Web 2.0 How often can we use it in a sentence?

So I’m talking to my friend Randy who works at an inventory optimization software company called Smartops (simple name for a mouthfull of an explanation) about a site of mine called Howzitsound that really needs in no particular order ….angel investors, a face lift, some marketing, and some people to do the heavy lifting. I mentioned that the site needs to be pushed into the Web 2.0 stratosphere, and in saying that, I asked,”you do know what web 2.0 is don’t you?” Below is our email conversation.


“on a locallized level… i.e www.howzitsound/pittsburgh.htm myspace was developed for bands and music fans but morphed into a major big ass social networking site predominantly because of the coo tools associated with creating…”your space”


Is this a quiz?  From what I know, Web 2.0 is a next step in online networking, where the users create much of the content ie- MySpace, wikipedia, etc.  It’s a wave I have not ridden.  I know it’s enormously pervasive and popular since everyone seems to have a myspace, but frankly I still feel like it’s a teenager phenomenon and I don’t care to follow.  Not to say that I wouldn’t like to have some of the myspace $$


well you’re somewhat right, but where you are wrong is thinking its a teenager phenomenon, what you will eventually see is that content and content creation will become more interactive and robust than it already has. web 2.0 is more about the tools and apps used as well as the sites that have evolved from it such as a myspace. web 2.0 is more about getting your information and sharing your information and creating it as well, through social networking sites but also individually as well i.e. blogs.

What you will eventually see is that social networking will evolve onto enterprise levels, it already has in some aspects. What it does is, it creates better communication between entities working on a project, or collaboration on a contract, or temporary virtual communities,  etc etc. So the easier the tools are, the more apt are the client to embrace the notion. Think Ajax, and xtml..


Interesting take on it and a valid point.  I think your point on it developing to an enterprise level is where more focus needs to be placed.  I tend to ignore a lot of the “real” applications because I’m sick to death of everyone talking about their myspace or their blog as if they’re someone who I should be paying attention to just because they have a webpage.  Everyone wants to be a celebrity now, and it frustrates the hell out of me.

Sorry for the rant, I think there is tremendous application for the content development tools, I just wish it was limited to people that actually have something to say


Yea I guess everyone is a pundit and a builder of web pages now even if it is with wizards and what not. so having said all of that, howzitsound/pittsburgh for example would not be totally user generated but could be user driven. i think on a local level a branded sight that i knew i could go to that had THE places to go for live music and possible just cool clubs would far outweigh fucking doing a local search and ending up on myspace or about.com….


Exactly, if I wanted people’s opinions I’d give it to them.  Ha.

I’m still a big fan of the howzitsound concept.  keep me in the loop for it

So that’s where we left it. What do you think? Did we get it right? Someone out there needs to give me the definitive explnantion of what web 2.0 will be, or what it is. Maybe he just needs to go to the start of direct marketing observations and check it out and read it all?

What is Retargeting?

Here is a cool website that seems to have a clue about shopping cart abandonement.


How it works:

Step 1: Driving traffic to your website

As a web-based business you are already driving consumers to your website in numerous ways with the hope of ultimately selling them the products they are looking for. The vast majority of marketing budgets are spent with the intent of driving users to their website so a purchase can happen. This is done with either all or some of the following:


  • Search Engines like Google, Yahoo!, and MSN
  • Email Marketing programs
  • Banner Ads
  • Direct Mail
  • Television Ads
  • Radio Ads
  • Newspaper Ads
  • And many more…

50% of the Retargeting process is completed at this point.

Step 2: Identifying visitors for Retargeting

With the placement of 1 simple code on each page of your website that receives incoming visitors (similar to web analytics codes you probably already have in place); Retargeting.com’s powerful technology begins identifying your visitors for you the instant it’s live on your page.

75% of the Retargeting process is completed at this point.

Step 3: Identifying your past visitors as they surf the web

Retargeting.com will start locating your past visitors among the 75,000,000 consumers we serve ads to within minutes of when they left your site and will begin ‘Retargeting’ them for you within 24 hours! You only pay $19.95 per month for all the users we deliver back to your site. What this means for you is that you are now making your marketing dollars more efficient than you were before you started this valuable addition to your Marketing Mix!

95% of the Retargeting process is completed at this point.

Step 4: The consumer returns to your site to complete the sale.

Now you have the ability to send visitors directly to your “here is where we close the sale” page by doing some or all of the following:


  • Send them directly to the ordering page of the product they looked at before leaving.
  • Offer them a ‘special incentive’ to purchase now, such as; Free Shipping, 10% OFF, or any other incentive you have going.

Step 5: Retargeting your past website visitors all over again!

Once a consumer has made a purchase with you and had an impeccable experience, don’t be shy to keep in contact with them again. The trust is already there, they are familiar with your brand and service, and more than likely they have an interest in another one of your products… Up-Sell, Cross-Sell, and just plain old make your website Sell, Sell, Sell!

Digg – Excellent Ready Made Logos

Quoted from http://digg.com/design/Excellent_Ready_Made_Logos:

Digg – Excellent Ready Made Logos

Excellent Ready Made Logos

Check out this site, it carries excellent ready made logos categories neatly to find an appropriate logo for business. The logos are really cool and reasonably priced. Free business stationery design is provided with all logo orders.

To get a PR you need PR.

So you want to grow the site and you don’t want to spend money on pay per click. Ok so now you also know you need backlinks as well. What to do…Well you need to create some buzz with the site and one of the best free ways of doing that is….drum roll please.  How about a blog? They’re free, user friendly, and you can fill them with content till the cows come home.

If the content is worthy, then other blogs and websites start to carry the feed because you are saying something other than blowing your own horn. Now thats content. Don’t steal or borrow someone else’s content either, unless you have their permission or you give them their just due or mad props.

By creating a content worthy site or blog, the links/back links will happen. The old adage if you build it, they will come…doesn’t quite work in the cyber world. You have to lift a finger so to speak to let people know you are out there and that you have something to say.

Now if you have  strictly a commerce site, then you probably are going to have to break down and use ppc to drive traffic. because chances are you are selling a product that someone else is selling and thus, they may be more settled in with backlinks, keywords, pages and general content. With commerce sites, people are not looking for content, they are looking for deals and there is a lot of competition.

But this doesn’t mean that you ignore your natural ranking as some site owners are wont to do since they are pouring substantial dollars into their pay per click campaign. On the contrary, their biggest mistake is not to continue to optimize the site with the SE’s in mind. You have to strike a balance.

So in order to get a high Page Rank, not only do you optimize, optimize, optimize, but you must also have people linking into your sites, as well as developing pages of content. Remember, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

Web 2.0, Ajax and SEO…

For those who are unaware of Web 2.0 and what it means, here is a quick loose definition for you.  Web 2.0 refers to the advent and rise of web-based communities and hosted services such as social-networking sites which aim to make collaborating easier and sharing between users much more inviting.  Ok, so now that you have been able to swallow that lets talk about Ajax. AJAX, is a web development technique used, for the sake of this argument, to create interactive web sites. The intent is to make web pages feel more responsive, and by doing this it increases the web page’s interactivity, speed, functionality, and usability. Things that we all want and like out of the websites we visit these days.

Ok so now that you know these 2 tidbits, what you need to know next is that for SEO experts, there are some issues on how to optimize pages that are using AJAX.Websites that use Ajax to load data which should be indexed by search engines must be careful to provide equivalent Sitemaps data at a public, linked URL that the search engine can read. Because search engines do not generally execute the JavaScript code required for Ajax functionality. This problem is not specific to Ajax, as the same issue occurs with sites that provide dynamic data. I’m sure within the next few months that the issues will be ironed out, but in the meantime  Naples SEO experts will have to make sure that the sites they are optimizing are compliant with the latest technologies. However it does go without saying  that SEO folks better have already built a site map for each and every website that they work on.

Back Linking Strategy… Is there one?

For those of you who have read about back linking in regards to the “this is what you need to do” to grow your website traffic and have wondered what is the best way to do this, welcome to the biggest challenge facing newbies, novices, and even experts in the SEO/SEM arena: Acquiring good strong quality back links. The reason it is such a daunting task is that, if we are to look at Google for example, and their algorithm, it frowns on quantity or lack of quality of back links.

Why would that matter? Because of the advent a few years ago of link farming services, programs and software which allowed websites to jump in Page Rank quickly without really “growing naturally”. the farms could grow the number of inbound links they had on their sites fast. In short, Inbound links are back links. What the link farms did and do is allow website owners to add links to their sites as quickly and as impersonal as possible. So site owners added quantity fast. Google realized this and decided to take steps to stress quality inbound links and penalize sites that used automated programs to “farm” inbound links. These programs, would and do send out automated emails that ask if you, the site owner would like to exchange reciprocal links.

 I use Google as the primary example here but it can and does stretch across to Yahoo and MSN search engines as well.  But Google also is the example because of another primary reason. Page Rank. Google has a toolbar that website owners can load onto their computers that allows a user to see what the Page Rank is of a site.  Page Rank, according to Google, is the relevance or the importance of a website in the wild wild web. The higher the Page Rank, the more important the site. Take a look at Amazon of Ebay for an example of a site with a high Page Rank.It has become so important and such a focus for SEO experts that it drives the premise of website marketing: Increase your page rank= increase your natural or organic ranking= increase your sales or traffic. In other words, High page rank=relevance. 

Since web marketers are so obsessed with what Google does and what a high natural ranking in Google can do for a website, it has created a cottage industry in and of itself.

Now the rub. There is an old saying that applied to recent college graduates that goes like this: In order to get a job you need experience but how do you get a job if you don’t have experience….? Ok so now let’s apply that statement to Back linking.  I need a good page rank but how do I acquire good back links if I don’t have a good page rank? Why as a site owner would I want to exchange reciprocal links with you if you do not even have a page rank? There is the challenge. 

You can’t use an automated program to acquire your links because quantity is not the goal and thus you have thousands of website owners out there swimming around looking for sites with page rank to latch onto.I’ll give you an idea that harkens back to the earliest days of business ownership. If you want sales or customers. Go get them. Go to work, call them, email them personally, and show them why exchanging links with you would be beneficial for both. Be honest and show them that your site is actually worthy of their link and vice versa. It’s amazing what can be accomplished the old fashion way.  Sure it goes against the grain of how impersonal the web has become, but it also speaks to one of the key components to any successful website. Personalization.

You are humanizing your website by showing other website owners who you are and what you’re about, and what you’re trying to achieve. Instead of hiding behind an automated email try and go after quality links by approaching website owners whose reciprocal links actually make sense for both of you. It’s amazing what common sense can achieve. Why then, is it called common, if everyone doesn’t possess it? 

Digital Response Marketing

Digital Response Marketing is the new accepted form of marketing to consumers. It is a direct result and offshoot of traditional types of 20th century marketing. However there are some distinguishable characteristics which enhance its value proposition from other types of marketing or advertising. The first characteristic is that its metrics are measured by consumer response via email, mobile phone/pda and or website. The 2nd characteristic is its ability to push a message to the consumer in the quickest way possible with as minimal a cost as possible.  Digital Response Marketing is redefining and will redefine how marketers push their product to consumers. With the explosion of mobile phones, laptop computers, Blogs and social networking sites such as MySpace.com, it only stands to reason that these consumers are more reachable than ever, but are also savvier and more wary of traditional marketing methods. However, they are also a captive audience and a perfect receptacle to digital response marketing methods involving Opt-in email, mobile messaging, social network advertising and RSS feeds. Simply put DRM is the right marketing method at the right time for Web 2.0 With declining numbers in traditional media, and the move to a more mobile and digitally engaged audience, solicited and unsolicited commercial communication with consumers or businesses is becoming more and more daunting. Because of this paradigm shift, a need for a more focused and non traditional method of driving purchases and calls to action to consumers is needed.  The solution is a specific “call-to-action” via Digital Response Marketing where the push and pull of information is all digital, completely automated, and involves bleeding edge technical resources. This aspect of Digital Response Marketing not only involves a heavy emphasis on traceable and measurable results regardless of medium, but also on individuals who understand the technology necessary to achieve quantifiable results but also on the potential of emerging markets.

Update on the State of Internet Radio

Update on the State of Internet Radio

Update on the State of Internet Radio

Written by Josh Catone / August 17, 2007 / 9 comments

By 2020, eMarketer estimates that Internet radio will have 180 million listeners and generate $19.7 billion in ad revenue. That can’t possibly happen, however, if prohibitively high royalty fees in the United States force the bulk of net radio stations to stop operating in the US or shut down completely.

We’d be remiss not to post an update on the fate of Internet radio during our Online Music Week. When we last wrote about the face off between Internet radio companies and the RIAA’s SoundExchange, the organization charged with collecting royalties, a late-night deal had granted radio operators a last minute reprieve. The group decided not to collect on the new royalties, which some have estimated would cost radio stations as much as $500 per listener, per year, giving time for net radio stations to negotiate lower rates.

Since that time, not much has changed. Negotiations between SoundExchange and webcasters are scheduled to begin again in the next week or so. When they resume, the negotiations will be carried out with the prospect of potential Congressional action in the form of the bipartisan Internet Radio Equality Act looming. In a statement issued last week, IREA co-sponsors Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote, “If great progress toward a fair solution for webcasters is not made by Congress’s return to Washington after Labor Day, then we plan to take expeditious steps toward passage of the Internet Radio Equality Act.”

Webcasters, however, are confused as to why the royalty rates from the Copyright Royalty Board were so high to begin with. “One theory is that there is just a misunderstanding about how much money there is in internet radio right now,” Pandora founder Tim Westergren told The Age. “It’s a fast-growing sector in terms of consumers participating but it’s not very profitable. Maybe the RIAA thought we were all making a lot of money and hiding it from them.”

Bridge Ratings estimates net radio will pull in $500 million in ad revenue in 2007, but with 50-70 million monthly users in the US, at fees running up to $500 per user, per year, it is easy to see how the numbers don’t line up.

For now, net radio broadcasts on, but the threat of eventual silence hangs ominously over webcasters’ heads. The National Association of Broadcasters keeps a counter on their site, counting off the days since they made a “good-faith offer” to SoundExchange and have not received a response. That counter now reads 72 days. The fate of online radio may come down to Congressional action in the fall, but webcasters still hope that an amicable agreement is reached over the next month.

Handcuffs chafe wireless users – USATODAY.com

Handcuffs chafe wireless users – USATODAY.com

To many, the Apple (AAPL) iPhone is the ultimate wireless device — a seductive blend of technology, function and dead-on cool, all wrapped into a sleek package.

To others, it’s a glaring example of what’s wrong with the U.S. wireless industry in general.

“The iPhone offers superior technology, but public policies in this country allow (Apple) to chain that technology to one massive company, AT&T (T), rather than allow consumers to make the choices they want,” charges Josh Silver, co-founder of Free Press, a consumer advocacy group. His latest campaign — “Free the iPhone” — promotes an open Internet and consumer-friendly public policies for mobile devices. The website (www.freetheiphone.org) has resulted in “tens of thousands of supporting petitions,” he says.

Silver says his beef isn’t with the iPhone per se. Other U.S. carriers do the same thing with the devices they sell. But the iPhone, he says, “is a great example of how badly broken our media system is in this country.”

For starters, he notes, would-be iPhone users must sign a two-year contract, or contract extension, with AT&T, the sole U.S. distributor. Owners can access the Internet only via AT&T’s network, unless they happen to be in range of a Wi-Fi hot spot. And the iPhone works only with software sold by Apple and AT&T.

FIND MORE STORIES IN:Google | AT | Verizon Wireless | FCC | Nokia | Kevin Martin | Skype | Jim Cicconi

Though it is touted as a “global phone,” the iPhone is locked, so using it overseas requires paying extra for an international calling plan with — you guessed it — AT&T.

Such handcuffs are common in the U.S. wireless industry. Other big carriers, including Verizon Wireless and Sprint, impose similar restrictions, says Chris Murphy of Consumers Union. “Consumers have no bargaining power against these wireless terms that carriers can dictate. It’s a take-it-or-leave-it proposition.”

Murphy says carriers use a variety of tricks to keep wireless subscribers on a short leash, including:

•Restrictive service contracts. Most contracts bar customers from sideloading third-party software applications from their PCs onto wireless devices. Carriers rarely enforce that fine print, but they could, he says. Sideloading can also void the device’s warranty.

•Crippled phones. Some carriers disable handset features — such as free Wi-Fi capability — that compete with their fee-based services. Handset makers are at the mercy of carriers, so they strip out features as requested.

•Subsidized phones. Carriers use discounts on most new cellphones to justify requiring long-term contracts. Early termination fees can run $175 or more. Carriers say they need lengthy commitments to recoup their upfront costs.

•Locked phones. In the USA, most cellphones are sold “locked,” meaning a phone works only with the carrier that supplied it. If you switch carriers, you may have to just toss your handset — even if it’s an unsubsidized $599 iPhone — and buy a new one.

Asia, Europe have more options

The situation is different outside the USA. In Asia and Europe, cellphones are routinely sold unlocked, so consumers can buy any device and load it up with as many software applications as they desire. Each carrier provides an electronic “SIM card” which, when slipped into a phone, configures it for that network. Changing wireless carriers requires inserting a new card — not buying a new phone.

On the plus side, the U.S. system gives Americans super-cheap phones. Contracts help stabilize carrier revenue; that, in turn, helps keep monthly service prices cheap. On the downside, U.S. cellphones are not as feature-rich as phones in other parts of the world, says Muzib Khan, vice president of management and engineering for phone maker Samsung.

To keep costs low, manufacturers tend to “build to the lowest common denominator” for the U.S. market. That’s why there isn’t much variety here, he says. To blur the lack of features on U.S. devices, carriers tout ringtones, face plates and slim design — “things that one could say probably aren’t very useful,” Kahn says.

Because U.S. consumers pay so little for their phones, Khan says, they aren’t as “motivated” to learn how to use them properly. As a result, he says, they don’t get all the benefits.

“It’s an endless loop,” Samsung’s engineering chief says. “Until some changes are made, (U.S. consumers) will be in that loop forever.”

In other countries, consumers tend to pay full retail — $300 to $500 — for the handset, but they also get high-octane phones: DSL-fast Internet browsing, downloading and real-time media streaming, to name just a few features. High-resolution cameras are common. Ditto for Google mapping and touch-screens.

Bill Plummer, a vice president with Nokia (NOK), the world’s largest handset maker, says U.S. consumers are getting shortchanged. “American consumers have less choice in terms of the devices.”

Plummer adds: “They also have less choice in terms of services and applications they can take advantage of with these devices” — a nod to U.S. carriers’ tendency to block applications — such as Skype, a pioneer in Internet calling — that they don’t approve or sell.

Europe’s wireless free-for-all didn’t happen by accident. National governments issued edicts that effectively forced carriers to adopt consumer-friendly practices and a common technical standard (known as “GSM”). Consumers still have the option of subsidized phones by signing contracts — but it’s not a requirement for service.

FCC should step in, many say

The Federal Communications Commission, which has broad sway over telecommunications regulation in the USA, so far has taken a hands-off approach to wireless. That made sense 20 years ago when cellphones were a niche market. Now that they are ubiquitous, however, the FCC should step in, say applications companies such as Skype and other groups including Consumers Union.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin demurs on whether more regulation is needed, but he admits to some frustrations. “Some innovative services are not becoming as available in the United States as they are abroad,” Martin says. “That is a trend I am concerned about.”

Take Wi-Fi. Martin says it could make faster mobile broadband mainstream — one reason it’s being deployed fast around the world. U.S. carriers, however, have been slow to roll out the technology, which competes with their pricier broadband offerings. Wi-Fi “appears to be stultified in its deployment here,” Martin says sternly.

To help address those issues, the FCC recently imposed an “open device” requirement on a choice chunk of broadband airwaves due to be auctioned off Jan. 16. This 700-megahertz spectrum is being vacated by TV broadcasters in their digital switchover. Signals in this range can penetrate walls and other obstacles, making them ideal for mobile broadband.

The upshot: Winning bidders will have to let customers use any wireless device and any applications they desire on the networks they build using these licenses. Expected bidders include AT&T, Verizon Wireless (VZ) and Google (GOOG).

The FCC’s initiative is the beginning of what could become a full-blown revolution for the U.S. wireless business, says Moe Tanabian, a principal with Interactive Broadband Consulting Group. “The business model of locking phones will fade,” he predicts.

The driver, he believes, will be U.S. consumers. Once they get a taste of freedom in the mobile broadband market, Tanabian thinks there’ll be no turning back. “Complete freedom in the wireless domain will happen, it’s just a matter of when,” he says.

“The carriers are going to have to change over the next five to six years,” Tanabian says. “If they don’t, they’re out.”

Less choice but lower rates

Jim Cicconi, an AT&T senior executive vice president, takes issue with the suggestion that Europe’s wireless market is friendlier to consumers. In the USA, service fees “are one-half to one-third cheaper.” Devices are also dirt cheap. Those who don’t want to sign a contract can always sign up for a “prepaid” plan, he adds.

“You don’t have to scratch your head a lot to figure out why the people prefer” the USA’s wireless model, Cicconi says.

Once a contract has been fulfilled, Cicconi says AT&T will “gladly unlock” a customer’s phone, if requested.

Plummer, the Nokia executive, says he can understand why U.S. carriers felt the need to control the customer experience in the early days of wireless. But not now.

“There was a point in time when we all needed training wheels for the fixed Internet,” Plummer says. “We left that behind well over a decade ago. Consumers should have a choice of device, a choice of network that they want to attach to and the right to pick the applications and content that they want to benefit from.”

Hoping to nudge that shift along, perhaps, Nokia now sells unlocked phones in its superstore in Chicago and is quickly expanding its unlocked line to independent retail outlets nationwide. (To use these phones, consumers must get a “SIM” card from every carrier they plan to use.)

Plummer says the move is a nod to the changing nature of wireless in general, and to the likely future of the business in the USA in particular.

“We think consumers should be able to make their own decisions” about devices and applications, he says flatly. “Nokia devices are developed for the global audience, and the U.S. consumer is a member of that global audience.”

Web metrics: Why you should run 2 analytics packages.

Did you know that not all analtyics packages are the same? If you think they are, you should pit them against each other on the same site. This way you can see for yourself, the way they look at traffic and the way they determine what is a unique, what is a hit etc etc..

Why? One of the most crucial aspects of owning and operating a website, is the ability to understand your traffic. Your users. Your lifeblood. If you don’t know the most basic of information coming from your site, how can you speak to doing what is best for your users or for your site? Thats where solid analytics of your site come into play.  If you’re selling a product on your site, then it is even more important to know things such as unique visitors versus sales and what the conversion rate is. If your metrics are wrong or are off, then it can skew everything. Or should we say skewer?

Some good Free software packages are of course Urchin by Google and then a popular one, but one that costs a bit of coin, is Webtrends. Two others that we have had success with in house, and both which are free are Statcounter and Onestat.

One thing the free sites will not give you is a more detailed drilldown of your traffic. the reports also may be limited and also the type of data they return is sometimes light. But if you are strictly wanting to know uniques, then the free one’s should be fine.

Between the group we mentioned above, you should be able to play one against the other to see which one is giving you a more accurate accounting of your most prescious commodity. People.

This is just another piece of the puzzle that needs to be in place for a successful run in the online world.