[New Feature Alert] Get An ‘Agency’ Account To Share Ahrefs With Your Team

[New Feature Alert] Get An ‘Agency’ Account To Share Ahrefs With Your Team

Did you notice that our “Plans & Pricing” page got a major facelift last week?

Well, actually our fancy new design is not the reason why I’m writing my “Monday update”.

It’s the new type of Ahrefs’ subscription that we’ve just introduced there.

“Agency” accounts:

Previously ALL Ahrefs plans were intended for personal (in-house) use only.But we were regularly receiving requests to allow more users to get in.

Which we finally did for the upper tier of Ahrefs accounts!

“Agency” accounts can now be used by 3 to 25 people depending on the type of account you opt for.

I’m reluctant to say that as of now this is achieved by sharing your Ahrefs username/password around your team (we no longer break your sessions when an extra user logs in), but hey.. we’ve just launched this!

We’re now working on dedicated “user accounts” which are purely based on your feedback and the features you suggest we add there!

La Fin

Not much news for this week, I know.

But that’s because all the best stuff is still “under construction”!

Check back next week and I promise there will be a shiny new tool waiting for you!

Why ‘You Get What You Pay For’ Is a Myth: How To Hire Talents And Maximize ROI

Why ‘You Get What You Pay For’ Is a Myth: How To Hire Talents And Maximize ROI

A few months ago, the Australian branch of The Guardian, was outed for offering an experienced journalist $0.15 a word to write an advertorial for a national bank, ANZ.

The journalist made the case that it was impossible for writers to make a living at that rate and that “you get what you pay for”.

Now let me clarify this right upfront: this is not a post about politics. Whether or not people can make living at that rate, or whether or not businesses should pay more are not topics we’ll cover here.

What I want to talk about is that last part: “you get what you pay for”. Is it true?

I’ve hired dozens of offshore talents in the last couple of years and I’ve never gotten what I paid for. As a business, you should always get more than what you paid for. Because if you just got what you paid for, you’ll be just like every other competitor of yours.

Hiring, in other words, is a competitive advantage.

Now note here that I’ve never argued for hiring cheap labor. Cheap employees can prove extremely expensive for the business. What I’m urging you to do is to always look at your employee ROI.

So far so good?

Here’s the part people don’t like to hear though: ROI is a function of cost (in this case, the employee’s salary). If a cheap employee performs awesome work, you get awesome ROI. But if an expensive employee performs awesome work, you get average ROI.

The argument, for a lot of service providers, is that by paying them more, you get better quality work. What they meant is that they return higher ROI for businesses who hire them, but most employers are too shortsighted to see that fact.

Here’s what they think the ROI Vs Pay graph looks like:

assumed employee roi

In reality though, employee ROI for most jobs conforms to the law of diminishing returns. In other words, the graph really looks like this:

reality of roi

Take writers for example.

There are writers who charge $0.05 a word and there are those who demand they be paid $1 per word.

As a business, who should you hire if you want to expand your content marketing team?

Well, first you need to establish your baseline metrics. Sessions, number of shares, conversions – these are all common things businesses measure their writers by.

Individual articles go viral or go bust for no reason at all, so allow your writers to produce 20 – 30 articles to get a good amount of sample to analyze for ROI.

What I usually find is that the $0.05 a word writer almost always performs the worst – she is probably trying to write so many articles to make ends meet that she simply doesn’t spend enough time on each article.

As the rate rises, so too does the ROI, but only up to a certain point.

Once you pass that point, ROI starts to dip. A writer who charges $1 a word is not necessarily better than a writer who charges $0.50 a word (exact numbers depends on your circumstances).

This is true for many professions.

Where To Recruit Talents

As you can see, I am, at least on the side, a writer. There are ways you can both increase your fees AND the ROI you produce for a business. But that’s not what this article is about.

Instead, I’d like to go into what businesses can do to maximize their employee ROI. And if there’s only one sentence for me make my point, it’s this: look beyond your country and the “first world”.

Here are three reasons why:

  1. Talents exist everywhere – even in India and other third-world countries.  Who do you think Google, IBM, Apple and other multi-national companies employ when they enter these countries? To dismiss more than half the world’s labor as being “low quality” is, to me, extraordinarily ignorant and nothing short of insane. In the last couple of years alone, I’ve hired writers, web designers, UX designers, graphic designers, frontend and backend developers, mobile designers, data analysts, link builders, SEO strategists, content strategists, SEM managers – all remotely from developing countries such as the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Vietnam.
  2. You get what you pay for, only if the world is perfect. But we don’t live in a perfect world. Even the most talented individual would be capped by what local companies are willing to pay. They will almost certainly not be paid as much their boss – and their boss are paid local wages. For example, I’ve hired two Google engineers in the past for separate projects. How can I afford to hire Google engineers? Because they reside in India, working for Google India.
  3. Some of the most talented people I’ve worked with are travelling the world – sometimes for years. Sure these people want to maximize their income but they care more about experiencing life. And some of the best ROI I’ve had has come from these people.

Ok great Andre. You’ve convinced me. Now how do I go about looking for these people?

  1. Don’t let Upwork and other similar sites be the only place you recruit from. Post a job ad in a popular local job board. The US has Monster.com and Australia has Seek.com.au. India, The Philippines, etc have one too. These sites will get you more traditional workers – many of whom might suspect a scam when they hear of “remote” jobs. But I’ve hired some of our best talents through these job boards.
  2. Hang out in their digital communities. I’ve hired dozens of various types of designers by hanging out in Behance and Dribbbble. And I’ve hired a number of writers by actually reading local sites written in English, like Forbes Indonesia.
  3. Hang out in popular niche blogs and look for bloggers who are open to freelancing. Sometime it can be difficult to find communities in certain niches. In that case, search for: “work with me” KEYWORD or “hire me” KEYWORD in the LOCAL Google – and you’ll find various bloggers in your niche who are open to freelancing in a specific country.
  4. Ask for a referral and give them an incentive to do so. Many of the activities that you outsource – like link building – isn’t exactly rocket science. So what I like to do is recruit a graduate and train them from scratch. It’s hard to un-train bad SEO habits and these graduates don’t have them.  By going the referral route, it’s easier for the first person you trained to help you train your second recruit (and so forth) because they can meet each other face-to-face.
  5. Browse LinkedIn profiles. Found a person you like who has a full-time job? You’ll be surprised how many people are open to freelancing on the side.
  6. Poach. This is where you take it up a notch. This is where you find team leads and high-level managers. Look for people working in agencies as senior managers on LinkedIn (again, filter for country) and connect with them. Don’t expect to pay $600 for these people – I usually pay them somewhere between $1500 and $2000 a month, based on performance. Not exactly cheap for small businesses but again, focus on the value you get here. These managers can take a lot of day-to-day operations off your hands and they can make sure all other team members hit their KPIs.  It’s how I’ve quickly scaled SEO teams without burgeoning the office and going through HR.

Nothing groundbreaking, right? There’s one thread that’s common amongst all these methods: you need to actively reach out to talents.

The best people are not browsing job boards.

(The views, opinions and positions expressed by me are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of any of my employers or colleagues.)

[Lost Feature Alert] Say Goodbye To ‘Backlinks Report’ and ‘Top Marketing Articles’

[Lost Feature Alert] Say Goodbye To ‘Backlinks Report’ and ‘Top Marketing Articles’

You guys often tell us that we put our efforts in too many things, while we should just focus on our core features.

And you know what? We listen to you!

Say Goodbye To ‘Backlinks Report’

I’m sure many of you didn’t even know we had this tool in our toolset.

Well, now your knowledge is pretty much up to date. We don’t have it.

“Backlinks Report” tool was basically a super outdated version of Ahrefs Site Explorer and it was just sitting there waiting for its doomsday.

So… just smile and wave boys, smile and wave…


Say Goodbye To ‘Top Marketing Articles’

A couple months ago we’ve launched a simple tool that would show you the most shared content from a few hundreds of world’s leading marketing blogs.

At that time we thought it was cool, but unfortunately that tool didn’t get any traction.

We had quite a few ideas on both upgrading this tool and promoting it. But after questioning ourselves “why?” we realized we should just kill it.


Goodbye, TMA!

And now let’s look at some stuff that we have added last week.

Say HI to ‘New/Lost Referring Domains Chart’

Just look at this pretty new chart:


From now on, right on the Overview page of Ahrefs Site Explorer you can see some dynamics of how a certain website is gaining links from new domains.

I already featured this new graph in my latest episode of “Oversimplified SEO”(available on Facebook or YouTube).

Say HI to ‘Keyword Ranking Email Updates’

Just a few weeks ago we have released “Positions Tracker” tool that checks your keyword rankings while you sleep.

Well, we finally polished the email ranking report and we invite you to try it:


To enable email reports just go to “Dashboard > Email Notifications” and you’ll see a switch for “Positions Tracker”:


La Fin

That’s what we managed to release (and kill) last week.

Give a try to these new features and let us know what you think about them!

Low-Hanging Linkbuilding Opportunities That Almost Touch The Ground

Low-Hanging Linkbuilding Opportunities That Almost Touch The Ground

In February of 2015, John Mueller from Google recommended that digital marketers should avoid focusing on link-building, because this could harm a website’s visibility in Google.

So does this mean that link-building strategies are dead?

The answer is: it really depends on what techniques you use to get links to your website.

If you’re still buying links, using article directories, and publishing low-quality press releases, then, for you, link building is dead.

All of these techniques are manipulative and unnatural, and that’s why following them means putting your website on a waiting list to be penalized by Google.

But you can’t just ignore link building all of a sudden.

Cyprus Shepard of Moz published a great research showing that being well-ranked by Google without backlinks is an impossible goal. This is especially true for small websites in competitive niches.

Unfortunately, without knowing exactly which strategies you can rely upon, you can waste a lot of time.

That’s why my article is focused primarily on sharing practical and easy-to-implement “how-to’s” that you can safely adapt for your websites.

Use Social Media Sites To Build Links

First of all, keep in mind that any reference (not only a backlink) to your domain from a trustworthy and relevant website will pay dividends to your rankings.

So, it’s not surprising that the easiest way to get your first links or enlarge your current backlink profile is to update your social media networks with links to your website.

In less than 10 minutes you can easily get quite a few good natural links from high-authority sites.

Your Twitter profile:

There’s a special field for your website URL, but you can also put links right into your author bio section.
Alexandra Twitter

Company Facebook page:

When it comes to  Facebook, you need a company page (you can’t use your personal profile) that will be linked to your company’s website.
Ahrefs Facebook Profile

Google+ page:

Use a section named “Links” to reference your personal page and/or company page.
Ahrefs Google+ Account

LinkedIn profile:

You can put up to three website links on your profile, and they can be added from the Edit Profile page.
linkedin Profile Link

Other than that, you can go through any other social media sites that are relevant to your business in the same manner.

For example, SlideShare, Pinterest and Instagram also have user profile pages where you can add a link to your site.

Get links from Q&A networks

I’m sure you’ve heard of Yahoo Answers and Quora.

These sites give you the ability to search for some Q&A threads based on a given keyword.

So your goal is to find questions that are relevant to your business and provide useful answers with occasional links to your website.

For example, if you own a website about gadgets and have a strong opinion on the “iPhone VS Samsung” debate, you might find quite a few opportunities to express it while fleetingly dropping a link to your site:

yahoo Questions and Answers

You might also want to do this on Quora:

Quora Question

And here’s an example of a lovely answer with a backlink:

Quora Answer

Joining conversations on Quora, Yahoo and any other similar sites (there are quite a few) is a great linkbuilding tactic that doesn’t require any SEO background at all.

And as an additional benefit, you’ll notice some quality referral traffic coming to your website.

Build Links With Guest Articles

Pageonepower.com is a great example of the successful usage of guest posting as a link-building strategy.


Here are just a few examples of their guest articles:

  • Anchor Text Analysis: Imperfections are OK
  • The 10 Best Link Building Tools of all time

The trickiest thing with guest blogging is to find the right blogs and suggest the best topics.

Luckily with Ahrefs tools you can solve both of these problems.

Use Content Explorer to find the most popular articles in your niche and then write your own piece based on the top performing content you’ll find:

ahrefs Content Explorer tool by search term interior design

This way you’ll be able to deliver the kind of content that is very likely to get traction on Social Media.

But then you’ll need to find blogs that would publish your piece.

To do that simply go to page 10 of the Content Explorer results. You’ll see tons of articles that didn’t get a huge number of social shares.

So get in touch with the blog owners and offer them to review your piece.

Since your guest article is based on the most popular content in your niche, it’s very unlikely that they will turn it down.

Note: Tim Soulo calls this “The Robin Hood Technique” because you “steal” content ideas from popular sites and give them out to a lesser known ones.

Piggybacking On Competitors’ Backlinks

The last strategy that I want to share with you today is piggybacking on your competitors’ backlink profile.

If something works for your competitor, then it certainly should be beneficial for you as well.

However, you need to be sure that you’re only copying their effective strategies.

Thus when reviewing their backlinks, it’s crucial to know which metrics you need to look at in order to successfully replicate their wins and avoid their mistakes.

Your first step would be to put together a list of competitors that you want to target with this research.

In case you don’t know who your competitors are, you can try using tools likePositions Explorer, or Spyfu or SimilarWeb to find some.

In the screenshot below, you can see the domains that are competing with stylingo.co.uk in Google’s organic results:


Once your list of competitors is ready, I highly recommend that you use theBatch Analysis tool to see which of them has the most powerful backlink profile:

Ahrefs Batch Analysis Tool

Once you’ve picked your target, put it into Site Explorer tool for a more comprehensive overview of their backlink profile.

You should focus on the following metrics:

  1. The total number of links vs. the number of unique domains;
  2. Domain Rank of linking domains;
  3. Anchor text cloud;
  4. Link quality.

And if you need some information on the “toxic links” of your competitors, I highly recommend using a software called Kerboo.

Their Audit tool helps you identify risky links that may hurt your rankings.

Other than that, Kerboo is intelligent enough to highlight link opportunities based on your competitor’s link profile.

Kerboo Audit Tool


A lot of link-building strategies were banned by Google in recent years. But there are still quite a few low hanging fruits that will boost your rankings and keep you safe from never-ending Google updates.

If you put some of your time and effort into these simple tactics that I’ve shared with you today, I’m sure you’ll get some nice results from it.

Adobe Details ‘Project Spigel’ App That Will Replace Photoshop Touch

Adobe, following its previous announcement of Project Spigel in May this year, has given out some more details about the upcoming app. The app is set to replace the discontinued Photoshop Touch iOS app, and bring new image retouching tools alongside.

Manu Anand, Senior Product Manager for Digital Imaging, Adobe said in an interview to CNET that unlike Photoshop Touch, the upcoming app would be free for iOS users. Since the app is free, it would not require any Creative Cloud subscriptions. Previously, Photoshop Touch app users required the CC subscription.

The Project Spigel app would also be more user friendly than the previous app and would use terms like ‘Lighten’ and ‘Darken’ instead of Dodge and Burn, which some users might not be familiar with.

Also mentioned is that the new Project Spigel app is focused around “crop, adjust, liquify, heal, smooth, light, color, paint, defocus and vignette” functions and would feature some of the features that are not even offered by the desktop version of Photoshop yet – specifically, the new new face-recognition tool inside the ‘liquify’ menu of the app. When the tool recognises a face in an image, it “overlays control points atop eyes, nose, mouth, chin and cheeks.” The dots can be used to resize or move the facial features around.

With the new Adobe-branded app, users will have the ability to import images from other sources such as Dropbox, Facebook, iOS Photos app and more. The app would not only be editing photos like a flat image, but would be saving the edits in different layers, that users can sync with the desktop version. Adobe plans to launch the app in October on iOS devices followed by Android. The firm teased its new app in a video back in May. Adobe, while announcing the shutdown of its Photoshop Touch app in May also introduced “capture” apps namely Colour CC, Brush CC, and Shape CC.

Isro Launches GSAT-6 Communications Satellite

An Indian rocket with over two tonne communication satellite GSAT-6, which has several strategic applications, blasted off from the Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday.

Precisely at 4.52 p.m., the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Development 5 (GSLV D6) rose from the second launch pad Sriharikota at Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

The 49.1 metre tall rocket weighing 416 tonnes would sling the 2,117 kg GSAT-6 communication satellite in the geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) around 17 minutes into the flight.

Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) scientists at the mission control centre Sriharikota watched their monitors intently to see the rocket’s progress.

One of the crucial rocket engines is the cryogenic engine, more efficient as it provides more thrust for every kilogram of propellant burnt, designed and developed by Isro.

This is the GSLV rocket with domestically-built cryogenic engine that is flown after nearly a year, in its second mission during the last five years after two such rockets failed in 2010.

One of the failed GSLV rockets flew with an Indian cryogenic engine and the other with a Russian engine.

The GSLV is a three stage/engine rocket. The core of first stage is fired with solid fuel while the four strap-on motors by liquid fuel. The second is the liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic engine.

For the country, Isro perfecting the cryogenic engine technology is crucial as precious foreign exchange can be saved by launching communication satellites on its own.

Currently Isro flies its heavy communication satellites by European space agency Ariane.

India pays around Rs.500 crore as launch fee for sending up a 3.5 tonne communication satellite. The satellite cost is separate.

The Isro can send smaller communication satellites – weighing around two tonnes – till such time it gets ready an advanced GSLV variant-GSLV-Mark III that can lug satellites weighing around four tonnes.

Google Brings New Exhibits From Indian Museums Online

People can now see the latest exhibits from Kolkata’s Victoria Memorial Hall, Dastkari Haat Samiti and Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute among others, online as part of Google’s Cultural Institute.

The US-based tech giant has added over 2,000 new images and 70 virtual exhibits to its platform through partnerships with various Indian institutes to give a glimpse of the rich Indian heritage to viewers across the world.

“In the last two years, we have seen a huge traction to Google Cultural Institute. We have seen over 240 million page views. However, that has not affected these institutes negatively and they have seen higher footfalls,” Google Cultural Institute Director Amit Sood told PTI. Google is also helping some of these institutes to make the content even more accessible through mobile apps to help them showcase their exhibits, he added.

The unveiled collection also includes 26 new virtual tours of famous sites like the Ekattarso Mahadeva Temple and the royal saloon that once was part of the Palace on Wheels. “India has a rich heritage and culture and it has been our endeavour to showcase this to the world. Technology will play a crucial role in transforming and building a truly Digital India and in getting Indian culture and heritage online,” Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (Independent Charge) Mahesh Sharma said.

Google Cultural Institute was launched in 2012 in India with the National Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Art in Delhi as initial partners and now has 18 partners.

Alcatel OneTouch Pop 8S With 8-Inch Display Launched

Alcatel on Thursday entered the Indian tablet market, launching its Android 4.4 KitKat OS-based OneTouch Pop 8S. The 4G LTE-enabled tablet will be available to buy exclusively from Flipkart at Rs. 10,499.

The Alcatel OneTouch Pop 8S tablet runs Android 4.4 KitKat (no confirmation on Android 5.0 LollipopOS update) with single-SIM support. It features an 8-inch WXGA (800×1280 pixels) TFT display, and packs a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor coupled with 1GB of RAM.

Along with the 3-megapixel front-facing camera, the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 8S boasts of a 5-megapixel rear camera with LED flash. The 8GB inbuilt storage on the OneTouch Pop 8S can be expanded via microSD card (up to 64GB).

Connectivity options on the Alcatel OneTouch Pop 8S include 4G LTE (Bands 1/3/5/7/8/20), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart 4.0, GPS/ A-GPS, and USB connectivity. The battery on the device is 4060mAh, which is rated to deliver up to 351 hours of standby time. The tablet weighs 327 grams and measures 209x123x7.99mm. The device will be available in Black colour variant.

alcatel_onetouch_pop_8s_1.jpg“We are very excited about the launch of our tablets range in India. Our Pop series of products provide the best in class product features at the most affordable price. Pop series globally have been designed to be fun and colourful, offering a smart but simple user interface. Going forward, there is much more to come as we implement this product strategy across our range of devices. The launch of Pop 8S 4G LTE tablet through our Strategic Partner Flipkart is the first step towards embarking on a new journey of delighting customers in the tablets segment”, said Praveen Valecha, Regional Director for Alcatel OneTouch APAC BU, India.

Alcatel OneTouch Pop 8S

Alcatel OneTouch Pop 8S





Front Camera



1280×800 pixels




Android 4.4



Rear Camera


Battery capacity


Cheating Site Logged Federal Subscribers With Sensitive Jobs

Hackers Release Confidential Member Information From The Ashley Madison Infidelity Website
WASHINGTON — U.S. government employees with sensitive jobs in national security or law enforcement were among hundreds of federal workers found to be using government networks to access and pay membership fees to the cheating website Ashley Madison, The Associated Press has learned.

The list includes at least two assistant U.S. attorneys, an information technology administrator in the White House’s support staff, a Justice Department investigator, a division chief, and a government hacker and counterterrorism employee at the Homeland Security Department. Others visited from networks operated by the Pentagon.

Federal policies vary by agency as to whether employees could visit websites during work hours like Ashley Madison, which could be considered akin to a dating website. But such use raises questions about what personal business is acceptable — and what websites are OK to visit — for U.S. workers on taxpayer time, especially those with sensitive jobs who could face blackmail.

Hackers this week released detailed records on millions of people registered with the website one month after the break-in at Ashley Madison’s parent company, Toronto-based Avid Life Media. The website — whose slogan is, “Life is short. Have an affair” — is marketed to facilitate extramarital affairs.

Few connecting from federal networks had listed government email accounts when subscribing. But the AP was able to trace their government Internet connections, logged by the website over five years and as recently as June. They encompass more than two dozen agencies, such as the departments of State, Justice, Energy, Treasury and Transportation. Others came from House or Senate computer networks.

Records also reveal subscribers signed up using state and municipal government networks nationwide, including those run by the New York Police Department. “If anything comes to our attention indicating improper use of an NYPD computer, we will look into it and take appropriate action,” said NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis.

The AP isn’t identifying the government subscribers it found because they aren’t elected officials or accused of a crime.

Many federal customers appeared to use nongovernment email addresses with handles such as “sexlessmarriage,” ”soontobesingle” or “latinlovers.” Some Justice Department employees also appeared to use prepaid credit cards to help preserve their anonymity but nonetheless connected to the service from their office computers.

“I was doing some things I shouldn’t have been doing,” a Justice Department investigator told the AP. Asked about the threat of blackmail, the investigator said if prompted he would reveal his actions to his family and employer to prevent it. “I’ve worked too hard all my life to be a victim of blackmail. That wouldn’t happen,” he said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was deeply embarrassed and not authorized by the government to speak to reporters using his name.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter confirmed Thursday the Pentagon was looking into the list of people who used military email addresses. Adultery can be a criminal offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“I’m aware of it,” Carter said. “Of course it’s an issue because conduct is very important. And we expect good conduct on the part of our people. … The services are looking into it and as well they should be. Absolutely.”

Focused Probe

The AP’s review was the first to reveal that federal workers used their office systems to access the site, based on their Internet Protocol addresses associated with credit card transactions. It focused on searching for government employees in especially sensitive positions who could perhaps become blackmail targets.

The government hacker at the Homeland Security Department, who didn’t respond to phone or email messages, included photographs of his wife and infant son on his Facebook page. One assistant U.S. attorney declined through a spokesman to speak to the AP, and another didn’t return phone or email messages.

A White House spokesman said Thursday he couldn’t immediately comment on the matter. The IT administrator in the White House didn’t return email messages.

While rules can vary by agency, Homeland Security rules, for instance, say devices should be used for only for official purposes. It also prescribes “limited personal use is authorized as long as this use does not interfere with official duties or cause degradation of network services.” Employees are barred from using government computers to access “inappropriate sites” including those that are “obscene, hateful, harmful, malicious, hostile, threatening, abusive, vulgar, defamatory, profane, or racially, sexually, or ethnically objectionable.”

The hackers who took credit for the break-in had accused the website’s owners of deceit and incompetence, and said the company refused to bow to their demands to close the site. Avid Life released a statement calling the hackers criminals. It added that law enforcement in both the U.S. and Canada is investigating and declined comment beyond its statement Tuesday that it was investigating the hackers’ claims.

Week’s Winners and Losers: Starbucks Pours, Walmart Snores

Company Signs

There were plenty of winners and losers this week, with the king of coffeehouses expanding its evening fare and a retail giant disappointing investors with its quarterly results.

Starbucks (SBUX) — Winner

The baron of baristas is also apparently open to tapping a keg or uncorking a wine bottle as the hours drag. The cult-fave premium coffeehouse chain rolled out Starbucks Evenings on Tuesday, transforming some of its units in select markets into lounges complete with beer, wine and appetizers after 4 p.m. Yes, you can still get all of its signature beverages at that time.

It’s a smart move. Business peaks in the morning at Starbucks and while it’s not exactly a tumbleweed-infested ghost town at night, there’s clearly not the same kind of demand for caffeinated blasts of coffee later in the day. It’s a great way to expand its offerings at a time when baristas have more time on their hands.

Starbucks will be taking things slow. It envisions Starbucks Evenings at just a quarter of its more than 12,000 stateside locations in five years. If the concept takes off, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the rollout escalate.

Ashley Madison — Loser

Some hackers apparently aren’t cool with adultery. The mailing list of Ashley Madison — the fling site that proudly positions itself as a place for married people to hook up — was compromised. Reports Tuesday indicated that 32 million registered account addresses were made public following the hack.

In a juicy twist, many of the email addresses apparently belong to the domains of some of big banking giants of New York City as well as federal employees. Let that be a lesson to anyone who thinks that it’s OK to use a workplace email to register for a site that can come to haunt you in the future.

Lumber Liquidators (LL) — Winner

One of this year’s worst stocks bounced back on one of the market’s darkest days. Shares of Lumber Liquidators soared 9 percent on Thursday with the rest of general market taking a hit.

The hardwood flooring retailer got a rare boost after a Wall Street analyst upgraded her rating on the stock, raising her price target from $15 to $18 along the way. Cantor Fitzgerald’s analyst recently toured a store with senior management, walking away with a feeling that gross margins in the long term won’t be as low as she had initially feared.

Lumber Liquidators has walked the plank this year. The stock had fallen nearly 80 percent in 2015 before Thursday’s pop, most of that damage coming after “60 Minutes” ran a scathing report alleging that its China-sourced laminates had dangerous levels of formaldehyde. However, after months of analyst downgrades and plunging price targets, there’s finally someone ready to pound the table.

Walmart (WMT) — Loser

It isn’t easy being Walmart these days. The stock hit another 52-week low after posting uninspiring quarterly results. Walmart lowered its profit guidance for the entire fiscal year. Adding insult to injury, rival Target (TGT) also reported fresh financials, and it actually boosted its outlook.

Home Depot (HD) — Winner

The orange aprons are cleaning up. Home Depot came through with a strong quarterly report. The home improvement superstore chain experienced a 5.7 percent spike in comparable-store sales since the prior year, and it’s also boosting its guidance.

The strong report earned Wall Street’s attention. Analysts at Argus and Credit Suisse raised their price targets on the retailer.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Home Depot, Lumber Liquidators and Starbucks. The Motley Fool owns shares of Lumber Liquidators and Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Looking for a winner for your portfolio? Check out The Motley Fool’s one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.