We Need Better Filters for a "Tsunami of News" and the "Information Bubble"

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The news media has changed, people no longer rely on the 6:00 news to bring them up to date, we live in a 24/7 news cycle where things change and are shared via social media channels instantly. However this leads to two new problems the Tsunami of News and living in an Information Bubble

September 30th 2010 News

Yoast: Track SEO rankings with Google Analytics

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Mike Pantoliano of Distilled had a good post over at SEOmoz about how to turn Google Analytics into your own rank tracker. We have been playing with the cd= parameter at Yoast before to track SEO rankings, as Mike also notes, and his improvement on the idea is a welcome one.

In the comments, my buddy Richard Baxter immediately suggested this would be a good addition to the Google Analytics for WordPress plugin. The “problem” was/is that Mike’s example was in PHP, doing the rank recognition server side. This won’t work, as we all use W3 Total Cache to cache our pages, right? And then, we’d be storing the same rank over and over again, or no rank at all, or, well you get it, mayhem ensues.

So, I had to come up with a javascript version that does the same. Luckily, that’s not too hard. You simply need to do two things: check that the referrer is coming from google and that it contains the cd= parameter. If it does, get the value out of it and store it in a custom variable. Here’s an example using the asynchronous tracking code, which you could, if you wanted to, drop into your site’s footer already if you have asynchronous tracking running:

if (document.referrer.search(/[\?|&]cd=/) != -1
  && document.referrer.search(/google\./) != -1) {
	var rank=document.referrer.match(/[&|\?]cd=([\d]+)/);

This is now running on my blog as a test, when it works as I expected I’ll add it to the plugin. The code sample above uses custom variable “index” or “slot” 1 to store the ranking. I’m using another “slot” one here on the blog, but my plugin would take care of that. I’d love to hear your feedback and ideas on other stuff to do with this!

Track SEO rankings with Google Analytics is a post from Joost de Valk‘s Yoast – Tweaking Websites.A good WordPress blog needs good hosting, you don’t want your blog to be slow, or, even worse, down, do you? Check out my thoughts on WordPress hosting!

September 30th 2010 News

Forecast Puts Facebook’s 2010 Ad Revenue At $1.6 Billion

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An investment bank that’s been around for over 90 years believes Facebook ads are going to make the social network a whole lot of money in 2010.  In fact, Cowen and Company predicted that the sum will exceed $1.6 billion.

That’s significantly larger than the last credible estimate to cross anyone’s desk.  Joseph Tartakoff recalled late yesterday, "It was only last month that eMarketer said Facebook’s ad sales for the year would likely total $1.2 billion."

As for some additional details, Tartakoff continued, "Cowen & Co. analyst Jim Friedland says he expects that number to actually total more than $1.6 billion and non-ad revenue to bring Facebook’s overall sales to nearly $1.75 billion for the year."

Then, with respect to next year, Cowen and Company/Friedland thinks Facebook is capable of bringing in a whopping $3.2 billion in ad revenue.

These sorts of numbers are sure to attract a lot of attention, perhaps causing advertisers to spend more money to stand out and causing Google to divert more engineers to the Google Me project.

It’s also possible they’ll drive up the value of Facebook’s shares in the secondary market and make investors antsier than ever for an IPO.

September 30th 2010 Facebook

Show Desktop Adds Show Desktop Button To Windows Vista, XP

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If you’ve grown fond of the Windows 7 “show desktop” button and would like the same button in the same location (beside the clock and system tray) on Windows Vista and XP, Show Desktop helps preserve interface continuity across all your desktops. (more…)

September 30th 2010 News

65% Say The Google Sandbox Still Exists

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sandbox-poll-2010.pngA week ago, we ran a new poll asking our readers if they feel the Google Sandbox still exists.

The 175+ results are now in and I wanted to share them with you.

  • 66.1% said the Google Sandbox still exists
  • 33.9% said the Google Sandbox does not exist.

We ran a similar poll last year where the results were about the same. Here is some more history on the Google Sandbox.

The Google Sandbox goes back to April 2004. We first spotted it when I wrote New Sites = Poor Results in Google, then it became known as the Sandbox effect and had controversial definitions. Matt Cutts confirmed the sandbox existed, somewhat, in his Coffee Talk with Brett Tabke. But since then, we really did not discuss it much.

Forum discussion continued at WebmasterWorld.

Note: This was written early on the week and scheduled to go live today.

September 30th 2010 News

55% Say Yahoo/Microsoft Deal With Increase CPC Prices

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About a week ago, I ran a poll asking if CPC prices will increase after the Yahoo/Microsoft search ad deal transitions over.

Most those who replied said yes. 55% of the 71 responses, yes, not our largest poll, said the prices of the keywords on a cost-per-click level will increase. 30% said the prices will remain about the same. Only 7% said the prices will decrease and 8.5% said they really don’t know.

Here is the break down:

  • CPC Prices Will Increase: 55%
  • CPC Prices Will Remain About The Same: 30%
  • No Idea: 8.5%
  • CPC Prices Will Decrease : 7%

Forum discussion continued at WebmasterWorld.

Note: This post was written earlier this week and scheduled to go live today.

September 30th 2010 News

New Study Shows Online Product Research Up 15%

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Pew Research published a new study showing 58% of Americans perform online research of products and services before buying, up from 49% in 2004. Demographic report included as well as statistics on who’s leaving reviews and comments.

September 30th 2010 News

Google Turns Failed Phone Store Into Android Gallery

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Google has launched a phone gallery to display Android devices that "deliver the best Google experience today". The gallery can be found at google.com/phone. You may recognize the URL as the former destination of Google’s failed phone store. 

"Here at Google, we’re thrilled with the global adoption of Android and with the high quality of devices that are coming to market around the world," says Android product manager Ben Serridge. "Since there are so many great phones, we wanted to make the selection process a little easier for people who are in the market for a new one."

"All the phones in the gallery include Android Market, Google Search, and other Google Mobile services such as Gmail, Maps, and YouTube," adds Serridge. "There are tools that make it easy to compare phones side by side: you can filter phones by country, manufacturer, and carrier; view and compare technical specifications and features; and find where each phone is available for sale."

Google Phone Gallery

The gallery includes models from HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon. When Google said it showcases phones that deliver the "best Google experience", I thought it would eliminate discontinued models that would would never see FroYo, but the Droid Eris is on there, so that doesn’t seem to be the case. 

Google says it will continue to add phones and countries over time as new phones come to market. 

September 30th 2010 Android, Google, Mobile

15 Tips for Getting the Most out of Blog World Expo

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Blog World Expo (aff) is approaching and I’m getting really excited about heading to Vegas for the third year running to do some teaching, meet some amazing bloggers, and learn from some of the best in the business.

Last week, while on a Ustream Live Chat, I was bombarded with questions by first-time BWE attendees who wanted to know how to get the most out of the conference. I thought it might be helpful to jot down a few tips for the first-time BWE attendees among us.

1. Create a Twitter list of people going to BWE

I did this earlier in the year for SXSW and it was very helpful. Simply identify people in your current network—and out of it—who are going to BWE, and compile them into a Twitter list (it need not be public).

The benefit of doing this is two-fold:

  • You’ll be able to get to know people who will be attending before you get there. Perhaps this is just something that appeals to me as a shy guy, but having some sort of connection with people before you rock up does make the real-life interactions you’ll have a lot easier.
  • You’ll be able to find people a little more easily once you’re there. There are times where BWE can be a little overwhelming: hundreds of faces, and no idea where to go or what to do. Being able to dip into your Twitter list at these moments can help you get a sense of where your people are and what they’re doing.

Your Twitter list is also handy after the event, to keep in touch with those you meet. If you do this, make sure you add @problogger which is the ID I’ll be tweeting under at BWE this year.

2. Follow the #bwe10 hashtag

This has similar benefits to the point above. Dipping into this tweet stream gives you a snapshot of what’s going on at any moment of BWE, but in the lead-up, it also gives you a sense of who else is going—perhaps you’ll want to get to know them before you get there.

3. Take your business cards

It might seem a little strange that people going to a conference that’s focused on virtual relationships would still use business cards, but they do.

You need not spend a fortune on business cards. Even a simple business card with your contact details gives you something to hand to those you meet. If it leads to just one fruitful relationship at the conference, the expense of having them printed could easily be covered.

If you’re feeling creative, try a card that’s a little different. As I look back on the last few conferences I’ve been to, it’s often those with creative cards that stand out to me. I’m not sure whether it’s just me, but a card that makes me look twice usually helps to cement an interaction in my mind.

Having said that, one of the cards I remember from last year was a photocopied card with a guy’s story and photo on it. It was very low-budget and basic, but the story made me laugh and got my attention.

Oh, and try to include Twitter (or other relevant social media) handles on your card. Also get in the habit of following people as soon as you can after meeting them. I generally go through cards at the end of the night and do a mass follow of those I meet to reinforce the relationships.

4. Consider why you’re attending

Blog World is many things for many different people. Some attend to network, some to learn, some to build their profile, some to be seen, some to show off a product…

Think about why you’re attending before you get there. What are your goals for the event?

Time flies at BWE, so knowing what your goals are will shape the way you use your time. Not being clear on your goals could mean that you go home having achieved little.

Your goals will lead you to attend certain teaching sessions. They could help you to identify which people you want to meet, and what meetups and events you’ll want to hang out at.

If you goal is to go to BWE to learn something, come up with a list of things you want to discover before you go. I did this two years back, and it helped me to find sessions that were relevant to me, and gave me good questions to ask in those sessions. It also helped me in conversations to learn from others there.

5. Think about how you’ll introduce yourself

This one comes from the “shy guy” tip archive. Something that has always helped me at these kinds of events is to do a little thinking about how I’ll introduce myself. How will I take that opportunity that often comes at the start of a conversation when people ask what I do?

Some might call it an elevator pitch, but having a sense of what you want to communicate to people before you even get to BWE can be helpful. As a blogger, it may be that you want to get word out about your blog, for instance. Having a sentence or two that explains what your blog is, and what problem it solves, could be useful.

6. Organize your first meetup

This is another shy-guy technique that I’ve used a lot over the years. The anxiety of showing up at an event like this and not knowing anyone can really get to some people. What I learned is that if I tee up a couple of face-to-face catch-ups early in the conference, I more quickly find myself getting involved in the event.

So take your research into who else is attending, and attempt to hook up for a quick coffee with someone that you want to meet on the first day. You might even come clean with them and tell them that you don’t know anyone and would love to meet them.

If there’s a group of people in a niche that know each other online, but have never met, you might try to organize a group meetup on the first morning. In doing so you could just become the “go-to” person in the group.

I find that if I get organized like this before I go, I’m much more likely to find people to hang out with for the rest of the conference.

7. Choose some sessions to attend

I hate to admit this, but last year at BWE I found it very hard to get to sessions because I was rushed off my feet speaking and meeting with people. However the year before I got a lot more out of the teaching, because I put some time aside to organize the session side of things before I went. The BWE scheduler lets you create a personal schedule pretty quickly. Use it.

Keep in mind that some sessions are quite heavily focused on the beginner. So you might want to try to assess the level of each session before you go, and consider going to sessions on topics that you know nothing about. Sometimes it’s the off-topic sessions that are the most interesting.

Don’t forget that this year I’m running a full day of ProBlogger training (with Chris Garrett) on the Thursday of BWE. If you’re coming please do mark it on your schedule to let us know you’ll be there.

8. Decide how to capture it

Two years ago I left home for BWE with a very heavy bag of gear: a DSLR, extra lens, flash, backup compact digital camera, iPhone, video camera, laptop, notebook (plus all the chargers for all the devices)… I had dreams of taking loads of photos and video that I could use on my blog when I got home.

I could also barely walk.

The reality was that I used little of the gear.

I can’t tell you what to bring, but would suggest that you try to pack light and think carefully about what you need. It’ll depend a little on your goals and workflow, but you’ll probably need something to write with, something to take pictures with, and, if you use video, something basic to record that.

BWE is a great place to create content. There are so many people from so many niches that it’s great to do interviews with people and tweet or blog live. But if you’re like me, you may find that you don’t use half of the gear you bring.

9. Preschedule your blog with content

The great thing about Blog World is that while you’re there you’re going to be connecting with a lot of other bloggers. You’ll talk about your blog and people will want to check it out.

I know one blogger last year who told me that they got their biggest days of traffic while at BWE because those attending would visit it and were linking up to it.

As a result, it’s an opportune time to have some good, fresh content up on your blog. So don’t just let your blog sit dormant while you’re at BWE—try to have a few posts scheduled to publish.

Also try to stay active on Twitter while you’re there. Lots of BWE attendees tweet during the event and it’s a great way to reinforce your relationships with people.

10. Dress for comfort

I often get asked, “What should I wear to BWE?” I remember asking it myself—and stressing about it quite a bit, too. On reflection, I don’t really remember what anyone was wearing. My only real impression was that it was pretty relaxed.

As I look back on some of the photos I took, I see there was a wide range of levels of dress. A few people dressed up, but most people were pretty casual.

I’d probably suggest throwing in something a little smarter for the evening parties, but unless you’re speaking or have a booth you can probably get away with jeans and a T-shirt or a simple shirt. I tend to stick with jeans and a button-up shirt and have never felt out of place.

If still in doubt on what to wear, head to Flickr and do a search for BlogWorld or BWE09 to see what others are wearing.

11. Create a list of action items

One of the problems with attending conferences is that you can learn some amazing things in both sessions and conversation, but then go home and do nothing. It can be a lot of fun and very informing, but unless it impacts what you do, it’s kind of empty.

As a result I recommend that you take some time out each day (or at numerous times during the day) to create a list of action items that you’re going to work through when you get home.

Last year, I created this list on my iPhone, and three or four times per day would jot down points that really hit me as I listened to other people—ideas that I wanted to put in place for myself.

Items included the people I wanted to follow up on, posts I wanted to write, tweaks to my designs, topics I wanted to learn more about, and so on.

At the end of the conference I went through the list, prioritized it, and got the tasks done.

12. Be present

A challenge that many people find at social media events is to actually be present at them. We spend all this time and money getting to the events, but then spend a lot of our time on Twitter, creating videos, live blogging… In the end, we don’t really stop and just be an attendee.

As a result, we can miss a lot of the good stuff that’s said in sessions. We can also be so distracted that our conversations don’t go to the depth that they could, so we don’t make the connections with those around us that we should.

13. Mix big groups, small groups, one-on-one, and me time

Mix up the type of interactions you have at Blog World.

At BWE, there are some great bigger gatherings. The keynote sessions and parties can be quite inspiring, although some do find them overwhelming, as you realize that you’re a part of a movement that’s bigger than yourself—something I find it’s good to be reminded of as a guy who spends most of his time alone typing on his computer!

However, if you only spend time in the big groups at BWE, you could be missing out on the opportunities to connect a little deeper in smaller group interactions.

Earlier in the year I had one fantastic afternoon and evening where I had almost the perfect mix of interactions:

  • it all started with a nap in my room (as an introvert, I need my cave time).
  • Then I caught up with a group of ten bloggers in someone’s house for a few drinks and some relaxed chatting about life, blogging, and the niches we were in.
  • Dinner was with a group of about 25 people—it was more of a networking opportunity.
  • After dinner we attended one of the big big parties that happens at SXSW. I met loads of people but didn’t really get too deep with anyone.

I got home that night and felt it’d be a great combination of activities—there were lots of opportunities for deeper conversations and relationship building, and while the party wasn’t overly relational, it was good to get around and meet lots of people. I was even able to catch up with some of them again the next day.

I know some people prefer to only do the small group thing, while others are more drawn to the big events, but I find a combination of both (with some me time to keep me sane) helps me achieve the most.

Also keep in mind that while the sessions at BWE can be great, a lot of the networking happens in the corridors between sessions, on the Expo Floor, in the Blogger room, and in the evenings at parties.

14. Get out of your comfort zone

Let me finish with one last piece of advice: make the most of the few days you have at BWE and get a little out of your comfort zone.

BWE is an awesome opportunity on many fronts. Where else in the world are you sharing an experience with thousands of online publishers and influencers?

The potential that relationships and learnings from BWE can open up for you is quite massive, so whether you’re a natural conference goer or not, resolve to make the most of the time you have there, and get out and meet as many people as you can.

I’ve always found people to be very approachable at BWE. Speakers aren’t whisked away at the end of sessions, and most don’t mind being stopped in the hall to chat. Even better than that, some of the most interesting people are probably sitting next to you in sessions.

They might not all have big names or be Internet celebrities, but among your fellow attendees are some amazing people who you could learn a lot from, and who you may end up having a fruitful relationships and friendship with.

So push yourself a little this BWE to meet some people who you might not meet unless you bite the bullet and say hi to somebody new!

15. Take tips from fellow BWE attendees

Lets finish with some tips from your fellow attendees—some people you might want to put on your BWE twitter list. I asked on Twitter a few days back what tips my followers would give for BWE and here are some of the responses:

Don’t try and meet everyone. Find the people you connect with and get to know them well!—@CatherineCaine

Ooh, and plan beforehand on how you’re going to use the info and business cards you get!—@CatherineCaine

Based on ur objectives, create a plan of action for the 3 days like which sessions/events to attend & who to meet—@rabeidoh

Have an idea of what you want to do ahead of time but mostly, have fun & don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to new people—@LaraKulpa

stay out of conference room. mingle in the streets. seek out the conversation destinations. that’s where the real talk happens—@SimplyOptimal

if waffling between going to a panel or connecting 1:1 with someone, go for the personal connection. Better long term—@ahockley

my tip for #bwe10 is to make your own crowd—@tedmurphy

Have specific objectives b4 you arrive. Network, network, network. Follow up with a personal note when you return home—@altmarketing

carry your phone charger with you AT ALL TIMES! (If you can, an extra charger) It’s good for you & you’ll make new friends.—@Ribeezie

I’m really looking forward to Blog World Expo this year and hope to catch up with you there. If you’re still not booked in, grab your ticket today. If you’re coming, please do drop by one of my sessions and/or the ProBlogger booth on the exhibitor floor, where I’ll be spending more time this year!

Post from: ProBlogger Blog Tips

September 30th 2010 News

TechCrunch Disrupt – In Pictures

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The TechCrunch staff has been pretty busy these last few days, what with throwing and covering a conference and all, but our excellent event photographers (Dave Getzschman, Max Whittaker, and Aaron Morris) have been even busier. They’ve taken hundreds of shots, all far better than those I could manage during the panels and chats, and they’re all collected at the TechCrunch Flickr page.

I’ve sifted through them and collected a few of what I felt were the best; (use info). If you feature prominently in one of these photos and would rather the picture is deleted, let us know. Click for a slightly larger version, or head over to Flickr for the originals. Feel free to use these in any way you see fit, as long as you give credit to TechCrunch and the photographer.

The Venue

Panels and Presentations

Special Guests

At Work

After Hours

The Winners – Qwiki

Thanks to all our attendees, speakers, panelists, startups, and support staff, congratulations to Qwiki, and thanks again to our readers and viewers; we’ll see you again in the summer.

September 30th 2010 News