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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.


February 2, 2012

Google’s Arnaque Carte

I was tempted to title this blog post ‘Why it’s cheaper to just block France‘ but that implied a lot and wasn’t as much fun as ‘Google’s Map Scam’ (translation).

Ever since the days of Google suggest, there has been some serious merde tossed at Google by French businesses and organizations. I think we all remember the famous French victories search?

Well apparently that algorithm has caused quite a stir for the French as they actually sued Google to get them to remove ‘Arnaque’ from showing in a suggest result for ‘cnfdi’ because it looked bad! Seriously, the French are complaining that the suggest results are too ‘honest’ and they took legal action to have Google give a fake result for that suggest query:

Then again in late 2011 Google lost a French court case over a suggest result that added the French version of ‘crook/swindler’ to the end of a search string for a French insurance company. The sum of that settlement was almost $65,000 and again, the problem is that Google isn’t censoring it’s information enough.

If that wasn’t bad enough, this week a French mapping company that offers similar services to Google Maps has won a settlement of over $660,000 against Google for providing it’s mapping services for free. Yep, once again, Google’s too honest/generous and France wants justice!

From my personal perspective, if I was Google, I’d just give France the same treatment as China, setup some massive IP block restrictions, and then go get some freedom fries with my spare time and money.


$7.50 for a tub of fries? Sweet!

SEO news blog post by @ 2:28 pm


 

 

January 19, 2012

Leftover SOPA scum

Congrats to everyone that participated in the SOPA/PIPA Jan 18th blackout, even if all you did was sit on Twitter and complain(some strong language was used), you did something to bring the topic into the foreground.

The internet is unified

Yesterday’s on-line unity was a clear message to the political parties backing these bills. Last I checked the opposition to PIPA was only 6 senators away from the required 41 “no” votes needed to keep PIPA stuck in the Senate for good. While I haven’t seen a public list of senator opposition to SOPA, it too needs 41 “no” votes to end the future of the bill.

While this sounds great, it really just means that the entertainment industry, and fans of public censorship, now have to try even harder to keep their efforts out of the public eye. Make no mistake, there are people, wealthy and misguided, that will keep trying to find a way to sneak this sort of law through. Don’t think that’s a fair/optimistic assessment of the situation, well here’s the flip side (Very strong language/opinion warning) from Mr.Maddox.

Just last night I was trying to get some programming done while watching a bunch of movies I’ve been backlogged on. One of the movies in the stack was ‘Kick-Ass‘ and I won’t spoil a decent film for you with too much info, but there’s a scene where they are streaming a web broadcast live on the news. As the live stream becomes ‘too violent’ for television the audience quickly switches to the web to watch the rest of the live stream on-line.

While most folks watching the film were probably totally distracted by the context of the scene, I was immediately thinking about all the conservative types watching this unfold and thinking to themselves:

‘This should never be possible, we should have the ability to censor a live stream that is so disturbing! If it can’t be shown on TV it shouldn’t be viewable on the Internet! Just think of all the things the internet could broadcast un-censored! We need something like this SOPA/PIPA thing we can abuse!’

I’m not sure if the big players in Hollywood actually intended that sort of reaction to the scene, I’m not saying the film is a brain-wash attempt by the industry, but the thought did cross my very ‘open’ mind, so it stands to reason I wouldn’t be the only one.

In fact if you haven’t looked at ACTA, you might want to check it out. This is a more international version of PIPA/SOPA with the same issues surrounding loose definitions and loopholes that could be exploited while doing little to actually stop piracy. ACTA has been bouncing around since 2006 with a bunch of countries already signed on to the current version.

The closure date for signing onto ACTA isn’t until 2013 but it looks like there may be some difficulties getting all signing countries to agree on a final version (yay for diversity!). A notably large issue of ACTA, especially in the eyes of the EFF, is that it has been drafted in secret, hidden from public eyes by participating governments around the world. So if you haven’t poked your nose into it, you really should.

Speaking of closure, I think Chia Bart’s pretty much grown all that he will and I’m cheating now to try and get the top of his head to sprout.

Chia Bart # 6 - Looking leafyLeaf me alone! The kid is not my sun!

SEO news blog post by @ 12:25 pm


 

 

January 13, 2012

EPIC FTC Madness

Happy Friday the 13th!

You know that look your pets give you when you are vacuuming?

No not this look:

Scared dog

More like the ‘I will eat you if you get any closer’ look.. ?

That was the look on my face as I read reports today that the Electronic Privacy Information Center has formally requested that the FTC investigate Google’s new social search features for anti-competitive nature and privacy violations.

So what this did is prove? In my personal opinion it proves that someone at EPIC is either a complete fool or funded by Facebook. Here’s why it’s so amazing:

If I want to ‘violate privacy’ in the eyes of EPIC I’d do an image search (on any search engine) for ‘teen mirror facebook’ and I’d get a slew of images teens have taken of themselves in front of a mirror and posted to Facebook. That’s all I’d have to do, and by EPIC’s standards I’ve ‘violated privacy rights’ by getting access to these pictures which are marked ‘public’ on Facebook. This would be no different from me choosing to see search results from my Google+ interests.

If I wanted to make my browser anti-competitive in the eyes of EPIC I’d go into my search settings and I’d add a modifier for my search engine URLs that would add ‘facebook’ as a verbatim keyword that must be in every search result. By clicking those options I’ve now set my browser up for a big fall and stern letters should be written to the FTC immediately to urge them to spend millions of dollars investigating these horrible anti-competitive atrocities. Again, this is no different from me deciding to specifically look at Google+ results when searching.

Heck now that I’ve pointed out that browser software has pre-meditated options to allow anti-competitive behaviour, I guess EPIC will be writing letters to the FTC demanding to have the browser manufacturers investigated to put a stop to people having access to features which allow them to choose a particular service over another.

If my hair wasn’t so short I think I’d be pulling it all out right now in dismay over such examples of non-thought. Perhaps I’ll go trim Chia Bart instead, he’s almost getting ‘shaggy’ now.

If I took even more pictures we could animate Bart!

SEO news blog post by @ 12:39 pm


 

 

June 23, 2011

Netherlands Net Neutrality Not Nebulous

What had been uncertain is now law in the Netherlands as they dive head-long into the great debate known as Net Neutrality.

Yesterday, June 22nd, Dutch parliament passed a bill stopping mobile operators from billing more for voice calls made on-line. The law also prevents the companies from simply blocking the calls to skirt around the ruling. There’s still a crucial step of passing the senate, but at this point it’s just a formality and we can expect this to be law.

Netherlands

In this instance we’re looking at fair access to using the network for voice calls, but net neutrality means many things and is a huge issue across the globe in any developed country with paid network access.

Net neutrality

Ideally a packet of data should cost the same no matter what’s inside that packet, but ISPs claim that not all traffic is equal. In fact ISPs believe that packets used to deliver game data, file-sharing, or adult content, should be deemed ‘unwanted’ and either delivered with less priority or charged at a higher rate. ISPs even go to the effort of claiming that by censoring these particular packets they are capable of delivering a better internet experience for the majority of their users.

Customers challenge that ISPs are trying to skirt around upgrades and improving the connectivity by simply censoring certain traffic. This means that with a few tweaks they can avoid huge upgrade costs and instead just pocket the profits.
Comparing storage to bandwidth
Not buying it?
Well lets take a look at a much more competitive medium?
If you take the cost of physical disk storage..
Make some leaps between storing data and transmission..
You can draw some very pretty images..
Visualizing the gap between competition and tech.

In this case the artist to the right would like you to see the following:

If ISPs were competitive we’d be paying $45/month for 985Mbs!

.. if only it were a legal argument!

In this case the issue is mobile internet users making calls but we know what a slippery slope these decisions can be.

Indeed in the mobile industry alone there is already rumours of backlash in the form of increased subscription rates. Vodafone was quoted as saying that the bill, if passed, would “lead to a large increase in prices for mobile internet for a large group of consumers” as Vodafone would no longer be allowed to single out heavy users for higher charges.

Users on the other hand are outraged that providers won’t upgrade to solve the bandwidth needs because it cuts into profit, and instead just increase prices to discourage extra use. Customers also demand to know how the companies are learning the contents of the data and trying to charge more based on type of data. This has been compared to a postal worker that looks inside your letter mail, and charges you more to deliver a cheque vs. a bill. To some it is entirely unthinkable and the outrage is far flung across the web.

In the end, if the Dutch leadership have the sense to make bills very selectively, they may solve some of the crucial problems we’re facing with ISPs. I personally have some doubt that they can take two steps forward without any steps back and will be impressed if someone can finally pave a clear path forward on such a contentious issue.

SEO news blog post by @ 8:03 pm


 

 

May 16, 2011

New Bill Could Force ISPs Keep User Data

A new user data-logging bill that is being introduced is heating up the Net Neutrality deabte. Rep. Lamar Smith of The House Judiciary Committee, is preparing a bill which would require internet service providers to retain information about their users to aid in criminal investigations.

The bill is designed to help increase criminal charges and penalties against acts such as child pornography. The current draft of the act would require logging and storage of "temporarily assigned network addresses" stored for 18 months. However, the bill allows wireless providers to be exempt and they would not be required to store user data.

While some Net Neutrality advocates argue against the storing of usage logs, stating that it infringes on constitutional rights and freedoms, most understand that the monitoring and storing of data is a necessary infringement of personal rights in order to better prosecute criminal offereders.

The proposed bill is gathering opposition from the U.S. Justice Department who is concerned about drawing strong blowback from cable and DSL providers. Some amongst the Democratic congressional staff have voiced concerns and have chosen not to support the bill due to perceived privacy infringements.

Contention arises due to the fact that mobile Wi-Fi hotspots such as coffee shops and other places offering free Wi-Fi access will not be required to store the data, but more traditional wired locations such as universities, business and schools will be mandated to store usage log files.

Additional issues arise in businesses that offer a mix of services. Would these businesses (Internet Cafes) be required to keep logs files for both wired and wireless traffic, or just wired?

Obviously the exemption of wireless logging presents a huge loop hole and would be problematic for trying to prosecute in criminal cases. The deputy attorney general, Jason Weinstein recognized this himself, and emphasised the nessesity for the legislation in be inclusive of wireless services because "when this information is not stored, it may, be impossible for law enforcement to collect essential evidence."

Most ISPs do not retain log files for long due to a lack resources required to log, store, and maintain usage stats.

The 1996 Electronic Communication Transactional Records Act, requires providers to maintain any records they have for 90 days once requested by a government agency. There is however no guarantee that the criminal activity would be discovered before the data had been purged from ISP records.

SEO news blog post by @ 9:06 pm


 

 

April 20, 2011

Net Neutrality Rulings Update

It has been a while since we have heard anything on the net neutrality front, so I thought I would give some recent updates in the ongoing battle. Net Neutrality (NN) is a contentious issue to be sure. For a more detail look in what the issues are so contentious, be sure to check out this previous article for an in depth look at what Net Neutrality debate is all about. At the heart of the debate came down to whether you should fear the government or fear your ISP regulating the flow of data that you receive on the internet.

In December, the five-member FCC voted 3-2 to approve net neutrality rules that stopped service providers from blocking or retarding online access. The three Democrats on the commission voted for the rules, while the two Republican commissioners voted against it. Republicans have stuck by their arguments that a less-regulated Internet would spur investment and innovation.

Republicans argued that the FCC did not have the authority to pass such rules and introduced a resolution to overturn them The Senate and President Obama stated that they would veto the resolution if it came to his desk. A two-thirds vote by both houses would be needed to override a veto. On April 11th 2011, The House of Representatives overturned the FCC’s ruling.

On April 4th the debate continued over NN as members of the House took to the floor to debate and vote in a proposed resolution to overturn the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) standing net neutrality rules. After an hour long debate, over whether NN rules are even necessary, members voted 241 to 178 to take up the H.J. (House Joint) Res 37 later in the week. At the crux of the debate was whether government intervention and regulation will maintain the internet status quo, or lead to a web-based police-state. In the wake of the FCC’s rulings, Verizon Wireless and MetroPCS are planning to sue the FCC over their authority to regulate.

Some of the comments from the debate were:

"We should not trade the freedom of the Internet for a toll road provided by and for ISPs," said Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat.

"We need to protect the Internet from government regulation," countered Rep. Rob Woodall, a Georgia Republican.

House majority leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., hailed the House vote for trying to thwart the FCC’s "harmful and partisan plan to regulate the Internet."

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, acknowledged as one of the creators of the internet, has spoken out to favor of the principle of net neutrality. He says that "self-regulation might lead to commercial interests taking precedence, and if this happened, governments should be prepared to step in to ensure that the web remained freely accessible to all."

The FCC rules have not only pitted Democrats against Republicans, but it has also split the business community. Internet service providers, such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon, opposed the rules, while companies thriving on an open internet, including Amazon, eBay, and Google, supported the regulations.

SEO news blog post by @ 6:38 pm


 

 

February 19, 2011

What Is Net Neutrality

The latest article by Beanstalk is now out.  The article, written by Beanstalk’s Kyle Krenbrink gives an unbiased look at Net Neutrality seeking to not take sides but to inform the reader as to what the argument is about, what is at stake and includes links to a wide array of resources where visitors can become more information on this extremely important topic.

You can read the article on our site here.

SEO news blog post by @ 1:37 am


 

 

February 7, 2011

SHAW Cable & CRTC Metered Internet Usage

UPDATE:

It seems that SHAW is already feeling the blowback from a potential CRTC ruling that would allow for more UBB (User Bandwidth Billing) and could be seeing customers leaving.

This just in from the SHAW Facebook page:

Hello everyone,

Today we have made an announcement regarding Usage Based Billing, and want to make sure that everyone knows.

You can read more about this here http://www.shaw.ca/Internet/New-Data-Usage/

And the press release here http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/Shaw-to-Engage-Customers-in-Consultation-Process-on-Internet-Usage-Allowances-TSX-SJR.B-1392517.htm

It is important to let everyone know that while we welcome comments and feedback to take place on this board, we will be focused on the responses we get via email at shawfeedback@sjrb.ca and in the discussions that take place in February and March.

We hope you are all as excited about this as we are, and look forward to what you have to hear!

-Shaw eCare

END OF UPDATE
———————//——————–

As part of researching the upcoming CRTC ruling stating that ISPs could charge extra fees for bandwidth usage, I submitted an email inquiry to Shaw Cable Systems regarding their stance on the issue, or for any feedback to the looming decision by the CRTC. I really did not expect a response (especially so quickly) from Shaw. So kudos to SHAW for the timely response. The following is my email exchange with them:

Hello. I am hoping to get a statement from SHAW as to where they stand on the Net Neutrality debate. Most specifically their stance on the user-based bandwidth charging.

The response I received back as follows:

For an official comment as to our stance towards UBB, I recommend that you call our corporate office directly at 403-750-4500 or complete the Customer Feedback form at shaw.ca, as this goes directly to our corporate office.

I can provide you with some details however, with regards to our current practices. Shaw has always reserved the right to charge for usage, although since the deployment of our far more robust usage tracking methods, we have modified our practices and moved away from hard caps (reduce your usage, upgrade your plan or cancel your account). Whereas high-usage users were almost previously considered to be abusers of our services, we realized that was not really the best approach; these users (about 10% of our internet customer base) were really high-value customers and so we have now enabled two additional options: per-GB billing (after at least two clear notifications on the bill/by phone) or data packs ($5 for 10GB, $20 for 60GB and $50 for 250GB).

To address a possible speculative correlation between the recent CRTC ruling (and proposed government review/reversal), our UBB framework and this ruling are entirely unrelated. The co-incidence is happenstance. The ruling in question relates specifically to Bell’s ability to charge their resellers by the GB and not their ability (or any other ISP’s) ability to charge flat rates or by the GB (or a combination of both as we do).

If you have any questions of a different nature or if there is anything else that we can do for you Kyle, please feel free to reply to this email and we will be happy to help.

E-Care Team
Shaw Cablesystems GP

Whether or not their stance will change with the ruling is unclear. It was my understanding from the CRTC information that UBB would apply to all ISP’s. Perhaps this is a question that will only be answered once and for all when the CRTC ruling comes down on March 1st. Watch for further updates!

SEO news blog post by @ 10:46 pm


 

 

February 3, 2011

Net Neutrality in the Great White North…UPDATE!

As I was reading through headlines this morning after publishing my previous post regarding the Net Neutrality debate, I cam across the following on
slashdot.org:

Posted by “theshowmecanuck”

“The Prime Minister of Canada and the Minister of Industry are set to reverse a ruling by the CRTC (Canadian Radio and Television Commission) allowing big Cable and Telecom companies to charge based on bandwidth usage. The ruling applied to both retail customers and smaller ISPs buying bandwidth wholesale from the major companies. The head of the CRTC has been called to testify before cabinet on why they want to allow the big internet providers to do this.”

In this case the elected government agrees with the very large number of angry Canadians that this was bad for competition. Most Canadians see this as a bureaucracy aided cash grab with very suspect timing since companies like Netflix are starting to move into the Canadian market (big cable companies lowered caps and increased usage fees a week before Netflix started Canadian operations). The CRTC has a fair number of ex-industry executives on the board.”

He stated that his source is www.thestar.com, yet when I read the article, I see the following statement in which the article from “the Star” contradicts itself by saying:

“The promise to reverse the ruling comes as CRTC Chair Konrad von Finckenstein is scheduled to explain the decision Thursday before the House of Commons industry committee.”

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/932571–ottawa-to-reverse-crtc-decision-on-internet-billing?bn=1

They say it is a “PROMISE” nothing more. I see no official releases from the CRTC to verify that a decision has been made. My understanding is that they have until March 1, before making a ruling. I don’t think this is over just yet.

SEO news blog post by @ 6:03 pm

Categories:Net Neutrality

 

 

Net Neutrality in the Great White North

As you have probably heard, the ongoing debate over Net Neutrality has been heating up the Great White North in the last few weeks.

There has been a large amount of anger and public outrage over the CRTC’s recent (Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission) decision to allow for usage based billing. Major ISPs such as SHAW, Telus and Primus have of course, been strong supporters and are only too happy to accept the new ruling.

It seems to be such a contentious issue for so many people, yet so many of us have no real idea of what net neutrality is, or how it impacts us as individuals (watch for an upcoming post by Beanstalk to help de-mystify Net Neutrality). Despite all the apparent anger, no one really seems to understand what this means to them personally or to the internet as a whole. With so much misinformation people are not even sure what they are getting worked up about. All they know is that it will now cost money to download all those wonderful torrents that they previously enjoyed for free.

Is capping bandwidth simply a money grab for ISPs with the CRTC ruling in favour of business over individuals? What about those businesses that rely on the transfer of encrypted data transfers continuously to run and operate?

Now this is where the issue really starts to heat up. If you forego your cable TV service with Shaw but still have internet service through them, what happens when you have a subscription to Netflix and watch only streaming movies? You are now paying for your Netflix subscription as well as being changed for the extra bandwidth. Savvy?

IMO, I don’t mind being charged for downloads over 1GB if they are torrents (something my son may disagree with). With ISPs talking about about charging $2/GB, that could add up fast for harcore torrent fiends. Considering an average torrent movie size is about 1GB (for non-HD or Blu-Ray), that’s still a lot cheaper than going to rent the same movie at the local video store. Personally, I would like to see XX number of GB alotted in your monthly service agreement with your ISP and be charged a higher premium once you exceed that amount.

Video rental stores have been dropping like flies, so maybe the new CRTC ruling will have people start going back to their local video stores and start renting movies again, or maybe people will start going to movie theatres more and help to provide an influx of revenue into local economies.

As Canadians, we need to calmly look at both sides of the issues and really weigh the pros and cons. People get very emotional, especially when it affects their wallets. We have to take a step back and look at what is important in the grand scheme of things. The fact of the matter is that we live in a capitalist society. If I was an owner of an ISP, I would certainly look for ways to increase revenue for myself, my business and my employees. The important thing to remember is that there are two sides to every issue.

Personally, I don’t have a problem with paying for premium services. By the same token I would like to see public Wi-Fi services available for free. Make no mistake, this is a hot issue and we certainly have not heard the last of it.

More than 200,000 people have signed a petition organized by the Vancouver-based open communications advocacy group OpenMedia.ca against the CRTC decision. For those of you that would like to sign the petition against the CRTC ruling, have a look at http://stopthemeter.ca/

The federal government will decide by March 1 whether to reject a CRTC decision on the usage-based internet billing, after Prime Minister Stephen Harper requested a review.

SEO news blog post by @ 5:13 pm


 

 

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