Business Catalyst Blog

Watch a live stream of the BC US Partner Conference on Monday

Jackson Palmer Thursday, September 20, 2012

As previously announced, we'll be holding the official US Partner Conference in San Jose this coming Monday, kicking off at 9am PDT.

If you were unable to register in time or weren't able to make the trip to San Jose, we've got you covered with a live stream of the entire public day of presentations from both the Adobe Business Catalyst team, and your fellow BC Partners.

To watch the live stream, simply click the link below at 9am PDT Monday, 24 September and "Enter as a guest":

http://my.adobeconnect.com/bc-us-conference/

We'll also offer a full video recording of the event, so stay tuned for the link on the BC blog following the conference.

It's going to be an exciting day of presentations and Partner networking, so we look forward to seeing you there - in person, or via the live stream.

Jackson.

Introducing our feature-packed September release!

Jackson Palmer Monday, September 17, 2012

Business Catalyst - September 2012 Feature Pack

We’re excited to announce the details of our feature-packed September release, due to go live September 25, 2012.

As Bogdan highlighted in his recent blog post, we’re currently focusing on enhancing our widely used email marketing component, based on the valuable feedback you’ve been giving us as a community. Business Catalyst’s key differentiator is the “all-in-one” solution we’re able to offer Partners and their clients, and in this release we’ve made great progress in offering integration workflows that other solutions simply can’t – for instance, the ability to embed dynamic modules such as blog posts, news items or event bookings from your BC site, right inside email newsletters.

Please take the time to read through the new features, enhancements and relevant documentation below, so you and your clients are prepared and able to take advantage of these new improvements. For a more technical and in-depth list of features/bugs being delivered, read the release notes post on the BC Forums.

New feature highlights

Unlimited, specifiable module templates

You can now specify your own HTML module templates when rendering modules, by simply adding the template’s file path as a parameter.

All you have to do is include the parameter template=”/path/to/mytemplate.tpl” at the end of your module tag, and it will use this source file instead of its default module template. Please use a .tpl file extension as a best practice, as using a standard .html file means that it will also behave as a regular Page on your site.

Unlimited, specifiable module templates

If the template file you’ve specified doesn’t exist, the system simply falls back to the default template instead. You can find more details on this feature in this article.

This opens up a new world of possibilities for your client sites, especially when using modules-inside-modules – allowing you to create and automatically render different module layouts based on the visitor’s device type, a Web App field value, and much more! We’re really looking forward to seeing some of the cool things Partners will do this great system enhancement.

Embed dynamic modules inside email campaigns

We’re enabling you and to insert dynamic modules such as news items and blog posts inside email marketing campaigns, using a completely revamped Module Manager. These modules are then dynamically rendered when the campaign is sent, so the recipient sees the latest content.

There are a range of useful cases where this would come in handy – for instance, including the latest new announcement in your campaign, or embedding an up-to-date list of upcoming events customers can book in to. The goal here is to enable you to predefine templates for your clients with these dynamic modules built-in, or set up an on-going email series with the modules baked in.

Modules inside email newsletters

Using the new specifiable module templates feature detailed above, you can easily create and render these modules in a way that’s email newsletter friendly, opposed to simply inserting the web-version of the module. For instructions on how to get started, read this article.

A fresh set of email newsletter templates

We all know the time it takes to build beautiful email newsletters that look great across the wide-range of email clients out there. That’s why in this release, we’ve put together a brand new set of cross-client compatible email templates for you and your clients to use.

New email newsletter templates

There are 10 new email templates in total, spanning a range of themes, and a great starting point for your next email newsletter. We’ve thoroughly tested this new set of templates across a full-range of desktop and web-based email clients, so you can rest assured they’ll look just as stunning, whatever the recipient is using.

You’ll also notice that we’ve refreshed the template selection screen, making it much easier to get an idea of the template you’re selecting before you apply it. If you’re a Premium Partner and currently offer your clients a custom set of email templates, they’ll continue to work as per usual within the new interface. Miss the old templates? Don't stress - we've packaged them up in a .zip file you can download here.

Additional email marketing enhancements

Enhanced workflows and interface for choosing recipient lists

We’ve made it far easier to search through and select your email recipient lists when creating new campaigns, simply start typing and we’ll automatically filter the through your existing lists.

The ability to “exclude” lists or custom reports from final recipients

Easily exclude a certain list of recipients from your total pool of recipients. For instance, this is especially handy if you’re sending to a large list, but would like to exclude all customers who haven’t made a purchase in the 6 months.

Include and exclude recipient lists

New campaign performance report for email clients recipients are using

A brand new report for monitoring which email clients your recipients are opening newsletters with. Keep an eye on this metric, and make sure you optimize your campaign content to look great in the most popular clients.

Updated “sending” status for campaigns so you can easily monitor it’s sending progress

Keep an eye on the sending progress of your campaign as it sends to recipients.  

Improved import .csv template for mailing lists

Streamlined import template, to speed up your day-to-day imports

Other great feature improvements

Refreshed Toolbox (previously Module Manager) for Admin v3

A completely revamped module manager (aka Toolbox) that neatly docks to the right of the WYSIWYG editor.

Revamped Module Manager

Easily add Google Apps accounts for domain email

Simply select the new “Use your Google Apps account for email” when adding or editing your domain. Read this article for further details.



We hope you enjoy this month’s system update, stay tuned for more great updates next month!

Thanks,
Jackson.

September 12th Partner Orientation Webinar recordings

Sunday, September 16, 2012

For those of you who could not attend we have below the links to the Partner Orientation Webinars that took place on September 12th.

The schedule for this webinar included:

  • Selling on strategy
  • Basic accounts FAQ
  • Q&A

You have below the corresponding links:

In October we are talking about:

  • Partner setup and orientation
  • Partner community
  • Q&A

To register for that session as well please chose your region:

If you have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to send them over to BCPartner-Team@adobe.com . We will be happy to answer all your inquiries

September Townhall recordings

Magda Neagu Saturday, September 15, 2012

For those of you who could not attend we have below the links to the Townhall meetings that took place on September 13th.

We had a very good meeting, with a live demo of what is comming in our next release, so for more details check out the links below. We discussed during these meetings about:

        • Introduction and updates
          • Commissions issues in the last payment
          • E-mail issues
          • New support status update e-mails
          • Scheduled maintenance on Sept 15th
          • Partner team updates
          • New Partner Resources
          • Features coming in the new release next week – live demo

You have below the corresponding links:

As always, any suggestions are welcomed.

Second part of our Onboarding webinars - Find out how to sell more!

Magda Neagu Monday, September 10, 2012

On the 12th of September we continue our learning series with tips & trick on how to sell Business Catalyst, and manage your customer accounts! We’ll be talking about:

  • Selling on strategy
  • Basic accounts FAQ
  • Q&A

Join us for the live session for a chance to win three months free hosting for your new website!

Register now:

 

Watch the recording of our first session to learn how to create your first website. Our evangelist Adam Broadway walks you through:

  • Introduction to BC
  • Support – where to get your information
  • Q&A session 

If you have any questions or suggestions please do not hesitate to send them over to bcpartner-team@adobe.com  we will be happy to answer all your inquiries.

Terms and conditions
• In the Draw will enter all participants in the room at the end of the presentation. Please send the host a private message with your email
• We will announce the winner in the email with the session  recording link , so please make sure you are enter a valid email during your registration.
•          The free hosting can be used for a new paid site upgraded after the webinar on a monthly plan ; after upgrading your site, please send an email to
bcpartner-team@adobe.com  and let us know your site URL
•          This offer can be used for only one site; it cannot be transferred to another site if you chose to delete that site while on free hosting

Business Catalyst Service Maintenance, September 15th, 2012

Magda Neagu Monday, September 10, 2012

To ensure the highest security and performance levels for our services, we're applying a hardware and software update on servers located in our North America datacenter. To minimize the customer impact, the updates are scheduled at the most convenient hours for the region and will take up to eight hours to complete.

 

During the maintenance procedure the Admin Console Access, Partner Portal, FTP, Dreamweaver extension, Muse, Business Catalyst APIs, Partner registration and Trial site creation will experience 2 service interruptions of up to 30 minutes each (first one at the beginning and the second at the end), impacting sites on ALL datacenters.

Additionally, throughout the maintenance procedure, website front-ends for sites located in the New Jersey Datacenter that have heavy database usage my experience downtime of up to 8 minutes.

 

Please find below the maintenance schedule and the list of affected services:

Start of maintenance Duration Datacenter Customer impact
Saturday, September 15thth, 2012, 1:00 AM PDT (check local time) 8 hours North America
  • 2 x 30 minutes downtime for Admin Console Access, Partner Portal, FTP, Dreamweaver extension, Muse, Business Catalyst APIs, Partner registration, Trial site creation; this will impact sites on all datacenters
  • Several intermittent website front-end interruptions for heavy database usage sites on North America datacenter

 

For up to date information about system status, check the Business Catalyst System Status page.

We apologize for any inconveniences generated by these service interruptions. Please make sure that your customers and team members are aware of these important updates.

Thank you for your understanding and support,

The Adobe Business Catalyst Team

BC Sandpile - September meetings

Diana Herac Wednesday, September 05, 2012

BC Sandpile is a weekly online meeting run by Business Catalyst partners for the purpose of sharing ideas, best practices, and networking.

Weekly Day/Time:

  • San Francisco: Tuesdays at 5pm
  • New York City: Tuesdays at 8pm
  • London: Wednesdays, 1am
  • Sydney: Wednesdays, 10am

Sept 4th (5th in AUS):

Do you want to talk to other Business Catalyst Partners about the most recent changes in BC? This week’s BC Sandpile will focus on many of the important changes from the latest release. Scott B. Reynolds will walk through the steps on how to apply many of the updates such as the new spam detection, cookie control, and tax rounding engine.

Sept 11th (12th in AUS):

Open Topic and Sneak Peak of the New Creativaholic's Partner-to-Partner Services.

Sept 18th (19th in AUS):

This week we are fortunate to have Brent Weaver joining the BC Sandpile. Brent will giving a sneak peak of the next evolution of BC Gurus. Be one of the first to learn about Everyone Guru.

Sept 25th (26th in AUS):

Open Topic. This is an opportunity for BC partners to use the entire meeting to discuss any topic related to Business Catalyst. This includes any questions you may have for the other Business Catalyst partners.

Full schedule: http://www.bcsandpile.com/_blog/Meeting_Chalkboard/

New Partner Resources

Diana Herac Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Sales Partner Resources went through a revamping process and we’re proud to present the new and improved resources designed to support you through the selling process.

Our objective is to offer a wide variety of customizable, easy to use sales resources that any BC Partner, regardless of his experience on the platform, can use to sell more and better. What is new:

Stage 1 (August release)

  • BC plan description&pricing (US&international/AU) – a comparative table
  • BC in numbers – key numbers for BC – a general overview
  • Training and templates providers
  • Terminology page – key terms used in the BC world
  • Sales FAQ  
  • Client benefits with BC – a sales guide to pitch BC to your clients
  • Social integration+mobile support+API frameworks document
  • Selling on strategy
  • Adobe/BC logos

Stage 2 (ongoing)

  • BC on various devices - professional photos
  • Partner site template –  will contain the updated Partner site template
  • Unbranded sales video – will have the possibility to add voice over
  • Demo  site with client information/products – this can be set to demo both the site frontend and backend
  • System details (Security info/ privacy policy/ PCI compliance/ email security/ server structure etc.)
  • We’ll merge the  Online_Business_Proposal & Client_Content_Form in one document that can be used to qualify leads

You can find these new and improved resources in your Partner Portal -> Resources tab -> Sales. 

If you want your company to be featured in the training and templates providers document or you want to share your thoughts with us regarding these resources, just drop us an email at BCPartner-Team@adobe.com

Register for our September townhall meetings

Magda Neagu Monday, August 27, 2012

You're invited to our next Partner townhall meetings scheduled for September 13.

Stay up to date with what is coming out in our next release, what the plans are for the future and how you can best prepare yourself and your customers.

Join us on September 13, to discuss all of this and much more. Don't forget to register at the links below:

5:00PM Australian session

7:00PM CET / 10:00AM PST session

Customer facing updates from this release: Akismet integrations, cookies regulations and new taxation engine

Dragos Manescu Monday, August 27, 2012

We've decided to publish a new blog post for the three main customer facing features that we've just released, to help you fully understand how these features impact and benefit your client sites. We'll also link to documents that describing how to use these features. (tutorials, FAQs etc).

Introducing Akismet for SPAM protection

In the previous months we've noticed an increase in SPAM related (primarily) to blog comments - and we'd like to thank our partners for making it clear to us that this was dramatically impacting most of the sites hosted on BC. Our first thought was that we need to update our current CAPTCHA engine. But we soon realized that any site owner who owns a blog doesn't really need a wall between the blog and the commenters - and CAPTCHA is usually such a wall - no one wants to insert a security code just to express an opinion. This is why we decided that we need something else. And that something is Akismet: the de facto SPAM protection solution for blogs - easy to manage and use, smart (it learns quickly which comments are SPAM and which are not) and reliable (55 billion SPAM messages is impressive). We've extended Akismet for all types of comments on BC (web pages, products, catalogues, web apps, etc). For web forms alone we are still investigating if Akismet is the right solution, as people tend to feel more secure if CAPTCHA is involved when filling out a form (whether we are talking about a donation form, a payment form or just a contact form).

Advantages

  • Easy to configure and to understand - see how to enable and manage Akismet here
  • Easy to manage SPAM and it can be correlated with manual SPAM moderation as well
  • Better for the visitors of a blog: they will not have to fill in any CAPTCHA field just to express their opinions

How it impacts business owners

  • All site owners or partners will have to manually enable Akismet on their websites. We haven't enabled it by default
  • In the beginning, Akismet may not be 100% accurate- a few SPAM comments may leak through as valid comments. Don't worry, all you need to do is train Akismet. That is, you should mark all these comments as SPAM manually. Once Akismet becomes experienced enough (this shouldn't take more than a few days, if any), you will have a strong SPAM engine in place
  • Any site owner / Partner can have enabled both Akismet and manual moderation enabled (in case there's a desire not to display comments from a specific user)

Other documents

Next

  • In Business Catalyst any comment is associated with a CRM entry. We will offer a way to delete all the associated CRM entries if the customer is the author of a comment considered SPAM
  • CRM bulk deletion functionality

Complying to the European and UK cookie legislation

This regulation was designed to protect online privacy by making consumers aware of how information about them is collected and stored by websites, and also to help them choose whether or not they want it to happen.
It started as a directive adopted by all EU countries in May 2011. At the same time, the UK updated its Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations based on this directive. Recent changes in this directive, together with deep investigation from the Adobe legal department revealed that it will suffice for a site owner or Partner to allow the visitors to disable tracking and other performance cookies. Hence, we've provided a module that will enable any site owner or Partner to offer this functionality to site visitors.

We've divided the cookies in two categories: Strictly Necessary Cookies and Performance & Tracking Cookies. Basically, the former category contains all the cookies that make the site functional (ie. the shopping cart, secure zones etc), whereas the latter category contains all the cookies related to tracking and analytics. We are not providing any mechanism for enabling/disabling third party cookies. Click here to see a detailed description of all the cookies available on your website. Disabling will only be available for Performance and Tracking Cookies.

Advantages

  • Out of the box module that the site owner/Partner can enable on a page of a website and link to from any menu entry
  • 100% customizable - our module can be easily customized and styled
  • 100% compliant with the EU and UK legislations

How it will impact the business owners

  • The site owner / Partner should enable this module on a web page and then link that to that page from a navigation menu. Here's a step by step tutorial on how to do this
  • By enabling this feature the site owner may not be able to track usage statistics if visitors decide to disable the Performance and Tracking cookies

Introducing an improved tax rounding engine

As announced last week, we have improved the algorithm that calculates the value of sales taxes. This invoice calculation now respects best practices in the industry, fixing error propagation and including intelligent rounding for 2 decimals.

Advantages

  • Correct calculation of taxes applied to more than one purchased product
  • Best accounting and industry practices are respected

How it will impact the business owners

  • To enable the improved tax rounding engine on existing sites, please follow this guide
  • The improved tax rounding engine is enabled by default for all new Business Catalyst sites