Category: Business

Finnish underage and his parents condemned of fraud and money laundering

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casino

With global passion for gambling, many people nowadays are fond of online netticasino entertainment and Fins are not an exception. Online games have always been a tempting type of entertainment for Finnish nation which some of the locals also treat as a source of second income.

However, this type of activity does not always lead to great rewards. Instead, some players end up scamming on web-based casinos because of the software errors which can eventually lead to greater losses than gains.

In fact, similarly to other nations where gambling ends up being a dangerous and risky activity rather than a way to earn extra cash, the cases of online casino fraud in Finland are quite common.

Thus, only a couple of years ago, a teenager from Finland cheated on the online casino in Malta and illegally obtained 130,000 Euros. As a result, it affected not only himself but also his parents.

Online casino scam case disclosed: Details of a family fraud in Finland

The convicted teenager was 16 years old at the time of committing the crime – he purposefully took advantage of the error in casino software and passed the registration without disclosing his real date of birth. After the fraud became known to the authorities, he was convicted of aggravated scam only due to his age.

Nevertheless, as soon as he reached 18 years old, he received the suspended sentence of almost two years. As it was discovered by law-enforcement agencies, the system in the given online casino gave gamblers a chance to refuse from the money back opportunity. Consequently, the stolen amount of money was transferred to the online wallet and later the banking account of the client.

As it was discovered, the teen from Finland took advantage of the bug in the system and obtained as much as 132,000 Euros transferred to private banking account. Moreover, investigators soon found out that it was not a one-time event as the boy made several successful attempts to steal casino money. Luckily, one of the casino employees quickly revealed the fraud only a few months after the crime.

Consequently, the teen was obliged to return not only the amount of stolen money but also pay the legal charges of the given casino equal to 3,000 Euros. But even this is only part of the punishment – his parents also turned out to be guilty of money laundering.

Teen’s parents blamed for money laundering: What’s the outcome?

The teen’s parents were soon convicted of illegal money laundering. Thus, due to the father’s engagement in money laundering activities, he received a 5-month suspended sentence. As for the boy’s mother, she was sentenced to 60-day probation for committing the same crime.

What were the circumstances of parent’s crime?

In fact, both parents appeared to have illegally obtained finances on their personal banking accounts. After the crime was disclosed, the teen’s mother was forced to pay back the stolen funds. The exact sum was equal to as much as 2,000 Euros coupled with the price of motorcycle worth 5,000 Euros which was also bought on the money she received in the same way.

As for the boy’s father, he was convicted of the aggravated money laundering which resulted in a more sizeable fine – he was obliged to pay back 14,500 Euros for his crime. The amount of funds to return was exactly what he illegally transferred to his personal account.

Verdict

The bugs in the online casino systems are common for many gambling spots and may surely be misused by scammers. When it comes to Finland, the cases of casino fraud are quite a rare phenomenon but even if they happen, such crimes are most often disclosed.

Categories: Business

24 Useful Tools For Growth Hackers and Entrepreneurs

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Entrepreneurs

We often get asked about various growth tools that we recommend for startups so I thought I’d put this list together. I’m sure there are several I left out so feel free to add recommendations…

User Feedback

1. Usertesting.com— users are provided a set of instructions of pages and flows to go through on your site and provide video feedback on usability, product clarity, navigation and more.  Pricing: starts at $49/video

2. Typeform — I recently discovered Typeform. A beautifully designed product that lets you create surveys, add your own branding, is mobile friendly and free.  Pricing: free with premium plans

3. Surveymonkey — create and publish online surveys.  Pricing: free for up to 100 responses per survey first tier starts at $17/month billed annually ($204)

4. PollDaddy — embed surveys and polls on your website.  Pricing: free for personal use, business plans start at $200/month

5. Olark — live chat widget.  Pricing: starts at $44/month

Analytics & Dashboards

6. Google Analytics— a free analytics service that tracks website traffic, inbound traffic sources and conversions.  Pricing: free

7. Mixpanel— event-based analytics framework.  Pricing: free up to 15k data points, first tier starts at $150/month

8. Kissmetrics— person-based analytics platform.  Pricing: starts at $150/month

Tip: I’ve found Mixpanel is more useful for engineering-driven teams with a strong analytical background while Kissmetrics is more useful for sales/marketing driven companies

9. Heroku Dataclips — tool used with heroku which allows you to query your database and easily export the results to csv, xls and json for email lists or data analysis.  Pricing: free with heroku which is a cloud-based application platform that is free to start but quickly scales up in cost

Tip: Combined with Sendgrid’s newsletter tool with some SQL skills and basic HTML & CSS chops you can analyze cohorts and build entire email drip campaigns with a/b testing all without an engineer

10. Gekoboard — imports all your KPI metrics into a dashboard. Works with Mixpanel, Optimizely, Google analytics and dozens more.  Pricing: starts at $17/month

Custom Writing Services

11. Essay writing service reliable writing service with lots of useful information on custom writing

12. Essay pro writing service – an affordable custom writing service.

13. Writemyservice.com – offers all type of written assignments.

14. Custom-essay.net – custom essay writing service with best reviews.

15. Writing Experts – the true writing expert writers.

Email

16. SendGrid— cloud-based email delivery service.  Pricing: starts at $9.95/month

17. Mailchimp— email marketing provider.  Pricing: free for up to 12,000 emails/month

18. Mailgun— a set of powerful APIs that allow you to send, receive and track email.  Pricing: free up to 10,000 emails/month

Optimization & A/B testing

19. Optimizely— a website A/B testing tool and editor.  Pricing: starts at $17/month

Tip: integrates with analytics frameworks like Mixpanel, Kissmetrics and Google Analytics which is great for measuring for instance how a sign-up page impacts actions further down the funnel such as purchases or next-day retention

20. Apptimize— an A/B testing framework for iOS and Android.  Pricing: starts at $50/month for up to 1 million installs

21. Bitly — is a URL shortener and link tracking service.  Pricing: free

Tip: Test different headlines on twitter 1 hour apart with a different URL for the same post

SEO & Web Ranking

22. Moz— analytics and competitive analysis dashboard for inbound marketing & social efforts.  Pricing: starts at $99/month

23. Alexa — a free global web traffic ranking service.  Pricing: free

24. Ahrefs— provides information on external links, referring domains and IPs, top pages, main anchor text, linked domains, and more.  Pricing: $79/month

Social Monitoring

20. Social Mention— measures brand mentions on blogs, microblogs, images, videos, questions, and bookmarking sites.  Pricing: free

21. Topsy— twitter searching with links and images.  Pricing: free with premium features for results & alerts

22. Commun.it— a free tool for building engagement on Twitter.  Price: free

23. Fanpagekarma— monitor the Facebook fan page growth of you competitors.  Pricing: starts at $49/month

24. Appdata— provides leader-board rankings & trends for top Facebook applications.  Pricing: Free with a premium features starting at $49/month for detailed reports

There are plenty of tools for Growth Hackers and Entrepreneurs to learn and master. Pick a few that make sense for your company and start building, testing and measuring.

For an excellent comprehensive outline on how to become a customer acquisition expert check out this post by Brian Balfour

Growth Hackathon December 7th

On December 7th and 8th I’m organizing an event called Growth Hack SF. The weekend-long event is similar to a hackathon but for marketers, designers, entrepreneurs as well as engineers. Winners will be chosen based on revenue traction 15 days after the event.

Categories: Business

7 Ways Lyft was Designed for Growth

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Lyft

Launch to 1 million Rides in 1 year

Much of what a typical growth team does happens behind the scenes and is often unsexy but Lyft serves as one of the best examples in recent of years of a startup that has incorporated excellent positioning, branding and unique engagement hooks into their service making the entire product perfectly designed for growth.

Lyft (for those of you outside of San Francisco) is a peer-to-peer ride-sharing company that launched in the summer of 2012 as a side-project by the company Zimride.  Since launching, in just over 1 year Lyft has grown to over 1 million rides, expanded to 15 cities, raised $83 million in funding, built a passionate fan-base all while fiercely competing with more well-funded competitor UBER who had a 1 year head start.

So how has Lyft managed to grow so effectively to become one of best startup success stories of the past year? I’ve identified 7 well-executed tactics that apply growth, branding and community management principles into their growth.

#1:  The Pink Mustache

It’s hard to walk around the city of San Francisco without noticing the Pink Mustache Rides.  A great example of designing a product and brand to be remarkable as Seth Godin would describe — worthy of making a remark, these Pink Mustaches are given to drivers who are encouraged to place them on the hood of their car to identify the brand and make it easy to spot your driver when they arrive.

The pink mustache aligns perfectly with the friendly and approachable brand that Lyft personifies. It’s soft, fuzzy, approachable — girls love it, kids love it, people are curious and ask about it. Compare that with the cold, impersonal experience that most people have with a typical cab ride. Lyft does a great job at increasing the top of their funnel by generating conversation around their product.

#2:  The Fist Pump

Upon entering your Lyft, passengers (who sit in the front seat) are greeted by their drivers with a fist pump. This clever ice-breaker helps create a memorable first user WOW experience and the driver-passenger relationship immediately becomes more personal. Online products measure retention and test various first user experiences to increase retention — Lyft is applying the same principles to the offline world by delivering a delightful and personal first ride experience.

#3: Free Schwag

Another great tactic used by Lyft is to encourage their drivers to hand out free candy, water, gum or other goodies. This works especially well when you’re riding with a group of your free-loading friends and is a great way for your them to have a memorable ride and download the app…or just continue benefiting from your addiction to Lyft rides.

#4: Decked-Out Rides

Every Lyft ride is unique. I’ve been in Lyft cars with LED lights decorating the car, space cat-themed decorations and even an SUV with dual-screen PS2′s for head-to-head Mortal Kombat. Each rid offers a little surprise which makes it more then just a convenient way to get from point A to point B. Lyft empowers their drivers by allowing them to be creative and unique rather then forcing them to abide by a long list of corporate rules. This makes the dynamic much more fun between the passengers and drivers. I always love hearing stories of how drivers got started using Lyft and how they are using it to make extra income or make their own schedule balancing school or other jobs.

#5 Clean and Focused CTA on Homepage

The primary objective of a Sign-up page is to get people to sign up. With all the great photos of drivers and riders it would be easy for them to make the common mistake of turning the homepage into a long “About Us” marketing page but Lyft does a great job at giving just enough imagery to convey the brand while focusing the call to action on signing up.

#6 Share the Love

The Invite Friends functionality is quite basic but effective. It’s interesting to note the only option is to Invite via your phone’s contact list — I wouldn’t be surprised if this was proven to be the best converting channel and other options such as Facebook, email and twitter were removed. The Invite process is one-click and sends an invitation message with a link back to the homepage. I’d expect that both the invite message and homepage have been tested and optimized and while unsexy these two combine for effective conversion rates.

Lyft and Uber

Lyft has a ton of challenges ahead as they are in a crowded space with well-funded competitors.  Uber just recently closed a $258 million round for a total of $307M in funding and my friend Jason believes their CEO Travis is poised to be The Rockefeller of Transportation.

It’s extremely hard to compete as #2 in a network-effects driven business.  Adding more drivers is the biggest need for both marketplaces as demand for the services is rising faster then the supply of new drivers and both companies fight for market share without diluting the quality of the rider experience.  I’ve already noticed a drop in quality on several occasions although I believe Lyft’s positioning as a friendlier peer-to-peer ride-sharing service allows for more forgiveness when a driver doesn’t know how to get somewhere.

Categories: Business