Buzzword Compliant: Mashup

Ok so I’m listening to a commercial the other day, and I thought I heard Gwen Setefani mention the word mashup. Now of course we all know that a mashup is is a web application that combines data from more than one source into an integrated experience. Right? Content used in mashups is typically sourced from a third party via a public interface or API. So where does mashup content come from?  Generally speaking, it can come from web feeds or web services which are plentiful.

 Lately though, many developers and organizations are experimenting with mashups using Microsoft, Google, eBay, Amazon, Flickr, and Yahoo APIs.  But I think it’s safe to say that Web 2.0, web mashups and Ajax are all part of the same mix;  All of which  to me, are all basically saying or trying to achieve the same thing: they are gathering information and presentations and then are parsing it out into little bits of content that can be reused in unique and different ways.

Social networking sites will continue to exploit and enhance mashups, and it’s merely up to the discerning user to decide what they will do with them. I think what might be of more signifigance is how the developer community takes the tools and further develops them and even more importantly, how do marketers take advantage of this? Any thoughts? Lets hear them.

Yahoo Mash.

Yahoo recently began beta testing Mash, the company’s experimental social networking web site that will allow Yahoo users to share information with one another.  Mash is Yahoo’s latest attempt at social networking after failing with Yahoo 360 and its bid to purchase Facebook.

Yahoo aims to implement features that will differentiate Mash from other services, but exact details remain unknown.  One perk already known is the ability for users to edit profiles that belong to their friends. I can see the value of possibly editing a profile if it’s so you can segment your friends or business aquaintences, but personally, I were Yahoo, I’d try harder to buy soemthing that is more established. Look at how 360 bombed..

Yahoo started inviting a small number of testers to the service late last week.  Users who have not been invited to the service are unable to view the site, however; the head of the Mash team has a public blog which details the current status of the project.

I came across a company that seems to know where social networking needs to go. The company is called Neighborhood America, Neighborhood America provides enterprise-level social networking solutions to media, business and government customers. That is where social networking can best be utilized. Right now, the landscape is littered with wanna-be’s and variations of the Myspace and Facebook model. 

Think about it. How do they make money? Through Ad dollars, and that’s it. These do serve a “social” function, but purely from a social standpoint.

 What Neighborhood America strives to do, is enable and empower companies and organizations to create better lines of communication and a better exchange of ideas and resources to best achieve enterprise goals, expectations, and deliverables. Now that is a solid business objective that best utilizes the power of social networking. Plus it makes money. Isn’t that what we are all trying to do? Yahoo Mash has a big mountain to climb. Maybe they should call Neigborhood America?

The rise and fall of social networking sites?

 Just found this on my new favorite site: Truemors Thanks Guy Kawasaki!

 

Nielsen/NetRatings has released online traffic data for social networking, blogs, and video sites dating from August 2006 to August 2007. The report indicated a 117%, 19 million unique users, traffic growth for Facebook and a lagging, albeit still strong, MySpace growth of a 23% pace of 60 million. In the video sites ratings report, MySpace videos dropped 6%, while YouTube gained 66% and Veoh soared 346%. Has all the spam and glitter graphics finally caused a traffic jam at MySpace?

PPC Nosebleed

Ok so here is a quick primer for those of you who’ve been living under a rock for the past ohh…7 years….PPC advertising is when you choose “keywords/phrases,”  and then you bid how much you’d like to pay for each click.  By paying anywhere from a nickel to a $100 per keyword term, you are essentially reserving ad space on the Search engine page that comes up when someone has typed in that key word. pretty nifty huh?

 So when a searcher goes to a search engine and types in one of your keyphrases, your short text ad appears, and if someone click on it your account is then charged. When the click occurs, it takes them to your landing page, peddling your goods and or services. That’s how it’s supposed to work. But thanks to dishonest people, I know, who would have thunk it.. we have something called “click fraud”Click fraud is simply the act of clicking on ads for the direct purpose of costing the advertiser money. It is recognized as the biggest problem today in PPC marketing. According to InformationWeek.com, “60% of people surveyed by the “Search Engine Professional Organization” have stated that fraud is a problem when it comes to PPC advertising”PPC marketing can cost you a lot if you do not administer it right. Bad targeting plus fraud can be a costly problem. The main sources of click fraud are the following four:

1) AdSense
Google Adsense pays website owners to run their Adwords ads and compensates them per click. Google does monitor this and it’s against their terms of service to click on any of the ads on your own site. If they find a publishers doing this, they will lose their accounts, but some may still be clicking under the radar.

2) Competition
Your competitors could be clicking on your ads over a period of several days in order to deplete your ad budget. This way they neutrilize your advertizing campaigns. Don’t think this happens? Think again!

3) Bots
There are those who use automated clicking tools, such as robot programs, to click on PPC listings.

4)  Professional Clickers:
In some Asian countries, people are often paid to click on PPC ads for hours. Many don’t know why they do it, and don’t care. The only important issue is that they will be well rewarded for their efforts. If you do a search on any search engine you’ll see plenty of sites offering to hire people for just this purpose. Type in ‘earn rupees clicking ads’ in Google and you get quite a few leads.

Most PPC networks have measures in place to protect you against click fraud. Overture tracks more than 50 data points, including IP addresses, browser info, users’ session info and what they call “pattern recognition.” They have a “proprietary system” in place for detecting fraud and a specialized team that monitors things and works with the advertisers to stop it.

Google offers suggestions to avoid click thru fraud, such as “using negative keywords” to keep your ads from showing up for products and services that are unrelated. They also suggest adding tracking url’s to your links so you can track the traffic coming from Google. If you go through your log files, you’ll be able to see your Google traffic at a glance.

If you suspect fraud, Google asks that you contact them right away, because they have a team of researchers that will investigate. They also take action to block future impressions from anyone they identify as committing click fraud. Like Overture, they also have “proprietary technology” that distinguishes between normal clicks and invalid ones. Google never bills you for any “bad clicks” that are caught by their system. But there have also been instances where Google has missed click fraud, so it is imperative that you monitor your PPC campaigns, unless of course you like paying out the wazoo for useless clicks..

All honest website owners need to be alert to any “suspicious activity” by researching their server logs or stats. If you’re experiencing a lot of clicks and no sales you’ll also want to take a closer look. You need to watch for any spikes in traffic, usually on one keyword or phrase and coming from only one PPC source. You need to measure and track all of your PPC accounts closely.

The bottom line is, you need to be very vigilant of your clicks in any ppc campaign. The more competitive, the more you have to watch. It’s the nature of the beast that anything that can be done to make money without having to work is going to attract the leeches. And what attracts leeches? Blood. So don’t get a ppc nosebleed.

Technology and the Housing market, how can we help?

I’m open for ideas today on how technology could help the slumping housing market. From coast to coast, people can’t afford to buy a house and other can’t afford to stay in their house. So I sit and here and wonder, what I can do to help ease the pain and create ways for a) homeowners to keep their houses and for b) homebuyers to get into a house without giving up their first born.

I know that that might be asking a lot of technology, but we spend so much time automating what we do and creating tools to simplify what we do, why can’t we figure out ways that make it easier for people to own a home or afford a home?

It doesn’t even have to be for profit, but I know one of the hurdles would be how do we bring this technology to those people? How do we bring it down to the streets? I wonder every day. Certainly there are some solutions out there. Someone has to have a brainstorm of some sort that can jump start the conversation!

We do so much with technology, and we’ve come so far, but right now we need to help whats going on in the housing market. I know there are some people who have made a lot of money off of the real estate market but there are also a lot of good people who are hurting. if technology could provide a path that eased the pain, then truly technology is altruistic at it’s core.

I’m open to answers and ideas.

“Search Engine Optimization” as a keyword search. Who wins?

OK so there are a ton of companies out there that claim that they are experts or professionals in the art of search engine optimization. So I thought, lets do a search on the term,”search engine optimization” and see what it turns up.  Since, if you claim to be a pro or expert, then you should rank pretty high in the organic listings for terms and keywords that speak to what you do best. Right?

My other thought was, Ok I’m a small to medium sized business, so maybe there is someone I can afford out there, and who might get me the results I need. Who would I use?

Before we dive in, I will limit my results to the top 5 organic listings in the Big 3. Of course in Yahoo, I will kick out any paid inclusions listings. Ok lets see what we have in Google.

Top 5 are:

1. Wikipedia– I shouldn’t be surprised because of the tons of backlinks that are probably coming into the article based on its sourcing references.

2. SEOchat.com– an absolute monster of a site, so to me, there’s really no surprise that they are ranked this high.

3. Submitexpress.com– I’ve used some of their tools in the past, and what I think is interesting is that, they actually can back up their claim with proven results in the organic listings. Interestingly enough, I don’t see a typical tactic of backlinking, but the content is solid and they are in the top 3. Which is the holy land for search marketers.

4-Bruceclay.com-All you have to do is look at the landing page that comes from Google to appreciate what they have done. This page is loaded! One look and you can understand why they are in the #4 spot. Just a major backlink strategy going on here as well as relevant content all over the place. The site is actually worth reading.

5-Inteliture– This one is puzzling, because on the surface it doesnt appear to have much going on. So I had to take a quick peek at the source code.

<title>Inteliture™ Search Engine Optimization and Internet Marketing Service Company</title>
<META NAME=”KEYWORDS” CONTENT=”search engine optimization service, internet marketing service, search engine marketing service, internet marketing company” />
<META NAME=”DESCRIPTION” CONTENT=”Inteliture™ a professional search engine optimization and internet marketing company. Offers internet marketing solutions, search engine optimization service, search engine marketing services, and internet marketing strategies for high search engine rankings and placement.” />
<META NAME=”robots” CONTENT=”index, follow” />
<META NAME=”googlebot” CONTENT=”index, follow” />
<link rel=’stylesheet’ href=’fontstyle.css’ type=’text/css’>

Not too revealing. The content is ok. But as you drill down, it’s a well written site replete with key words, lots of deeply linked pages and just a solid site with content. They must have a lot of quality links coming in, but then we just don’t know.

Ok so that’s Google, out of the top 5, if were going to choose a site to contact, I’d probably go with submitexpress since it’s really geared towards webmasters but also can handle the full boat if you so choose. Bruce Clay just smells of being expensive. Wiki you to have throw out, and seochat is more of a portal resource, reference site. and Inteliture just seems to slick and expensive for my small and medium sized businesses.

Next up, Yahoo. lets take a look:

1. Wiki-No surprise there

2. Seoinc.com-Interestingly enough, a huge flash header on this page, which we all know is somewhat frowned upon by the SE’s. Lots of quality content here, including the requisite buzzwords and white papers to boot. There are a lot of pages on this site, and of course all with great links to and from each other within the site. Impressive.

3. Ebrandz- Something about this site bothers me and I’m not sure what. Perhaps its the offers at the bottom of the page that state for a mere $8450 I can buy the platinum package. Look at the offerings:

 

The Customized SEO Solution (Platinum Plan) Includes:

 Initial Search Engine Optimization Report. Initial Competitive analysis Technical Report from algorithm point of view. Meta tags optimization including title, description and keywords On-page optimization Customized keyword analysis to define the best suited key phrases for your business.  Creation of targeted, optimized pages for Search Engines destined as landing pages for visitors. Image Optimization W3C validation for homepage Creation of a search engine friendly sitemap for better crawling of your site. Paid inclusion in Inktomi (Optional) Paid inclusion in Yahoo Directory(optional) Paid inclusion in AltaVista (Optional). We try to initially increase the relevance of your site so that all your main pages are indexed in Altavista for free. Hand submissions to the top search engines and directories using our unmatched experience for individual engines and directories. Email and chat support. Submission to secondary engines and targeted directories. Link development and Management services to increase your link popularity and rankings. Link Popularity Development – 75 one way links – free. Comprehensive log file analysis. This will help us in deciding future marketing strategies for your web site. Monthly reports showing ranking progress. An SEO account manager.  Optional PPC services for Google Adwords™ and Overture – Yahoo sitematch. Optional Affiliate program management services. 120 key phrases optimization. Emerging SEO trend updates. No hidden or Extra fees. OK So now the kicker is, that price is only for the first 6 months! and If you read through this list,  more than half of what you see on here, is standard SEO 101 stuff and the other half is a la carte… Companies like this can really scar people who have no idea of what they are getting into.

4. Submitawebsite.com-Looks like it’s more of PPC type of company but they do stress a little of their SEO process.  You can definitely see why they might be in the #4 slot though, lots of quality content. and of course a  visible linking campaign, as well as a deep linking strategy throughout the site. Worth a more extended look/

5. Scrubtheweb– They have been around since the advent of time. They allow site submissions and are just so deeply linked throughout, that it is no wonder they are ranked so high for anything web or search related, but as an SEO company, they are not.

6. Submitexpress- I just wanted to throw them in. Good job by these guys.

Last, lets go to MSN and size them up.

1. Wiki

2. Seologic.com– simple clean site with very targeted information. The landing page is clean and short and to the point but dig deeper and there is a wealth of information. It teaches and explains which I think is critical for any type of SEO site. The customer will appreciate that. Although I’d like to know what their fees are. I hate calling people for pricing information.

3. Submitexpress

4. Submitawebsite

5. Ebrandz

So there you go. An interesting mix of results but if I were to weigh the results and go with an SEO company or at least explore what I could get, and the info that they provide, here are my results:

1. Submitexpress

2. SEOinc

3. SEOlogic

and an honorable mention to seochat

Either I learn something from these 3 sites, or I use their free tools, or I use/employ them in some type of capacity. But they seem to know what they are doing and appreciate the challenges that webmasters and designers face. Next time we will look into the murky cutthroat world of pay per click.

Cheers

Technology and Golf.

As the Fed Ex cup comes to an end this week, it got me to thinking how much technology has changed golf. We talk all the time how technology has changed our lives, but in the golf world, technology has drastically changed the landscape. Back in the Nicklaus-Palmer-Player era, they had Woods as in Driver, 3-wood and 5-wood and they had steel shafts. All of the club heads were blades, which means to you and I, that they had a smaller area on the club face to smack the ball. Oh and the ball was wound with rubberbands. Take the courses that they played on back then, a lot of which are still used in tournaments today, and how difficult they are or were then, and you can really appreciate how good those 3 in particular were.

Ok now lets fast forward to 2007. We have entered the hybrid era. Carbon graphite shafts, large club heads, square grooves, screws to change the direction of the ball flight, different lofted clubs, specialty clubs, rescue clubs, utility clubs, hex-dimpled golf balls, soft balls, hard covered balls, plastic spikes, brush tees, Gore-tex clothing,  computer video analysis of your swing, 380 yard drives….etc. etc. etc. etc…

OK so you get the point. It’s amazing how much technology has affected golf when one thinks about it. To the extent that a lot of “old school” golf courses with storied pasts, i.e. Augusta National, have opted to alter their once immaculate and pristine and untouchable courses so that todays modern player has to think and work their way around the course like the old guard did.

Technology aside, golf does still come down to how mentally flexible you can be, given the myriad number of shots that you will be presented with in a round. No manner of computer aided whatever is going to help you get up and down out of a pot bunker at St. Andrews. You still have to make contact with the ball in the rough.  Your Dry-fit shirt and your soft spikes will keep you cool and comfy and looking good, but you still have to swing the club.

Remember it’s the surgeon, not the surgeons tools and equipment. Technology will continue to alter and change the face of golf, but at the end of the day, when you’re standing over a 7 foot putt to win the hole, the skins and the match, the only thing you can really rely on, is a pure stroke and nothing else.

Social Networking sites, What’s next?

Social networking sites are,  in general terms  websites and software tools which help you to discover, extend, manage, enable communication in, and/or leverage your social network. Whatever that may be. In essence, we are seeing the advent or maturation possibly of online communities where the user really has control of what they do, how they do it, who they interact with and how they interact. Early adopters for this phenomenon seem to be, and we will use Facebook stats as an example and I want you to refer the next piece of info carefully:- 3 million users age 25-34,- 380,000 users age 35-44, – 310,000 users age 45-63 and – 100,000 users age 64+

What you will eventually see though, is the advent or growth of  smaller niched based social networking sites. Thus, I’m interested in the users from 35+. They will have as big an impact as the first group, they are just slower to adopt. But they are just as intent on using the site and are becoming more comfortable with technology in general. Once they do reach a comfort level, money will flow more freely to and from advertisers.  But what can also happen from numbers such as these, is that you can create niche based “micro-sites” for the older users. These sites can speak their language and speak to their interests more. I exclude dating sites because that is a completely different business model.

Social networking sites are as they say, social sites where people can meet, hang out, exchange ideas, thoughts, and can freely express themselves however they feel in a way that best suits them given the tools provided by these sites. So why can’t an older generation(34+) take advantage of this? They can, but developers need to realize that they are out there and waiting for them to speak their language.

By the way, I have bought the URL www.ourspacetoo.com in anticipation of this. If you are ready to address the upper half of the social networking demographic, contact me and lets get going!

Companies’ online reputations scrubbed clean

Tuesday, September 11 at 05:00 am CT by Bob Sullivan

Most savvy consumers would never do business with an unfamiliar company without first running a quick Internet background check. Ten seconds on Google can ward off months of irritation. Negative reviews and news stories about companies are easy to find, and can persuade a buyer to beware. But that strategy might not always work. Companies are now hiring search engine optimization firms to fight back against their Google-given reputations. Recently, Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, was the target of one such “make the negative story disappear” campaign. DONE! SEO (search engine optimization) is a Manhattan Beach, Calif., company that says it can improve any company’s search engine results ranking. But on its “search engine reputation management” page, it promises quite a bit more, saying it can make negative stories and comments go away. “Our Search Engine Reputation Management strategy is very simple: Displace — push down — the negative listings with favorable ones and ones that you can control or influence,” it says. “DONE! SEO helps make sure that your company and key executives are being portrayed favorably online by burying the negatives and maintaining a positive online image.” The DONE! SEO Web site lists six particularly troublesome “problem sites.” Among them is ConsumerWebWatch.org, the Internet arm of Consumers Union. “Having a listing on ConsumerWebWatch.org that shows up on the first page of Google for a search for your company name can be devastating to your business,” it says. ConsumerWebWatch director Beau Brendler was not amused when he found the site. “Trying to make a buck by burying legitimate information that consumers can use to make a decision, that’s a problem,” Brendler said. “If everybody games the system, then search engines will become not much more than yellow pages.” Officials from DONE! SEO counter that they aren’t trying to bury legitimate information. Their main concern is the proliferation of user-generated review sites like RipOffReport.com or My3Cents.com that allow consumers to anonymously leave nasty comments about companies. “There are particularly mean-spirited bloggers,” who can ruin a company’s reputation with one well-placed negative posting, said Ben Padnos, CEO of DONE! SEO. “We’re trying to level the playing field.” Webloyalty at center of controversy? It appears ConsumerWebWatch ended up in DONE! SEO’s sights when the company was hired by Internet marketing firm WebLoyalty.com. Two years ago, ConsumerWebWatch published an investigation of Webloyalty that accused the firm of using misleading tactics to sign up customers and charge a monthly subscription fee to their credit cards. Webloyalty spokeswoman Beth Kitchener declined to comment for this report. In the WebWatch article, the firm denied it had engaged in improper behavior. It’s not clear how well Done! SEO’s tactics work. The unfavorable ConsumerWebWatch story still appears as the third link in Google and Yahoo results in a search for Webloyalty. But on MSN’s Live Search, the WebWatch story doesn’t appear until the third page of listings. Padnos confirmed that Webloyalty was a client, but refused to discuss the WebWatch article or anything else about the work his company did on its behalf. He also declined to explain in detail the tactics used to enhance a company’s search engine results. In general, though, he said it involves creating a network of Web sites using different domains owned by the company and making sure that many other sites link to the network. “They have real, credible content, updated often,” he said. “The content is really important. We are trying to play by the rules of the game from the search engines.” Like Facebook pictures, only worse Reputation management, long only in the purview of gigantic multinational corporations, is now a new Internet buzzword. College students interested in getting a decent job are instructed to avoid any and all cameras during parties, lest a less-than-flattering photograph end up on Facebook and, ultimately, in a human-resources file. Individuals can sign up with firms with names like Reputation Defender to whisk personal attacks off search engine pages (For a great read on this service, see this piece by Forbes magazine.) But gaming the system to push company reviews — including investigative journalism — out of sight on the Internet takes reputation management to a new level. For its part, Google says reputation management is acceptable as long as companies avoid other Web no-nos, like spam. “There’s nothing wrong with this in and of itself,” said a Google spokeswoman who asked not to be identified. “As far as being within our webmaster guidelines, it’s the same as any other web content. If you use spammy and manipulative techniques to get this positive content to rank highly, we may take action on it. But if you can write content or have content written about yourself and have it be interesting and compelling so that people link to it, it may indeed be relevant for searches on your name or business and may be a valid search result, above the negative content.” And Padnos defends the practice of driving down Web posts written by individual consumers. “In a lot of cases people take so much glee in negativity,” he said. “Every business has something along the way with a customer … but with anonymity (people) can post anything they want and really tarnish a company.” The battle between public relations firms and journalists is hardly new, but Brendler is worried that reputation management might tip the scales the wrong way. “I sympathize with businesses that have to confront this issue,” he said. “The state of user reviews on the Web is not pretty. There are people who give a hotel a bad review because they don’t like color of the drapes, for example. … But my concern is that there are other organizations and other journalists who do legitimate research, and as a result of these algorithms the relevance of their work decreases. It’s hard enough for consumers to make decisions and find information

Britney Spears and Technology, Comparing the last 7 years, who changed more?

So Britney Spears  was on the VMA’s last night and suffice it to say, it was interesting. So this morning as I’m reading about the fallout from this memorable performance, it got me to thinking. Since Britney has arrived on the scene, the only thing that has changed more, has been technology. So lets take a look back at the timeline and see who wins the award for evolving and changing the most.

In January 1999, Britney released her first studio album …Baby One More Time. Around this time Apple releases the PowerMac G4. In December of that year, she wins four Billboard Music Awards, including Female Artist of the Year. A month later, she took home the Favorite Pop/Rock New Artist award at the American Music Awards.

We give the edge to Britney.

In 2000 Britney releases her studio album Oops!… I Did It Again. Featuring the single which debuted at number one in the U.S., selling 1,319,193 units during its first week of sales, the record for any female artist. But Microsoft Officially launches  Windows 2000.  So I think it’s a push at this point

But…That same year,

  • Intel releases very limited supplies of the 1 GHz Pentium III chip.
  • Sony releases the PlayStation 2.
  • Intel releases the Pentium IV.
  • Edge goes to….Technology

    But wait!

    2000 also saw Spears launch her first world tour, the Oops!… I Did It Again World Tour. During the tour, she made a stop in New York for the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards. As part of her performance, she ripped off a black suit to reveal a provocative nude-colored and crystal-adorned outfit that generated mucho controversy. She finished the year with two more Billboard Music Awards and two Grammy nominations for Oops!… I Did It Again in the categories of Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

    With that knowledge in hand, the edge goes to… Britney

    2001 was a big year for technology, so there’s no possible way Britney could win…Or could she?  In 2001 Apple Computer released the now famous iPod as well as the Mac OS X and Microsoft releases Windows XP and Xbox. So it was a monstrous year for technological advances. However…

    In 2001 Spears released her third studio album Britney in November 2001. It had a successful debut at number one in the U.S., selling 745,744 units during its first week, surpassing Michael Jackson’s album Invincible.

    Michael Jackson, notwithstanding, we have to give the edge to… Technology

    In 2002 Britney’s career success was highlighted by Forbes, as Spears was ranked the world’s most powerful celebrity in 2002. Also that year at the MTV Video Music Awards, Spears appeared with Christina Aguilera performing the song “Like a Virgin”, and was later joined by Madonna. Spears locked lips with Madonna in a highly-publicized kiss… Based on the kiss we have to give the nod to Britney and won’t even bother with technology for 2002. Oh, we almost forgot, Spears had her first starring role in the film, Crossroads that year as well.

    Edge… Britney

    2003 Gives us the creation of Weblog and syndication format Atom. and the Human Genome Project is successfully completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to 99.99% accuracy. Oh and that year also brought us the Computer worm called “The Blaster “which infected thousands of computers worldwide,  
     

    Ok so we’re reaching in 2003, but what was Britney up to? November 2003 saw the release of Spears’s fourth studio album, In the Zone. In the Zone topped the U.S. charts in its debut week, selling over 609,000 copies. This made Spears the only female in music history to have her first four studio albums debut at number one… Guess that means that 2003 was her year too.

    Edge? Spears

    In 2004 Mozilla Firefox 1.0 was released, which became Microsofts’ biggest browser competitor since Netscape Navigator. The Computer Worm My Doom is considered to be the fastest worm ever to infect the internet and Software giants Oracle  and PeopleSoft merge. Now thats big stuff! But in 2004 Britney Spears announced via her website she would be taking another career break in order to start a family. She takes lots of breaks…

    So Spears married childhood friend Jason Allen Alexander. The marriage lasted fifty-five hours, ending with an annulment which stated that Spears “lacked understanding of her actions to the extent that she was incapable of agreeing to marriage because before entering into the marriage the Plaintiff and Defendant did not know each other’s likes and dislikes, each others’ desires to have or not have children, and each other’s desires as to State of residency”.

    Months after the  Vegas incident, Spears embarked on The Onyx Hotel Tour which was cancelled in June, after Spears injured her knee during the filming of the video for the single “Outrageous”. Spears reportedly became involved in the Kabbalah Centre in September 2004 through her friendship with Madonna. But that didn’t last. 2004 also saw the release of her first greatest hits collection, Greatest Hits: My Prerogative. The album debuted at number four on the U.S. charts. Impressive for most but not Brit. Spears began a relationship with Kevin Federline and in July 2004, announced her engagement three months after they met.  On the night of September 18, 2004, Spears married Federline in a surprise, non-denominational ceremony on October 6 2004.

    We’re skipping over a lot and merely trying to hit the high notes here, so bare with us, but nevertheless we are going to have to give 2004 to Britney. She had a lot going on that year.

    Ahh 2005, Spears gave birth to her first child,  released her next Elizabeth Arden fragrance, Fantasy, in September of 2005, and released a remix album, B In The Mix: The Remixes. The album contained remixes of Spears’s biggest hits.

    In 2005 Microsoft releases the Xbox 360 gaming console in North America.  Apple Computer releases Mac OS X v10.4 for the Apple Macintosh, AMD starts shipping their first dual-core 64-bit desktop processor, the Athlon 64 X2. Microsoft announces their next consumer operating system, Windows Vista, to be released in early 2007.

    Edge to…. A tie

    In 2006 Apple Computer introduces the MacBook Pro, their first Intel-based, dual-core mobile computer, as well as an Intel-based iMac; and Intel introduces the Core 2 processors, marking the retirement of Intel’s Pentium brand name. Also in 2006 The one billionth song is purchased from Apple iTunes.  But Britney…

    In May 2006, she announced her second pregnancy with an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. Spears appeared on Dateline NBC the next month to discuss tabloid rumors about an impending divorce, and motherhood. She addressed an incident which occurred in February 2006 when photos revealed her driving with her son unrestrained in her lap. The month following the televised interview, Spears posed nude for the August 2006 cover of Harper’s Bazaar.

    Also in 06′, Spears gave birth to her second son and She files for divorce from Federline  citing irreconcilable differences and asking for both physical and legal custody of their two children. Oh, and in  2006, Spears launched Curious: In Control as a limited edition fragrance. 2006 also saw the release of another perfume: Midnight Fantasy.

    Sorry technology, Britney wins again.

    And here we are at 2007…

    Microsoft Corporation launches Windows Vista more than 5 years after their last major, new operating system, Windows XP, was released….

    and Britney in succession, goes to rehab, shows her kibbles and bit, shaves her head, and wows the VMA audience.

    Edge goes to Britney.

    In summation lets just say, that technology needs to be more proactive if it wants to stay with Britney Spears in newsmaking items. It’s clearly evident that Britney refuses to rest on her laurels and is constantly trying to redefine her space. Technology? You need to do more.