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A bitcoin ATM machine is shown at a restaurant in San Diego, California. The price of bitcoin plummeted by 20 per cent over the weekend hitting a one-year low. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

The price of bitcoin fell nearly 20 per cent this weekend to its lowest level of the year, prompting worries of a crash.

As the price is going down, some of us are under immense psychological stress, one user posted on Reddit on Sunday. Please share how you cope with it.

On Sunday afternoon, bitcoin was trading at about $300, up from a low of $286, according to CoinDesk, a virtual currency website. Some contend that bitcoins price is irrelevant and that it does not reflect the virtual currencys true value.

Bitcoin is still most popular among speculators and technology enthusiasts and has yet to find a general use that will push it into the mainstream and help stabilize its price, they say.

Bitcoins recent price decline can appear jarring, but it is nothing new. Indeed, some say the wild price swings have hindered its widespread adoption. Since it was introduced in 2009 by an anonymous programmer, or group of programmers, bitcoin has fluctuated unpredictably in price. After reaching its peak of about $1,150 late last year, the price has been in a prolonged slide. In August, a flash crash briefly set the currency world on edge, as the price dipped on one exchange to just over $300 from nearly $500.

Bitcoin ended that day down about 12 per cent. For anyone complaining about the current price of bitcoin, remember it has more than doubled over the last 12 months, Roger Ver, a bitcoin enthusiast and investor, said in a Twitter message Sunday.

But even those most confident in bitcoin are having trouble explaining the recent decline. One reason for the drop could be uncertainty over potential regulations.

In July, New York became the first state to propose regulations for bitcoin companies. The comment period for the regulations, which were introduced by the Department of Financial Services, is set to end Oct. 21.

Bitcoin has attracted the attention of a number of other regulatory agencies in the United States, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Internal Revenue Service. The increase in the number of merchants now accepting bitcoin could also be affecting the price. These merchants, including Overstock and Dell, use third-party payment processors like Coinbase to immediately convert Bitcoin to dollars. This means there are more bitcoins in circulation, which could be helping to drive down the price. Some say that the market has been distracted with other events, including the Alibaba Groups initial public offering and the recent surge in the US dollar.

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Bitcoin price volatility sparks fear of crash

LIBERTY TWP.

Members of the Liberty Twp. Tea Party organization say they are beyond frustrated with the Internal Revenue Services handling of their tax-exempt status request.

Nine Tea Party organizations, including the Liberty Twp. group, are still awaiting a response from the IRS, according to Gene Kapp, a spokesman for the American Center for Law and Justice.

Congress and the Justice Department are investigating whether the IRS improperly scrutinized applications for tax-exempt status from conservative groups during the 2010 and 2012 elections. A federal judge has allowed a lawsuit by 10 tea party groups to move forward against the IRS, rejecting a request by the federal government to dismiss all the allegations that the agency subjected conservative groups to additional, often burdensome scrutiny.

Whether that lawsuit will be continued or dismissed will be known any day now, Kapp said.

The U.S. government filed a motion to dismiss our lawsuit some time ago, he said. We, of course, filed our response opposing the motion to dismiss. We expect a decision by a federal judge any day now regarding that motion.

Liberty Twp. Tea Party applied for tax-exempt status in January 2011.

I have moved beyond frustration with governments inability to process paper work in a timely manner, said Susan McLaughlin, a member of the Liberty Twp. Tea Party. I have lost any trust or expectation of fairness in the federal government. My naivet in believing the government would follow their own rules has been replaced with anger and suspicion.

Katy Kern is more to the point saying how the group feels: I dont think we are frustrated, I think we are pissed off.

We refuse to back down or be intimidated, Kern said. Somebody has to stand up to the bullies and we are glad that there are 8 other tea parties w the stones to do it.

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Liberty Twp. Tea Party members share frustration with IRS scandal

Lois Lerner, former director of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division at the Internal Revenue Service, exercises her Fifth Amendment Right against self incrimination during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill on March 5. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON – The Republican-led House voted Wednesday to hold former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions related to the agency’s undue scrutiny of certain tax-exempt groups.

The vote to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress was 231-187, with all Republicans voting in favor and all but a few Democrats voting against.

It’s now up to a local U.S. attorney to consider criminal charges against Lerner. The Justice Department, however, has ignored past contempt charges against executive branch officials, including contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder.

While the vote may have no practical impact, it does up the ante in the political bout between Democrats and Republicans over the IRS scandal.

Republicans maintain they are determined to get to the bottom of the scandal and find out why IRS officials, starting in 2010, unfairly targeted groups for their political activity.

“All we’re doing as Article One is saying an employee of Article Two, the executive branch, didn’t properly assert her rights,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., explained to his congressional colleagues Tuesday night in a meeting of the House Rules Committee. “We want Article Three, the federal court, to decide whether or not… we should be entitled to answers to some of our questions. … Nothing could be less partisan than, in fact, to let the federal court decide.”

In addition to holding Lerner in contempt, the House also voted 250-168 to approve a resolution calling on Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the IRS targeting.

Democrats have dismissed the GOP’s aggressive pursuit of this issue as a partisan witch-hunt. They’ve noted that multiple investigations into the IRS have already been launched, including an ongoing Justice Department investigation. Democrats have also stressed that the IRS inappropriately targeted both conservative and liberal groups, while pointing to evidence showing the misconduct wasn’t politically motivated.

On top of all that, Democrats assert there is no basis for the contempt charge.

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House votes to hold former IRS official in contempt

Coinfloor, a London-based bitcoin exchange, is hoping to avoid the same fate as MtGox by opening up its books for customers to be able to check on their accounts. By publishing a list of accounts and balances, Coinfloor has made it possible for customers to scrutinise the internal workings of the exchange.

More here:

Cryptocurrency News Round-Up: Transparent Exchange & Bitcoin Banks



IRS targets Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty
Ron Paul's Campaign for Liberty is in hot water with the Internal Revenue Service. The tax agency has demanded Paul's nonprofit group turn over its donors . …

By: worldnnewstoday

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IRS targets Ron Paul’s Campaign for Liberty – Video

Montezuma, Iowa (PRWEB) March 25, 2014

Brownells is proud to announce its support for Freedom Alliances Support Our Troops program. The $10,000 donation will go directly toward the Outdoor Adventures program, which provides outdoor-related recreational opportunities for combat-wounded U.S. Servicemen and women and their families.

Brownells commitment to honoring and supporting those who serve our country is well known, said Freedom Alliance President Tom Kilgannon. Were grateful to Brownells for their generous support. This gift helps us to take injured service members into a naturally therapeutic environment the American Outdoors and allow them to escape the hospital setting.

Freedom Alliances Outdoor Adventures also provides wounded troops with the opportunity to meet fellow warriors in similar circumstances, and recommit themselves to their long and challenging road to recovery, added Kilgannon. Together, Freedom Alliance and Brownells are helping Americas heroes to benefit from Americas great heritage of outdoor sports and recreation.

The Outdoor Adventures initiative is a part of Freedom Alliances Support Our Troops program. This program includes troop appreciation events, dinners, dream vacations and a multitude of other programs to support troops families at home.

Its always a great privilege for us to honor veterans, particularly those whove suffered injuries as a result of their service, said Pete Brownell, CEO of Brownells. We know our injured heroes often have long stays in hospitals and rehab centers, so we hope that providing them with an opportunity to get outside, relax and enjoy themselves will help lift their spirits and speed their recoveries.

In addition to Freedom Alliance, Brownells backs a number of veterans and injured veterans support organizations including the Special Operations Wounded Warriors, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and the NRA Life of Duty.

To learn more, or to donate to the Freedom Alliance, visit their website.

About Freedom Alliance

Freedom Alliance is an educational and charitable organization which sponsors numerous program activities aimed at supporting and honoring our service members and their families. Freedom Alliance is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a public charity organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.

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Brownells Extends Support for Injured Warfighters to Freedom Alliance

WASHINGTON: The U.S. has expanded its action against tax cheaters to countries such as India, Israel and Liechtenstein, a top U.S. official told lawmakers. So far, the U.S. action was primarily focused against tax cheaters on Switzerland. “While the (Justice) Department’s initial efforts and this hearing have focused on Switzerland, we have expanded our investigations to go after tax cheats and the banks assisting them in India, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and several Caribbean countries,” the Deputy Attorney General, James M Cole, told a Congressional committee.

Since 2009, the Department has publicly charged 73 account holders and 35 professionals with violations arising from their offshore banking activities, and 72 individuals have pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial, he said. “Just as importantly our enforcement efforts have driven over 43,000 taxpayers with secret offshore accounts to identify themselves to the IRS, disclose their offshore accounts, and to pay a total of over $6 billion in back taxes, penalties and interest. And that number is growing,” he said.

Cole said in 2013, the Department obtained four separate orders authorizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue John Doe summonses seeking records from banks in the U.S. for the U.S. correspondent accounts of banks located in the Caribbean, Switzerland, and other European countries and America has successfully compelled account holders to provide the U.S. with personal records of their foreign banking activities.

Since the UBS deferred prosecution agreement in February 2009, the Department has taken public action against two other banks, he said, adding that in January 2013, Wegelin Bank, one of the oldest financial institutions in Switzerland, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and was ordered to pay substantial fines and to forfeit funds.

“As a result of its criminal conviction, Wegelin was forced to close its doors, which sent a shockwave through the community of banks and bankers in Switzerland that had been engaged in facilitating U.S. tax evasion. In July 2013, Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG entered into a non-prosecution agreement, and paid substantial fines,” he said. What is particularly notable about this case is that we were able to have Liechtenstein actually change its bank secrecy laws retroactively. This enabled the department to obtain files relating to non-compliant U.S. account holders,” he said. “In August 2013, the department publicly stated that 14 banks have been authorized for investigation concerning the use of Swiss bank accounts. This is in addition to on-going investigations concerning cross-border activities by banks in India, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and several Caribbean countries,” Cole added.

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U.S. Expands Investigations Against Offshore Tax Evasion To India, Israel



Taxing the First Amendment: Using the IRS to Censor Speech?
The Internal Revenue Service is being investigated over claims that it denied tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code to Tea P…

By: The Heritage Foundation

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Taxing the First Amendment: Using the IRS to Censor Speech? – Video



Join Liberty Mutual's Internal Audit Team
Learn how to apply to Liberty Mutual's Internal Audit team, here: http://bit.ly/1fXsQbQ.

By: Liberty Mutual

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Join Liberty Mutual’s Internal Audit Team – Video



YouTube Internal Linking Strategies for YouTube silos and playlist SEO
Secrets of YouTube SEO By Genius Software Developer Anthony Hayes with Robert Stone and Mike Taylor discussing YouTube internal linking strategies, YouTube l…

By: Webmasters Post

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YouTube Internal Linking Strategies for YouTube silos and playlist SEO – Video

(12-20 09:40)

The United States has signed anti-tax fraud pacts with six countries and territories including some considered tax havens, the US Treasury Department said Thursday. The Netherlands, Malta, and the British territories of Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man signed various bilateral agreements with the US during the past week to implement the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, the Treasury said in a statement, AFP reports. FATCA, enacted by Congress in 2010, requires information reporting and withholding tax provisions that target non-compliance by US taxpayers using foreign accounts. Under the law, US financial institutions must withhold a portion of certain payments made to foreign financial institutions which do not agree to identify and report information on US account holders. FATCA continues to gather momentum as we work with partners worldwide to combat offshore tax evasion,” said Robert Stack, the Treasury’s deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs. This large number of signings in one week alone sends a strong signal to tax evaders everywhere: international support for FATCA is growing.” To date, the United States has signed 18 FATCA intergovernmental agreements, has 11 agreements in substance, and is conducting related discussions with many other jurisdictions, the Treasury said. Bermuda signed an agreement with the US on Thursday that means it will direct and aid foreign financial institutions in the British overseas territory to register with the US tax authority, the Internal Revenue Service, and report the required information directly to the IRS. The Netherlands, Malta, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man, signed another type of agreement this week which requires the foreign financial institutions to report the information to their home governments, which in turn will report it to the IRS. A 2013 Congressional Research Service report to Congress said that Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey, Malta and the Isle of Man are cited on lists of tax havens, while the Netherlands is considered to have tax haven characteristics.”

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Tax havens Jersey, Isle of Man, and Guernsey join tax fraud pact

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Editor’s note: LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A senior writer for ESPN and lecturer at Northwestern University, the former Hechinger Institute fellow has had his commentary recognized by the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Follow him on Twitter @locs_n_laughs.

(CNN) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal got involved in the “Duck Dynasty” controversy Thursday by tweeting his response to A&E’s decision to suspend Phil Robertson for his inflammatory remarks in a recent GQ interview.

“I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment,” he wrote, adding, “it is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”

The truth is it is a messed up situation when a governor rumored to have his sights on the presidency doesn’t understand the breadth of the First Amendment.

LZ Granderson

The Federal Communications Commission did not send officials into the office of Nancy Dubuc, president of A&E Networks. The FBI did not threaten to put Robertson away, and the Internal Revenue Service didn’t freeze his bank accounts.

This is what the First Amendment protects us from — laws being made that restrict freedom of religion, the press and/or speech. It does not protect us from how society responds to the expression of one’s religion, the press or speech.

Robertson’s boss punished him for his remarks. The government didn’t.

Now for those out of the loop, Robertson — a 67-year-old Louisiana native and a star of “Duck Dynasty” who holds a master’s in education — said, “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person,” and the black people he worked with “were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

See the article here:
‘Duck Dynasty’ suspension doesn’t violate First Amendment

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

Editor’s note: LZ Granderson writes a weekly column for CNN.com. A senior writer for ESPN and lecturer at Northwestern University, the former Hechinger Institute fellow has had his commentary recognized by the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Follow him on Twitter @locs_n_laughs.

(CNN) — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal got involved in the “Duck Dynasty” controversy Thursday by tweeting his response to A&E’s decision to suspend Phil Robertson for his inflammatory remarks in a recent GQ interview.

“I remember when TV networks believed in the First Amendment,” he wrote, adding, “it is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”

The truth is it is a messed up situation when a governor rumored to have his sights on the presidency doesn’t understand the breadth of the First Amendment.

LZ Granderson

The Federal Communications Commission did not send officials into the office of Nancy Dubuc, president of A&E Networks. The FBI did not threaten to put Robertson away, and the Internal Revenue Service didn’t freeze his bank accounts.

This is what the First Amendment protects us from — laws being made that restrict freedom of religion, the press and/or speech. It does not protect us from how society responds to the expression of one’s religion, the press or speech.

Robertson’s boss punished him for his remarks. The government didn’t.

Now for those out of the loop, Robertson — a 67-year-old Louisiana native and a star of “Duck Dynasty” who holds a master’s in education — said, “I never, with my eyes, saw the mistreatment of any black person,” and the black people he worked with “were godly; they were happy; no one was singing the blues.”

Link:
‘Duck Dynasty’ star’s free speech rights weren’t violated



The Internal BATTLE of GOOD vs EVIL Within Our SOUL; Alex Jones-INFOWARS
Alex breaks down internal battle of good and evil within the individuals soul. Stay in the know commodity price inflation forex currency trading fx currency …

By: WorldConflictReport

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The Internal BATTLE of GOOD vs EVIL Within Our SOUL; Alex Jones-INFOWARS – Video

Most people would consider radical libertarianism and communism polar opposites: The first glorifies personal freedom. The second would obliterate it. Yet the ideologies are simply mirror images. Both attempt to answer the same questions, and fail to do so in similar ways. Where communism was adopted, the result was misery, poverty and tyranny. If extremist libertarians ever translated their beliefs into policy, it would lead to the same kinds of catastrophe.

Lets start with some definitions. By radical libertarianism, we mean the ideology that holds that individual liberty trumps all other values. By communism, we mean the ideology of extreme state domination of private and economic life.

Some of the radical libertarians are Ayn Rand fans who divide their fellow citizens into makers, in the mold of John Galt, and takers, in the mold of anyone not John Galt.

Some, such as the Koch brothers, are economic royalists who repackage trickle-down economics as libertarian populism. Some are followers of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose highest aspiration is to shut down government. Some resemble the anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, who has made a career out of trying to drown, stifle or strangle government.

Yes, liberty is a core American value, and an overweening state can be unhealthy. And there are plenty of self-described libertarians who have adopted the label mainly because they support same-sex marriage or decry government surveillance. These social libertarians arent the problem. It is the nihilist anti-state libertarians of the Koch-Cruz-Norquist-Paul (Ron and Rand alike) school who should worry us.

Like communism, this philosophy is defective in its misreading of human nature, misunderstanding of how societies work and utter failure to adapt to changing circumstances. Radical libertarianism assumes that humans are wired only to be selfish, when in fact cooperation is the height of human evolution. It assumes that societies are efficient mechanisms requiring no rules or enforcers, when, in fact, they are fragile ecosystems prone to collapse and easily overwhelmed by free-riders. And it is fanatically rigid in its insistence on a single solution to every problem: Roll back the state!

Communism failed in three strikingly similar ways. It believed that humans should be willing cogs serving the proletariat. It assumed that societies could be run top-down like machines. And it, too, was fanatically rigid in its insistence on an all-encompassing ideology, leading to totalitarianism.

Radical libertarianism, if ever put into practice at the scale of something bigger than a tiny enclave, would also be a disaster. We say the conditional would because radical libertarianism has a fatal flaw: It cant be applied across a functioning society. What might radical libertarians do if they actually had power? A President Paul would rule by tantrum, shutting down the government in order to repeal laws already passed by Congress. A Secretary Norquist would eliminate the Internal Revenue Service and progressive taxation, so that the already wealthy could exponentially compound their advantage, as the programs that sustain a prosperous middle class are gutted. A Koch domestic policy would obliterate environmental standards for clean air and water, so that polluters could externalize all their costs onto other people.

Radical libertarians would be great at destroying. They would have little concept of creating or governing. It is in failed states such as Somalia that libertarianism finds its fullest actual expression.

Some libertarians will claim we are arguing against a straw man and that no serious adherent to their philosophy advocates the extreme positions we describe. The public record of extreme statements by the likes of Cruz, Norquist and the Pauls speaks for itself. Reasonable people debate how best to regulate or how government can most effectively do its work not whether to regulate at all or whether government should even exist.

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Communism, radical libertarianism fatally flawed



Politics Breaking News: McConnell Warns of Gov't Attacks on Free Speech
McConnell warns of gov't attacks on free speech Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative gro…

By: WochitGeneralNews

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Politics Breaking News: McConnell Warns of Gov’t Attacks on Free Speech – Video

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Senate Republican leader is accusing the government of attacking free speech on President Barack Obama’s watch.

Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky says the Internal Revenue Service’s targeting of conservative groups’ applications for tax-exempt status is just one example. He accuses the administration of pitting bureaucrats against the Americans they’re supposed to serve in several other agencies.

McConnell, who is up for re-election next year, also criticized public employee unions in a speech he’s delivering on Friday. He complained about recent reports that the IRS is about to pay $70 million in employee bonuses.

The Associated Press received excerpts of McConnell’s speech.

The rest is here:
McConnell Says Government Attacking Free Speech

In the comments of my last column abouthow I doubled e-commerce revenue for clients by focusing on user intent, readers asked for some more specific e-commerce SEO tips that they could apply in their own client work.

Todays article shares some valuable lessons gathered over a decade of SEO work for e-commerce clients. These 8 e-commerce SEO tips have the power to transform any online business and boost profits.

Like most SEO consultants, I am often contacted late in the Web development process, well after information architecture and URL structure have been determined. Generally, the site is almost ready for launch at this point or, in some cases, already launched!

If so, it is an SEO nightmare. Content has been created. Product catalogs have been imported. Search engines have crawled and indexed the site. Prospective buyers are arriving. And, the internal structure from an SEO standpoint is a mess.

Without a proper URL structure, internal pages are competing against each other rather than strengthening the overall site. Duplicate content issues run rampant, thanks to URL parameters, session IDs and printer-friendly versions. Advanced filtering and search functions, intended to enhance user experience, actually end up compounding this problem.

Usually, the store owner hires a company to flesh out a design, implement and code special functions, and upload the finished site all before the project itself has been finalized. Things then go in many different directions; and at some stage in the process, they decide to call in a consultant to slap on SEO magic. Theyve heard that SEO is very effective at driving more traffic and want to try every little bit that may help.

This is themost frustrating part of being an SEO consultant. Were called in too late. A lot of adjustment and re-coding is required. Even then, some online stores wont be able to meet the markets needs without a complete make-over of the website. This is time consuming and expensive.

E-commerce SEO Tip #1: Get your Web designer, information architect and SEO consultant working together right from the beginning. The result will be a more effective, better-optimized website that is easy for prospective buyersto use.

My fellow columnist Tom Schmitz offers some great advice about Web structure and internal linking in his recent post. I delved deep into this in one of my previous columns,with practical suggestions on how to structure content for e-commerce sites.

Continue reading here:
8 E-Commerce SEO Tips Gathered From A Decade Of Consulting

GinzaMetrics, one of the more comprehensive Enterprise SEO dashboards out there, has undergone a a pretty large feature makeover, adding new features along with improved usability and speed.

In a another sign that the SEO industry is becoming more and more about content, digital and social media marketing, GinzaMetrics made the changes with an eye toward not only delivering recommendations for site structure improvements and the like, but for optimizing content marketing too. This comes a week after Moz changed their name and started focusing on analytics.

The search and content marketing landscape is evolving quickly, and a healthy mix of data and creativity are required if you want to thrive, said Ray Grieselhuber, CEO of GinzaMetrics. We are thrilled to be a part of this revolution by helping our customers and agency partners discover the best content to create and optimize.

The newly designed dashboard provides faster access to SEO and content recommendations. Users can spot the keywords that their content is ranking best for, as well as the content that is performing best or worst in search. This helps users make better decisions and reach a maximum target audience. Its kind of a to-do list for web optimization.

This new release includes a number of updates based on user feedback, and its aimed at making the consumer experience more enjoyable with the brands they engage, Grieselhuber said.

One new feature helps users see problems in the internal structure of their sites. Page Indexing and Internal Links Insights provides recommendations across large websites and builds up graphs of internal links. The tool helps users see which pages have optimized links and which sections need improvements, such as HTTP errors, improper redirects and duplicate page titles.

The ability to crawl a new site and quickly find duplicate page titles, HTTP errors, redirects and other issues in a prioritized, logical way, has long been a missing feature in enterprise level, cloud-based SEO platforms, said Erin Robbins OBrien, GinzaMetrics COO. It will reduce the need to rely on additional platforms to access this relevant information, helping users save time and money.

GinzaMetrics is one in a competitive field of SEO and content marketing analytics companies that continue to find users and raise millions of dollars. Some of Ginzas top rivals include Brightedge and Conductor.

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Exclusive: GinzaMetrics SEO Platform Gets New Features, Content Marketing Refresh by @johnrampton

(Scott Sommerdorf | Tribune file photo) Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, is leading a group of Republicans seeking a new line of inquiry in the IRS scandal — one aimed at the release of confidential documents, including those from a group that spent $570,000 helping to re-elect the Utah senator.

Washington A group of Senate Republicans led by Sen. Orrin Hatch called for a new investigation into the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday, focused on the improper release of information on nine conservative groups, including one that supported Hatch in his 2012 re-election campaign.

Last December, the IRS gave the website ProPublica the applications of 31 politically active groups with tax-exempt status, but nine of them had not been approved or denied. By law, the applications are confidential documents until the IRS makes a determination.

“We believe that disclosure of applications that are still pending is a violation of the Internal Revenue Code and other related provisions, which could result in civil and criminal penalties,” Hatch, R-Utah, wrote in a letter to the inspector general at the Treasury Department signed by all of the Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee.

ProPublica decided to release six of those nine applications, though it redacted financial information. One of them belonged to Freedom Path, a group with deep ties to Hatch that was created in January 2011 and spent at least $570,000 in support of the senators campaign for a seventh and, he has vowed, his final term in office.

Freedom Path operated as a tax-exempt social welfare organization as its application with the IRS was pending. That designation allowed it to withhold any public information on its donors and delay disclosure of its board of directors.

The IRS has still not ruled on Freedom Paths application and the group feels that it was among those targeted for extra scrutiny in a scandal that has already resulted in President Barack Obama firing the tax agencys acting commissioner, Steven Miller.

Freedom Path has yet to respond to a request for comment.

The groups board is comprised of a former Hatch employee and two political operatives who worked for the National Republican Senatorial Committee at a time when Hatch was the vice chairman. Freedom Path, which produced mailers and TV ads that supported Hatch and opposed his Republican challenger, also shared some vendors with the Hatch campaign, though they said no improper coordination took place.

Hatchs staff also said the senator was unaware of Freedom Paths problems with the IRS until it was reported in The Salt Lake Tribune and that the call for an expanded probe of the IRS is warranted in light of recent revelations.

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Hatch wants IRS probe to expand, include Freedom Path



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