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Hiding the Trolls

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One of the most frightening things about reading any article posted on a website are the inevitable comments that you will reach at the bottom. Among the items you will see: a few smart comments, a lot of ignorance, and several trolls looking to incite a web war. There’s something about the allure or being anonymous that empowers some people to post things that they would never say to anyone’s face in public, and to be completely honest, it causes me to question the future of mankind… Perhaps Mike Judge wasn’t too far off with his movie Idiocracy:

Kings of Leon recently cut their show in St. Louis short due to a… well… a shitty situation. While reading the statement made by one of the opening bands, The Postelles, I noticed that instead of putting the comments and their inevitable trolls and flamebait at the bottom, they have a separate tab for ‘Discussion.’

When you navigate to the Discussion tab, you will see the comments along with some rules that are tacked on at the bottom.  I love the rules – they can help diffuse those wars that sometimes rage on in comments.

My only suggestion would be that these rules be visible either on the right side of the page or somehow make them fit at the top without pushing the first few comments below the fold.

Anyway, just thought I’d share.  This method might be something to consider if you don’t want to force people to register on your site just to leave a comment.

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Written by rogersikes

July 27, 2010 at 1:40 pm

Set Your Content Free

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Look Ma! I’m not ranting about Google!

This one’s going to be about the people who say “Leave my $#1+ alone” when it comes to how they want to display their content across the Web. While I don’t think it’s this huge, massive issue, and most people understand the power of viral marketing, it’s still funny to see that a few industries still don’t get it.

Yes indeedy, I’m going to talk about this article that gives a great illustration of the power of viral marketing, notably this portion of the article (which is a quote from the New York Times op-ed piece referred to in the Mashable article):

“When EMI disabled the embedding feature, views of our treadmill video dropped 90 percent, from about 10,000 per day to just over 1,000. Our last royalty statement from the label, which covered six months of streams, shows a whopping $27.77 credit to our account.”

I’ve never understood why anyone would want to disable embedding on YouTube – you’re cutting so much potential traffic off, and the numbers referenced above show that. 10% of their views came from people watching the video on the actual YouTube website. That’s all. So, if you are restricting access to a video on YouTube, you are limiting yourself to 1/10 of your potential audience. Why would you ever do that? This especially applies to the music industry, but anyone who restricts their content in such a manner limits the potential of what they can achieve through social media channels.

This is my best guest as to why some companies restrict their content so much:

People might use the content for their own evil purposes.

There’s really a couple of ways to look at this one – if your content is a video or podcast, and someone is embedding it – the only way they could steal any sort of credit for it is if you did a poor job of branding yourself within the video itself. In 4-H, we always had an lead-in, introduced ourselves, and included a summary at the end for our method demonstrations. If you follow that formula, you are identifying yourself and your product within your presentation, so if someone is embedding your content, what do you have to worry about? They can’t alter that content in any way shape or form… by embedding it, they are showing your video as you intended it to be.

Does the same thing apply to blog posts and articles? I would say that as long as it’s only an excerpt and links are provided, then there should be no issue. Again, the key is to identify yourself or your business within the content to make it harder to steal.

The bottom line is to educate yourself. Understand how these things work and how you can make them work for you. If you can’t do that, I promise you there are people and companies out there that can. Don’t fear it simply because you don’t understand it. Word of mouth is by and far the most powerful form of advertising out there, and viral marketing is simply the digital form of that.

Just a random Wednesday morning thought. OK Go has shown the power of having great (even unbelievable) content. By making it available to the Web in general allows you to reach an audience that extends far beyond whatever venue you are using to display the content. Below is the “unofficial” video for “This Too Shall Pass.” Notice the State Farm product placement throughout. Both OK Go and State Farm have the right idea. 🙂

One other video to enjoy is this song from the Coathangers (the language is NSFW, so put your headphones on). This one goes out to all the haters who don’t want to share their crap… in a tongue in cheek manner, of course.

Written by rogersikes

March 10, 2010 at 11:23 am

Clarification and More Google Privacy Stuff

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Thanks to @Tamar, I came across an article that points out how Buzz can expose EVERYONE you email from your Gmail.

UPDATE: To completely rid your Gmail inbox of Buzz, here’s what you do – remove and BLOCK all followers, then unfollow everyone you have followed. Once you have done that, scroll to the bottom of the screen, and find the link that says ‘Turn Off Buzz.’ Click that, and you’re rid of the mess. Click here if you’d like a more detailed guide on how to do this.

Also, I don’t want anyone to think I’m completely anti-Google. I think that Google means well, and they offer some innovative and powerful tools that anyone can use. My issues mostly stem from how they treat user data, and even though the other search engines may collect the same type of data, they don’t hold on to it as long (Bing deletes after six months, Yahoo! 90 days).

With any service you use online, it is your right and your responsibility to know what is being tracked and how it will be used. If you’re not comfortable with it, either leave the service or learn how you can turn those features off. In the case of Google, you simply log in to your Google account and go to your dashboard.

Written by rogersikes

February 11, 2010 at 10:50 am

Posted in Misc, Online Marketing

More on The Google Monster

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Google’s announcement that they will be dipping a toe into the ISP business awoke the paranoid freak part of my mind once again. Sure, it’s going to be cheap, but what’s the real cost to you as a user?

The more I thought about the last post I made on this blog, the more I think it just comes off like a half baked opinion, so I thought I would highlight how Google uses your online data, including search behavior, etc. First, watch this interview with Eric Schmidt back in December as he makes the “…maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place” comment.

Here’s where he goes into a little more detail:

Okay, so it’s not down to the computer level… UNLESS you are logged in to Google at the time you’re doing the searching, then no IP address is needed (although it still can tell Google where you physically are). And the data is anonymized within 18 months, right?

Not so fast, my friend.

Google Dashboard displays a lot of info about your activity while you’re logged into your Google account – YouTube videos viewed, search history, web history, blogs, documents, and much more. The info gathered that is tied to your account is not anonymized – as this report states, it shows the history for the past 4 years! The CNN report below is quite the eye opener if you weren’t sure about exactly what Google knows about you.

If you want to disable Google from tracking your account in this manner, you can go to your Google Dashboard and follow the instructions on how to disable the history.

Do you really want all those breadcrumbs for hackers to determine where you shop, gain access to personal info, and more? The recent cyber attack on Google from China are a reminder that the bigger you are, the bigger the target you become.

This video of Rachel Maddow discussing these issues with Eric Schmidt is also very interesting:

From that interview, it’s better to not think about what Eric Schmidt is saying, but what he isn’t saying. More food for thought as we think about exactly what Google knows, and just how powerful they could become.

Written by rogersikes

February 10, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Posted in Misc, Online Marketing

The Google Monster

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This whole rant/post is going to come off kind of strange, considering my income is fairly dependent on effective advertising via Google, but it’s just something I want to toss out there and see what others might think on this topic.

Google scares the crap out of me.

They know far too much about us, and the vast majority of Google users aren’t even aware of how their behavior, data, everything is being used by Google.  “Big Brother” is not a myth.

Google knows a LOT about us.  I think the depth of the information may surprise you.  I’m really not comfortable with Google watching every move I make…  you know, like that Sting guy did when he was with the Police.

Okay, back to the topic – how do you go about educating the general public to be savvy about what not only Google, but any Internet company knows about them? Considering that we live in a world where someone can put out a kiosk that says “Win a FREE Boat!” and many people will give their name and address freely, not thinking of how their info will be used, it’s not likely. It’s likely many people care far less about this than I do.

I’ve experienced extreme privacy freaks in my day – people who will not accept cookies on their browser at any cost, even though some cookies simply enhance a site experience. They’d rather not risk their information being captured at all. I’m sure they are the same with the way their personal info is handled offline. These people feel that all information collected on them will be used in “evil” ways. Even though marketers can all attest that the information is being helped to improve user experience, you still have to wonder about how much a company that can follow so many unaware people as they go from website to website, and stores the information for future use.

Right now, I don’t think Google’s intentions are evil. I really think that they are looking at all the ways they can make life better. They are providing a lot of services and products that are useful to people, often free of cost. However, at what point does Google decide that all of this information they control should be used for the “greater good?” What does that even mean to them? Are we headed towards a future where ads are everywhere, and they are all personalized for you? Think Minority Report.

Somehow, Google has gotten this far with things by keeping a relatively low profile, even though Eric Schmidt has recently made some fairly inflammatory comments about how Google views our privacy on the Web.

Microsoft has been smacked in the nose how many times?  When will Google finally get theirs?

Just some food for thought as we head into the weekend. My advice – be savvy about how you do things on the Internet – don’t put all your eggs in one basket, even if one company makes it extremely easy to do so.

Written by rogersikes

January 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Posted in Misc, Online Marketing, PPC, SEO

10 Predictions for Online Marketing in 2010

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I’m really going out on a limb here, so wish me luck:

  1. Someone will declare SEO dead.  Again.
  2. Google will create more than 100 new products.  2 will be of any use to a significant number of people.
  3. Twitter will see a decline in post activity by human posters (in other words, more spamming, more people leaving for greener pastures).
  4. Hulu will begin charging for premium content.  No one will buy in.
  5. Hyperlocal newspapers begin to grow online, utilizing local bloggers and the strength of highly relevant content for their readers.
  6. Advertisers will continue moving more of their budgets to online.
  7. More companies are going to realize the value of social media, but not understand the necessity of engaging customers, not just throwing specials and sales announcements at them.
  8. Agencies will see significant growth in number of social media clients after numerous companies struggle to build a compelling online identity for themselves.
  9. The first pair of fashionable Augmented Reality glasses will become available.
  10. Bing will gain 5% of search share from Google.

Only halfway serious on these, but it will be fun to see if any of them become true.  😉

Written by rogersikes

December 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Posted in Online Marketing

Keeping It Simple – Client Communication

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Having been doing search marketing for a while, I’ve come across a plethora of possibilities – what could be wrong, what is wrong, what to do to fix what’s wrong, what’s working, what’s not working, and what to do to make what’s not working work better.

Once again, I think I just confused myself with that last paragraph.

Sometimes it’s easy to inundate a client with too much information in reports and feedback that we give them. It’s always a good practice to keep in mind that most of the time, they are not as well versed in SEM as we are, and they just need to know the numbers that are most relevant to the overall performance of their campaigns, not the deep and dirty details. If you give them too much, they might be left wondering which metrics really matter, and get the wrong impression on what truly defines success or failure of a campaign.

By no means am I implying that you hold back on information. Always make the client aware that you can provide any data they might want (as long as it’s available, of course).

Written by rogersikes

July 21, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Online Marketing, PPC, SEO