Monthly Archives: September 2014

When Marketers Go Too Far

Posted on September 12, 2014 by - Uncategorized

It’s a day after September 11, the anniversary of when thousands of Americans lost their lives through a horrific tragedy. But that fact was lost on a lot of advertisers, big corporations and marketers who wanted to use the date as a means to spread their brand and increase profits.

AT&T recently released a statement apologizing for using the events of 9/11 to spread their brand and engage current and future consumers.

From Randall Stephenson, CEO and chairman at AT&T: “It is a day that should never be forgotten and never, ever commercialized. I commit AT&T to this standard as we move forward.”

Sorry Stephenson, but it’s a little late for that apology. Can’t wait to see what AT&T does for next year’s Flag Day. But it wouldn’t be fair to just point out the shortcomings of one company—many are guilty spanning several different holidays and days of remembrance.

“We apologize for our recent tweet in remembrance of Pearl Harbor Day. We meant to pay respect, not to offend,” wrote SpaghettiOs on their Twitter timeline.

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Consumers have an obligation as well. If you see a cheesy “never forget” next to a brand, logo or product, don’t like it. Report it. Companies should honor our country without trying to grow their profit margins.

Bing Joining the Spam Fight

Posted on September 11, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Better late than never. Well, I guess that’s not entirely fair—Bing has been fighting spam for awhile, but perhaps in not the most effective manner. Now, a new change has already affected three percent of search queries.

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The new Bing anti-spam plan is designed to go over users that stuff keywords into titles, URLs and domains in order to boost rankings and appear higher on search.

“They [Bing] released a spam filter a ‘few months’ ago that impacted about 3% of all search queries. The spam filter was aimed at URL keyword stuffing,” reported Barry Schwartz.

Last year Google changed their algorithm to Hummingbird to put an emphasis on content and to directly attack spammy and keyword-stuffed sites. Keyword stuffing is a very outdated practice, and to be so bold as to do it on the blatant area of the site name or URL is beyond confusing, but thousands do it and Bing is saying no more.

“As we alluded to in last week’s Index Quality blog, today’s update will focus on one specific spam filtering mechanism we rolled out a few months ago that targets a common spam technique known as URL keyword stuffing (KWS.),” wrote Igor Rondel of Bing Index Quality.

What’s Your Upgrade Worth?

Posted on September 10, 2014 by - Uncategorized

When the latest version of something comes out, most people want it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new brake pad or the latest smartphone, the desire exists. But in terms of technology, there seems to be a new model unveiled every other month.

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Take Apple products, for example. Yesterday was the release of the iPhone6, and as a result, everyone with an iPhone now has an outdated device. Now, consumers are having to decide how much they really care about owning the next new thing, and if it’s really worth shelling out all of those bucks.

Without a contract, the iPhone6 starts around $649. That’s a mortgage payment for a lot of people. If you are due for an upgrade from your carrier, then you might be in luck. If you have the patience (and if your phone lasts for two years) to play the upgrade game, you can stay relatively on par with the latest releases.

But the profit margins aren’t slowing down. So consumers should expect new releases all the time. The big question is, then, how much are you willing to pay for the upgrade? At what point do we, as consumers, ask for a break? Can they at least keep the charges the same? Nope, because the difference, in Apple’s case, between 900 billion in profit and 899 billion in profit makes all the difference.

In the future, maybe tech producers will make a device that will last longer than one year with the ability to update the software, not completely overhaul the hardware.

More Connected than Ever—Bad News for Scumbags in Pro Sports

Posted on September 8, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Social media is turning into social justice. Time and time again we remind users that they should assume, while in public, all of their actions are being monitored and recorded. Especially if you are a public figure.

In the most recent turn of events that went viral, former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was released from the team after TMZ released a video showing Rice punching his wife and knocking her out in a casino elevator.

The NFL tried to cover-up the case and push it aside, only giving Rice a two-game suspension. But once the video went viral and the public was beyond outraged, the team was left with little choice.

The same thing happened to the former Clippers’ owner Donald Sterling, who was caught making racist remarks on a voicemail. He was forced to sell the team.

Don’t Mess with Getty Images

Posted on September 8, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Anyone who has spent time in the world of journalism, marketing or advertising, has probably come across a “Getty Image.”

Basically, Getty is a producer and provider of all kinds of images, including video, text and multimedia. If it is a “Getty Image,” that means they own the rights to the photo. And if you use the photo without providing monetary compensation to Getty, you usually will have to pay a big penalty. Just ask Bing.

“It didn’t take long for Bing’s new Image Widget to come under fire for alleged copyright infringement. The feature, which enables online publishers to display photos pulled in by the Bing search engine, rolled out Aug. 22. Today, Getty Images filed suit in a New York federal court claiming that it’s a ‘massive infringement’ of copyright,” reported Martin Beck.

If you use an image, make sure it’s not a Getty Image or if it is, make sure you paid for it.

Addicted to Social Media?

Posted on September 4, 2014 by - Uncategorized

No, not you. But then again, maybe it all depends on the definition of addiction and if that need causes harm to your everyday life.

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This is your brain on social media.

The London Telegraph reported that there are “sure signs” that you are addicted to social media. With their list as a guide, we’ve compiled a social media junkie test. Answer honestly, and if you are an “addict,” evaluate whether or not you care.

1. Can you go a meal without checking your phone or status?

2. Do you check your social media profiles right when you get up—before everything else?

3. Do you get caught trying to post when you should be listening, dealing with your family or driving?

4. Do you greet and/or talk to people by their handles or profile names? “Hey, what’s up StillinMom’sBasement55?”

5. Do you expect people to know what you are doing and what you’ve done based solely on what you put online?

6. Do you “like” your own posts?

7. If a major event happens or there’s a celebrity death, do you rush to give your take online?

 

How’d you do on the test? Let us know below.

Make the NFL Market for You

Posted on September 3, 2014 by - Uncategorized

Even though no one owns the NFL, the entity itself makes billions of dollars every year. With that in mind, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be getting a piece of the marketing pie as well.

Football is here. Are you taking advantage of the marketing opportunities?

Football is here. Are you taking advantage of the marketing opportunities?

To begin with, search out the local team. If you have locations in multiple cities or states, incorporating the home team is a great way to be found by the web crawlers. You can’t just put “go team” on your homepage. Search engines love fresh content, so a new blog or post about the local team will help you there.

Also, search engines are set to specific regions. It’s called the geo feature. You can change it in your settings, but most people don’t. By putting the home team next to your products or services, you can manipulate the geo results and have your website appear above the competition.

The next thing to consider is running an NFL-based campaign without having to pay for it. Don’t surrender to the endless trademark type regulations set by the NFL. Say, “Seattle’s football team” not “the Seattle Seahawks.” You can use team colors just not their logos.

Last, take your fandom, insight or sports wisdom to social media. Everyone is already talking about the big game—they might as well be doing it on your page.

The most popular sport in America can very easily be used to grow your brand and increase your market online.

Think Before You Take Pics/Vids of Yourself

Posted on September 2, 2014 by - Uncategorized

This past weekend was another painful reminder about how personal and private information can very quickly become neither. Most Internet surfers or social media users have come across the story about how 100 celebrities were hacked, and nude and embarrassing pics were released as a result.

According to a statement released by the FBI, the bureau is “aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals, and is addressing the matter.”

The hackers gained access to the images (and in at least one case, a video) allegedly through a hole in Apple’s iCloud. The names of the celebrities and the associated pics are everywhere online—but sorry, not here. This is just a free public service announcement concerning you and your selfies.

If you ever take a photo or an image that you don’t want the entire world to see, don’t do it on a digital, wireless device, connected to an endless network and that constantly backs itself up.

The frustration is understandable—you should be able to take whatever pics you want and they should be kept privately and be totally controlled by you. But that’s not the reality. A horrible truth, yes, but a truth none the less.

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Get a throw away camera, or a digital one with a removable memory card/chip so you can always be in control. Do not backup your files automatically unless you know what’s being shared. Use Snapchat and other “erase after sending” applications.

“Character is defined by what you do when you think no one is watching,” the old proverb goes, so use that concept every time you pick up your smartphone.