Manage Layout Groups

The Layout Group tool combines several disparate functions into one strategic location. In addition to actually designing record "layouts"—moving the various fields around to present information to the users—the Layout Groups tool also has functionality to create new database fields, rename/relabel data fields, and add/remove/edit options within dropdown fields.

Anytime you need to make changes to fields and field parameters, the Manage Layout Groups tool is great place to start.

By definition, a Layout in is the function that defines the physical appearance of record objects in the database. They structure the raw data fields floating around in MySQL and give them visible "form and substance."

The Manage Layout Groups tool is comprised of two elements:

  • The individual Layouts for each object type, and
  • Layout Groups, which are a collection of individual layouts grouped according user role.



View and Edit Layouts

View and Edit Layouts

Notice that the Layout Group tool breaks up a record's layout into two sections: a View Layout, and an Edit Layout. As a result, it's possible for a record object's layout to be different depending on how a user works with it.

If a user is viewing a record, but not editing it, the View Layout controls what they see. If they're editing the record, then the Edit Layout is the one in charge.

Still confused? What it means is that depending on how a Layout Group is designed, a user may have an entirely different view of a record when merely looking at it versus making changes to it.

And why would an organization want to design a Layout Group that way? you might ask.

In most cases they don't—95%+ of our clients want the View Layout and the Edit Layout for each object type to be exactly the same. Luckily, makes it very easy to this, by letting you mirror the View and Edit layouts. In the dropdown for each layout view, simply choose the same layout for both sides.

By default, all of your layouts will be mirrored initially, and most companies won't want to change this. Typically a company uses split layouts only when it's absolutely critical that the data in certain fields never be deleted or modified (if a field isn't in the Edit Layout View, it's pretty hard to change it).

The advantages of mirrored layouts are consistency and ease of management. The Sysadmin isn't forced to update two different layouts every time they make a change to a record view, saving time and work. Unless you have a compelling reason otherwise, stick with mirrored layouts.

Data View and Layout Groups

Data View

An extension of your control over data visibility is the View Settings tool. It contains the components Data View (Data Employees) and Layout Groups and is accessible from any page in the LMP as the link in the upper-right of your underlined Name Date Time.

When you click this link it opens a small pop-up window radio button selections for Data View and Layout Groups. Note: Though they're related, don't confuse the Data View capabilities of the View Settings tool with that of Data View Permissions settings on the Employee Information page.

Access Control

This tool is potentially available to each user in the system to set which users' data they want to be able to view and which of their available layout groups they want to use to display data, such as on lead and deal records. There is not system-wide control panel for these settings, so each user will configure this within their own CRM login. Depending on your security policies you (the SysAdmin) may need to login as each user, apply your settings, login as SysAdmin again and disable access to the View Settings tool.

A security policy you may adopt for your team is to restrict data access for Basic Page Permissions group members to only what they need to perform specific tasks within the database. You can begin (preferably after hours) by enabling the View Settings tool link for Basic users within the Manage Permissions link under the Administrative tab. Navigate to Basic and search under the Administrative section for "Link: View Settings" and place a checkmark next to it and click Save at the top.

Now all users in the Basic group should be able to see the link in the upper right and to open the View Settings tool. You will need to login as each user, open the tool in their CRM interface, and apply the desired settings. Once all Basic users are set you can login as SysAdmin again, navigate to the "Link: View Settings" checkbox for Basic users, and disable it. They will have no way to adjust the settings themselves.

Data View (Data Employees)

The point of the Data Employees tool is simply to choose which users in the system you want to acknowledge or disregard, or more accurately, the data where the users have ownership. Notice in the View Settings screenshot that the radio button is set on Data View and the multi-select menu below includes all active users in the system (highlighted in blue). For each name that is highlighted in blue, their ownership data will be visible for this user logged in (who happens to be "Admin1 System" in the screenshot).

Conversely, if any names were de-selected (by holding down the Ctrl key on the keyboard and left-clicking on the name) their ownership data would not be visible to the user with that setting. Essentially the data owned by the de-selected users would cease to exist for the user with those Data Employee settings. Yes, you could mistakenly de-select your own name on that list and hide your own data from yourself. It happens.

Apart from accidentally disappearing your own data, this tool is an effective means of precisely controlling data access among your users. For example, you could hide data owned by you, the SysAdmin, from Basic users by de-selecting your name within each of their View Settings tools. You can set User A to only see data owned by User A and User B, and so on. Remember though, if you set a user as Not Corporate (uncheck the Corporate User checkbox under Data View Permissions on their Edit Employee Information) they will only ever see their own data, regardless of what you set in their Data Employees list. Of course you can still hide their own data from them by de-selecting their own name on their Data Employees list.

Layout Groups

The second radio button on the View Settings tool is Layout Groups, and it allows each user (with access to their View Settings tool) to switch between their available layout groups. You should recall that the Available Layout Groups multi-select menu for each user is located under the Data View Permissions section on their Edit Employee Information page.

In this screenshot you can see a region highlighted in blue for the two available layout groups. (Be sure to familiarize yourself with the rest of the chapters in the Manage Layouts book of this course to understand layout groups and custom layouts.) Layout groups help you define different ways of presenting data in the database records (leads, accounts, deals, for example) for users based on their functional groups. For our example here we see that the user has both Admin Layout Group and Basic user Layout Group selected and available. In the next screenshot we'll see the Layout Groups portion of the View Settings tool.

On the right side of the panel you see a single-select drop menu opened to show the two available choices: Admin Layout Group and Basic User Layout Group, with the former highlighted and set in the system. This user will view data in lead records, for example, as they are defined in the Manage Layout Groups tool. This is useful for a SysAdmin to switch between different layout groups to spot check the layouts and see exactly what other team members will see. Again, this is a setting to help control what the users in the system will see when they pull up data. If users in the Basic Users page permission group don't need to switch around, you can follow the same process that you did for locking down their Data Employees settings.

Custom Fields

Custom Fields

The custom field types are directly linked to the MySQL database technology that powers The field types usually straightforward, representing type of data they house.

Pay particular attention, however, to the custom number fields, integer and real number.

In alphabetical order the fields are:

  • Address – Standard address input field. Includes all 6 entry lines (Address 1, 2, City, State, Zip, Country). One limitation of custom address fields is that it is impossible to import data directly to them from an outside source, such as a spreadsheet. Thus, if you need to import data for two or three separate addresses it is best to create them as individual text fields, rather than as a custom address field.
  • Calculated Field – A calculated field takes numeric values from other fields and performs a simple mathematical calculation to produce a separate result. While very flexible in terms of the data and type of calculations they can perform, calculated fields are very limited in other regards. First, they do not actually store data into a table, meaning that as soon as you leave a page, the calculation is removed. Second, because they do not actually store a value in the database tables, they cannot be searched on or reported in any fashion. This being the case, they are typically only used to run a calculation, at which point the user re-inputs the calculated value into a separate database field.
  • Checkbox – A simple check box field (in the database represented as a 1 or 0; 1 = checked, 0 = unchecked).
  • Custom Contact Field – A contact field is an interesting field, in that it is NOT a general data input field (meaning you can’t put just any data you want into it). A custom contact field is actually a reverse lookup field, similar to the Owner field. When you type in text into a reverse lookup field, it actually begins going into the database and starts searching for relevant matches. In this case, a custom contact field is looking for the record type of Contact. Thus, when you type in the name of a person into a custom it begins to populate the reverse lookup field with potential matches. Once you find the most relevant match, click on it and it will automatically fill in the remaining data.
  • Credit Card – As stated, this houses credit card data in a standard credit card format. Custom credit card fields can also be used to run purchases or merchant transactions when integrated through the™ company settings to an™ merchant account.
  • Currency – Currency fields house data revolving around money, expressed in dollars and cents.
  • Custom Field Monitor – A custom field monitor does not provide the ability to input any data directly, by design it “monitors” another custom field for changes, and then stores the date and time of when the last time the specified custom field was updated.
  • Date Field / Date and Time Field – Two separate fields, both of which store a particular date or date and time in a record for future retrieval. Generally used to track when certain actions take place.
  • Description – Description fields store large volumes of plain text data, normally used for taking detailed notes or other critical information that requires lengthy text entry.
  • Drop-Down Single-Select – Single-select dropdowns contain selectable options, but only one option can be selected at a time.
  • Multi-Select Drop-Down – Multi-select dropdowns can have more than one option selected simultaneously. Hold down the "Ctrl" key on your keyboard as you select multiple items with your mouse.
  • Advanced Multi-Select – The advanced multi-select field is another way of viewing a multi-select dropdown field. Instead of having to use a CTRL-select or SHIFT-select option to highlight multiple entries in a dropdown, an advanced multi-select allows users to simply click on the items they want to select, and then send them to the active selection table.
  • Email Field – For inputting email addresses. When present, all email fields have the small, yellow envelope icon for selecting email templates to send to a particular email address. Be aware, however, that for all mass email activities,™ uses the default email field for each lead or contact.
  • iFrame – An iFrame field is identical to an iFrame panel in any other Web browser or Web based appolication. iFrames are special panels, or fields, that are directly linked to an outside Web site URL. This allows users to have access to an entirely different Web site page, even while logged in and viewing a data record within™.
  • Image Field – All™ systems include a Files tab, which is a central storage vault for documents, digital media, and other files that are not directly part of the database. An image field provides a link within a layout group to upload an image directly to the Files tab, and then have that image displayed directly on the layout screen.
  • Integer – An integer field houses any number that is a whole number, meaning that there are no fractions or decimals. An integer field is identical to a standard number field, the only difference is that an integer field does not use commas for formatting, whereas a number field does.
  • JavaScript –™’s JavaScript fields are one of the most interesting aspects of the layout group system. Because uses Web-based architectures, nearly any Web-based script function can be coded and then inserted into the layout, making it immediately available to the users. It is difficult to describe all of the scenarios in which a JavaScript might be employed, because the possibilities are nearly limitless, but here are a few examples:
    1. A custom JavaScript button is created to automatically go out to a credit rating Web site, search for the name and social security number of a lead record, and then return the credit score into a separate custom text field.
    2. A real estate agent creates a custom JavaScript button to go out to the local MLS listings to retrieve information about the home a potential client is buying or selling.
    3. A warehouse manager creates a JavaScript button that automatically pops up a new Web browser and logs him in to his company’s online inventory tracking system.
  • Link – A custom link field is a place to input a Web site address, which creates a hyperlink to that site. To be a valid link, the field must use the full Web site URL, i.e.,, not just
  • Number (Integer formatted with commas) – As mentioned in the Integer field description, a number field is identical to an integer field, in that the data must be entered as a whole number without fractions or decimals. The difference is that a number field uses commas to format numbers one thousand (1,000) or higher.
  • Phone – Self-explanatory. Houses a phone number. If your system is equipped with PowerDialer licenses you will also see a "Call Now" link enabling you to place a call directly from that record in the CRM.
  • Real number – A Real # field houses a number that is expressed as a decimal fraction, for example, .0455, or 7.8.
  • Text – The most common, basic type of custom field. Text fields are manual text input fields. Any type of text (numbers or letters) can be input, up to 100 characters in length.
  • Timer – A timer field creates a “stopwatch” clock field, which can be started or stopped by the user. Timer fields are generally used to track the length of certain processes, particularly for specific sales or customer support activities.


Customer Questions

"Does it matter where I put fields in the layout / what order they're in / how close together they are?"

There's really no right or wrong answer to this question, but here are a few tips:

  • Don't put the fields too close together in your layout. When viewing and editing data, if fields are placed in close proximity, data fields may end up overlapping when viewed, making it difficult to see certain areas of the layout. We recommend keeping a reasonable gap between each field. You'll of course want to inspect your layout from time to time by looking at real records in the database to ensure the best quality.
  • Don't hide or bury critical data from your user's view. For cultures that use Latin-based languages, from the moment we begin reading our eyes our trained to read from left-to-right, top-to-bottom. Well guess what, the same principles apply to creating a page layout. A good record layout will have the most critical information at the top of the form, organized in a way that the user can quickly access it. Keep the most essential information in front of the user as often as possible.
  • Remember that users can use the TAB key while entering data to move between fields—if the layout has been set up correctly. The cursor moves from left to right, top to bottom while tabbing through fields, so if you want information entered in a certain order, set the fields in the layout to follow that pattern (i.e., First name on top left, Last name on top right, followed by Account name below left, followed by phone number below right, and so on).

"I like my sales reps, but some of them aren't great at typing or data input. Is there anything I can do to speed things up in my layouts?"

This is a common problem for many organizations. Despite its sophistication, at its core™ still requires some level of data entry to work to its ultimate potential. Without at least some marginal effort by users and managers to track and organize data, the system quickly breaks down.

One thing you can do to alleviate some of the headache of data entry is to use drop-down fields as much as you can. Drop-downs are great for slow typers, because they don't have to take their hand away from their mouse or actually key in any data to select data. Just be sure not to get too carried away with drop-down fields if it's not appropriate. For example, if you suddenly find you keep having to add options to a drop-down field constantly, or you have dropdowns with more than two or three dozen options, you should probably change those over to text fields and have the users type them in. One benefit of drop-downs for you as a manager is that you'll get consistent data entry from your agents. That will help as you want to build reporting and system optimization.

"Is it better to use a multiple page layout if I have a lot of fields, or should I just increase the height and width of form so I can fit everything in?"

The answer to this question is simply, "Whatever works best for you and your users." If your users don't mind scrolling to input data, change the page height and width. If that method appears too disorganized, or you simply prefer using a multiple page form, then use that method. You may also want to look into "conditional panels" that open or close sections of the layout depending on what drop-down menu choices you agents select. That way your agents will only have open what they need for each record. We won't cover that feature in this level of certification, but we'd be glad to discuss it with you in Implementation and Support.

"What are the most common custom fields people use?"

By far the most commonly used fields are text and custom dropdowns. Date fields are a distant third. More commonly though our users like to rename existing standard fields. This is perfectly acceptable, but watch out that you don't get yourself and our Support team confused when they try to diagnose and troubleshoot system problems.

"How much text can I put in a standard text field? A description field?"

Text fields hold up to 100 characters of text; description fields hold over 30,000 characters (15 pages or so). Some fields can be adjusted to hold and/or display more than the default limits. In the Layout Editor tool work within the "Field Properties" panel to make those adjustments.

"Can you get my layouts to also order my pizza for lunch?"

Umm . . . well actually, we could if you wanted to. Create a JavaScript button that integrates to Papa John's Web site with all of your favourite toppings pre-selected . . . and actually, we're really only half-kidding about this. Really.

Best Practices

Layouts per User Role

Layouts per User Role

We have allowed you to create multiple layouts per user role. Smaller organizations find that they never need more than one group of layouts at a time, but most organizations will create several groups to meet users' needs.

User Access

User Access

Often the primary motivation for creating multiple views of the same data is to control what specific fields are accessible to your team members. For example, you may not want to show the Lead Source or the number of dial attempts to your agents to keep them from "cherry picking" their leads. There are three specific methods for controlling which users or user groups will have access to the layouts your build:

  • Employee Information. (Under the Admin tab.) This defines what their default layout group will be.
  • Data View Permissions. (Click on your own name in the upper right of the LMP.) This blocks a user from changing their own layout.
  • Manage Layout Groups. (Under the Admin tab.) You can explicitly assign which users will "belong to" each layout group.

How To

Create a Layout

Create a Layout

To start editing an individual layout, choose the Layout type you want to change, and click the Edit link next to it. In theory it doesn't matter whether you choose the Edit Layout or the View Layout to make your changes, but we've found that for visual design consistency and spacing, it's better to make changes on the Edit Layout side.

After making your selection, the system will transition to the Layout Editor tool, as shown.

When you get there, you'll see that the editor has two basic components:

  • The layout page form itself, which creates the basic "shape" of the object record, and
  • The Property Menus on the right side of the screen.

Page Form Construction

The page editor area uses a simple drag-and-drop interface to move fields within the record form. Practice moving a few fields around to get used to the feel of the tool.

As you work with the drag-and-drop layout editor, you may notice times when you attempt to move a field and it doesn’t move where you intend. This is normally caused by dropping the field too close to another one, or too close to the form border. When this happens, the editor detects the overlap won't allow you to drop the field, pushing it back to the spot where you picked it up.

You also have the option to move fields using the arrow keys on your keyboard. This gives you the ability to move fields into tight spaces, with more precision. Holding down the CTRL while you tap the arrow keys will speed up the movement to about 10 pixels at a time.

Moving Blocks of Fields Together

In many cases instead of moving fields one at a time, it's more efficient to move a block of fields together. To do this, you'll use a combination of the mouse and keyboard together.

First, select all of the fields you want to move as a block using the mouse. After you select the first field, hold down the CTRL key and select the remaining fields you want to move as a block. When finished, all of the fields will be outlined in blue, as shown.

Once all of the fields are highlighted, instead of using your mouse to drag them, use the Arrow Keys on your keyboard to move the block of fields together. If you continue to hold down the CTRL key while you use the arrows, the fields will move faster; if you use the arrow keys by themselves, they fields will move more slowly. Try using this technique to get used to the movement.

Layout Menus and Properties

The page form area defines the physical appearance of the record object, but all of the other functions hang out in the various Properties menus on the right side of the Layout Editor. From top to bottom, they are:

  • Form Properties
  • Panel Properties
  • Field Properties
  • Available Fields
  • Editor Properties

Form Properties Menu

The form properties menu controls the basic visual elements of your layout: form and field size, color, and type (font).

Height and Width: These properties control the basic size of the page form. For instance, try increasing the height of your layout 100 pixels greater than its current setting. Then point and click the mouse in a blank area in the form, and watch as the system adds white space at the bottom of the form.

Field / Label Container Width: These adjust the width of the field labels, and the containers which house the actual data. These are general settings that apply to all of the fields in the form, though some fields can be altered by adjusting their individual Field Properties, which will be shown in another section.

Font Size and Form Font Family: These control which font and font size the Web browser will use to render the form text.

Color Settings: Each of the color settings can be adjusted for personal taste and preference, though we recommend using a light background with dark text for easiest visbility.

Show Label Above Field: This switches the field labels to appear above the input line, rather than next to it. Some administrators prefer this type of data entry, though in most cases the default works just fine. Be aware that changing the label location can cause major changes to the spacing of your fields in side your layout. If you're going to use this option, do it from the beginning while you're setting up your field locations, otherwise you'll be forced to re-align and redistribute the fields after the change is made.

Copy Attributes from Layout: If you have set up another layout of the same record type, you can immediately import the font, size, and color properties of the existing layout, so that the layout you are currently editing matches. This is a very nice time saving feature when you're creating multiple layouts for the same object type.

Add / Delete / Previous / Next Page: The layout editor gives admins the option to create layouts with more than one page. This is very useful for organizations with large numbers of input fields, so users do not have to constantly scroll up and down (or left and right) to input data. However, it does mean users need to be aware that not all data fields are contained on a single page.

Show / Hide Hidden Fields: The hidden fields option is used to reveal any fields that have been hidden in a Panel, and are not currently visible. A more detailed explanation of panels will be given in a separate section.

Panel and Field Properties Menus


Panels are a unique aspect of the layout tool that allows sysadmins more control over their record layouts, and make certain areas of the site more secure.

A panel is essentially a section, or block of the page form that can appear or disappear depending on a variable selected by the user. If a specific field variable is chosen, the panel appears with a new set of fields.

A panel can also be set as always active, meaning it appears in the layout regardless of criteria. Most of the time, however, panels will be criteria based.

When a dropdown option is selected that controls a panel, the layout of the document automatically updates as the panel opens. Sysadmins can also add security features to panels based on record ownership. This means that only a record owner, for instance, could access certain fields contained within the panel, while anyone who doesn't own the record would have no ability to see or modify those same fields.

Be aware that as you add panels, they appear in order along the bottom of the page layout, and cannot be moved. This means that you need to plan ahead the order in which the panels appear, and which fields should be placed into each one.

Panels are not required for your layouts to work, but can be useful for sysadmins who want to create more dynamic, streamlined, secure layouts.

Field Properties Menu

The Field Properties menu gives sysadmins control over the individual fields within the layout form. You can use this menu to change field names, make fields searchable within the database, add and modify options to dropdown fields, and link dropdowns to panels.

To use the Field Properties menu, select a field within the layout form (you'll see it faintly outlined in blue when it is selected). Once highlighted, come back to the Field Properties menu, where you can now modify the field.

One of the most important Field Properties actions is editing custom dropdown fields. To edit a dropdown field, highlight the field, then go to the Field Properties and click the Edit Options link. The system will pop up the Manage Dropdown window to allow you to begin editing the dropdown options. See the section of this guide entitled Manage Dropdown Window (below) for more information about this interface.

Notice also the Panel Controls heading, and the Log Changes checkbox. The panel control links a dropdown field, and the option within that field, to trigger particular panel.

The Log Changes option is used if you want to keep a running log of changes made to that field and store it with the record, for example, if I wanted to make a log of changes to the Rating field. Any time a user modifies the Rating field, a log is created and stored.

The Default field is used to select a default value for this field. The default value is automatically selected whenever a new record that uses this layout is created. You can also select the default value on the field itself in the main layout editor window.

Note: Default Values are not available for certain types of fields, including most password fields, advanced multi-select fields, date/time fields.

Manage Dropdown Window

Let's go into a little more detail about the window.

From here, you can determine which options are available in the dropdown and how they are displayed. To change the order in which options are displayed, highlight one and press the Up and Down Arrow buttons to move them.

To remove an option from the list, highlight it and use the Right and Left Arrow buttons in the center of the window to move it from the "Active" list to the "Disabled" list. To make an option available again, move it to the "Active" list.

Below the arrow buttons are the Create (marked with a "+") and Edit (marked with a pencil symbol) buttons. Pressing either of these buttons will bring up a window in which you can edit the parameters of a dropdown setting.

There are three options to edit for this dropdown entry:

  • Name: This name appears in the dropdown itself.
  • Default Option: Checking this box makes this entry the default. It will be selected automatically in the dropdown whenever a new record is created, but can be manually changed if needed. NOTE: This option is overridden if another default option is selected from the Default Values area of the Field Properties box in the layout editor.
  • Description: Information entered in this box will appear to an agent who hovers his mouse over the dropdown option. This may be helpful, for example, to tell your agents about the situations in which you'd like the option to be used.

A limited number of dropdown statuses, such as those involved with the Lead Status dropdown, will display a number of other options.

Here are some brief instructions about this interface

Standard Options: These are the typical options that all dropdown statuses share, as explained as above. They include:

  • Lead Status: This is the same as the Name field described above. Enter a name for this status here.
  • Default Option: See description in previous section.
  • Description: See description in previous section.

Record Tracking: These options tell the system how this status should be used for record keeping. These records are available through the Reports engine.

  • Point Value: This assigns the number of "points" assigned to an agent who places the record into this status. Points are an optional method of record-keeping which you may use to track agent performance on your Reports.
  • Appointment Set: This causes one to be added to the the "Appointment Set" count tracked by the Reports function whenever an agent selects this lead status.
  • Appointment Held:This causes one to be added to the the "Appointment Held" count tracked by the Reports function whenever an agent selects this lead status.
  • Won:This causes one to be added to the the "Won" count tracked by the Reports function whenever an agent selects this lead status.
  • Lost:This causes one to be added to the the "Lost" count tracked by the Reports function whenever an agent selects this lead status.
  • Contacted:This causes one to be added to the the "Contacted" count tracked by the Reports function whenever an agent selects this lead status.

Record Actions: These options tell the system to perform certain actions whenever a record is designated with this status.

  • Deleted: Checking this box will cause the record to be deleted when this status is selected. Note that deleted records still exist in the system and can be recovered until deleted records are purged.
  • Requires Call-Back: Checking this box will require to create a callback when this status is selected.

Additional Sorting:

  • Process: This is an important dropdown which allows you to sort who will see this status option in their dropdown lists and who will not. If left on the default, which is labled "[SELECT]" all employees will be able to see this option in their dropdown. It can also be set to "Main," "Marketing," or "Accounting," which will limit the availability of this option to employees set to those designations.

Available Fields Menu

The Available Fields menu shows all of available fields that are currently not being used in the layout. To add an available field to the layout, it’s as simple as dragging and dropping the desired field into the form.

In many cases, though, the data field you need in the layout simply doesn’t exist. When this happens, it’s time to go ahead and create our own custom field using the Add New Field button.

After clicking the button, a new window pops up with a dialogue box to give the new field a name, and choose the type of field it should be. Typically the most difficult part is choosing the type of field, particularly if you’re not familiar with some basic database management conventions. In the next section, we’ll talk in detail about the field type options to make sure you create the right types of field for your needs.

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