April 08, 2008

Flickr Video - Huh?! 90 Second Videos Can Be Added to Flickr

By Li Evans

Flickr_video_1 I just managed to catch this via a Tweet from @davewiner, did a quick search and found out that just today Flickr's added Video to its features.  I'm scratching my head here, literally in utter confusion!

Yahoo! owns Flickr.  But Yahoo! also owns its own video uploading service.  Also Yahoo! acquired Jumpcut well over a year ago.  I'm befuddled.... yet another identity crisis for another Yahoo owned property?  Guys, come on, stop confusing us!

Granted, Flickr videos are only limited to 90 seconds, when Yahoo Video can upload a lot more, and Jumpcut allows you to mix and mashup videos, it all just really seems a little confusing, doesn't it?  It definitely is tough to keep track of, that's for sure.  While I love Yahoo's dedication to pushing forward in social media, sometimes I wish it would have all of its ducks in a row and utilize services and cross promote a little more, it would lead to a lot less general confusion.

Flickr_video_2 Perhaps taking Jumpcut and combining it with Flickr wouldn't be such a bad idea.  You could mashup your photos into neat videos with sound, or combine them with videos.  That's the really neat thing about Jumpcut.

Regardless - it is aimed at a particular market.  Cellphones and smaller digital cameras that take short clips.  Uploading these straight from the devices just like you can with photos with your Flickr account is who this is aimed at, and with how devoted Flickr users are, it won't take much time to catch on like wildfire.  Right now its just for pro account users, so unless you've upgraded to the pro account, you won't have the unlimited video feature.

Definitely something I'll be using!  Kudos Flickr!  Yahoo .. could you just make up your mind, already? LOL

April 06, 2008

Facebook Chat: Great...Another Chat Client I Need to Manage

By Li Evans

Inside Facebook's Screen cap of Facebook's Chat ClientFor a few select networks, Facebook has rolled out a new way to "chat" online.  Inside Facebook has the scoop on using it, so check out the write up over there which even has screen shots included.

While Facebook is doing some neat integrations, and while developers are coming up with more neat application for user to integrate with their profile, I just sort of find this news of a way to "chat", sort of boring.  MySpace has had this for at least a year, and to be perfectly honest, Yahoo!'s IM just dominates this space.

For people who have been around the internet and chatting long enough to have a 6 digit ICQ ID, this really comes off as a "< insert yawn here >".  What would have maybe had more of a "hey that's cool" reaction is that if Facebook's team would have taken the time and reached out to Cerulean Studios (makers of Trillian) to have them integrate Facebook's chatting abilities into its multi-chat program client. 

Trillian_astra_build_75 In today's world of multitasking and trying to limit the clients running on desktops, adding another place I have to manage people I speak to, is just a real hassle.  Trillian gives me 90% of the management in one simple place.  A lot of people in tech and search utilize Trillian and the impending release of Astra is just really going to rock (I'm testing, and I can vouch for it!).  Adding Facebook in for the launch of Trillian would benefit both companies.

From "Inside Facebook":

"What does Chat mean for developers? Currently, Facebook does not support Platform integration with Chat, though a couple of weeks ago Facebook’s Matt Cohler indicated that adding Chat APIs (and Jabber support) is in their plans. Obviously, just like Facebook, developers are interested in finding additional ways to engage their users."

So...maybe that means we'll see something coming in the next few months along these lines.  MySpace has it already, I kind of feel like Facebook, is a bit behind here.  It would be nice to be able to just add my Facebook account into my Trillian client, heck maybe then I'd actually get notified of emails and friend requests a lot more promptly too!

More discussions over at Techmeme.

February 02, 2008

Google, That NoFollow Thing? Could You Explain How To Use It, Officially?

By Li Evans

Google Webmaster Central has no FAQ Page on 'nofollow'Can anyone from Google explain to me (and the rest of the search industry) why on earth you have no documentation on how you want website owners using the "rel = nofollow" attribute on links?  Honestly, I'm really frustrated and quite frankly annoyed about "speculation" and "theory" about what nofollow should be used for and not used for.

While I respect Matt Cutts, a lot of time Matt treads a very thin line between giving too much information that can be totally misconstrued, and yet not enough information.... which again, can be totally misconstrued.  See the little predicament here!? 

I would like to request that Google - OFFICIALLY, put a page in your FAQ's on the webmaster central area, about NoFollow and a link to that FAQ page in its Webmaster Guidelines.  Please explain what Google views it as, how it should be used and how it shouldn't be used.  Give examples, give webmasters something concrete to work with rather than summations from people within the search industry, who don't work at Google.  You see, by not having something official, you confuse webmasters or website owners who have no clue about optimizing their site.  It creates confusion, rumors and misinformation, all things that are BAD for your search engine.

I've searched, and I've wrote about this before, throughout the Google Terms of Service, the Webmaster Guidelines, the FAQ pages, the About Us section, and I can find nothing that states what nofollow is, nor how Google wants webmasters to use it.  I do find that Google wants you to Report Paid Links and to use nofollow stop spiders from falling into Calendars that create spider traps.  I've found a posting in Google Groups about nofollow (btw, no one from Google's posted to this thread yet), but beyond these drips and drabs of small information - there is nothing official.  I don't understand why Google hasn't done this already.  Maybe they like to see the search engine industry run around and try and figure it out? (I have an inkling they do LOL)

Take a look at all the interesting theories, mentions in drafts and even comments from your lead Spam Engineer all within the last couple of months:

See that last one in the list?  Why does it have to be Matt Cutts on someone else's blog (not on Google's site, and not on Webmaster Central Blog) clarifying what the "proper use" of NoFollow is?  How does someone who doesn't really know the ins and outs of this particular industry find this information when it's not on your site?

Google Webmaster Central Blog - search for 'nofollow' produces no resultsEven on the Webmaster Central Blog, I have found advice on lots of things but nothing about NoFollow.  I found FAQ's on Sitemaps, best practices given to the audience at Pubcon,  and how to remove my content from Google.  Where's the stuff on NoFollow?  Come on guys and gals - it's really not that difficult to produce a page that can be easily understood by not just the search community but by any webmaster whether they have SEO experience or not.

Google, since you've been the most vocal and the search engine who's change the meaning and use of nofollow the most since it was introduced at a SES Conference so long ago, could you please, pretty please, pretty please with whipped cream and a cherry on top - produce an FAQ page on the use of NoFollow!  It probably wouldn't be a bad idea either for Matt to post about it on Webmaster Central since you do have over 25k in a subscriber base!

December 20, 2007

Is Twitter Really Dangerous? Get A Plan In Place Now!

By Li Evans

Twitterlogo I "heart" Twitter

With that said, I was a little taken aback by Michael Krigsman's "Twitter Is Dangerous" title of his article when I saw it on Techmeme this morning.  I was like HUH?  Really now, you aren't going to tell me Al Qaeda is using it to send secret messages are you?  Then I read the article.

Michael's definitely got a great point.  Fortunately for Twitter, most of it's early adopters have a sense of what is ethical to do and not do when it comes to "tweeting" on Twitter.  However, as Twitter's user base grows (it's now over 700,000 users) and enters more into the mainstream, not only is this going to be an issue for IT departments but for Public Relations and Online Marketing Departments as well.

This is the time when you need to add Twitter to your "online communications" policy. Twitter is not like your normal instant messenger like AOL's AIM, Yahoo Instant Messenger or ICQ.  Those IM clients are one-to-one communications.  With Twitter you can talk to hundreds and possibly thousands of followers with just 1 tweet that's 140 characters long.

Onlinecommuncationscartoon Twitter is great when you want to reach the captive masses fast.  It can also be a burden if your employees are using Twitter and do not understand the implications of one tweet that leaks vital information.  However, this burden is no more dangerous than having an employee hitting "reply all" or posting a blog post about sensitive information.  The issue needs to be addressed with company employees about discretion and use of online communication mediums.

Is Twitter really dangerous?  Only if you don't plan for and address the key issues your company could potentially have with it.  If you don't have an online communications policy in place now, get one and make sure Twitter's added to the mix.  If you do have one in place, make sure you add Twitter and notify your employees about the policy changes.

September 09, 2007

Philly Podcamp 2007 - Saturday Wrapup

By Li Evans

Philly Podcamp 2007, Unconference 9/8/9=07Philly Podcamp was held at Drexel University this weekend.  I got to attend and present during yesterday's (Saturday) presentation.  I've never been to any of the type of unconferences before, so this was definitely a great experience for me.  I tell you, the folks that organized Philly Podcamp deserve to great props - Whitney, Jen, Melissa, Chris, Drew and the rest of the team put together an amazing time.

I wasn't even aware that there was a philly podcamp until Corey (and Jen), from the Bucket Podcast, Twittered about needing camping gear for going to Podcamp.  I went and checked out the site and was amazed at what had been set up.  So I pinged Christine and Bill and said "What do you think?  Worth out time?", of course my mind had already been made up, and they both agreed and Bill was going to tag along to attend, too.

Continue reading "Philly Podcamp 2007 - Saturday Wrapup" »

March 26, 2007

Is Google Positioning itself to the Television Model?

By Account Deleted

Googletv If there is one thing that Google has taught us online marketers, it is to play the SEM game by their rules. They educate us and push us all to follow their own best practices and we have reacted as if it's gospel. If you don't follow the rules, they will penalize you in terms of increased cost per clicks and  higher budgets. But they do it in such a way where it appears to be benefiting everyone.

Over the years, Google has preached its Quality Score which is based on relevancy at the keyword, Ad/Creative and Landing page levels. So, we are all at the mercy of Google for when they make a change to an algorithm or change their quality score. However, I have to raise the question: Why is Google doing this?

It's easy to conclude that Google has already changed the online marketing world and everyone wants a piece of it. But there's comes a point where important decisions have to be made to sustain growth. Market Over Saturation is becoming an increasing problem and Google needs to find a way to handle both their investor's wallets where they need to constantly increase their adwords revenue as well as provide a product that continues to drive qualified leads and sales to businesses that will not drive up their online budgets.

My Prediction: I honestly believe there will be a major shift the Google Quality score in the next year where we will see an major increase in CPC (cost per click) for all search terms, (no matter what keyword match) and everyone will be re-focusing on Quality Score as the answer to helping their ROAS %. This would be welcome news to SEM agencies and SEM Blog sites where they have the most knowledge and insider tactics to improve Quality score.

I see that the change in New Quality Score will be based on Keyword Saturation, Competition, Negative keywords and Day parting. We have to believe there is a big percentage of customers users who are not taking advantage of Google's Quality Score tactics and raising the CPCs is Google's way of forcing everyone to play their game. Why? As more and more people bid in this marketplace, the saturation increases. I also believe that Day parting (choosing specific times of the day to advertise your business) will be more prominent as Search Engine Marketing matures itself towards the Television Advertising model.

What will happen is that in order to keep costs down, advertisers will spend more of their money at certain points in the day. For example: There is a business selling widgets and using Analytics, they discover that 75% of all sales occur during the the evening and early morning hours from 8pm-4am .EST rather than during the day. So, utilizing the Day-parting option, will allow for more qualified purchasers, rather than browsers, hence increasing their CPA, ROAS%, or whatever is their KPI metrics. This tactic keeps them profitable in SEM because the CPC's are lower and competition has tailed off because most would be running out of their daily spend.

In conclusion: These are actually very exciting times in Search Engine Marketing as we are starting to see trends of how to get the most out of the Internet channel. There are high saturation levels emerging and online marketers and strategists are starting to look at tactics from other media outlets such as TV to combat this very natural change in the Industry. Let's just hope everyone can grasp to all of the changes and make ourselves and our clients more profitable.

March 18, 2007

Bloglines to Google Reader

By Li Evans

Lately, I've been finding myself quite frustrated with Bloglines.  It all started with wanting to change my "weather" location from West Chester, PA to Limerick, PA.  You'd think that'd be an easy thing, right?  No matter how many times I'd subscribe, then unsubscribe, then resubscribe (thinking something was wrong),  the weather subscription would show it was new (by being bolded) but every time I clicked it would show that there was nothing new.

Googlereader Similarly, any new searches I subscribed too, would do the same thing.  It was getting quite frustrating, and having briefly tried Google Reader a while ago and becoming frustrated, I really wasn't too happy with my options.  But after reading some reviews and knowing what some other friends in the industry have said about Google Reader, I decided to give Google Reader a true trial for a week.

Yesterday I cleared out the old Google Reader stuff I had set up, and then imported the OPML file that contained my Bloglines subscriptions.  My only complaint - it didn't carry over my searches, I had to go through and add them all again.

So after a day and half of using Google Reader (forcing myself to learn it and its quirks), I'm impressed.  It's a lot better than I remember, and I really like how much easier it is to share links.  I think I'll be adding links to the blog posts I find and like to share in with all the changes I'm working on for SMG.

I was a Bloglines die hard user (probably for about 2 years now), but enough is enough.  I'm going to give Google Reader the "good ol' college try."

I hope this goes better than my experiment with Google Maps' Traffic feature (BTW, for Philly it sucks, traffic reports leave a lot to be desired and Traffic.com does a 10 times better job).

March 11, 2007

Daylight Savings Times -Emerson Research Smartset Alarm Clocks, Not So Smart

By Li Evans

Ermersonradioresearchsite_1 Most of us here in the United States "sprung" forward a lot earlier than we have in the past 20 years.  That's because our Government decided to enact a bill to "give us more daylight hours," and to "help us conserve energy."  One thing our wonderful lawmakers forget to take into account is how this will affect technology.  Although not quite as bad as Y2k, there's still annoyances that surround us and have to be dealt with.

Take for example those "SmartSet" alarm clocks.  These are clocks made by Emerson Research, that when you plug them into the wall, they automatically set the time and date.  Now when you buy an alarm clock, how many of you read and save the directions?  Well, today's a day you might be wishing you did, if you have a "smart set" type clock that doesn't use the atomic type timing to set itself.

First let me point out - the Emerson Research website is useless.  Truly a total piece of useless marketing material that couldn't help you no matter how many times you scrolled through their totally flash created site that isn't search engine friendly.  I searched through all of that website for directions about manually resetting the DST (Daylight Savings Time) start and end dates to no avail.

Cks5055semersonsmartsetalarmclock Thankfully - I remembered I had an extra clock (when I bought these things I was working at my former employer - they came in packs of two - hey it was a good deal!), and popped opened the box and pulled out the trusty directions.  Since no one has them printed anywhere online for helping customers who've purchased these types of clocks, I figured I'd do the internet a service and post the directions in "searchable text."

Directions for Resetting the Daylight Savings Time (DST) Start & End Dates on the Emerson Research Smartset Dual Alarm Clock Radio (cks5055s):

  • This should work for all Smartsets, but I cannot make the guarantee (and no, I don't have any other directions, sorry)!
  • Adjusting the DST Start Date on an Emerson Research Smartset:
    1. Depress & hold the MONTH/DATE and the ALARM1 buttons (at the same time).  After 3 seconds the display will show the DST 'start' month, week, and date.  It should be alternately showing "4 F" (April and first week week) and "4. 1".
    2. While still holding the MONT/DATE and the ALARM1 buttons, press the DOWN (or "-") button 3 times, until the display is showing "3" (March) and the week as "F2".  It should alternately flash "3 F2" and "3. 11".
    3. After this is set, the clock should "automatically" reset itself
  • Adjusting the DST End Date on an Emerson Research Smartset:
    1. Depress & hold the MONTH/DATE and the ALARM2 buttons (at the same time).  After 3 seconds the display will show the DST 'end' month, week, and date.  It should be alternately showing "10 L" (October and last week week) and "10. 28".
    2. While still holding the MONT/DATE and the ALARM1 buttons, press the UP (or "+") button 1 time, until the display is showing "11" (November) and the week as "F".  It should alternately flash "11 F" and "11. 4".
    3. After this is set, the clock should "automatically" reset itself

One thing to note, if you ever have to change the lithium backup battery for the Smartset clocks, it will revert back to it's factory defaults and you'll have to go through his all over again.

And this conclude's Search Marketing Guru's public service announcement. :)       We'll be back with relevant online marketing posts with our next posting!

February 21, 2007

Is YouTube the New Napster?

By Li Evans

Flyers After a report I read about the NHL wanting to ban their videos from being embeded, which was subsequently corrected by the NHL on Steve's site - they aren't banning embedding videos, I really got to this eerie feeling reminiscent of Napster, right on the edge of the Internet Bubble.  Granted, this a very broad comparison - there's a lot of technology difference between YouTube and Napster, but there is still some comparisons on the marketing front.

There are a lot of media companies questioning the internet marketing strategies when it comes to YouTube.  YouTube like Napster makes it incredibly easy to share things, big media companies like CBS, NBC and Viacom are all trying to figure out how to recoup some profits from the medium, just like the RIAA wanted to with file sharing on Napster.

This is where lessons in reputation management, word of mouth marketing and internet marketing all converge.  When I first stated the RIAA, come on, admit it - you're immediate thought was a negative one.  You probably had the vision of big bullies who go after grandmothers who let their grandkids use their computers, suing them for thousand of dollars more than their social security checks are worth in a year.  You also, more than likely, had a thought something like "those jerks ruined Napster." Note, that no artist wants to be really linked to the RIAA - there's not one picture of a recognizable "star", or record company on their website, that's how bad their reputation is.

Joost Now, lets look at how different media companies are handling the sharing of video on YouTube and Google.  CBS has embraced YouTube and has seen a rise in veiwership it can directly attribute to the medium.  Viacom and NBC on the other hand have ordered YouTube to remove their content, but, they aren't suing the people who upload their clips, instead they offer the videos on their own sites or looking to other services like Joost to help with their content distribution. 

So which company benefits the most?  In the long run, more than likely it will be CBS, embracing a medium with so many "eyeballs" means they have another medium to advertise on, they just need to figure out that model, is it a banner at the bottom of the screen or perhaps some kind of logo background behind Katie Couric? 

Riaa At least these media companies recognize that this is another viable venue and are treating their viewers with respect, by not going after them directly.  In the case of the RIAA, the result is the back lash of people actually buying CD's has seen an incredible decline.  Music listeners now look to iTunes to pick and choose a song here and there.  And by far, they have probably the most horrid reputation among internet users as a bunch of money hungry lawyers who will bleed the last dime out of you if you downloaded even one song.

These next few months will be very telling for this particular segment of internet marketing.  Those who embrace the medium, can likely benefit in ways the really didn't think they could.  For those who reject the medium - it's all in how you reject it.  There's that old saying "Don't bite the hand that feeds you," it's a lesson the RIAA has learned the hard way over the last couple of years.

February 10, 2007

Could Wikipedia Actually Close in the Next 3-4 Months? Let's Take A Closer Look.

By Li Evans

Florencedevouard There's some articles out in the blogosphere right now quoting a speech given by Florence Devouard at the Lift '07 Conference in Geneva last week.  Florence Devouard is the chairwoman of the Wikimedia Foundation which runs the non-profit Wikipedia.  What has sparked a lot of buzz is what she said about Wikimedia's funding, that basically, one could summarize that Wikimedia is in pretty dire straights.

At this point, Wikipedia has the financial resources to run its servers for about 3 to 4 months. If we do not find additional funding, it is not impossible that Wikipedia might disappear”.

Now that stated, Wikimedia's had to do some back pedaling on what was actually stated in the speech.  Sandra Ordonez, Wikimedia's communications director has been doing "cleanup" and posting on blogs that have the piece from Devouard's speech with the following:

Ordonezcomments

So, with that stated, I opted to do a little digging, especially in light of the news that they just raised over a million dollars (US) in the past few weeks.  Also, although not directly relevant is the fact that Wikia,Inc.,  the for profit "sister" of Wikimedia, just raised $4 million in capital from Bessemer Venture Partners last year.  I just kept wondering, how in the world could Wikimedia be in that dire of straights?

The issue at the root of the cash crunch at Wikimedia Foundation, is its growing popularity.  Its growing popularity means, the need for more hardware (servers, etc.) and higher hosting fees for the network sites, since Wikipedia is now in several languages.  Last year alone the Wikimedia Foundation had to shell out close to $190,000 in hosting fees.  I thought perhaps that this could be one of those foundations that pay their directors exorbitantly, but not the case here at all, salaries  and wages were just over $107,000.  So if they have a tech person or two, plus their director and their communications director, that $107,000 is a pretty decent amount for their staff.

Wikimediafoundationbenefactors I then went from their financial statements to look at who their publicized benefactors were, from which in 2006 they received just over $1.3 million in contributions.  There's not too many "big" names on there.  Yahoo! does contribute with help with their servers in China, Dell with discounted equipment, and Answers.com created their "1 Click Answers - Wikipedia Edition" software.

But then I saw one company, in particular that jumped out at me, on the $1,000 to $4999.99 category - Wikia, Inc.  So I guess Wikimedia Foundation expects the general public to believe they are in these dire straights, without absolutely no one to help, so that the general public will just open their wallets and donate. 

Wikialogo Me, I'm a bit more skeptical and less believing of speeches and hype.  Do you really believe that Wikia, Inc. would let Wikipedia - it's flagship "sister" site - close?  I don't doubt the the venture funding folks took a look at Wikipedia and that was one of their major reasons for investing that $4 million in Wikia, Inc.  If Wikipedia closed, just how would that look for Wikia, Inc. and their chances for future funding? 

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