Archives for posts with tag: tech
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Microsoft has decided to join us all in the year 2005 and acknowledge that not everyone in the universe is still using Internet Explorer by opening up their adCenter user interface to Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the rest of us have moved on to 2012 since then, and 2012 is a very different world than 2005. Internet Explorer usage has been plummeting over those years and it has become pure folly to ignore browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Safari. One might think that Microsoft would want to make it easy for advertisers to give them money, regardless of browser, but this notion has eluded Microsoft since the inception of adCenter. While every other website on the planet, including Microsoft properties like Bing.com, took pains to become compatible with every browser, adCenter remained off limits to those without Internet Explorer for years. That includes the entire population of Mac users! 

I'm glad to see Microsoft making these strides but it really does seem like very little very late. I wonder what woke them up to the fact that they couldn't bully Chrome/Firefox/Safari users? Maybe it was when they noticed that Apple does more business with just the iPhone than Microsoft does with everything! Whatever it was, I hope that this is only the first in a series of improvements to adCenter, a platform that is still playing catchup to Yahoo's Panama, which was playing catchup to AdWords when Microsoft decided to sunset it in 2010.
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SOPA is the Stop Online Piracy Act. Normally, neither I nor any other blogger would bother elaborating much further because it’s easier to hyperlink to a Wikipedia article that would give you the gist. That’s the beauty of the free dissemination of information made possible by the Internet. However, today, Wikipedia and a growing contingent of other sites including Google, Reddit, Mashable, Mozilla, Etsy, Wired and others are fighting back by blacking out their sites for the day in protest against SOPA.

Why would they do this? Because although SOPA and PIPA (Protect Internet Protocol Act) may have been written initially to stop online piracy of music and films, the way that the legislation is written would allow for the government to shut down any websites that contain or even link to other sites that contain any pirated material without due process. As the Oatmeal puts it, “This is like dealing with a lion that has escaped from the zoo by blasting some kittens with a flamethrower.” That’s not far off, either. Technically, Justin Bieber’s rise to fame on YouTube could have shut down the entire site just because he was singing his favorite songs that were the intellectual property of record companies. You may not like Justin Bieber, but you probably don’t think that YouTube should have to shut its doors because of a little kid with a great voice and a silly haircut! 

In response to these bills, sites across the Internet have been shutting themselves down in an effort to make a statement that although piracy may be bad, SOPA and PIPA would be worse.

Everyone should be able to agree that stealing is wrong. However, that does not mean that this makes SOPA or PIPA worth voting for. The punishment should fit the crime and, more importantly, the solution should do less harm to society than the problem. In my opinion, any measure taken to stop a problem that invokes the circumvention of due process falls into that category of doing more harm than good. If we can “put up with” due process for murderers and rapists, I cannot understand why we wouldn’t extend it to kids who just didn’t want to pay $14.99 for Watch the Throne. Of course, if you’re a suspected terrorist–i.e. not a terrorist, necessarily, but a suspected terrorist–the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) has already done away with your due process as of earlier this year.

The reason that the Bill of Rights was written and then later extended to the states in the 14th Amendment was because those rights (free speech, freedom of religion, due process, freedom of assembly**, etc.) were supposed to be inalienable for all people. With the NDAA, we’ve already passed one bill that would allow indefinite detention of American citizens without due process; I hope that we won’t make denying our constitutional rights the new national pastime here in the USA. Piracy is bad but Orwellian censorship and consolidated government oversight are worse, inexcusable and thoroughly un-American.

To sign a petition to stand against SOPA and PIPA, please go to google.com/takeaction. Thanks! 

**In my opinion, the liberal use of force in quelling the “Occupy” protests showed that freedom of assembly is also severely under attack.

 

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If anyone out there has an interest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), please go check out Wpromote's new, free SEO audit tool. I'm really proud of all the people who helped create this tool and I hope that people will find it useful when trying to figure out where their websites stand in the eyes of the search engines. The tool has been honed for months but I know that the SEO team at Wpromote would welcome suggestions. If you have any ideas as to what could be added to the tool, feel free to post a comment here or to email Wpromote directly at contact@wpromote.com. Thanks!

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"If we can't have Groupon, then no one can!" Is that what they're saying in Mountain View? 

Google was recently unable to acquire the king of coupon sites but that wasn't the end of the story. Just yesterday, Google went live with Google Offers, a competitor to sites like Groupon and Living Social. The initial launch will be in Portland, Oregon with expansion to New York and San Francisco soon to follow. It will be interesting to see how successful Google can be with this model. Groupon is certainly the "Kleenex" of this space; their name has become nearly synonymous with the concept of online deals. That said, the model is simple and Google should have no problem duplicating it and putting the necessary funding behind establishing relationships with interested businesses. This may turn out to be worse news for the Living Socials and smaller sites than it is for Groupon but it's still a move that puts the pressure squarely on Groupon to avoid complacency.

Not to be outdone, Groupon took a cue from just about every other major company in the online space and poached one of Google's top executives, Margo Georgiadis. The former Google VP of Global Sales and Planning will be joining the Groupon team as their new COO. Google has lost plenty of employees to Facebook, Twitter, Apple and others, so it's likely that they'll be able to cope with the loss of yet another talented top executive. That notwithstanding, Groupon may come out ahead in this exchange if Google Offers suffers the same fate as Google's other notable, social side projects like Google Buzz and Google Me (what happened to that?!). If Georgiadis can provide the leadership, direction and knowledge that Groupon seeks, they may have the online deals niche locked up for the foreseeable future.   

It seems like Silicon Valley is becoming a real-life soap opera, with Google playing the central role. There's the Google/Microsoft feud over desktop apps and search, the Google/Facebook fight over which one is the most pervasive online company in everyday life, the Google/Apple battle over mobile operating systems and now the Google/Groupon competition over online deals. Of course, Microsoft, Apple and Facebook aren't big fans of one another either but that just adds to thrilling nature of the twisting and turning plot line! Grab your popcorn, this is far from over. [Wired and TechCrunch]

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Every football-loving American knows that that the best platform for fantasy football is Yahoo’s. If you disagree and you use NFL.com’s or ESPN.com’s platform for your fantasy football, I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. Yahoo’s interface is easier, its iPhone app is better and the pages load faster and without noisy, auto-play ads. In order to use Yahoo’s fantasy football vehicle, though, you have to have a Yahoo ID. Well, that may not be the case next football season.

AllThingsD reports that Yahoo will soon begin to allow users to log in using their Facebook and (gasp!) Google accounts. Gizmodo’s take on the situation is that Yahoo is simply giving up, waving the white flag in a similar manner that MySpace did years ago. Yahoo was long considered one of the biggest, strongest, most important and most relevant Internet companies in the world. It was one of the few companies to survive the Dot-Com Bubble of the late 90s and was still going strong years later. In the past few years, though, Google’s dominance of the search space, Facebook’s dominance of the social space and Microsoft’s annexation of Yahoo’s paid search platform left very little for Yahoo to capitalize on aside from their display network (which has also lost ground to Google’s). The writing has been on the wall for some time and it seems that Yahoo’s best days are officially in the rear-view mirror.

In my opinion, the big news isn’t Yahoo’s retreat; that was a long time coming. It’s not even that Yahoo will allow accounts from its long time nemesis, Google, to log in, even if that does seem extraordinarily strange. The most interesting news is that Facebook logins will be able to be used to access Yahoo properties which will include recreational activities like fantasy football and more compulsory items like Yahoo email. Keep in mind that if you’re using Facebook to log in to anything, that means that Facebook knows who you are while you’re using what you’re logged in to.

Facebook already knows so much about you and, compared to Google, Microsoft and other ad delivery systems, it knows much, much more. Think about it, much fewer people have a Google profile than a Facebook profile; those that have both generally reveal much more about themselves in the latter compared to the former. Of course, it’s easier for Facebook to know who you are if you’re logged in to Facebook. Many of us log out as soon as we’re done but as Facebook accounts become increasingly available as means of logging into other sites (in this case, Yahoo) Facebook’s cache of knowledge becomes more and more valuable. Wpromote’s CEO, Michael Mothner has suggested that with this knowledge, Facebook could engage in display advertising in direct competition with Google. Whereas Google focuses ads based on where you are, Facebook could focus ads based on who you are. Whereas Google might populate clothing ads on a fashion blog or concert ticket ads on a music site, Facebook might know that you posted an update saying that you love the Lakers, and post ads related to Laker tickets and merchandise as a result. 

If Mothner’s theory is correct, then Facebook could very quickly dominate the display advertising landscape. If Facebook ads are better ads and better ads are more valuable, then it’s an easy decision for website owners to choose to run ads powered by Facebook over ads powered by Google. Yahoo’s decision to allow people to log in using their Facebook accounts could be a major step in the direction of display advertising dominance for Facebook. 

So, when you’re deciding on whether to start Rashard Mendenhall or Peyton Hillis next year, don’t be surprised if the ads on the page are eerily similar to things you’ve been thinking about buying… especially if you’ve mentioned it on Facebook!

[AllThingsD]
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So, most people (i.e. people like me) just assume that most machines run with hamsters running on wheels. A Ferrari has like, WAY more hamsters than a DVD player, for example. Well, I always thought that Google just had billions of hamsters and billions of wheels in a warehouse somewhere powering their operations. As it turns out, I was wrong. Check out this cool infographic to learn more about how Google works, from beginning to end! [PPC Blog]

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Okay, so this wasn't a Wall Street Journal or US News & World Reports ranking but, according to the Daily Beast, Dartmouth is the most powerful college in the field of tech. I'm not sure what that means, to be honest, but it's pretty cool and more than a little surprising. Dartmouth beat out Stanford for the top spot with the top five rounding out with Princeton, Harvard and MIT. Congrats to Dartmouth on its mighty and powerful presence in tech and thanks to Matt Burr for finding this gem! [TheDailyBeast]

This marks the second day in a row that I didn't come up with the content for a blog post. Thanks to Wpromotesman Chris for sending this video.

Now, obviously, Chrome isn't really faster than lightning but doesn't this make you want to download Chrome and see for yourself? That's called great marketing! The real surprise for me wasn't that Chrome proved to be so darn fast, it was that potatoes were almost as fast! Potatoes are supposed to be lazy, not fast. If you call someone a couch potato, that's supposed to mean that they are sluggish layabout with no discernible direction for the day. Apparently, we've misjudged potatoes; they are almost as fast as the Internet!

So, the next time someone calls you a couch potato, take it as a compliment. Also, get yourself an egg cream at the malt shoppe because apparently, we're in the early 20th century back when people would refer to other, lazier people as "couch potatoes."

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President Barack Obama is, once again, using Google AdWords to reach Americans. This time, Mr. Obama is advertising under keywords related to Goldman Sachs and their recent brush with the SEC. As you can see above, Mr. Obama's ad is displaying in the banner section of the sponsored link results with a message for Americans interested in learning more about Goldman Sachs and the SEC proceedings. If you click through, you are asked to enter your zip code. Once entered, you are prompted to send the following letter to your respective Congressperson, in my case, Jane Harman:

I stand with the President for health reform

 

I'm writing to thank you for standing with folks like me, not the insurance companies, on health reform. Passing reform will be hugely helpful to struggling small businesses and families in our district and around the country.

I wanted to let you know that voters in our state have pledged thousands of volunteer hours to fight for members of Congress who fight for reform.

I know that the final vote will be very close, and wanted to let you know that voters at home are standing with you at this crucial time for health reform.

Thank you.

At this point, I got a little confused.

First of all, didn't Mr. Obama already win the battle for health care reform? Second of all, what does this have to do with the SEC or Goldman Sachs? If you search around the site, you can eventually find Mr. Obama's thoughts on Wall Street in a video called "Holding Wall Street Accountable," but Paid Search 101 dictates that your keywords, ad text and landing page should line up; making finding the relevant content should be as simple as clicking the ad.

I support Mr. Obama in his forward-thinking plan to reach Americans who may be confused, angry or ill-informed about the current economic situation, however, I would ask that he make sure that the people handling his AdWords account try a little harder to deliver the correct content to the people searching for it. In hopes to be of service to my country, I've provided the video below. You're welcome, Mr. President!

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Having trouble keeping track of who hates who and why in the ménage-à-trois from Hell that is the relationship between Apple, Google and Microsoft? Not to worry! This handy chart should help you to keep things in perspective. Now, if only we could get Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and Steve Ballmer into an octagon… [Gizmodo]