It’s a consumers right to leave reviews of products or services they use. Unfortunately, companies are fighting back against negative reviews with threatening letters and lawsuits. Everything is fine if your statement is credible and true. The sad fact is people have blackmailed businesses with bad reviews leading to many companies to fight back.
Although, negative criticism may feel like a public display of shaming, it’s important for businesses to maintain customer service and keep their number one priority. If not, you could make a bad case even worse. For the Mediabridge company it did just that. An unhappy client left a negative Amazon review and Mediabridge fought back sending threatening letters to sue if the review wasn’t taken down. Later the individual shared the letter with Reddit creating an even greater stir. Mediabridge later went on denying that they sent out a lawsuit on their social media. Amazon then went ahead and voided the companies account.
Not only did Mediabridge ampliphy bad press but they also lost trust with Amazon and many of their clients. It’s important not to let the ego mislead the way you handle customer complaints. Customer service has never really changed from the beginning of time.
I found a neat little slide share about the Ten Commandments of Customer Service that should help as a subtle how to reminder when dealing with clients. What’s true for a store front remains true for an online store.
The data released by Google in their diversity report highlights an issue. Unfortunately it’s not just their issue, it’s a sector-based issue. It turns out that Google is made up of a bunch of white dudes. Sounds like a slightly nerdier version of Congress but with more power.
The breakdown is currently:
And it doesn’t end there, gender is also an area of issue with only 30% of their workforce made up of females and with only 21% holding leadership positions and 17% in technology-specific jobs. At the same time we look at this data we can’t scold Google for it. The problem is that the system itself generated this demographic years ago. Let’s think for a moment about who went into technology about 20 to 25 years ago and would now be running it in their 30s, 40s and 50s. To give you an idea, I did a quick image search for “dungeons and dragons players” and here’s what I saw:
Click for a larger version if you can’t see the demographics here.
And these are the folks who, back then, went on to own Commodore Vic 20s, 64s and later …. work at Google.
So the question becomes, how do we attract a larger diversity of people into the sector? To me the biggest “to do” is insure that schools, especially those in areas where white-and-nerdy isn’t the majority, need to be equipped with computers and technology training. Further, the stigma attached to being a “computer geek” in high school needs to be worked on, especially for girls and non-white folks. As one of those “white and nerdy” people myself I know that I was easily able to find a group like me back in school. And for the most part, it was a bunch of other white guys and we’d play cards and schedule out how to get into the same computer science class. Heck, we still game together almost every Friday evening even though we live on opposite sides of the country. I suspect that this same clique either doesn’t exist in schools where whites are the minority or the technology isn’t available; likely both.
I’d recommend to talk to your congress but the demographics are seriously about the same there so perhaps the problem itself lies in us, the voting masses. If we want to change the diversity we need to provide the technology and work to make it appealing. I know my kids are learning game design and 3D printing in school. Their teacher is giving them projects that appeal to what they like doing, we need to get the same accesses into every school to make this “white and nerdy” sector more diverse through making it more appealing as a course-set to take.
In the meantime, this is who will be running our technology firms:
In early October, the FBI announced the arrest of a man named Ross William Ulbricht; he was charged with narcotics trafficking. No ordinary drug pusher, Ulbricht was the founder and chief operator of the notorious online black market Silk Road. The arrest shone a light into one of the best-kept secrets in our increasingly connected society: the existence, and potential, of the Deep Web.
As SEOs, we spend every workday obsessing over search engines; what they can see, what they’ll praise or punish, and how to improve our clients’ rankings in the results pages. We think in links, in social signals, and in search phrases, because at the end of the day we are concerned with what happens when a web user types a query into a search engine. For many internet users—if not most—that’s how the Internet works: you search for something and the relevant results pop up. But the number of pages indexed by web crawlers is just a tiny fraction of all the pages in the World Wide Web as a whole, and exploring the unsearchable ones has become a dark descent into completely unknown territory. And I find it fascinating.
In order for a web page to be indexed, it must be static and linked to other pages. Deep web pages, in contrast, are not indexed by a search engine, and thus never show up in the results. These pages store their content in searchable databases, but they do not actually exist until a specific search calls up the data and creates a dynamic page on which it can be viewed. While most users don’t realize it, they’ve encountered the deep web at some point in their online travels; a lot of the deep web includes stuff like catalog search results, flight schedules, and research data, all of which adds up to an estimated 7,750 terabytes of information. It’s believed that the surface web—our bread and butter—consists of only 1% of the entire World Wide Web.
Of course, one of the most famous elements of the deep web is the fact that the pages operate in almost complete anonymity, which has made it a haven for illegal activity and black markets such as Silk Road. These sites used a software called TOR, which conceals their IP addresses by bouncing them around several servers and making them very difficult to find. If you searched for these sites in Google, you’d come up with absolutely nothing, because as far as the search engines know, these sites simply do not exist.
This anonymity hasn’t only been used by pornographers and drug lords; the deep web has been hugely helpful in countries where the internet is strictly regulated, because it offers a place for activists to communicate and share information that would get them arrested or killed in real life. In a world of NSA tracking, where your data is a huge commodity, there’s definitely an appeal to the concept of being able to navigate the web without being traced or tracked.
Of course, web pages which specifically avoid being crawled by search engines aren’t of much use to SEOs. But I think it’s amazing to realize that there is a gigantic world beneath our virtual feet; it’s deeply humbling to remember that, at the end of the day, we’re mere drops in the ocean.
SEO news blog post by Mia Steinberg @ 10:54 am on November 6, 2013
I’m a nerd and a gamer and to that end … I love gadgets. I’ve been subscribed to the Oculus Rift newsletter for some time. For those who don’t know, Oculus Rift is the latest and best push right now into virtual reality gaming and experience. In fact, it goes past gaming and for folks who’d like to really “on another world”, a NASA application has been built for it already that allows you to walk the Martian surface. Seriously. Before we get going on the newsletter, here’s that video …
Now, to be clear – I don’t own one yet but I do have a few friends who do. Personally, I’m waiting for the consumer version to be released but at $300 for the developer one … I’ll admit that I was tempted.
So while this has almost nothing to do with SEO and Internet Marketing … this is the future of gaming and more – as we’re seeing with the NASA app, may well be the future of entertainment (with a lot of refinement of course). Imagine if you will the marketing opportunities inherent in letting people roam the world and see the ads that apply to them or an ecommerce experience that sees shoppers enter virtual stores, interact with others there, ask questions of actual staff, etc. I don’t just see this as a cool gadget, they are building the next generation of how we will interact with machines.
To give you an idea of what’s going on with this technology I’m going to do something I never do and that’s simply repost what I got, videos and all. Past just thinking it’s neat, I highly recommend to let your brain ponder what this means just a few years from now for marketing opportunities, and who might buy out this company.
And now … their newsletter:
Virtual Reality’s Bright Future
With so much happening across the industry, we wanted to take a moment and share some of the exciting VR-related news from the last few weeks!
Gaming Insiders Summit and NVIDIA Tech Event
Last week, the team attended the Gaming Insiders Summit, where Brendan gave a talk about the future of virtual reality, and the NVIDIA event in Montreal, where JohnC participated in the announcement of their new G-Sync project (we’re very excited to see people getting serious about improving display performance in PC gaming).
John with Jen-Hsun Huang (NVIDIA), Tim Sweeney (Epic Games), and Johan Andersson (EA DICE). Image courtesy of Engadget.
One of the key topics we discussed was the latest progress around reducing simulator sickness (akin to motion sickness).
We’ve said before that delivering the most comfortable VR experience is a key focus here at Oculus, and tech advancements are bringing us closer to the Holodeck. Luckily for us, Brendan has always been very sensitive to visual errors, which makes him an ideal subject for testing the latest demos. At Gaming Insiders, Brendan talked about using a new VR prototype at Valve, which combines ultra low latency, precise head and positional tracking with low-persistence visuals for one of the most immersive and comfortable experiences ever. We can’t share all the details yet, but we’re taking the insights we’ve learned from that demo and applying them to the development process to make the consumer Rift even better.
We’ve also talked about the potential for mobile VR, especially for experiences like VR Cinema and games with creative visuals that don’t require a high-end graphics card. John summed up our vision extremely well during his Engadget interview:
“The way I believe it’s going to play out is you will eventually have a head-mounted display that probably runs Android, as a standalone system, that has a system-on-a-chip that’s basically like what you have in mobile phones…”
A standalone VR headset is the future of VR, especially as mobile computing continues to rapidly advance. Bringing VR to an open platform like Android will pave the way for completely new experiences. The Oculus Android SDK is up and running internally, and we’re working on core optimizations for mobile chipsets now. Stay tuned for more news on this front!
Next-Gen Rift Dev Hardware
In John’s interview with Engadget (which you can watch below), he mentions a second Rift development kit.
To clarify: we’d like to ship a new development kit before the consumer version that provides near identical features that developers can build on and test against for the Rift’s launch. That said, we have no plans to announce a new development kit this year. The timing of a new dev kit is tied to the launch of the consumer Rift, and we’ll keep the community posted.
Also, we’re working to ensure that content built using the current Rift development kit is compatible with new Oculus hardware, though there will be some integration required to take advantage of the new features, especially for the best experience.
Marshall Cline Joins Oculus!
We’re excited to introduce Marshall Cline, our new VP of Platform. Marshall is a world renowned software architect, engineer, PhD., and author of the legendary C++ FAQ. His work was an early inspiration for Brendan and Michael when they started in the games industry. Marshall is heading up development of the Oculus platform, which means he’s responsible for all the web services powering your virtual reality experience. Please join us in welcoming him to the team!
Rift in the News
In case you missed it, the Rift was featured on the Today Show, where Matt Lauer tried the Unreal Engine 4 Elemental demo on the 1080p HD Prototype live on national television!
Images courtesy of Kotaku.
The Rift also won a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award and a Golden Joystiq Award for Innovation of the Year! It’s a huge honor — Thank you for making these possible!
Image courtesy of Popular Mechanics.
Finally, if you’re in the Boston area the weekend of Nov. 2nd, join us for a VR developer meetup! A few of us will be there talking about the Rift, virtual reality, and hardware development. You can find all the details here.
We SEOs work with the World Wide Web and the Internet every single day, and probably spend a great deal of our off time on it as well. One of the brilliant things about today’s technology is that we’ve become used to its rapid evolution and continuing changes, even when it means our jobs get a little more challenging. When I joined Beanstalk twenty months ago, we were at the very end of an era —Google’s Panda had literally just been released, causing SEOs all over the world to rework their strategies. This year’s Hummingbird has required another alteration to the way we work with our clients and the web in general.In the perpetual race to out-puppet the puppetmaster that is Google, we have come to assume that many things are concrete: the importance of certain social media properties, a set of specific tools to be used to gauge your success, and a general sense of what Google deems important in the rankings race. But the wonderful thing about the Internet is that it is anything but concrete; in the three or so decades of modern browsers, the Internet has grown exponentially and for every successful website or product there are handfuls of other tools that didn’t work. It’s fascinating to go back through history and imagine what could have been if these sites had won the race to the top. In the spirit of Halloween, I took a stroll through the graveyards of a few choice sites and tools to dig up some of the oddest web products now laid to eternal, irrelevant rest.
Google didn’t become the most successful web company on the planet by playing it safe; it’s widely known that its employees can spend 20% of their time on developing crazy projects. If you have a news alert for ‘Google patents’ you’ll inevitably find that the company is always filing the weirdest claims on technology that isn’t even possible yet — or, weirder still, releasing news related to a brand new piece of tech which was patented years before being realistically viable. But you don’t get to the summit of Mount Everest without encountering a few frozen corpses (they serve as landmarks), and you don’t become Google without some flopped experiments.
One of the most fascinating of Google’s discontinued products is Google Lively. It was an online 3D social arena which looked a great deal like Second Life, except that it was integrated with the Internet and accessible from one’s browser. You could explore a three-dimensional realm and chat with up to 19 other people in the same room. You could also hang Youtube videos on the “walls”, embed your personal Lively area to your blog, and read your email. Second Life users disliked the non-customizable realm and the lack of virtual commerce, and Google quietly shuttered Lively after only six months of life.
Right now we all rely on Twitter — for news, for gossip, and for collectively sharing how awesome the last season of Breaking Bad was. But before our beloved little blue bird there was Jaiku, a Finnish-based micro-blogging service that took its name from a play on the Japanese haiku. Released in 2006, Jaiku was compatible with Nokia phones and allowed users to post short messages, similar to how Twitter works right now. The company was acquired by Google to open-source the product; in 2009, Jaiku re-launched on Google’s App Engine. But the little bluebird had taken over the world by then, and Jaiku became defunct in 2012.
SEO news blog post by Mia Steinberg @ 1:37 pm on October 23, 2013
This weekend I attended a local music festival called Rifflandia. This epic four-day event featured over 170 artists, performing at fourteen venues all around the city—everyone from mainstage bigwigs like Courtney Love to beloved local acts that draw a small but dedicated crowd. On Thursday night, while watching the next band set up and do sound checks, I went to update Twitter on my phone and my new friend smirked. “You use Twitter?” he asked. “Why? I’ve never understood the appeal.”
It’s unfortunate for him, because events like Rifflandia are the exact place where Twitter shows its true strength. It takes those big moments—like a Courtney Love concert or a surprise encore performance of Bear Mountain—and makes everyone a part of the collective experience. We uploaded photos and video, made plans to meet with friends old and new, and got up-to-date information on which venues were at capacity. Through the network of thousands using the hashtag #Riff2013, we shared our collective experiences and were able to be many places at once.
One particularly poignant usage of social media to connect with fans was on display at the performance of the Montreal band Stars, who are a personal favourite of mine. In the hours leading up to their main stage set, they spread the word that the audience should film the band and themselves during the concert singing along to the song “Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It”, and upload the video to their SwitchCam streaming video feed. The files will be used to create a crowd-sourced music video for the song, to be aired on CBC. Even though it was pouring rain, hundreds of us held up our smartphones and became videographers for a few minutes. It was an absolutely wonderful way to connect with fans, and we felt like part of the band’s family; our perspectives as music lovers were becoming a vital part of their newest album.
It’s not just the concert experience that’s enhanced by Twitter; it’s also been an invaluable tool for me as a radio host and aspiring journalist. I can attest to the fact that a personal outreach to someone on Twitter can make all the difference when it comes to getting an ‘in’ with that person elsewhere; I’ve made dozens of musician friends and connections on Twitter, and parlayed it into bringing a local musician into the radio station with me for a live show and cohosting event. It all happened because I saw them at a show, followed them, and sent a message praising their talent and asking if I could obtain their songs to play on my show. After some back-and-forth, a legitimate working relationship has emerged.
It was tough to explain all of this in just a short sentence to my friend, or anyone else who smirks at my heavy use of Twitter, but I wouldn’t trade it with anything. Becoming an SEO has only increased my knowledge of just how powerful the social network can be; it’s the best networking method for introverted oddballs like me, as well as people from all industries and demographic groups. I’m not surprised that Twitter has announced a new partnership with the advertisers of big television and live events, because live-tweeting the experience is half of the fun and it’s the perfect way to catch your audience in a direct, relateable manner.
SEO news blog post by Mia Steinberg @ 11:56 am on September 17, 2013
Google Earth is definitely one of the most fascinating playthings in the company’s toybox; it was impressive when it launched in 2001 (under the name ‘Keyhole Earthviewer’) and it remains impressive to this day. I remember logging on as a teenager at home and finding the Eiffel Tower in Paris; back then, the only option was a top-down view, and I was disappointed when I tried to change the angles so I could “stand” next to France’s most iconic building. But Google Earth has taken care of that problem; thanks to Street View being integrated into the program, you can zoom into practically anywhere on Earth and roam the streets, exploring cities you’ve never seen from the comfort of your desk.
That’s not all; Google Earth has added data to allow users to zoom in under the oceans, see the Lunar Lander on the surface of the Moon, and even view high-resolution images of Martian terrain scooped from the Mars Orbiter and Exploration Rovers. Google Earth users can even view historical images, traveling back in time to view what certain areas looked like many years ago. You can explore the Wieliczka Salt Mine in Poland and the Prado Museum in Madrid.
But one of Google Earth’s most incredible features is the one you probably won’t have heard of; it’s an open-source DIY-capable piece of code that takes one step closer to bringing science fiction tech to life. It’s called Liquid Galaxy, and its description—an ‘immersive Google Earth’—doesn’t do nearly enough justice to the possibilities it can create. You won’t find Liquid Galaxy as a major Google release; its official project page is full of technobabble and source code modifications from engineers all over the world. Part of the beauty of the product is that it can be whatever you want it to be. But when it comes down to it, Liquid Galaxy is a design concept that allows you to project Google Earth onto several screens at once, creating a unified surround view of the world. It was originally developed by some Google employees as an independent project; they wanted to recreate the experience of seeing their geo-product imagery in a more seamless way. Using a few extra Linux workstations, they built a big gazebo-style case that housed eight 55-inch LCD screens, and used a cluster of computers to project Google Earth seamlessly and simultaneously—a combination of the Holodeck and a huge flight simulator.
Liquid Galaxy presents an endless amount of potential for teaching everything from geography to climate change and urban planning; after taking Liquid Galaxy on the road and being met with overwhelming praise, in 2010 Google made their configuration, codes, and schematics public so that anyone could rig up their own version. This makes Liquid Galaxy a fasciatingly unique Google product; while it’s been available to the public for three years, very few people have had firsthand experience with one. Georgia State University has a 48-screen display wall using four Windows 7 machines; NASA has one at the Johnson Space Center. Some can be controlled using Xbox Kinect; others use head tracking software. Liquid Galaxy has been used to run the virtual reality game Second Life, allowing players to truly feel as if they’re stepping into Linden Labs’ simulated universe. One civilian user has even rigged a five-screen Liquid Galaxy to run a Quake 3 mod.
If you’re computer-savvy and itching for a new project, you can find the Liquid Galaxy project here. The site contains how-tos, a guide for where to buy pre-built componenets, and encourages users to post their new enhancements, any defects they find, and what they’ve built with the technology. Liquid Galaxy’s open source means that the possibilities really are endless; with a few high-quality computers and a creative imagination you could end up making your wildest science fiction dreams come true.
SEO news blog post by Mia Steinberg @ 9:35 am on September 9, 2013
Being a youthful person (aka: I never grew up) you could say I was a child of the 90s, but in all honesty, this new ‘Child of the 90s’ video promotion, from the marketing team behind Internet Explorer, just makes me feel old…
[iframe width="550" height="309" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qkM6RJf15cg?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe] I’m pretty sure that generation YoYo came earlier & what’s up with that Apple II?
When I was young we had:
- 300baud vs. 56k
- 5.25″ vs. 3.5″
- monochrome vs. color
- Garfield™ vs. puppies
- Donkey Kong vs. Tamagotchi
- Handi-Snacks vs. Lunchables
- hockey cards vs. pogs
So it’s pretty close to my generation, but still makes me feel old.
Does it make me feel any affinity for IE, as if I can relate to it’s embarrassing past after remembering fanny packs?
Not really. It makes me remember when Netscape decided to put expiry dates on their browser so I was forced to install IE only for fear of support calls asking how to update Netscape.
Still, not a positive moment for IE, just being the browser that ’caused the least issues’, wasn’t much of a title?
How has that changed? Well now IE is, in my circles, the browser that that ’causes the most issues’.
So they grew up, but not the way we’d like, and until they expire all the old copies of IE laying around or break off to a new product name with zero ties to old IE issues, I thin IE is stuck with the ‘difficult child’ image.
When I was a kid..
When I was a kid we had electron guns we’d sit in front of, and the only thing between us and the gun firing electrons was a glass plate.
People said it wasn’t good, told us to keep our distance..
Now with Samsung offering curved OLED screens they are urging us to get close, saying that the screens offer an immersive experience:
OLED technology means less emissions, heat, and power consumption than almost any full color display technology available today.
As someone with less than 55″ inches of screen space curved around him right this moment, I’d have to say that this first screen will make it’s purchasers VERY happy once it comes to market and stops being a poster child for what’s coming.
Displays need to step-up indeed, what with all the 3d options coming out, including the very exciting Oculus Rift that’s been generating some interesting reaction videos (WARNING: Strong Language/Reactions):
[iframe width="550" height="309" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/KJo12Hz_BVI?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe] Candid Anthony didn’t seem very impressed until he tried it..
So while folks were saying the next step in displays will be to plug into our brains, it appears that we are finding another step closer without the brain jack.
SEO news blog post by Ryan Morben @ 1:30 pm on January 29, 2013
Well Microsoft has finally managed to get a leg up on all the current desktop web browsers available today with it’s new Karaoke Web Standard.
To quote the KWS wiki entry:
This specification defines a new API, focused on semantic language processing for two-way communication with a remote host. Eschewing typical binary protocols, this new interface creates a system-to-system forced sonic recognition on the receiving party.
The KWS definition page goes on to discuss key points like pending API access to the libation ES codebase, and encourages modification from the base parameters noting that each user has unique aptitudes in variety of related skills.
Indeed while some users, such as myself, have a low threshold for personal embarrassment (regardless of how many times a week I write these posts), I could possess high vocal aptitude that would mitigate a fond user experience if I were to stick with preset templates.
The spec deals with concerns such as bitrate, throttling, error mitigation, audio auth rights, P2P connectivity, and semantic packet delivery, but fails to touch on less favourable issues like hackers that implement auto-tuning modules.
Included with the announcement were two YouTube videos, one that explains the need for the new standard:
The theme is apparently along the lines of “Have you tried IE Lately?”, with the assumption that you’ll like what you see.
I’m personally assuming that next week someone on the IE marketing team will get a phat bonus for a spike in downloads that doesn’t correlate to actual user shift.
In related news, FireFox has given up on 64bit development for now, listing a number of issues that make it a very wise decision, regardless of the folks that were ‘enjoying’ the struggle of maintaining a 64bit browser with very little 64bit extension support.
While a 64bit FireFox could theoretically run faster, the added expense of development was taxing the coders and holding back the progress of the browser vs. it’s competition.
If you MUST have a 64bit FireFox there is a build of FF with 64bit support, it’s called ‘WaterFox‘ and you can get it from Sourceforge.
Since I already had FireFox installed I grabbed the portable copy of WaterFox and it runs great, picking up most, if not all, of my FireFox profile/settings.
Personally? I’m using Chrome, and I am writing plugins for Chrome because I feel it’s going to win the browser war thanks to Android, Apple, and many other systems that use the WebKit engine by default.
SEO news blog post by Ryan Morben @ 10:50 am on November 29, 2012
The badges are apparently awarded as follows (stolen from IBF):
So Thanks Google, for being Thankful! This is going to work very well for trust factors on your G+ profile, which as we pointed out many times now, should also be the author link for your site content.
In Other News..
DuckDuckGo was trying to prove they could deliver better search results without learning anything about the user.
It would have been neat if it were possible, but I wouldn’t send a stranger out to buy me new shoes, and I don’t want a web search that doesn’t know me either.
While I agree that making use of duck.com as a 301 to google.com is a bit ‘cruel’, my guess is that nobody offered Google a fair price for the domain, and it’s not bad business to improve the value by holding onto the name until a valid offer comes along.
If DuckDuckGo wants to disclose how much they offered Google, I may change my opinion, but for now this is just ‘big business’ vs. anything ‘anti-competitive’, and if this is the absolute worst mud that DDG can sling at Google then they have little to complain about.
Google Music Translate
While I have been eager to see someone like Wierd Al tackle the song Gangnam Style with some English lyrics, I am not sure I’m eager to see this ‘project’ come to life:
[iframe width="550" height="309" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0xchllP1W7g?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen][/iframe] Heck this was meant to be a joke, but Google is so spooky with it’s tech that this is totally plausible?
Indeed some news sites this morning are actually getting flamed for discussing this as if it were a real service offered by Google.
Well ‘played‘ sirs..
SEO news blog post by Ryan Morben @ 12:53 pm on November 22, 2012