The Latest Corporate Benefit: the 529 Plan

More and more companies are adding 529 plans to workplace-benefits packages to help employees save money for college, The Wall Street Journal reports. “The goal is to make saving for college akin to saving for retirement by providing some of the same incentives that encourage workers to contribute to 401(k) accounts.”

While such a perk is still uncommon, CollegeAmerica recently revealed that its corporate-sponsored account have been expanding at a rate of approximately 5% annually over the last five years. Ascensus Inc., an administrative services firm that works with 529 plans, reports similar data.

Still though, there are important considerations to be made with regards to taxes and personalized 529 plans, as author Lisa Ward notes. And some employers have chosen to farm out the responsibility of 529 plans to outside companies entirely. Miami, FL-based Gradvisor affords employees “customized advice on which direct-sold 529s might best suit their needs and how much to save per paycheck” and also allows them to “track their investments, adjust contributions and speak with a financial adviser for no additional charge.”

Read the full story from The Wall Street Journal

CloudTags Placed in Crate & Barrel, Moves Along $1.2M Bridge – Hypepotamus

Atlanta, GA-based Cloudtags recently achieved pilot status with Crate & Barrel, in addition to closing a $1.2 million bridge round of funding.

“They are paving the way toward the ‘retail of the future’,” Hype reports.

In an exclusive interview with James Yancey, the company’s CEO, Hypepotamus explores and discusses the company’s recent and future financings, while also delving into the company’s strategy for growth and development.

Read the full story from Hypepotamus

Majority Of Bad Bots Behave Like Humans

For the first time since 2013, humans outnumber bad bots on the internet and are responsible for 54% of all web traffic, Kelly Jackson Higgins of InformationWeek reports.

New 2015 data released by Distil Networks indicates that bad bot traffic decreased to 18.61% from 22.78% in 2014. Good bot data dropped too, from 36.32% in 2014 to 27.04% in 2015. The report credits increased internet access in the developing world as responsible for the increase in human traffic.

To evade detection, the bad bots attempt to imitate human behavior – and some do so very effectively. “What we’ve seen in the past year is bots are more sophisticated in their tactics and more focused: the bad guys are lot less likely to throw [bots] on the Web to a more focused approach of ‘we’re going to narrow down the attack to a specific aspect of a Web app,’” said Distil’s CEO Rami Essaid.

Based in Raleigh, NC, Distil Networks offers services to protect clients from malicious bots that may engage in web scraping, competitive data mining, form spam and click fraud.

Read the full story from InformationWeek

Roundtable: Connecting store associates for modern retailing

In a roundtable discussion, representatives from Asda, Blackwell’s, Booths, Dune, Heal’s, Lloydspharmacy, Tesco and White Stuff joined Essential Retail and Manhattan to discuss the changing role of the store associate.

In the discussion, the experts considered the role of Cloudtags’ system for increased customer engagement. Their platform is placed onto a store’s tablet devices and can be used by customers to keep track of items of interest.

“It starts the conversation between the in-store customers and the associate and leads to re-marketing and learning about shoppers’ journeys,” added James Williamson of Heal’s. “We try and keep it sales-associate-focused and make it so the use of the tool is a joint experience between them and the customer. We can link this to the salesperson in-store if the purchase is made online further down the line, which works well because our associates work on commission and are very reluctant to hand over sales to online.”

Read the full story from EssentialRetail