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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.


October 17, 2012

New Webmaster Guidelines Part 2 – Technical Guidelines

This is part 2 of an in depth look at the newly revised Webmaster Guidelines from Google. Google has recently updated their list of best practices and suggestions for site development. To give your site the best chance of ranking well, and to keep a competitive edge, the Google guidelines should be read like the gospel.

monkey fixes computer

• Did you ever wonder how Google processes your site to determine its focus and content? Try using a text-based browser like Lynx to understand what Google is using to interpret your site.

By displaying the page without dynamic elements such as Flash, JavaScript, cookies, sessions IDs or DHMTL, you will gain a keen insight as to what is actually visible to the Google. If there is not enough content to be read, then Google is going to have a difficult time indexing your site and establishing you value in the SERPs

• Allow bots to crawl your site without session IDs or arguments that are designed to track a user activity. Disallow specific URLs that you don’t want crawled in your robots.txt file. Sessions IDs are antiquated and should not be used in any new site development. You can use cookies instead for monitoring site traffic.

• Check to see that your web server supports the “If-Modified-Since” HTTP header. This tells Google if your content has changed since it last crawled your site, saving bandwidth and overhead.

• Use the robot.txt file to exclude directories that do not need to be crawled from Google. Keep it updated in your Webmaster Tools account and ensure that you are not blocking Google bot from crawling your site by testing it in Webmaster Tools.

• Keep advertisements (such as Google’s AdSense and DoubleClick) to a minimum and ensure that they are not affecting your rankings by making sure they are excluded in your robots.txt file.

• If you use a content management system (CMS), makes sure that it support seo friendly URL structure and is easily crawled by bots.

• Test you site in several browser’s (IE, FireFox, Chrome, Lynx, Opera, Safari) at different resolutions.

• Use tools to monitor page load speeds. This is becoming an increasingly bigger factor for rankings. Use Google’s Page Speed, or Webmaster Tools Site Performance Tool to gain insights on how to boost you page loads speeds.

SYNOPSIS:

• Make use of the robots.txt file to keep your site accessible to the Google bots
• Block unneeded/irrelevant content from
• Use SEO friendly urls and move away from parameter-based urls
• Monitor your page load speed and take steps to improve it.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:09 pm


 

 

October 16, 2012

SOON: Surface Tablet from Microsoft

October 26th 2012 will be remembered as the final day before all the snapping sounds started, the eve of the angry school girls holding images of devices they’ve never seen in real life.

 
Don’t get me wrong, I love the functionality that Microsoft has added to their tablet, and the effort they put into getting just the right amount of ‘snap’ feedback, probably cost them a lot more than we’d believe..

Animated GIF of a seal on an ice flow stalked by a polar bear

But, all too soon, the first users will be ‘snapping‘ these open and then hopping into ‘Bing‘ to find something while looking around the coffee shop to see who’s noticing them.. SOON!

All the play on word noises aside, with the 26th a mere 10 days away, the offer to get a Surface in your hands on the release date is pretty cool.

Microsoft is starting with 3 options:

- 64 GB with Black Touch KB Cover $699 (Sold Out)
- 32 GB with Black Cover $599 (Sold Out)
- 32 GB without a cover $499

You can buy the Touch Cover separately for $120 in 5 different badly photo-shopped colors, or buy a ‘physical KB’ style Type Cover for $129.99.

Clearly the discerning owner would have to opt for the ‘Type Cover’ so that it makes click sounds that will turn the heads of iPad users in the coffee shop.

That’s about where the envy will likely stop however, given the 1366×768 resolution, 2GB of RAM, proprietary NVidia T30 CPU, and applications exclusively supplied by the Microsoft Windows Store.

The Windows RT Surface tablet also comes with a trial copy of MS Office 2013 Home/Student RT Preview that you’ll have to upgrade to the full version later when it’s released.

Personally I’d hold off and wait for a NON Windows RT Surface.

- Good luck using a different OS if you find Windows 8 doesn’t match well with your needs
- Your choice of browser is currently IE10 or IE10 Desktop Mode
- Your sole provider of applications is Microsoft

It’s not news that I deeply dislike the idea of limited access/walled gardens/etc., but clearly this isn’t shared with everyone since nothing is slowing down the pre-sales; Heck Microsoft was actually having issues with page loading earlier today!

Oh speaking of which here’s the official link to the Microsoft Surface on the MS Store site.

Maxwell Smart and Agent 99 from the Get Smart TV Series

Get Smart!

Would you believe that Harvard University is giving away free diplomas for their doctorate degrees in Medieval Latin?

No?

How about a free Networking course from Stanford University that covers packet switching and queuing?

No?

Would you believe it’s online and open to anyone?

Yup! If you always wanted to put ‘Stanford University’ on your resume, you can now do it for free, online, and nice reasonable 10 week duration, then click right here!

SEO news blog post by @ 12:04 pm


 

 

October 15, 2012

The Snooper’s Charter & Innocence of Muslims Censorship

It seems every time we turn around there is another new article about government bodies attempting to impose Internet censorship, threats to our online anonymity or online privacy concerns. Today’s headlines are no different.

The Snooper’s Charter

Opponents of the "Snooper’s Charter" received a minor victory. The proposed UK Draft Communications Bill published on June 14th by the Joint Parliamentary Committee received approximately 19,000 emails during its consultation period.

Of the 19,000 emails, not one single email was in favor of the proposed bill. There was not a single one that even agreed with the premise of the bill. Several civil liberty advocacy groups in the UK encouraged people to email their protests in opposition to the bill.

British Parliment

Opponents state that the Bill would grant powers to the Home Secretary, or other cabinet minister to order the gathering and retaining of any "communications data" by "telecommunications operators."

The bill goes on to state that the data would be held for 12 months and that access to this data will be safeguarded and only accessible by a "designated senior officer."

Of paramount concern to opponent is the fact that the wording of bill has been left seemingly intentionally vague. The broad definitions of the terms "communications data" and &telecommunications operators" could cover anything from traditional mail to any activity on the internet.

The implications of this ability to collect and retain all of your online activities means that this data can and will be held and examined for scrutiny and usage.

The Innocence of Muslims – Aftermath

In response to the recent YouTube video, "The Innocence of Muslims" and the resulting public fervor and the ensuing violence that occurred, officials in Saudi Arabia propose global Internet regulations and censorship. Saudi officials state that there is a "crying need for international collaboration to address ‘freedom of expression’ which clearly disregards public order."

Alan Roberts stars in The Innocence of Muslims

During the violence, Google did restrict access to the 14 minute clip from YouTube, but resisted pressure from the White House and others to remove it.The Saudi government has gone on to tell the World Telecommunications Policy Forum (a UN body) that the incident was an "obvious example" of the need for greater international cooperation to restrict online content.

"Any reasonable person would know that this film would foment violence and, indeed, many innocent persons have died and been injured with this film as a root cause," the Saudi submission said.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:44 am

Categories:Internet Law,Privacy

 

 

October 11, 2012

Windows 8 / IE10 and Flash Certification

Windows 8 is a tablet OS, and like any modern OS focused on tablets/touch/mobility options, there’s compatibility concerns with content not specifically written for a tablet/mobile device.

Apple’s famous for their certification process and using it for more than just the sake of ‘quality’ or ‘compatibility’ controls.

Indeed Microsoft has had certification for drivers, and applications in Windows for some time, but never to the point where something cannot be used without their certification.

If you wanted to install something that isn’t certified you’ll get a spooky warning, but I’ve never seen something completely fail to work due to a bad/missing certification on Windows.

Enter Windows 8 and IE10, a whole new ballgame, with two browser modes, one for normal use and a ‘desktop’ integration mode which has to play nice with the new Windows UI.

If you wish to publish web content that leverages the new ‘desktop mode’ you’ll want to visit Microsoft’s ‘developer guidance’ page for information on new meta tags and HTTP header codes that help flag such content.

In a nutshell they explain that either the header:

X-UA-Compatible: requiresActiveX=true

OR the meta tag:

<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="requiresActiveX=true" />

… work to create a handy little prompt explaining that the content on the page requires the page to be viewed in ‘desktop’ mode, and even gives a single-click shortcut to switch over:

IE10 desktop warning

The same page also deals with ‘Compatibility Verification’ and the steps to test/certify that your flash content is compatible with the extra features of a tablet OS.

Of particular interest is the option of a single registry entry that allows testing of your site for ‘debugging’ to see just how broken your flash content is.

The key is located here:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Flash\DebugDomain
.. and if you wanted to make a .reg file for easy access the contents would be:
REGEDIT4
**Blank Line/Carriage Return**
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Flash\DebugDomain] @="www.mywebsite.com"
**Blank Line/Carriage Return**

At that point you could right-click the .reg file you made and click on ‘install’ from within the pop-up menu.

Passing this .reg file to your developers would be fine, but since only one site can be specified, this is NOT a solution for your end users.

Obviously the best advice we can give, as SEOs, is to ditch your Flash content completely.

HTML5 with all it’s perks can replace almost anything you’ve done in Flash and Google’s even willing to help you make the switch by offering the Swiffy Flash -> HTML5 Conversion Tool.

If you feel your content is too sophisticated for Swiffy, or you haven’t tried the tool recently, you should!

Here’s an example of how well the tool works on a flash game with keyboard and mouse controls:

SEO news blog post by @ 12:07 pm


 

 

October 10, 2012

New Webmaster Guidelines Part 1 – Design and Content

Google recently updated their webmaster guidelines following the latest algorithm update. It is easy to feel inundated with the amount of information regarding web design dos & don’ts and the best practices for the internet. As an SEO I am frequently asked, “How can I get my site to rank?” The fact of the matter is that we follow the Google’s Webmaster Guidelines which establishes the best practices for websites to follow. Many are concerned about the Panda/Penguin updates and are worried that there site will be hit; or they have a site that has been hit. Our advice remains consistent: "Drink the Google Kool-Aid".

magician_rabbit_hat

At one time, it was exceedingly difficult to get a straight answer from Google in regards to what was considered best practice. This led to a wild-west frontier attitude and many designers and SEOs adopted many bad practices. This is lead to an inundation of webspam in the Google SERPs and made it very difficult to get quality search results.

The Panda and Penguin algorithm and subsequent updates was a very concerted effort to rid the SERPs of webspam. In the wake of these substantial updates, my advice to customers remains consistent; follow the Google established guidelines. The mantra I repeat to my customers is: "Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?"

For many of us this is old news, but I still find myself learning new things to try and better practices to adopt. Much of the messaging from Google has been very consistent regarding what makes good content. This post will looks specifically at Google’s recommended Design and Content Guidelines to help Google find, crawl and index your site.

Site Hierarchy

  • Give your site a clear hierarchical structure and make it as easy to navigate as possible. Every page should be reachable from at least one static text link.
  • Think of your website as a book with logical sections and headings; each with their own unique and relevant content.
    • The Title of you is your domain URL (eg. www.booktitle.com)
    • Your title tag <title> can be your topic for the page. It defines what content will be on this page (eg. <title>Book Characters</title>).
    • Your heading tag is your chapter title eg. <h1>Book Characters</h1>. Typically this is the same or very close to the page title and must be directly relevant.
    • Have only one topic per page and only one H1 tag on any page.
    • Use subsequent heading tags (h2, h3, h4) to define further related divisions of the chapter.

Site Map

  • Offer a sitemap for your visitors. Not only does this provide a valuable service to your customers, but it can help improve the indexing of your site by bots.
  • If you have an extensive number of links on your site, you may need to break your sitemap into multiple pages.
  • Remember that a website sitemap is different than the sitemap.xml that you should submit to Google’s Webmaster Tools.

Internal Linking

  • Keep the number of links on any page to the bare minimum. The guidelines used to state ‘around 100’ but this is one area where less is more.
  • In the most recent iteration of the Webmaster Guidelines, Google has only stated to ‘keep it to a reasonable amount’. Too many links leading to other internal pages or offsite is distracting to the visitor. It lowers conversion rates due to people getting lost and creates frustration.

Textual Content

  • Google has always stated that ‘content is king’. It is absolutely imperative that you create rich, useful and dynamic content that engages your audience. All textual content needs to be well written and grammatically correct. It should clearly and accurately describe your content and it must be relevant to the page that it is found on.
  • Do not write for what you think Google wants to see. Think about what searchers would type into a search engine to find your page and ensure that your content actually includes those terms.
  • Do not concern yourself with keyword densities. Inevitably the content comes across as spammy and does not read well. Google may regard this as keyword stuffing and see broken/confused grammar as potential spam or scrapped content…exactly what the Panda/Penguin updates are designed to target, and penalize for.

Page Coding

  • Use a crawler on your site such as XENU’s Link Sleuth, or Google’s Webmaster Tools to check you site for broken links.
  • Check your site with the W3C to ensure that your site has valid HTML.
  • Avoid the use of dynamic pages with cryptic URLs (e.g., the URL contains a "?" character). Try to use keyword focused URLs that reflect the page you are building. If you must use a dynamic URL structure, keep them few and the parameters short.

Images

  • You can give Google additional details about your images, and provide the URL of images we might not otherwise discover, by adding information to a web sitemap.
  • Do not embed important content into images; always use text links instead of images for links, important names etc, where possible. Google crawlers cannot determine the text displayed in an image. If you must use an image for textual content, ensure that you make use of the image ALT tag to describe the image with a few words.
  • Ensure that all image <title< and ALT attributes are descriptive (but not spammy) and accurate. Follow these guidelines for creating great ALT text for your images.
  • Give your images detailed and informative filenames.

The following areas (video and rich snippets and their usage are best described by Google themselves:

Video

View the full post here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=156442

Rich Snippets

View the full post here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=1093493

Coming next time, I will review the newly updated Technical Guidelines and then conclude with Google’s Quality Guidelines.

SEO news blog post by @ 1:15 pm


 

 

October 9, 2012

EMD Insanity and Coining Phrases

It’s clearly time for Beanstalk to officially list ourselves as a sitedefibrillation solution provider.

Why? Because apparently the secret to SERP dominance with an EMD is to coin your own phrase!

Do a search for ‘coinflation’ + ‘gold’ or really, almost any other keyword to see what Google considers an ‘improved’ result following the EMD update.

Google Search results for Coinflation 
If you didn’t get something like the results above, please let us know!

 
Okay so that seems slightly silly, but how the heck did they pull that off? There’s clearly PPC/AdWords competition for the phrase, and EMD should either be a penalty or moot, shouldn’t it?

Well apparently not! In fact EMD can still clearly be an asset if the ‘quality’ scores are all above par!

This means that if you have an organic campaign, with ongoing back links/references from trusted sources, and you aren’t hitting other penalties, you really should be feeling no loss at all from the EMD update.

Indeed, if your competition was using non-organic approaches to EMDs they should have taken a trust hit, and you may see an improvement in position due to their failings!

So while I can show you some examples of the EMD apparently failing to work, we can assure you it’s working, and overall seems like a positive step for Google.

10″ Google Nexus from Samsung?

Last night CNET announced some ‘highly’ probable info that Samsung is manufacturing a new 10.1″ Nexus tablet for Google.

The article is more of a stub of hear-say but had some rather ‘exact’ details including the resolution of the display:

The 2,560×1,600 display will have a PPI (pixels per inch) of about 299, said Shim. That tops the 264 PPI on the 9.7-inch 2,048×1,536 Retina iPad.

Clearly this will be the ‘high end’ model for the Nexus line (currently manufactured by Asus), especially when you consider that Google will be releasing a 7″ Nexus subsidized down to a $99 price this December!

In fact since we’re pondering things to come more than talking facts, I’d have to assume this will be a dual or quad core device with GPU acceleration of some sort to assist with up-scaling video content and 3d games to that eye-popping resolution.

So if this high-end Nexus tablet is anything less than $399 I’d be really shocked and very worried for Apple.

Okay, perhaps more worried for Apple, would be more accurate given it’s current public affairs issues..

In case you’re wondering ‘who cares?’; Tim Pool goes to the streets and broadcasts unedited footage of protests/events.

I’d like to think Apple is patenting this to prevent companies from doing this, but in actual fact this is very creepy stuff from the overly litigious makers of the most expensive walled gardens on the planet.

It seems almost like Apple is testing how well their brand/product can weather bad public image at this point?

SEO news blog post by @ 11:53 am


 

 

October 4, 2012

Google Chronos?

When I was a kid all I really wanted from my wrist watch was to tell the time, date, temperature, speed of movement, elevation, relative humidity, and it had to be a fully working calculator while still fitting on my wrist and not costing more than I could afford.

Casio Calculator Watch

Yeah I was a humble child.

But I wasn’t alone in my desire to have the kitchen sink on my wrist!

Clearly there were others who wanted more than just time from the device they carry everywhere.

In 2001 news of the Bluetooth functions in IBM’s Linux Watch was making headlines in the tech circles I frequented.

IBM Linux Watch (2000-2004)

It was a beast but it ran Linux and X11 on your wrist plus it had Bluetooth communications so it could turn your lights off and on, start the coffee maker, even control your TV/Stereo!

This was back when Bluetooth wasn’t in every single phone, so the obvious connection between the watch and the phone wasn’t there at the time, and this was more of a standalone device vs. and accessory.

Today’s phones however, are very well equiped, and it’s actually unusual to see a phone without bluetooth support; So now the interaction between the watch and a paired phone is driving a new market.

When you think of ‘getting out your phone’ compared to ‘glancing at a watch’ the value of having your timepiece reflecting the status of your nearby phone suddenly ‘clicks’.

If Android is a lean/mean version of Linux developed for mobile devices, why aren’t we seeing it used in a watch?

IBM had this working 12 years ago!?

Enter the Google Watch

Google to the rescue! Well, almost, since it’s just a fresh patent vs. an actual product announcement…

Google Watch from USPTO

If you visit the USPTO link above you’ll see a long list of patented products that are falling into the same classification, some of which are nearly as old as me! Yikes!

Indeed Google’s input is more along the lines of a sister(?) product to the Google Glass project which uses the same display techniques and has a lot of the same goals as this patent.

Speaking of displays, looking at the above image, you’d supposedly release the transparent top display marked as ’30′ (pushing on the latch marked 20?), which would then still keep working as the base display (item 16?) shows other information.

In one of the USPTO images the watch is shown doing some overlay images to apparently assist with price matching/product purchases. If it can break all the sticker prices down by actual price per unit values so they can be compared easily, that alone would make it a must have item for me.

Other Options?

You do NOT have to wait for Google to find the time to build and test this watch.

If you want an Android based watch right now, it’s not cheap, but they are already for sale from other companies.

Here’s the “I’m WATCH(seriously, that’s the name!) from “i’m SpA” (?!):

i'm WATCH - Android watch

It’s attractive, and functional, but it’s not very ‘Google’ and I do believe they found a man with the biggest fingers on the planet to demonstrate it:

The headphone jack seems nuts for a bluetooth device, but it’s very fresh and clearly still a work in progress.

The watch is a device that has to be reliable, functional, and stylish, so it really could take someone like Google to ‘nail it’.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:15 pm


 

 

October 3, 2012

Reeling in the Years: 30th Anniversary of the Compact Disc.

The compact disc is 30 years old today. If that doesn’t make you feel old, then youhere is something more relevant to your age: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justin_Bieber

Compact Disc Player circa 1982

The year was 1982 when the first compact disc revolutionized the music industry and industry profits for ever. While Billy Joel’s 52nd Street was the first compact disc to be officially released in Japan, technically the first actual compact disc that was created and tested was a pressing of Richard Strauss’s ‘Eine Alpensinfonie’. The honor of the first batch of compact discs manufactured goes to ABBA’s ‘the Visitors’.

Billy Joel "52nd-street" CD

Although they seem antiquated now and are regarded as throwbacks to prehistory by the younger generation, at the time CDs were a galactic leap forward in technology. Audiophiles from around the world rejoiced and marveled at the clarity the compact discs offered.

No longer were listeners affronted with hiss, cracks and pops associated with vinyl records. Initially the astronomical price tag kept compact discs and compact disc players were too prohibitive and resulted in a slow adoption rate by consumers. There is still an ongoing argument amongst the vinyl-generation that compact discs don’t have the same "warmth" as an analog record offered.

Abba-The_Visitors_(1981)-CD

With all technologies, the CD was come and gone to be replaced by newer digital technologies. Those growing up today regard CDs with the same nostalgia as the previous generation regards vinyl records; with a quaint sense of nostalgia. In much the same way, digital music has also revolutionized the music industry.

Much to the chagrin of major record labels, the barrage of pirating and licensing issues has redefined the role of big record companies and given rise to a huge influx of indie (independent) recording artists that owe their fame to the like of YouTube and peer-to-peer file sharing networks and self promotion that seeks to redesign the whole industry.

For the first time in the history of the music industry, we have hit a technological plateau. The battle being waged over piracy, royalties and industry profits is creating a fundamental paradigm shift that will resonate for decades to come and will set the stage for all future generations of music lovers.

The Top 10 Albums of 1982:

Top 10 Albums of 1982

  1. JUDAS PRIEST – "Screaming for Vengence"
  2. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN – "Nebraska"
  3. JOHN COUGAR – "American Fool"
  4. LED ZEPPELING – "CODA"
  5. RUSH – "Signals"
  6. VAN HALEN – "Diver Down"
  7. IRON MAIDEN – "The Number of the Beast"
  8. TOM PETTY & the HEATBREAKERS – "Long After Dark"
  9. ROBERT PLANT – "Pictures at Eleven"
  10. KISS – "Creatures of the Night"

SEO news blog post by @ 12:30 pm

Categories:just for fun,YouTube

 

 

October 2, 2012

You may need an EMT after the EMD Update!

Last Friday Matt Cutts tweeted about Google’s latest update, which focuses on penalties for ‘low-quality’ Exact Match Domain names, hence the EMD TLA.

Twitter posts from Matt Cutts on the latest EMD Update

While Google is never big on giving us the details lets digest this together!

Using a relevant keyword in a domain has been a very long-standing ranking signal.
ie: A consulting site for financial companies using ‘financial-consulting.com’ as a domain would be seen as relevant

Over the years this has lead to people grabbing up domains with keywords in them for SEO purposes.

JACOBS BY MARC JACOBS FOR MARC BY MARC JACOBS ETC..

Having your keywords in your domain name didn’t mean overnight dominance of the web, thankfully. Indeed, there was usually some trade-off between desirable keywords and a reasonably short domain name.

In fact, no organic/white-hat SEO would suggest you use something like:

‘best-value-online-financial-consulting-company-with-proven-results.com’

Why? Because the gains in SEO wouldn’t match the losses in user trust/conversions.

Would a good organic SEO/White Hat tell you NOT to purchase those types of domains for 301s to your main site?

I’d like to think so, but this was clearly a strategy for a lot of sites competing for top rankings.

Regardless of your SEO ethics, the practice of domain parking/selling because of search ranking signals is clearly an unnecessary burden on the internet.

While the ‘domains for sale’ issue would still exist without search engines, search engines honestly should be making your choice of domain name MUCH less relevant.

Ideally fresh internet traffic should occur as match between the searchers needs and the services/information that your site provides.

And with this latest update it’d appear that Google agrees with the idea that book should found by more than what’s on the cover.

As of this last update you can expect sites with nothing but some keyword dense 301′d domains to now face a penalty instead of a positive ranking signal.

We didn’t see this coming!

EMD Update Results

I’m already seeing people post sad tales of the deep impact this update is having on certain sites, and I’ve had a laugh at a few ‘professionals’ claiming they never felt this day would come.

Personally, while I’ve watched some very good presentations on SEO and web ranking strategies, the one thing that helps me most as an SEO is Matt Cutts’ breakdown of the real philosophy behind ‘good SEO’ which boils down to:

Never do something for the sake of search engine rankings alone.

If you like ‘Lord of the Rings’ then look at this as:

‘One Rule to Lead them all, one Rule to be found by…’

..and you should never have to fear a Google update!

In fact you should look at each Google update as a chance for your rankings to improve as other sites are punished for their ‘clever’ attempts to game the system.

Another Google Easter Egg?

And finally, to end the post with a chuckle, here’s a Google search phrase for you to test out:

I was hoping this was more than just an ‘Easter Egg‘ in Google’s search, but alas Google hasn’t yet licked mathematical artificial intelligence. :p

SEO news blog post by @ 12:01 pm


 

 

October 1, 2012

Dying Online, Facebook and the Digital Afterlife

From time immemorial, countless people have looked at the stars and contemplated their existence and life’s greatest questions; What happens to us after we die? What will our legacy be? What will become of my Facebook account?

dying online

In an ever increasing digital world, this is a question that has been posed more than a few times between around the water cooler here at Beanstalk. With an ever increasing amount of users employing cloud based digital assets, and engaging in social media, many people are concerned not only for the protection of these valuable assets and intellectual property, but in preserving memories for friends and family for posterity.

A paper published law professor Jason Mazzone from the University of Illinois calls for federal government to interevene and to regulate what happens to digital accounts after an account holder’s demise.

Along with an ever increasing amount of people, Mazzone argues that social platforms and other online services have policies that do not adequately protect an individual’s intellectual property or privacy after their death.

"Virtually no law regulates what happens to a person’s online existence after his or her death," he said. "This is true even though individuals have privacy and copyright interests in materials they post to social networking sites."

In an absence of any legal regulations, social sites are unlikely to adopt any policies of their own accord that will do little to protect a users account or intellectual property. Presently there are very few regulations in place, and most sites are left developing policies on-the-fl, with little regard for the user’s data.

"It’s becoming increasingly common for people to have digital assets, and some of them do actually have value," he said. "Not only are such sites repositories of intellectual property, they also are important to family members and friends. Historians of the future will likely depend upon digital archives to reconstruct the past, which creates a real problem, particularly in an age when we don’t leave diaries, and, increasingly, people don’t write books."

Facebook’s policy is to "memorialize" the deceased’s account. All content that has been uploaded (status updates, photos & videos) are removed. The user’s wall remains intact so that individuals can express their condolences to the departed. However, the user data is not deleted by Facebook. Currently, the data is archived with the speculation that it will be held for posterity by Facebook until a such time where it can be re-purposed for historical records.

There is no system in place to state your wishes for your account after your demise (similar to a living will) and no regulations in place to appoint an executor of your estate. As the population of Facebook users begin to age, Mazzone is at the forefront of a growing movement to instill federally mandated regulations to protect the billions of Facebook and social networking users worldwide.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:43 pm


 

 

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