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A regularly updated resource of information and news items.

Archive for November 2010

Business Blogging Tips – The Art Of Subliminal Advertising

Posted Friday, November 26th, 2010

Business blogging isn’t much tuned to the practice of blogging, as it is to the art of subliminal advertising. These are tips to better the advertising layered intricately within every single post on a business blog.

Any business only maintains a blog for lead generation and boasting brand image. There are no two ways about – even the Google blog attempted to sooth over concerns of net neutrality to maintain their “do no evil” image. Impressions don’t matter, the number of comments doesn’t matter – all that this blog (and company) is concerned with is to get across it’s message to the right people as best as possible. Think of it like Inception – the purpose is to plan an idea and watch it mature. Establishing that, let’s get down to…

Business Blogging Tips To Get Your Message Across
Create Content About Business, Rather Than YOUR Business
Create posts about your industry, its best practices, guidelines for new entrants, the trends it follows – basically, write about the everything relevant in your industry. The idea is to become somewhat of a inspiration and/or a guru to people in your industry. Let them know how things are done, while remembering that you’re doing so merely to establish two important facts: you know the business and your business knows the industry it belongs in comparatively well.

Referring a specific brand too often causes readers to read between some very thin lines, and realize the intentions of a business blog. Allow them to gain knowledge, insights and exposure, but do NOT expose them to the brand behind the blog. That’s a connection you want them to make on their own.

Make A ‘Somebody’ Write Your Business Blog
This is an important one, and it continues to surprise me how many businesses continue to get it wrong – the blog needs a blogger, an identity. Your blog needs a face. I went through the top 25 results on Google for “business blogging”, and it’s amazing to see all of them resonate with a lack of online identity. Understand this – every business needs a face. Everything from the logo and font on your business card, to the architecture of your office(s), is part of that. To forget that essential attribute of brand image building is (at least to me) sacrilege.

Understanding Blogging – Regular Posts Are Essential
I’ll make this business blogging tips short – if you don’t make regular posts, comments and additions to a blog (any blog), it will fail. Without regular posts, expect not to get any of the following:

RSS subscribers
Followers’ on Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, etc.
Consistent visitors + Free word-of-mouth advertising.


Facebook ramps up Google rivalry with messaging service

Posted Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Facebook has ramped up competition with AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google with a product to rival their e-mail services.

Facebook Messages aims to tie users more closely to the social networking site at a time when everyone is battling for their attention.

The product will merge texts, online chats, and e-mails into one central hub.

Facebook says traditional e-mail is too slow and cumbersome and needs to step into the modern world of messaging.

“This is not an e-mail killer,” Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg told reporters and analysts at an event in San Francisco.

“Maybe we can help push the way people do messaging more towards this simple, real-time, immediate personal experience. E-mail is still really important to a lot of people. We think this simple messaging is how people will shift their communication.”

‘Killer app’

In a case of bad timing, reports surfaced hours after the Facebook launch that Gmail suffered an outage.

The new service is seen as offering an alternative to Gmail, the fastest growing web service in the past year with over 193 million users according to data tracker ComScore.

The irony was that ahead of the announcement, speculation was rife that Facebook’s new product would be most crippling for Gmail. Mr Zuckerberg said he did not see it that way.

“In reality they have a great product.

“We don’t expect anyone to wake up tomorrow and say, ‘I’m going to shut down my Yahoo Mail or Gmail account’.

“Maybe one day, six months, a year, two years out people will start to say this is how the future should work,” said Mr Zuckerberg.

AOL, which at the weekend previewed changes to its once popular web mail service, disagreed that e-mail was doomed.

“E-mail remains one of the killer apps on the internet,” said Brad Garlinghouse, AOL’s senior vice president of consumer products.

Industry analyst Augie Ray of Forrester agreed.

“Research we have done shows we know that in the US 90% of adults check their mail at least once a month and 59% of adults say they maintain a profile on a social networking site.

“There is a big gap between the reach social media has and the reach e-mail has.”

Ease of use

At the heart of Facebook Messages is an effort to ensure users “see the messages that matter”.

The new feature will simplify how people communicate whether it be via text, instant messages, online chat or e-mail. All these messages will come into one feed known as a social inbox allowing users to reply in any way they want.

Facebook said around 70% of users regularly used it to send messages to friends and that a total of four billion messages passed across the site every day.

“We really want to enable people to have conversations with the people they care about,” Facebook’s director of engineering Andrew Bosworth told BBC News.

“It sounds so simple. We have all this technology that should be enabling that but it’s not. It’s fragmenting that. So I have one conversation on e-mail with my grandfather and another with my cousin on SMS and all these things don’t work the same way.

“I shouldn’t have to worry about the technology. I should just have to worry about the person and the message. Everything else is just getting in the way,” added Mr Bosworth.

The new system will be modelled more on chat than traditional e-mail which means there will be no subject lines, cc or bcc fields.

Liz Gannes of technology blog AllThingsD said she believed users would have a bit of a learning curve on their hands.

“I think the product is just different enough from what people are used to that it will feel really weird to users for a while.

“The lack of subject lines will get people upset at first and then of course they will probably realise they never wanted them anyway.”

‘Game over?’

Other features include being able to store conversations so users can have a complete archive of communications with friends and family. Mr Bosworth likened this to a modern-day treasure trove of letters stored in a box.

Incoming message will be placed in one of three folders – one for friends, another for things like bank statements and a junk folder for messages people do not want to see.

The product will also represent a challenge to Yahoo, with over 273 million users, and Microsoft, which has nearly 362 million.

“For me today represents the day when Facebook truly becomes a portal on the level of Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL,” Charlene Li, social media analyst with the Altimeter Group, told BBC News.

“They now have to start making their inboxes more social. Friends are the new priority as opposed to the conversation. This makes Facebook so much more functional.”

Robert Scoble, technology writer and founder of Scobleizer.com, said this product gave everyone something to aim for.

“This is a new kind of communications system but it’s not game over for Yahoo and Gmail and all the others because it will take decades to get people to stop doing traditional e-mails.

“However this is something new and very powerful because Facebook can tap into my social graph and ensure that only my friends are there and I won’t get spammed.”

Facebook said this product was the biggest the social networking giant had worked on to date.

The company will also offer an @facebook.com e-mail address to every one of its more than 500 million users.


ITV to charge £250,000 for X-Factor final ads

Posted Friday, November 12th, 2010

 ITV could rake in more than £25 million in ad revenue from the final weekend of The X Factor, with media agencies claiming that 30-second spots are being priced at up to £250,000.
Although ITV has not yet confirmed how the show will be scheduled, it is expected that it will run two two-hour long shows, on 11 and 12 December, to decide the winner of this year’s contest.

With viewing figures up on last year agencies are expecting the final to at least perform in line with last year; 12.8 million on Saturday 12 and 15.6 million on Sunday 13 December.

ITV is quoting a 50 per cent premium on its usual station price with further charges for those advertisers wanting to buy either the first or last position in a break.

While The X Factor is being sold as a “special”, prices will vary with some advertisers paying less depending on their agency’s deal with ITV.
 
Advertisers understood to be in talks with ITV about appearing include Microsoft, BSkyB, Pizza Hut and Hallmark.


Did Facebook Popularity Predict Election Results?

Posted Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Tuesday’s election in the U.S. was a huge event online, and now Facebook is taking a look at the results of some of its efforts and politicians’ use of the social networking site in their campaigns.

For starters, Facebook says that more than 12 million people clicked the “I Voted” button that sat atop the news feed Tuesday — that’s more than double the number that did the same during the 2008 election. Of course, Facebook is several orders of magnitude bigger now than it was then, so that number’s not especially surprising.

More interesting, however, is that Facebook says that Page popularity was a good predictor of election night victory. Writing on the U.S. Politics on Facebook Page, the company says: “The Facebook political team’s initial snapshot of 98 House races shows that 74% of candidates with the most Facebook fans won their contests. In the Senate, our initial snapshot of 19 races shows that 81% of candidates with the most Facebook fans won their contests.”

To be sure, there’s likely a strong correlation between candidates’ overall campaign strategy and likability and the number of Facebook fans they’re able to accumulate leading up to the election. Nonetheless, there’s also much to be said about the ability to communicate and interact with those fans during a campaign — not to mention the “endorsements” from friends that come by way of “likes” — a trend we think will only continue to gain importance in future elections.


 
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