivate an existing portfolio of Affiliates, optimize and develop their performance to maximize player traffic, networking.

Third-party poker software providers PokerTracker, Holdem Manager merge

There are new developments in the third-party poker software industry. Two major brands - and service providers - PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager have decided two combine forces. This merger has given birth to a new firm called Max Value Software, LLC.
Derek Charles of PokerTracker was quoted by pokernews, saying:
"We believe that the merger of PokerTracker and Hold’em Manager into one unified company allows us to better represent our customers in the market and to ultimately provide better software and tools for the average online poker player”.
Jim Varnon of Hold’em Manager said:
"We realize that the most successful companies are those that drive the customer experience, that is why the merger is so exciting. The development efficiency that our new company brings will create opportunities to improve all aspects of our user experience.”
Certain sections of the online poker community have raised questions over the merger and made their doubts public on forums and social media. The major concern of the poker community is a possible increase in the cost of purchasing or leasing the software as there is no other major competitor.
Marketing Director, Steven McLoughlin of the newly formed Max Value Software refuted the speculation and said:
“The merger is designed to benefit the users of both PokerTracker and Holdem Manager while keeping both brands competitive. Both PT4 and HM2 have long advocated reviewing all free trial options before making a purchase, we see no reason why that should change, we encourage users to choose the best option for their own online poker workflow. We have disclosed in our Merger FAQ that we do not anticipate any pricing changes for PT4 of HM2, our sales model is already proven to work very well due to the economies of scale that help us to keep the cost of our software as low as reasonably possible. It is in our best interest to keep our pricing low and highly competitive, this helps us sell more licenses. That is unlikely to change.”
Another worry for players is a decrease in the speed of upgrades and innovation in the software due to complacency of there being no competition and a monopoly of the market.
The duo has nearly 25 competitors that include the likes of Poker Office, Magic Holdem, Holdem Indicator and Poker Copilot. 
Steven McLoughlin responded to this fear among player by saying:
“Eventually we will release cloud based tracking solutions but there is no need to fear this change. This product is not designed to replace PokerTracker or Holdem Manager, it is there to augment our existing offerings. Our management team remains committed to delivering HM3 and PT5 someday in the future. We do not want to rock the boat, it is in our best interest to continue to deliver the same level of service and we will continue to strive to exceed our customers’ expectations."
"A major benefit of the merger will be a sharing of behind-the-scenes technology that was never before possible. We are confident that this will lead to better and faster innovation thanks to the reduction of functionality that used to be duplicated by both brands. We are already incorporating some key technologies behind the scenes that will allow for faster patch releases, the majority of shared technology may not be obvious to the end user but it is expected to help the two brands develop faster and more efficiently."
It is obvious, the two giants of third-party poker software provider industry have merged to seize control of the market and negate the harm they have caused to each other over the years in terms of market share. With the two on one side, it remains to be seen, as to which route product innovation will take. Will there by rapid technology improvements or will there be stagnation fuelled by lack of competition and market domination?

Facebook to implement "Satire" tags feature

Social media giant Facebook is now testing a new feature that helps users distinguish between satirical stories from the real ones. Popular online satire sites such as “The Onion” are very popular on social media and there has been a tendency by users to jump the gun without reading the news through. Hence based on inputs and requests from users, Facebook is now planning to a role out a feature that helps distinguish between real news and fake news.
A Facebook representative was quote by mashable saying: 
"We are running a small test which shows the text “[Satire]" in front of links to satirical articles in the related articles unit in News Feed. This is because we received feedback that people wanted a clearer way to distinguish satirical articles from others in these units". 
A user even captured an image that had a small "[Satire]" tag on the right side bar in the "related stories" section in the newsfeed. However, that tag is only visible only after a user clicks on a link from the satire website. As per reports from industry insiders, the social media company has been testing this feature for over a month and has even inducted some of the top satire websites into the testing phase.
It remains to be seen as to how this news feature will function in terms of its benefits to the users at large. One thing is clear it will help clear communication and reduce plenty of misinformation being circulated on social media. A lot of inaccurate reporting will also benefit from this feature.
There are no possible downsides of such a feature. But sites that circulate fake news, as real news will most definitely be hampered. In times when social media is on its way to being a beast, such a feature will function as a small cog in the wheel for implanting balances and checks in this medium.

Coming soon: Native shopping platform on Twitter?

We might be moving closer to a new and interesting development in the social media space. Micro-blogging site Twitter seems to be moving in the direction of adding payments to its app.
Multiple users witness a new “payments and shipping” option on the settings page for the Android app of Twitter. However, the option was not functional. But there has not been any official comment from the company regarding this.
The new "Payments and shipping" option may be a feature that the company wishes to add to the site. It is standard norm for social media sites to test waters with news features for fewer users before the big launch. It is difficult to gauge if this was a test or not but the possibility of Twitter launching a native shopping platform cannot be ruled out.
Some readers may remember that in June, there was an option called "Buy now" on Twitter that popped alongside Tweets from shopping site “Fancy”. Interestingly, "Payments and shipping" option was visible only for mobile devices and not for the web version. 
The speculation about a native shopping platform’s launch is also fueled by the last acquisition of Twitter, which was CardSpring, a startup helping brands in building infrastructure to support mobile payments.
If in due course of time, Twitter does actually go ahead with a native shopping app, it would make perfect business sense as it would help them garner more investment and enhance user engagement.

PokerStars launches first regulated online poker room in Bulgaria

Online poker giant PokerStars launched their website in Bulgaria thereby becoming the first operator to kick-start regulated online poker operations in the country.
It took 8 months for the authorities to approve the application and grant the license to PokerStars.
Head of Corporate Communications for the Rational Group, Eric Hollreiser
“PokerStars strives to be first-in-market when online poker licenses are made available and we’re proud to be the first locally licensed poker site in Bulgaria. We believe in the potential of the Bulgarian market and that is why our company has invested in the local license”.
As per the Bulgarian law players from all over the world can play and not just the players within Bulgaria.
Hence, can now join PokerStars’ regional online poker rooms in countries such as Denmark, Estonia and Belgium. They can use these countries to contribute additional player liquidity to their dot-com and dot-eu player domains.
Player from Bulgaria will have to move their accounts to the dot-bg domain and also download the new software. All player account details like vip points etc. will be carried forward.
Online poker rooms in Bulgaria operating without a license are blacklisted. Internet service providers in the country are expected to block people trying to access online poker sites without government approval.
Even PokerStars was blacklisted in 2013 as they did not have a government approved licensed. After applying and acquiring a license to operate a regulated online poker room in the country, the ban on PokerStars was revoked.

Professional Players on Full Tilt can now file petition for reimbursement with GCG

It has been several months now since Garden City Group (GCG) began reimbursing Full Tilt Poker player. Multiple rounds of repayment process have taken place. But now an announcement has been made by GCG that they are now accepting petitions for reimbursement from “professional players” from US.

This was made by the company on the Full Tilt Poker Claims website this past week. As per the update, any player who was designated as a “pro” on FTP is eligible for filing a petition to claim their pending funds. Friends of Full Tilt as well as Red Pros are included in this list.
September 3 is the last date by which, players who belong to the profession player category can file their petitions on the FTP Claims website for remission. Only a portion of their player account balance will be allowed to recover with regards to poker transactions. Affiliate income will not be reimbursement for these players.
Based on a file received by GCG, notices were sent out on August 4 to all the players categorized under “professional players”. The notification also provides clear instructions to players about the documents required and the process to be followed to claim their funds.
Any information that can help players get their cash like emails, bank statements, screen shots or other proof has been requested by the group. If there is lack of evidence, players can send an email to explain the discrepancy. A section players that have already filed such a petition before will have to submit a new one with the required details.
Thursday, 07 August 2014 09:11

PokerStars 7 on the verge of official launch

PokerStars 7 on the verge of official launch

With their acquisition by Amaya Gaming finally complete, online poker giant PokerStars is preparing to launch their new poker client. The development work is in its final stages and we may be only a few days away from the big official launch.

The new poker client is being rolled out slowly and for now it is being called PokerStars 7. The past weekend witnessed the launch of an integrated” beta on PokerStars’ dot-Eu client.

People who are members of popular online poker forums will know that the beta version was already available. But the integrated” beta version was initially tested by PokerStars Spain in July. It is this version that boasts of major upgrades in the menu, advertisements in pop-ups and an automatic upgrade to PokerStars 7 for users who are downloading the software for the first time.

Licensed in Malta, PokerStars.Eu has of poker players from numerous European countries. A similar rollout is planned for the main PokerStars dot-com website as well. This has been touted as the most significant upgrade in the history of PokerStars.

Those that have been part of the testing process have reported that the new lobby is aesthetically designed along with options for quick-seat systems, new sign-up flow and revamped favorites. New features include live events calendar, tournament chip count graphs and new default table theme.

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 09:00

Reddit compiles reddit_101 to help users

Reddit compiles reddit_101 to help users

Reddit’s interface and long conversation threads can be tough to comprehend for a first-timer. Hence, several subreddits (in excess of 200) joined hands to curate an official guide for news and information aggregation on Reddit this week. Their goal is to help users enjoy the site and also understand the guidelines of the site.

Despite the company being around 10 years old, several new users keep discovering the site and want to read and make sense of it. A section called "reddiquette" comprises of FAQ’s, rules and etiquette tips.  It is available on the bottom of the Reddit homepage.

However, most users requested that all rules should be available at a singular location. Hence the site took up this measure to offer a better experience for their users. But Reddit has not developed this guide on its own and it is more of collaboration.

As per mashable, the representative of Reddit said:

"The community ... came together to build this guide and are featuring it as a stickied thread. We think it's great that our community is working together to help educate new users on best practices for the site, and it's something we are supporting on our end as well."

Some of the main features of this one-stop-guide include all basic Reddit website definitions and terms, reporting bugs and rules for posting comments and content.

This is a great new initiative by the company and is bound to make the website more enjoyable for existing as well as new users.

Tuesday, 05 August 2014 04:58

Facebook releases first update to Slingshot

Facebook releases first update to Slingshot

Facebook updated its photo-messaging app Slingshot on last week. It is the first time the social media giant has added new features to this app since it was launched. The new feature enables users to react to reaction messages.

Before this addition, users could view a message only with a single reaction and did not have to send their own reaction first. The app retains the original feature of unlocking new slings with replies. But now users can exchange reaction messages without any specific limit.

This does not seem to be a big addition to the app, which has not gained popularity among users. But it may prove to be significant especially because several users were skeptical about the Sling’s shot-for-shot dynamic. So sending a reaction to a reaction may be a game-changer for this app.

The new update has improved the procedure of adding friends with a tab called “My People”. This new tab display you entire friend list from Facebook as well the contacts on your phone as one list.

Users are also able to send texts to contacts that don’t have this app.

Facebook has been making a conscious effort to develop mobile-products. They have been trying to launch their own version of Snapchat. As we reported on this blog before, Instagram’s Bolt (a photo-messaging app) was launched in three countries.



Password-sharing startup Mitro acquired by Twitter

Mitro, the password-sharing startup, founded in 2012 by Adam Hilss has managed to raise a funding of $2.4million. Mitro is an extension to the web browser that enables people to save and share passwords. Google Ventures and Matrix Partners have supported Mitro.

The acquisition of Micro by Twitter was announced by the startup via a blog post on Thursday.

"We’re excited to announce that the Mitro team is joining Twitter’s location team in New York, focusing on a variety of geo-related projects! As we transition to Twitter, we want to provide you with some updates on our product”.

However, the blog post did not reveal the financial details of the acquisition. Another interesting bit of news that was announced by Mirco was its release of "server and client code" on Github, which will allow others to build on it.

After Facebook’s acquisition spree, Twitter too has continued adding new companies to their fold. After Mitro, they went ahead to buy out image search company Madbits as well.



New install-app ad “Bolt” appears on Instagram

In an interesting development this week, an ad or a new app called “Bot” appeared on picture sharing site Instagram. This was first reported by technology website techcrunch as some Android users confirmed seeing the new ad on Instagram.

The content on the ad was similar to any ad that shows how to install apps on Facebook’s news feed.

But the link to install was dead and Facebook withdrew the ads soon. A spokesperson of Instagram told mashable that the company does not have anything for public information.

There is no consensus from within the social media and tech industry as to what could explain appearance of Bolt.

One explanation points to the fact Instagram may be testing ads for Facebook. However, advertising on Instagram commenced only during the fall and it is definitely very early for he company to experiment with banner style adverts.

Another explanation highlights the fact Facebook may be developing a new app and it was a technical fault that led to sharing it on the site. A similar incident happened when they were planning to release Slingshot into the app store.

The second theory also gains weightage as the firm has repeatedly expressed their desire to build more apps in 2014.

If it indeed is an app, it remains to be seen what kind of app the company would be interested in building. Facebook already has several messaging apps.

Or may be we can put conspiracy theories to rest as it could have been just a feature Facebook and Instagram may want to have tested.

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