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Showing posts from May, 2008

What Exactly is Alltop

Calling itself a "digital magazine rack," Alltop is a human-powered content aggregation site that brings together the best news and blog feeds from around the web in more than 80 categories (and counting) grouped into broad topic areas. Alltop displays the five most recent feeds for each source site; mousing over a headline pops up a small preview window of the content to help you decide if you want to click through and read the whole story. Each page also has a translucent stationary banner bar just above the bottom of the page, which serves as both a page marker to help keep track of where you are as you scroll through the headlines, and a bad pun ("we've got all the top stories covered" - get it?).

The human-powered aggregation model is somewhat similar to what TopNetPix, started by Jeff Rusinow, has put together. Both sites offer their own unique features. TopNetPix has more links, lets visitors create a personalized start page, and has its own Facebook app…

Google Drinks a Fighting Problem

For Marketers, What Recession?

News reports about the "R word" have certainly abounded since the beginning of this year. Articles and blog posts written to help marketers adapt and shift tactics in light of the economic slowdown have also proliferated, with Recession: The best thing for SEO from Brian R. Brown , Building Brands In A Recession by Cory Treffiletti, Marketing Tactics in a Recession from the Marketing Safari blog, and, more recently, A low-cost plan to elevate your brand by Alan Ruthazer as just a few examples.

Problem is—and I hate to say this for fear events could somehow suddenly prove me horribly wrong—there doesn't appear to be any recession, at least certainly not from an online marketing standpoint. Sure, it's a difficult time if you're in the business of building new homes and a very tough period for anyone with "mortgage" anywhere in their corporate description, but the damage seems relatively contained.

Statistically, of course, the U.S. isn't actually in a r…

Hear About PR & Social Media at the B4B Conference

The Blogging for Business (B4B) Conference coming up in Salt Lake City on June 6 will feature an intriguing lineup of speakers, including:
Brian Critchfield of Navel Marketing on how the consumer revolution is driving transparency in marketing;
Charlie Craine, Director of Interactive Media for the Deseret News;
Christopher Barger, GM's Director of Global Communications Technology (who recently did a great podcast with Albert Maruggi);
Cyndi Tetro, VP of Products and Marketing at NextPage and co-founder of the Marketing Executive Forum;
Dave Bascom of SEO.com;
Jake McKee, Principal and Chief Ant Wrangler at Ant's Eye View, a Dallas-based customer collaboration strategy practice, and former Global Community Relations Specialist for the LEGO Company;
Jason Brown, blogger and co-founder of Brown Lures;
Intellectual property attorney and blogger Rand Bateman;
A panel discussion on "Pitching to Bloggers: What Works, What Doesn’t, and What Will Get You in Trouble" featuring Naked Je…

Are Americans Social-Media-Lazy?

In the latest installment of Outside the Inbox, Jared Reitzin of mobileStorm reviews some recent research studies and asks, when it comes to participation in social media (blogging, uploading videos to YouTube, etc.)—are Americans lazier than web users in other countries, or just busier?

Jared mixes good humor, bad music and questionable statistics with his unique ability to offend about half of the planet's population. Check it out.



As for Jared's take regarding American Idol and the U.S. election system, two comments:
Given that our choices for president this year have come down to three candidates battling each other to display their utter cluelessness in science, economics and history—among other subjects—maybe we should let 14-year-olds dictate how we vote. What, like they could do worse?
Sanjiya—creepy. But in case you've forgotten it from season 6, here is the best American Idol video EVER:


Relax, it's Friday. :-)

*****

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What Email Marketers Need to Know

Three new how-to guides recently added to WebMarketCentral offer valuable guidance to email marketing practitioners. Since I don't know everything (as if that wasn't obvious!), these have been authored by some veteran professionals in the field: Dan Forootan, president, and Neil Anuskiewicz, sales director at hosted email marketing platform provider StreamSend.

Selecting an Email Service Provider (ESP) provides a list of the top 10 criteria to consider when choosing a hosted email marketing platform for your organization. Key considerations include deliverability, reporting, list management and split testing capabilities. Price makes the list—at number 10.

Email Marketing Best Practices offers five tips to maintain high deliverability rates and avoid being perceived as a spammer. These include techniques for proper list building and maintenance, message design, list segmentation and complaint handling.

Finally, Using Google Analytics to Track Email Campaigns shows you how to use …

SEO - Why a Small Business Needs a Blog

The most difficult websites to search optimize are those of small or new companies, in a market with larger and more established players, focused on a highly competitive set of keywords. No matter how well the on-site optimization is done, it is tough to compete with the amount of content and external links that the established players have built up over time.

However, a blog can be a valuable tool in helping smaller, newer players improve their rank and generate search traffic. Here's a real world example of how a blog can both supplement and enhance search position based on a relatively new player in an established market, that has both a corporate site and a blog.

On a test of 12 key search phrases, the website appeared on the first page across Google, Yahoo and MSN for four phrases where the blog barely ranked at all (one 4th-page appearance on MSN).

On five other phrases, the blog consistently showed up on the first page of results across the major search engines while the websi…

Wireless Carriers Unplugged

Do wireless carriers abuse their power to infringe on the free speech of competitors and controversial groups? Is their revenue model reasonable? Is Verizon in 2008 the equivalent of AOL in 1995?

Jared Reitzin, CEO of digital marketing platform provider mobileStorm, uses humor, logic, passion, and one or two inappropriate words to blast mobile carriers for censorship, inefficiency and short-sighted business practices.

He makes an insightful and very timely argument, particularly given the spate of news articles over the last six months or so from sources like RCR Wireless News, Wireless And Mobile News and TechCrunch about free, ad-supported wireless calling models currently being tested. Why is this relevant? Because in the late 1990s, free ad-supported Internet access was all the rage. There were even companies that offered free computers, along with free web access, supported by advertising. Although those models ended up failing spectacularly, they did help push the dominant ISPs to…

Hosted Email Service Price Comparison: Part 2

My first post on this topic generated a few comments and quite a few emails. Again, price is only one of several factors to consider when selecting a hosted marketing email platform. Here are three other key criteria.

1) Deliverability: A couple of people pointed out that some of the lower-priced platforms use shared IP addresses; if anything remotely spammy makes it way through, system administrators simply block these in total. Make sure that the platform you choose provides private IP addresses at your chosen message volume.

2) Service Level: Service tends to increase roughly proportionately with price. The lowest-priced platforms are designed for near-total self-service, with technical support provided primarily through email. Platforms priced in the midrange often offer additional levels of assistance. At the high end, a service like Bronto will do much of the work (strategy, creative design, monitoring) for you.

3) Target market: Despite the large number of hosted email platforms i…