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Beanstalk's Internet Marketing Blog

At Beanstalk Search Engine Optimization we know that knowledge is power. That's the reason we started this Internet marketing blog back in 2005. We know that the better informed our visitors are, the better the decisions they will make for their websites and their online businesses. We hope you enjoy your stay and find the news, tips and ideas contained within this blog useful.


December 20, 2012

Video Ads Planned for FB Timelines

Co-Workers and clients ask me why I stopped using MSN Messenger, like it’s a surprise to them that I don’t willingly sign into an application that spends most of it’s time trying to download videos/advertisements to distract me?

To me the more advertisements I see on a service the more I see that service as coming to an end, with one final attempt to monetize the fleeting popularity of the service at it’s peak of it’s traffic volume.

So clearly then Facebook is signalling that now is the time to monetize and cash out, with executives promising video advertisement opportunities in 2013.

TV Staticfacebook video

To quote the original article on AdAge:

“By April at the latest, it(FB) will offer video advertisers the chance to target video ads to large numbers of Facebook users in their news feeds on both the desktop version of Facebook as well as on Facebook apps on mobile phones and tablets.”

There’s also some advanced speculation that the goal will be to keep the video adverts capped at 15 seconds, which would help minimize the amount of data transfer that is wasted on content you never wanted to see in the first place.

Additionally, if advertisers have to compete in 15 seconds or less, this could produce ‘light’ video spots that are then re-used on other sites around the web, hopefully just replacing existing clips that are 30 seconds.

To the advertisers out there (some of which are our clients) this means that if you were in the planning/edit stages of a video promotion for your site, and social media was one of your target audiences, then you would do well to plan on a 15 second version of your clip in advance.

Speaking of Video Advertising

What would happen if YouTube paid a handful of the most popular YouTube video creators together to make a ‘popular mashup’?

I think this is what would happen (this is NOT the cheap re-mix you may be expecting):



Felicia Day and Minecraft? It’s almost like I helped make this.

 
Nice work YouTube! Clearly, at 28million (and counting) hits since it was released on Monday, people can’t get too much of a good thing, which is shocking considering how overplayed some of those videos are, especially the Gangnam Style remixes.

The end of the clip has some references to the video sources, some of which were fresh links for this old dog. ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:28 pm


 

 

December 19, 2012

Instagram: “All Your Photos Are Belong to Us!”

There was a huge online outcry from users when Instagram introduced a new privacy policy and Terms of Service that will take effect on January 16, 2013. Concerns were raised over changes that would allow for Instagram to sell users photos to advertisers without notice or compensation.

Instagram’s 100 million users use the popular app to take stylized picture of everything from food they enjoy to pets or any other aspect of their daily lives to share online. When the news of the proposed changes hit Twitter, the story and accompanied anger towards them went viral.

This change comes just four months after the social media giant Facebook purchased Instagram for one billion dollars. The new policy states: "A business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness and photos."

Instagram protest

Later that same day, Instagram issued a blog post stating:

"Advertising is one of many ways that Instagram can become a self-sustaining business, but not the only one. Our intention in updating the terms was to communicate that we’d like to experiment with innovative advertising that feels appropriate on Instagram."

"Instead it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear."

Now that Instagram is owned by Facebook, it may be a similar scenario to how updates to Facebook have typically played out. Facebook has a tendency to roll out mass changes with the anticipation of user backlash; only to retract part of their updates. It’s a case of moving 10 steps forward and taking 1 back, ultimately the changes still get adopted.

The simple truth is that whenever you are online, whenever you use an App, it is very likely that your information is being used by the site or is being sold as data to interested third parties. The best way to maintain some semblance of privacy is to not go online at all – which wherein lies the irony.

It is almost impossible for most of us not to be connected to the internet at some point every day; be it through a PC, a Smart Phone or tablet. When we go online our user data is collected, stored and researched by a multitude of companies for a variety of purposes; some benign, some nefarious.

We are only now becoming aware that we are no longer just consumers; we are in fact walking product endorsements and advertisements for big business. What happens in the next few years will determine our new role in the emerging global marketplace. Do we want to protect our privacy, or do we want ads that are geared towards our relevant interests?

SEO news blog post by @ 11:28 am

Categories:Facebook,Privacy

 

 

December 18, 2012

Complying With the Law, or Running for Cover?

While a lot changes day to day in the SEO world, most of it is of far too little interest or substance to report on, so occasionally we’ll allow ourselves the flexibility to get off topic.

In Canada we have some insanely bad internet service. I’m talking about all things considered, performance, price, and options.

In my province some communities have been noted as having the highest density (per-capita) of internet connected households in the world, yet we have some of the worst internet providers imaginable.

The two biggest names, Shaw and Telus, are well known for imposing caps and disconnecting repeated offenders of copyright violations.

A smaller brand of ISP, TekSavvy, has been making inroads for years, and offers two unique perks:
- Unlimited internet plans (no data caps)
- Data use between 2am -> 8am is ignored

Both those perks are HUGE selling points for folks that love to fill their drives with movies, music, and other wonders of the internet.

So it wasn’t much of a surprise then that Voltage Pictures is specifically chasing after TekSavvy customers for violations of copyright on several movies.

TekSavvy is in a legal Hurt Locker

Initially TekSavvy refused legal action to hand over client information requested by Voltage Pictures, stating that the privacy of it’s clients came first.

This drew TekSavvy into court with Voltage Pictures for the purposes of forcing them to relinquish information on their subscribers.

Today we’re now hearing that Voltage Pictures successfully intimidated TekSavvy into agreeing with the ‘motion for discovery’ after it became clear that the legal indemnity of the ISP was coming into question due to the assistance TekSavvy is providing it’s clients, who are potentially criminals that owe reparations.

For you see, this year, on June 29th, Canada implemented the Copyright Modernization Act which essentially separates the actions of the clientele from the interests of the ISP.

To put that into Hollywood Logic:

Just because your users download cars, it does not mean that the ISP is a used car dealership..

If TekSavvy had continued to block access to their private client records, they felt it would make them liable for the crimes of it’s clients.

And yet in 2004 when BMG music went after Canada’s largest ISPs, Rogers, Bell, Videotron, Telus, and Shaw, with an almost identical request for client information to proceed with legal action, they lost in court, and in appeals.

Thus many people are questioning if TekSavvy really should have backed down.

It’s not all over yet however!

The ‘Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic’ or CIPPIC filed a letter with the court explaining that more time was needed for both the potential defendants, and for preparation of an application intervene in the motion.

The court agreed, after much protest from Voltage Pictures’ prosecutors, and will grant the adjournment until Jan 14th 2013.

TekSavvy still has the option to change it’s mind, and at least 2000 of it’s customers are motivated into pressuring them to do so.

Currently the TekSavvy forum (private/members only) has a single thread on the issue, and it’s pretty quiet, almost too quiet?

I’m no lawyer but I doubt we want any precedent in terms of ISPs divulging private details of it’s clients to companies wishing to prosecute.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:05 pm


 

 

December 17, 2012

In Capitalist Amerika, Television Watches You!

Samsung SMART TV Zero Day Exploit

Thinking of getting someone a great new television for Christmas? You may want to reconsider. There have been many conspiracy theories surrounding the use of televisions by the government to spy on the oblivious population.

1984 book cover

Concerns are rising again with Smart televisions that could be used to not only survey the population by the government, but by criminals for nefarious purposes. The scenario reads almost verbatim from George Orwell’s classic novel Nineteen Eighty-Four; with its ubiquitous Telescreen that monitors the private and public lives of the populace in a not-so-far-off dystopian future.

A security exploit called the “zero day” hole has been found in at least one of Samsung’s Smart TVs that if left unpatched, could allow hackers to not only glean a users social media credentials, but to steal files from connected USB devices and the ability to use attached microphones and cameras to spy on unwary individuals.

The exploit was revealed the ReVuln company who offers research on technology security issues to its subscribers, states that the hole affects the Samsung Smart TVs running the latest version of the comany’s Linux based firmware.

ReVuln – The TV is watching you from ReVuln on Vimeo.

ReVuln posted a video showing an attack on a Samsung TV LED 3D Smart TV that shows an attacker gaining shell access, copying the contents of the hard drive to an external device and mounting them on a local drive, allowing access to photos, documents, online credentials for social networks or other online services.

Samsung sells a number of different Smart TVs that combine high definition viewing with tablet-like features and allow for web browsing (Anyone remember WebTV?). One of the accessories that is offered is the Smart TV Skype Camera which allows users to chat with other Skype users through their television. So far, Samsung has not commented on the details of the security hole, or what they are doing to correct it.

Smart TVs do not offer any native security features standard to most IP-enabled devices such as a firewall, user authentication or application white listing. Perhaps most shocking is that there is no way to independently apply a software update to correct the problem. This means that without a firmware update directly from Samsung, the security hole remains unchecked and cannot be patched without voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:35 am


 

 

December 13, 2012

Google Maps is Back on App Store

Lost without directions.

Afraid of the iOS 6 upgrade because you love Google Maps? Well the waiting is over, and Google Maps is back on the App Store for Free!

Not only is it still free, they upgraded the App to included all the latest features from the current Android version:

  • Turn-by-turn driving instructions
  • Live traffic information
  • Train, bus, subway and walking directions
  • Transit schedules for nearby stops

Which, when you compare the newer, fresher UI integration of the latest iPhone App vs. Android, makes the iPhone version ‘slightly better’ than the current Android version!

On top of all that, Google’s new Maps App adds API support for using the Maps App in other applications so that developers have the option of integrating Google maps into their Apps.

Google also mentioned that indoor maps support, and an offline maps option are currently in the works.

Stay tuned!

Google is also making certain things harder to find..

I cannot lie, Zazzle.com has some funny T-Shirts.

In other news, Google Image search just got an update that makes finding porn images more difficult, or at the very least, less accidental.

A young asian.

Personally, when I am at work, say making a blog post that needs an image of cigarette ‘butts‘, or a ‘young asian‘ person, when I don’t include enough search terms, I can appreciate that Google puts less priority on the more abundantly available/popular pornographic images.

… at least for the .COM site.

If you load those URLs and change the .com to a .ca?

Well lets just say that I hope you aren’t at work! ;)

SEO news blog post by @ 12:55 pm


 

 

December 12, 2012

The Wi-Fi Microwave Renaissance

For financial services firms, the ability to get a piece of competitive financial data a few milliseconds before you competition is worth the cost of securing a fast internet connection. Despite being in use for over half a century, the once stagnant microwave communications industry is seeing a renaissance recently.
steampunk internet

Since July 2012, Quincy Data has been broadcasting as a microwave provider between New York and Chicago, providing financial sectors with a competitive edge. When Quincy Data applied for their licensing with the FCC in 2010, there was only one other company that had submitted a similar request; now there are dozens of other carriers waiting in the wings, eager to have their requests ratified.

Microwave technology uses point-to-point networks and have been used for decades by the military and broadcast television stations. Microwave transmissions operate in the 1 to 30 GHz portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Although they do need a line of site between transmission points, signals can be repeated along the way and can travel up to 300 kilometers.

microwave transmission diagram

More recently, the push has been towards fiber optics connections, which have the ability to offer greater bandwidth. Current limitations of microwave transmissions can only offer 150Mbps, but developers are currently developing gigabit microwave technologies.

Fiber optics carry data on light waves passing through glass tubes and are therefore constrained to the maximum speed of the medium through which it passes. Light travels at a scant 200,000 km per second compared to an electromagnetic wave that can travel at 300,000km per second in a vacuum.

The other distinct advantage of microwave technology is that the transmission distances tend to be much shorter than that of fiber optics, since it is much easy to transmit in a direct path between two points rather than snaking fiber optic cabling through existing infrastructure to obtain an optimal path.

Performance is still a big factor into the adoption of microwave technologies en masse. Rain can affect performance, as well as low-lying clouds and various forms of interference. This is becoming more problematic today with so many wireless communications bombarding our cities. Once latency times have been reduced, microwave vendors will sell their service based upon the robustness of their networks.

My Two Cents:

Sample PLN Network
A better application of microwave technology would be to broadcast into remote rural areas in order to provide free access to the internet. Internet access has been deemed to be a basic human right according to the UN.

Similar initiatives have been introduced in Canada in the past with the Provincial Learning Network (PLN) in an attempt to bring internet access to remote schools. However, the cost of developing modern wireless infrastructures into remote areas is far too prohibitive.

Many communities still have entrenched infrastructures that would support microwave communications proving that this is not only a feasible strategy, but that it is also a cost effective means to provide free Internet access to all.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:33 am

Categories:IT Industry,Technology

 

 

December 11, 2012

Thinking of making an ‘App’ for the Apple Store?

You may want to re-think that decision, perhaps even focus on a ‘mobile’ provider for your site, or an Android app instead of one for Apple’s store.

Rotten Apple with bite mark

Why? Well lets list the reasons:

- Android OS is shipping on more phones currently than any other mobile OS
- 2013 should be the year that Android overtakes iPhone in subscriber #s
- A mobile ‘face lift’ should load on any phone/browser
- Apple is cracking down on all ‘Apps’ that generate revenue outside their store..

The last one is a real kicker, especially for Microsoft who is currently unable to update their SkyDrive app after Apple realized it was handling in-app purchases without going through the Apple Store.

Essentially Apple is rejecting all Microsoft app updates and 3rd party apps that communicate with SkyDrive until Microsoft has a solution to Apple’s need for a 30% cut of all transactions done through it’s App Store.

So if you made an Apple Store ‘App’ for your site, all you can do with the ‘App’ is browse information and provide free resources, since any attempt to engage in a financial transaction would require the Apple App Store to participate, at a 30% margin.

That’s just.. wait for it.. rotten.

Making Easy Money by Ignoring Copyright Infringement

A North Korean Won with Park Jae-sang's face.

On the surface, it may seem counter-intuitive to your profit margin, but not letting people steal your content could be what’s stopping you from getting rich.

PSY, the chubby Korean behind the most popular YouTube video to-date, is raking in the profits from his ‘Gangnam Style’ video, and it’s all because he didn’t censor his own work by chasing copyright violations.

If you look at TV commercials, ad revenue, product endorsements, and other direct revenue from his popularity, PSY is making over $8 Million in 2012 alone.

Clearly there’s a trade off between copyrights and profits that doesn’t favor always locking down your content.

I’m wondering though, once fame has taken hold, if next year we’ll have a story about PSY suing people for copyright infringements?

SEO news blog post by @ 12:59 pm


 

 

December 10, 2012

Windows 8 – Worst Christmas Present Evar

Wondering what to get your friend’s or loved ones for Christmas? You and me both….but what would you give to your enemies? According to Phillip Greenspun’s Weblog, Windows 8.

Windows 8 screenshot

Windows 8 Apps

Eminent MIT professor Phillip Greenspun has written a particularly scathing review of the new OS and points out some of it major failings. Greenspun opened his rant with the statement that Microsoft had four years to study Android and more than five to study iOS in order to develop a useful product, but was still unable to deliver a useful tablet experience.

"Suppose that you are an expert user of Windows NT/XP/Vista/7, an expert user of an iPad and an expert user of an Android phone… you will have no idea how to use Windows 8," Greenspun wrote.

• Lack of a permanent on-screen back button and Home button. Neither is present on the Windows 8 Tablet screen. The closest thing to a HOME button on Windows 8 is the “Windows” key on a keyboard (which is redundant as a keyboard is not always available or required)
• No context sensitive menu system. The new OS lacks this interface standard.
• Microsoft has attempted to offer support for a standard mouse & windows desktop in a very inconvenient manner. It does not allow for multi tasking traditional application alongside of the tablet interface. It is either the old Windows XP desktop or the new Android-like tablet environment.
• You cannot bypass this by sticking to one interface or the other; some functions such as “start an application” or the “Restart the computer” functions are only available from the tablet interface.
• In the tablet application, an additional click will open a web browser, causing the tablet screen to disappear and take you to the desktop.
• Many apps that appear on the “All Apps” menu at the bottom of the screen (which is only accessible if you swipe from the top of your screen) will dump you right back to you the desktop on first click.
• You cannot use a web browser and the tablet interface at the same time. You need to go to your desktop to use the browser but then cannot see the tablet interface.

SEO news blog post by @ 11:25 am

Categories:Technology

 

 

December 6, 2012

#DROIDRAGE Back-Fires and Creates #WINDOWSRAGE

#WINDOWSRAGE

Microsoft is spending an increasing amount of resources on pointing out the faults of it’s competition, reviving the #DROIDRAGE hash-tag at a moment in time when most Android users have very little to rage about.

For me it’s like watching some high-school bully try and make light of his own faults by pointing out the problems with one of the best students in school; Ultimately running out of complaints and resorting to childish tactics in an attempt to keep themselves from looking bad.

In this case the best student is pretty popular, and the insults have backfired on the bully, leaving the bully (Microsoft in this example) feeling like they are standing in public with their pants around their ankles.

The net today is bubbling with annoyed Windows users sharing their frustrations.

For me, a non-mobile PC user, I have general beefs like:

DirectX 11.x will be for Windows8 only?!

Microsoft Security Essentials is getting merged into Windows Defender?!

But if you take a swim through the #windowsrage hash-tag on Twitter you will see a lot of Windows Mobile, XBox, and other flavors of rage against Microsoft’s products.

Meanwhile, Google’s Saving the World..

While I’ve yet to see Google chase after Microsoft’s reputation, it might just be due to them having no time for it, what with all the awesome things Google’s been doing around our planet.

Google Drones seek out poachers

Like a $5 million dollar grant from Google to the WWF that’s getting spent on unmanned aerial ‘drones’. While the WWF doesn’t want to call them ‘drones’ because of military references to the term, that’s pretty much what they are.

Unlike the military’s drones however, these unmanned aerial watchdogs won’t be rigged for anything more than surveillance of the vast areas of land that the WWF protects.

In fact from what I can tell these will just be ‘commercial’ versions of the drones you see hobbyists and flight enthusiasts playing around with.

The $5 million is actually a small part of the $23 million total funding that Google is providing, this year alone, to non-profit organizations with challenges surrounding technology and innovation as part of Google’s Impact Awards Program.

I doubt that’s much of a ‘slag’ on the competition, but apparently Google has bigger goals than mocking/slandering competing companies?

SEO news blog post by @ 12:44 pm


 

 

December 5, 2012

How Short Content Can Help you Rank

A common misconception is that you need to provide at least 500 words of onsite content to have your page rank with Google. Your rankings are dependent on many factors and signals and is not necessarily determined by the number of words on a page; no matter how well written they are.

copywriting

It all comes down to creating unique content that is not only interesting, but engages your viewers and drives ongoing conversations in the form of replies or comments. In a recent Google Webmaster Help thread John Muller of Google, clarified this exact point.

"Rest assured, Googlebot doesn’t just count words on a page or in an article, even short articles can be very useful & compelling to users. For example, we also crawl and index tweets, which are at most 140 characters long. That said, if you have users who love your site and engage with it regularly, allowing them to share comments on your articles is also a great way to bring additional information onto the page. Sometimes a short article can trigger a longer discussion — and sometimes users are looking for discussions like that in search. That said, one recommendation that I’d like to add is to make sure that your content is really unique (not just rewritten, autogenerated, etc) and of high-quality."

Google crawls everything from full articles to 140 character tweets. Google recognizes that even short comments or articles can be triggers for engaging conversations. There is no magic number; there are no “tricks” to SEO. Creating unique and valuable content and you visitors and ranking will follow.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:56 am


 

 

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